Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Want it Wednesday: Santa Cruz Stigmata

This week’s Want it Wednesday is the Stigmata, a cyclocross frame Santa Cruz quietly introduced in 2009 then quietly discontinued at the end of 2010, making it about as rare to spot on the road as a yeti (the ape-like cryptid that inhabits the Himalayas, not the ARC-X cyclocross bike). The Stigmata doesn’t look special on paper, an aluminum frame with normal cyclocross geometry, but it is so gosh darn cool that it got me to sell my Kona Major One so I could buy one. Well, that and I decided I wanted gears. I used the single speed Kona on a trainer during the winter and it wasn’t ideal for following any type of structured workout. Plus Sue is now faster than me and I figured I needed 19 more gears to keep up, or a tandem.

I've wanted a Yeti for a while (the ARC-X cyclocross bike, not the ape-like cryptid that inhabits the Himalayas). I bid on a few on ebay over the years but they always went for more than I am willing to spend on a bicycle. An ARC-X showed up on the MMBA classifieds recently, the very same month I didn’t bother to look. Part of my attraction to an ARC-X was because Yeti is a mountain bike company that decided to offer a cross frame, and I am a mountain biker who decided he wanted a cross bike. A pure road bike isn’t right for me because even on road rides I tend to gravitate towards dirt roads. And I have a fantasy of racing cyclocross; road racing is out of the question. 

Like Yeti, Santa Cruz is a mountain bike company that decided to sell a cross frame but a Stigmata lays more towards the road bike end of the spectrum than an ARC-X. Since I will be primarily using a cyclocross bike on the road, this appealed to me. A 54 cm Stigmata frame only weighs 2.85 lbs which is close to what a road frame weighs; 9 ounces lighter than a 54 cm Yeti. I am less of an irrational weight weenie now than I use to be but 9 ounces is nothing to sneeze at. Hum, apparently I am still an irrational weight weenie. Maybe I just have an irrational obsession with bicycles. I’m getting off point. The Stigmata has a lower, more road bike-like bottom bracket than an ARC-X. I imagine the Santa Cruz’s Easton EA6X butted and tapered aluminum would give a more forgiving ride on the road than the Yeti’s Pure Tube Set, but this is only a hunch.

Another emotional reason why I chose the Stigmata is because it was made in America and, while some Yeti’s are still made in the States, the ARC-X is made in Taiwan. Look, I have nothing but admiration for the manufacturing capability around the Pacific Rim and I know frames made in Asia are every bit as good as the ones made here. I love my carbon fiber Tomac and it doesn’t bother me it was made in China. I understand how antiquated the “buy American” mentality is but still, I was sad to see Cannondale, Slingshot, and, well, basically every major American bicycle company ship their manufacturing overseas. I liked Nuke Proof and appreciated their decision to keep building frames in Ada Michigan right until that decision put them out of business, RIP. The fact that I even considered where my frame was made wasn’t rational. Buying a bicycle is emotional.


  1. I've seen both these frames and it would be a tough call. Yeti frames just ride so well as do Santa Cruz bikes. The weight difference is nothing really, but id slide more towards the Yeti. But that's just me!
    I know where you are coming from with getting something home made but its just getting harder to do. Shame.

  2. Actually I didn't realize Santa Cruz made a cross frame. I was looking for a Yeti when I found the Stigmata. I would have been real happy with either one, it's just Yetis are pretty expensive.