Five years after the launch of their Saint groupset, Shimano released their first SPD pedal to bear the Saint name. Pete has been putting them through their paces.
Shimano’s DX pedals have long been the go-to for riders looking for an affordable, durable pedal. The new Saint SPDs aim to take the durability to the next level by building on the current crop of XT and XTR trail pedal platform.
The Saints have been on Pete’s bike since the start of May, taking in mountains in Scotland, France, Spain and Italy. Here’s what he made of the top-of-the-line downhill offering from Shimano.
I will start by saying that I am big fan of full platform clipless pedals. Having tried various ‘trail’ clips, cracked my feet of far too many rocks and ridden in fear while trying to get one or both feet clipped back in, the full platform is the only way for me.
The HT Components X1s were my previous go-to for a set of pedals to fit and forget, having lasted a full four years of maintenance-free riding up to this point, so the Saint pedals had a lot to live up to.
In the hand, the Saints feel hefty despite their low profile and that’s mostly thanks to a solid machined platform designed to take the hits, and a steel axle. Weight, especially in this area, is not a massive concern for me. For a contact point, it needs to be tough.
Once you’ve decided how long you want the four pins (per side) to be, that’s pretty much the only adjustment you’re going to get. Thankfully, the static engagement mechanism sits low on the pedal meaning your foot isn’t hovering atop the platform, you really feel like you’re very much at one with the pedal once you’ve clipped in.
The low height of the engagement also means when you’re want to hover a foot through a slick section, or you just can’t get clipped in, there’s enough space to get your shoe on to keep you feet up for as long as possible.
A shallow body height means that when you’re breathing in to try and make your bike narrower, the Saints aren’t likely to find the ground, and if they do, the ground will likely come off worse.
Four months in, there isn’t even sign of a bent pin and I know fine well that these have been cracked off igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic from Scotland to the Dolomites.
What do we think?
If you’re after a solid SPD pedal that offers a solid engagement with minimal float, while offering enough in the way of platform for those wilder moments, then the Saint is hard to beat.
Look past the downhill moniker and you have a quality pedal that if the DX clips are anything to go by, will outlast mankind.