Centerlock vs. 6 Bolt: Which One is Better?

Published 01/24/2018 in Guides - 0Comments

When it comes to brakes, you can choose between a centerlock or a 6 bolt. While there are other types, they are uncommon. The rotor that comes in contact with the brake pads are the same, but how they connect to the hub is different.

centerlock vs 6 bolt

You should choose your disc brake based on the purpose and terrain you plan on riding on. We’ll help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of both so that you can make rational purchasing decision.

What is a Centerlock Brake?

Centerlock rotors are more error proof and easier to install than 6 bolt rotors. Since there is only one lock in the middle, you don’t have to waste time trying to torque the 6 bolts evenly onto the bike rotor.

Besides, they weigh less than 6-bolt brakes. Thus, making them a great choice for professional bikers who want to have a lightweight bike for their races. As a result, users experience faster speeds and braking times due to its lightweight size.

However, centerlock rotors are usually more expensive. This is because there is an aluminum center for the hub attachment and a steel center for the rotor’s working end. Make sure that you do your market research before buying centerlock brakes as they can be harder to find than traditional 6 bolt brakes.


  • Center hub placement
  • Rotors are harder to bend because of a reinforced inner spider ring
  • Easy rotor removal to aid in transport or shipping
  • Weighs less than a 6-Bolt due to a reduced side area


  • Heavy rotors
  • Need to purchase a Centerlock wrench to install and uninstall it
  • Compatibility issues

What is a 6 Bolt Brake?

6 Bolt motors are the more traditional form of bike brakes as manufacturers started producing them in the late 1900s. Their main advantage is that 6 bolt brakes account for 90% of the brakes available in the market.

You don’t need a special key to use a 6 bolt. All is required is a Torx driver (which can be found in most pocket tool sets).

Most high quality 6 bolt rotors also have a 2 piece section. Two-piece rotors have more stability, warping resistant, and have a high heat resistance.

The only disadvantage with 6 bolt brakes is their installation. You have to use a torque and apply them in a star pattern or else you’ll run the risk of having an uneven brake. Fortunately, manufacturers give important data on the force needed to tighten the bolts.


  • Multiple brake options
  • Cheaper than Centerlock brakes
  • Wide range of hub choices
  • Adapters and rotors are readily available


  • High Risk of failure (6 bolts)
  • Possibility of stripping off a bolt
  • Rotors can be accidentally placed off center

Rotor Size

Another important thing you have to remember is the rotor diameter. It’s located in your bike’s brake specs or is printed on the back of your existing bike rotors. For most bikers reading this, you’ll have either a 140 or 160mm rotors. Mountain bikers have a rotor diameter of 180.

On rare occasions, some riders tend to have a bike rotor size of 220. However, this is usually for extreme downhill racing on steep terrain, and you need additional braking performance.

Closing Remarks

In the end, it’s up to you to decide which one is the most beneficial (both design advantages and flaws). We suggest using the Centerlock brake if you’re a novice that’s starting from scratch. If you want a more authentic bike, then the 6 bolt brake is the best way to go.

What do you think is good an bad with each rotor brake design?

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