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Will's Santa Cruz Stigmata

The #whatweride series takes a look into the bikes, components and accessories that are used by Stif staff members, team riders and close affiliates.

We’re all keen riders and regardless of whether it’s racing, shredding laps for fun, heading out on big epic adventures, or pre-work power hours, we are constantly on the search for the optimum set up and performance from the best bikes, components and accessories.

Every product on our both our physical and digital shelves is meticulously handpicked for a reason. We only stock products we fully believe in and ultimately use ourselves on the trails. The #whatwerideseries is to show these products in application and explain why


Wills, Stif Mountain Bikes Mechanic

Who's Will?

In between sipping obscure gin concoctions and reading elaborately titled books, Will twists wrenches at our northern Summerbridge store, and it’s the fixing, building and tuning of bikes that he’s pretty bloody good at! When it comes to riding bikes his discipline of choice is hard to pinpoint and tends to vary from one day to the next. But one thing’s for sure, the bike is always dialled with some kind of killer customisation.

The Bike

Wills Santa Cruz Stigmata Gravel Bike Stif MTB

So, what happens when a mountain biker develops a keen interest in gravel? 99.9% of the time we reckon it’d end up looking something like Will's Santa Cruz Stigmata!

Will's Stigmata started life as a stock GRX bike, but over time it has received a variety of spec and set up changes which tailor it to the gnarlier side of gravel, yet still allow for an efficient 40km on-road round trip to work and back.

Keep scrolling down to check out the key areas of this sick Stigmata. It’s bad to the bone!

Santa Cruz Stigmata - Willem Stif MTB

Will is a shade under 5ft9 and as such has chosen the 54cm frameset size, he is close to the top end of this frame size but prefers an ‘aggressively comfortable’ fit (his words!).

Different frame sizes get different fork offsets throughout the Stigmata range to prevent any potential toe overlap issues. The smaller frame sizes get a longer 50mm fork offset, whereas the bigger (56cm and up) get a 45mm fork offset. Along with solving any toe overlap problems this also keeps handling characteristics consistent throughout the size range.

Technical gravel riding requires tactful component choice to tackle big terrain – a full length dropper post is one of the biggest confidence boosters around! Being able to get the seat fully out the way means you can get lower and ride the bike more dynamically on steep and technical terrain. The Stigmata is versatile, and with a dropper post it gives the option to veer off the fire road and into the technical singletrack.

Will's dropper post of choice is a KS Lev Integra carbon with 150mm of drop – he can fully deck his saddle! This bike is fully ready for internally routed droppers. Yes, there is some weight compromise, but we think this is far outweighed by the huge confidence bolster!

KS Lev Integra Dropper Post Santa Cruz Stigmata
Santa Cruz Stigmata - Dropper post lever drop bars

One of the smartest modifications to Will's Stig is the integration of the dropper post lever into the curve of the drop bar. The means the saddle height can be adjusted without having to alter hand position - It works both in the hoods and drops too!

The lever comes from KS with their KG drop bar specific remote, it’s a product we keep in stock ready to ship or install.

Sram GRX 1x

Originally shipped with a 2x Shimano GRX set up but then switched to 1x system to shed a few grams and gain some simplicity. The 11-42 cassette and 42T chain ring combo offers a usable range for everything from steep off road inclines to faster tarmac straights.

Burgtec Crank bolt

Additional swank – the Burgtec Shimano crank bolt looks sick and its certainly an upgrade over the standard cap!

700c DTswiss wheels keep things rolling here, again keeping things versatile for fast on and off-road riding.

The Stigmata can also take 650b wheels with more off-road specific 2.1’’ wide tyres. This transforms the bike into full rallycat mode and encourages riding you probably shouldn’t be doing on a drop bar bike, but this is why we think it’s so hella fun!

If you’re unsure on which set up is best for you then make sure to give us a shout!

DT Swiss Hubs
Panaracer Gravel Tyres

Selecting tyres that perform on dirt and tarmac needs careful consideration, the ideal option needs to roll fast, grip well, and offer enough protection so it doesn’t tear as soon as you head off road. There are tons of options on the market, but which does Will think fit the bill best?

Well, it’s the Panracer GravelKing in the light-green tan-wall guise that are the current choice here. Beyond the rad aesthetic Will feels these offer stellar rolling speed with just enough side knob traction for cranking it over on testing singletrack. As with everything they’re set up tubeless using Stans sealant.

Stigmata Axle

The latest Stigmata, now on version 3, is running 12mm axles front and rear along with flat mount brakes. These standards mean you can mould the Stig to do whatever the heck you want it to do!

It goes without saying that disc brakes are a total game changer for every bike ever. Shimano GRX callipers with finned Ice Tech rotors are keeping the speeds tamed here.

Santa Cruz Stigmata

Will is only using 1 of the 3 available bottle cage mounts at the moment but will be loading the others up when longer jaunts and overnight missions return.

Wills Santa Cruz Stigmata Gravel Bike Stif MTB

Will has a packed summer ahead with a series of pre-planned events and a list of sporadic trips out he wants to tick off – we’ll keep you posted as things materialise throughout the year.

Interested in a Stigmata or unsure if it is the best bike option for you? Give us a shout the phone at either of our stores, or drop an email to Sales@stifmtb.com or to any of our inhouse experts on the Santa Cruz Stigmata web page.

We’ve got a huge variety of bikes in the pipeline so make sure to tune back in for more additions of the #whatweride series.!

Every product on our both our physical and digital shelves is meticulously handpicked for a reason. We only stock products we fully believe in and ultimately use ourselves on the trails. The #whatwerideseries is to show these products in application and explain why.