Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 review – a confident, capable gravel bike

Trek's updated aluminum checkpoint is a surefooted, confidence-inspiring ride that's perfect for ruined back lanes, byways and well-laden travels.

Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 gravel bike

BikePerfect Verdict

The reshaped Checkpoint frame neatly combines confidence-inspiring stability with a fun, engaging feel which goes well at all speeds on all sorts of surfaces. This might not be the lightest or fanciest build, but the key bits are great and the rest just quietly works.

Stable and predictable


Great shifting and brakes

Gearing a bit tall for the weight

Could use a dropper post

Why trust BikePerfect Our cycling experts have decades of testing experience. We'll always share our unbiased opinions on bikes and gear. Find out more about how we test.

The aluminium-framed ALR models sit at the bottom of Trek's Checkpoint range, with the lighter carbon SL and race-focused SLR bikes above, but in truth that's not a bad place to be. The ALR 5 gets a full set of excellent Shimano GRX components for the drivetrain and brakes, decent tires on tubeless-ready rims and lots of rack and fender mounts. 

The result is a surefooted, confident bike that's ready for exactly what Trek says it's for – gravel riding for fun, commuting or just general adventures. Which is pretty much what most people are after when looking for the best gravel bikes or best cheap gravel bikes .

Design and geometry

For 2023, the Checkpoint frame has seen some changes – basically it's got longer both in the front centre and the chainstays, and the stem is shorter to compensate. I tested a 58cm, and compared to the 2021 model it has 10mm longer chainstays, 20mm more reach and is 26mm longer overall. The 90mm stem and 60.9cm/41.1cm stack and reach figures keep the overall riding position fairly relaxed, with a usefully tall front end and slightly head-down, but certainly not front heavy, bias.

The head angle is the same as before at 72.3 degrees, presumably to keep the steering decently snappy, as is the bottom bracket drop at 7.4cm. 

This might be the 'poor man's' model with its humble alloy frame, but that doesn't mean it's unsophisticated. The various touring-friendly mounts are complimented by internally-routed cables that help a lot when strapping on frame bags or cages, as well as keeping them generally out of harm's way. I did find several of the bungs protecting the mounting/cable holes disappeared overboard on rough trails though, so if you want to keep filth out of your threads/frame you might want to stock up – or wind in some actual bolts where you can.

Components and build

Trek has spent the budget wisely here, speccing the excellent Shimano GRX shifters, levers and hydraulic brakes. The flat-fronted levers are particularly good for grip when it's rough, the shifts are always positive and the two-piston calipers are powerful and easy to modulate on the 160mm discs. Basically, the whole stop and go thing is covered perfectly.

Well, almost perfectly. The 2x11 drivetrain gives a very useable spread of ratios, but for the most serious off-road climbing it's a little high. At the top end it's good for 35mph before you spin out, which is great for the road and fireroad descents, but leaves the lowest gear (30/34t) slightly high for the steepest, techiest climbs. That's especially true if the bike's loaded up.

That's the lowest combination of ratios that will fit, though, so your options there are either to keep the bike as light as possible, fit a 1x crank and lose a fair bit of top speed, or get stronger...

The finishing kit is all in-house Bontrager stuff, and while it's all perfectly good they're pretty easy targets for weight loss upgrades. The Bontrager Elite Gravel bar is 44cm wide on this frame size with a good flare to the drops for extra leverage, and the comfy GRX hoods tilt inwards just enough to encourage a slightly elbows-out stance that's good for control.

The wheels – Switch hubs, 21mm wide Paradigm rims (the SL version on one end, presumably the front) and 24 spokes on each – are similarly utilitarian, being strong, middling for weight and entirely decent for the job. Wearing Aeolus XXX rim strips they're tubeless ready, and so are the Bontrager GR1 Team Issue tires, which is nice – in fact, Trek lists 6oz of its TLR sealant as a 'tire part,' so presumably consumer bikes are supplied already set, just as our test bike was.

The tires are predictable and confidence inspiring on the unusually dry terrain of our test period, as well as on tarmac both damp or dry, but are clearly not designed for mud. There's room in the frame for up to 45mm rubber should you want to go wider.

Oh, and while the front axle looks like you'll need to carry a hex key to get it out, the lever on the rear thru-axle actually pulls out to fit in either one. 


The Checkpoint has a confident feel – its length and reasonable heft keep it planted, while the steering is stable without being sluggish. It's the same whether you're on gravel or tarmac, and predictable in a friendly but not boring way. The chunky headtube and sizeable welded junctions do a great job of keeping it tracking where it's pointed in the rough.

Despite the chunky, almost box-section seatstays and generally rigid-feeling frame, it's comfortable for long rides, thanks to the high volume tyres, well-cushioned bar tape and a supportive, hammocky P3 Verse Comp saddle you really sit 'in'.

Get up some speed on gravel though and there's no disguising the aluminum build. By 30mph on a fireroad, your hands and feet are taking some serious vibes, and the chatter from sustained speed does reduce comfort. 

Switching to carbon at the bar (and at the Bontrager seatpost) would both increase comfort and reduce weight, and though I found the saddle supportive and comfy both for long rides and hard pedaling efforts, it does have steel rails – it's another easy and relatively cheap target for weight loss and vibe reduction.

Alternatively, if you want more speed whatever the trails do, fit the best dropper post that will suit the 27.2mm seat tube and reap the rewards.

Personally, I would have quite liked the shorter cranks of the smaller sizes instead of the 175mm GRX RX600s fitted here, which would allow an even lower BB for descending confidence, but that's really just preference. The 7.4cm BB drop is pretty low in the scheme of things, cornering feel is predictable, and ground clearance is good.

