Saint Cranks and Rear Derailleur-Abused by Tyler

Nov 17, 2005
by Tyler Maine  
So by now, most of you out there are very much aware of Shimano’s SAINT line up of burly, Freeride components. The SAINT line up came about because of the demand for more abuse ready parts (i.e. cranks, derailleurs, brakes and hubs) for the Freeride and Downhill markets. SAINT answered the call and has been delivering for 2 seasons now. I put on a new set of 170 mm cranks and hooked up a short cage rear derailleur to my rear Deemax wheel this season and this is what the results were:After running a set of SAINT cranks on my last bike from last season, I knew that I wanted to run them again. I also have been running Shimano road rear derailleurs on my play bikes for a few seasons, but the SAINT rear mech had me keen to try another option. Well since I have been running a rear 135x10mm Deemax off and on for the past 3 years and due to the fact Mavic makes an axle kit to run SAINT rear derailleurs with their wheels, I would go this route.

The axle swap took me a few minutes longer then it should of, but really with out instructions, I feel that I did it in a timely manner. This was a really nice option for those of us out there that may have a nice rear wheel and not want to part with it, in order to run a new rear derailleur. More companies are making SAINT compatible hubs, so look into it if you are thinking about the switch and don’t want to go full on and do the hubs too.

The cranks install so easy!! I am definitely a huge fan of the direction in which many crank manufacturers are going with the outboard bearing BBs. This makes installation and removal of the crank arms so easy and also the replacement of BBs (if needed) is a breeze too. The SAINT bb threaded in fine with a little grease on the threads and then a simple lining up of the crank arm and Voila!

Now that I told you how the parts went on, how about we turn the page and get into how they worked on the trail.

First off SAINT cranks are burly and stiff, just look at them and you know what I’m talking about. They are lighter then going the Chromo/BMX crank route and easily as strong. Shimano even goes as far to say that the SAINTs are 100% stiffer than their own XTR level cranks. Other note worthy items on the cranks is the steel pedal insert so that you can bash your pedals on rocks all day and not worry about the aluminum threads twisting at the insert.

My cranks have found themselves back and forth between my hard tail and the Demo 8 test bike a lot this season and were on pretty much every road trip I did. The arms are more then true, despite the rocks in Nelson doing their best to scar them.

I have bent crank arms in the past, but I can’t see it happening in my lifetime on my SAINTs, and if it does, I’m sure I’ll wish that I was a goner. The bearings are now starting to show a little wear from the elements, but are easy to get at my local bike shop and I might just do that if the rain ever stops.

The other beauty with the BBs is compatibility with other brands, (FSA, RaceFace, etc.) and that if your shop can’t get you the brand of your cranks, well they should have or be able to get you someone else’s and it’ll work fine too.

The rear derailleur met the same fate with the random swaps between bikes and has stood up well too. Lots of thought went into the SAINT rear mech, to achieve the end result of a product that is going to take on boulders, logs and crashing in general to come out with as little impact damage as possible.

With a direct to hub mounting set up, the R/D to frame interface is so rigid. No more worrying about bent hangers as its mounted flush against the frame now. (Can be mounted on both horizontal and vertical drop outs, just be sure to purchase the one you require first) The adjustable rubber stop on the R/D really cuts down on chainstay contact chatter too, making for a quieter ride. The R/D will work with any Shimano compatible shifter as well.

The rainy season is now upon us and the snow will soon be falling again and I’m glad to say that my SAINT parts have held together strong through out the season. The cranks saw their fair share of rocks and the R/D founds its way through more then one log mishap. Visit for more information on Saint products.

Happy Trails,


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