The new Trek Checkpoint Driftless ALR 5 loses a chainring, gains a dropper seatpost and is switched to a threaded bottom bracket.
Evolutions in the spec reflect wider gravel tech trends, such as the rise of 1x gearing and the adoption of dropper posts.
The new alloy gravel bike retains numerous frame mounts from previous versions of the Trek Checkpoint ALR, reflecting the popularity of bikepacking and ultra-endurance racing.
The new bike’s geometry is unchanged, according to Trek. But it does have a custom paintjob the brand describes as ‘Satin Cobra Blood’.
Trek says the new “exceedingly versatile” entry-level Checkpoint is “suited to a wide variety of riding styles, including gravel rides, bikepacking and daily commutes”.
The bike is built with a set of Bontrager Paradigm SL tubeless-ready wheels. These have an internal width of 21mm and come fitted with 700 x 40c Bontrager GR2 120 TPI tires.
The frame has clearance for 700 x 45c tyres, according to Trek, which is enough to fit many of the best gravel tyres.
Besides seat tube and down tube bottle cage bosses, the Driftless ALR 5 has extra mounting points further up and on the other side of the top tube.
This enables you to fit four water bottle cages or, as Trek has done, attach a frame bag, which comes as standard with the bike.
Trek says the custom-made Bontrager bag features a topographical map design based on the Driftless region of the brand’s home in Wisconsin.
In addition, a trio of bosses run down the carbon fork. Trek says you can also fit mud guards to the chainstay mounts.
The new Trek Checkpoint Driftless ALR 5 weighs a claimed 9.6kg in size 56 without the frame bag.
This would be 600g lighter than the old model in the same size, despite having the same 300 Series Alpha Aluminum frame. The weight saving is likely to come from shedding a chainring and front derailleur by going 1x.
The Trek Checkpoint Driftless ALR 5 has increased in price from £2,150 to £2,700 / €3,220 / $3,280 / AU$4,695.95.
Change of gear and BB
Unlike previous iterations of the Trek Checkpoint ALR, the new Checkpoint Driftless ALR 5 is equipped with a 1x drivetrain.
The old model had a Shimano GRX 2x setup comprising a 50/34t crankset and 11-34t cassette.
The 2022 bike has a single Shimano GRX RX600 40t chainring and the brand’s 11-speed SLX M7000 11-42t cassette at the back.
This large cassette gives a slightly smaller bottom gear and requires a Shimano GRX RX812 long-cage rear derailleur.
Brakes are upgraded from Shimano GRX RX400 to RX600 hydraulic discs with 160mm rotors front and rear.
Trek has also swapped the bottom bracket shell from a press-fit option to a threaded Praxis T47.
Trek’s most affordable gravel bike has an Easton EA70 AX seatpost that gives 50mm of travel.
This enables you to drop the saddle a modest amount. A lower center of gravity can increase control when descending technical trails more associated with mountain bikes.