The Sea Otter Classic and Expo presents an opportunity for manufacturers to unveil their latest products, and Cyclocross Magazine will be there to cover all new products relevant to the cyclocrosser.  Check back often over the next week for exclusive product news and new cyclocross bikes and gear.

Over the last year, Shimano has unveiled quite a number of cyclocross-related components recently, with the CX70 cyclocross drivetrain (tested in Issue 16) and the CX75 mechanical disc brake we got an exclusive preview of at NAHBS 2012, but today the Japanese company unveiled two new gravity-related mountain bike component groups, with the new 10-speed Zee group and revamped 10-speed Saint group.

While these component lines are intended for full-face helmet and baggy shorts-wearing riders, new gravity technology is typically a preview of innovations that will later find their place in cross country and cyclocross components, and it may give us a glimpse of technology cyclocrossers will eventually come to appreciate.

Shimano shows off revamped Saint and new Zee hydraulic disc brakes, derailleurs, cranksets and bottom brackets that are Pressfit BB compatible. While cyclocrossers may not race to adopt the Saint’s four-piston hydraulic disc brakes, the ICE Technology multi-layer rotors and finned pads will certainly be useful if migrated to a future road or cyclocross disc brake to avoid overheating during long adventures. Tired of rear derailleur slap on a bumpy cyclocross course? The urethane-bumper on the new Saint rear derailleur could be a useful feature when put to work.

Shimano's 2013 Saint Mountain Bike rear derailleur with mode switch. ©Shimano

Shimano's 2013 Saint Mountain Bike rear derailleur with mode switch. ©Shimano

Perhaps what is most interesting for a cyclocrosser who uses his or her bike for both trail and road cycling and needs both wide-range and tight-range cassettes is the mode switch available on the new Saint short-cage rear derailleur. This switch easily adapts between settings for wide-range mountain cassette gear ratios (11-32, 11-34, 11-36) and road (11-23, 11-25, 11-28).  If we see such technology make it to a road group, it could solve an adventuresome rider’s long-cage or short-cage rear derailleur dilemma.

Now, if we could get a Shimano STI road shifter to work with Dyna-Sys 10-speed derailleurs, the single ring crank and short-cage rear derailleur could very well be the basis of a serviceable, heavy-duty cyclocross or monster cross drivetrain.

Full details and images from Shimano’s press release below.

Shimano Introduces New Saint, Zee Gravity Mountain Bike Component Groups

IRVINE, Calif. (April 19, 2012) – Shimano, the gravity component pioneer, reinforces its leadership in the segment with the introduction of two new gravity component groups for 2013: Saint and Zee. Sharing a similar commitment to speed, these component groups serve aggressive riders and DH racers a full dose of Shimano’s latest mountain bike component technology that has changed the trail riding market and is now poised to define the benchmark for gravity riding performance. Shimano systems engineering means that the latest technologies and features are seamlessly integrated in braking and drivetrain systems that provide riders with enhanced control, focus and speed. Shimano Shadow Plus rear derailleurs improve chain control and reduce noise with new silencing technologies that let riders focus more on the trail with less distraction. By reducing heat in the disc brake system, Shimano ICE Technologies increase braking power and benefit riders with a controllable and confidence-boosting brake system. For increased focus, and predictable and confident control, Saint and Zee offer riders two new keys to unlock the secret of speed.

Shimano's 2013 Saint Mountain Bike Group - Race / Gravity components. ©Shimano

Shimano's 2013 Saint Mountain Bike Group - Race / Gravity components. ©Shimano

The original dedicated gravity component line is more focused, more advanced and more dedicated to speed than ever with the new M820 group for 2013. The now 10-speed Saint M820 group embraces Shimano’s latest technology and debuts all-new advancements in both heat control and drivetrain stability. With new ICE Technologies and Saint’s take on the Shadow Plus rear derailleur, the M820 group promises riders a pure riding experience and the gift of focus through seamless and stable bike control.

The new standard in DH rear derailleurs – New chain control and silencing technologies in the new RD-M820 are a game changer for gravity riding. In addition to the proven Shadow Plus RD design, a Saint specific, high durometer urethane bump stopper (between the RD and the dropout) was added to reduce impact noise. Now 10- speed, the new RD-M820 features a durable super wide link that serves as the backbone of the DH parallelogram. Ready for track and trail, the mode converter easily adapts between two settings for MTB cassette gear ratios (11-32, 11-34, 11-36) and road (11-23, 11-25, 11-28).

Shimano's 2013 Saint Mountain Bike Ice Tech hydraulic brakes. ©Shimano

Shimano's 2013 Saint Mountain Bike Ice Tech hydraulic brakes. ©Shimano

ICE Technologies even more advanced – The new Saint disc brake embraces Shimano ICE Technology and advances it, reducing heat and improving performance through multiple combined features. In addition to finned brake pads, self insulating ceramic pistons and three layer rotor construction, new M820 disc brake systems will also see the introduction of a 30mm aluminum banjo fitting and an innovative finned rotor, that reduce operating temperatures by increasing the convective surface area. The new SM-RT99 Ultimate Clad rotor is a significant performance enhancement reducing heat by 50 degrees, creating 20% more stopping power, eliminating brake fade and increasing pad life. A new, longer 30mm banjo fitting extending from the caliper further reduces heat at a critical location where oil transitions from hose to caliper. Saint shares the excellent ergonomics and system stiffness found on Zee brake systems and is also ISPEC compatible.

