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Trek Checkpoint -- Any long-term experiences or reviews?

Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Trek Checkpoint -- Any long-term experiences or reviews?

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Old 08-09-18, 01:47 PM
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FlashBazbo
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Trek Checkpoint -- Any long-term experiences or reviews?

I've done the search on this forum -- there are a few threads mentioning the Trek Checkpoint, but not much written by owners / riders. MOST of the geometry of this bike checks the boxes for my ideal gravel bike. (Head tube angle is something I'm wondering about. It's a few degrees outside the gravel frame norm given its trail figure.) I like the configuration of the bosses. I'm not excited about the limited (1) color choice for the frameset. Or about the seatmast.

Does anyone here own a Trek Checkpoint? Which model and build kit? What do you think of it? How would you compare it to other gravel bikes you've ridden?
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Old 08-09-18, 02:00 PM
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The Checkpoint was high on my list as well, but itís dropped a bit latelyÖ

For starters, there are actually 3 color choices ó 2 for men and one for women ó at least for the US. I think I noticed Canada didnít have as many color choices. Personally I like the bright yellowish-green color. I mentioned the womenís version because I canít find anything in the specs thatís different from the menís version. Maybe they put a different saddle on or shorter cranks or a narrower handlebar. But your LBS could swap those out for ones that suit you better. (Other than the saddle some of those things may actually make the bike better ó unless you need a large sized bike in which case the womenís bike isnít an option).

What made the Checkpoint drop on my list was the really low bottom bracket. It sounded great at first, but if you think you might ever put 650B wheels on the bike the low botttom bracket will pretty much make that impossible. Iím now looking at bikes with higher bottom brackets which I can lower somewhat with skinny tires or 650B tires. It just gives me more options.
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Old 08-09-18, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by JayNYC View Post
The Checkpoint was high on my list as well, but it’s dropped a bit lately…

For starters, there are actually 3 color choices — 2 for men and one for women — at least for the US.

What made the Checkpoint drop on my list was the really low bottom bracket. It sounded great at first, but if you think you might ever put 650B wheels on the bike the low botttom bracket will pretty much make that impossible. I’m now looking at bikes with higher bottom brackets which I can lower somewhat with skinny tires or 650B tires. It just gives me more options.
On the Trek website for the carbon frameset (not the complete bikes), it only shows one color -- a light grey color that they call, "gravel." It's okay but, like you, I would like another option.

As for the low bottom bracket? That's a positive point in my opinion -- one of the primary reasons it makes my list. (A 70mm drop is just a road bike.) I rode gravel bikes for 3 years with a similar drop number -- with 700c x 38 tires. Worked great, even at Dirty Kanza. I occasionally mounted 700c x 28's for the road in the winter. I never had any clearance issues anywhere. And as for going to 650B's? If I recall correctly, a 650B x 47 tire/wheel is the same total diameter as a 700c x 35. (I could be a couple mm's off, but it's very close.) That's why people go to 650B -- a bigger air volume with the same diameter tire/wheel package. A properly sized 650B shouldn't cost you any ground clearance -- unless you decide to go both small and skinny with the tires.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-09-18, 04:50 PM
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650b x 47mm is approximately the same diameter as 700c x 30mm, so it will be similar to the 28s you were using. That being said 70 mm isn't a particularly low bb (the Specialized Diverge is a whopping 85 mm) so chances are you'd be fine.
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Old 08-10-18, 09:40 AM
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The Checkpoint's BB drop is 76mm. That's less than 1/4" lower than the highest gravel bike BB's (@70mm).

85mm on the Diverge . . . wow. I wouldn't have believed it! (Is that a world record?)
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Old 08-10-18, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by cobra_kai View Post
650b x 47mm is approximately the same diameter as 700c x 30mm
I hear that a lot but the main reason I would go to 650b is to run much lower pressures, in that case the tyre would "sag" much more. I think that would affect the BB height. Of course we are talking about millimeters here but it's still something.

