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Trek Checkpoint -- Any long-term experiences or reviews?

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Trek Checkpoint -- Any long-term experiences or reviews?

Old 05-09-19, 02:52 PM
  #101  
HarborBandS
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I was able to do a longer test ride of a Checkpoint SL5 at a local bike shop yesterday. They let me take the bike out for a half hour in a residential area.

My purpose: To try to get the rear IsoSpeed to flex under power, and to see if I could really notice it doing anything at all (I hadn't noticed it much at all my first test ride last fall).

The Bike: 2020 Trek Checkpoint SL5 in size 56. All stock, but this one had Ultegra shifters and brakes for some reason (it must have shipped while the newer 105 R7020 groupset was in short supply)

About Me: Not built like a "roadie"... 5'-11" and 195 lbs, muscular build. Used to race hard-tail mountain bikes in the '90's, but now in my 40's and much slower and more risk averse.

First test: Sprint from a slow roll. It felt stiff and responsive. Like a road bike.

Second test: Out of saddle sprint up a hill. I'm in Illinois, so the "hill" was a slight grade for a few hundred yards maybe 5%. That's all that was available in this location. Again, I noticed no flex in the frame.

Third test: Steady power up a hill. I stayed in the saddle and tried the same hill again with a slightly strenuous amount of power applied. Again, I did not notice anything flexing abnormally.

At this point I was really wondering if the IsoSpeed was a gimmick that did anything at all.

The next thing I did was to find pavement that was cracked, uneven, ground up, potholes, etc. I road over any obstacle I could find I did notice that typical dull carbon absorption of bumps, more of a "thud" than a metal "tink". Vibrations were deadened instead of propagated. Did the frame move under me? Not that I could tell.

Next test: Across some mowed grass at a park. No, it's not a rough section of gravel, but it was the best I was going to get from this short ride in a residential area. At this point I could feel that the ride was certainly smoother than my older aluminum Trek, and perhaps a LITTLE smoother than other carbon frames I've ridden, but I really think the tires and air pressure were a bigger factor.

My conclusion after my somewhat limited experience on the bike (for my style of riding, ability to perceive movement, body, and frame size) is that the rear IsoSpeed on the Checkpoint makes a minor impact. But I also think I'm just not really that sensitive to bumps after so many years on a hard tail mountain bike. I only notice their cumulative impact on my joints after long 20+ mile rides, and I wasn't able to replicate that on my shorter test ride.

So the Trek Checkpoint is back on my list for consideration, though I'm probably now moving my purchase out to Spring of 2021, so I guess we will see what options are around next year at this time. Based on the popular reviews of the Checkpoint, I wouldn't be surprised to see a few changes.
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Old 05-09-19, 03:49 PM
  #102  
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I have a 58 Checkpoint SL after my Crockett frame was generously warrantied and I upgraded a bit (trek is the best). I got the carbon frame for the ISO rear, as I planned on using the bike an endurance bike too.

After spending some time with it, I wouldn't do CF again. The CF frame has nicer cable routing (hosed cable end-to-end is nice for sandy areas and crossing water), more bottle cage bosses, uses a seat mast, and the Di2 battery compartment (which is great for tube storage), but it rides the same as my basic Emonda ALR and my Crockett (with Specy zigzag seat post) on the same tires/wheels at 85psi. On rough pavement and hitting potholes, there's no difference. In contrast, I was getting abused on my Crockett on road tires until I bought the SBC zig zag seat post. I'd save the money and get the 300-series ALR frame and a fancy seat post (if needed) if I were to do it again. The seat mast is a particular PITA as I need a bit more setback and can't just change the post. I don't have thigh gap and my legs also rub the wider CF tubes.

I've got 43mm tires on there, and I wouldn't go over 45mm after having a look at it. You can run a bit larger, but I managed to sand the paint off my old bike running too large of tires and 43mm manages on soft sand.


Tip: You can be REALLY aggressive in shortening the cable housing between the bars and downtube guide. There are some complaint about it being annoying and hitting your leg, but I've got it internally routed on my bars which open up close to the stem and just the bare min of cable - it's nice and clean. It can rub the paint, so put a clear frame protector sticker there.
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Old 06-03-19, 07:53 AM
  #103  
Jamg2412
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Originally Posted by MAGAIVER View Post
Borrowed a set of 27,5" wheels with 2.2 mtb tires on the local bike shop to test fit on my Checkpoint ALR 4, clearances are good even with the rear dropout all the way forward. No problems with the FD either.
The front wheel the lbs had was a 15mm thru axle so I did not fit it on the bike, rear dropout is all the way forward on thos pictures, Total wheel diameter is just a little bit smaller then the 700c wheel with the 40c Maxxis Ramblers.



