Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Checkpoint AL 3 AL 4

Old 11-17-18, 03:46 AM
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Brooke1687
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Checkpoint AL 3 AL 4

Checkpoint AL4
Is this Trekís foray into a more affordable gravel bike?

I was about to bite the bullet on the ALR 4 but just couldnít get comfortable with the price, This one is much more in my budget. The 3 is only $1099 but I really prefer the feel of hydro brakes over mechanical.


Also please someone tell me Iím not insane, these havenít been on their website for months right? I wonder if they will release WSD versions of these soon. Iím ready to buy like right now, but I was at least planing to wait until next weekend to see what their sales look like so I will do that.

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Old 11-17-18, 08:53 AM
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Lava
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I saw someone post one of these on ****** just now and I was similarly confused.

It looks like the AL has slightly different geometry compared to the ALR frame, so maybe it's more inexpensively constructed? 200 series vs 300 series aluminum, whatever that means. Also the AL has Formula hubs/rims compared to the Bontrager wheels on the ALR, but I assume these are both entry level anyway. And the AL doesn't have the weird horizontal dropouts, which I guess could be a plus to some.

Not sure why they decided to introduce a second Tiagra model, though. Seems like there's no point in getting the ALR4 now. If you want 105 you go for the ALR5, if you want Tiagra the AL4 is $300+ cheaper than the ALR4.

Both seem to be less value than the Topstone, though. I test rode an ALR5 and appreciated the responsiveness, and was going to compare it to a Topstone once those are in stock.
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Old 11-17-18, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Lava View Post
I saw someone post one of these on ****** just now and I was similarly confused.

It looks like the AL has slightly different geometry compared to the ALR frame, so maybe it's more inexpensively constructed? 200 series vs 300 series aluminum, whatever that means. Also the AL has Formula hubs/rims compared to the Bontrager wheels on the ALR, but I assume these are both entry level anyway. And the AL doesn't have the weird horizontal dropouts, which I guess could be a plus to some.

Not sure why they decided to introduce a second Tiagra model, though. Seems like there's no point in getting the ALR4 now. If you want 105 you go for the ALR5, if you want Tiagra the AL4 is $300+ cheaper than the ALR4.

Both seem to be less value than the Topstone, though. I test rode an ALR5 and appreciated the responsiveness, and was going to compare it to a Topstone once those are in stock.
The guys at my shop, which is a Trek concept store, didnít even realized theyíd been released. I couldnít test drive it, but I tested the ALR4 so I hope itís similar enough. They went ahead and gave me the black Friday pricing so I ordered it. Iím pretty excited. Iím coming from a Neko 2, which I like but Iím ready for something a little lighter and faster.
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Old 11-17-18, 02:28 PM
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The Al is about 1lb heavier then the ALR. I guess do to the heavier aluminum. The big difference to me would be the lack of hydraulic brakes and stranglehold dropouts. The adjustable dropouts make the bike truly versatile. If you have no plans to load the bike up then I donít think it would make much difference.
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Old 11-17-18, 03:06 PM
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Brooke1687
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Originally Posted by flyjimmy View Post
The Al is about 1lb heavier then the ALR. I guess do to the heavier aluminum. The big difference to me would be the lack of hydraulic brakes and stranglehold dropouts. The adjustable dropouts make the bike truly versatile. If you have no plans to load the bike up then I donít think it would make much difference.
The AL4 has hydraulic brakes. I doubt Iíd ever utilized the stranglehold dropout. Iím pretty simple, I have a Neko now and I like it buts it too heavy and gets uncomfortable on longer rides. So I think this is the perfect upgrade for me.
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Old 11-17-18, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Brooke1687 View Post


The AL4 has hydraulic brakes. I doubt Iíd ever utilized the stranglehold dropout. Iím pretty simple, I have a Neko now and I like it buts it too heavy and gets uncomfortable on longer rides. So I think this is the perfect upgrade for me.
I just took a second look at the trek site. It lists hydraulic brakes under components. In the section that says ďthe tech you getĒ it lists Tiagra and mechanical disk brakes. So if the adjustable dropouts donít sound like a useful feature for you then im sure you made a great decision.
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Old 11-17-18, 08:48 PM
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I suspect they got beat up on their pricing of the ALRs. At least that's the vibe I got from my local shop (that I use to work at) when chatting with the guys. Interesting, the fork on the AL4 is cleaner than the SL5 with the hose running through it versus zip-tied to the inside of the leg.
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Old 11-17-18, 10:00 PM
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Is this right? The Trek sites lists AL 3/4 "tires up to 35c" while the ALR 4/5 show "tires up to 45c?" Both are described as massive tire clearance. Some are more massive.
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Old 11-18-18, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by good4u View Post
Is this right? The Trek sites lists AL 3/4 "tires up to 35c" while the ALR 4/5 show "tires up to 45c?" Both are described as massive tire clearance. Some are more massive.
Yeah 35 doesnít seem particularly massive to me.
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Old 11-18-18, 11:14 AM
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With that kind of clearance I'd call it more a cx bike with relaxed geometry vs a gravel bike. That is some tiny tire clearance.
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Old 11-18-18, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
With that kind of clearance I'd call it more a cx bike with relaxed geometry vs a gravel bike. That is some tiny tire clearance.
i wanted a road bike because Iím planning on doing a few sprint triathlons next summer and I need to make up some speed on the bike. But outside of that Iím a more casual rider, mostly riding a few days a week on the hard gravel trails near my house. i like the wider tires and mechanical disk brakes on my hydrid so I think this will be the perfect bike for me.
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Old 11-18-18, 12:30 PM
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Congrats on the new bike. Sounds like you made a thoughtful decision between price and features.

