2013 Shimano Zee Group Set - First Look

Apr 19, 2012
by Simon Paton  
In 2013 Shimano will introduce a completely new gravity line specially designed for young entry riders… ZEE! ZEE is Saint’s younger brother, designed for riding on extreme gravity trails, ready to battle with the established order and waiting for young entry riders to unleash its potential. It has a young and fresh look and the best balance between perfect gravity features at an affordable price point so everybody can enjoy gravity riding. The name ZEE is derived from zero. ZEE will give their riders a sense of freedom when they hit ‘zero gravity’ on the extreme trails. Because gravity riders need specific features for their extreme demands, Shimano packed ZEE with the latest technologies like a Shadow RD+ rear derailleur and high performing disc brakes.

Shimano Zee DH rear derailleur 2013
Shadow RD+ offers the most silent drive train for downhill riding. The ZEE 10-speed rear derailleur has a switch at the pulley cage to activate a stabilizer that counteracts the forces of up and down chain momentum in rough terrain. Shadow RD+ offers better control, stability, reduces chain dropping dramatically and provides a silent drive train. The ZEE rear derailleur is available in a close gear and wide gear spec.


Shimano Zee DH Crankset 2013
For aggressive riding Shimano developed a durable, strong, but also a light crank set with a steel axle and steel pedal insert. By using a solid crank arm and hollow axle, Shimano found a balance of stiffness, strength and rotating performance


Shimano Zee DH four-piston brake caliper 2013

Gravity riders need to have full confidence in the performance of their brakes. That's why Shimano designed ZEE brakes with a ceramic 4-piston caliper. Differential piston diameters provide quiet and controllable power and for optimal brake control, the levers are equipped with Servo Wave action. Only a little lever movement is needed to bring the pads in contact with the rotor and it's easy to control your braking power


Shimano Zee DH shorty servo wave brake lever 2013

ZEE brakes are Ice Tech compatible, so ZEE riders can upgrade their brakes to optimal Ice Tech braking power for their future needs.


Shimano Zee DH shifter 2013


For a clean cockpit the shifters and brake levers are I-spec compatible. Of course, there's only one shift lever because of the single chainring.


AVAILABILITY IN THE MARKET : July 2012.

Stay Unclipped!

Si Paton.
Halo British Downhill Series


164 Comments

  • 143 2
 When in reality the young entry level riders will be riding on saint and the hard working adults who have to work for their parts will be riding on zee
  • 8 1
 ride the m810 saint group. bound to get cheaper now and its already proven. if it ain't broke, don't revamp it and make it ugly as a pile of dead raccoons. although i do want the new saint pedals and ice-tech samiches
  • 11 0
 I agree, Broke ass college priced components that can take a beating. i dig.
  • 6 0
 Zee = Hone. New name, hot damn! So excited!
  • 14 1
 In my opinion Hone would be a much better name. ZEE sounds like some toy for 4 year olds.
  • 4 0
 After seeing this and the new saint, shimanos got it against sram this year by the looks of it
  • 7 0
 I want the mech so i can have the shadow clutch and afford to eat
  • 6 0
 So is the ZEE groupset the deore of gravity riding?
  • 3 0
 i hope they release ZEE pedals
  • 62 6
 I love how the texture on the calipers is meant to resemble the ice-tech mumbo-jumbo on the higher end models... nice try, shimano... or should I say... ice try.... not funny, nick... not funny...
  • 29 0
 god bless shimano..ive always wanted a "cheaper" version of Saints...this is just perfect..thanks shimano..
  • 6 1
 check out the saint pedals! p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/109/photos/32958/s780_pedals.jpg?1334763662

