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Shimano Saint Hydraulic Disc Brake (discontinued)

Average User Rating: (Spectacular)
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Powerful and consistent stoppers

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Powerful in all conditions, durable and quality built. Bleeding them is a breeze

The Bad:

Perhaps weight compared to some of the new SRAM stuff especially with the carbon levers and they are pricey ( but you get what you pay for)

Overall Review:

I've been running the Saint brakes for 2 seasons now and have had no issues whatsoever. As most reviews mention, these brakes have a crap load of power and I totally agree. These brakes definitely give you a bit extra confidence coming into corners fast or letting off the brakes on steep sections as you can be confident that when you dab the brake the stopping power will be there. This extra power also helps a lot with arm pump, by only needing one finger to use the brake it really reduces the amount of arm pump – at least it does for me. I’ve ridden Whistler on Hayes brakes and then on the Saints and the difference was quite drastic in both stopping power and arm pump as well.

There has been some feedback from people that the modulation is not as good on these as with the Avid’s but I don’t really find that to be the case.

In terms of quality these are definitely best in class and are built with Shimano tested quality. I’ve crashed on several occasions and the levers are still in place and there is no play in the lever whatsoever. The brakes are simple with no extra gimmicks besides the free stroke and lever reach adjustment which I personally don’t use too much but they will be handy for riders that like to setup a more personalized feel to the brake and also to allows to move the lever farther or closer to the bar if required.

Changing pads as with most other brands it pretty easy, just have to unscrew the safety pin and then push out the pads.

One thing I would recommend when changing the pads is to not skimp out on the cheaper sets or other brands pads, stick with the original Shimano Saint pads as I chose the cheapo route and the pads just didn’t feel the same and wore a lot faster than the Shimano brand.

In terms of bleeding the Saint brakes, this is one area where I think Shimano has really raised the bar in terms of ease.  To bleed the brakes all you need is Shimano brand mineral oil and a hose + a cup for the old oil plus a couple of small tools, there is no need to fancy tools, syringes or any complex steps. I just recently bled the Saints myself and it literally took me less than 10 minutes to bleed both front and back brake. I didn’t even have to remove the pads (which is probably not recommended) but they are so easy to bleed. Essentially all you need to do is open the brake cap and pour in the new oil while the old oil comes out via the hose at the caliper.  I’ve bled Hayes and Avid’s before and it took way longer and they ended up feeling worse than before with a spongy level whereas the Saints were painless to bleed and worked like new afterwards.

Price: Yes they are expensive but they are comparable to all the other higher end brake sets from brands like Avid, Formula or Hope.

Overall Summary: I think any of the higher end brake sets at this price point will work similar and will provide  loads of stopping power but things like the quality, durability and consistency of these brakes is what separates them from the rest. Add the bonus of a easy bleeding process which is so much more user friendly than the other brands and you get a really great brake that will last you a couple of seasons. Can’t wait to see how the new Saint brakes work.

Best Brake I've ever ridden

The Good:

Ultimate power, good modulation

The Bad:

They are expensive, you have to adjust the lever pull quite a bit as the pads wear

Overall Review:

This is by far the best brake that I've ridden. Everything from Whistler bike park to my home trails in the Pacific NW March mud.  I like the original pads it came with - tried the  "quieter" version and they weren't as powerful and my bike doesn't make any noise anyway.  The toughest part is probably getting the calipers lined up perfectly as one side or the other seems to like to extend a little further when you are setting them up.  It's easy to just use a piece of thin cardboard or a (clean) feeler gage to help the other side extend a little more.  Also, much easier to bleed with a syringe and push the fluid up and out instead of that frustrating gravity method they suggest.  Anyway, best brake ever.  The only thing I could complain about is that I had one lever clamp break while I was going down a hill.  Shimano just gave me a new one but wow.  Also, if it had a 2 piece clamp, you could more easily take them off or use them with the new shifters that allow you to connect them to the shifter for a cleaner bar.

