Should I get the Trek Checkpoint SL5 2022 or the Trek Checkpoint SL6 2022? Choosing a gravel bike can be a challenging task, especially in today’s bike market where millions of gravel bikes with various specifications are available. If you’re struggling to find one that suits you, don’t worry. This article will help you find the right gravel bike that suits your needs.
- Matching the terrain
Before you go to the nearest bike store, you have to understand that gravel bikes sit on a wide spectrum. So, you might find a road-like gravel bike or even mountain-like gravel bike. These variations happen due to the specific design to suit the bike with a certain terrain.
When choosing a gravel bike, make sure that you know what kind of terrain you’ll use your new bike on. If you like a combination of pavement and dirt roads, then you should probably get a gravel bike that is similar to a road bike. On the other hand, if you like singletrack or even 4×4 trails, you should consider getting the mountain bike-like gravel bike.
- Matching the geometry
Choosing the bike geometry can be extremely complicated. So, we try to simplify this step by focusing on the trail geometry. In general, gravel bikes with less trail figures, like Trek Checkpoint SL6 2022, are designed similarly to road bikes. They are less stable at high speed but have more agile handling.
On the other hand, gravel bikes with more trail figures are built like mountain bikes. They are more stable at high speed but have more sluggish handling. Most modern gravel bikes, like the Trek E Gravel bike lines, have 7.4 to 6.6 trail figures that are closely similar to road bikes.
- Matching the specs
Specs are another determining factor when choosing a gravel bike. In general, you should always consider the gravel bike’s drivetrain and tire size. In terms of drivetrains, the 2x drivetrain (double chainring) is more suitable for smooth gravel roads. This type of setups are commonly found on road bikes.
On the other hand, the 1x systems (single chainring) are more simple and commonly found in mountain bikes. This simplicity allows you to change the gear more quickly for different terrains and slopes.
For tire size, your selection should be based on what terrain you will ride your gravel bike on. If you like smooth terrains, a bike with 700x40c bike tire, like Trek Checkpoint SL6 2022 mm tire is a nice option. If you like rougher terrains, gravel bikes with 700×50 mm tire should be preferred.