Centerlock vs 6 Bolt Rotors: Side-by-Side Comparison

From this article, you'll learn centerlock vs 6 bolt differences, their pros and cons.
By
John Watson
John Watson
Writer
John is an experienced cycling enthusiast and a great asset when it comes to writing skills. He's a Bachelor of Arts and a talented journalist. John is in charge of our blog read more
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Reviewed By
Jessica Kingston
Jessica Kingston
Expert Consultant
Jessica is our expert consultant on all things connected to biking - gear, technique, you name it. Being a pro cyclist in the past, she knows exactly how things work in and read more
Last updated: August 19, 2023
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When you’re purchasing a new bike, one consistent question that goes through the mind of every biker is which system they should go for.  The centerlock vs 6 bolt debate is a constant argument whenever a person wants to get a new set of wheels. Although both have excellent stopping power, they have some differences.

The primary difference between centerlock rotors vs 6 bolt is in their connection to the bike’s wheels. The 6 bolt connects in a star pattern, while the centerlock uses a two-part mechanism to connect to the wheels. Continue reading this article as we shall give a detailed breakdown of the differences between the two.

Centerlock Rotors Overview

Centerlock rotors are entirely different from the 6 bolt rovers system. Not only in appearance but also in how they work.

While the 6 bolt rover system has 6 bolts that are connected to the rotor, the centerlock runs a two-part mechanism where it only has a single bolt that’s connected to the rotor.

The centerlock rovers were recently brought into the limelight as most bicycle systems were making use of the 6-bolt rotor system, and a lot of people prefer using this new system to the old one. There are different reasons; however, the most obvious one is that it is much more convenient and easier to use. Removing it is much faster than the 6-bolt system, and because of this, there is a reduced chance of cross-threading the bolts, as there is only one single bolt on the system.

One of the best parts of making use of the centerlock rotors is the fact that they’re available for both mountain bikes and road bikes. But dirt bike riders use this system more than the rest. Because of its durability and lasting performance, it is the gear you should have on your dirt bike. Here is a list of the best dirt jump bikes that contain the centerlock system. You can also find different designs and makes.

There are different systems in the centerlock disc rotor vs 6 bolt debate, but according to reviews and people’s comments, the best centerlock model must be the Shimano XT RT-MT800-L, which, thanks to its affordability and reliability, is the best option for you to go for.

The center lock system works well for bikers who enjoy riding through different surfaces. Here is a compilation of the best gravel bikes which make use of this system and is suited for any scenario.

Centerlock vs 6 Bolt Rotors: Side-by-Side Comparison
Another thing you should look at when talking about the center lock rotors is the advantage it gets from the technological boosts. The rotors have been developed to a fault that they can’t go through rough terrains and not worry about heating due to constantly hitting the brakes.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using the centerlock system.

Pros 

  • Easily removed: the system can be removed easier because it is just one bolt. This will lead to more effortless movement of the wheels.
  • It is light in weight: the centerlock system is very light in weight. Some of them are lighter than 6 bolt rotors. The hubs are also lightweight
  • Hard to bend: the rotors are harder to break or bend because it contains an inner ring.

Cons 

  • More expensive: the centerlock system is costly, and you will spend a lot to get it. It is usually more expensive than the 6-bolt system.
  • Uses a particular key to install: apart from the system itself, you will also have to purchase a particular set of tools that will be used to install the centerlock system.

6 Bolt Rotors Overview

The 6-bolt rotor system has been around for a long time, and it has been used on a lot of bikes before the centerlock rotor system became popular. Back in the day, it was seen as a rare feature on a mountain bike, but these days, almost every mountain bike contains this system.

Different MTB bikes have this system that you can look to purchase, but identifying the right one may seem complicated. To help with that, we made a list of the best mountain bikes, which have been categorized based on their performance, efficiency, and affordability.  Most mountain bikes have disc brakes, although these discs are known to lose their effectiveness when you constantly hit the brakes with time.

Through research, it has been shown that the Teyssor Bike Disc Brake Rotor is one of the best disc brake systems you can get for a reasonable price. They’re known to last long and maintain top performance for an extended period.

The 6 rotors on this system are tightly held together by the hub, and to ensure that it isn’t loose, it is advised to use a tightening six hex or Allen Torx and a torque wrench Trusted Source Torque wrench - Wikipedia A torque wrench is a tool used to apply a specific torque to a fastener such as a nut, bolt, or lag screw. en.wikipedia.org as they will help you to tighten the bolts evenly.

Centerlock vs 6 Bolt Rotors: Side-by-Side Comparison
The 6-bolt system is available on most budget bikes, and if you’re looking for something cheap and effective, then the 6-bolt rotor system is the best choice.