This is an extremely usable yet still very enjoyable bike. It nails that '2/3rds road bike, 1/3rd XC bike' feel that makes gravel bikes so good for so many things – commuting while avoiding the worst traffic, touring, exploring dilapidated rural lanes, getting in hard climbing efforts away from ANY traffic, or just generally getting out there and enjoying the view. 

It's comfortable and reassuring from the off whatever the surface, and the money's been spent in the right places – this is a really solid base for years of riding fun.

Test conditions

  • Temperature: Rarely less than 20 degrees C and up to 35
  • Conditions: Dry, hard and dusty with almost zero rain
  • Trails: Mountain singletrack, bridleways, forest gravel and crumbling rural lanes

Tech specs: Trek Checkpoint ALR 5

  • Price: $2,500 / £2,400
  • Discipline: Gravel
  • Frame size tested: 58cm
  • Seat tube angle: 72.5°
  • Head angle: 72.3°
  • Effective top tube: 59.7cm
  • Bottom bracket drop: 7.4cm
  • Wheelbase: 105.8cm
  • Reach: 41.1cm
  • Frame: 300 Series Alpha Aluminium
  • Tires: Bontrager GR1 Team Issue 40mm, Tubeless Ready 
  • Drivetrain: Shimano GRX
  • Sizes: 49, 52, 54, 56, 58 (tested), 61cm
  • Claimed weight: 9.75 kg / 21.5 lb (56cm)

Steve Williams

Steve is a highly experienced journalist and rider who's been involved with bikes of all kinds for more years than he would care to remember. Based in South Wales, he has mile upon mile of swooping singletrack, an array of plummet and winch descents and everything in between right on his doorstep.

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trek checkpoint

The New Trek Checkpoint Line Is For Gravel Riders of All Kinds

Updated geometry and differentiated models for speed, adventure, and all purpose riding

The Takeaway: A great bike gets better, with geometry updates suited to the evolution of gravel.

  • Two centimeters longer reach and front center on all sizes
  • One centimeter longer chainstays
  • New race-oriented SLR platform
  • Additional cargo mounts

Price: $12,000 (SLR 9, as tested) Weight: 17.8 lb. (Size 54cm)

Trek’s gravel loving Checkpoint is all new front to rear, with new geometry (covered below) and features for the ever-evolving world of gravel riding. That evolution is why Trek differentiated the three complete bike platforms—SLR, SL, and ALR—for different kinds of gravel riders. I go into more depth below, but the short version is: SLR = race; SL = all-around, ALR = utility.

trek checkpoint slr

Threaded T47 bottom brackets now grace all Checkpoint frames, but Trek has done away with the sliding dropouts found on the previous generation Checkpoint. All eight builds get gravel gearing and clutch-style rear derailleurs (Shimano GRX or SRAM eTap AXS), as well as 40mm tubeless ready tires and tubeless ready rims. All models, and all sizes, can fit up to 45mm tires with plenty of mud clearance; which means riders in dry conditions can fit in even bigger tires. If you choose, you can fit the Checkpoint with 650b wheels—all models and all sizes come stock with 700c wheels—which bumps tire clearance up to 53mm (2.1 inches).

In the press release, Trek makes mention of “ Émonda -inspired aero tube shapes,” without providing any wind tunnel data. My suspicion is the tube shapes do save a few watts, though Trek isn’t leaning into gravel aero as much as 3T does with its Exploro RaceMax .

Trek Checkpoint — Geometry

trek checkpoint

Geometry is where the new Checkpoint sees the biggest change. While there are three Checkpoint frame platforms (outlined below), all three share the same, all new, geometry (see table above).

The overall theme to the geometry updates is “more progressive.” Trek took a page from the mountain bike playbook and stretched all sizes of the frame’s reach and front center by about two centimeters. Trek now fits shorter stems and shorter-reach bars to mitigate cockpit length changes. Chainstays on the frame grow by a centimeter (now 435mm on all sizes). Trail is also longer (about six millimeters) even though head angles remain about the same—new fork offset is 45mm, old was 49mm—and wheelbase grows as well. Frame stack bumps up a touch too.

trek checkpoint slr

Jordan Roessingh, Trek’s director of road product, says the new geometry aids stability, “It’s a longer bike, so whether you’re doing long Unbound type stuff where you’re just pointing the bike straight or you’re doing high speed stuff on gravel descents in the mountains, we believe this geometry lends itself to confidence. Getting that wheel out in front of you also unweights it makes you feel a lot more confident when you’re doing steep technical stuff—you don’t feel like you’re going to go over the bar. That front wheel is really easy to unweight and allows it to roll over a lot more stuff.”

Roessingh further explained that the new geometry also reduces toe overlap on smaller sizes and allows them to approve larger tires sizes for smaller riders, “On the previous [Checkpoint] we had to limit our small frame size tire size recommendations to only 40mm. Not because the frame didn’t have the capacity for 45, but when you put a 45 it created too much toe overlap.” The issue here was government regulations that outline a production bike’s maximum tire overlap. But with the new bike’s longer front end every size can, officially, run up to a 45mm tire.

One note on the geometry: The new Checkpoint is not suspension fork corrected. However, the Checkpoint has a 1.5-inch lower fork steerer diameter, so you can fit the new RockShox Rudy , a Suntour GVX, or Fox AX, but doing so will raise the front end and slacken its angles.

trek checkpoint slr

Trek Checkpoint — Where is the Front IsoSpeed?

One surprising omission from the new Checkpoint is IsoSpeed in the front, a feature found in Trek’s Domane all road bikes . According to Roessingh, IsoSpeed on the front of a bike with big tires, “Doesn’t provide a sufficient gain in compliance to make a real difference to the rider because a [larger than 32mm tire] is such a dominant aspect of the compliance,” so it was left off the new Checkpoint. The benefit is a less complicated front end, and some weight savings.

