Let’s go back… back to February and the Rock Room in a hotel near the NEC. Shimano’s New Product Presentation showed us the new Di2 Alfine group, plus 2013 Shimano SLX. There were also a couple of other things there that we couldn’t talk about. Until today…
If you look around Shimano’s impressive list of groupsets, you’ll often see whose turn it must be to be upgraded next and, yes, this time is the turn of Shimano’s top flight downhill groupset, Saint. Saint has been successfully winning races for years now, but it wasn’t always the lightest, and other advances in braking and shifting have made it lag a little behind. But no longer!
Saint has been completely redesigned, with every bit of it looked at to make it more stiff, lighter, easier to use or just more racy. Let’s look at some highlights:
Saint Brakes £194.99 an end. Rotors are £39-£49
Since Saint was launched, XTR came out with its teeny tiny one finger brake levers, IceTech rotors, finned brake pads and easier bleeding. Even SLX now has IceTech rotors! So Saint has caught them up and overtaken them. It now has a small, neat brake lever with an in-line reservoir, split clamp and all the power you might need.
The most noticeable bit is the new Saint IceTech rotors. Shimano’s IceTech rotors feature an aluminium core inside a steel sandwich. The aluminium helps pull the heat away from the brake pads, keeping the rotor up to 100°C cooler. The Saint rotors take this one step further by having the aluminium core extend into a finned cooling disc. This is claimed to further reduce temperatures by 50°C. Plus it looks cool.
Saint Chainset £239.99
The Saint chainset benefits from Hollowtech technology for lighter weight, though it still has steel pedal inserts for strength. The single-ring-only chainset will come in 34/36 and 38T sizes. Chainset will come in 165, 170 and 175mm lengths. There’ll be bottom brackets for all common BB sizes, including press-fit BBs.
Saint Pedals £59.99
The Saint groupset also gets its own pedal, no longer relying on the venerable DX. The new Saint pedal features a concave shape, all of the Shimano bearing knowhow and replaceable pins.
Saint Rear Derailleur £139.99
Rear Shifter £59.99
As you might have guessed, Saint gains the new Shadow Plus clutch system, to keep the chain under control. Engaging the switch on the knuckle dials in a one-way clutch to keep the derailleur constantly pulling back while resisting forward motion (and chain bounce). It also has huge, wide plates to keep the mech stiff and solidly shifting. The Saint mech can be run in two different modes too – either for a regular wide-range cassette, or configured to work with a more straight-through, racing block.
There’s only a rear shifter, but it’s not escaped the redesign. The shifting is now much easier on the thumb, with a consistent lever force needed across the whole block. The levers have been made longer too, for easy reach in the rough stuff. It’ll come in a regular clamp, or in ‘I-spec’ where you can bolt it to the brake lever and save on clamps, weight and space.
Prototype Saint Components.
Despite the lovely graphics that Shimano always presents, it’s always good to see some of the rough prototypes on show too. Here’s Gee Atherton’s bike, complete with very scruffy development components.
And finally, some proper pictures that weren’t taken by a journalist right after lunch…
Posted on: April 19, 2012