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The previous Santa Cruz Stigmata was already a bit of an outlier when it broke ground in 2015, abandoning pretenses of being a pure cyclocross racer in favor of a more versatile geometry that was better suited to all-around drop-bar hooliganism. Four years later, it’s safe to say that Santa Cruz was prescient in that approach, and the new Stigmata — and the Juliana Quincy sister model — continue that story arc, moving further into the gravel and adventure territory while still retaining the predecessor’s wide appeal.
Evolution, not revolution
Santa Cruz fans that were hoping the company would take a bold leap forward with this next-generation Stigmata may be disappointed, as these new models represent more of a gradual progression in a direction already established, rather than a complete change of tack. If anything, the changes arguably make the new Stigmata more mainstream amongst its competitors, rather than the pseudo-rebel that it once was.
First and foremost, the new bikes have a little more tire clearance than before. While the previous Stigmata could comfortably clear 700x41c gravel tires, the updated frame and fork can now swallow 700x45c tires, or knobby 650b ones up to 2.1in-wide. Discreet fender mounts are included front and rear as well — previously, there were none — and there’s now a third bottle mount for extra water-hauling capacity.
Curiously omitted, however, are mounts for a bento box-style top tube bag, or eyelets for a frame bag, both of which are likely to be popular add-ons for buyers in this segment.
If the higher-volume tires don’t provide as much cushioning as you’d like, Santa Cruz says the new Stigmata’s revamped shape and carbon fiber lay-up yield a smoother ride quality, too.
Other details include a shift from a PF30 press-fit bottom bracket to a traditional threaded one (yay!), 12mm front and rear thru-axles, internal cable routing with provisions for mechanical and electronic drivetrains, a clamp-on front derailleur mount for cleaner-looking 1x drivetrain setups, a molded guard for the driveside chainstay, and a conventional 27.2mm-diameter round seatpost. Particularly progressive riders will also appreciate that Santa Cruz has provided routing for stealth-style internal dropper post lines, too.
Frame geometry hasn’t changed dramatically, either, although there are some definite trends to note. Reach dimensions have shortened just a few millimeters almost across the board, and stack heights have grown by slightly greater amounts — but still by no more than 15mm, and that’s only on the largest 60cm size. Bottom brackets have dropped by 1-5mm for more stable handling, however, and there’s more standover clearance than before, too.
Perhaps as a sign of the Stigmata’s popularity — and of the gravel segment in general — Santa Cruz has ditched its previous one-size-fits-all approach to fork rake in favor of two separate molds for the new bike. Frame sizes 54cm and greater get a 48mm rake, while smaller models get 50mm in order to retain the desired handling characteristics without inducing too much toe overlap.
Claimed weight for a 56cm Stigmata frameset is 1,600g; actual weight for a complete 52cm Stigmata with a SRAM Force eTap AXS 1x groupset, 650b Santa Cruz Reserve carbon wheels, WTB Ranger 2.0 tires, and an Easton aluminum cockpit is 8.32kg (18.34lb), without pedals.
The Quincy is arguably the one to have
The Santa Cruz Stigmata is joined by a women-specific model called the Quincy, which falls under the company’s dedicated Juliana label. From a functional standpoint, it’s 100% identical to the Stigmata, using the same frame molds, carbon fiber blends, and lay-up schedules. However, the Quincy is available in a more limited size range that tops out at 54cm, but goes down to a brand-new 49cm size that will supposedly accommodate riders down to 1.52m (5ft 0in) tall.
Despite the more compact dimensions, that smallest size still retains the same tire clearance as the bigger sizes, and includes the same assortment of accessory mounts.
The Quincy is offered in just a single color — the Stigmata gets two — but everyone I spoke to at the media launch event prior to this year’s Sea Otter Classic agreed that it was far more striking than either of the Stigmata’s subdued pastel hues. Juliana has graced the Quincy with a gorgeous, deep blue/green translucent color, along with neat detailing that isn’t included on the Stigmata.
Lots of build kit options
Santa Cruz and Juliana will offer the Stigmata and Quincy in a fairly wide selection of complete build kits, including Shimano Ultegra, and SRAM Rival, Force eTap AXS, and Red eTap AXS groupsets, all with the option of upgrading to Santa Cruz’s superb Reserve carbon wheels.
Complete bikes range from US$3,600 / AU$7,450 / £3,600 / €4,000 for the SRAM Rival build kit with aluminum wheels, up to US$9,900 / AU$13,950 / £9,000 / €10,500 for the SRAM Red eTap AXS version with carbon wheels. Standalone framesets will also be offered for US$2,300 / AU$3,600 / £2,200 / €2,400.