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Old 08-10-18, 01:53 PM
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Back to the original topic . . . does nobody (besides Sven Nys) have experience with a Trek Checkpoint?
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Old 08-10-18, 04:22 PM
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Didn't the Checkpoint just come out like a month ago? My local shop just got one in 2 weeks ago and they tend to get all the new Trek's super fast.
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Old 08-10-18, 04:22 PM
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Bike Review

You may have seen this checkpoint review already?
Review
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Old 08-10-18, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jmess View Post
You may have seen this checkpoint review already?
Review
I hadn't seen that one! It's definitely NOT your usual puff piece dressed up like a review! The funny thing is that it complains about a stiff front end and other reviews complain about a too-flexy front end. (Does that mean the truth lies in between?) The other complaints can be easily remedied, if necessary -- gearing and tire sizes. Although the article has a negative tone, I'm not sure the quibbles are very meaningful. I will have to try to ride one for myself. It's pretty shocking that the author considers 50/34 - 11-34T to be too high gearing. (That's the same or lower than practically every other gravel bike on the market. I rode DK easily and successfully on higher gearing than that.) Strange review.

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Old 08-10-18, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
It's pretty shocking that the author considers 50/34 - 11-34T to be too high gearing. (That's the same or lower than practically every other gravel bike on the market. I rode DK easily and successfully on higher gearing than that.).
the author could be crazy or a significant % of the market has poorly geared bikes.
Based on how often I read posts asking about how to get easier gearing, how many products are available to make drivetrain gearing easier, and the setups I see at gravel rides/races it appears that sub 1:1 ratio gearing is beneficial.
keep in mind that the larger a tire gets, the less meaningful a large cog is.
34/32 on a 25mm road tire is effectively the same gearing as 34/34 on a 40mm gravel tire.

its pretty much a 2 tooth difference between a 25mm road tire and a 40+mm gravel tire.

I'll keep my 34/36 bailout gearing for sure. As it is, I have to stand and balance my weight on steep gravel climbs even with that gearing to get up the hill and not spin out. No desire to have a smaller cassette.

the 46/30t adventure cranks that are being spec'd on some adventure/gravel bikes is great to see.
less weight in the crank, a smaller cassette can be used which means less weight and tighter shift jumps, and still plenty of top end speed since 46/11 is 28mph on flat gravel at 80rpm and not many can sustain that.
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Old 08-10-18, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I rode DK easily and successfully on higher gearing than that.
Dirty Kanza has no long climbs, much of its climbing is pretty shallow, and most of its steep stuff is very short. It also only averages about 50 feet per mile; that's no pancake, but for people who live in places where the gravel is mostly mountain forest roads, 100 feet per mile isn't unusual.

Furthermore, if you're able to use the phrase "I rode DK easily" in a sentence, you're presumably stronger than the typical cyclist. And half of cyclists are weaker than the typical cyclist!
The implications that rider ability has on gearing adequacy are not subtle. To illustrate the point... on a 10% paved climb, a 160lb cyclist on a 25lb bicycle will need to do around 4W/kg in order to maintain about 7mph, which would be a relatively low ~75rpm on a 30-inch gear (such as 34-30 on 700x35 tires). If the same cyclist could only sustain 2.5W/kg on the same climb, then they're only going around four and a half mph; if they're using the same cassette and tires, they'd need to drop their chainring from a 34-tooth all the way down to a 22-tooth in order to enjoy a similar cadence.
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Old 08-11-18, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I hadn't seen that one! It's definitely NOT your usual puff piece dressed up like a review! The funny thing is that it complains about a stiff front end and other reviews complain about a too-flexy front end. (Does that mean the truth lies in between?) The other complaints can be easily remedied, if necessary -- gearing and tire sizes. Although the article has a negative tone, I'm not sure the quibbles are very meaningful. I will have to try to ride one for myself. It's pretty shocking that the author considers 50/34 - 11-34T to be too high gearing. (That's the same or lower than practically every other gravel bike on the market. I rode DK easily and successfully on higher gearing than that.) Strange review.
I think it has to do with region. Gravel has not fully taken off in the EU as it has in the US where it's basically exploded. These guys are treating these bikes like a road bike with big tires basically half the time in their reviews.
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Old 08-11-18, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
i donít know. It was introduced in mid 2017 but may not have become available until recently. The manufacturers seem to introduce products an increasingly long time before they become available.
I assume you meant mid-2018? The bike was officially announced around the 1st of March this year. Our shop is still waiting for our first order. Several color & size combinations aren't even able until late August.
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Old 08-11-18, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
I think it has to do with region. Gravel has not fully taken off in the EU as it has in the US where it's basically exploded. These guys are treating these bikes like a road bike with big tires basically half the time in their reviews.
I live in the EU and at least where I live we basically don't have any gravel roads that passenger vehicles use. That's not true for the whole continent, but miles and miles of good quality gravel roads are much much more rare than in the US. I treat my gravel bike as a do everything bike. I might ride on asphalt then go onto dirt roads and then climb a hill on singletrack, so I want low gearing.

