Shimano's Gravity specific groupset, Saint, Receives Significant Updates.
As the first component manufacturer to develop a gravity specific component group, Shimano has continued to improve on the DH components. For 2013, Saint sees some significant updates along with a new, more budget friendly gravity group, Zee.
For nearly a decade, Saint has been a staple in the DH race and gravity scene. Its design is specific to the specific abuse taken day in and day out on a downhill bike. It has seen very little change over its lifespan and for 2013 Shimano make some pretty slick improvements. Developed extensively with the help of Aaron Gwin and Gee Atherton, feedback from these two top riders proved as invaluable input that was critical to improving SAINTs performance on the race course.
Designed around the simple 1x10 system, the new Saint also sees an inclusion of a Shadow+ rear mech, following the success of the XTR Shadow+ rear derailleur. The derailleur features clutch stabiliser that counteracts the forces of up and down chain movement through rough terrain.
Shimano also added a bump stop in the derailleur to futher reduce noise. This design will result in a much quieter and more efficient drivetrain even through the roughest terrain. The mechanism can be switched between a downhill cassette ratio (11-28) or "freeride" (11-32).
A new brake design further improves on the already insanely powerful design with simplified one way bleeding and an updated lever design. To keep braking power consistent Shimano also adds a new RT99 Saint Ice Tech rotor which reduces heat build up by a claimed 50% while also reducing brake fade by up to 20% over standard Ice Tech rotors.
Borrowing heavily from Saints gravity prowess, a more budget oriented group emerges for riders looking to keep costs down without sacrificing quality and durability. Zee features many of the important features of the higher end Saint like a Shadow Plus rear derailleur, Four-piston brakes, and a gravity oriented 10-speed shifter. Specs from Shimano can be found below along with detailed photos of the group.
Zee Shadow Plus RD – The Zee RD-M640 features Shadow Plus technology proven to reduce chain slap, drop and impact noise and the 10-speed short cage RD’s low profile tucks safely below the cassette cogs. With two spec options that enable a typical MTB cassette (11-32,11-34,11-36) or a close ratio road cassette (11-23,11-25,11-28), Zee is ready to handle the needs of enduro and DH racers. 10-speed also offers complete compatibility with Dyna-Sys MTB product and Shimano’s latest chain and cassette technology.
New gravity 10-speed shifter – The new Zee shifter uses Dyna-Sys compatible cable stroke, which means linear shift effort, easy set-up and accurate, stable gear changes. All new paddle shapes with 2-Way release and dimpled main lever allow riders to be more in control and perfectly engaged.
Powerful 4-piston Disc Brakes with ICE Tech – New Zee hydraulic disc brake systems are gravity rated with a Servo-Wave brake lever and new 4-piston ceramic disc brake caliper. System stiffness is tuned using Shimano’s high-power hose and shorter lever blade while ergonomics are perfected with a new pivot location and dimpled surface. ICE Tech brake pad and rotor options reduce heat in the system and maintain performance on the longest descents.
Durable, reinforced crank set – The thick wall aluminum construction on the Zee two-piece cranks and reinforced steel axle translate to additional confidence on the trail. With an axle 30% stronger than comparable trail cranks and smooth running, accurately aligned chain wheels, the Zee crank will perform reliably – run after run. The crank arm features outboard bearings and steel pedal inserts. Options include single ring 34T/36T/38T; FC-M640 68/73mm BB and FC-M645 83mm BB. Pressfit compatible.
New durable and reliable hubsets – Quick engaging, smooth running hubs are a big advantage on the mountain. The new Zee hubs include quality sealing, adjustable angular contact bearings, and rotate on extra stiff, one piece rear axles with integrated cone construction. Zee hubs are ready for any modern gravity bike with 20mm axles up front and 12mm axles in 135, 142 and 150mm configurations.