Pros and Cons

These are the benefits and drawbacks of using the 6-bolt rotor system.

Pros 

  • They are cheap: the 6-bolt rotor system is relatively cheap, and you don’t have to bother about buying other parts. They are really budget-friendly.
  • Different brake options: one of the cool things about this system is the fact that there are a variety of brake options that people can choose from.
  • Rotors are always available: the rotors on a 6-bolt rotor system are always available, and you can get them anywhere.

Cons

  • The threads cross occasionally: one of the disadvantages of this system is the fact that the threads cross each other occasionally. This is because they are 6 bolts.
  • Time-consuming: it can be said to be time-consuming as it takes longer to set up and dismantle.

6 Bolt Vs Centerlock Disc Brakes Compared

There is a clear distinction between the 6 bolt and centerlock disc brake systems, not only in their appearance but in other things that differentiate them.

The main differences between the centerlock disc rotors vs 6 bolt are that the centerlock system is less available and takes more time to find, costs more, and is stronger.

The installation process is more straightforward. While the 6-bolt system can be found anywhere, it costs less, they’re lighter and might not last as long, and they’re harder to put together.

Here is a detailed breakdown of the differences in the 6-bolt disc vs centerlock.

Performance

If you’re looking at the performance side between the two, they’re pretty much similar. Both the centerlock and the 6-bolt system are made from the same materials, and they’re around the same size.

Although, the centerlock is more vigorous, and this is because the components prevent it from bending. They come in different sizes, but the smaller sizes are usually better.

Compatibility

The centerlock vs 6-bolt compatibility debate shows that the 6-bolt disc brakes are more compatible with most bike systems than the centerlock. Unlike the centerlock disc brakes Trusted Source Disc brake - Wikipedia A disc brake is a type of brake that uses the calipers to squeeze pairs of pads against a disc or a “rotor” to create friction. en.wikipedia.org , the 6-bolt system is used on budget bikes and can be found on more bikes.

Cost

When comparing the two systems’ costs, it is known that the 6-bolt rotor is more affordable than the centerlock.

The centerlock costs more because it has more components, and the price of production is higher than the 6-bolt system. Another reason why the centerlock is more expensive is that they’re most times branded, while the 6 bolt systems can come from various manufacturers.

Installation and maintenance

Centerlock vs 6 Bolt Rotors: Side-by-Side Comparison
Because the 6-bolt system had more bolts than the centerlock, the installation process may appear more complicated.

Tthe centerlock only has one bolt, which can easily fit in. It has a lock ring which makes it easy to be placed and remove by simply turning it.

Weight

When it comes to the centerlock vs 6 bolt weight comparison, the centerlock is way heavier, and this is due to the extra components. The average centerlock weighs around 156g, while the 6 bolt has an average weight of 115g.

6 Bolt Rotor vs Centerlock Rotor: What to Choose

Choosing the perfect rotor for your bike Trusted Source What Are Bike Rotors? If you ride a mountain or hybrid bike, chances are you use disc brakes. They’re even becoming a popular choice for many road cyclists. ridersrundown.com depends on you and what your bike will be used for. It is better that you select a rotor that will last long and also maintain its performance, which can also be installed without stress. So the choice falls to the owner of the bike. Which is better for you and suits your bike better? The 6-bolt rotor or centerlock rotor?

FAQ

What is better: centerlock vs 6 bolt rotors for MTB?

While the centerlock might be stronger and more durable, the 6-bolt rotor is better for mountain biking because they are tightly coupled and have multiple brake options.

How to convert from 6 bolt to centerlock?

If you want to convert the 6 bolt rotor into a centerlock, it is complicated because to do so, you have to change and replace the wheel hub completely, it is possible, but it is costly.

Final Thoughts

There is no better experience than feeling the wind blow through your skin when riding a well-maintained bicycle. But the question is, do you take care of your bike well? If you haven’t taken care of your bike and paid attention to the rotors, we hope that after you have gone through this article, you will see the importance of paying attention to it.

There is no brake that is better when talking about the centerlock vs 6 bolt rotor, as they’re both functional and perform the same functions. So the final decision balls down to the bike owner. What do you think will serve you better and be the best fit for your bike?

References

1.
Torque wrench - Wikipedia
A torque wrench is a tool used to apply a specific torque to a fastener such as a nut, bolt, or lag screw.
2.
Disc brake - Wikipedia
A disc brake is a type of brake that uses the calipers to squeeze pairs of pads against a disc or a “rotor" to create friction.
3.
What Are Bike Rotors?
If you ride a mountain or hybrid bike, chances are you use disc brakes. They’re even becoming a popular choice for many road cyclists.
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