Does Shimano's latest take on its Saint SPD still hold its own against the new wave of clip-in platform pedals?
Shimano’s latest Saint-level SPD is one of the biggest and heaviest clipless pedals on test but that meaty cage is pretty invisible when your foot is on it. Whether it adds any more support is debatable – we did back-to-back rides, with the Crankbrothers Mallet E on one side and this on the other, and couldn’t tell the difference. The speed of engagement and release is also very similar between these pedals – the only difference is the Saint needs a bit more force to unclip but it is a bit more positive.
Like the Nukeproof Horizon, the Saint is a forged pedal with a double-sided binding. There are four stainless steel pins per side to aid traction but like Hope, you need to fit them. We had to shim this one with our test shoes but clipping in is positive, immediate and it’s the same getting out.
The binding has very good mud clearance and you can adjust the release tension on the claws with a 3mm hex key and – unlike the Nukeproof – you do get the full range of adjustment.
The Saint gets a cro-mo steel axle and what Shimano calls a ‘sealed cartridge bearing’ but it’s actually two sets of miniature ball bearings. Sounds old school but they deal with both radial and axial loads and servicing is a doddle.
The great thing about Shimano cleats is they are common across all the SPD pedals in the range stretching back at least twenty years. At £17.99 they are good value and they usually last a year to 18 months before they need replacing.
When it comes to platform SPD pedals it's close call between the Shimano Saint and the Crankbrothers Mallet E. However, the Saints may well be heavy but they are easy to set up, offer impressive performance and are great value.