The Only Brake I Will Ever Buy

The Good:

3)Easy to Bleed
4)Lack of brake fade

The Bad:

1)The metallic replacement brake pads tend to squeal like a pig.

Overall Review:


1)I've been using the same set of Saint brakes since June of 2009 and only a month ago did I have to bleed the brakes. I probably ride roughly 30-35 bike park days per year and shuttle at least once per week. I've never experienced another brake that I've never had an issue with. Just replace the pads as you ware them down and you are good to go. If you do run into issues, I've found there is usually a Shimano tech at most West Coast races and they will not hesitate to get you sorted out. SRAM may lead in the warranty replacement department, but that doesn't help you if they aren't at the race.

2)The Saint brakes are the most powerful brake I've ridden. There is no fade as you go down the hill. OK, maybe there is a little, but compared to other brakes(Avid Code, Elixr, older Hayes offerings, etc) there isn't any fade. Most of the trails I ride are 15+ minutes of DH, so this makes a big difference to me. The power allows you to easily and consistently one finger brake which reduces arm pump and stress on the rider. I also can lock the brake out when I want to or just slow down without skidding. It's like the jack of all trades.

3)These brakes are extremely easy to bleed. If you can't figure it out, you have no business owning a mountain bike. All you do is put new mineral oil in at the top and old fluid flows out at the caliper. There is no fancy bleed kit or special tools necessary. It's just plain easy.


1)As said above, the metallic replacement brake pads from Shimano tend to squeal like a pig. I've fixed this by using the organic pads. A con of the organic pads is that they deliver a bit less braking power according to forum nerds and ware out a bit faster than their metallic counterparts.

2)This isn't really a negative, but the rear brake cable is very long. If you are lazy like me and never cut your brake cables people will look at you funny.

In summary, these brakes have made me a Shimano fan boy for life. The Saints are everything one could possibly want in a brake and more. 5/5 stars

Don't trust Star Ratings

The Good:

This is the best brake ever designed for DH. It has no negatives. Some people will tell you they have too much power. That is because the brakes they have become acustom to are underpowered. The Saints have spot on modulation. They also bleed easily! For crying out loud, they bleed with gravity and use mineral oil.

The Bad:

You should lighten your wallet and buy these brakes.

Overall Review:

Saint brakes eliminate arm pump and get the job done. These brakes will make you a faster rider.

Long duty powerful brake.

The Good:

Power, Minimal fading, great control over the power

The Bad:

Weight, bleeding

Overall Review:

This brake is absolutely amazing DH-wise. Best thing about it isn't just power which is terryfying. It is how great you can control it, you can feel the wheel lock point perfectly. Fading is so minimal that for the sake of the rotors I actualy don't recommend it for a DH rookie. It is good to know under which conditions rotor gets cooked. A beginner will cook rotors on long descents as he/she won't feel fading and will not realize when it is time to give the brake a break... I take the star of it only for the weight and bleeding. I wouldn't complain about the weight if Formula The One wasn't there weighing 150g less per brake set. Shimano servo wave levers are probably ones of the heaviest on the market, but the caliper itself is surprisingly quite light when you look at the size of this thing.

if you have a dh bike you need these

The Good:

they look sick, they have grate stopping power,good modulation ( crs are better in that modulation), they dont squeak like crs, they dont fade ( a year on my treck session 88 racing ad at the bike park), the fell of the lever and come on there saints

The Bad:

there hella $

Overall Review:

if you race, spend long days at the bike park, or ride DH by them there killer. you wont be disappointed there all they say they are and much much more. by them there worth every peney


Product Shimano Saint Hydraulic Disc Brake
Riding Type Freeride / Bike Park, Downhill, Dirt Jump / Slopestyle
Lever Material Aluminum BL-M810 lever
Mount Style IS Post
Rotor Sizes 160-203mm
Rotor Mounting IS 6-bolt or center-lock
Fluid Type Mineral oil
Colors Black
Weight 0 lb 10.6 oz (300 g)
Miscellaneous 4 piston design, Front and rear sold separately, without rotor
Price $259
More Info

Shimano website

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