It's bike check time again, and this time we've got our Swiss-French mechanic Loic back on the show, with a very different bike that still happens to be a Santa Cruz. Loic's other bike is a Santa Cruz Bronson that he's done a pretty good job of customising, covered in a previous bike-check here. We think a Bronson and a Stigmata make a pretty solid 2-bike combo, so Kudos to Loic for getting this sweet pair together and extra points for matching chrome/silver themes.
The Stigmata is Santa Cruz's take on a cyclocross/gravel/adventure bike, done with all the flair of a legendary mountain bike brand. Designed to be stiff yet compliant, the Stig borrows some design cues from the Highball in its frame layup and general aesthetic with more road-inspired geometry and handling characteristics, making the Stig a great addition to the stable for someone looking for that crossover all-road/gravel type bike.
Many of our customers will be familiar with Loic since he's a friendly face that can be found in our workshop five days a week wrenching on bikes and making people happy. Bike mechanics tend to have a fondness for making their bikes their own in interesting and unique ways and Loic is no exception, having put some really classy touches on this bike. It's fair to say that Loic is a fan of the raw/polished metal look because following on from his Bronson he's stepped up his game a little, stripping and hand-polishing a number of parts on this Stig to match his aesthetic.
Starting off the customisation are the silver downtube decals. Loic had these custom made to cover the stock black decals - an easy way to drastically change the look of the bike and something anyone can do at home. Complementing the decals are a set of stainless steel Arundel bottle cages - both affordable and durable they're a smart choice. The keen-eyed among you might also spot the derailleur band clamp that Loic stripped and polished himself.
Loic was stoked to build this bike, getting himself a super fancy Shimano GRX Di2 groupset on a 2x Easton EA90 crankset. Shimano's Di2 groups are the pinnacle of shifting performance, with possibly the crispest most reliable shifting out there. Di2 is especially useful for 2x setups at Loic is running here because it prevents cross-chaining and can be set up to make a compensation shift on the rear when shifting on the front. It can also be programmed to be completely sequential, taking one more complication out of the equation, allowing the rider to focus on the trail ahead. Shimano's GRX Di2 hoods might also be some of the most comfortable hoods out there - great for long, rough days in the saddle.
Easton's EA90 cranks are a nice feature because their modular spider-less design allows for either single or double chainring setups, meaning Loic could quite easily swap his setup for a single chainring if need be. The EA90 is the more affordable aluminum version of the carbon EC90 counterpart, costing a very reasonable $159 without chainrings. A bargain for such a versatile, modular crank.
For wheels, Loic is running a set of Giant CXR 2 carbon wheels. Building on their knowledge of carbon, the CXR 2 wheels are as strong as a cross country wheelset but even lighter. Coming in at 35mm wide externally and 25mm internally, these wheels are perfect for modern high volume gravel tires, such as the 42c Specialized Pathfinder Pro tires that Loic is running here. Extra points for the colour matched silver Muc-Off tubeless valves.
In the braking department, Loic is of course running Shimano's GRX hydraulic calipers which provide plenty of power and modulation for gravel riding. Continuing on down the silver theme, Loic went to the effort of stripping and polishing the flat mount adapters that secure the calipers to the frame and fork, a nice touch. In fact Loic went the whole hog and stripped a whole bunch of the small parts including seat collar, garmin mount and even the cable ports.
Looking closer at Loic's Garmin mount we can see that he's running a K-Edge Garmin Max Combo mount that as I mentioned he has stripped and polished. The beauty of this mount is that it discretely clamps to the handlebar and has a mount for the garmin as you would expect. The Combo part means that it has a second GoPro type mount on the underside for mounting any other accessory that can use that type of mount. In this case he's using a Lezyne light, silver of course, with Lezyne's GoPro adapter to cleanly mount both a light and computer in one spot. We like it!
Lastly for contact points, Loic is running Easton's EC70AX handlebars on an EA90 stem. The EC70AX bars offer a mid-flare at 16º and a middle of the road 120mm drop, making them a comfortable handlebar both on and off road without being overly aggressive one way or the other. The carbon construction drops some weight over an alloy bar while giving a little added compliance for comfort on those bigger and rougher rides.
For pedals Loic chose a set of Look X-Track Race Carbon pedals. Their light weight and mtb type mechanism makes them perfect for a lightweight high performance gravel machine like this. For his perch Loic went for a Specialized S-Works Romin Evo with Mirror. The 3D printed Mirror technology makes for one of the most comfortable saddles we've ever tried. Loic loves his.
Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed! If you'd like to check out more of our bike-check articles, follow this link and enjoy the read! If you have any questions about any of the products featured in this article or would like to enquire about ordering parts or even commissioning a custom build, please feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org