After a protracted absence from the road market, Santa Cruz has returned with the second coming of the Stigmata. This time, the model has been redesigned from the ground up from the company’s favorite space age material.

They’ve also dropped a completely refreshed Highball 29er and a 27.5 version into the mix as well.

Head past the break to learn all about the new models…


According to Santa Cruz Product Manager Josh Kissner, the new Stigmata was designed to “crush cyclocross races and strike out on long dirt road crusades.”

They’ve built this versatility into the frame by supporting larger 160mm brake rotors for prolonged descents, a (company first) Pressfit BB for better drivetrain compatibility, and 41mm tire clearance.

True to the company’s off road pedigree, the frame also sports a 15mm thru axle front end and a 142×12 rear end.


While anyone who wrenches on bikes is generally apprehensive regarding internal cable routing, Santa Cruz has consistently created bikes that are easy to work on. The Nomad proved the company could do hassle free internal routing, and the Stigmata has taken that concept one step further.

This frame has internally molded carbon tubes laid into the one piece mold for easy routing of all cables and is said to be Shimano Di2 compatible.


The Stigmata will be available in two different colors, five sizes, three build kits, and as a frame only. Prices start at $3,699 for a complete.


The CC carbon frameset will retail for $2,299 and includes a Stigmata CC carbon fork, axles and headset.

For those who don’t recall, SCB now sells two flavors of carbon. The CC (mo’ C’s, mo’ better) which denotes the lighter, pricier models, while the C frames are marginally heavier, but tested to the same exacting standards. You can learn more about the differences from our in depth article last year.

2015 Santa Cruz Stigmata Geometry

Frames will be available in 52, 54, 56, 58, and 60mm sizes as soon as the West Coast port disputes abate.



The new Highball also also been re-engineered from scratch, and features an updated geometry, and the same sleek internal routing as it’s 700cc cousin.


The new 29″ model has chainstays that are 10mm shorter than the previous generation and a TT that is nearly half an inch longer (you all have my sincerest apologies for switching units mid sentence). The company has also moved from a 30.9mm diameter post to a 27.2, and tuned their carbon for maximum compliance. That’s good, because the original carbon Highball was among the stiffer, racier frame’s we’d ridden.


The XC Race Hardtail also received a new fraternal sibling in the form of a 27.5″ version. This version features a more relaxed headtube angle and shorter stays, although it shares the same TT lengths as the bigger wheeled variation.

2015 27.5 and 29 Santa Cruz Higball Sizing Chart

The company will offer the 27.5 model in sizes S-XL, and the 29er version in M through (a real) XXL.


Complete Highballs start at $2,799, and CC carbon framesets begin at $1,899. An aluminum version of the frame is also available (frame retails for $750, with completes starting at $1,700), but it has not been updated with the internal trickery.

2015 Highball 27.5 and 29 Geometry

You can further geek out over the differences between the new models via the geometry chart.

And for making it this far, here’s the incredible launch video for the Stigmata, which was filmed in Yorkshire, England, during the middle of a nasty mid-winter storm.

UPDATE #1: The original story incorrectly stated that the new Highballs featured a pressfit BB and a in-house 27.2 seatpost. Edited Feb 17, 8:11 AM PST.

UPDATE #2: Claimed weights for the bikes are:

CC carbon size 56cm matte black w/ Red Enve: 16.35 lbs / 7.42 kg
CC carbon size 56cm matte black frame only: 2.23 lbs / 1013 g
CC carbon fork matte black: 0.93 lbs 424 g

Highball 29
CC carbon size M matte black w/XX1 Enve: 19.5 lbs / 8.84 kg
CC carbon size M matte black frame only: 2.63 lbs / 1193 g (for reference, the C carbon frame weighs 3.02 lbs / 1370 g)

Highball 27.5
CC carbon size M matte black w/XX1 Enve: 19.27lbs / 8.74 kg
CC carbon size M matte black frame only: 2.58 lbs / 1172 g



  1. “Complete Highballs start at $2,799, and CC carbon framesets begin at $1,899. An aluminum version of the frame is also available (frame retails for $750, with completes starting at $1,700), but it has not been updated with the internal trickery and press fit BB.” – You make it sound like the new Highball might have a press fit. Their website and email this morning shows it having a threaded BB

    matt – from their email about the new Highball “What we didn’t do was get rid of the threaded bottom bracket because that’s what God intended for Mountain bikes. You’re welcome” So it sounds like they are sticking with threaded BBs on their mountain bikes.

    They also commented on Facebook that the only reason they went with press fit on the Stigmata was because of compatibility with more road cranksets.

  2. Now that bikeradar has proven 27.5 to be slowest of all the wheel sizes, how long will it be until bike manufacturers like Santa Cruz start fazing them out? Santa Cruz really jumped on the 650b marketing train a couple of years ago. 27.5 seems to exhibit the worst characteristics of 26 and 29, and is not the holy grail that the industry was shoving down our throats. Why can’t we just go back to 26 for downhill and freeride, and 29 for xc/trail?

  3. The stigmata/highball refresh is the big news? I suspect there is more…….I believe they were just in SA and Mr. Kemp was crushing it on something new looking. This looks like an opening barrage..

  4. Kind of surprised they didn’t make the HB SS compatible as Michael above mentions. It only make sense since Pivot provides that capability with the LES 29…

    I also found this comment funny: “…and created their own custom tuned carbon post for maximum compliance.” So compliant it’s not spec’d on any 27.5 or 29 HB and all web and press pics show the higher end builds with the Syntace P6 post – arguably the most compliant carbon post.

