As a brand, Shimano rarely, if ever, shout about their abilities or boast superiority, but every now and then they go out there and slip a product onto the market that betters the competition by so far that it is almost embarrassing.

If one product could epitomise Shimano then it would be these Saint brakes. Unlike some brands’ brakes, straight out of the box these feel solid and dependable, and during their entire lifetime need far less servicing than most. The feel is direct to the brakes, absolutely no sponginess and never any change in feel with increased temperature on long descents. As far as power goes, there is probably no other brake set-up to rival the Saints, yet it is power that is delivered in moderation as opposed to a sharp ‘on/off’ feel.

New for 2013 is the shorter lever complete with dimples to improve feel, plus ‘Ice Technologies’ pads; Shimano’s trademark finned pads which aid cooling/heat dissipation. To round the improvements off, the disc has been extensively developed with cooling in mind, with fins which Shimano claims give an “additional 50 degrees centigrade decrease in operating temperatures over previous Ice Technology rotors."

PRICE: £194.99, Disc £69.99