Theres been a lot of detailed and thought provoking reviews on the rebirth of the Stigmata. With that said I'll be focusing this review on my decision to convert the Stigmata into a flat bar trail ripping machine. So here we go. This is my Santa Cruz Stigmata Flat Bar Review. I've owned my Stigmata for about nine months now. For the longest time I rode basically a stock Rival build with a custom Hope / Belgium wheel set. It's been my go to bike for those early morning trail rips. Over time my priorities in cycling have changed. I much rather jib around in the woods for a few hours than laying down watts on lonesome gravel roads.
A transformation just made sense. I needed a bike that I could pedal to the trail head and get to it fast. The Stigmata is perfect for that but ripping down descents with drop bars is just not fun. First off the position on the bike prohibits any kind of playfulness and braking is just straight up awful. I am not saying you can’t have fun or shred on a cyclocross bike; we’ve all seen Yoann’s videos! It’s just not for me.
So one evening I committed to the project. Off came the drops, the awful Rival hydraulic brakes/ shifters, derailleurs and chainrings. Everything went on Ebay as I started to source parts for the new build.
Up front I went with Santa Cruz's carbon flat bars which feature the a 35mm clamp diameter. The only problem I've run into with the this new standard is that not many companies are making 35 stems yet. After spending way too much money testing out stem lengths I went with a 90mm Race Face Aeffect 35 Stem . Still I am hoping someone comes out with a 100 - 110mm because it would definitely improve my fit.
One of the biggest reason I wanted to go flat bar was so I could run MTB specific disc brakes. After using SRAM Rival Hyrdo road brakes for over six months I've come to the conclusion that they suck. Honestly road disc brakes are the worst! I went with the same brakes that I use on my new 2016 Santa Cruz 5010; Sram's Guide RCS.
The set up was relatively painless. I used the same rotors and mounts that came on the bike originally. I had to trim both cable hoses and bleed the brakes but that could be expected for any disc brakes that are internally routed.
I converted the stock Rival 22 crankset to a 1x via 34t Wolf Tooth Components. I kept the front end small because in Portland we're never not climbing. I have the same set up on my All City and never felt I needed a larger gear up front.
A rear derailleur with a clutch is a must for any efficient 1x set up. Normally I would have gone with a MTB derailleur but I decided to give SRAM Rival 1 a shot. So far so good. Shifting is great though it's been hard to keep it dialed in this winter. To be fair it's hard to keep any bike dialed in winter.
I've been running the WTB Nanos for over a year now but I really wanted something with more bite. Up front we have a Bruce Gordon Rock n Road and in the rear a Soma Cazadero. The set up was inspired by John Watson's write up on the Radavist. It's still winter here in Portland and so far I've been impressed with the Rock n Road. The Cazadero has been struggling with the wintery conditions but will hopefully come through when it's dryer. Regardless the tan walls look fucking amazing.
Ok you made it this far. So how does the bike ride? Honestly? It has surpassed all my expectations. All the trails I once had to walk down because they were to steep or technical are now possible. The wide bars and amazing SRAM RCS brakes provides everything I needed to make the most out of these short trail rides in the city. The worst part about this build is that I have to remind myself that I am on a Cyclocross bike. I am constantly taking this thing over jumps and I am quickly reminded that the Stigmata’s geometry isn’t built for it. Honestly it feels pretty awkward in the air but thats something I can live with. I own a 2016 Santa Cruz 5010 after all. Honestly Santa Cruz should offer the Stigmata with a flat bar option. The stock all the parts and I think a lot of people would enjoy it.
Santa Cruz Stigmata frame and fork Race Face Aeffect 35 Stem 90mm Santa Cruz Carbon Bars SRAM Guide RCS brakes Chromag Grips Zipp Service Course SL Seatpost Specialized saddle SRAM BB30 Rival Crankset with 34t Wolf Tooth Components Shimano XTR Race PedalSram Rival CX1 Medium cage derailleur SRAM PG1130 Hope Pro 4 Hubs on HED Belgium Series C2 Rim Rock n Road tire up front and a Soma in the back
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