  5. @Chsad They usually announce new bikes on April first, expect to hear something then.

    sigh… the 27.2 seatpost needs to die. poor dropper compatibility. Don’t take choice away from your customers.

    Honestly, as much as we all hate new standards, I’d like to see a seatpost size bigger than 31.6 become common, so that dropper stanchions can at least hit 32mm.

  6. @Michael and FunkyMonkey, DirtRag’s coverage includes pictures of the aluminum 29″ Highball which still has swinging dropouts for SS capability.

  7. argh… they should have made the hardball ‘fun.’ There are a million carbon xc 29er frames like this already. dropper compatibility, iscg tabs, slack, long, low, carbon, and short chain stay. Would have sold like hotcakes. sad

  8. “Now that bikeradar has proven 27.5 to be slowest of all the wheel sizes, how long will it be until bike manufacturers like Santa Cruz start fazing them out”

    Is this true and why would it be? It makes no mechanical sense that the 27.5 wouldn’t be between 26 and 29 in any comparison. The idea of a speed curve with a minimum at 27.5 seems absurd. Now whether we really need three different wheel sizes is another question.

  9. @groghunter The highball is an xc hardtail, not a trail bike. Are you also surprised that they didn’t design the stigmata to carry panniers?

  10. @Sam droppers are for everyone, not just trail/AM, XC riders are adopting them as well(I suspect you’ll even start seeing them on WC XC bikes this year.) Just because some riders who buy this won’t want them, doesn’t mean you should make it harder for those that do. We’re talking about 3mm of diameter, that has a tiny affect on weight. Seriously, what was gained by making it 27.2?

    Again, don’t take choices away from your customers.

    & now that you bring it up, quite a few people who are interested in gravel grinders are interested in commuting or bikepacking with them, so yes, there should be a provision for mounting paniers on the Stigmata.

  11. I gotta say I very disappointed to see that they neglected to put the SS Dropouts on the carbon frame. Been loving the original HB Al as a SS, but would really love the carbon frame.

    Don’t really care about internal routing…I have never really thought about how external cable routing looks.

  12. Hi All,

    Santa Cruz doesn’t out press releases until the midnight hour and I made two factual errors due to being sleep deprived at the keys.

    These new highball frames actually have a threaded BB and the company has not created their own seatposts – just CX forks.

    My apologies!

    – Sincerely,

  13. Way to go Santa Cruz for keeping the XXL Highball C alive! Thanks for giving us freaks something cool to ride. I have a 2012 and I really dig it, nice to know I’ll have something to upgrade to in the future.

  14. @mateo I’d maybe believe that on a skinny tire bike. A carbon bike with 2+” tires? I’m skeptical that any compliance gained from a small decrease in seatpost diameter even exists, but if it does, I’m confident you could achieve a similar(miniscule) amount of compliance by altering carbon layup.

    Even then, if i was that dead set on adding some compliance, I’d look at options in making a more compliant 30.9 or 31.6 seatpost over using 27.2. It’s not exactly a secret in the industry that mainstream dropper adoption is incoming fast, & the options for 27.2 droppers are woeful.

  15. Fail on the 28.3 inch standover on the size Small 27.5 wheel Highball. Nice short chainstays though, oh well.

    Many Small and XS 29ers are in the 27 inch range these days Santa Cruz! No love for the shorties? Otherwise the bikes look great.

  16. Bring a bit more of an endurance geometry to the Stigmata (lower that BB a tad, slack the angles slightly) but leave the clearance, thru axles, and slick internal cable routing and they’d have a perfect gravel bike. I’d buy one in black or gray in a heartbeat. Oh, and lose that Pressfit BB.

  17. @John – with a drop of 69mm, any more and you’d be firmly in road territory. It’s actually the only thing (on paper) that’s got me thinking twice about the Stigmata’s viability as a CX race bike (and it’s a little niggle at that – otherwise it looks fantastic).

  18. The difference in comfort between 27.2 and 31.6 mm seatposts is quite significant. Personally I absolutely prefer the 27.2 mm diameter. With carbon seatposts the difference isn’t as big as with aluminum, but still absolutely noticeable. The designers had to choose between more comfort for the majority of riders or better dropper compatibility for a small fraction of the riders. It’s not about weight. I think their choice makes sense on an XC bike.

  19. @fourthandvine: I missed your response until now. I was just pointing out that, while CX geometry is fine for the occasional gravel ride, its lousy for gravel century+ rides.

    Still, I’m liking how many boxes the Stigmata checks off. Far better than, say, the bespoke (no pun intended) SCS hubs on the Diverge.

  20. @John – re:checkboxes, for sure! I’ve got all my parts already (Ultegra Di2+Hydro, Thomson cockpit, custom wheels) and I’d previous narrowed my choices to a Niner BSB9 or a Raleigh RXC frame set, but this has thrown a wrench in the works.

    I’m convinced if I look at pictures and geometry tables for long enough it’ll just come to me. 🙂

  21. @fourthandvine: It’s about an all-day gravel ride not a one-hour mud race.

    CX bikes have horizontal top tubes with top mounted cables to shoulder the bike, high bottom brackets for barrier jumping, aggressive geometries, clearance for 33mm tires max (UCI rules), QRs and a penchant for cantis. None of those are on my checklist.

    Disc brake road bikes have better BB height but shorter wheelbases, QRs and clearance for 28mm tires (at best).

    I’m looking for hydro disc brakes, internal cables, thru axles, clearance for 40cc+ tires and an endurance geometry with more than a little compliance.

    Thankfully, the guys at Salsa seem to get it: bikeradar.com/us/road/news/article/revamped-salsa-cycles-warbird-first-look-43682/

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