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Since childhood we have known that there are two ways to build something: the half-effort way, and the right way. From deciding to take out the trash rather than leave beer bottles on the sofa, to taking apart and lubing your bike rather than just giving it a quick spray with the hose: this is a lesson we (try to) keep for life. Shimano kept this message close to heart when designing their all new, "super heavy duty" FR/DH group: SAINT. We are here to find out if it worked.
(click on images for full size photo)
Close-up

In designing the Saint group, Shimano decided to go all-out. While some of the design concepts are taken from the upscale XTR line, SAINT has a different type of rider in mind. The cranks, using the Hollowtech II design, are claimed to be twice as stiff as the XTR arms. This is in part due to the use of outboard bearings on the bottom bracket shell.

Saint Crank Close-up

The brakes are one-piece, two piston with 160 or 203 mm rotors, while the hubs have a front 20 mm thru-axle and rear 10 mm thru-axle with cup-and-cone style bearings.

Saint Rotor Close-up

Most unique of all is the rear derailleur. It is a rapid-rise unit that connects directly to the rear axle ? no derailleur hanger, all meant to transfer impact to the stronger axle.

Saint Rear Derailleur Close-up

So what does all this designing translate to? Hopefully, an indestructible group set that is more than a blessing to downhillers and freeriders that are tired of breaking parts.

The first words Shimano throws at us are ?super heavy duty.? And, that is the first thing we see when taking a look at the new rear derailleur, cranks, hubs, disk brakes and rotors that come under the Saint name. While the styling is love-it-or-leave-it, any rider will have to admit they certainly look ?super heavy duty?. Dark, flat grays and blacks. Metal shaping that looks like part of a Nighthawk stealth plane. Styling that would simply look ludicrous bolted to a shiney, thin tubed cross country bike, but seems to fit the part on today?s FR/DH rigs.

As usual, Shimano has created a good quality, well thought out group. Japanese construction, good engineering, and a burly design give results on the trail. Shimano created a combination of effective design and beefy parts that hardcore downhillers and freeriders will enjoy.

The crank arms feel stiff, strong, and heavier than the XTR line ? what an abusive rider is looking for. Shimano included steel inserts for the pedals on the crank arms. The crankset?s outward bearing creates less flex, a stiffer spindle, longer life, and better quality seals, all attributes hardcore riders value.

Saint Cranks and Outboard Bearings Close-up

We used Shimano?s XT levers, which have great ergonomics and a one-finger feel, they matched the Saint calipers well. The braking was solid and consistent with good modulation. Shimano made the calipers adjustable and without spacers, trailside adjustments are possible.

Saint Brake Caliper Close-up

Also, the calipers have an adjustable banjo for optimum cable routing to the levers, and the central locking system for the rotors saves weight.

Saint Brake Caliper Close-up

Unlike sealed hubs you can adjust the cones on the bearings of SAINT. They engage quickly when pedaling, and are built for the rigors of FR or DH racing.

Saint Hub

The rear derailleur is awesome, it shifts smooth and fast. It feels just as smooth as the XTR line but in a beefed up version. For all you old Shimano fans out there, keep in mind this is a rapid rise design derailleur, so shifts will be the opposite of what you?re used to. In our application, we had a 135mm bolt through the axle assembly that stiffened up the rear end considerably. With the bolt through axle, there was less flex and better handling qualities on rough sections.

Saint Rear Derailleur

As we guessed, Shimano has delivered a well-thought out group. Riders looking for better shifting, durability, strength, and longevity will most likely be impressed with what Shimano has to offer in their Saint group. Weight weenies need not apply ? downhillers and freeriders, check it out.

For more information, check out the Official RideSaint Website:
http://www.ridesaint.com/

Reviewed and tested by:

Devlin Koehler
Ryan Condrashoff
Greg Olson
Forrest Arakawa
Chris Carscadden
 

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Yo Paseo El Scream
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275 Posts
ya, i'd have to say thats the one weakness about my saint group. Taking off the rear wheel. You do have to take the deraileur off, and it' s really hard to get back on,especially with a scream, it' sbecause you have to hold the derailer in place, put the axle in, and hold the derailer in the dropouts little nich for it. IT's a 2 person job for me at least. But i have to say thats one of saints weaknesse's. Otherwise i have to agree with that review, i love my saint!
:D
 

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Thanks for the response. yes, you have to remove the rear derailuer to remove the rear wheel. The derailuer is actually the nut to the axle, which leaves the traditional derailuer hanger unused. This is a neat feature because it allows single speed frames to run a derailuer with out a derailuer hanger.
 

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BansheeHucker said:
ya, i'd have to say thats the one weakness about my saint group. Taking off the rear wheel. You do have to take the deraileur off, and it' s really hard to get back on,especially with a scream, it' sbecause you have to hold the derailer in place, put the axle in, and hold the derailer in the dropouts little nich for it. IT's a 2 person job for me at least. But i have to say thats one of saints weaknesse's. Otherwise i have to agree with that review, i love my saint!
:D
i wouldnt consider that a weakness, less broken derailer hangers :D

good review
 

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Yo Paseo El Scream
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275 Posts
ya, but it's just the worse party about it, very vexing
 

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Uhhhhh...
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2,894 Posts
JBsoxB said:
would you take saint cranks over diablous?

i am thinking of buying saint brakes, too.
I'd take Saints. Diablous' ano wear off and looks purple after awhile. Oh, and i just think Saints look cooler and thats all that matters.
 

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Trail rider and racer
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4,691 Posts
Thats a great review, thanks for posting it.

I just wonder if shimano really thought the rear derailleur/axel combo all the way through. I know generally the group is built for DH/FR but no matter what its gotta be a pain removing the rear mech each time you need to get the rear wheel out, particularly on the trails etc.
 

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SamIAm
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2,038 Posts
if there is no derailer hanger then if your derailer gets hit does the derailer take the damage rather than the hanger? that seems that if you do hit it hard instead of bending derailer hanger your gona bend the rear derailer...or am i missing something here?
 

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SamL3227 said:
if there is no derailer hanger then if your derailer gets hit does the derailer take the damage rather than the hanger? that seems that if you do hit it hard instead of bending derailer hanger your gona bend the rear derailer...or am i missing something here?
the derailleur is invincible... :rolleyes:
 
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