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Trek Checkpoint as a gravel bike?

Old 10-29-19, 08:06 AM
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mdcoram
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Trek Checkpoint as a gravel bike?

I'm very close to buying a 2019 Trek Checkpoint alloy to use on country gravel roads. I've read some positive reviews but a couple other reviews have been lukewarm on it. Any opinions?
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Old 10-29-19, 08:19 AM
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Well, the Checkpoint is sold as a gravel bike, with clearance for up to 38mm wide tires. So go down to your local Trek dealer and ride one. You'll know whether you like it or not.

Bikes are like ice cream-- lots of flavors, everyone can find something they like. But no one flavor is loved by absolutely everyone.
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Old 10-29-19, 08:49 AM
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Thank you. I have ridden it and it feels great to me as a road biker but I'm a gravel novice. The 38mm tire clearance is smaller than a lot of other gravel bikes and one of the reasons for the two lukewarm reviews I've read. Thank you again for your feedback.
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Old 10-29-19, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by mdcoram View Post
Thank you. I have ridden it and it feels great to me as a road biker but I'm a gravel novice. The 38mm tire clearance is smaller than a lot of other gravel bikes and one of the reasons for the two lukewarm reviews I've read. Thank you again for your feedback.
Many gravel bike reviewers approach things from the perspective of riding a gravel bike as a drop bar MTB and for that, 38mm is narrow. Are you planning to shred some (non-techy) singletrack, or will you mainly be riding dirt and gravel roads? 38mm is enough for a gravel bike on actual gravel roads, at least in my area.
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Old 10-29-19, 10:59 AM
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Yeah, whether 38mm is wide enough will depend heavily on the quality of the gravel/dirt paths you ride. I took a friend on one of his first gravel rides last weekend and he was even running 42mm tires at a reasonable pressure (ie, not too firm), and at the end of the ride he told me he was pretty sure gravel riding wasn't for him. The main factor was he found the descending over rough rocky sections to be too harsh and was used to road descents being the times when he could recover a bit. Bigger tire clearance gives you the option to run wider tires at lower pressures, which can absorb more of the rough stuff.
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Old 10-29-19, 11:18 AM
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I thought it was nice if you are looking for something aimed a bit towards backpacking/endurance, and would enjoy fairly lively steering with a longish wheelbase (realistically you can't make the trail too long with a bike designed to be loaded up).

There are gravel bikes that are more relaxed and stable, and some that are more alive like a road bike. This was a nice compromise. But it depends on what you are after. Any thing specifically that concerns you or that particularly feel luke warm about?
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Old 10-29-19, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by mdcoram View Post
Thank you. I have ridden it and it feels great to me as a road biker but I'm a gravel novice. The 38mm tire clearance is smaller than a lot of other gravel bikes and one of the reasons for the two lukewarm reviews I've read. Thank you again for your feedback.
Do you have a road bike now that you plan to keep? If so, I would get a gravel bike that allows for wider than 38mm tires. Then you can use the road bike for the road and the gravel bike for offroad. It's a no-compromise setup.

Before I had a gravel bike (Cannondale Topstone aluminum 105), I thought 38 would be plenty because it's so much wider than the 25's I run on my road bike. Now that I've ridden on 37's/38's on trails, I will definitely plan on getting wider tires next time for my offroad riding. Comfort is king for me on the trails, and I have a road bike so no need for a narrow all surface tire.

Now, if you plan on using the gravel bike for the road and your offroad trails are pretty smooth, 38's should be plenty. But I still say why limit yourself? Perhaps get the 2020 Checkpoint, which will take 44mm tires. The Topstone 105 is a great value, if you want save some $.
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Old 10-29-19, 03:26 PM
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My Checkpoint Alr 5 has 40s with room to spare.
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Old 10-29-19, 08:06 PM
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read this thread.

Trek Checkpoint -- Any long-term experiences or reviews?
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Old 10-29-19, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mdcoram View Post
I'm very close to buying a 2019 Trek Checkpoint alloy to use on country gravel roads. I've read some positive reviews but a couple other reviews have been lukewarm on it. Any opinions?
I love my Checkpoint. It came from the factory with 40cm tires, has room to spare. I ride gravel, single track and chip sealed roads.

Last edited by CodyDog; 10-30-19 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 10-30-19, 06:04 AM
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I don't know the max tire size for the Checkpoint but 38 seems limiting if you are buying a new bike. Here's a thread Trek Checkpoint -- Any long-term experiences or reviews?
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Old 10-30-19, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by mdcoram View Post
I'm very close to buying a 2019 Trek Checkpoint alloy to use on country gravel roads. I've read some positive reviews but a couple other reviews have been lukewarm on it. Any opinions?
First of all, be cautious with reviews. There's a lot of strong opinions offered and the ones being critical may have never ridden the bike.

