Still the reliable choice for clipped-in gravity riders
Rather than going for the articulated, caged pedal like the old DX M647, the Shimano Saint M820 is a fixed position pedal in the same vein as the XT Trail.
So here it is, the long awaited Saint gravity based clipless pedal. Effectively the Saint pedal stretches out the XT Trail design to offer a wider platform and also extends the XT’s ‘wings’ into a platform that forms more of a contact with the shoe. Additionally Shimano has given the Saint additional pins to provide traction when perching on the platform.
Being the originators of the off-road clipless pedal has given Shimano plenty of time to perfect the mechanism and the Saint pedal provides one of the most positive engagement of all the pedals. You certainly know when you are clipped in. Release tension is adjustable but as with the XT pedals, the factory default position feels perfect. If you do need to adjust, the indexed mechanism helps to maintain even tension for both sides.
Mud clearance can be an issue with the Saint; its blocky profile inhibits mud clearance. On particularly mucky days the Saint needed more ‘cleat kicking’ than any other pedal to encourage engagement.
The Saint is no lightweight though, weighing in as the heaviest fixed mechanism pedal on test. The upshot to that heft is the super robust build quality and solid construction should withstand years of rock smashing.
Like the XT Trail , the sealed cartridge bearings and chromoly axle have shown zero loss of performance and should make the Saint another reliable choice for clip-in gravity riders.