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Trek Checkpoint ALR5 2020 vs 2021 model

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Trek Checkpoint ALR5 2020 vs 2021 model

Old 07-25-20, 02:55 AM
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estranged
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Trek Checkpoint ALR5 2020 vs 2021 model

So I am about to buy a new gravel bike, in particular Treck Checkpoint ALR5. One thing i can't seem to decide is to go with year 2020 or 2021. The details are as follows:
- ALR5 2020: 1800$, 105 groupset, immediately available;
- ALR5 2021: 2000$, GRX groupset, waiting time 5 weeks.

I would easily go with '21 model except for the waiting time, it's just so much to wait 5 weeks during summer without any bike. I know about the differences in groupset, and i live in a very flat are where i will be doing majority of my riding on roads, so 105 should be just fine (correct me if i am wrong). The main thing i am not sure about is the shifting smoothness, clutch and more comfortable levers on GRX. I read many people saying that GRX shifts more quietly and smoothly and I had similar experience test riding those bikes. Of course chances are 2020 model was not properly adjusted, because the shifting felt quite bad, that's why i have bad first impression on it.
Can anyone who tried 105 vs GRX on Checkpoint confirm if shifting quality is same/different? What would you in general recommend between these 2 bikes?
Thanks!
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Old 07-25-20, 05:50 AM
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Roger Ramjet
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I own both a 2019 (same as 2020) Checkpoint ALR5 and a 2021 ALR5 with GRX. I've had the 2021 for nearly 2 months now, have ridden it many times. I can assure you there is no difference in the function and comfort of GRX compared to 105. The only difference you will see is the gearing, with the 34/50 chainrings on the 2020, to the 30/46 chainrings on the 2021.

If the majority of your riding will be on flat roads, I wouild recommend you get the 2020 model. I also ride primarily on flat roads, the 2021 feels a little undergeared for that. I have to do more chainring shifting on the 2021 compared to my 2019, to stay in the proper gear.

Added by edit: I would note that I have swapped the tires on the 2021 from the Bontrager 40mm tires that came on it, to Schwalbe G-One 35mm tires exactly as my 2019 has. I personally didn't feel I needed the larger tires where I ride, and wanted it to match my 2019. If you leave the 40mm tires on the 2021, the undergearing issue is not as bad.

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Old 07-25-20, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjet View Post
I own both a 2019 (same as 2020) Checkpoint ALR5 and a 2021 ALR5 with GRX. I've had the 2021 for nearly 2 months now, have ridden it many times. I can assure you there is no difference in the function and comfort of GRX compared to 105. The only difference you will see is the gearing, with the 34/50 chainrings on the 2020, to the 30/46 chainrings on the 2021.

If the majority of your riding will be on flat roads, I wouild recommend you get the 2020 model. I also ride primarily on flat roads, the 2021 feels a little undergeared for that. I have to do more chainring shifting on the 2021 compared to my 2019, to stay in the proper gear.

Added by edit: I would note that I have swapped the tires on the 2021 from the Bontrager 40mm tires that came on it, to Schwalbe G-One 35mm tires exactly as my 2019 has. I personally didn't feel I needed the larger tires where I ride, and wanted it to match my 2019. If you leave the 40mm tires on the 2021, the undergearing issue is not as bad.
Good to know! So the lack of clutch and supposedly better levers' feel is not big of a difference according to your experience? If that's the case i will probably go with 2020 and save 200$ and also get the bike a month earlier.
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Old 07-25-20, 11:01 AM
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Roger Ramjet
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The only time I've even NOTICED the clutch is that I had to open it to remove the rear wheel for the tire change.I'm sure it might well be different if I rode technical roads/trails, though.

Lever feel is good either way. Shimano makes great stuff, IMHO.

For your needs, I'd get the 2020 and save the money, IMHO.
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Old 07-26-20, 04:26 PM
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I went from 10 speed Tiagra 4700 with Shimano's non series RS 405 hydraulic levers to a full GRX 8000 1x11 setup on my 2019 ALR4 and the difference was gigantic, the hoods feel a lot nicer to hold on to and gives me much more confidence on the rough stuff. I have never ridden hydraulic 105 so I cant really compare, but for the kind of riding I do I would surely go for the GRX version because of the the smaller chainrings.
50-34 always felt like one ring was way too big and the other one wasn't small enough and the clutch derailleur is great too, even on my 10 speed setup I had already upgraded to an Utegra RX rear derailleur because I couldn't stand the chain bouncing all over the place with the TIagra rear derailleur.
As a bonus I love the color of the 2021 checkpoint ALR5 and would love to get one of those to use as road bike.
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Old 07-27-20, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MAGAIVER View Post
I went from 10 speed Tiagra 4700 with Shimano's non series RS 405 hydraulic levers to a full GRX 8000 1x11 setup on my 2019 ALR4 and the difference was gigantic, the hoods feel a lot nicer to hold on to and gives me much more confidence on the rough stuff. I have never ridden hydraulic 105 so I cant really compare, but for the kind of riding I do I would surely go for the GRX version because of the the smaller chainrings.
50-34 always felt like one ring was way too big and the other one wasn't small enough and the clutch derailleur is great too, even on my 10 speed setup I had already upgraded to an Utegra RX rear derailleur because I couldn't stand the chain bouncing all over the place with the TIagra rear derailleur.
As a bonus I love the color of the 2021 checkpoint ALR5 and would love to get one of those to use as road bike.
Hmm interesting, because to me hoods felt quite similar between 105 and GRX of size 56. I did read that GRX levers are smaller on a smaller models, but i might be wrong here.
Regarding clutch, interesting to see that it makes big difference on rough terrain. I imagine i can always just install rare GRX derrailleur with clutch at a later point if i buy 105.
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