New Santa Cruz Stigmata Blurs the Lines Between Gravel and Mountain

New Santa Cruz Stigmata Blurs the Lines Between Gravel and Mountain

Blurring the lines between gravel and mountain - the new Stigmata moves away from its cyclocross roots somewhat and realizes its potential as a mini mountain bike, as the gravel segment sees some big innovations. Suspension forks, 1x drivetrains, dropper posts. What even is a gravel bike these days if not versatile? The fourth iteration of Santa Cruz's go-anywhere drop bar bike is all that and more.

Knowing that gravel is different things to different people, Santa Cruz built the new Stig 4 burlier, more progressive and more versatile than the last generation. The big news is a frame corrected for a 40mm suspension fork and a Rockshox Rudy on the top level build as well as a longer reach and shorter stems for stable yet quick handling combined with 50mm tire clearance for a properly modern gravel bike.

Santa Cruz Stigmata front triangle, brick red

What else is new? 

Something we've been wanting for ages: in-frame storage in the way of the glovebox, so we can carry less and have more. A UDH derailleur hanger means replacement hangers are always easy to find, and those wanting a really wide range could fit Sram's new Eagle Transmission drivetrain for the latest in shifting tech. For when things get extra rowdy, as they tend to here in BC, the new Stig even features cable routing for a dropper post, and uses a 27.2mm diameter to keep things compliant if that's your jam.

At the heart of the bike, making things fast, light, and strong is a CC carbon frame in four sizes from S to XXL, five build kits and one colour - Brick Red.

Santa Cruz Stigmata front triangle and suspension corrected fork

What isn't new?

Newer isn't always better, and that's why the the new Stig still uses a threaded BB, for easy bottom bracket service and installation. It still has mounts for a front derailleur for mechanical or electronic shifting, because Santa Cruz know that an ultra-low gear can be handy when the bike is fully loaded for big days out. It still has fender mounts, because it still rains here in BC, a lot.

The new Stig uses a standard IS headset, using the same standard Cane Creek bearings as the old bike, and doesn't have any finnicky headset cable routing, because simpler is better. Finally, Santa Cruz's legendary support and warranty hasn't changed and never will. Lifetime frame warranty and lightning-fast service comes with every bike, should you ever need it.

Santa Cruz Stigmata dropout with Force AXS derailleur


The Stigmata 4 is designed around a short 70mm stem for steering stability and precision. For that reason, the reach has grown so that fit can stay relatively the same, and bringing extra stability at speed. In a size L equivalent of a 56cm, the reach has grown from 388mm to 420mm. Complementing the long reach is a suitably slack head angle at 69.5º, dropping a whole 2.5º. The BB has 4mm more drop at 76mm, stack sits 4mm higher at 600mm and chainstays 5mm longer at 430mmm.

Santa Cruz Stigmata Geometry Chart


The Stigmata 4 is available in five different spec levels to suit all types of riding. All come with 700c wheels with 45c Maxxis Rambler tires, a solid seatpost and carbon fork except the top spec build which uses a dropper post and suspension fork. All frames are dropper compatible, but only with a 1x build.

Santa Cruz Stigmata Force AXS 2x drivetrain

Starting with the most affordable and maybe the most versatile is the Apex 1X, based around the same CC carbon frame as the top end build, it uses the new Sram Apex XPLR 1X12 groupset and rolls on WTB EZR i23 rims on DT Swiss 370 hubs with a Zipp Service course seatpost, stem and 70 XPLR handlebar.

The Rival AXS 1X build bumps up to the next level groupset, Sram Rival AXS 1x12 wireless shifting, upgrades to Easton ARC 25 offset rims and uses the same cockpit with an Easton EC70 seatpost. The Rival AXS 2x build comes with the same build spec but with a front derailleur and a slight price increae.

The Force AXS 2X Reserve build comes with the Force AXS 2x12 groupset, Reserve 25 GR rims on DT Swiss 350 hubs and a Service Course 70 SL carbon handlebar. The top line Force AXS 1X Reserve build switches to the 1x12 XPLR groupset and comes with a Rockshox Rudy 40mm travel suspension fork and a Reverb XPLR wireless dropper post, for the ultimate in trail-smashing fun time gravel bike.

Santa Cruz Stigmata with Force AXS shifter


We're expecting the Stig to have an extremely stable ride, much closer to a hardtail mountain bike, however thanks to the light frame and build options it should be even more versatile than ever and would work great as a fast and chunky gravel smasher, a big day mini mountain bike, a bikepacking rig and many things in between. That said if you're looking for a lightweight and snappy handling all-road bike, this probably isn't it, and you might be better served looking at a Cervélo Áspero or Caledonia.

Santa Cruz Stigmata

As always, feel free to contact us to chat with a customer service agent to figure out what bike works best for you, or head in store to test ride a bike today! 

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