edit: oh shit sorry, that was posted ages ago, i never noticed Blank Stare
  • 10 0
 Actually, I'm pretty sure Zee and Saint use the same caliper body. The difference is the Zee doesn't include ICE pads or rotors.
www.bikerumor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/2013-Shimano-Saint-ICE-Tech-brake-caliper01.jpg
  • 2 0
 Looks like a good line up! It will be good for people that don't have a tone of money but want something that can still be strong.
  • 6 7
 some if it looks pretty cheap though, the looks could of been worked on a lil more
  • 7 0
 ...therefore increasing the price. zee has obviously been designed for people who want functional kit that will take a beating and last.
  • 4 0
 @delta5 - this is exactly it, you can still install the ice pads however.
  • 4 0
 @freelifenride if THAT doenst look good enough, then i dont know what does...cuz at least IMO the ZEEs look even better then the saints due to its "stealthy" look...and the fit and finish looks just as good so...like the zees even better then the saints..not really missing the gold bling bling here..
  • 5 0
 i think of GEE when i think of saint products, whos ZEE?
  • 4 1
 Norcorider this is how Germans spell his name
  • 2 2
 no it isnt...and case u dont know shimano is a Jap co.
  • 7 1
 You dont say Zee Atherton Project?
  • 2 1
 hehe) no, cuz im brazilian!!))
  • 2 0
 Will the Zee rear mech work with older 9 speed shifters or have they changed the leverage ratio like SRAM have on their ten speed mechs? I think Zee's all black looks better than Saint and what it looks like is as important as what it goes like.
  • 52 0
 Really? Has no one bothered with the obvious bad joke yet? ok, i'll do it.... Are the going to change the name to ZED when it comes to Canada? hahaha.... I'll just go away now.
  • 11 0
 And the UK for that matter!
  • 5 0
 And Australia for that matter!
  • 25 0
 uk prices and weights for both saint and zee

Saint, available late July:
Brakes, £195 (302g, rear hose, calliper and lever)
Rotors, £65 (203mm splined only. 173g)
Chainset £230-£240 (68.73 or 83mm. 919g or 931g)
MX-80 Pedal, £60
Rear mech, £140 (280g)
Shifter, £50 (123g, 114g i-spec)
Front hub, £70 (32 or 36h, 20mm. 216g)
Rear hub, £120 (32 or 36, 150×12, 142×12, 135×12 or 135×10. 355g for 135x10)

Zee, available July:
Rear mech, £70 (no adjustable angle and no bump stop. 250g)
Rear shifter, £35 (no multi-release)
Chainset, £110 (68/73 or 83mm, with 38tooth ring. 906 or 938g)
Brakes, £145 (311g front, hose, calliper, lever, pads)
Front hub, £45 (32 or 36h, 20mm. 228g)
Rear hub, £55 (32 or 36, 150×12. 363g) - £50 (32 or 36, 142×12, 135×12 or 135×10. 350g)

www.southerndownhill.com/forum/index.php?topic=262639.msg2031058;topicseen#msg2031058
  • 9 4
 So... what happens to SLX?
  • 6 8
 so it's a deore?
  • 2 0
 so excited for this! its been far too long.
  • 9 1
 slx is still about its more freeride/am
this is just a cheaper alternative to saint like xt is to xtr
  • 11 1
 think of it this way... the range gets better from all disciplines point of view from alivio through to slx
from there if you ride xc or am you get xt or xtr and freeride/dh duties will be handled by zee/saint.
its just the answer everyones been looking for, a cheaper version of saint!!!!
  • 6 0
 i FUCKING like this idea...........nice...great job shimano....awesome
  • 3 0
 chainsets lighter than the saint :O
  • 3 0
 So's the rear mech?! Durp.
  • 15 0
 Should have called it Hone
  • 2 1
 ^ yeah, the older model, hone, sounds much better than zee.
  • 3 0
 the crank looks Just like a deore/old xt, just the color's been changed. but using the deore cranks my self i must say it's great value for money. this must be too.
  • 1 2
 i would much rather run slx, i mean i doubt anyone here will break slx components and as long as u get the short cage rear derialleur theres not gonna be any chain slap.
  • 1 0
 slx fc-m665 116gbp fc-m590 deore crank 62gbp this ZEE which can't deny the identity is 110gbp... you pay the extra price for the 83mm bb. they sould rise the price and get the slx crank with a longer axle...
  • 8 0
 PinkBike should get their hands on a SLX groupset and a ZEE groupset, and put to the longterm test. That would be of great service to everyone.
  • 2 0
 @madmax there isnt a short cage slx derailleur ...........
  • 27 3
 It looks like nice stuff, but the marketing is way off. ZEE? Hone was an ok name but ZEE sounds like something I would expect to see on the components of a Wal-Mart bike. If this was posted April 1st I would have thought it was a joke for sure.

