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SwissStop Catalyst Race Disc Rotor - 160mm



Silent performance straight out of the box along with excellent braking performance whatever the riding conditions
No squealing
Quick and easy to fit
Plenty of bite
Some rotors come with lockrings included

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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SwissStop's Catalyst Race brake rotors are a lightweight replacement for the stock equipment that comes on your bike. I've found them to be virtually silent in operation and with plenty of bite, feel and modulation in all kinds of riding conditions.

SwissStop has three Catalyst rotor 'families' in its line-up: the One, the Pro and these Race versions, which according to SwissStop are 'Lightweight, and without compromise'.

At 120g they are similar in weight to the Hope Road CL rotors that we reviewed a while back, or about 35g lighter than the same size SRAM Rival AXS offering.

> When should you get new disc brake rotors

Fitting the rotor is easy thanks to its Centerlock compatibility. Centerlock rotors slide on to multiple splines on the wheel hub and are then secured by a lockring – a bit like your cassette. Most other rotors are secured by six separate bolts, and while this is a little bit more of a faff than a Centerlock setup, this isn't really an issue unless you are constantly swapping rotors over.

2022 SwissStop Catalyst Race Disc Rotor - 160mm - 4.jpg

After fitting, my callipers needed a tiny tweak to realign things to stop them rubbing, but I was impressed by how true the Catalysts were running. These rotors are just 1.8mm thick, so they are easy to get dinged out of shape in transit.

2022 SwissStop Catalyst Race Disc Rotor - 160mm Fitted.jpg

I received both the 160mm option shown (above) and a 140mm disc (below) for reviewing, so I fitted one to a Shimano setup and the other to a SRAM-equipped bike.

2022 SwissStop Catalyst Race Disc Rotor - 140mm Fitted.jpg

On both machines everything lined up easily and apart from that little tweak to the side-to-side pad alignment they were ready to roll straightaway.

2022 SwissStop Catalyst Race Disc Rotor - 160mm - 3.jpg

Performance-wise I found the SwissStops to be very impressive. There was loads of bite and great modulation and feel from the partnership of the rotor and pads, and even on fast downhill sections I never needed to worry about whether I was going to stop or not.

But the thing that pleased me most straight from the off was the complete lack of any squeal when I was braking. The only noise you hear is the sound of the pad compound against the rotor, which is exactly how you want it to be.

> How to fit disc rotors: get fresh brake surfaces in 8 easy steps

I used the SwissStop Race rotors on both road and gravel bikes without issue, even during some very gritty and wet rides. It's too early yet to gauge wear rates as they've only been on the bikes for a few months, but I will carry on using them and keep you posted on when they need replacing.

Cost-wise, this 160mm version comes in at £59.99, which is a tenner less than the Hope CL discs, while the Shimano Ultegra rotors are £52.99.

SRAM Rival rotors have a list price of £54 each, while the latest Shimano 105 rotors are a more modest £29.99.


Overall, I wouldn't say that braking performance is hugely different than the Ultegra version that this 160mm rotor replaced – but as I really liked the braking of the Ultegra system that's not a bad thing. The SwissStop's build quality is excellent, and the alloy spider kept things feeling tight. They are dearer than some other high-end discs, but not by so much that it really makes a difference.


Silent performance straight out of the box along with excellent braking performance whatever the riding conditions. test report

Make and model: SwissStop Catalyst Race Disc Rotor - 160mm

Size tested: 160mm

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?


They compete with others on weight and price, while also offering loads of bite.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

12% lighter than Catalyst Pro

Two-piece construction

Brake ring dimensions are optimised for race pads

Aluminum alloy spider provides increased stiffness

New spider design for improved aerodynamics


140 and 160mm are UCI approved

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Plenty of bite so they deliver great stopping performance.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

No squealing.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Some rotors come with lockrings included.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

They are reasonably priced against the likes of Hope, Shimano and SRAM.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Great performance that matches the high-end original equipment offerings and for a decent price too

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for, and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

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IanEdward | 1 year ago
1 like

Genuinely curious, not trying to be awkward, were they REALLY silent in wet conditions? What pads?

I bought catalyst rotors and Swissstop green pads off the back of Liam's last review on this site. They were great in the dry but screeched and howled as badly as any other setup in the wet ☹️

Just wondering what the common/not common factor might be...

MattieKempy replied to IanEdward | 1 year ago

I've been running a set of 160s for around 2 years/15000km mainly in Greece: mountainous and dusty but not too often rainy. They're still going strong and have seen off about 4 pairs of pads in that time. They're quite all the time but can be a little noisy when it's wet. I found them thicker than Shimano rotors, meaning when fitting them, and refitting new pads, I have to push the pistons further in to avoid brake rub. Can't really say as they're any better or worse than Shimano, but they're no more expensive here and have a reputation for better heat dispersal, so if true, great in the mountains.

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