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Old 08-11-18, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by softreset View Post
I assume you meant mid-2018? The bike was officially announced around the 1st of March this year. Our shop is still waiting for our first order. Several color & size combinations aren't even able until late August.
You're correct, of course. I must have been thinking of another bike.

The Checkpoint geometry looks really good. The steering angles are set up faster / less stable than most -- and I'm looking forward to riding one. I usually steer on gravel using the rear end a lot. I'm curious about what a "fast" front end might do to that.
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Old 08-11-18, 10:18 AM
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https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...kpoint/f/F224/

Here, we just don't have a market for those, sales more in Trek's MTBs,
being a Rural wooded place,

and cruiser comfort/hybrid bikes for people in my age bracket..
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Old 08-23-18, 11:32 AM
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I own the ALR 5 and can't see me parting with it for years to come. Yes I love it that much where my 2 previous bikes I am trying to sell after owning them for only 2 years.
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Old 08-23-18, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by IvyGodivy View Post
I own the ALR 5 and can't see me parting with it for years to come. Yes I love it that much where my 2 previous bikes I am trying to sell after owning them for only 2 years.
Thanks for the reply. I'm trying to sell a 1-year old TT bike in order to make this purchase. (I'm not quite as fickle as it sounds. I took up the TT because my knee surgeon said I couldn't do gravel races anymore. Now, the surgeon has released me to go back to gravel.)
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Old 08-24-18, 10:31 AM
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From that Road.cc review:
"My overriding impression of the Checkpoint is that it's aimed at those cyclists who want a Domane that can take very wide tyres mainly for smoothing out rough roads, with the occasional foray into the wilderness. A bit like buying a 4X4 when you live in the city."

That one paragraph makes me want to buy a Checkpoint. It sounds exactly like what I want out of a gravel bike.
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Old 08-24-18, 11:42 AM
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I just bought a SL5 this week, so I can't give a long-term impression of it, but I've been happy with it so far from two rides the last couple of days. The model I have is the white SL5 WSD, but the only woman-specific thing about my 54 cm was the saddle, and I had that swapped before I left the shop.

My intended use for it is primarily paved backroad use. The roads here in Michigan are pretty awful, and anything that adds to comfort is a benefit.
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Old 09-07-18, 10:53 PM
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Not a long-term review but my local shop got in two ALR 5s that were both fitted with the new R7020 105. They said that Trek is shipping new bikes with the new groupsets for both the SL and ALR models at the same price they were before.
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Old 09-07-18, 11:51 PM
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^^^^^^ That's good news on using the new groupset.
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Old 09-09-18, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by softreset View Post
Not a long-term review but my local shop got in two ALR 5s that were both fitted with the new R7020 105. They said that Trek is shipping new bikes with the new groupsets for both the SL and ALR models at the same price they were before.
I agree that's good news. My only disappointment with the bike so far is that the RS505 shifters only allow 2-gear downshifts, instead of 3 for the regular 105 shifters. With the closer-ratio 11-speed gearing, I find I really miss that third gear down sometimes. Hopefully, the R7020 is the same as the regular shifters.

No other issues with the bike after 3 weeks. Ride is excellent, handling is excellent. If I had to pick a bike for all-round use, this would be it.
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Old 09-10-18, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by softreset View Post
Trek is shipping new bikes with the new groupsets for both the SL and ALR models at the same price they were before.
They're calling them the 2020 model. They're getting a little ahead of themselves, IMHO. I guess in 2023 you'll be able to buy the 2030 version Ė lol.
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