The article says it's designed for "young, entry riders." One's who just learned the alphabet? And why would you market a shifting and brakes components to an age group? Oh well, I'll probably get used to the name, Shimano's brakes have really impressed me but I'm still pissed they are using derailleurs for DH bikes. Internal please.
  • 11 2
 i still think this is a joke
  • 2 1
 wait, so if they dont use derailleurs, what shoudl they use? hammerschimdts (hammercrapperz_?)
  • 3 0
 Well i think the future will be more likely a gearbox system in a DH bike only downfall is the weight but it can't be that huge problem in a DH bike (especially for me). In function and reliability it is much better than derailleurs. You can't thrash them to a rock like you could with a deralleaur, you can change gear without pedaling, it is smoother and not as loudy, your chain is stiffer becouse you use it like a single speed. I don't know but i can see the future with gearboxes for a fit and forget warrior who don't like to service his bike every moment and for a DH racer who just want more reliability and capable to care of maybe +300-400 gramms?
  • 1 0
 Not sure about you jaybird951, but I have the 'hammercrapperz' FR (combo'ed with an X9 system) in one of my bikes and I looove the freakin' thing. Granted, not the lightest or cheapest system around, but it works just as promised - and stating that about anything from the SRAM group is usually something to be suspicious about (as far as my experience goes anyway). It is 'spooky' good when you think you're going to hit that rock or log because you just made a dumb line choice and then realize nothing happens...

The shift refinement is also out of this world, and I have two conventional XT systems to compare it with. You press the sifter, it changes gear, lightning fast, no questions asked. My mechanic describes it like this: "it looks like it works with electricity or something". I cannot stress how different (better) from an conventional system it is.

I would like to see Shimano's answer to these systems.
  • 2 0
 i just had some not install the crapper properly on intense tracer and hated it...for that...now that you speak of it, maybe it woudl be a bad addition on my ibis mojo hd....hmmm
  • 29 7
 If Shimano price this right, I see no reason why anyone would ever purchase a SRAM brake ever again.
  • 13 6
 There's really no reason to purchase a SRAM brake in the first place. Even their "best" brakes are a pain in the ass to get right. Formula all the way. Salute
  • 4 10
flag phdotd (Apr 19, 2012 at 13:57) (Below Threshold)
 Fornula FTW!
  • 20 0
 not sure I'd ever want to hit zero gravity while riding my bike
  • 16 0
 hate the name, love the products, everything looks sick!
  • 82 1
 no, you hate ZEE name...
  • 4 2
 Dude stop with the puns. haha
  • 7 2
 Jus' tink aboot zee brakes mahn! Straight back to Babylon
  • 11 1
 Wish more manufacturers would just use some facts rather than silly names and marketing jargon on their products.

Also wish more people who write the articles on PB would write them themselves instead of copying and pasting word for word the press release from the manufacturer that is on every other site.

