Tracklocross Wheels a Guide
Wheels, your bike needs them. Try to ride your bike without wheels; you’re not going anywhere fast. Tracklocross is a style of cycling that doesn’t have many off-the-shelf options, especially if you want to run wider tyres. One of the best options is to always be a friend of your local bike shop and either get custom wheels from them or get them to tell reps to let companies know that you want tracklocross wheels. Indeed I believe this is why Halo now do an off-the-shelf option.
As with my frames guide, there is a link to the products, which are not affiliate links. They are there to help you purchase wheels that work for you.
Halo Evaura Tracklocross Wheels
I’ve used Halo a lot on my tracklocross builds. They work for me and don’t cost the earth. The Evaura road rim features a wider rim than you get on many off-the-shelf track wheels. Halo even says these wheels are “perfect for winter fixed bikes, tracklocross bikes and tubeless road applications.” Thanks to an inner rim width of 19mm, you can expect to mount 20 to 40mm tyres.
I like the fact that you can run brakes. Wearing down rims and being tubeless could be exciting but perhaps less interesting than wearing down your sidewalls and having high-pressure tubes and tyres. I’m presuming the ability to run rim brakes is why these wheels are not built with Halo Vapour rims. The majority of custom wheels I see build with Halo rims; the Vapour rim is picked. This would then make a nice upgrade to a bike like the Decathlon Elops 500.
My concern is durability, I’m running these wheels on my trick track bike, and the front wheel is interesting at times under load. Radial lacing does look cool, but it is perhaps not the way to go for a fit-and-forget part, especially with offroad riding. It comes with Halo’s standard track hubs, which I’ve found to be pretty resilient to Scottish weather conditions. This brings me to.
Halo Aerotrack/Aerorage Track Wheels
These are Halo’s standard track wheelset; in the UK, most of us will have seen these in use. The difference between the two sets is that the Aerorage has a braking track, and the Aerotrack does not. I ran the Aerotracks on my All-City Big Block build when I ran a front brake, and I managed to run the rim down to below the brake marking dot in a month.
Running these wheels brakeless, though, and I’ve had no issues. These wheels will be better suited to a more “old-school” looking tracklocross bike, one that does not have massive tyre clearance, as they can only fit 20 to 32mm tyres. You can possibly squeeze in a wider tyre but don’t blame me if you have issues.
Raleigh Omega Mach 1 Track Wheels
The Raleigh Omega Mach 1 wheels are similar to the Halo Evaura wheels in that we have a road rim laced to a track hub. The slightly wider rim means that you can run tyres from 25 to 35mm. As with the Halo Evaura, I am not the most sold on road rims, but at least the front wheel is not laced radially here. Contrarily I say that, and I’ve spent years riding on track rims.
Phil Wood x H Plus Son ArchetypeWheels
If you live in America and want a balling set of wheels, you can buy a set of Phill Woods hubs laced to an H Plus Sons’ Archetype rim from Wabi Cycles. The Archetype rim is designed for tyres up to 42mm in width. Phil Woods hubs are legendary for their quality. These wheels may seem expensive, but they should last you a lifetime. You can also get the hubs built onto the more boxy H Plus Sons TB14 rim from them.
If you don’t have the Phil Woods budget, and who does in this economy, Wabi still has a wheelset for you. Ok, they might say cyclocross and call the wheels CX wheels when we all know they mean tracklocross and TCX. These wheels will accept tyres up to 45mm. If you need tyres wider than that, then you can always buy a mountain bike.
With a brake rim track, these wheels are another excellent choice for those that are tracklocross curious and might not be ready to ditch their brakes yet.
HED Jet 4 Plus Track Wheels
Ok, this may be a risky choice but much less of one than jumping on AliExpress. HED’s Jet 4 Plus wheels have an inner width of 21mm, so you should be able to fit up to 50mm, according to the Sheldon Brown tire size calculator. Honestly, I just want to see someone send it on a set.
Teeny 3 Spoke Track Wheels
These are another wheel option that I am intrigued by. The Teeny 3 Spoke wheels can fit a 38mm wide tyre, so you can certainly get some cushion to go with style points. The question is, how long will these entry-level wheels cope with being ridden hard offroad?
As with my huge frame list, this list is not definitive and is just a collection of options that I feel make it easy for you as you dip your toes in the murky waters of tracklocross.