Rear IsoSpeed continues on all models. Roessingh explains that it has more deflection than front Isospeed so it offers additional compliance benefit even with larger tires.

Trek Checkpoint — Three Frame Platforms

The new Checkpoint comes in three platforms: SLR, SL, and ALR. The top of the line SLR (super light race) platform is new to the Checkpoint line. Previously, Checkpoint topped out with the SL model. All the models have T47 threaded bottom bracket, internal hose and housing routing, 45mm tire clearance, frame bag mounts, fender mounts, and come in six sizes: 49 to 61cm. SLR and SL carbon frames get the same in-frame storage system found on carbon Domane frames.

trek checkpoint slr

But though the three platforms share geometry and many features, they’re tuned to suit different riders.

The SLR is race oriented, so it gets the highest-grade carbon composite, a traditionally shaped (not flared) road bar, and forgoes cargo mounts on the fork. This model also has Trek’s no-cut seat mast with (non-adjustable) top tube IsoSpeed.

The SL gets an all-purpose gravel focus. It uses lower grade carbon than the SLR but adds adventure riding features like three-pack mounts on the fork legs, and a flared gravel bar. This model does have Trek’s IsoSpeed decoupler in the seat tube but fits a traditional 27.2mm seatpost: That makes this model dropper-post compatible.

The aluminum framed ALR is the least expensive of the new Checkpoints, and Trek’s representatives expect this to be a popular model with riders looking for a commuter or utility bike. It has the same geometry as the other platforms, and the same rack, fender, framebag and mudguard mounts as the Checkpoint SL, and it gets a flared gravel bar and 27.2mm dropper-post compatibility. The two features it lacks relative to the SL are the in-frame storage and an IsoSpeed decoupler.

Trek Checkpoint — Models, Prices, Weights

There are eight complete bikes for the USA: one ALR, three SL, and four SLR models. Prices and claimed weights are below, with a quick look at the build kits. All complete bikes roll on Bontrager GR1 40mm tubeless ready tires, have tubeless ready rims, and ship with tubeless valves, rim strips, and sealant.

trek checkpoint alr

  • Checkpoint ALR 5— $2,400, 21.5lb. Shimano GRX600 2x11 with 30/46 rings and 11-34 cassette
  • Checkpoint SL 5—$3,200, 21.3lb. Shimano GRX600 2x11 with 30/46 rings and 11-34 cassette, Bontrager Paradigm SL wheels (21mm internal width)
  • C heckpoint SL 6 eTap — $4,100, 20.0lb. SRAM Rival eTap AXS 1x12 with 40 ring and 10-44 cassette, Bontrager Paradigm Comp wheels (25mm internal width)
  • Checkpoint SL 7 eTap—$6,3,00 19.6lb. SRAM Force Wide eTap AXS 2x12 with 30/43 rings and 10-36 cassette, Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V carbon wheels (25mm internal width)
  • Checkpoint SLR 6 eTap—$7,600, 19.1lb. SRAM Rival eTap AXS 1x12 with power meter, 40 ring and 10-44 cassette, Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V carbon wheels (25mm internal width)
  • Checkpoint SLR 7—$8,300, 19.4lb. Shimano GRX815 2x11 with 31/48 rings and 11-34 cassette, Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V carbon wheels (25mm internal width)
  • Checkpoint SLR 7 eTap—$8,300, 18.6lb. SRAM Force eTap AXS 1x12 with power meter, 40 ring and 10-44 cassette, Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V carbon wheels (25mm internal width)
  • Checkpoint SLR 9 eTap—$12,000, 17.9lb. SRAM Red eTap AXS 1x12 with power meter, 40 ring and 10-44 cassette, Bontrager Aeolus RSL 37V carbon wheels (25mm internal width)

Trek Checkpoint — Ride Impressions and Review

Trek sent me the top-of-the-line SLR 9 eTap AXS well ahead of the bike's launch, and I’ve done my usual “gravel” shenanigans on this bike—long gravel rides, mixed media rides, some road riding, and plenty of singletrack.

On anything dirt, and especially on singletrack, the new Checkpoint is not just better than the previous generation, it’s one of the best gravel bikes I’ve been on. I love the previous generations above-average comfort and smoothness and that’s still present, but the geometry updates make the new bike much more capable: And the faster and more technical the dirt, the more the geometry pays off. It’s accurate, but not darty, and composed but appropriately flickable.

trek checkpoint slr

Here’s the rub: Give us geometry that lets us go faster and…we’re going to go faster. The Checkpoint is so damn fast on downhills singletrack that I take issue with Trek’s decision to forgo front IsoSpeed or correct the geometry for a suspension fork. I mean, this is a pretty compliant bike overall, but when you go faster the hits get stronger. Many times I wacked stuff that made my hands and arms stung. Bigger tires help, but a 45mm maximum isn’t that big (Canyon’s Grizl fits 50s, for example).

Basically, there were times I felt like the geometry was writing checks the Checkpoint couldn’t cash without some help from suspension. But then, when you add weighty suspension and fatter tires, you have a much different bike; so I’m also not sure that’s the answer. I think we’re at a very interesting point with “progressive” gravel bikes where they are tickling the edges of mountain bike capability and, if they go much further, suspension must be a part of the conversation.