Most of those paragraphs say nothing useful at all. Phrases like 'zero gravity' 'Shadow RD+' 'Servo Wave action' just remind me of shampoo adverts: "pro revitalising neutrilleum plus formula with ultra microgranule action" Its soap. get over it.
  • 1 0
 Amen brother !!!
  • 16 5
 cheap logos and shit name. also the calipers look like ass. but the rear derailler looks more dialled than the saint..
  • 7 0
 I can see myself buying one of these derailleurs just for the price and function. might take a can of spray paint quickly over the clutch cover though.. Don't fancy having ZEE being the first thing people notice when they look at it, Priest or something would have been a better name for entry level Saint components..
  • 3 0
 Yeah that's a good idea for the name. Even just Zero if that's the root of the name anyway.
  • 9 1
 reminds me of the older HONE component group that was a budget model of the SAINT components. I always wondered why they did away with it.
  • 4 1
 hone was more a precursor to slx than anything
  • 1 1
 SLX replaced the LX line up.
  • 3 0
 Actually SLX replaced both the LX and Hone lines.
  • 1 0
 It replaced the mtb group known as LX. That group you linked to is a new group designed for "trekking" as they call it, and is basically a new group with an old name on it.
  • 5 0
 Can't believe people are moaning so much about a name. These zee part look legit and are at a decent price. I wouldn't buy saint parts simply because like most of us who are at an average level of riding are really not going to see much of differences in performance between the saint and zees.
  • 1 0
 here here, you speak a a lot of sense sir!
  • 6 1
 Big preformence & quality comming at a very intressting price point for those that aren't on a big budget,well done Shimano.
  • 3 0
 I thought that SLX was doing a good job of being a lower Saint grouppo... Saint being high end? A demanding DHilling equipment geek will put a Dura Ace rear mech abd XTR shifter on his bike... Unless new Saint will break some weightweenie balls
  • 5 0
 I was expecting another name other than Zee. Its an awesome new set, but Zee??? Blank Stare
  • 1 0
 srsly. who or what is a zee?
  • 5 0
 looks like a smart budget move. everyone has saint dreams but most have zee realities.
  • 4 2
 "Idea: let's introduce a low end Saint-ish gruppo so we give the appearance that we are listening to people's demands. Here's the genius part...we won't have to actually produce any because we'll give it such a brutal name that nobody will want to be seen with it and they'll still have to save up their money to buy the spendy Saint stuff."

Just goes to show how out of tune some manufacturers are. Or did someone lift this from engrish.com?
  • 5 0
 To be honest I don't really care what I call my rear mech, they could call it dog crap and as long as it worked I wouldn't care Kona called one of their best selling freeride bikes the stinky, didn't stop sales imo
  • 2 0
 They even called their pedals 'Jack Shit'. Came on my daughters Stinky 2-4 and she just couldn't believe that's what they called it.
  • 2 0
 To a lot of people, the word "shit" has little vulgar meaning. They're allowed to say it on network television on shows that air past a certain hour. It's one of the few "swear" words that are not censored on this site.
  • 1 0
 Stinky is a bad ass name, but ZEE is not.
  • 3 0
 I want a rear derailleur that with the fancy switch system, that goes with a 9 speed casette... Now, if i want to upgrade the derailleur, it means new cassette, chain, chainrings, shifters, bankruptcy...
  • 3 0
 The derailieur is controlled by the shifter. I don't see why you couldn't use a 9 speed shifter. In the old days I used 6 an 7 speed deraileurs with a 9 speed shifter, worked perfect. But I still have 800 saint stuff (original saint) breaks, shifter, deraileur (rapid rise), cranks, and hubs. They have been the best I have ever had, and still work like new.
  • 1 0
 As Old-hucker stated, it will work. As long as the RD is properly tensioned/tuned you should have zero problems. Likely the worst scenario is that on occasion you may have a little chain drag on the rear triangle if you let stuff get all out of whack.
  • 1 0
 unfortunatly lads it wont. it would have worked if you were trying to have a 9sp mech shift on 8sp cassette but shimano 10sp runs a different cable pull ratio to 9sp. Basically the 10sp shifter pulls more cable per shift than 9sp which means the 10sp rear mech has a longer leverage arm than 9sp, making 9/10sp incompatible in any way. (all the different combos i have tried have failed anyway, and i dont think theres any combos i've missed) Bit of a pain but thats also one of the reasons it feels so much better in use than the old 9sp stuff.
  • 1 0
 zee works flawless with 9 speed sram shifters on 9 speed cassette
  • 4 0
 I can see a lot of people using the ZEE derailleur for 4X, enduro and AM disciplines, stronger than XT, lighter than Saint. I reckon I'll get one on order.
  • 4 0
 the derailleur almost looks nicer than its saint counterpart! shimano is definitely gonna sell a ton of these.
  • 8 1
 You mean a ton of ZEE's?
  • 5 0
 The cranks are just Deore arms by the looks of it....
  • 4 0
 i rekon these will make a massive appearence on 2013 production bikes... cant wait to see them!!
  • 12 0
 Don't you mean... Can't wait to Zee them?
  • 2 1
 And so my Shimano dh/fr build would now go like so:

Zee Rear derailleur, shifters, calipers
2012 Saint levers, cranks
2013 Saint rotors

I used to like the entire Saint group, either generation. Slightly less impressed.

