Such is the depth of EuroBike that after a full two weeks of consistent updating and profiling the coolest, most dope technology and product releases from the who’s who of cycling, there is so much more to say and even more to share. Well, we could definitely give you a main summary of everything we saw, but that would not do the products any justice at all. So here goes…
Saving perhaps what might be the best for last, we take a closer look at Japanese component maker Shimano’s new 2013 line up of Saint and Zee ‘Gravity’ components (surely, the brand Shimano needs little introduction, right?).
So here goes, Shimano has unveiled some all-new developments to its aggressive downhill segment with some new technologies into its top-end XTR equivalent-but-downhill-adapted Saint groupset. For starters, the Saint now runs on 10-speeds, allowing Shimano’s efficient shifting Dyna-sys technology to be adapted here.
Featuring Shimano’s Hollowtech technology in its crank construction and design, the new Saint cranks are made with hollow forged Duraluminium alloy with an axle that claimed to be a whole lot (by 250% says Shimano) stronger than regular ‘trail’ cranksets.
Using only one chainring up front negates the need for a front derailleur. At the rear, the new Saint derailleur has been updated with a stiffer, more efficient Shadow Plus tension system that greatly reduces chain movement on the trail. It’s now also designed to be directly mounted, for increased stability.
But the most significant development would have to be in the Saint’s braking prowess. With Ice Technologies, the new rotors feature a three layer construction with an Aluminium finned centre that improves cooling, while improving braking performance. Likewise in the brakes themselves, finned brakepads help improve heat dissipation while the new calipers gain self insulating ceramic pistons to improve braking performance.
While the Shimano Saint groupset may limit take up due to its price, the more affordable Zee range still brings similar levels of performance to the majority.
Like the Saint rear-D, the Zee range also runs on 10 speeds. It’s rear derailleurs also feature Shimano Shadow Plus technology that allow them to be direct mounted with a similar clutch mechanism that tensions chain movement, reducing movement on those steep descents.
While fancy fin designs are absent in the Zee range, new Zee hydraulic calipers feature a dual diameter four-piston design with ceramic pistons, and the get wider ICE Tech brakepads for more improved stopping power.
Having tried a full Zee equipped setup in EuroBike, the benefits it offers to the average enthusiast had impressed. Given that it is similarly priced to the regular Shimano SLX range, we can expect that it would provide excellent value for its price.