Review: SwissStop Disc 17 C brake pads

A close-up shot of the rear wheel of a mountain bike showing the disc brakes
SwissStop Disc 17 C brake pads fitted to Avid BB7 callipers
Cycle magazine editor Dan Joyce tested these all-weather Disc 17 C brake pads from SwissStop and experienced well-modulated, squeal-free braking in the wet or dry

Smooth power, low noise. That’s the description SwissStop gives to these organic pads, and it’s one that’s hard to argue with.

I fitted them to the Avid BB7 callipers of my mountain bike. Even though these are ‘only’ mechanical brakes, their stopping performance is already excellent thanks to big rotors (203mm front, 180mm rear) and compressionless cable housing. So I wasn’t expecting much improvement.

Yet there was a clear difference, especially when it came to the less powerful rear brake. There were no banshee squeals in the wet, which you sometimes get with sintered pads. And the braking feel was better, with a more immediate initial bite and smoother modulation throughout the lever squeeze.

This was most noticeable as I slowly picked my way down a very steep descent where I’d forcibly dismounted the week before. The tactile braking allowed inch-perfect positioning – no wheel locking, no panic-inducing delay in power application.

SwissStop’s Disc C compound is a composite that includes Kevlar, ceramic and brass particles as well as resin. This should improve pad longevity. The test samples show little wear after a couple of months of use in grim conditions, but I wouldn’t expect them to last as long as sintered pads.

I’d still pick sintered ones for bashing out the miles on a year-round commuter or (if I did that kind of riding) for downhilling through the grinding paste of an off-road winter. Sintered pads will also work out cheaper for just-riding-along miles, where the nuances of braking performance matter much less.

SwissStop Disc 17 C brake pads

Where I think the SwissStop Disc C pads will work better is for more measured mountain biking, where you’re noodling through technical terrain trying not to put a foot down, and for less downhill-orientated mountain biking in general.

They would also suit year-round road cycling in the UK: they work equally well in the wet and the dry, and the superior modulation means you’re less likely to lock up a wheel ahead of a tight or greasy corner. The fact that they don’t squeal is particularly nice on group rides.

SwissStop Disc C pads are available to fit the majority of callipers. The number in the name relates to the models of brake that it will fit – 17 is for Avid’s BB7 and Juicy callipers. Check the SwissStop website to see which ones you need.


A worthwhile upgrade for disc brakes that lack fine modulation (such as Avid BB7) or outright power (such as Tektro Spyre). They won’t last as long as sintered pads but they’re much quieter and have a nicer feel, with a smoothly progressive bite. Best suited to UK-style road riding and less abrasive kinds of mountain biking.

Other options

Avid BB7 Sintered Pads £22

Avid BB7 Sintered disc brake pads

What I was using before. Durable and reliable year-round performance in British rain and mud, but less well modulated and noisy.

Kool-Stop KS-D270A £27

Kool-Stop KS-D270A disc brake pads

Organic pads on an aluminium backing plate, which saves a tiny bit of weight over the cheaper steel KS-D270 version (coloured red).

Running rim brakes? Check out Dan Joyce’s review of SwissStop’s Full FlashPro BXP pads in the December 23/January 24 issue of Cycle, available to members to read online. If you’re not already a member, you can sign up today to access the magazine, along with a range of membership benefits.

Our test promise

At Cycling UK and Cycle magazine, we are proudly independent. There’s no pressure to please advertisers as we’re funded by our members. Our product reviews aren’t press releases; they’re written by experienced cyclists after thorough testing.

Tech spec

Price: £23.99 
Available from: SwissStop, Extra UK