Disclaimer: This is entirely based on looks/price. I'm sure the new Saint is great from a purely functional view.
  • 1 0
 As a bike builder I can say there is little worse then setting up a low quality disc brake.I really hope they make these calipers and lever compatible unlike some companies who shall remain un-named.By the look of it they seem like reasonable quality brakes so I'm hoping all the issues really cheap disc brakes run into won't apply... but i won't hold my breath
  • 2 0
 if anyone is thinking about swapping to shimano brakes, im on shimano xt's with the ice tech rotors and they feel amazing loads of power and they never fade and just feel good on a track and ive got them on my dh bike Smile
  • 1 0
 i have used the zee brake lever and caliper. the caliper is good but the lever is a failure in design. just one ride and it started to leak. i brought it back to the shop, they replaced the lever, rode it dh once and the new replacement leaked again. i had it replaced with the old reliable 2011 saint lever and all is ok now.
  • 3 0
 It looks like the derailleur will be just a cheaper 10sp Saint..... Retail prices would be nice!
  • 2 1
 Shimano Zee M640 pricing in US $

Zee crankset (FC-M640, 68-73mm BB or FC-M645, 83mm BB) $159.99

Zee rear derailleur (RD-M640) $109

Zee shifter (SL-M640) $49.99


Zee brakeset (BL-M640 lever, BR-M640 calliper and hose, no rotor) $249.99


Zee/SLX brake rotor, six-bolt, 203mm (SM-RT66) TBC


Zee/SLX brake rotor, six-bolt, 180mm (SM-RT66) TBC


Zee/SLX brake rotor, six-bolt, 160mm (SM-RT66) TBC

Zee brake calliper (BR-M640) TBC

Zee brake lever (BL-M640) TBC

Zee rear hub, 150mm OLD (FH-M640) $89.99

Zee rear hub, 142mm OLD (FH-M645) $89.99

Zee rear hub, 135mm OLD (FH-M64Cool $89.99

Zee front hub (HB-M640) $69.99

Approx full groupset cost* $1,061.90
  • 3 2
 Either the cranks are a piece of shit, or the rear derailleur is really nice. Or the price for the cranks is wrong Razz
  • 2 0
 Yeah... I expected the derailleur to be within the (retail) price range of the SRAM X7 derailleurs... And hopefully the cranks are awesome Big Grin Hopefully they pull off another "SLX" moment
  • 1 0
 Geared chainrings cost a ton. Not surprised the cranks are priced like that. RD is reasonable, considering XT street price is $70ish (MSRP a lot higher).
  • 2 1
 Im just hoping anyone who works for shimano looks at this page and realises they gotta change the name before they end up with millions of parts with 'zee' written on em. I want some of what their naming guys smokin......
  • 1 1
 They are smok'in zee good stuff.
  • 2 0
 Im into the mech mostly, as who wants to buy an expensive rock basher? but it still means you get shadow plus, which is a big selling point for me!
  • 2 1
 "Young and fresh look" for entry riders? It looks like almost exactly like Saint... Not knocking it, might sit right on the sweet spot for value vs. performance.
  • 6 3
 I think it looks exactly like SAINT, am I wrong!?
  • 2 0
 Yes this is real, and obviously yes it looks like Saint because it is based off of Saint...
  • 3 0
 Nice, a group for the folks who don't have the deep pockets for SAINT.
  • 1 0
 Ahhh Shimano had to add that little gold component of the derailleur for style haha. Looks good overall but zee name of zees product line is horrific though...
  • 2 1
 All of the Shadow lock derailleurs have the switch gold.. I think it is just to make the switch stand out when your reaching for it.
  • 1 0
 Gotta wonder if Shimano was looking at their first aid kits when they came up with the name