On the flip side of the new Checkpoint’s added capability, it feels less chipper on paved surfaces. The old Checkpoint was almost a road bike that could do gravel while the new one definitely takes cues from the world of mountain bikes. On balance, this works out okay for the most fun and challenging parts of gravel rides, though the Checkpoint bike feels a bit logy on the liaisons between the best bits. That’s a compromise I’m okay with, but if you want more quickness on pavement from your gravel bike you might be happier on something like a Cervelo Aspero 5 or the 3T Exploro Racemax .

trek checkpoint slr

Trek isn’t breaking any new ground with the Checkpoint’s geometry and handing traits. This mountain bike influenced longer, more stable, geometry (oh, hello, Chamois Hagar ) is an increasingly popular trend, and already found in bikes like Canyon’s Grizl (which the Checkpoint reminds me of) and some other bikes. I’m curious to see how this geometry goes down with the general riding public, and how far brands push the geometry. When used for actual gravel and off-pavement riding and racing, this geometry makes sense. But if riders are buying gravel bikes because they want more capability and comfort out of a drop bar bike, but are mostly sticking to pavement, I don’t think this geometry suits that kind of rider.

Handling covered, let’s look at the rest of the Checkpoint’s attributes. The added cargo options (in frame storage, direct mount bag in main triangle) are great, almost mandatory, features for a gravel bike. My 54cm frame did have two water bottle mounts on the downtube, but it required a bit of trial and error with a Wolf Tooth B-Rad base to get two bottles to fit comfortably. With the Bontrager frame bag mounted, I needed to reposition the seat tube cage location to fit a bottle. Larger sizes have more space in the main triangle, so this won’t be an issue, but riders on frames smaller than 54 might need to look into alternative ways to carry water if they run the frame bag.

I do have a gripe with the road-bend bar on the SLR models. Trek sees this model as appealing to racers who are coming from a road background. This is why it gets a traditional, and lighter, road bar. But it’s still a gravel bike, and flared drops are awesome for comfort and control. Besides, flared bars are so awesome that once you ride them, you’ll want to put them on your road bikes. Thankfully, Trek didn’t do anything weird with the bar and stem on the new Checkpoint, so riders can fit anything they desire.

trek checkpoint slr

That’s my only gripe though. I love this bike, and the rest of the parts kit is dialed. I’m going to throw out special kudos for spec'ing the SRAM-equipped SLR models with power meters from the factory. I think that’s perfectly in line with this bikes purpose and customer.

Overall, the new Checkpoint is a wonderful gravel bike. It’s faster, better handling, and more suited to the needs of the today’s gravel rider.

Trek Checkpoint SLR 9 eTap

Checkpoint SLR 9 eTap

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Headshot of Matt Phillips

A gear editor for his entire career, Matt’s journey to becoming a leading cycling tech journalist started in 1995, and he’s been at it ever since; likely riding more cycling equipment than anyone on the planet along the way. Previous to his time with Bicycling , Matt worked in bike shops as a service manager, mechanic, and sales person. Based in Durango, Colorado, he enjoys riding and testing any and all kinds of bikes, so you’re just as likely to see him on a road bike dressed in Lycra at a Tuesday night worlds ride as you are to find him dressed in a full face helmet and pads riding a bike park on an enduro bike. He doesn’t race often, but he’s game for anything; having entered road races, criteriums, trials competitions, dual slalom, downhill races, enduros, stage races, short track, time trials, and gran fondos. Next up on his to-do list: a multi day bikepacking trip, and an e-bike race. 

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  • Bike Reviews , Bikes , Gravel Bikes

Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 Review [2021 Guide]

trek alr 2021

The Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 is a versatile, high-performing gravel bike that appeals to roadies and gravel racers alike, while still offering plenty for the casual gravel rider. With the Checkpoint, Trek Bicycle pulled from their past successes, both in road bikes and cyclocross bikes, and brought to the market an all-around bike that performs on any terrain.

The Trek Checkpoint truly is a quiver-killer, burly and stable enough to take on the roads less travelled while still being light and quick enough to keep up on the weeknight group rides. The Checkpoint puts the rider in a more aggressive riding position than other offerings on the market, with a few geometry tweaks that create a stable and predictable ride compared to its cyclocross cousins.

In short, the Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 is an all-road, alloy success. Stable enough for technical, off-road riding, and race-inspired enough to feel quick and competitive on the tarmac. Furthermore, the alloy build provides great functionality without burning a hole in your wallet.

For a more detailed breakdown, read on for the full review of the Trek Checkpoint ALR 5.

Table of Contents

Trek Checkpoint Frameset

The frameset for the Checkpoint ALR 5 utilizes Treks 300 Series Alpha Aluminum with a tapered headtube leading to a carbon fiber fork. The frame includes mounts for front and rear racks, mudguards, and multiple bottle cages.

trek alr 2021

The frame also features internal cable routing, which is not only a nice aesthetic touch but also keeps the cables clean and protected from the off-road environment. The frame has a classic look with hydroformed tubes and clean welds that provide good stiffness and keep it light.

trek alr 2021

An added versatility of the Checkpoint frame is the sliding horizontal dropouts. They allow the rider to convert to a single-speed, if they so desire, or change their gearing and provide additional clearance for larger tires. I converted my Checkpoint from 2x to 1x after purchase, and the horizontal sliding dropouts provided me with the flexibility to dial in my ideal drivetrain.

trek alr 2021

ALR 5 Geometry

The geometry of the Checkpoint pulls largely from Trek’s impressive cyclocross bikes, the Boone and the Crocket, sharing the same wheelbase and chainstay length as the Boone. The Checkpoint has a few geometry tweaks, such as a lower bottom bracket and slacker seat tube angle, that make it quick and race-inspired while still being very stable on mixed terrains.

Another interesting benefit of the horizontal sliding dropouts previously mentioned is their impact on frame geometry. By increasing the wheelbase and moving the rear wheel further back in the dropouts, the bottom bracket height is slightly reduced, and the frame tube angles are further slackened. While this geometric adjustment seems slight, it will provide a more upright, stable ride feel that will suit some riders well.

