- Smooth running, serviceable bearings
- Plenty of grip with the right pins fitted
- Tough enough to last a long time
- Shorter pins are useless and a faff to change
- Fairly hefty compared to rivals
- Not cheap
Shimano's tough Saint flat pedals feature a broad platform that maximises ground clearance and also run on some smooth, serviceable and quality bearings that promise a long lifespan. If you switch to the longer pins from out of the box, then there's also plenty of grip, though they're expensive and rather heavy compared to rivals.
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While Shimano may better be associated with their clipless SPD pedals, they have a decent heritage making flatties, with the original DX pedals being firm favourites for many years, though later Saint models didn't set the world on fire.
These new pedals put right a lot of the issues with the older versions, with a platform that's now much larger at a substantial 109mm long and 105mm wide. The 18mm depth isn't bad either, while the octagonal shape works well to maximise ground clearance and they've been battered by rocks remarkably little as a result.
Even when they have taken a beating, they've proved to be very tough, with typical Shimano build quality. That does result in a rather lardy weight of 490g, but if you value durability over a few grams, it's a trade-off worth taking.
When it comes to bearings, they run as smoothly as any of Shimano's high-end SPDs thanks to a pair of loose balled bearings. They're designed to be serviceable - assuming you have the correct tool for that golden lock collar - but they're still running extremely well without any ministrations after six months or so thanks to quality sealing.
The pedals come with 12 pins per side and both long and short pins included. Sadly, the latter of which were fitted to my test set from the box - they're better suited to being introduced to a bin as soon as possible as they offer very little traction indeed.
I switched all of the outer edge pins to the longer versions to increase traction - and allow my foot to 'sit in' better - and they've proven to be really secure and comfortable in use ever since. That said, changing them over was a ten-minute faff I could have done without and it'd be nice to have them come like this from stock.
I'm not very keen on the fact that the Allen headed pins thread in from the top - in my experience that makes removing or tightening them once the heads are full of dirt impossible unless you use mole grips or similar. On the plus side, at least the pins have thread lock compound on them, so they've stayed put and none have been torn out so far, which is impressive.
All in all, these are grippy and supportive flat pedals (assuming you move straight to the long pins) and they've proved to be tough and long-lasting, though they're pretty pricey and fairly weighty. That's something I can probably forgive them considering their durable nature, however.