Trek goes all in on gravel with Checkpoint

Adjustable wheelbase, plenty of clearance and mounts aplenty

After dabbing its toe into gravel with the Domane Gravel, Trek jumped in with both feet with the new Checkpoint.

Comprised of seven alloy and carbon bikes, the Checkpoint features massive tire clearance, an adjustable wheelbase and mounts for 3-4 bottles (depending on frame size), fenders, racks and bags.

Prices range from $1,699 with the Checkpoint ALR 4 with 10-speed Shimano Tiagra up to $3,799 for the Checkpoint SL 6 with the latest Shimano Ultegra. All bikes come with 35mm Schwalbe G-One tires but can fit up to 45mm-wide tires. UK and EU pricing was not immediately available.

Trek Checkpoint first ride

Trek Checkpoint geometry and features

Trek has a huge variety of bikes in the general neighborhood of this Checkpoint, from the Boone and Crocket cyclocross bikes to the Domane endurance road line to the entry-level CrossRip 3 all-road bike. Trek’s city bike team, led by Jocelyn Vande Velde, developed the Checkpoint.

"The Checkpoint is the drawdown of the straightforward road experience," Vande Velde says. "Riders want to buy a bike today that will answer their needs in the future. It's not just a gravel race bike, not just an adventure bike. It’s a capture-as-much-experience bike."

Larger frame sizes fit three bottles in the main frame, plus one underneath the down tube (where there's a bash guard) and a bento box on the top tube
Larger frame sizes fit three bottles in the main frame, plus one underneath the down tube (where there's a bash guard) and a bento box on the top tube

The geometry is quite similar to the Boone ’cross bike — nearly identical in reach, with a slightly taller stack and a lower bottom bracket. The chainstay length and wheelbase in the short setting are the same, Vande Velde says.

Like the Crockett alloy ’cross bike, the Checkpoint features adjustable dropouts that change the chainstay length from 425-440mm. The shorter setting is for a livelier ride, and the longer one for more stability, especially when loading the bike down. Another benefit is the ability to set up the bike as a singlespeed. 

The bikes all have fork mounts, rear rack mounts and fender mounts. 

Sizes 54cm and smaller get three water-bottle mounts. Sizes 56cm and larger get four water-bottle mounts — three in the main frame and one under the down tube. 

BikeRadar tested the Checkpoint SL6
BikeRadar tested the Checkpoint SL6

The bikes all come with 35mm Schwable G-One tires, but the bike can handle up to 45mm tires.

The bikes also all come with Bontrager Blendr mounts, which integrate tidily into the front of the stem and house a bike computer up top and a light or a GoPro on the lower portion.

Assistant product manager Dave Studner says that Trek expected most people to use the bike at least partially for commuting and general road riding, and therefore the fast-rolling G-One was a good middle ground. Changing the tires can affect the bike's personality quite a bit, and with options from 28–45mm, riders can customize the ride to their locale and preferences.

Women's models

Trek has women's models for ALR 4, ALR 5 and SL 5 level bikes. The differences between the WSD models and the standard models are paint, narrower handlebars and women's saddles.

The Checkpoint SL5 WSD comes in four sizes
The Checkpoint SL5 WSD comes in four sizes

Additional features of Checkpoint SL models

On the Checkpoint SL 5 and SL 6 models, the upgrades include a carbon frame with the IsoSpeed Decoupler system that essentially acts as low-key rear suspension. There is no front IsoSpeed as on the high-end Boone and Domane models — perhaps that could come on a not-yet-released Checkpoint SL 7 in the future.

The SL 5 and SL 6 bikes also get a top tube mount for a bento box, and a bash guard on the lower down tube to protect the carbon frame from rocks.

The Checkpoint SL frameset weighs a claimed 1,240g in size 56cm
The Checkpoint SL frameset weighs a claimed 1,240g in size 56cm

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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