Shimano Saint M820 mountain bike transmission review£355.00

Premium downhill groupset

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Shimano’s premium downhill groupset is versatile enough to work well in any hardcore environment.

The rear derailleur uses a heavily reinforced ‘skid plate’ inner/lower parallelogram to shrug off impact damage and stiffen up the shifting feel. It comes set to follow close-ratio race blocks, but adding the ‘mode convertor’ chip gets it working with conventional (36t top cog) 10-speed cassettes too.

The derailleur can be direct mounted to compatible frames and you can even lock it down to work with custom five-speed blocks using extra-long set screws. You can switch the clutch off for smoother shifting/easier wheel removal and clutch tension is internally adjustable too.

The rear derailleur is reinforced where it counts to help fend off damage: the rear derailleur is reinforced where it counts to help fend off damage
The rear derailleur is reinforced where it counts to help fend off damage: the rear derailleur is reinforced where it counts to help fend off damage

The rear derailleur is reinforced where it counts to help fend off damage

Both shifter levers are longer than normal to reduce shifting effort even if you wind the clutch up tight. It’s still crisp enough for accurate feel when you’re battering down all but the most mental courses though. Textured trigger tips mean no DIY is needed to cope with dirty conditions either.

Quality chain and cassette options, plus cartridge bearing jockey wheels and the wide-stance skid plate rear derailleur, mean durability is impressive. It’s surprisingly light for such an armoured and adjustable setup too.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UKmagazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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