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2004 Shimano: New "Saint" Group For DH And Freeride
Fri Mar 14, 2003
Source: CyclingNews

Shimano is preparing to release a new mountain bike group, aimed at the downhill and 'freeride' set, but roughly the same quality level as the 2003 XTR. It has now been released publicly!

Called "Saint", and not XTX as previously mentioned, the new groups sits between XT (M7xx) and XTR (M9xx) in Shimano's coding system - the components have parts numbers M8xx. The images we have been able to obtain so far are of about half a group: chainsets, rear derailleur, hubs and brakes. Pedals are rumoured, but for the moment it seems you're expected to use Shimano's existing platforms or SPDs. Saint also doesn't yet have shifters, so XTR or 2004 XT STI shifter/levers (see below) are the go.

The two-piece Hollowtech2 cranks are some of the burliest we have seen, come in a triple, double and single ring configurations, and use the same integrated bottom bracket system as the 2003 XTR.

The new hubs use cup and cone bearings, with the front coming in a 20mm bolt-through size only, while the rear uses a new axle that is 20mm thick at the bearings but steps down to 10mm to fit in standard dropouts. The new Rapid-Rise rear derailleur mounts directly on the axle. This is claimed by Shimano to add durability and improve shifting performance.

Three sizes of Rapid-Rise rear derailleur are available to go with the three cranksets.

Also part of the new group is a new hydraulic disc brake. Like the 2003 XTR, the system uses mineral oil to force dual pistons down on the new oversized Center Lock mount rotor. Styling is similar to the 2003 XTR, so it looks as good as it works. Both 160mm and 203mm sizes are available, and international A-Type/Post-Type mounts are used.

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