I'm sure you will enjoy it.
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Old 11-19-18, 05:34 AM
  #13  
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I own an ALR4 and had never heard of the AL 3/4 models untill now. I agree that the pricing on the ALR models is expensive, but I have been mightly impressed by mine, it is my first Trek bicycle and so far the brand has earned my respect, I did not expect it to behave that well on the local dirty roads that can get get quite rough and rocky.
The AL versions seem like excelent bike for bad roads and smooth gravel, I'd personally go for the AL 4 version, because I love hydraulic brakes and to upgrade the AL 3 to hydros at a later date can get expensive.
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Old 01-31-19, 12:48 AM
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The pros and cons very much favour the al4 over the alr4 (unless one considers riding it singlespeed). Even the colouring is preferable imo! Brooke, how do you like your new bike???

N.B. Two differences that were not yet mentioned in this thread are the saddle and the handlebar. No isozone on the al-version.
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Old 02-03-19, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Remmelt View Post
The pros and cons very much favour the al4 over the alr4 (unless one considers riding it singlespeed). Even the colouring is preferable imo! Brooke, how do you like your new bike???

N.B. Two differences that were not yet mentioned in this thread are the saddle and the handlebar. No isozone on the al-version.
I like it a lot so far. Iím ready for spring so I can get some outdoor ride time in. The saddle has been a bit of a struggle. I do think the womenís specific design would have been nice to have because itís an expensive saddle but I just canít get comfortable on it. I swapped it for the sports saddle on my Neko but thatís not exactly the right fit either. I also had a hard time getting the saddle height adjusted, the tube just would not stay up. Over all the quality of the ALR felt far superior but for my budget the AL4 is good. I also LOVE the color so thatís a bonus.
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Old 02-03-19, 02:17 PM
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A slipping seatpost is not right. Have you mentioned this to your local bike shop? They should fix that for you.

As for the saddle, is the picture showing your preferred height? It seems a bit low (although I am not an expert by any means). The higher you sit, the more pressure on the handlebars and less on the saddle. Also moving the saddle horizontally sometimes helps.

The bike itself looks great! I am surprised you were able to notice the quality difference compared to the ALR. In what way?
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Old 02-03-19, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Remmelt View Post
A slipping seatpost is not right. Have you mentioned this to your local bike shop? They should fix that for you.

As for the saddle, is the picture showing your preferred height? It seems a bit low (although I am not an expert by any means). The higher you sit, the more pressure on the handlebars and less on the saddle. Also moving the saddle horizontally sometimes helps.

The bike itself looks great! I am surprised you were able to notice the quality difference compared to the ALR. In what way?
I probably overspoke on the quality of the two, i only took the alr on a short test drive and I know every bike comes with itís own break in period. Itís really is a great bike, itís a big upgrade from my hybrid so thereís a learning curve and Iím still getting used to it. The seat was low in that picture because it kept slipping. I have it tight now but I still need to raise it a bit so Iím going to let the shop deal with it. I had an issue with the rear skewer, which the shop fixed, and damn I had no idea how much of an annoyance it was going to be getting a gravel bike on a trainer but thatís not the bikes fault.

I am planning on doing a couple of sprint triathlons this summer but normally ride crush gravel so I think this bike really is the best of both worlds. I havenít gotten it out in the road yet but Iím looking forward to it when gets a little warmer.
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Old 02-04-19, 03:26 AM
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It may have been the wider 35 mm G-One tires on the ALR that gave you the impression of better quality. For your purposes, a combination of racing and gravelriding, the narrower/slicker Bontrager R1 tires seem a better compromise.

A gravelbike can handle all weather conditions. Don't put it on a trainer!!!

I would use the bike for gravelriding and bikepacking. I love the multiple mount options on this bike. But my current cyclocross machine is still functional, so I don't allow myself to make a new purchase yet.

And I wait for a 1x11 drivetrain option. I wonder why Trek only offers 50/34 compacts on the Checkpoint. Can anyone start a thread on that???
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Old 02-09-19, 01:10 AM
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Tire clearance

Originally Posted by Brooke1687 View Post


The AL4 has hydraulic brakes. I doubt Iíd ever utilized the stranglehold dropout. Iím pretty simple, I have a Neko now and I like it buts it too heavy and gets uncomfortable on longer rides. So I think this is the perfect upgrade for me.

Hi Brooke

i am also interested in the same model AL4. The only question for me is tire clearance. Website says 38 mm but everyone mention 35. Have you ever try to fit bigger tires than stocks?
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Old 02-18-19, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Jamg2412 View Post



Hi Brooke

i am also interested in the same model AL4. The only question for me is tire clearance. Website says 38 mm but everyone mention 35. Have you ever try to fit bigger tires than stocks?
I think that's an important concern that Trek hasn't addressed adequately. I bought a 2019 Checkpoint SL last year when the official clearance was for 45mm tires. The bikes have not changed. But the official tire clearance spec has been reduced to 35mm. According to Trek, this is because of a reinterpretation of safety regulations. If that's the case, Trek needs to be more open and communicate with its bike owners. If this is a safety issue, they've either got (1) a deceptive advertising issue, or (2) a safety issue. Keeping owners in the dark is not the right way to handle this.

[EDIT: The 35mm capacity came from my review of Trek's website and a discussion with Trek's customer service guy on Friday, February 15, 2019. Today, Monday February 18, 2019, the capacity spec on Trek's website is 40mm for SL models and 38mm on AL models. What is it really? And why? Who knows. The constantly changing spec is maddening!]

Last edited by FlashBazbo; 02-18-19 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 05-17-19, 02:05 PM
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Hi Brooke, how are you liking the AL 4? I'm contemplating to buy one but not sure which color to get. Can you post more pics on the matte grey color?
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