The Checkpoint is designed for gravel. Whether it has a 38cm or 40cm tire it is a gravel bike. 38cm to 40cm is very efficient for gravel. It handles well and I find it very responsive and fun to ride. The quality, fit and finish is great. The Isospeed feature works well and my friends that have ridden it also commented on how it smooths things out a bit. I road several gravel bikes before my purchase and I'm still happy with my choice.

Can you ride it on the road or single track... yes. Will a gravel bike be equal to a road bike on the road or a MTB on the trail? Of course not. In the hands of a good rider, the Checkpoint can be fun on the road and on single track.

So what about tire size, the area where the critics seem to talk most about the Checkpoint. There are some gravel bikes that offer a wider tire. I would be very favorable of a 44cm or larger tire on a gravel bike if I was running a lot of single track. with that being said, I do run my Checkpoint on single track and it handles very well. When you get into rocks and such, I would prefer a MTB. The low bottom bracket and larger chain ring on any gravel bike limits its mountain bike capabilities regardless of tire size.

The downsize of a 44cm or larger tire on a gravel bike would be felt if you plan to ride a lot of regular road stuff. A 38cm will roll a lot easier on paved roads than the larger tire.

Unfortunately there is not a do everything bike out there and the Checkpoint is no exception. In choosing a gravel bike with tire size, I suggest you decide what you are going to ride (gravel or gravel/road or gravel/single track).
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Old 10-30-19, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
I don't know the max tire size for the Checkpoint but 38 seems limiting if you are buying a new bike. Here's a thread Trek Checkpoint -- Any long-term experiences or reviews?
That's where I come out. Now that I've had a gravel bike for a while, I'd want more than 38mm of clearance.

Trek says the 2019 Checkpoint can handle up to 38's. Trek revised the Checkpoint for 2020 to say it can handle up to 45's. While some people do run wider than 38's on their 2019 just fine, the bottom line is that the 2020 has more tire clearance.
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Old 10-30-19, 09:27 AM
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Makes a lot of sense. The checkpoint feels more natural to me than the other gravel bikes I've ridden so I'm down to just trying to decide whether to buy the 2019 at a deep discount now or save some more money for the 2020. Thank you all for your advice
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Old 10-30-19, 12:34 PM
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I think people are getting confused about the tire clearance.

The carbon models of the 2020 Trek Domane takes up to 700x38c tires.

The carbon Trek Checkpoint takes up to 45's.

I do think the aluminum models have lower clearance, at least with the Domane.
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Old 11-01-19, 11:21 AM
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I ended up buying the '19 Checkpoint AL4 and my 42's fit easily. Trek is obviously very conservative in their tire clearance ratings.
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Old 11-01-19, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mdcoram View Post
Trek is obviously very conservative in their tire clearance ratings.
Keep in mind, the ISO standard is 6mm clearance on each side. So what will fit is a little difference than the official tire clearance.
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Old 11-01-19, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by drewtk View Post
That's where I come out. Now that I've had a gravel bike for a while, I'd want more than 38mm of clearance.

Trek says the 2019 Checkpoint can handle up to 38's. Trek revised the Checkpoint for 2020 to say it can handle up to 45's. While some people do run wider than 38's on their 2019 just fine, the bottom line is that the 2020 has more tire clearance.
I definitely prefer something larger than 38. I ride enough gravel events where there can be a wide variety of gravel including some short single track sections or just chunkier gravel. Much better with something 40 or higher.
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Old 11-01-19, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by drewtk View Post
Do you have a road bike now that you plan to keep? If so, I would get a gravel bike that allows for wider than 38mm tires. Then you can use the road bike for the road and the gravel bike for offroad. It's a no-compromise setup.

Before I had a gravel bike (Cannondale Topstone aluminum 105), I thought 38 would be plenty because it's so much wider than the 25's I run on my road bike. Now that I've ridden on 37's/38's on trails, I will definitely plan on getting wider tires next time for my offroad riding. Comfort is king for me on the trails, and I have a road bike so no need for a narrow all surface tire.

Now, if you plan on using the gravel bike for the road and your offroad trails are pretty smooth, 38's should be plenty. But I still say why limit yourself? Perhaps get the 2020 Checkpoint, which will take 44mm tires. The Topstone 105 is a great value, if you want save some $.
how do you like the Topstone? What’s its max tire size?
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Old 11-04-19, 01:50 PM
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What's to be lukewarm about? There are some particulars to pick on, but not complaints. Some of the smaller frame sizes can only take limited tire sizes. This isn't really a big deal unless you are particularly short and heavy.
I'd recommend getting the 300-series ALR frame because the cable routing is nicer and will not attract as much dirt, the frame will ride better, there is more tire clearance, and it's nicer in every other detail.
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