Shimano Saint M820 Disc Brake Set

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Shimano Saint M820 Disc Brakes
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Powerful DH stoppers

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Tons of stopping power, durable, great modulation, easy to bleed

The Bad:

Not as light as some of the new DH specific offering from SRAM

Overall Review:

Right out of the box the M820 has a solid look and feel to it, the brake looks very tough and durable and doesn’t have any plastic feeling parts. Both front and rear pre bled hoses come in at very long length, allowing the brakes to fit any bike, I assume even extra-large frames should have no issues with the default hose. Compared to the M810 brakes, these new Saints have definitely shed some of their bulk, both caliper and level are a lot smaller and sleeker, thus helping to reduce some of the weight seen with the old M810s. Installation is a breeze and both removal and installation of the pads is also very user friendly and can be done so very quickly.

The brake includes an easy to use reach adjust nob, that is big enough and easy enough to access even while riding allowing you to customize the level reach while mid ride. The brake also has a free stroke bolt (requires a screwdriver), although I have played around with this I really have not noticed any difference in brake feel.

The Servo Wave level has a very ergonomic feel to it, it’s very compact and has a curve to it that helps reduce the chance of your fingers slipping off the lever. Overall the level feel is very solid and comfortable, and allows for one finger braking.

Riding performance: I’ve had the chance to use these brakes in various conditions and they have performed flawlessly. Regardless if you are riding in super dusty conditions or mud or even snow, these brakes provide tons of stopping power. Some people mention that the Saints lack modulation, that they are simply power ON and power OFF but I haven’t found this to be the case, the M820 offer lots of modulation allowing the rider to brake as much as needed. In terms of long hot  descends, the M820 really shine and provide consistent performance and stopping power regardless how hot they get, I haven’t noticed any  fade. Overall these brakes offer a lot of confidence on the trails and really allow the rider to push themselves as you know that you will have strong braking power when needed. As with the old M810, the M820 can also get a bit loud in wet conditions, but I think most other brakes do the same so not really a negative but they definitely do howl when they get wet.

Bleeding: This is where Shimano and specifically the M810 really excelled, in the past with the M810 there were times where I didn’t even have to remove the wheels or pads before bleeding the brakes. The complete bleed process could be done in less than 10 minutes. The M820 definitely also allow for a pain free, easy and simple bleed process. The bleed process is a bit different as it requires the addition of a funnel that gets attached to the level and then oil is bled into the caliper but overall the process is very easy and very quick.

Would I recommend the brakes: When I was upgrading my old M810 I knew I wanted to stick with Shimano so it was a toss-up between the Saints and the Zees, overall it looks like from a performance perspective they are both very similar, the Saints however comes in a tad lighter, offer on the fly level adjustments and have a bit less bulk to them on the calipers. Regardless of how much you throw at these Saints they offer consistence braking power in various conditions, modulation and  quick and easy bleed process, overall I am very happy with them and would strongly recommend this product.

Best breaks for stopping power let down by two cravats...

Rating:
The Good:

Unrivalled breaking power, Shimano reliability, easy bleeding, well built, good cooling, great one finger levers

The Bad:

Poor modulation, wondering bite point

Overall Review:

This break has saved my life so many times. However, due to the wondering bite point it has also put me in some scary situations.

Absolutely some the reliability, easy bleeding, power and cooling this break offers.

Hands down destroyed the competition until the new Code came along in 2017.

Come on shimano, nearly perfect.

What Hasn't Already Been Said?

Rating:
The Good:

Tons of power, set and forget, no fade

The Bad:

Off/On feel, not a ton of modulation

Overall Review:

I've run Saints on both the DH and Trail bikes for the past 2 seasons. Takes getting a little use to as there isn't a ton of modulation but loads of power. I personally have had zero problems other than the very occasional bleed which is also super easy. Mineral oil is a bonus so I'm not wrecking my hands getting it on everything. Once you get the hang of riding with these, its hard to go back to a break with less power/more modulation, but it really is personal preference.

Master cylinder faults

Rating:
The Good:

Class leading power Good heat management at the disk Great looking

The Bad:

Variable bite point Pump up Poor adjustability I spec b only shifter mounts

Overall Review:

After a couple of seasons on zee's on another bike and a bad experience with guides I dicided to take the plunge and buy the saints. The zee's were flawless in terms of power and modulation, so the saints became the natural choice for a high end build. After installation I bleed as per all my Shimano brakes and rode. 

I noticed on my first ride that the bite point would change constantly, especially if you quickly reapplied the brake. I believed this was obviously air in the system so rebled. Again the same would happen even when no air was trapped. After researching the issue it is very common with xtr and Saint levers so I had them warrantied. Second and third sets did the same too, I eventually just got used to the feeling and used for 18 months in total. 

I persevered with them as the power is awesome. Did a few alpine races this year with no fade issues, but did scorch and destroy the icetech disks.

I was playing in the lbs the other day on a brand new gt fury with saints fitted and they did exactly the same! Double tap the lever and the bite point changed.

Installation - easy as with all Shimano kits, olive and hose guide supplied. I bought from European supplier so the hoses had to be swapped. 

Bleeding - easy with funnel tool, air can get trapped behind the reach screw. Make sure you adjust in and out as you bleed.

Specifications

Product Shimano Saint M820 Disc Brake Set
Riding Type Freeride / Bike Park, Downhill
Lever Material Aluminum with Added Dimples on Lever for Ergonomic Feel
Mount Style Post-type
Rotor Sizes 180mm, 203mm
Rotor Mounting Center Lock, 6-Bolt IS
Fluid Type Shimano Mineral Oil
Colors Black
Weight 0 lb 10.8 oz (306 g)
Miscellaneous One Way Bleeding caliper
ICE TECHNOLOGIES heat management
High power 4-ceramic piston caliper
I-SPEC B Clamp Band
Lighter short SERVO WAVE lever
Free Stroke & tool-less reach adjust
One-Way Bleed for Easy and Clean Servicing
Finned Brake Pads
Super Stiff 3-Layer Brake Hose for a More Consistent Feel
Price $243
More Info

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