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Hope Road CL Disc Rotor



Blingtastic way to upgrade your bike with lightweight UK-made bits
Available in six colours
Rounded rotor edges
Low weight
Can be a pain to keep true until you learn the trick
Can foul on callipers

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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Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

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Hope's Road CL Disc Rotor is designed to fit centre-lock hubs, and be swapped easily between wheelsets. While adding substantial bling to your bike for no weight penalty, they can be tricky to keep true and may foul on your calliper or frame/fork, so check carefully. Also, leaning towards Hope's mountain bike heritage, the rotors only come in the single 160mm size to match Hope's RX4 road-gravel-adventure four-piston calipers, so if you fancy them but use 140mm, you'll need to investigate adaptors to lift your callipers outwards.

Centre-lock brake rotors are a great option – easily removed and swapped between wheels, they make running different tyres for different surfaces a far-simpler proposition than having to drill out and refit six bolts per wheel along with reapplying thread locker and retorquing the rotor cap screws each time.

> Find your nearest dealer here

> Buy these online here

The rise and rise of do-it-all framesets with lots of tyre clearance means you can have a pretty light frame and fork that will take a narrower slick road-orientated tyre, but also swap in a chunky fat gravel/singletrack/mud-eating balloon for the rowdy stuff. So instead of needing two bikes, you can have one bike and two wheelsets.

When I go on holidays I take one drop-bar bike, and an extra set of centre-lock wheels. When the time comes to swap from road to mud or back, it's a two-minute exercise with a Shimano freehub tool and torque wrench to shift the rotors from one set to the other. My experience of travelling with a spare wheelset including rotors isn't great, even in a padded wheelbag – the rotors are just too easy to ping, and then you're delayed at the start trying to get rid of a niggling rotor rub. Easier to have the one set that travel safely on the bike, and get swapped over.

2020 Hope Technology Road CL Disc Rotor - detail 2.jpg

Prior to centre-lock rotors, that swapping would have meant faffing with 12 rotor cap screws, so all hail our new splined rotor overlords. Being relatively cheap and easily changed, they are also a perfect way to customise your bike, and that's what Hope has here with six zinging colours to choose from – red, orange, blue, purple, black and silver.

CNC-machined from single alloy blocks in Hope's Lancashire factory and fitted with a laser-cut steel rotor, they certainly look the business.

The steel rotor is held on the spider with five rivets, and to be clear, it's not a 'floating' design in the strictest sense – there is no play at all if you wiggle the rotor, and certainly no noise. There's the tiniest of gaps between the steel rotor and the alloy carrier where the rivet holds both solidly together. This, in theory, would allow the rotor to expand when hot without warping what would otherwise be the spindly connecting arms of an all-steel rotor. Warped arms will put your rotor out of true and lead to lots of rubbing, so if you did run your brakes that hot this could be a benefit.

2020 Hope Technology Road CL Disc Rotor - side 2.jpg

Getting ahead of the inevitable comments, there's an awful lot of anecdata out there on this subject of heat transfer with no conclusive scientific answer. This is an area of cycling science just begging for PhD thesis treatment, with justifiably large amounts of hard riding involved.

> 8 reasons not to get disc brakes…

The rivets protrude 1mm out from each side of the rotor, about 18mm in from the outer circumference. Hope acknowledges that for some frame/fork/calliper setups this might cause a clash, and provides a detailed dimensions sheet on its website so you can check if your setup might be incompatible. I had no issues fitting the rotors to a flat mount frame/fork with Hope's RX4 calliper (as you'd, er, hope. Sorry). Whilst they should work OK with other callipers, make sure you check as some combinations of frame, fork and calliper might not work.

Hope rounds off the wedges of the rotor, both on the inside and outside. You can press your finger down really hard on either edge, slide it back and forth, and not cut yourself.

2020 Hope Technology Road CL Disc Rotor - detail 1.jpg

Weight-wise, the Hopes are pretty darn good for a rotor involving so much chunky alloy. The Shimano Ultegra SM-RT800 rotor (£50 rrp) is 128g for the same 160mm size – a whole 9g porker. So all that CNC loveliness isn't holding you back up the hills.

