Shimano Zee downhill groupset – Best bikes and gear of 2012

Want to know what bike kit really stood out for us in 2012? Not the nearly-theres and pretty-goods but the stuff we’d sell our own mothers for?! You’ve come to the right place! Welcome to ChopMTB‘s ‘Best bikes and gear of 2012’ wishlist. We’ll be bringing you one killer product a day, from now until New Year’s Eve. First up: the new Shimano Zee downhill groupset.

The new Saint may have stolen the limelight but the much cheaper Shimano Zee will actually suit most ‘gravity’ riders down to the ground. As with its bigger brother, you get super-powerful four-piston brakes, a clutch-equipped short-cage rear mech, a burly single-ring crankset and a 10-speed cassette.

You lose a few bells and whistles (brake lever reach adjustment, an extra-long banjo on the calliper that resists heat build-up, a mode converter on the rear mech) but then what do you expect for $700 / £400 less? Despite the massive price difference, Zee is actually a little lighter than Saint, at 1,905g vs 1,926*. Which begs the question, why pay more?

Why we like it:

  • Much cheaper than Saint, yet with much of the same technology
  • Tough and smooth-running
  • Ideal for downhill and freeride duties – or riders who make normal XC groupsets crumble

RRP: US$819.95 / £504.95*

More info: bike.shimano.com / www.madison.co.uk

* Prices and claimed weights are for crankset, rear derailleur, left-hand shifter and pre-bled brake callipers and levers, but not rotors, hubs, etc.