Shimano Saint Groupset

The not-so-minor details


Shimano Saint Groupset


Shimano Australia

Crank length


Rotor sizes

203mm front and rear


20mm front, 150x12mm rear


Staggering braking performance. Quiet and stable drivetrain. Strong as 50 oxen on steroids.


Free stroke adjuster does very little. Derailleur banged into the chain stay on our frame (note - this is only occurs on a handful of bikes and is easily remedied).

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Shimano had a seriously hard task ahead of them when they set out to improve on the Saint M810 groupset. Perhaps that’s why it took them four years, instead of their usual product cycle of three years, to release the newest incarnation of this legendary downhill groupset.

Flow travelled to Whistler earlier in 2012 to attend the Saint launch. There, on the fast and furious trails of that heavenly playground, we fell in love with Saint. You can read more about the launch and the refinements to the groupset in our features section.

Back home in Oz, the infatuation has continued.

The new M820 Saint groupset is lighter (both physically and in terms of the way it feels in operation), quieter and more stable through the drivetrain, with braking performance that is truly confidence inspiring.

Braking performance has always been a star element of Saint’s performance. It’s now even better, thanks to improved heat dissipation and a more refined lever feel. Even in the sloppiest conditions, the power remained consistent and the operation quiet.
The introduction of Shimano’s Shadow Plus clutch system to Saint drastically reduces drivetrain noise by controlling chain slap. The M820 groupset is 10-speed; we noticed no problems with the close ratios and narrow cog spacing in the mud.
Some weight has been shaved from the robust crankset, but without any decrease in strength. Shimano maintain that the M820 cranks are 250% stronger than XTR Trail cranks! A Saint chain guide is on the way too, to complete the package.
Longer shifter paddles and an improved cable pull ratio give the M820 groupset a lighter shifting action than the previous Saint grouppo. The shifter is dual release too, so you can move through the gears quickly.
The strength of the Saint cranks and the overall reassuring feeling the groupset provides really gives you the confidence to go big. Like this.
We bolted our Saint groupset to Norco’s Aurum DH bike. Hey, if you’re testing a gravity groupset, you want a dedicated downhill bike. The only hiccup with the build was that the Saint derailleur could knock on the chain stay, meaning we had to fit the wide-ratio adaptor to create more clearance between the derailleur and frame.


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