Mountain Bike Component Group Comparative: The New Shimano Saint and Sram XX

Sram XX Rear Derailleur 2012

When you nose around in the upper tiers in a component group hierarchy, you start to realize a couple of things. One: that components are a serious engineering feat that are years in the making. And two: there are some serious materials and components for the performance-minded biker.

The first thing off the bat that you notice is the graphics. The New Saint and the XX both have an edginess in their particular logos and they are what first draw your attention. You also have an abundance of tech that reminds you that somewhere on the planet, in a workshop, there must be a group of engineers who have probably spent a good deal of time on the design of a single chain link. And probably contemplating the mortality of a blue crab at the same time.

The New Shimano Saint Crankset

What does the Saint bring to the table? Ergonomic brake levers and the ICE Technologies, which helps cool down the brakes from all the downhill work one does. Rotors which have cool little divots and radiator fins that help deliver a performance-enhancing chill to all the right spots. There is also the interesting switch to a 1x10 drivetrain system so you can play with all the cogs on your cassette and not have the extra weight of an extra shifter on board.

The XX ain’t no slouch either. Carbon fiber shifters and rear derailleur cage, Grip Shift tech, Truvativ crankarm, bottom bracket and bash guard as well as Rock Shox forks and rear suspension. You’ve got technology as well, ranging from Avid hydraulic disc brakes which use DOT 5.1 brake fluid because it boils at a higher temperature than the DOT 4 to the X-Dome cassettes where eight of the ten sprockets were actually machined out of a single block of steel, creating a piece that is lighter for your racing needs. 

Comparative MTB Component Groups: Shimano Saint and Sram XX