These frame design elements contribute to a frame that is race-inspired and adventure ready. By sporting a frame that’s aggressive and quick on all terrains and still providing stability and predictably off the tarmac, the Checkpoint is well-suited for all-road riding, gravel racing, or being loaded up with gear for a multi-day adventure.

Checkpoint Tires

trek alr 2021

The Checkpoint comes stock with 700x40mm Schwalbe G-One tires. When the Checkpoint was initially released, it featured 35mm tires, but they have since upped the size to 40mm, which I think is huge improvement.

Out of the box, the 40mm G-Ones serve the Checkpoint well. They are quick on the tarmac, and the 40mm width offers good traction for light gravel riding. They do suffer a bit in the mud; the tread quickly fills with mud, and they get slick. But, for general purpose riding, the G-Ones are a good all-arounder.

When WTB released the new Raddler, I picked up a pair of 700x44mm’s and swapped out my G-Ones. Trek claims that the Checkpoint can accept up to a 45mm tire, so I put that to the test!

Before adjusting my wheelbase with the horizontal sliding dropouts, the Raddler just barely squeaked in there, just clearing the right chainstay by a couple of millimeters. I’ve since adjusted my rear wheel in the dropouts, and there is plenty of clearance for up to a 45mm. I often find myself in very muddy terrain, and I have yet to have any clearance issues of mud jamming up my rear wheel.

trek alr 2021

The Checkpoint ALR 5 features Bontrager’s TLR tubeless ready wheelset. They aren’t the lightest wheels in the world, but they are very robust and durable and well-suited for rough gravel riding .

Conversion to tubeless with Trek’s TLR wheels is a breeze and is absolutely essential for a gravel bike. It further adds to the versatility of the bike and relieves your worries of pinch flats when you turn off the tarmac. Going tubeless also allows you to run lower tire pressures, which improves traction for off-road riding on loose conditions and provides a smoother ride for long distance adventure rides.

When I purchased my Checkpoint ALR 5 in 2018, Shimano had not yet released their GRX groupset, and the Checkpoint came equipped with a full Shimano 105 groupset. While this represented a great value back then, I felt it was a bit over-geared with a 50/34 compact crank, and I ended up swapping out my drivetrain when Shimano came out with the GRX.

trek alr 2021

Trek has since updated the Checkpoint ALR 5 and equipped it with a 2x Shimano GRX build, using the higher-end GRX 810 derailleurs. The crankset is a 46/30 with the same 11-34 cassette, providing more low-end gearing that is much more appropriate for off-road riding, especially for the casual gravel enthusiast.

The GRX groupset is, in my opinion, a huge success for Shimano.

I converted my Checkpoint to a 1x GRX 812 drivetrain and fell in love with the GRX 812 rear derailleur. The long cage derailleur allows me to run an 11-42 cassette with a 40t chainring upfront, further increasing my low-end gearing while still providing me the gears up high for pushing the pace on fast descents.

I am a big fan of 1x drivetrains, especially for off-road riding, so my 1x GRX 812 drivetrain has been a dream. The 810 level components are “Ultegra level,” for you roadies out there, but they are more robust for the bumps and vibrations encountered on mixed terrains. I never experience any chain slap, and the shifting is reliable, crisp and quick on any surface.

I can’t speak highly enough of the GRX 810 drivetrain, and I think it is outstanding that Trek offers such high-level components on an aluminum build at an affordable price point. The Checkpoint ALR 5 offers a high value build with its drivetrain selection without the added cost and pain associated with carbon frames.

trek alr 2021

The Shimano 105 hoods provide plenty of grip and control for my older Checkpoint, but I do wish I had the GRX shifters that now come stock!

Similar to the drivetrain, the Checkpoint ALR 5 was originally released with 105 shifters when I purchased the bike. The front of the hoods on these shifters is raised up high enough that I do not experience any issues sliding too far forward on the hoods when riding on rough roads.

Shimano has since improved on the hood design with the GRX line of shifters. They offer an excellent, raised stop for your hands. This provides even better control and stability off-road, and the GRX shifters now come standard on the Checkpoint ALR 5. While my 105 shifters still get the job done, I am admittedly jealous that I don’t have those robust GRX shifters !

SHIMANO GRX Shifter & Disc Brake

  • Lever: ST-RX815
  • Lever Adjustability: reach
  • Actuation: [brake] hydraulic, [shift] electronic
  • Caliper: BR-RX810
  • Mount Type: flat-mount

The Checkpoint ALR 5 also comes stock with hydraulic disc brakes. This is pretty standard for any gravel bike, but it is worth noting that the Checkpoint checks this box, as well, providing reliable stopping power, even in harsh conditions.

trek alr 2021

The saddle that comes on the Checkpoint ALR 5 is the Bontrager Montrose Comp. This saddle is surprisingly plush, when compared to a road saddle, and provides plenty of flex from its shell and central cutout. This makes it very comfortable for long rides, even on rough gravel, and I found it surprisingly comfortable out of the box.

Eventually, I swapped out the Bontrager saddle for my go-to, the Brooks Cambium C17. While the Bontrager saddle is very comfortable, I am a fan of Brooks saddles and like to use them on most of my bikes, especially for road and gravel riding.

trek alr 2021

The Brooks Cambium C17 is one of my all-time favorite saddles, so, of course, I had to put it on my do-it-all bike: the Checkpoint.