What is your tire clearance in the non-drive side and drive-side? is it the same? I have the same frame and the drive side is closer to the tyre.
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Old 06-04-19, 02:02 PM
  #104  
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The non drive side has more clearence then the drive side, that picture was taken with the droput fully slammed forward, I moved it back a bit and gained some clearence. Keep in mind that the Continental X-King tire is narrower then most tires on the same claimed width. I am currently using Kenda Small Block 8 Pro 27,5x2.1 and it is wider then the 27,5x2.2 X-Kings.
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Old 10-08-19, 05:39 AM
  #105  
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I have SL5 for a year now and I am not experiencing any flex on smooth roads.
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Old 10-08-19, 05:49 AM
  #106  
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I am using Ritchey Venture Max on my SL5 (the cheaper Comp version) and I am very happy with that. Drops is now my favourite bar position!
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Old 10-08-19, 06:04 AM
  #107  
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Can you please share further experiences with the 27.5 wheels on your checkpoint? I am considering one more wheelset for my SL5 and wondering if 27.5 is a way to go (although Trek officially does not recommend it).
For now I have the stock wheels, I got alu Zipp 30 with 28 Schwalbe Pro One for road riding and would like to get more offroad option too - in the 45-47mm range.
How the bike feels with the 27.5? Any issues, concerns? Thanks a lot!
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Old 10-13-19, 07:45 PM
  #108  
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Trek ALR5

Great bike. 500miles on it and love it.
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Old 10-13-19, 07:46 PM
  #109  
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Donít have 10 posts so canít post a pic but running 45mm riddlers on mine
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Old 10-14-19, 07:36 AM
  #110  
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I never had any issues with mine with 27,5 wheels, works fine but if you`re only going for a 45-47c tire stick to 700c, it'll fit. The only reason to go 650b on the Checkpoint is to use mountain bike tires.
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Old 10-27-19, 03:12 AM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by Vegas3416 View Post
Donít have 10 posts so canít post a pic but running 45mm riddlers on mine
what internal rim size?

how much clearance left?
do you think it can get 47mm safely?


thanks for sharing
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Old 10-28-19, 05:46 AM
  #112  
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You could potentially get a 47 in the rear and upfront you might be able to depending on brand of tire but the biggest issue you get upfront is toe clipping and it would be tight at the top of fork as with the 45s I have there is roughly about a finger spacing left. Tight turns you will have more of a chance to clip toe. On mine I do clip sometimes but if you are aware of where you are during pedal stroke itís ok but canít count on that. In rear I have tire all the way pushed up so if I were to move the axle back I would definitely think you could get a 47 in there. Mind you I am running stock wheels but tubeless.
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Old 11-04-19, 01:09 PM
  #113  
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What about racks?

I just picked up a used SL5. I was looking at both AL and SL models. Now that I have it i'm nervous to install a rack on a carbon frame and i've wondered if I should have gone with the AL model. I intend to commute during the week and then explore on the weekends. Is there high risk of issues long term with running mounted racks and bags to this bike?
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Old 11-04-19, 01:21 PM
  #114  
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Why?
You bought a gravel / adventure bike with rack mounts. You'd run bottle cages on it right? What's the difference?
If you're really paranoid, just run the Bontrager rack. If something magically goes wrong, there's only one neck to choke.


Carbon is not that much different than Aluminum. I'm pretty sure the rack eyelets are stainless embedded in the carbon frame anyway.

Last edited by jfranci3; 11-04-19 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 11-04-19, 01:29 PM
  #115  
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Originally Posted by NyoGoat View Post
I just picked up a used SL5. I was looking at both AL and SL models. Now that I have it i'm nervous to install a rack on a carbon frame and i've wondered if I should have gone with the AL model. I intend to commute during the week and then explore on the weekends. Is there high risk of issues long term with running mounted racks and bags to this bike?
Carbon fiber is crazy strong - you'll be fine. I had to cut a carbon fiber seat post down once, using a hacksaw. That was way harder than expected.

Back in engineering school, we did lab experiments to test the breaking point of carbon fiber by subjecting it to bending. I can't remember the numbers, but again, the numbers were extremely high so long as you didn't subject the carbon fiber to a sharp impact. We did the test with new carbon fiber samples and another where we dropped steel balls onto the samples from a few feet. Those latter samples did very poorly.
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Old 11-04-19, 02:00 PM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by NyoGoat View Post
I just picked up a used SL5. I was looking at both AL and SL models. Now that I have it i'm nervous to install a rack on a carbon frame and i've wondered if I should have gone with the AL model. I intend to commute during the week and then explore on the weekends. Is there high risk of issues long term with running mounted racks and bags to this bike?
I did a family touring with mine SL5 with heavy loaded rear racks and I had no issues at all.
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Old 11-04-19, 04:21 PM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by MAGAIVER View Post
Just got My Checkpoint ALR 4 last Week. So far I did 2 50km off-road rides a commuted to work with it a few times. I really like the bike and I'm quite surprised on how smooth it feels.
I usually ride a rigid 29er with wide rims and 2.4 tires off road, the Checkpoint on the stock 35c Kenda tires is not much rougher, I just have to be more carefull on rocky descents.

