2009 Shimano Product Launch event 21st July 2008, courtesy of Shimano Singapore


At the recent Shimano Press Release, two new product groups, Saint and Dura-Ace were launched for 2009, along with other new product launches.

With cycling being taken to more extreme heights in Downhill, Freeride and All Mountain trails, Shimano came to realise that it was not enough to just stick with XTR and XT but a whole new groupset needed to be designed to meet the new demands of this group.

Fast-forward a few years later and the Saint 2009 Groupset has evolved into a beefier, sexier body while shedding weight to boot. The core philosophies of Saint at Shimano is to be “Light & Rigid”, “Durable & Reliable” and “Min-effort, Max-Power” but an unconscious one apparently is also to be as good-looking as possible with the obvious addition of gold to its components and new graphics.


RD-M810 – SS/GS Top Normal Rear derailleur (Short & Medium Cage)

Saint Rear Derailleur 

First-off, Shimano will only be releasing the Saint Rear derailleur as a Shadow Rear D RD-M810. As we’ve seen, in the XT and XTR, the Shadow design has been useful in reducing the chance of objects smashing our rear derailleur so Shimano’s decision comes as no surprise. What is new however, is the super wide inner link for increased rigidity on the Saint Shadow Rear derailleur as well as a skid plate design. So that rather than just hitting an object head-on, there is a better chance of it just skidding off, again, helping the derailleur (and your wallet) live longer. Also new is the Mode converter for the derailleur which allows you to choose between Road and MTB Cassettes or “Close Ratio Downhill Setting (23T-28T)” and “Wide Ratio AM/FR Setting (28T-34T)” respectively.

Also, continuing from the SLX’s double-specific Front derailleur, the Saint Front derailleur  will be double-specific so that it can have a stiffer plate and a short but wide chain guide for better tire and chain clearance. It has been tuned so that its best shifting performance is in the 36T-22T range although I am sure that it can deal outside these ranges admirably well. Note that the Saint Front derailleur  has been designed only for the 83mm and BB Shell Width. So for those using 68/73mm, you would have to get the FD-M665/7.

FD – M815 Top Swing Front derailleur
(Also, FD – M817 Down Swing Front derailleur)


Speaking of the crankset, besides new graphics, the arm profile has been redesigned for better ankle clearance. Of course, the arm is also tougher and stiffer, while 90 grams lighter than before. It is available either in double or single chainring options, with a wide range 36-22T double and 34/36/38/40/42T single. There is also a honeycomb designed bash guard that’s supposed to absorb impact better while keeping weight down. As mentioned earlier, the double crankset is supposed to be matched with the double specific front derailleur for best performance. 

Also, just to note, the Shimano shifter and brake lever have been updated for a wider lever brake and more space for shifting.

Parts list for Shimano Saint Components

Also, noting that the previous red knob of the Saint brake lever was hard to turn, Shimano has redesigned it for easier use while also changing the lever to a wider Servo Wave lever that’s supposed to be tougher.

The levers go with the New-old dual diameter 4-piston caliper that has been brought back. It is supposed to deliver 50% more stopping power with excellent modulation when BR-M810 work with servo wave BL-M810 only compared to the 2-pot M800, with even pad wear and consistent performance.

Also, the caliper has a high volume now which is expected to improve oil flow and make bleeding easier. Although personally, I have always considered bleeding a tricky business, I hope the mechanics appreciate this better. The 9% increased rigidity of the caliper is also expected to make it feel firmer under braking with your 160/180/203mm rotor. Lastly, the hose is now made of stiffer of Vinylon

The hubs now use the Center Lock rotor mount system with
better seals. The front hubs being expected to last 4 times
longer before needing replacement. The front hubs will also engage quicker with its one piece stronger, lightweight axle.


Also, do check out www.ridesaint.com for an awesome promo video by Thomas Vanderham using the Saint groupset.

Lastly, Saint Family Photo.

Find your flow.