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Jim53

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Reply with quote  #1 
Today I stopped in at LBS to check out the new Trek Checkpoint.  The store didn't have one -- apparently, Trek can't make them fast enough.  The sales guy showed me a Domane SL 6,  with MSRP of $3500 but on sale for $3300.  He suggested that for my needs (see below at *), the Domane would work well.  It comes with 32mm tires that have no tread, but he said that I could swap out for tires in the 34-36 range with some tread.   

*  I already have a mountain bike (2011 Spec. Stumpjumper FSR Elite), and have put a lot of off-road miles on it.  But for the past few years most of my riding has been on the Capital Crescent Trail and/or the C&O towpath (I live in the DC burbs).  Last year I was even thinking of getting a road bike, but then got interested in gravel bikes.

I'd be grateful for any thoughts on these two questions:

1.  What do you think of the Domane SL 6, with upgraded tires, for my purposes?

2.  If you think this is the way for me to go, what tires would be a good match for my needs and this bike?

Thanks!
Jim53
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Slim

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Reply with quote  #2 
What are the surfaces like where you want to ride? If they are smooth, that bike and that size tire will be a great option. I rode the Almanzo 100 on 30mm tires in the old Domane Disc, this new one has a lot more clearance. See the forum thread about the Domäne gravel, which is the same bike with gravel tires stock..

However, even if they are, you might get bitten by the gravel bug and decide you want to start riding other places and do other events, that might truly require a bigger tire.
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Barrettscv

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Reply with quote  #3 
If your lighter than average, you should be able to ride most gravel surface with a 700x36 tire like the X'PLOR MSO 700 X 36 - tubeless.

If you can't fit this on the Domane, I'd seek out a gravel bike that will take this tire or something larger. If you're larger than average, seek out a bike that can fit a larger tire.
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Noonievut

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Reply with quote  #4 
Before you lay out the $, I would ask for the tires to be swapped to what you want, so that you can see for yourself how much clearance remains (if the tire is too close to the frame, walk away).
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Jakespaw

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim53
Today I stopped in at LBS to check out the new Trek Checkpoint.  The store didn't have one -- apparently, Trek can't make them fast enough.  The sales guy showed me a Domane SL 6,  with MSRP of $3500 but on sale for $3300.  He suggested that for my needs (see below at *), the Domane would work well.  It comes with 32mm tires that have no tread, but he said that I could swap out for tires in the 34-36 range with some tread.   

*  I already have a mountain bike (2011 Spec. Stumpjumper FSR Elite), and have put a lot of off-road miles on it.  But for the past few years most of my riding has been on the Capital Crescent Trail and/or the C&O towpath (I live in the DC burbs).  Last year I was even thinking of getting a road bike, but then got interested in gravel bikes.

I'd be grateful for any thoughts on these two questions:

1.  What do you think of the Domane SL 6, with upgraded tires, for my purposes?

2.  If you think this is the way for me to go, what tires would be a good match for my needs and this bike?

Thanks!
Jim53
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Jakespaw

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Reply with quote  #6 
I ride the Domane SL 7, 2 sets of wheels, dirt wheels with Rambler 38’s, & road wheels with Conti Cyclocross 35’s great gravel bike...
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alexlrobertson

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Reply with quote  #7 
I rode my Domane SL 6 Disc on a gravel ride last weekend and it did remarkably well. I ran tubeless 33mm Bontrager LT2 Team Issue TLR and had no issue with a variety of gravel surfaces from smooth dirt to large loose gravel. The clearance with the 33mm tire is pretty generous so you could run larger tires or keep the clearance in case of debris or mud. The Isospeed decouplers worked well to smooth out some washboard sections and I finished feeling pretty good compared to previous gravel rides on my steel touring bike.

That said, if you're going to be riding in heavy mud, very loose or sandy conditions, really rough rocky singletrack, etc it may not hold up. 
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Noah_Deuce

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noonievut
Before you lay out the $, I would ask for the tires to be swapped to what you want, so that you can see for yourself how much clearance remains (if the tire is too close to the frame, walk away).