Thumb tools

I've been truing disc rotors for decades, and pride myself as something of a 'rotor whisperer' (stop sniggering at the back) – but initially the Hopes left me struggling for a grasp on sanity. Traditional application of a rotor truing fork – long slot or small – just doesn't work. I'm not sure why, but the design where the alloy spider-carrier obviously does not bend (unless you've really come a cropper) means the bit that does bend needs a different approach.

> How to look after your disc brakes

Talking to Hope tech support, they recommended using your thumbs. Yes, thumbs. Initially sceptical, I started off with what I thought was sufficient pressure to correct a wee wobble – but that was overkill. These really do need just a light application to get them true again. I don't think that translates into 'they are easily put out of true' – as all bike rotors are so light/flimsy that minimal force will see them warped – rather, that when you need to it's a tool-free process and is done relatively easily using the caliper-eye-o-meter method.

Use case

As overall weight is close to that of higher-end Shimano centre lock rotors, and there's no hard science telling us one design is better than the other at heat dissipation, the reason for choosing the Hope rotors really comes down to the bling factor and supporting UK businesses. Both are perfectly valid arguments, and if your calliper/frame clearances support the Hope rotors then the extra £15 or so per end over Ultegra won't leave your wallet gasping.

Even if you are considering them as an upgrade from a considerably cheaper £30-ish rotor, the Bling Watts alone justify the extra spend in my view.

2020 Hope Technology Road CL Disc Rotor - side 1.jpg

If you're running Hope's centre lock hubs (which come in the same colors – full review to come) they are a near-compulsory buy, and there are 216 colour combinations of Hope hub, rotor and matching rotor lockring you can create. Or 46,656 if you go wild with both ends.

In terms of stopping performance, I can't say I noticed any difference over decent Shimano rotors – which is to say, they worked just fine. It's hard to find alpine-size runs hereabouts, and the ambient temperature of 'Baltic' this time of year meant no chance to run hot on a 30-degree-plus day to get the worst out of them. Again there's anecdata both ways on the web comparing the Hopes with other rotors, so let's see that PhD thesis soon.

> Everything you need to know about disc brakes

Yes, £65 is a premium price, and being a small manufacturer Hope is unlikely to appear on any clearance sale list (the black ones are currently £61.75, if you follow the buying link up top). But made in the UK from premium materials, in a range of colours, and easily trued tool-free once you know how, the Hope Technology Road CL Disc Rotor is a good buy to bling your bike.


Blingtastic way to upgrade your bike with lightweight UK-made bits test report

Make and model: Hope Road CL Disc Rotor

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 are for people wanting to bling their bike, with no real downsides.

Hope says: 'With the growth of disc brakes in the road market, centre-lock rotors are becoming a standard fitment. Taking our proven road disc and floating technology, we've now combined them onto a splined spider to enable these road bike applications.'

Key Features

Round edge braking surface

The rotor is machined with a radius on the inner and outer edge

2 piece floating design

Available in our 6 standard colours

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

**IMPORTANT NOTICE**Please ensure you have sufficient clearance to use this rotor, pay attention to any possible interference with caliper mount, frame, etc. See diagram in Manuals and Diagrams below

Custom steel braking surface riveted to an aluminium central carrier

Centrelock Spline Fitment

Available in: 160mm only

Floating design deals with changes in temperature

Available in our six colour options

Weight 121g

Rate the product for quality of construction:


Rate the product for performance:

The bling is strong and the centre lock just works.

Rate the product for durability:

Can't see any issues, apart form the usual 'rotors get bent'.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)

For something so chunky they are pretty darn light.

Rate the product for value:

This depends on how much you value bling. Performance-wise, they are on a par with good Shimano rotors.

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

Once I knew how to true them, just fine.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The bling. It's all about bling.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Initially, how to true the sods. But I got over that.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, once I learned how to true them.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes-ish.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, but with caveats re clearance and truing.

