2013 Shimano Saint complete gravity DH mountain bike group

Shimano has unveiled two entirely new gravity mountain bike groups – A completely revamped Saint and the all-new Zee.

We’ve been expecting Saint, and even seen a few items on pro bikes early this season, but Zee introduces a full featured downhill/freeride group for aggressive riders on a budget. It’s 10 speeds and includes ICE Tech and Shadow Plus. Shimano calls it a gateway group to get people on their program, and from all appearances it should be plenty for all but the most hardcore gravity junkies.

The new Saint group gets the expected ICE Tech and Shadow Plus updates, all-new cranks and more. Drop in for all the specs and pics…

2013 Shimano Zee mountain bike group


“For our gravity components, Saint was the only choice, and it’s been a top level group,” said Eric Doyne, one of Shimano’s PR managers. “But we wanted to make Shimano more available to those just getting into gravity riding or on a tight budget.”

2013 Shimano Zee mountain bike group

The Zee RD-M640 features Shadow Plus technology. If you’re unfamiliar, the “Shadow” part is the low profile design that tucks the cage in close to the cassette and wheel to reduce the likelihood of a rock or root ripping it off. The “Plus” part is the clutch mechanism that adds tension to the chain to reduce chain slap, drop and impact noise. Like the new Saint, it’s 10 speed and designed to work with Dyna-Sys shifters. It has two spec options that let it fit wider range MTB cassettes (11-32,11-34,11-36) or a close ratio road cassette (11-23,11-25,11-28). This is done to expand the group’s reach to aggressive trail- and freeriders, not just DH shuttlers. Weight is 250g (all weights listed here are Shimano’s claims).

2013 Shimano Zee mountain bike group

The Zee shifter uses Dyna-Sys cable stroke, which means linear shift effort across the range of the cassette. They get new paddle shapes with their standard 2-Way release and dimpled main lever. Because the group is 1×10, there’s only a right shifter offered…and it’s compatible with the new Saint below, meaning you could add that derailleur to an otherwise full Zee group.

2013 Shimano Zee mountain bike group

Like any good gravity brake these days, the new Zee hydraulic caliper is a dual diameter four-piston design with ceramic pistons. Front system weight is 311g for the lever, hose and caliper with resin pads. Not sure of piston diameters, we’re looking into it, but they get a wider ICE Tech pads than what you’ll find on the XT and XTR calipers.

2013 Shimano Zee mountain bike group

The Servo-Wave brake lever has a new pivot location and dimpled surface for solid power and ergonomics, and it’s attached to the caliper with Shimano’s high-power hose. Not shown, they come with finned ICE Tech brake pads. There’s no Zee specific brake rotor, so it can use any rotor. To take advantage of the ICE Tech, though, Shimano’s recommending their XT ICE Tech rotor that’s available in both 6-bolt and Centerlock, or you could go big with the crazy new Saint rotors below.

2013 Shimano Zee mountain bike group

The crankset has thick wall, two-piece aluminum construction with a reinforced steel axle. Shimano says the axle is 30% stronger than comparable trail cranks. They come with outboard bearing bottom brackets but are compatible with Pressfit BB’s, too. Steel pedal inserts help keep your pedals from ripping out. They’re single ring only with 34T/36T/38T options, and axles offered are 68/73mm (FC-M640) and 83mm BB (FC-M645). Weights are 906 to 938g depending on axle size.

2013 Shimano Zee mountain bike group

The new Zee hubs are well sealed and like all Shimano’s hubs use adjustable angular contact bearings. The rear hub is built around a one-piece axles with integrated cone construction. They’re offered with 20mm axles up front and 12mm axles in 135, 142 and 150mm configurations out back. Weights are 228g front and range from 350g to 363g for the rear.

Both groups should be available in June.


2013 Shimano Saint DH mountain bike group

Saint remains Shimano’s premiere downhill group, and the changes here push their ICE Tech brakes and Shadow Plus rear mech further than ever. It also moves from nine to 10 speeds, which opens the door to their Dyna-Sys shifting.

New Saint Hollowtech II cranks are hollow forged Duraluminum with an axle that claims to be 250% stronger than “trail” cranksets. It has a steel pedal insert to improve durability and custom aluminum hardware to hold a single chainring only. Options include 34T, 36T & 38T and two axle/BB standards: FC-M820 (68/73mm BB) and FC-M825 (83mm BB). Both offer Pressfit BB compatibility with chainlines varying from 50mm to 58mm depending on whether you’re using a standard Pressfit BB or a DH Pressfit. Weight is 919g for the M820, down from 1059g for the last version – 140g savings! The M825 adds a few grams thanks to the longer spindle (931g).

