One of my most successful posts has been discussing frames for tracklocross, and I was raking about for other examples the other day. I came across the Elops 500 from Decathlon, a complete single speed for £250/€230. A bike that could get you started for less than half the price of any of the frames on my list.
A super cheap tracklocross frame?
The Elops 500 is not only available as a bike but is also available as a frame. The frame comes in at a very respectable £80. You could build a nice beater bike for this £80, but in all honesty, you are better going for the complete bike. The frame and fork are hi-ten steel. Which, while not quite as lovely as chromoly steel, will last you a while, forever really, but it won’t be as light as some of the other bikes. But, look at that price. You can’t get everything.
I like the wheels and brakes. There has been a proper design process here. The rims come with an inner width of 17mm, generally track wheels come with around 14mm internal width rims. The few extra millimetres means that you can safely fit wider tyres. Decathlon says up to 37mm wide tyres, and the frame and brake do look like they would clear that width. The brakes also don’t come with the usual cheap rubber blocks usually found on budget bikes. They come with proper cartridge blocks. You’ll be able to stop with these and not die in the wet.
The rest of the parts are, as you’d imagine, just items from a manufacturer’s catalogue. But were you really expecting high-end components on this bike? To make it more tracklocross, you’d need to add a fixed cog and lockring. The bike comes with an 18t freewheel, but I’d go for a 17 or 19 tooth fixed cog. These will allow you to have more skid patches and save on tyre wear. You can also stick to using the freewheel offroad for a bit to help build your confidence before going fixed.
The tyres could do with being changed, but that depends on your local conditions. In Scotland, trails are so dry that the fitted tyres on the bike would do until we start to get autumnal weather. Then we could begin to look at mud condition tyres. I like Schwalbe CX Pro tyres if you want a cheap set to try out on this bike. They come on complete bikes, and many shops change them out, so you might get them for much cheapness.
I might also think about slightly wider bars. You don’t need to go the whole cool boy route and grab 800mm wide bars. A somewhat wider set would allow you to have some more leverage for when you’re flying up hills. What needs to be said is, I haven’t ridden this bike. They were sold out in my size at my local Decathlon store. I think it looks like a great way to get into tracklocross or fixed gear in general.