The Checkpoint is Trek’s gravel bike, but it is capable of more than crushing the world’s greatest gravel races. In this 2022 Trek Checkpoint SLR 7 review I’ll explain why this is the best race bike for any endurance ride.
I’ll also explain why the SLR 7 is the worst value in the Checkpoint lineup. With a price tag of $8,349 you would expect the latest and lightest electronic shifting available. Unfortunately, you’re stuck with GRX Di2. It is the equivalent to Shimano 105 upgraded to electronic shifting.
The Checkpoint SLR 7 frame is made of 700 series OCLV carbon. It’s Trek’s lightest frame material, reserved for race bikes. Even with the heavy groupset this bike weighs just 19.38 lbs..
2022 Checkpoint SLR 7 Drivetrain
The Checkpoint SLR 7 has a 2×11 drivetrain. A slight change from other models is the available crank arm lengths. They range from 170-175mm depending on frame size. There is no 165mm option, even for the smaller frame sizes.
The crankset comes with 48/31 chainrings. When combined with the 11-34 cassette you get a full spectrum of range with plenty of speed at the high and low ends. The GRX drivetrain saves weight by using an Ultegra cassette.
The maximum chainring size is 46T for 1x conversions, or 50/36 if sticking with the 2x setup. I’m not fond of converting bikes in this price range. However, a 1x conversion makes sense if global supply chain issues force you into an almost perfect bike.
Trek Checkpoint SLR 7 Groupset
Shimano GRX Di2 is an interesting groupset. The accuracy and reliability of Di2 electronic shifting is phenomenal. In addition, the battery life is better than the competition.
GRX is heavy compared to Ultegra, but it is also more durable. Durability is a big consideration on a bike that will take abuse from severe vibrations during gravel races.
The ergonomic design of the GRX shifters is flawless. I also love the simplicity of Di2 shifting on my race bike. It allows shifting under any riding conditions. In addition, GRX has a clutch that keeps tension on the chain to ensure accurate shifting.
Checkpoint SLR 7 Key Features
The 2022 Checkpoint SLR 7 comes with Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V wheels. They are made of OCLV carbon and come tubeless ready. They are top of the line when it comes to gravel and all-road wheelsets.
In addition to carbon wheels, the SLR 7 comes with a 700 series OCLV carbon fiber frame. Similarly, it also comes with carbon armor to protect key areas of the frame..
Finally, the down tube storage with BITS storage back is the coolest innovation in gravel biking. Capable of holding a tube, CO2 cartridge and tire levers, you never have to worry about a flat shutting down your ride.
SLR 7 Upgrades
The groupset on this bike doesn’t make sense, but the electronic shifting is still flawless and reliable. Albeit, heavier than it should be. The battery life with Di2 is much better than SRAM AXS, too. I’d love to see Ultegra Di2 on the SLR 7 in the future. It weighs over 400 grams les than GRX Di2.
The Bontrager GR 1 Team Issue tires are the real weak point on the SLR 7. The Maxxis Rambler is an excellent race tire, and a big upgrade in flat prevention. (Check Current Price on Amazon).
There is nowhere else on this bike that needs an upgrade. Everything about the 2022 Trek Checkpoint SLR 7 was designed with a goal of being the best gravel race bike. In conclusion, if you race gravel at a high level the SLR 7 is an option worth considering.
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