Yes, all road bikes are all the rage these days. The idea of riding from your garage until the pavement ends and beyond with a single bike is catching fire. There are gravel bikes aplenty, but the new Santa Cruz Stigmata CC carves out a little slice of road, cyclocross and gravel heaven for those looking for the ultimate in versatility.

Santa Cruz Stigmata CC Features

  • Hi-mod carbon layup for maximum stiffness and minimum weight
  • BB30 bottom bracket
  • Accomodates tires up to 41mm
  • Thru axles: 15QR front and 142×12 rear
  • Comfortable angles for stability at speed
  • Post mount disc brakes
  • Internal cable routing
  • Full, lifetime warranty – details
  • Colors: Black or Orange
  • Weight: 1030 grams (frame/hardware), 430 grams (fork)
  • Complete: 15.9 lbs (road mode) 18.0 lbs (CX mode)
  • Price: $2299 (frame) or $4599-$6599 (completes)
Santa Cruz Stigmata CC Review

The Stigmata CC dressed in road mode

Tackle any road with the Stigmata CC

With the launch of the Stigmata, Santa Cruz has re-entered the cyclocross/gravel/road market with a serious splash. Out of the gate, the Stigmata featured all the trappings for a winner and after hundreds of miles aboard a custom-built Stigmata CC, I’m going to come right out and say that this bike is something special.

My test bike is set up with a full SRAM Force 1 kit, Zipp carbon cockpit and a set of race-worthy Zipp 202 Firecrest Clinchers. Initially configured for road mode, I had several hundred miles riding this sub-16 lb. do-it-all machine on pavement followed by several hundred miles in cyclocross/gravel mode. As a one bike quiver, the Stigmata CC leaves little to be desired.

Santa Cruz Stigmata CC - Wind River Range, WY

Riding deep into the Wind River Range, WY

Road mode

Base miles were achieved on a variety of terrain with a hefty focus on climbing (because that’s what I do). Set up with a 44T chainring and an 11-36T cassette, there wasn’t a climb that I couldn’t crush. But with a maximum pedaling speed of about 34 mph (in 44/11), I was forced to coast down long mountainous descents.

Coming off the Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-mod and the Orbea Orca M-Team, the Stigmata does yield to the best road bikes on the market — I’d be foolish to tell you otherwise. But, it does climb well and remains balanced both in and out of the saddle. Sometimes, slack angles and long wheelbases tend to make for a wonky out-of-saddle experience (on steep pitches), but the Stigmata feels natural. You can feel the extra weight and it may not be as zippy when sprinting, but that’s not what this bike is for and doesn’t detract from the overall performance.

The ride quality of the Stigmata CC is nothing short of superb. It’s evident that Santa Cruz knows how to make great bikes — because after such a long hiatus from the skinny tire scene, you’d guess they never left. Their carbon fiber experience is really on display here with beautiful lines and a great combination of compliance and stiffness. In fact, I’d put the comfort on par with some of the best frames on the market. With the drop seatstays, the seat tube is free to flex a little more and take the edge off. For proper fit, I’ve got a zero setback post, but a setback post would provide even more comfort.

Handling is as expected with a 69mm BB drop and 1024mm wheelbase. It’s not going to be tabbed as razor-sharp, but it inspires supreme confidence at speed with predictable and stable handling. Lateral stiffness remains excellent at all speeds and thru axles ensure it tracks without a hint of flex — making riding road discs a worry-free experience.

Santa Cruz Stigmata CC Review - Gravel

All good roads turn to gravel in American Fork Canyon

Gravel mode

As I always say, “every good road turns to gravel” and the Stigmata is the perfect bike for every “good” road. With 25mm tires, gravel can be a little sketchy at speed, but when outfitted with a set of Bontrager CX3 32mm tires, the versatility of this bike begins to come into view. I’d say a set of wider, semi-knobby tires would be even better, but the CX3’s are smooth-rolling enough on the road and grippy on gravel, dirt and mud.

