Shimano’s formidable 4-piston Saint gravity brakes make other stopping systems feel like dragging a foot in the dirt. That’s what Singletracks.com says.
Singletracks.com’s Brian Gerow reviewed Shimano’s XT 4-piston brakes, and the website reports that several readers asked how the XT 4-piston compares to the Saint 4-piston option. Answer: They feel far more powerful, and provide a greater increase in confidence and security on the trail than shifting from 2 to 4-pistons did.
Shimano reports that the 4-piston XT caliper is 20% stronger than the 2-piston version and my non-scientific assessment is that the Saint feels an additional 50% more powerful. These brakes are strong enough to get you out of trouble, saving your line when you need it most.
The Saint brakes have been out for a few years now, but the shape and function of the levers are almost identical to that of the XT 4-piston. Both sets of gravity brakes also share the SM-BH90 hydraulic hose and connecting hardware, and pinch the same pads.
Gerow has been riding the Saint brakes for a couple of months, through heavy dust, thick mud, and downpours. Gerow tested them with a number of different rotor combinations, and though they played best with rotors from Shimano, they also performed impressively with most other rotors of similar thickness. Gerow noticed a significant loss of power with wider rotors, but once he opened up the system and pushed the plungers all the way in they paired well with the thick discs.
The brakes not only instill confidence on steeper and faster tracks but their massive stopping power can help to relieve arm pump and hand fatigue. The light lever feel, attached to truck stopping caliper force requires a low amount of pressure on the lever to stop or skid. On long descents, this translates to less fatigue and more fun.