+1 to this. I saw a Domane with 700x38s on it a few years ago and it had almost no clearance at the fork crown (top to bottom, not side to side).
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Kenagy

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Reply with quote  #9 
I have the entry level checkpoint and have about half time on the C&O and half on W&OD/roads. Longest on the towpath was 30 miles.

I’m happy with it on the towpath because I don’t need to worry about damaging wheels and can move right along. It’s stable yet can dodge roots and mud holes easily.

Speed on the road surface is less I’m sure, but I’m not into speed as much. Just want to enjoy the ride.

I also like the options for mounts all over the place although I have yet to get fenders or racks. But I like the option. That’s a limitation with the Domane that led me to the checkpoint. And for me the fit seemed better off the showroom floor. HTH.
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tompgreene

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah_Deuce
+1 to this. I saw a Domane with 700x38s on it a few years ago and it had almost no clearance at the fork crown (top to bottom, not side to side).


I have read that the 2017 and 2018 Domanes (SL & SLR frames have not changed since 2017) have a good bit more tire clearance than previous years.
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Jim53

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Reply with quote  #11 
Thanks to all for your comments.   A few days after my first post, I test-rode the Domane.  I wanted to like it, but it didn't quite feel right -- it didn't have that "fits like a glove" feel for me.  Then, last week, I found a bike store that had a Checkpoint -- an ALR5 -- which I tested on the CC trail and the C&O towpath (this bike store is in Georgetown).  I liked it!  And, they currently have an SL5 in a box, which they'll have assembled in a couple days.  So I'm thinking I'll pull the trigger on it.

My one hesitation is that I haven't done exhaustive research, haven't tested 10 bikes,* etc. -- so I don't know if there's something maybe better out there.  In particular, I've read good things about two other bikes in the same ballpark (except for price for one of them).  If anyone has any thoughts on either of these vs. the Checkpoint SL5, I'd be grateful for your views.

Trek Checkpoint SL5 
carbon frame
Shimano 105 
weight:  21.17 lbs
$2800.

Jamis Renegade Expert
carbon frame
Shimano 105
weight:  21.00 lbs
$2700.

Salsa Warbird Carbon Rival
carbon frame
SRAM Rival 22
weight:  19.5 lbs
$3300.


*  last summer I tested the Diverge (didn't feel right) and the Sequoia (Nice ride, but too heavy for when I'm on paved).

Thanks!

Jim




  
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rocthrower

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Reply with quote  #12 
Hey Jim,

The 3 you listed are all solid bicycles, and I have seen many positive reviews for all 3, even though the Checkpoint is so new.  Out of the 3 you listed, the thing that sticks out to me is that the Salsa Warbird is more race-oriented, and therefore doesn't have any mounts for fenders or racks.  The Checkpoint and Renegade have plenty of mounts, so that might be one thing to consider.  Not to sound like I'm bashing the Warbird, but I also think you get more value from the Checkpoint and Renegade.  You obviously have a good sense on how a bike fits to you, so hopefully you are able to test ride all 3 and choose the one that feels the best.  Good luck!
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chas

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Reply with quote  #13 
I road the checkpoint and the warbird.  The checkpoint felt a little more like a truck or SUV, although it had good turnin with that head tube angle.  It looked and felt beefy, like I could load it up and ride it anywhere for a long multi-day ride.

Warbird is more for daytrips where you are not going to carry a large load.  Salsa has Cuthroat (leaning more towards MTB design) and Vaya (leaning more towards touring design) for that type of riding.
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Jim53

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Reply with quote  #14 
I pulled the trigger on the Checkpoint SL5.  It fit me best, handles gravel well, and rides on paved like a lightweight road bike (for someone who has spent the past quarter century on mountain bikes).

Thanks to all for helping me through this.

PS -- the cobra blood color is awesome. 
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