Use this box to explain your overall score

Assuming you don't have clearance issues, and you want the bling, it's hard not to recommend these rotors.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 183cm  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe  My best bike is: Nah bro that's it

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L

Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.

Add new comment


General Zod | 2 years ago

I run these on a 2020 Trek Domane SL with Ultegra calipers and have no complaints. I'm 90kg and they stop me quickly and predictably in all weather.

Mine are all silver on a black bike. A bit conservative, but there was very little stock when I ordered these for my new Hope Aero 50 wheels a few months ago.

Prosper0 | 3 years ago

Personally I really dislike the bubble patterns on hope rotors, very unattractive IMO. 

Secret_squirrel replied to Prosper0 | 3 years ago

How dare you!  Thats 30 years of Lancashire tradition.  I have about 10 bubbly Hope discs in the shed going back the the early 90's.  4

Reiver2768 | 3 years ago
1 like

All colours out of stock according to the link above.  I blame Brexit.  What was that? Made in Lancashire you say? Oh....

Dicklexic | 3 years ago

The main 'problem' with these as far as I can see is that they still don't produce a 140mm option. My bike (no doubt like many others) has 160mm front and 140mm rear, so I would have to add a caliper adapter on the back and run a bigger disc, or run odd rotors on each end.

Secret_squirrel replied to Dicklexic | 3 years ago
1 like

+1.  I run 140/140 to keep multiple wheel sets compatible with multiple bikes. 

Secret_squirrel replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago

though I should mention the 140mm floating 6 bolt version appears to be freely available and I at least have a couple of sets of centerlock to 6 bolt you still dont need to fiddle with 12 screws....

Joe Totale replied to Dicklexic | 3 years ago

On the road I've found 160 front and 140 rear to be the optimum combo. However, I feel that these rotors have been made with gravel and mountain bikes in mind and not road bikes.

Likewise their RX4 calipers provide unnecessary amounts of stopping power on the road but I bet are great as soon as you venture off the road.

KiwiMike replied to Joe Totale | 3 years ago
1 like

It's not onroad/offroad - you'll always be able to put down more raw stopping power into dry tarmac, where grass/gravel/mud/rock would have maxed out traction ages ago.  So depends who you are and where/how you ride. Someone who's 70kg sopping wet and rides in the fens, yes 140-140. 

A prop forward living in the middle of the Lake District is going to need every bit of stopping power mankind can muster, in those circumstances a 160mm rotor and 4-pot brakes could make a lot of sense.. 

Joe Totale replied to KiwiMike | 3 years ago

I was writing from personal experience. I commute on my CX bike with 28mm tyres and 160mm rotors front and rear and it's definitely easier to get the rear skidding out from me if I'm not careful than on my road bike with a 140mm at the rear. That's in the dry, not just in the wet.

Absolutely agree though that for bikepacking or a larger rider, 160mm rotors front and rear would make more sense.

Dicklexic replied to Joe Totale | 3 years ago

As a big lad (95 kg) that also loves riding really fast down hill, I definitely make the most of all the available stopping power, but have honestly never felt like I need a 160 on the back. My road bike was specced with 140 front and back from the factory, but the very first thing I did was up it to 160 on the front. My CX bike (which is also my commuter) came with 160 front and back but I swapped the back to 140 so that I could easily swap any of my three wheelsets between it and the road bike. Personally I prefer that the power is more balanced between the ends.

Despite often pushing my braking to the absolute limit, I have only locked up a handful of times on the rear, and I would worry that it would be more easily done with a 160 on the back. Maybe if I went up a size on the front to a 180, then I would put a 160 on the back, to maintain the balance but then nobody seems to ever do that with road bikes. Funny then that on the MTB I've got 203 on the front and 180 on the back, and would never have considered going any smaller. I guess on the MTB locking a wheel (at least on the rear) is far less likely to result in hitting the deck, so perhaps I tend not to be quite so 'measured' with my braking.

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