Brooks Cambium Saddles Octane

  • C17 Cambium; Flexible and Robust Touring Surface.
  • All Weather, durable and comfortable saddle that is “ready to ride”.
  • Vulcanised Natural Rubber Saddle Top.
  • UV + Abrasion-Resistant Waterproof Nylon Top.
  • Tubular Steel Rails; Durable, Anodised Aluminium Rivets

The handlebars look a lot like cyclocross handlebars and, in fact, are the exact same bar that Trek puts on the Boone, their top-level cyclocross race bike. The bars are a standard width and do not feature any flare to the drops, something that is becoming more common on gravel bikes, but this maintains the more race-inspired feel that Trek was obviously looking for with the Checkpoint.

One nice touch for the handlebars is the gel padding included underneath the handlebar tape. This dampens vibrations in the handlebar and provides a nice reprieve for your hands and wrists over long rides. This small touch makes a big difference during long days on the road, and I’ve come to appreciate those little pieces of gel.

trek alr 2021

Where is the Checkpoint ALR 5 Lacking?

Only 700c wheels.

Trek claims that the Checkpoint can not accept 650b wheels; it can only use 700c wheels. I do find this to be a bit disappointing, honestly. Many other gravel bikes on the market, such as the Specialized Diverge, are similar to the Checkpoint but offer the added versatility of 650b wheels.

Running 650b wheels allows riders to increase their tire size for improved off-road control and softer ride quality. With 650b wheels, you can run 27.5” mountain bike tires at widths exceeding 2”. I think having this versatility is extremely valuable in a gravel build, and I do wish I could run a pair 27.5”x2.1” tires, as this would suit my riding style well.

More Race-Inspired than Gravel-Inspired

The Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 pulls a lot of design elements from their cyclocross line, perhaps too many. While the race-inspired geometry makes a roadie like me feel right at home on the bike, it creates a bike that is simply a good all-arounder.

The Checkpoint performs well on road and light gravel, but it can be challenging to ride on more technical off-road terrain due to its race geometry. When the downhills get steep and loose, the Checkpoint’s more aggressive ride position quickly becomes noticeable, and I sometimes find myself wishing I had a slacker set up.

The handlebars are also reminiscent of a cyclocross race bike or a road bike. It’s more common for gravel bikes to offer wider handlebars with flared drops that provide more control and stability for the rough stuff, but the handlebars on the Checkpoint do not offer that same stable feel when the roads turn especially rough.

trek alr 2021

The Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 truly is a great gravel bike. It offers excellent value with a high-quality build for your dollar. If you want to spend your money on high-quality drivetrain components and functional design, rather than dishing out cash on a carbon build that cuts corners on the components, then the Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 is for you.

The Checkpoint performs well on any terrain, but you may find it lacking in certain areas where other bikes excel. If you know you want to run wider tires for rough off-road riding or are interested in ultra-distance touring or bikepacking, there are better options on the market that will more fully meet your needs. Furthermore, if you aren’t a fan of race-inspired geometry and prefer more of an endurance bike feel, the Checkpoint is not for you.

The Checkpoint ALR 5 is a great all-arounder and can replace a couple of your bikes. Performing well on and off the road gives the Checkpoint potential to replace your quiver of bikes and be a contender for your one do-it-all bike. The Checkpoint ALR 5 truly fits the description of a “jack of all trades, master of none.”

Mitchell Turk

Mitchell Turk is outdoors enthusiast with a lifelong passion for bicycling. He previously worked at his local bike shop before entering the world of engineering, and he may even enjoy geeking out over bike tech more than riding his bike!

Originally a roadie, Mitch dabbled in mountain biking for a couple years and then jumped on the gravel bike bandwagon. He now spends his free time seeking out gravel rides and weekend-long excursions. His ideal outing combines biking, hiking, and climbing for a whole-mountain adventure.

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Trek Checkpoint ALR5 review

A fine all-rounder with special touches

Robert Smith / Immediate Media

Robin Wilmott

Fine frameset, good spec and great performance

It would be good to see bigger tyres fitted from new

trek alr 2021

Owing far more to the fantastic Boone and Crocket cyclocross bikes than Trek’s road models, the Checkpoint has all the bona fide features you would expect for a bike of this genre. There is also a feature you might not expect — adjustable rear dropouts to support singlespeed riders.

  • Cervélo R5 disc review
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Trek Checkpoint ALR5 frame and kit

My ALR5’s aluminium frame has classic looks with unfussy round or ovalised tubes, neat welds and glossy paintwork. It sports numerous mounts for racks front and rear, mudguards, options for one bottle-cage on the seat tube, two on top of the down tube, and one beneath it.

There’s neat internal cable and hose routing through the down tube via a single port, externally on the fork, and beneath the chainstays, and for those who think this bike has 21 gears too many, Trek’s adjustable Stranglehold dropouts allow conversion to singlespeed.

The ALR5’s aluminium frame has classic looks

At first glance the barely more than 3mm gap between the left crank and chainstay could have been a concern, but it hasn’t proven to be.

For the dedicated gravelista, those same dropouts permit some wheelbase length alteration too, making room for bigger rubber — the ALR can take 45mm tyres — increasing stability, or keeping the rear-end tight.

Mudguard mounts make the bike all-weather ready

In standard form, the ALR5 shares its chainstay length and wheelbase with the equivalent-sized Boone, has a slightly slacker seat angle and fractionally steeper head angle, with a shorter head-tube, longer effective top tube and lower bottom bracket.

All that boils down to a bike that, although not aimed at cyclocross-level technical riding, is quick over mixed terrain, and super-stable, making a solid platform to add some luggage to.

At higher pressure the Schwalbe G-One tyres didn’t hold the Trek back on tarmac

Trek Checkpoint ALR5 ride impressions

It shifts on tarmac, with 50psi in the 35mm Schwalbe G-One gravel tyres, clipping along at 18mph-plus wasn’t hard, and I pedalled away from a road bike or two.

