|Our Trek rep showed up today with this new Trek Checkpoint.|
That said, I posted a story about this important development on RidingGravel.com today early in the morning. I figured that would be that, unless I was to see one in our shop in the near future. Little did I know that "near future" was today! Our Trek rep showed up wheeling in this black beauty in the morning. What a treat to get to see the top of the line Checkpoint SL6 in the flesh.
This is a size 54cm, bone stock Checkpoint SL6 with a set of Shimano pedals bolted on and nothing more. The bike belongs to our rep. It weighed in at just a hair over 20lbs ready to ride. The spec is full Shimano Ultegra 11 speed with the newest Shadow rear road derailleur and toggle front derailleur. Wheels are aluminum and the tires are Schwalbe G-ones with tubes. These tires are 35mm wide, for reference. Brakes are hydraulic flat mount Shimano units.
Following will be a bunch of images and comments.
The two silver fasteners hold the battery door and if you run Di2, that's where the battery goes. Note the front, 12mm through axle and flat mount brake.
Notice those two "buttons" on the top tube? Those are plugs covering the bosses that will eventually be compatible with a future Bontrager top tube bag, or they could be used with a custom bag set up to accept this mount. Note also the two bosses on the fork. They won''t work with an Anything Cage- we tried- but Trek does make a carrier for their 720 model which is called a "720 Mount", so you could attach dry bags. We don't know if a Wolf Tooth B-Rad 3 would work, but it might.
What I Think: The Checkpoint is a really sharp, well thought out first effort. Trek went with a completely new frame and our rep stated it is actually lighter than a comparable Domane. Trek did squeak out the head angle to be slightly steeper than 72° in my 58cm size, which makes me wince just a little. I would actually prefer it be a degree slacker and have a nice, long offset on the fork, but this is liveable. The big news for me is the bottom bracket drop which is only a few millimeters higher than a Domane in comparable size, but still well into the 70's. I was really hoping Trek would stick with that cue from the Domane and they did.
Trek doggedly sticks with the press fit style bottom bracket, and I'd rather see a threaded bottom bracket, but again, since I work on these all the time I am familiar with how they work. So, not a huge deal. The carbon armor around the bottom bracket is a very smart. I like that Trek thought about that.
I'm not really big on carbon, but hey......it is the fashionable thing these days. So what about the ALR aluminum version then? Well, for starters, Trek chose not to use the ISO Speed decoupler on it. Trek claims that in their testing it wasn't as effective as a big tire on the bike and so they chose to not use it, since it would also drive up the price. The tested ALR prototype with ISO Speed would have been cool to try, but we will have to take Trek's word for it. So, what about front ISO Speed? Yeah......I guess it would have been nice. The Domane Gravel (rebadged Domane Disc) has it, but I can always use a ShockStop stem to get that sort of comfort. And who knows if, or when, I might ever get a Checkpoint? Hmm......
Update- I thought about a couple of other points- Pricing- The Checkpoints are pretty reasonably priced for what you get. Oh, and these are FULL Shimano groups with hydro braking. Nice. Handlebars- Straight drop roadie style. Not going to fly with me, but Trek is trying to appease the roadie riders with that spec. I think they are thinking this may cross over to recreational road riders and the spec speaks to that. Honestly, the rack mounts say "RAGBRAI" and the handling will be a big sell to casual roadies. (Where do you mount the kickstand?) Throw in some 30mm tires and ride all day. I get it, but the front end geo, handle bars, and the stiff looking fork are definitely NOT gravel friendly. Again- I can probably live with the front end given the BB drop, but I won't like those bars and the bike needs a Redshift stem PRONTO for gravel travel.
Anyway, I hope this sneak peek was helpful. I'm sure we will have some of these at the shop where I work in the future.