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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Make and model: SwissStop Catalyst Race Disc Rotor - 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?
SwissStop says: "LIGHTWEIGHT AND WITHOUT COMPROMISE"
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
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
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 road.cc?
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
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,
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