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Shimano Saint: Components for a World Cup Champion

Shimano unveiled two new gravity-oriented groupos at Sea Otter, a completely revamped version of the existing Saint components and a new, budget-minded groupset called Zee. The overhauled Saint group was apparently developed in conjunction with Aaron Gwin, and Shimano enlisted Anthill Films for the above video of the American World Cup champ beating the bejeezus out of the stuff. Apparently, if it's good enough for Gwin, it's good enough for the rest of us.

Both groups see lots of new developments, but the most notable changes are twofold. Rear derailleurs get 10 speeds and now move to Shimano's Shadow design to reduce chainslap and vibration, and the Saint version includes a urethane bumper between the derailleur and dropout for even less banging on rubbly descents. The other big changes are to the braking systems, which expand the ICE Technology that Shimano pioneered in its XTR and XT groupos. Both groups get finned brake pads to help cool the system and avoid brake fade on long descents, and Saint pushes the idea even further with finned rotors as well, which Shimano says decrease heat by 50 degrees and increase stopping power by 20 percent. Saint also includes self-insulating ceramic pistons and three-layer rotor construction similar to the cross country groups.

Parts are sold separately, but a Saint groupo will cost $1,530 (including shifters, rear derailleur, brakes, crank, and rotors); Zee groupsets will cost $820 (including shifters, rear derailleur, brakes, and crank). Saint and Zee will begin shipping in July.

Shimano 2012 Saint Groupset

--Aaron Gulley

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