www.pinkbike.com/photo/7998213
  • 4 2
 Seriously!? All the complaining over a simple name, why does it matter do much?
  • 3 1
 Should've called them "Beatify" or "Canon" as a reference to one miracle away from Sainthood.
  • 1 1
 Shimano loves Gee Atherton and wanted his name Gee on their product but yet don't wanna pay a single cent? so it's ingenious marketing team came up with ZEE!!!...... Lame story I know.... but so does the name Zee... Frown
  • 1 0
 Got me thinking though: should I opt for a 10 speed Zee drivetrain or stick to 9 and just buy an older Saint RD? Decisions, decisions...
  • 2 0
 I wonder how much of a performance difference there is between the ZEE and Saint brakes???
  • 1 0
 Is it just me or does the Zee brake lever look identical to the saint except it has no on the fly adjustments. And also the caliper is identical too right?
  • 2 0
 looks like i'm going to go geared when this is released for sale Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Looks a bit like the Saints without the gold accents. I like the gold.
  • 3 0
 完美!perfect!
  • 4 1
 april fools....late???
  • 2 0
 its all good but the name sucks, unfortunately.
  • 1 0
 The shifters look nice good price i think the cranks a bit pricey as id need a new chainguide 2!
  • 2 2
 looks very nice........ but...... ZEE ? ? ? ? thinks the name needs a little more thought
The word - SAINT = EPIC
The word - ZEE = BORRING
  • 1 0
 Damn it, i want those brakes. I wonder what Shimano have coming for the Deore like.
  • 1 0
 is there a 9 speed version?
The ZEE rear derailleur is available in a close gear and wide gear spec.
  • 2 0
 that has to be the nicest looking derailour i've seen in a while
  • 3 1
 zee? thats the best name you could come up with?
  • 3 0
 The brake is hot...
  • 1 0
 Wow! Thank you shimano! All we need is some pedals like the saints and i might buy the hole lot!
  • 1 0
 Anybody think the 10-speed rear derailleur and crankset would be any good for an Enduro set up?
  • 2 1
 Not a fan of the cranks the look kind of plain but great idea
  • 2 1
 Looks like a rival to Holzfeller
  • 4 3
 While we're beaking off the names, Holzfeller and Hussefelt aren't any better.
  • 4 1
 Yes, they clearly are, and if you don't think so you must be 11 or 12 years old. Those names sound like bad ass German tanks or weapons; ZEE sounds like a new brand of bubble gum marketed for children, or maybe the name of a gay fashion magazine.
  • 3 1
 ^ exactly. The name is a big miss. lol
  • 1 0
 Protour, why the hostility? I equally dislike "Zee". Zero or Priest like some other guy mentioned would be better.
  • 1 0
 What will be the groupset codes?
  • 1 1
 crap name, cheap crap looking logo's ......................nice gear? hopefully
  • 2 1
 for the beginners?
prices are similar as saint and XTR
  • 1 0
 "...specially designed for young entry riders..."?
  • 3 0
 maybe shimano should change it to "ZIT" for all aimed riders??
  • 1 0
 Why not name it shimano hone as it was back then a groupset???
  • 2 1
 its like slx to xtr - zee to saint!
  • 1 0
 Looks promising! Shimano has been hard a work eh
  • 2 1
 Do u think this is equivalent to a SRAM x9 groupset?
  • 2 0
 ZEE! Shimano! Sick!
  • 1 0
 it looks nice bt the name sounds like crap
  • 1 1
 i wonder if this is another failed attempt by shimano.. wouldnt be the first .. AIR BRAKES .. thats smart..
  • 1 0
 I'm thinking (hoping) this is an April fool ... seriously ZEE???
  • 1 0
 it will be like the XT of dh and the saint is like the XTR??
  • 1 0
 Is there a bar mounted lever for the for the switch on the mech?????
  • 1 0
 why did they just strait up take the design off saint...
  • 1 0
 Zee rear derailleur will be around XT price !!! :-(
  • 1 0
 $500 brakeset? they are targeting the same market they already have?
  • 4 3
 shifters look nicee
  • 3 2
 How much?
  • 1 0
 maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad
  • 1 1
 Who the hell is ZEE?
  • 2 2
 Chezee.
  • 1 0
 Brilliant :-)
  • 5 6
 Is this real?
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