2013 Shimano Saint DH mountain bike group

The new Saint rear derailleur (RD-M820) takes Shadow Plus one step further. In addition to the clutch mechanism to delete chainslap and growth, it adds a Saint-specific high durometer urethane bump stopper between the RD and the dropout to reduce impact noise. Now 10- speed, it has a wide link that serves as the backbone of the DH parallelogram and we’re betting it’s ready for their new Direct Mount standard. If you’re not using it for DH, a mode converter switches between two settings for wide ratio MTB gearing (11-32, 11-34, 11-36) and close ratio road (11-23, 11-25, 11-28, which are sometimes used for DH, of course). Weight is 280g, which adds 40g thanks to the new Plus tech.

2013 Shimano Saint DH mountain bike group

The new Saint disc brake takes Shimano ICE Technology layered rotor construction and adds a finned inner ring to improve air cooling. The new SM-RT99 Ultimate Clad rotor is, according to Shimano, “a significant performance enhancement reducing heat by 50 degrees (over their standard ICE Tech rotor), creating 20% more stopping power, eliminating brake fade and increasing pad life.”  It’s available in 203mm and Centerlock only. Weight is 173g, which is 21g lighter than the last 203mm rotor – impressive given the added fins, but likely comes from the sandwiched aluminum center section inside the rotor.

2013 Shimano Saint ICE Tech brake caliper

In addition to finned brake pads, the new calipers get self insulating ceramic pistons and a new 30mm aluminum banjo fitting. The fins help move heat off the pads into the air, and the longer banjo fitting helps dissipate more heat right where oil transitions from hose to caliper.

2013 Shimano Saint DH mountain bike group

The lever is very streamlined and has tool-free reach adjust and tooled stroke adjust. Weight is 302g for the rear brake lever, hose and caliper, which is about 27g lighter than before.

2013 Shimano Saint DH mountain bike group

The new Saint shifter gets longer levers (+5mm versus Zee), textured paddles and low friction ball bearings to reduce shifting effort up to 37%. Shimano’s shifting is already very light, these changes should make it super smooth. Like their other modern shifters, these include instant release, multi release and 2-Way release. The latter means you can drop it to a harder gear by pushing or pulling that lever in either direction. Pulling it back will produce a single shift, pushing it forward can shift up to two gears at once. Weight is 123g, only 2g heavier than the prior generation. The I-Spec version (right) is 114g.

2013 Shimano Saint DH mountain bike group

New Saint hubsets – New Saint hubs are lighter and easier to adjust. All weather rated with top quality sealing, adjustable angular contact bearings, and precision ground, integrated cone construction, these hubs track straight and roll true. Centerlock mounting for alignment and braking efficiency, Saint hubs are available with 20mm axles up front and 12mm axles in 135, 142 and 150mm configurations. The front hub is 216g (down from 235g) and the 12×135 rear hub is 333g (down from 355g) and goes up a bit for the other two options.

2013 Shimano Saint DH mountain bike group

New wider (+3mm), lower profile (-8.5mm) Saint flat pedals replace the MX30 and come with an easy replacement pin system. They retain the same axle and concave ergonomic platform as before.


ISLM640RAP – $49.99
IRDM640SSC – $109.99
IRDM640SSW – $109.99
IBLM640L – $59.99
IBLM640R – $59.99
IBRM640MPRX – $169.99
IM6401LFPNA100 – $249.99
IM6401RRXNA170 – $249.99
EFCM640AA6X – $159.99
EFCM640CA6X – $159.99
EFCM640EA6X – $159.99
EFCM645AA6X – $159.99
EFCM645CA6X – $159.99
EFCM645EA6X – $159.99
EHBM640E – $69.99
EFHM640EZA – $89.99
EFHM640EZB – $89.99
EFHM645E50B – $89.99
EFHM648EB – $89.99

ISLM820IRAP – $99.99
ISLM820RAP – $99.99
IBLM820L – $99.99
IBLM820R – $99.99
IRDM820SS1 – $219.99
IBRM820MPMF – $159.99
IM8201LFPNA100 – $319.99
IM8201RRXNA170 – $319.99
IFCM820AA6X – $439.99
IFCM820CA6X – $439.99
IFCM820EA6X – $439.99
IFCM825AA6X – $459.99
IFCM825CA6X – $459.99
ISMCR82A4 – $149.99
ISMCR82A6 – $149.99
ISMCR82A8 – $149.99
EHBM820E – $129.99
EFHM820EZA – $209.99
EFHM820EZB – $209.99
EFHM825E50B – $209.99
EFHM828EB – $209.99
EPDMX80 – $119.99
ISMRT99L – $129.99

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10 years ago

heavy drool

10 years ago

Sounds like the perfect rotor for long descents on road bikes, eh?

10 years ago

Low blow Androo, low blow…

10 years ago

Zee? Santé anyone?

10 years ago

Want. I can be free of my Avid brakes now.

10 years ago

@Androo – I doubt most roadies would want a 203mm rotor. This new offering is only available in one size.

10 years ago

Finally a short cage derailleur that isn’t a ~$200 Saint unit. I know that the lack of a reasonable short cage option has kept plenty of riders on SRAM.