Posted by Logan Watts
Just released late this week, the Trek Checkpoint is a whole new line of gravel bikes from the Waterloo, Wisconsin company. Trek already has a couple cyclocross bikes, the Crockett and Boone. And they also have a gravel bike, the Domane, introduced last year. But as Trek states in their official press release, they went back to the drawing board and created a completely new platform. With a new geometry and spec chosen for long miles on pavement, dirt, and rugged gravel roads, according to Trek the Checkpoint was designed exclusively for the dedicated, adventure-minded gravel rider. In addition to adding the latest standards popular within the burgeoning gravel bike market, Trek also added a few of its own unique features to Checkpoint…
- Angles (LG): 72.3° Headtube, 73° Seattube
- Stack/Reach: 609mm/392mm
- BB Drop/Chainstay: 74mm/425mm
- Bottom Bracket: Press Fit BB90
- Hub specs: 12x142mm / 12x100mm Thru-axle
- Max tire size: 700x45mm
The Trek Checkpoint is available in seven different carbon (SL) and aluminum (ALR) models: SL 6 ($3799), SL 5 (shown above) and SL 5 Women’s ($2799), ALR 5 and ALR 5 Women’s ($1999), and ALR 4 and ALR 4 Women’s ($1789). SL and ALR framesets are also available for $1999 and $959 respectively. SL models are built from Trek’s own 500 Series OCLV Carbon, and ALR models feature Trek’s lightweight 300 Series Alpha Aluminum.
All models have clearance for 700c x 45mm tires. However, the complete bikes will ship with 700c x 35mm Schwalbe G-One gravel tires, which is what the bike was designed around. And even though it might seem fitting, Trek does not recommend using 650b Road Plus wheels and tires with the Checkpoint. Instead the Trek Checkpoint was purpose built around 700c wheels.
All the carbon models have “Carbon Armor” along the downtube and chainstay to protect the frame. In addition, each features 12mm thru axles and sliding Stranglehold dropouts that allow you to fine-tune your geometry or run it as a singlespeed. The carbon SL frame run a BB90 press fit bottom bracket and the aluminum models get a BB86.5. Other features to note include Trek’s own IsoSpeed Decoupler, which apparently reduces fatigue by “decoupling” the seat tube from the top tube, allowing the seat tube to flex with the forces of the road. Similar to other new gravel bikes, such as the recently released Ibis’ Hakka MX, the Trek Checkpoint also makes use of a swooped drive side stay to allow clearance for bigger tires and a 2x drivetrain.
As far as geometry, the Trek Checkpoint uses a taller stack height and lower bottom bracket than their other cross and gravel bikes for added comfort and stability.
The flagship Checkpoint SL 6 boasts a full Shimano Ultegra 2 x 11 drivetrain, and Bontrager’s Paradigm Comp Disc wheels paired with Shimano RT800 Ice-Tech FREEZA rotors. While the most interesting model, the Checkpoint SL 5, features a 2×11 Shimano 105 groupset with an 11-34 cassette. On the other end of the spectrum, entry-level ALR 4 models feature Shimano’s Tiagra 10-speed drivetrain. All models come equipped with 700 x 35c Schwalbe gravel tires, tubeless-ready Bontrager wheels, and flat-mount disc brakes.
While Trek didn’t provide bottle mounts on the fork blade, they did manage to squeeze in four pairs of bottle mounts on the Checkpoint (sizes 56cm and larger) — three in the triangle and one under the downtube. There are also mounts as follows: lowrider fork mounts, rear rack mounts, hidden fender mounts, and SL models include a top tube mount. There also appears to be a mid-blade fork mount with what appears to be a proprietary cage (as seen in the photo below left)…
The Trek Checkpoint launched to consumers on March 1 and bikes are immediately available for purchase at your local Trek Dealer or online. Learn more more about the Trek Checkpoint platform on the video above or on their website here, and view all the models here.