Hitting the potholed, dirt road, the Checkpoint displayed ’cross-bike agility to carve lines around the worst obstructions, although its near-10kg weight almost grounded the first bunny hop I tried.

The ride quality is firm but well damped on rough tarmac, and much the same on hardpacked dirt or gravel. Although I’d rather see bigger tyres supplied, the relatively thin 35mm tyres, generous pressures and only limited assistance from the aluminium vibration-reducing, gel-padded bar and 27.2mm seatpost, mean seated comfort wouldn’t be a concern for lengthier rides.

The plush Montrose Comp saddle helps too. With heaps of flex from its surprisingly mobile shell, and a central cutout, it’s a good match.

For its completely rounded ability, the Trek leaves the others in the dust

The drivetrain is all Shimano 105, with the RS505 hydraulic levers and calipers stopping the bike effectively. A 50/34 compact chainset mated with 11-34 cassette gives good, closely spaced ratios in almost every circumstance, with a 1:1 lowest gear for big climb grinds.

The frame’s detailing is excellent, and even Bontrager’s TLR tubeless-ready wheelset feels quite willing in this build, but there is a maximum total weight limit, including rider and luggage, of 125kg.

They’ll never be a fast option, but the TLRs are pretty robust, versatile and will give good service. Turning them tubeless or replacing them with something friskier could turn a satisfyingly composed frameset into a contender for your do-it-all bike.

The Checkpoint comes with a Shimano 105 drivetrain

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Test report: trek’s domane+ alr is a dream eroad bike for any adventure.

March 17, 2021 - With the popularity of e-road bikes hitting the tarmac I was excited to test the Trek Domane+ ALR and get more acquainted with this growing craze. The Fazua Evation equipped Trek was like a 2-wheel fountain of youth making the ride experience feel like I was 20 years younger and 10 pounds lighter.

trek alr 2021

The comfort designed Domane platform has been in the Trek family since 2012, making this endurance ready-laid back geometry bike extremely versatile. Trek’s premium 300 Series Alpha aluminum frame provides a stiff, lightweight ride while the fender mounted equipped Domain+ carbon fork helps smooth out the ride and provides an all-weather ride option. The stock rear mounts can easily handle a rear rack installation for panniers so you’ll be ready for a perfect weekend getaway. Add an additional Fazua battery pack and you may never come home.

trek alr 2021

The Domane+ ALR is powered by the German-engineered Fazua Evation. This uniquely designed drive system is the perfect compliment for someone seeking a traditional road experience in an electric-assist bike. The Evation provides a maximum of 250 watts of assist and 55Nm of torque with total disengagement of power once the speed exceeds 32km per hour – then it’s all human power. The drive system can be fully customized to each rider’s preferences through their Black Pepper firmware.

The top tube integrated Remote FX features a sensitive touch controller that makes changing assist levels with winter gloves easy, while clearly displaying your battery level status.

trek alr 2021

The motor is housed in an aluminum downtube sleeve along with the 252Wh battery in a 3.3 kg package. This sleeve is easily removed to allow for charging the battery and can be re-connected to the frame without the motor and battery turning your ride back into a traditional road bike. The now empty sleeve can be used to stow additional gear that’s secured in place by an Abus lock.

The Domane+ ALR comes stock with wide tires, compact crank and 34-tooth rear cog, a common trend these days even in the traditional road bike scene. The 32-inch wide Bontrager R1 Hard-Case Light tires provide stability, great high speed cornering control and can run with slightly lower tire pressure to help smooth out the ride. The generous space between the front forks and rear stays permits even wider, more aggressive treaded tires, to transform your Domane+ ALR into a gravel machine.

trek alr 2021

A 50×34 FSA crank and 11-34 rear cassette is a great set-up to get you up and over hills. With Shimano’s 105 reliable 11-speed drivetrain and 160mm hydraulic disc brakes this bike is dialed for long-haul precise shifting and maximal control when braking.

I took a minimalist approach on my first ride. With the battery at about 80%, I headed out to see how long I could go on minimal assist setting. The ride included head winds, a long gravel climb, with some rollers along the way. Using the 100-watt Green Breeze setting gave me the sense of riding in a draft. Once the battery indicated it was on life-support, I went to no assist and continued on without power, saving the last bit of juice for the few remaining climbs. Although the weight of the 34-pound bike was more noticeable without the assist, it was reassuring to know that the majority of my 3.5 hour 80km ride was Evation supported.

trek alr 2021

For my next ride it was all about using more assist. I easily cruised along in the 210-watt Blue River mode over flats and short hills then maxed out on the 250-watt Rocket Pink mode for harder climbs. This ride also allowed for more riding above the 32 kph threshold where the motor disengaged.

I found the drive unit to be a quiet, engaging, and intuitive. Accelerations felt normal, especially standing on climbs, or starting from a stop. The Evation does not overpower the ride but adds just enough assist to enhance the experience.

While I’m still capable of riding my traditional carbon road bike, I can see the benefits of an e-road bike like the Trek Domane+ ALR in my future as father time creeps along. And when that time comes, it is comforting to know that I will still be able to join my current Sunday road ride, and although I may not be winning any finish-line sprints, I’ll be there for the post-ride coffee.

The SRP is $5,999.99… for more information click here .

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Endurance mountain bikes

Trek Domane+ ALR

  • AUS $ NZD $ USD $ CAD $ GBP £ EUR €

Size / 49cm, 52cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm, 61cm

At a glance

Where to buy.

