Center Lock Vs 6 Bolt Brake Rotors

Last updated on August 27th, 2023 at 04:23 am

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If you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering what are the differences between center lock and 6 bolt rotors. Both have their pros and cons, but which one is right for you?

In this center lock vs 6 bolt rotors MEGA guide, we’ll explore the differences between these two brake rotors so that you can choose the one that best fits your needs.

What Are 6 Bolt Disc Rotors?

6 bolt rotors are the most commonly available disc brakes used on bikes. 

These rotors consist of 6 torx head bolts (a torque wrench is necessary to fit the torx head bolts) These 6 torx head bolts need to be attached in a star like pattern to the hub. 

However if this pattern is not followed you will most likely fit the rotor off center which can lead to disturbing noises because of the off centered rotors rubbing against the disc pads. 

Also read: How to fix disc brakes pulsing

The torx bolts need to be checked regularly to see whether it has loosened as you ride the bike.

These rotor are easily acquirableCan loosen while riding
It is cheaper than center lockCan be troublesome to remove and fit because of the 6 torx bolts
It is lighter than center lockHeat ventilation is poor
No special tools are required to install 6 bolt rotorsThe rotor can easily be fixed off center by accident

What Are Center Lock Disc Rotors?

Center lock rotors are also disc brakes used on bikes but they are not used as widely as 6 bolt rotors. 

These rotors were invented by Shimano and they also came up with a special tool to fit the rotors called the Shimano TL-LR10. 

This rotor has 2 parts, the rotor spline and the lock ring. The outer steel part handles the braking while the inner aluminum with splines keeps the rotor in center. 

center lock difference

Because of these parts, the rotor is impossible to bend and can be easily fitted to the center while the downside of it is its weight.

Also read: why is my bike chain slipping when pedaling hard?

The rotor is easy to install and remove, and can easily fit in the centerThey are heavier compared to 6 bolt rotors 
The rotor is strong and impossible to bendThese rotor are expensive compared to 6 bolt
Can be converted to a 6 bolt with low expensesThese rotors cannot be easily acquired
Has good heat ventilationNeeds a special tool to install

Center Lock vs 6 Bolt: Detailed Comparison

The main difference between center lock and 6 bolt is that center lock rotors are hard to find, expensive, more durable and easier to install, while the 6 bolt rotors are readily available, cheaper, lightweight but a bit troublesome to install.

Let’s take a more detailed look below.  


When it comes to weight the center lock is heavier than 6 bolt rotors because of the two components in the center lock. 

6 bolts is the lighter option.

The average center lock weighs 156 grams and the average 6 bolt weighs 115 grams, while there is a 41 gram difference between the both, the center lock makes up for it with its features involved in easily centering the rotor and its strength.


When it comes to performance, both the 6 bolt and center lock perform the same. Both of the rotors are made from the same material and they are very similar in size (diameter). 

The difference is the center lock is more durable than the 6 bolt because of its components which makes it stronger and stops it from bending. This also makes the center lock weigh more. 

However there are different sizes of both rotors and the smallest one is better.


When comparing both rotors the 6 bolt rotor is cheaper than the center lock. 

Center lock is more expensive because it comes with the two extra components and the production cost increases compared to 6 bolt production costs.

Furthermore, Center lock rotors are branded (Shimano) and 6 bolt rotors are manufactured by multiple companies, and the 6 bolt price and quality can vary with brand. Since center lock is manufactured only by Shimano, the quality is higher hence the price.


When comparing 6 bolt vs center lock,  6 bolt rotors are available in almost every local bike shop, whereas center lock is rare to find, it even takes some time to find one online!

This is because 6 bolts are manufactured by many organizations and center lock is done by only Shimano. 

The price of the rotor is another reason for its rarity, so the majority of the local bike shops would not buy center lock. However center lock rotors that come with the entry level bikes are not as rare as the ones sold separately.

Installation Process

On a 6 bolt rotor there are 6 torx head bolts which need to be fitted in a star shaped pattern in the center where a torque wrench can be used to screw and unscrew them. This process can be troublesome at times. 

6 bolt differences

On the other hand the center lock uses a lock ring (TL-LR10), with few turns it can be installed or removed. 

Center lock rotors can be converted to 6 bolt rotors if the hub is made for center lock. This can be done by a special adapter. However, 6 bolt is difficult to be converted to a center lock where the wheel hub should be replaced which can be expensive.


Bikes are amazing! There is no better feeling than riding your bike cutting through the wind. You must take care of it like it depends on your life because sometimes it does, if you haven’t paid enough attention to your brake rotors it can fail when you need it the most. 

As for me, I would go for a rotor that can last for a long time without affecting its performance and it must also be easy to install and remove. 

As per my needs, center lock suits me the most. Which one meets your requirements? Do let us know in the comments!

There is no “better” brake rotor when comparing center lock vs 6 bolt because both of them perform the same even though they have their own pros and cons since it depends on what the rider wants.


Are 6 bolt and center lock interchangeable?

Both of them are interchangeable. Converting a center lock to 6 bolts is the cheaper option which can be done through a special adapter, whereas converting 6 bolts to a center lock is expensive because the wheel hub should be replaced.

Is Center Lock better than 6 bolts?

Both of the rotors perform the same although they have their own ups and downs where one rotor can be better in certain aspects from the other this applies to both the rotors, however center lock is more durable and easier to install.

Hugo has been cycling for as long as he can remember, and, being from the Netherlands, he’s used to his bike being his primary mode of transport. Plus, as a lawyer, jumping on his bike is his main form of escaping from his desk duties.

1 thought on “Center Lock Vs 6 Bolt Brake Rotors”

  1. Although Centerlock rotors themselves are heavier, the hubs are lighter, and you need to account for the weight of the steel rotor bolts vs the lockring, which can be made of aluminum, so the actual weight difference is negligible.


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