As it had taken a long time before Sram decided to present a serious competitor (Sram X.0 2012) for the downhill range of the Japanese manufacturer, I can say that the Shimano Saint M810 derailleur is the market leader in this segment. And not necessarily because it had no competition for some time, but simply because people at Shimano have done a quite good job with this derailleur. I’ll tell you why in the following test.
The Shimano Saint M810 is one of the most solid derailleurs that I have tested so far. Robustness can be seen with the naked eye. It is able to take serious knocks on the trail, without its functionality being affected. During testing, our derailleur was seriously hit by a stone, despite its Shadow construction which keeps it inboard of the rear dropout. However, the Saint went on shifting without the slightest problem.
The spring is strong enough, and this specification translates into brutal and certainly not silent shifting. But these last two aspects, which for a XC derailleur would have been disturbing, give the Saint a touch of masculinity. Shifting is extremely accurate, even when done under full load. You will also be satisfied with the very short cage because while jumping, the derailleur won’t produce noticeable noise, except when the chain is on the smaller sprockets. I used it with an 11-32T sprocket cassette and I must admit that on the first two gears, the derailleur stayed very tight. You can solve this little problem by adding two or three chain links, but if you don’t feel like doing operations in addition, you can always use it as it is. After a long time of operation, the derailleur spring didn’t lose its strength. It’s good to know that the Shimano Saint RD M810 works even with a 34-tooth cassette.
Jockey wheels are provided with bearings and ensure a long life. Actually the whole derailleur is built to face all operating conditions. Although designed for downhill, you can use it without problems for Enduro and Freeride. However, a single chainring setup would be a good choice.
With its 248 grams, it doesn’t rank among the lightest derailleurs in the world, but it certainly is the most robust, most reliable and most accurate one. You shouldn’t worry about its being brutal and noisy, but rather get more confident on fast descents, because you always know there’s an ally you can rely on, whether you ride on solid ground or through dust or mud. Until the test that will follow with the new Sram X0 for Downhill, the Shimano Saint remains the undisputed leader.
Weight: 248 grams
Use: Enduro, Freeride, Downhill