Trek released their 2020 Checkpoint gravel bike lineup, with updates all-around for the new model year (along with some notable carry-overs). Rear seat tube IsoSpeed Decoupler suspension remains, along with the BB90 bottom bracket standard and 45mm tire clearance. The top-end build now features a SRAM AXS hybrid road/MTB single chainring setup, following suit from other gravel bikes in the market.

2020 Trek Checkpoint carbon and aluminum gravel bikes

While not particularly known as a gravel brand, you could argue that Trek has one of the most gravel-filled product lines today. The Boone and Crockett handle cyclocross duties (which were used by us old-timers in the past as ‘gravel’ bikes), while the new 2020 Domane road bike has 38mm tire clearance and enough capability to pass as a gravel bike in many situations. If that’s not enough, Trek offers the Checkpoint as their actual gravel-specific bike – though the video below clearly states that it’s not necessarily an ‘adventure’ bike.

The Checkpoint is available in alloy and carbon frame options – in several builds – and as a frameset. Let’s dig in to the highlights…

The carbon frames start with OCLV 500 carbon, using the non-adjustable seat tube IsoSpeed Decoupler suspension system.

Flat mount disc brakes are found front and rear, with 12×100 and 12x142mm thru axles. The rear end has Trek’s unique Stranglehold Dropout, adjusting chainstay length and allowing for single speed use if desired.

Tire clearance is 45mm on all models, with 40mm tires coming stock. No mention is made of 650b clearance or compatibility.

Drivetrain varies by model, with the top-end getting a SRAM Force / XX1 hybrid 1x system with wide range 10-50 cassette. Interestingly, the Checkpoint sticks to the BB90 bottom bracket standard, whereas other 2020 Trek models have moved to threaded T47.

Trek squeezes in three bottle cages into the main triangle for long-distance hydration needs, along with the usual compatibility with racks and other bolt-on gear.

Checkpoint Geometry

Carbon models come in six available sizes, all featuring 700c wheels. Trek makes no mention of 2020 women’s models, suggesting that the Checkpoint has adopted their gender neutral sizing scheme seen on the Domane road bike.

The Checkpoint SL 7 ($6,000) has a SRAM 1x Force / XX1 build, along with Aeolus Pro 3V carbon wheels.

The Checkpoint SL 6 ($3,800) has a Shimano Ultegra mechanical drivetrain, along with Bontrager Paradigm Comp 25 wheels.

The Checkpoint SL 5 ($2,900) has a full Shimano 105 mechanical drivetrain, paired with Bontrager alloy rims with sealed bearing hubs.

The Checkpoint SL carbon frameset will run you a clean $2,000.

Trek Checkpoint aluminum

Alloy models use Trek’s 300 and 200 series Alpha Aluminum, opting for a traditional seat post and seat tube rather than a seat mast – plus they lack the IsoSpeed Decoupler suspension. Geometry copies the carbon version, with six available sizes.

Axles follow the carbon frames’ lead – 12×100 and 12x142mm thru axles – along with the rear Stranglehold Dropout.

Tire clearance is 45mm inside the carbon front fork (and alloy rear triangle), with 32-40mm rubber coming stock.

Like the carbon version, three bottles can squeeze into the front triangle for the top-end model, along with a bottom-mounted accessory cage.

Bottom bracket varies by model, with the two lowest models using 68mm threaded, the top-tier ALR 5 using BB92, and their frameset oddly quoted as using a press fit BB86.5 bottom bracket. The carbon models use BB90, while the latest Domane uses T47… the take-home? Triple check before ordering a replacement bottom bracket.

The top-end ALR 5 ($2,100) has a Shimano 105 mechanical drivetrain, along with unnamed Bontrager tubeless-ready alloy rims.

The Checkpoint AL 4 ($1,600) has a Shimano Tiagra build kit, paired with Bontrager Affinity Disc tubeless-ready wheels (with narrower 32mm Hard-Case Lite tires).

The Checkpoint AL 3 ($1,200) has a 9-speed Shimano Sora drivetrain, along with Bontrager Affinity Disc tubeless-ready wheels (with narrower 32mm Hard-Case Lite tires).

For do-it-yourselfers, the Checkpoint ALR frameset can be had for $1,070.

The Checkpoint line is available now as a 2020 model, with Trek’s lifetime frame warranty covering defects in materials and workmanship.


      • Monkey Donkey on

        I wouldn’t think so as other brands are already shipping GRX-equipped bikes. It is weird though to have a gravel-dedicated bike come with regular 105 and Ultegra instead of their GRX variants.