Improved shifter ergonomics, easier shifts – Advanced DH ergonomics including longer levers (+5mm) and textured paddles combine with low friction ball bearings to reduce shifting effort on this gravity specific shifter. Designed specifically for Shadow Plus and Vivid indexing, these shifting enhancements reduce base shifting effort by up to 37%, so that on-trail shift effort is as light as ever. Instant, effortless shifts create a whole new paradigm for the most durable, gravity-ready drivetrain on the market. Premium functions include instant release, multi release and 2-Way release. An I-SPEC bracket option will be available to reduce weight and handlebar clutter.

Reliable DH race cranks – New Saint Hollowtech II cranks are hollow forged Duraluminum, creating a lighter weight crank set with an axle that is 250% stronger than trail options and an arm that is double strength. The single-only setup looks great with custom aluminum hardware and is available in three lightweight chainring options (34T/36T/38T) and in two crank sets: FC-M820 (68/73mm BB) and FC-M825 (83mm BB) that both offer Pressfit BB compatibility. A steel pedal insert adds durability at the pedal interface. Note: MTB Press fit BB: SM-BB71-41A (50mm chainline; 89.5×41 BB shell), DH Press fit BB: SM-BB71-41C (58mm chainline; 104.5×41 BB shell)

New Saint hubsets – New Saint hubs are lighter and easier to adjust. All weather rated with top quality sealing, adjustable angular contact bearings, and precision ground, integrated cone construction, these hubs track straight and roll true. Centerlock mounting for alignment and braking efficiency, Saint hubs are available with 20mm axles up front and 12mm axles in 135, 142 and 150mm configurations.

New wider, lower profile Saint flat pedals – After years of success, the crowd favorite DX flat pedals are succeeded by new PD-MX80 Saint-branded pedals that feature a wider (+3mm), lower profile (-8.5mm) platform with an easy replacement pin system. Adapted to modern riding, the PD-MX80 retains the durable, smooth rotating axle and concave ergonomic platform that made the MX30 a legend.

2013 Shimano Saint Photo Gallery:

Shimano's new 2013 Zee Gravity Component Group. ©Shimano

Shimano's new 2013 Zee Gravity Component Group. ©Shimano

Shimano introduces Zee, a new line of gravity components that are an ideal starting point for aggressive riders and racers. Zee is the gateway gravity component line that allows riders to get on board with Shimano’s gravity program and experience premium new component technologies at a price they can afford. Highlights in the Zee line include a 10-speed system that comes standard with new ICE Tech and Shadow Plus technologies.

Shadow Plus Rear Derailleur from Shimano's new 2013 Zee Gravity Component Group. ©Shimano

Shadow Plus Rear Derailleur from Shimano's new 2013 Zee Gravity Component Group. ©Shimano

Zee Shadow Plus RD – The Zee RD-M640 features Shadow Plus technology proven to reduce chain slap, drop and impact noise and the 10-speed short cage RD’s low profile tucks safely below the cassette cogs. With two spec options that enable a typical MTB cassette (11-32,11-34,11-36) or a close ratio road cassette (11-23,11-25,11-28), Zee is ready to handle the needs of enduro and DH racers. 10-speed also offers complete compatibility with Dyna-Sys MTB product and Shimano’s latest chain and cassette technology.

New gravity 10-speed shifter – The new Zee shifter uses Dyna-Sys compatible cable stroke, which means linear shift effort, easy set-up and accurate, stable gear changes. All new paddle shapes with 2-Way release and dimpled main lever allow riders to be more in control and perfectly engaged.

Powerful 4-piston Disc Brakes with ICE Tech – New Zee hydraulic disc brake systems are gravity rated with a Servo-Wave brake lever and new 4-piston ceramic disc brake caliper. System stiffness is tuned using Shimano’s high-power hose and shorter lever blade while ergonomics are perfected with a new pivot location and dimpled surface. ICE Tech brake pad and rotor options reduce heat in the system and maintain performance on the longest descents.

Durable, reinforced crank set – The thick wall aluminum construction on the Zee two-piece cranks and reinforced steel axle translate to additional confidence on the trail. With an axle 30% stronger than comparable trail cranks and smooth running, accurately aligned chain wheels, the Zee crank will perform reliably – run after run. The crank arm features outboard bearings and steel pedal inserts. Options include single ring 34T/36T/38T; FC-M640 68/73mm BB and FC-M645 83mm BB. Pressfit compatible.

New durable and reliable hubsets – Quick engaging, smooth running hubs are a big advantage on the mountain. The new Zee hubs include quality sealing, adjustable angular contact bearings, and rotate on extra stiff, one piece rear axles with integrated cone construction. Zee hubs are ready for any modern gravity bike with 20mm axles up front and 12mm axles in 135, 142 and 150mm configurations.

2013 Shimano Zee Components Photo Gallery: