It wasn't long ago that I was being shuttled off to Washington to ride some of my first trails in the Pacific Northwest. I love that feeling of not knowing what your getting into. Staring out the window you dream about what the trail will be like, will you be able to hang with the group, are you getting in over your head, and did I bring the right gear with me. I love that feeling. I wonder what was going through Craig's head as we drove down the 84 towards Hood River. Craig secured a demo for the day and this would his second time riding some real trails. It's early. He's probably still thinking of a warm bed or a hot cup of coffee.
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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[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuDs1ZGzvEA[/embed] This is video number two of an on going series of shorts I am filming. The objective is simply to create a short that captures the ride. Before I moved to New York City and worked as a professional Motion Designer I was a filmmaker. It feels good to play around again even if it's just with my small point and shoot. I have no desire to purchase nicer gear but rather just focus on capturing these little moments out on the trail or the road. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for checking out Broken Shorts.
Portland Oregon is an amazing city for cycling. It’s been awarded the prestigious Platinum Level Status from the The League of American Cyclists and it’s vast network of commuter routes is incredible. Yet Portland has severely underserved and blatantly ignored a large community of citizens that love to ride Mountain Bikes. For a long time the River View Natural Area has been home to a small network of trails shared by both hikers and Mountain Bikers. Just five miles from Downtown Portland it’s the perfect place to get a quick ride in before or after work. Unfortunately the city recently decided to ban bicycles at River View leaving riders and myself no place to ride.
Since I moved back to Portland just as the ban was put into place I decided to check it out and see what I’d be missing. First off the commute to the trails is great. I took the Spring Water Trail to the SellWood Bridge and rode up through the River View Cemetery. What an awesome way to get to some single track! After leaving the cemetery I made a left onto SW Palatine Hill Rd which quickly led me to the trail head. At the trail head I was greeted with freshly printed signs stating the new rules of the park. In fact the signs don’t even talk about cycling but they do state that it’s for foot traffic only. Bummer.
"River View is a formerly private 146-acre parcel jointly purchased in 2011 by the City of Portland Parks & Recreation bureau, the Bureau of Environmental Services, the Trust for Public Land, and Metro. The land was previously owned by River View Cemetery. While people have been riding bikes and hiking on the property for decades, that use was illegal but not often enforced. The City of Portland is now leading an effort to re-develop the land and make it a nature area and public park.” - Bikeportland.org
From what I’ve explored there seems to be one trail that has some nice flow single track. Berms, Roots and all the good stuff to have a rad time just five miles away from home. I can neither confirm nor deny that I rode said single track. These pictures could have been taken way before the ban right? Anyways the rest of the trails are pretty mellow and make for great connectors to get back to the top. Everything seemed well maintained and the only visible trash was from negligent dog owners. In short I had a blast and look forward to coming back.
"The decision to prohibit mountain biking for now at River View was made in partnership with Commissioner Fish and the Bureau of Environmental Services, with due consideration of the reason for dedicating ratepayer dollars to purchase the site to protect water quality. We are not saying River View will never be used for mountain biking, rather just not now, before the citywide assessment of appropriate places for cycling is funded and completed. I encourage you to participate in the upcoming City Budget process, to urge funding for the citywide Master Plan for cycling that Portland Parks and Recreation and I have proposed in our requested budget allocations."
-Amanda Fritz, City Commissioner
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After seeing the trails first hand it’s really hard to see how the city could justify the bicycle ban. Honestly it’s just a kick in the face to a group of people that just want to have a positive place to enjoy Mountain Biking. The ban was the last straw for a lot of riders. There comes to a point where it becomes moral to bend the rules. That time is now. I’ll never advocate for breaking the “law” but your life is yours and mine is mine.
I say roast them! ATMO!