That country road looks like a blast!
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Old 11-04-19, 04:24 PM
  #118  
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Originally Posted by NyoGoat View Post
I just picked up a used SL5. I was looking at both AL and SL models. Now that I have it i'm nervous to install a rack on a carbon frame and i've wondered if I should have gone with the AL model. I intend to commute during the week and then explore on the weekends. Is there high risk of issues long term with running mounted racks and bags to this bike?
Your frame is made to handle much more stress than your racks are likely to ever create. Ride and enjoy. Repeat!
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Old 12-11-19, 03:13 AM
  #119  
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I've had my Checkpoint ALR5 for 6 months now and I've used it a lot.
I'm going to use it for a 1400km trip to the French Alps in February and I've kitted it out with Bontrager Racks front and rear and Ortlieb panniers so I can camp on the way.
I ride it with the chain stay adjusters all the way back to lengthen the wheel base and provide stability. I've also got full Bontrager mud guards and yes, there is a toe overlap.

I've swapped out the rear derailleur for a Ultegra RX GS version (medium cage) which allow me to run an 11-42T cassette. I have also put Absolute Black sub-compact 30-46T oval rings up front. Be gearing with 35mm tyres has increased from 27.24 to 19.40 inches. It's significant. Last week I did a 550ft climb that peaked at 19% with no problems. I'm not particularly fit and my bike/rider/luggage was on the limit of the 125kg Trek recommendation.
I use it for everything. With the panniers I do all the little journeys to the shops that I used to do in the car. I'm looking forwards to riding it next summer with some knobblies on round my local trails.
For test purposes, I did a cross country ride with the local bike shop on my MTB (and got a KOM!) and then rode the same route the next day on my Checkpoint. With all the stops negated and even without the group faff, the Checkpoint was quicker. It was an eye opener!
My only other upgrade will be a dynamo hub for my trip - Hunt Superdura with a SonDelux hub. Other than that - it's a great bike and I'm even thinking about selling my road bike as I simply haven't used it since the Checkpoint arrived.
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Old 12-11-19, 03:52 PM
  #120  
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Originally Posted by Lava View Post
I wonder if this explains the ALR/AL discrepancy in tire clearance, since the AL came out after the ALR and had reduced clearance?

Has anyone experimented with tire size on the AL this early in the game?
I have 42's on my AL and they fit fine but I've not ridden in any mud yet.
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Old 12-11-19, 05:06 PM
  #121  
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Trek is pretty consistent, but they kept changing the spec on early frames as they added size and changed the tires (maybe wheels too).
To review - whatever the tire opening is -6mm on the smallest frame size or some toe overlap measurement, with the as-delivered wheels. The width of the rear tire opening is dictated by the seat stay opening, which is impacted by the length, BB height, BB Shell width, and the designed gearing (as the chainring cuts into the spaced needed for the tire).

AL and ALRs have completely different backends with regard to build. All the sizes have the same chainstay length, with the BB moved around to clear the tire.
AL Rear (38mm now quoted for all sizes): 5mm longer than the ALR; no adjustable dropouts; less fancy cable routing; narrower external BB housing
ALR Rear (45mm or 40mm 49 & 52cm due to toe overlap): fancier seat stay forming; 16mm(?) wider BB housing (internal) ; adjustable dropout;

So the ALR comes in less sizes, the seat stays have more bends, and the seat stays start further apart - there's a lot more room to put a tire in there.

The AL should really just be called the Domane, but they probably thought Checkpoint would sell better as you could tell an offroad story as you sold it. If you're going off road onto some thing with a deformable or ungroomed surface, you're much better served with the ALR frame. 38c is pretty decent, but 42c will let you lower tire pressures more over bumpy stuff and float over sand/rocks (which equals speed). The cable routing on the AL frame isn't open and not as desirable in muddy/ sandy conditions as there are more openings (I think you can run housing bow to stern on the ALR).
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Old 12-22-19, 05:38 AM
  #122  
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Bought a 2019 Trek Checkpoint SL6 this spring and rode over 1300 miles on Western PA and Northern WV trails this year. I love the bike! It is perfect for rail trails and I recommend it.
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