You can tell that Santa Cruz engineers optimized the Stigmata for gravel as it just feels at home. It tracks well, remains stable and begs for more.

Cyclocross Testing the Garneau T-Flex 2LS

The local P-Town Cross series at Utah Lake

Cyclocross mode

Heading for the local CX series, I had no doubt in the hardware.  With a course filled with tight turns, mud, sand, rough grass and a steep flyover bridge, I was eager to see how the Stigmata would perform. At the gun, the Stigmata was no slouch and gets out as fast as the best cyclocross bikes.

As I lapped the course, the Stigmata became more and more comfortable on everything but a tight section of S-shaped switchbacks where the low bottom-bracket and slack handling reminded me that this is a “one bike quiver” and not a CX race bike. The frame is easily-shouldered when needed and can take serious abuse. In the end, the bike fared better than I did, but winning isn’t everything, right?

Bits and pieces

With muscular/industrial looks and fantastic road, dirt and gravel manners, the Stigmata CC is a helluva lot of fun. The geometry makes for an easy fit for non-professionals, like myself and makes all terrain feel like second-nature. For the ultimate in versatility, I’d save some money and get a dedicated set of CX/gravel and road wheels.

The closest off-the-shelf kit to my test bike would be the Stigmata CC CX1 with Enve M50 Fifty — with the exception of the carbon cockpit. Going 1×11 is fantastic overall except on high-speed descents where you’ll run out of gears in a hurry. In the end, you’ll have to decide if you want to go 1×11 or 2×11 and, of course, budgets will come into play. Going with the Stigmata C Rival does increase the overall weight, but at $3499, you get a great do-it-all bike.

For the ultimate do-it-all, I think a compact crankset with a wide-range 11-36t cassette would allow you to truly ride everything (road, gravel and CX). It’s not a pro-level CX race bike, nor is it a peloton-worthy road bike, but let’s be honest with ourselves here — it is a fantastic bike for all things skinny tires.

The Good

  • A do-it-all machine for 99% of us
  • Excellent ride quality that dampens road and gravel chatter
  • Light enough to be sub-16 lbs. on the road
  • Capable at speed with good handling manners
  • Beautiful industrial looks
  • Accomodating, all-around geometry
  • Lifetime warranty

The Bad

  • Front brake line routing should enter straighter into fork
  • Not as nimble as a dedicated CX racer

The Bottom Line: Santa Cruz Stigmata CC

If you’re looking for a single bike to do all things skinny tire, the Stigmata CC is the ticket. It rides well on the road, exudes confidence in gravel and can tackle any CX course you’ll encounter — all while remaining light, smooth and lively.

Buy Now: Visit

In Summary

8.5 Do-anything Bike

The Santa Cruz Stigmata CC can capably tackle all things skinny tire. It rides with comfort and precision on the tarmac while remaining smooth and confident in gravel and CX courses. In the end, simply choose your drivetrain option, get a set of extra wheels and you'll have a one-bike-quiver.

  • Road Manners 8
  • Gravel Manners 10
  • CX Manners 8
  • Ride Quality 9
  • Handling 8
  • Climbing 8
  • Descending 9
  • Value 8

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.


  1. Great review! This bike has been on my radar for awhile and the fact that your so complimentary makes me want this even more. Thanks!

    • Dave… they are very similar bikes in many ways, but the Stigmata is aimed at cyclocross as well, so it has a teeny bit sharper handling. Both are great for gravel/road riding and both are just fine in a cyclocross race. Tire clearance is sufficient for 40mm tires on each. That’s about all I can tell ya.

  2. Bernard Bayerl on

    Hi Jason,
    I am considering buying a new bike this spring and this kind of gravel-oriented bike would really fit my needs and desires (I own a Tallboy LTc by Santa Cruz as well as a road bike, so both are in some way limited in their specific range).

