There are eight models in the Checkpoint lineup. This 2022 Trek Checkpoint SL 6 eTap review focuses on the SL 6 eTap version, but also includes comparisons to other models.
This bike is perfect for the rider that appreciates the latest technology. It’s also great for long gravel adventures because every part of this bike was designed for comfort and speed.
The SL in the model name means it is a carbon fiber frame. It has the same 500 series OCLV carbon fiber used on Checkpoint’s SL 5 option.
With a weight of 19.96 lbs the 2022 Trek Checkpoint SL 6 eTap lands it in the Super Bike category.
Trek Checkpoint SL 6 eTap Drivetrain
What has become normal in the mountain biking world is making its way to road drivetrains. The 2022 Checkpoint SL 6 eTap comes with a 1×12 SRAM Rival eTap AXS wireless electronic drivetrain. Previously, 1×12 drivetrains were only included on Eagle.
The bottom bracket is a DUB T47 threaded bottom bracket. DUB is a mountain bike bottom bracket now on a ‘road bike.’ This means the cycling industry is one small step closer to a universal parts system.
Checkpoint SL 6 eTap Groupset
The groupset is the motivating factor for customers looking at the 2022 Checkpoint SL 6 eTap. SRAM Rival eTap AXS is the third best road groupset SRAM offers, behind Red and Force. Electronic shifting is great. Most local bike shops will have a demo bike featuring Di2 from Shimano or eTap AXS from SRAM. Do yourself a favor and take one for a ride.
With the SRAM Rival eTap AXS group you get SRAM’s hydraulic disc brakes. The debates are endless when it comes to Shimano vs SRAM brakes. My experience says there is more modulation with Shimano brakes. Brake modulation is the ability to precisely and accurately control the amount of clamp force on a rotor. The SRAM brakes have excellent stopping ability, but the range between slow down and full stop is a lot tighter.
SL 6 eTap Key Features
A key feature on this bike is the SRAM Rival eTap AXS groupset. I know I brought it up before, but it’s worth mentioning again. Electronic shifting is the fastest, and most reliable form of shifting in the cycling world today. The price is absurd, but if you can comfortably afford this luxury you will never ride with anything else.
Another key feature is the decoupler technology. Trek’s IsoSpeed works great, albeit at a cost. It is heavy, and gravel rides are long distance. However, the comfort gain far outweighs the added weight. IsoSpeed is a decoupler that allows the seat tube to flex without being restricted by the top tube. In other words, IsoSpeed eats away vibrations from gravel and rough terrain.
Any bike that weighs less than 20 lbs is a capable climbing bike. The Checkpoint SL 6 eTap’s best feature is its weight of 19.96 lbs. That means you can ride gravel, climb mountains, or both – all with the same bike..
Checkpoint SL 6 eTap Problems
On a bike in this price range you shouldn’t have problems. There are a couple things that can make your experience better on this bike. For example, there is nothing wrong with the Bontrager GR 1 tires that come on this bike, but there are better options out there. For flat prevention and aggressive cornering, buy a pair of WTB Riddler tires (Check Price on Amazon Here) when it’s time for an upgrade.
The only real problem area with this bike is the absurd price jump over the SL 5. Much of the price increase comes from the change in groupset, but the frame is the same 500 series OCLV carbon fiber as the SL 5. Electronic shifting alone caused a $1,000 price increase. It’s worth it, but I look forward to the day when everyone can experience how great it is. The biggest obstacle to that is affordability.
If you can stomach the price, there is no denying this bike is top of the line in gravel performance. As a result of the price, bikepacking and other adventures are unlikely. If you love riding gravel, there is no doubt you will love the Checkpoint SL 6 eTap.
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