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Gravel Gear

Trek tweaks geometry, adds storage to Checkpoint gravel bikes

New 8-bike line ranges from aluminum $2,399 ALR 5 to $11,999 SLR 9 eTap with elastomer-damped Isospeed, internal routing, and down tube storage.

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Trek today expanded on its Checkpoint gravel line with eight new bikes for 2022 in three families: the top-end SLR, the mid-range SL and the aluminum ALR. What’s new is the progressive geometry (read: 2cm longer front center), integrated frame bag mounts, the addition of a threaded bottom bracket, the elimination of the sliding rear dropout, and — for the SL and brand new SLR – integrated storage in the down tube and internal routing.

Review:  Trek Checkpoint SLR 9 eTap tested in SBT GRVL

What continues forward is the 45mm tire clearance, the IsoSpeed rear suspension on the carbon models, and a healthy range of pricing options.

Trek is positioning the SLR bikes as race focused with light, 700 Series OCLV carbon, aero shaping, and high-end wheels and components. (SLR stands for Super Light Race.) The new SLRs also use an L-shaped IsoSpeed seatmast that extends into the top tube, where an elastomer damps the return movement from bumps. When Trek launched this design with its Domane endurance bike, it had a rider-adjustable setting underneath the top tube. Trek found that few riders used this feature, so now each bike just gets a flex tuned per bike size, without any adjustment.

The new Checkpoint SLR adopts the elastomer-damped IsoSpeed design from Trek’s Domane endurance bike.

Trek says the new SLR is more aero than the outgoing Checkpoint SL, thanks to both frame shaping and internal routing. If nothing else, the internal routing makes for easier bar-bag installation.

The SLR and the SL both get a handy down-tube storage compartment, accessible via a lever under a bottle cage. The bikes come with a velcro-secured sleeve to hold flat fixings, and there is room for other stuff, too. It’s a design that has existed in competitors’ gravel bikes like the Specialized Diverge, and in Trek’s mountain bikes.

The storage door uses a simple but secure latch.

The SL bikes get the same shaping but with 500 Series carbon. And instead of the L-shaped IsoSpeed seatmast, the SL retains the flexing seat tube that works in tandem with the seatmast and pivot point at the top tube/seatstay junction. These bikes also get rack and fork-bottle mounts.

The Checkpoint ALR is an aluminum bike that has the same geometry, plus scores of mounts.

Geometry

Trek continues with many of the Checkpoint’s calling cards, namely a low (74-78mm drop) bottom bracket, a middle-of-the-road head tube angle (~72 degrees), and a stack height similar to an endurance road bike.

For reference, most gravel bikes have BB drop in the ~70mm range. The Specialized Diverge has 85mm drop in a size 56cm. Cannondale’s Topstone has 61mm. Similarly, most gravel bikes have head angles in the 71-degree range for 56cm bikes. So, the Checkpoint has slightly quicker handling than many, but with a planted feel thanks to its low BB.

Four bottle mounts (on most frames) plus a top-tube bag mount, too.

What’s new is the extension of the frame reach by 2cm, and the subsequent reduction of stem length and bar reach by a commensurate amount. The bike industry has taken to calling this progressive geometry. The idea is basically to take a page out of the mountain-bike book, by extending the front center for more stability at speed and over rough stuff without necessarily negatively affecting handling.

The bikes come in six sizes, from 49 to 61cm, and most of the bikes can fit three bottles in the main triangle plus one under the down tube.

Models, weights, and prices

Checkpoint SLR 9 eTap

$11,999 – 8.1kg/17.9lb

700 OCLV frame, Bontrager Aeolus RSL 37 wheels, SRAM Red XPLR eTap AXS group, Bontrager Pro IsoCore VR-SF bar

Checkpoint SLR 7 eTap

$8,299 – 8.45kg/18.6lb

700 OCLV frame, Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V wheels, SRAM Force XPLR eTap AXS group, Bontrager Pro IsoCore VR-SF bar

Checkpoint SLR 7

$8,299 – 8.81kg/19.4lb

700 OCLV frame, Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V wheels, Shimano GRX RX815 group, Bontrager Pro IsoCore VR-SF bar

Checkpoint SLR 6 eTap

$7,599 – 8.65kg/19.1lb

700 OCLV frame, Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V wheels, SRAM Rival eTap AXS group, Bontrager Pro IsoCore VR-SF bar

Checkpoint SL 7 eTap

$6,299 – 8.9kg/19.6lb

500 OCLV frame, Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V wheels, SRAM Force eTap AXS 2x group, Bontrager Elite Gravel bar

Checkpoint SL 6 eTap

$4,099 – 9.05lb/20lb

500 OCLV frame, Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V wheels, SRAM Rival eTap AXS group, Bontrager Elite Gravel bar

Checkpoint SL 5

$3,199 – 9.65kg/21.3lb

500 OCLV frame, Bontrager Paradigm Comp 25 wheels, Shimano GRX RX600 2x group, Bontrager Elite Gravel bar

Checkpoint ALR 5

$2,399 – 9.75lb/21.5lb

300 Alpha frame, Bontrager Paradigm  wheels, Shimano GRX RX600 2x group, Bontrager Elite Gravel bar