    I have narrowed my search to the following models:
    Norco Search
    SC Stigmata
    Argon 18 Krypton
    Specialized Diverge (although I would favor a smaller brand)

    Could you please let me know how do the Search and the Stigmata compare? As far as I understand the Stigmata seems to be a bit more “nervous” and reactive (being originally a CX bike) whereas the Search is a bit more comfortable and stable.

    Besides, do you think the Stigmata could accept an Ultegra mount? (i don’t understand anything regarding bottom brackets standards)..


    • You’ve narrowed it down to some great bikes. I think beyond the handling characteristics you’ve heard, I’d first go with which one will give you the proper fit. Argon has a pretty aggressive fit, so unless you’re an ex-pro, or just the right size, that one is going to require a ton of headset spacers.

      I continue to be amazed by the performance of the Stigmata. Yes, there are more stable bikes at high speeds, but you’d be hard-pressed to find that limit.

      The Norco Search really has a fantastic “on-paper” geometry and kit. It is getting rave reviews by many journalists and that comes as no surprise. I’ve long been a Norco fan and really love how much attention their bikes are getting in the States.

      As far as the Diverge goes, I’ve yet to ride one and haven’t seen a whole lot of press on them either. They do feature a back-friendly geometry, so most of us riders can easily get into a comfortable riding position.

      On compatibility with Ultegra… you’ll be able to find the proper BB and crank spindle from all major brands. But, if you’re thinking of swapping something from a bike you have, that may not work unless they are the same and/or if adapters exist.

  3. Hi Jason,

    Need som good advice! 😉

    How has this past year gone on the bike? I interesting in knowing the “road” capabilities of the bike? I will most likely be running the bike 80-90 pct. on road, but living near bigger forrest area would love to take that route also.

    For me the choice would be between the BMC Roadmachine 01 or the Stigmata. I’m leaning toward Stigmata with a Sram eTap chainset (2 rings front). But not sure if the Stigmata is road orientered enough?

    What tires did you run on road?

    • The Stigmata and Roadmachine are vastly different bikes. At its heart, the Stigmata is a gravel/CX bike that also rides quite admirably on the road. The Roadmachine, however, is a road bike that can also be taken off the beaten path.

      With the Stigmata, you get gobs of tire clearance for muddy CX courses or rough gravel duty. You can fit 40mm tires in there. Whereas the Roadmachine can fit 30-32mm tires at best.

      I rode the Stigmata with Conti GP4000S 25mm tires in road mode and Bontrager CX3 33mm tires in CX mode.

      While the Stigmata is a great on-road bike, it doesn’t quite measure up to the Roadmachine as a pure road bike. For your purposes, either would be great, but the Roadmachine would be better-suited. The only drawback is you couldn’t really fit knobby tires on it. I’m just wrapping up a review of the Roadmachine RM02 Ultegra, so stay tuned for more details on that one (it’s impressive).

  4. I bought a Stigmata CC recently, primarily for use as a road bike. Roads around here are rough, bumpy and hilly, so the ability to run wider slicks for comfort and grip is great. My tyre of choice is the 35mm Bon Jon Pass which work really well on road and gravel. Fast, grippy and comfy.

    I also set mine up as a single ring but swapped out the 36/11 cassette for the XX1 42/10 while sticking with the 44 on the front. This gives me exactly the same gear range as my old Pinarello with a compact 2x so eliminating the running out of gears problem. And if I want to tackle seriously steep, it’s easy to swap out the 44 for a 40. Would never go back to a 2x set up.

    I’m really happy with the Stigmata and ride it far more than my Pinarello these days. It also seems to be faster in most circumstances. Oddly enough, even in sprints.

  5. Hey Jason –

    Sounds like the bike worked really well for you as a do-it-all machine. Can I ask what your height and inseam measurements are, and what size frame was used for the test (for reference)?


  6. Hey Jason,

    I am 5’7″ with a 30″ inseam. What size Stigmata should I be riding? 50cm or 52cm? Thanks for the great article.

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