  1. Celest Greene on

    Are flat top chainrings one way compatible with eagle chains? I Know that they’re narrower but thought that the roller diameter was different from those on legacy chains.

    • Threaded BB on

      Agree, what on earth is happening with their BB? It’s like they don’t even care anymore, a alloy frame is the perfect place to use a threaded BB but instead they use pressfit in their best alloy bike?

      I was temped to make a super commuter out of one of these but maybe not.

      • chris on

        Probably an overabundance of old checkpoint frames that are already set up for bb90. You’ll probably see T47 for 2021 models. Every bb90 that I’ve had I’ve switched to the wheel mfg bb that threads onto itself and it takes care of the issue.

        • Dinger on

          These aren’t new frames. They developed them before they began transitioning to T47. I’ve never had any issues with the BB90 on any of the bikes I’ve owned.

  2. Troy on

    I have a first release Checkpoint SL 5. I am full compliments on this bike and have used it across a range of purposes. I don’t have any grumbles, but did choose my own carbon bars, and switched to Hunt wheels to trim some weight)
    I have a rack and full guards mounted (with ease).
    My previous bike developed a crack in the frame and the manufacturer warranty was just 12 months, I am happy I made the flip, and it easily the best bike I have piloted.

  3. John on

    The new Domane just got the internal seatmast from the Madone (but less pointy). If Trek ever gets around to, you know, actually *updating* the Checkpoint (T47, front IsoSpeed, GRX gravel groupset, 650b support, 2” clearance, etc.) I would expect it would also get the new seatmast design.

      • JBikes on

        No. keep the zipties.
        They are so much easier for service or traveling.
        If you even pack your bike having that hose routed through the fork can be a huge pain requiring hose disconnect and re-bleed, which is terrible on a trip.

        • John on

          LOL @ jbikes! What bike box are you using that requires you to remove the front fork and re-bleed your brakes?

          It’s not like you’re going to get S&S couplers on a Checkpoint… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Dinger on

      It’s easy to forget that the Checkpoint came out less than 1.5 years ago (April of 2018). It’s still a little too soon to do a frame update. It also has as much tire clearance as you’re going to get on a bike that will take 700c wheels and some people do run it with 650’s (once it’s yours, you can do whatever you want) but that tire standard is dying off, now that there are so many good choices on 700c, which roll noticeably faster.

  4. Guy on

    The bike is interesting but what I really want to learn is what plans Sram has for their gravel ‘group’. The 10-50 can’t be the intended solution for anyone who can’t turn a 10-33. When is a 10-42 AXS set up being released?

      • Guy on

        After a decade of being told the front mech is over (I agree it is), I’m not going back to 2x on my off-road bikes. I’m also not putting a 50t on the back of a bike with 700×38 tyres either!

    • Greg Kopecky on

      @Guy, I’ve been wondering that for a while now. The jump from 33 to 50 is yuge… and you’d think that at least one option in-between makes sense. But who knows – with 11-speed XD cassettes they did 10-42 ONLY. They did 11-36 in non-XD, though that obviously changes the top-end going from 10 to 11. They may not ever offer more options for 12-speed…

  5. therealgreenplease on

    Big fan of the extra bottle cage on the down tube. Tempted to build an alloy frame up with a shock stop stem and a thudbuster seatpost. That said, I’ll echo what others are saying about their BB: get it together Trek! What a wreck!

  6. Bas on

    One of the cheapest builds with AXS etap I think. Not bad, but who uses this on a travel bike?! The alu frame with GRX would be great

  7. Mecanico do Paladar on

    Haven´t seen posts with plenty of complaints lately!
    This one made my best reading days return!
    The best thing i can have after a bike post is the complaints roll!

    This is a very nice bike!

    Going for popcorn!

  8. Dorian A. Leiva on

    For the 2021 Trek Checkpoints I would like for them to be an amalgam of it and the Domane; Rage Red, aero, bosses, front and rear isospeed, frame storage. It might be asking for too much though.

  9. Seven Treks on

    I was going to buy a Checkpoint sl6 this spring, but opted for a Salsa Warbird Tiagra, to ride through 2020, anticipating Trek coming out with a new designed checkpoint. Hope to see front Isospeed, as well as GRX and not SRAM. If it stays the same, I might just throw the Tiagra away and build up the warbird with GRX. Anyone have any speculation on Treks intentions for checkpoint 2021?


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