Shimano 2013 Saint and Zee – Sea Otter 2012

by Brian Mullin on April 28, 2012

Shimano
gave a media only shindig for their Saint and ZEE gravity oriented
group, before opening the tent door to the general public. Shimano
engineers, designers and professional racers were on hand to talk about
the product, and answer questions.  For the 2013 model year, Saint gets
the ICE Technologies for their brakes and the Shadow Plus clutch
derailer, new pedals, upgraded hubs, shifters and cranks. For the
budget-minded gravity rider, they added the all-new Zee group, which has
the ICE brakes, Shadow derailer, hubs, shifters and cranks. Most of the
new products should be available in the July timeframe.

Saint
The Saint Hollowtech II cranks is made with hollow forged Duraluminum
alloy, with an axle that is 250% stronger than XTR and an arm that is
double strength. In a side note to history, Duraluminum was first used
on German Zeppelins! It comes with press fit or normal threaded bottom
bracket, in 34, 36 or 38 tooth options.  One of the cranks was fitted
with an interesting prototype bash guard with a segmented design. It
points downward when your favored foot is forward, and it’s supposed to
save rotational weight, and two segments can be used if a rider switches
feet during cornering and jumping.

The
Saint shifter gets a 5mm longer lever, textured paddles, and low
friction ball bearings to reduce shifting effort. The ball bearings give
it a smooth action, with a nice feel, and make for snappy and quick
shifts. Upshifts with the thumb can be done two at a time, while down is
only one, and it happens with a crisp and instant response.

The
Saint rear derailer gets the Shadow Plus clutch technology (the gold
lever), making for better chain control and decreased noise. It has a
super wide parallelogram for quick shifting, urethane bumpers, and of
course, 10-speeds. It has a switchable mode converter on the mount,
which alters the angle of the derailer sweep, to correspond with a wide
MTB or tight road gear ratio cassettes, which will be handy for
different courses or riding terrain.

The
Saint brake lever is short, and uses a ServoWave mechanism for a quick
response from the four-piston caliper. The lever has a nice set of
textured dimples on the handle for wet weather usage, and for greater
overall tactile feel. The hydraulic hoses have been stiffened for better
line flow, which corresponds to more precision, tightness and response
to the brake lever.

The
Saint disc brakes utilize a four-piston caliper, with asymmetric
ceramic pistons, which prevent excess heat from transferring to the
hydraulic fluid.  It has aluminum backed sintered metal pads, and
includes their ICE technology cooling fins. The banjo fittings (gold
connector) length has been increased, to dissipate additional heat. The
Saint brakes have a 150 power ratio, which means is equivalent to moving
upwards 1.5 rotor sizes over its XTR brethren. The brakes were fitted
with a normal two-piece ICE rotor, but I didn’t see the fancy wavy rotor
shown in their press release?

The
Saint pedals use sealed ball bearings, and replaceable pins, which
extract from the backside, and an ergonomic concave platform. The pedals
are tough and durable, and use bearing system technology that has been
learned from years of making their SPDs.

Zee
The Zee cranks use solid forged 6000-alloy arms, and 34, 36 and 38
teeth chainring options, and pressfit or normal bottom bracket. The Zee
rear derailer has the same medium sizing and Shadow Plus clutch, but
lacks the Saint’s wide parallelogram pivot stance and mode-change
functionality, but separate B2 links are available for gear ratio
changes.

The
Zee shift levers get the same additional length, but only the thumb
paddle is textured, whereas the Saint has both. It doesn’t get the same
precise and smooth ball bearing internals, but shifting range changes
remain the same (two up, one down). The Zee brake lever gets the
textured dimples for feel and wet grip, and ServoWave mechanism and
internals, but it doesn’t have the reach adjustment and fancier
cosmetics.

The
Zee brakes get the powerful four-piston caliper with the ceramic
pistons, cooling fins and sintered metallic brake pads, but they won’t
get the fancy ICE tech rotors.

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