First look at Shimano’s new Zee group

By Justin Steiner

Many of you have likely read our 2013 Saint report from Whistler by now, but check it out if you haven’t. Some of the parts we sampled on this trip were pre-production prototypes with issues yet to be resolved. Rather than delay our testing opportunities by waiting for production Saint parts to arrive, Shimano decided to return my Devinci Wilson SL test bike with Zee parts instead. So, we thought we’d shoot some photos of the production Zee bits to share.

I’m excited about Zee’s approachable pricing, costing roughly half that of the Saint parts for most items.

Brakes – $250/wheel, plus rotor and adapter

Zee brakes utilize the same basic caliper and master cylinder construction of the Saint brake, but do without some features to save weight. At the lever, the Free Stroke adjustment is gone (not a huge loss, I have a feeling few people put it to use), and adjusting the lever’s reach requires an Allen key. Zee caliper’s four pistons do squeeze the same finned brake pads, however the brake line heat sink does not carry over.

It will be interesting to see how these brake perform relative to their more expensive sibling. Saving $70 per wheel is easy to justify if performance is up to par.

Shifter – $50

It’s hard to argue with a $50 shifter, costing roughly half of that of the Saint shifter. Textured shift levers provide a positive feel at the lever. Unfortunately the Multi-release functionality does not carry over to Zee.

Derailleur – $110

The Zee rear derailleur does have Shimano’s Shadow + clutch mechanism, but forgoes the wider parallelogram mechanism in favor of cost savings, which makes the Zee mech half the price of Saint.

Crankset – $160

Costing $280 less and purportedly weighting just 7 grams more than the Saint crankset, this might be the thriftiest item in the Zee package. 34, 36, and 38 tooth chainring options are available, as is a new press fit DH option.

All in all, these bits look awfully nice. I even got to race them at Gravity Nationals in Beech Mountain, N.C. Check out our race report from the weekend and look for a first impression of the Zee parts soon.




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