The Trek Checkpoint is the best gravel bike on the market in 2022. It has already won Bike of the Year from numerous rating agencies. I’ll dive into 5 reasons this bike so great, as well as two areas that need upgrades before future generations are released. It wouldn’t be a 2022 Trek Checkpoint SLR 7 eTap review without also covering price, groupset, drivetrain and even key features.
Priced at $8,499, the 2022 Trek Checkpoint SLR 7 eTap is the second most expensive model in the lineup. That means this bike is for professional gravel racers only. If you don’t race professionally this is more bike than any enthusiast needs.
Checkpoint SLR 7 eTap Key Features
The first reason the Checkpoint SLR 7 eTap is the best gravel bike on the market is it’s remarkably low weight. SLR 7 eTap weighs 18.63 lbs..
Another reason the Checkpoint is Gravel Bike of the Year is its 700 series OCLV carbon frame with IsoSpeed. Even with the IsoSpeed decoupler, this frame is lightweight. Gravel is rough, and the decoupler allows specific frame tubes to flex with the changing terrain. That means you get a more comfortable ride.
Third and fourth are the internal down tube storage and integrated frame mounts. The 2022 Checkpoint SLR 7 is loaded with storage options, but even with the integrated mounts located everywhere the Checkpoint still looks clean and stylish.
Finally, the fifth reason Checkpoint deserves it’s title of Gravel Bike of the Year is the Aeolus Pro 3V carbon wheels. They have a 25mm internal width, so you can’r run tires more narrow than 32c. That wider rim width means your tires friction patch gets wider. The benefit is it also gets shorter. Increased tire width reduces friction with Aeolus Pro 3V wheels.
2022 Checkpoint SLR 7 eTap Groupset
The groupset on the 2022 Checkpoint SLR 7 is SRAM Force eTap AXS. It’s their second lightest electronic wireless shifting group behind only the flagship, SRAM Red. The entire SRAM Force group weighs between 2,800-2,900 grams.
There may be a benefit to using the Force groupset over Red. Typically the extra weight between groups is due to additional materials, which also means added strength.
The groupset comes in both 1x and 2x options. All of the components are compatible with any. parts from the AXS ecosystem. That includes mountain bike groupset SRAM Eagle AXS. That kind of convenience is incredible, especially for a racer in multiple disciplines.
Trek Checkpoint SLR 7 eTap Drivetrain
The drivetrain that comes on the Checkpoint SLR 7 eTap is 1×12. This bike usually gets ordered through the Project One experience. You can order it with a 2x if you choose, but keep in mind you add weight with a front derailleur.
With the SRAM Force eTap AXS drivetrain the smaller frame sizes have the option of 165mm crank arms. Those are not available on Checkpoint models spec’d with Shimano Di2.
Finally, the 40T chainring up front is capable of being swapped out for a maximum size of 46T. Paired with a 10-44 cassette, this drivetrain offers plenty of range to find your perfect cadence.
Checkpoint SLR 7 eTap’s Best Upgrades
This bike is great, and almost perfect. If anything needs to change, it’s the handlebar tape and tires.
The best handlebar tape is very subjective. Personally, I do a half wrap on my race bike using Lizard Skins DSP. (Check Price on Amazon). I change brands occasionally, too. The point is, when given a choice I never put Bontrager Supertack on the bike.
When it comes to the best gravel tires there is more science than subjectivity. No tire has won more big gravel races recently than the Maxxis Rambler (Check Price on Amazon). The GR1 Team Issue tires that come on the Checkpoint will wear out quickly. I also experienced an excessive amount of flats.
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