Dark Matter vs. Stigmata

Especially for light weight issues concerning cyclocross / touring bikes & parts.

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jmfreeman535
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by jmfreeman535

I'm looking to get my first gravel bike, and I've narrowed it down to these two: 2019 Argon 18 Dark Matter, with Ultegra and 2018 Santa Cruz Stigmata CC, with GRX 800. They are both priced the same, so that is not a factor.

Does anyone have real-world experenice with one, or both of them? I'm looking for something that feels lively on road/hardpack gravel, but isn't too unruly when the road gets rougher and/or the speed goes up.

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fa63
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by fa63

I have had my Dark Matter for a little over a year now. I like it a lot; the frame is well thought-out and it rides very well both on and off road. I have no problem keeping up with road rides, even on fat slick tires (been riding 700x38c lately, and really like it).

That said, it is definitely not a weight weenie. I have the stock 105 build (size L) with a Redshift Shockstop suspension stem, and it weighs 10kg ready to ride in gravel mode. By my estimates, the frameset weighs near 2 kg. I think the Stigmata may be a little lighter.

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jmfreeman535
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by jmfreeman535

All the main reviews that I've seen do make it seem like the Dark Matter would be perfect for me, but the weight does give me some hesitation...I'm not a hardcore WW, by any means, but I certainly do appreciate the added excitment that a lack of weight can bring. And 10kg is pushing it, ~8.5kg would be ideal.

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fa63
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by fa63

I think you can get to 9 kg with a better selection of parts (lighter wheels, regular stem, lighter groupset, etc.) but 8.5 kg is probably going to be tough without some fancy stuff.

otdilfo
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by otdilfo

No experience here but I think the Stig is a far better looking bike.

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Noctiluxx
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by Noctiluxx

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jmfreeman535
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by jmfreeman535

My heart was set on the Stigmata, but my head told me to look elsewhere...I didn't want to deal with the potential issues from postmount brakes, and the 15mm thru-axle up front (I want to be able to switch wheels between bikes).

I ended up getting an Orbea Terra and converting it to 2x GRX 800. So far, I'm very pleased with it.

joejack951
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by joejack951

jmfreeman535 wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:09 am
and the 15mm thru-axle up front (I want to be able to switch wheels between bikes).
If this is a sticking point for anyone else, I have a kit to solve it.

Js2
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Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 6:55 pm

by Js2

otdilfo wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 11:08 pm
No experience here but I think the Stig is a far better looking bike.
Agreed!
Stigmata is my pick of the two. The green is actually very nice looking in person, a bit bland in photos :noidea:

UpFromOne
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by UpFromOne

jmfreeman535 wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:09 am
My heart was set on the Stigmata, but my head told me to look elsewhere...I didn't want to deal with the potential issues from postmount brakes, and the 15mm thru-axle up front (I want to be able to switch wheels between bikes).
I get the 15mm axle issue - kinda tough to fit a 12mm hub axle.
But what are "potential issues from postmount brakes"?

jmfreeman535
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Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:12 pm

by jmfreeman535

UpFromOne wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:48 am
jmfreeman535 wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:09 am
My heart was set on the Stigmata, but my head told me to look elsewhere...I didn't want to deal with the potential issues from postmount brakes, and the 15mm thru-axle up front (I want to be able to switch wheels between bikes).
I get the 15mm axle issue - kinda tough to fit a 12mm hub axle.
But what are "potential issues from postmount brakes"?
Compatibility issues down the road. I'm sure it would never turn out to be a huge issue, but I wouldn't want to be left missing out on any new developments.

bikesrdangerousmmk
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by bikesrdangerousmmk

New stigmata is 12mm, isn't it?

Haven't really looked, but I enjoy mine.

jmfreeman535
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by jmfreeman535

bikesrdangerousmmk wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:16 am
New stigmata is 12mm, isn't it?

Haven't really looked, but I enjoy mine.
Yes, the new one is (and has flat mount brakes). They updated it for 2019.
The one I was looking at was an 2018...the current model was over my budget.

bikesrdangerousmmk
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by bikesrdangerousmmk

jmfreeman535 wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:21 am
bikesrdangerousmmk wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:16 am
New stigmata is 12mm, isn't it?

Haven't really looked, but I enjoy mine.
Yes, the new one is (and has flat mount brakes). They updated it for 2019.
The one I was looking at was an 2018...the current model was over my budget.
Gotcha. Thought I saw some of the rival-equipped new models for sale in the mid 2ks recently. Can't remember exactly where.

The frame is overbuilt in a good way. The fork is thicker than a bowl of oatmeal.

jmfreeman535
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Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:12 pm

by jmfreeman535

bikesrdangerousmmk wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:33 am
jmfreeman535 wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:21 am
bikesrdangerousmmk wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:16 am
New stigmata is 12mm, isn't it?

Haven't really looked, but I enjoy mine.
Yes, the new one is (and has flat mount brakes). They updated it for 2019.
The one I was looking at was an 2018...the current model was over my budget.
Gotcha. Thought I saw some of the rival-equipped new models for sale in the mid 2ks recently. Can't remember exactly where.

The frame is overbuilt in a good way. The fork is thicker than a bowl of oatmeal.
I definitely would have picked one up for that price, and convert it to GRX...my goal was to get a bike with GRX 2x for $3k(ish). I was able to stick to that budget with the Terra and, in the end, I'm very happy with it.

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