In this 2022 Trek Checkpoint SL 5 review we will cover the type of road bike this is, the drivetrain, groupset and additional key features.
There are many different types of road bikes, and the Checkpoint is capable in all disciplines. Where the Checkpoint SL 5 really shines is the gravel and bikepacking categories. The tires are too wide to be a great road bike, but with a second set of tires it could be great at that, too.
The SL 5 is for serious cyclists. The $3,299 price tag is high enough to scare beginners off. This is a great bike for a road cyclist looking to ride off-pavement.
The 2022 Checkpoint SL 5 has a carbon fiber frame. Don’t expect a huge weight savings over the SLR 5 though. This carbon model weighs just 50 grams less at 21.39 lbs.
Your biggest gain from the switch in frame material is the vibration dampening ability of carbon fiber over aluminum. Endurance cyclists and gravel bikers will appreciate the comfort of carbon fiber.
2022 Checkpoint SL 5 Drivetrain
The drivetrain on the 2022 Checkpoint SL 5 is 2×11 Shimano GRX. Whether climbing or descending, you will have plenty of low and high range, and everything in-between. Crank arm lengths vary depending on frame size from 165-175mm.
The Shimano GRX shifters are designed for both comfort and durability. The balance between weight and efficiency is perfect for off-road riding, or mixed use cycling.
Trek used to use a proprietary BB90 bottom brac. et. The T47 threaded bottom bracket on the SL 5 is common, which means finding compatible parts wis easier.
What Groupset Does 2022 Checkpoint SL 5 Have?
The groupset on 2022 Trek Checkpoint SL 5 gravel bikes is Shimano GRX. It is the equivalent to Shimano 105, which is a road groupset. In fact, Checkpoint SL 5 cassette is a part from Shimano 105.
Shimano designed GRX knowing it would be a gravel specific groupset. As a result, the design to maximizes efficiency and durability. The vibrations from gravel biking are hard on road bike groupsets, and GRX is Shimano’s way to solve that problem.
Shimano GRX was first released in 2019, so it’s still new. For the first three years the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Don’t expect that to change either. As Shimano makes improvements to other groups, the technology makes its way to all groupsets. GRX has the benefit of taking from both the road and mountain groups. In fact, Shimano 105 today is very similar to Shimano Dura Ace from 10 years ago.
Checkpoint SL 5 Key Features
Rear IsoSpeed is the best feature on this bike. IsoSpeed takes a rigid frame bike and makes it comfortable on rough surfaces. Doing so allows the seat tube to flex with changes on the trail.
The frame geometry is great for long rides. It has the holes needed to internally mount the cables for a dropper post too. Dropper post compatibility is the coolest feature on the bike that instantly makes you want to spend more money on upgrades.
There are tons of integrated mounts on this bike. The Topeak Aero Wedge (Check Price on Amazon) is my saddle bag of choice, but the storage options are endless. You will be able to store your flat kit, nutrition and other supplies on the Checkpoint rather than in a backpack that only makes you hot.
Checkpoint SL 5 Problems
The biggest problem I have with this bike is the weight for this price point. Switching from an aluminum frame to carbon fiber saves weight, but the IsoSpeed decoupler adds it back on. The bike isn’t heavy, but a carbon fiber road bike with a price over $3,000 needs to weigh about 450 grams or one pound less.
Overall the SL 5 is a great bike for bikepacking and gravel biking. Above all, it is fast, responsive, and relatively light weight after accounting for the increased comfort of IsoSpeed. With all the room for storage you can take everything you need to ride the trails less traveled.
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