Trek Logo


  • Frame 300 Series Alpha Aluminum, Fazua Evation integrated drive system, tapered head tube, internal routing, flat mount disc, fender mounts, 148x12mm thru axle
  • Fork Domane+ carbon, tapered alloy steerer, flat mount disc, 12x100mm thru axle
  • Motor Size: 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61, Fazua Evation 1.0, 250Wh; Size: 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61, Fazua Evation Drive Pack, 20mph max assist; Size: 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61, Fazua Evation touch remote; Size: 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61, Fazua Evation charger
  • Battery Size: 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61, Fazua Evation 1.0, 250Wh; Size: 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61, Fazua Evation Drive Pack, 20mph max assist; Size: 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61, Fazua Evation touch remote; Size: 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61, Fazua Evation charger
  • Wheels Bontrager Paradigm Comp 25, Tubeless Ready, 25mm rim width, 100x12mm thru axle
  • Tires Bontrager R1 Hard-Case Lite, wire bead, 60 tpi, 700x32c
  • Chain Shimano 105 HG601, 11 speed
  • Crank Size: 49, 52, FSA Alloy for Fazua, 50/34 chainrings, 170mm length; Size: 54, 56, FSA Alloy for Fazua, 50/34 chainrings, 172.5mm length; Size: 58, 61, FSA Alloy for Fazua, 50/34 chainrings, 175mm length
  • Front Derailleur Shimano 105 R7000, braze-on
  • Rear Derailleur Shimano 105 R7000, long cage, 34T max cog
  • Shifters Size: 49, 52, Shimano 105 R7025, short-reach lever, 11 speed; Size: 54, 56, 58, 61, Shimano 105 R7020, 11 speed
  • Brakeset Shimano 105 hydraulic disc, flat mount
  • Handlebar Size: 49, 52, Bontrager Comp VR-C, alloy, 31.8mm, 100mm reach, 124mm drop, 40cm width; Size: 54, 56, Bontrager Comp VR-C, alloy, 31.8mm, 100mm reach, 124mm drop, 42cm width; Size: 58, 61, Bontrager Comp VR-C, alloy, 31.8mm, 100mm reach, 124mm drop, 44cm width
  • Saddle Bontrager Arvada Comp, steel rails, 138mm width
  • Seatpost Bontrager Comp, 6061 alloy, 27.2mm, 8mm offset, 330mm length
  • Stem Size: 49, Bontrager Elite, 31.8mm, Blendr compatible, 7 degree, 80mm length; Size: 52, 54, Bontrager Elite, 31.8mm, Blendr compatible, 7 degree, 90mm length; Size: 56, 58, Bontrager Elite, 31.8mm, Blendr compatible, 7 degree, 100mm length; Size: 61, Bontrager Elite, 31.8mm, Blendr compatible, 7 degree, 110mm length
  • Headset FSA Integrated, sealed cartridge bearing, 1-1/8'' top, 1.5'' bottom

Q: How much is a 2021 Trek Domane+ ALR?

A 2021 Trek Domane+ ALR is typically priced around $4,599 USD when new. Be sure to shop around for the best price, and also look to the used market for a great deal.

Q: Where to buy a 2021 Trek Domane+ ALR?

The 2021 Trek Domane+ ALR may be purchased directly from Trek .

Q: What size 2021 Trek Domane+ ALR should I get?

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trek alr 2021

  • Rider Notes

2021 Trek Domane+ ALR

trek alr 2021

An aluminum frame endurance e-bike with upper mid-range components and hydraulic disc brakes. Compare the full range

trek alr 2021

For This Bike

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Based on frame geometry and build specs.

A bike with lower gearing will be easier to ride up steep hills, while a higher top end means it will pedal faster down hills.

Domane+ ALR

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5'1" – 5'5"

5'3" – 5'7"

5'5" – 5'9"

5'8" – 6'0"

5'10" – 6'2"

6'0" – 6'4"

Do you have this bike? Help other riders make a decision about which size will work for them by sharing your own size and fit notes. Report your fit

Oct 2022 · William Tracy

Trek takes a leap forward in its e-road bikes.

Read Review

Gran Fondo Magazine

Apr 2021 · Tobias Hörsch

For our group test, Trek put stock in an ebike with a mid-motor drive and trust that the Domane+ LT 9 will be the best road bike of the 2021 season. With the additional power of the FAZUA Ride 50 Evation system, how does it compare to 14 of the most exciting bikes of the 2021 season? Find out here.

Torque sensor means motor delivers power naturally

Good comfort thanks to IsoSpeed and tire choice

High stability and efficiency

Wide range of applications thanks to the motor, mudguard mounts and integrated light

Wider Q-factor than normal bikes

To activate the FAZUA system after 8 h of inactivity, the battery has to be removed and reinstalled.

Limited range of adjustment of saddle height due to short seat mast cap


Feb 2021 · Warren Rossiter

Plush endurance bike with an e-kick

Glorious Domane comfort

Unobtrusive assistance

Great range potential

Doesn’t include the down-tube cover for non-ebike use


The new 2021 Trek Domane+ ALR e-road bike takes the same lightweight Fazua Evation system from the carbon bicycle, but wraps it in alloy.

Road Bike Action

Apr 2020 · Troy Templin

Trek’s Domane+ offers added boost (sometimes)

Canadian Cycling Magazine

Dec 2019 · Lily Hansen-Gillis

Ultra lightweight, Fazua powered and ready punch up the pace


Nov 2018 · Leah Flickinger

Ride faster, ride farther, and make hills smaller with this powerful e-road bike.

99 Spokes on YouTube

Last updated April 16 Not listed for 1,072 days

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Star Trek Into Darkness Moscow Premiere

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Yesterday was the Moscow premiere of Star Trek into Darkness and in attendance were J.J. Abrams, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto , and Alice Eve .

It was a rainy day in Moscow, but that didn’t deter the stars or the fans waiting to see them.

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    2021 Trek. Checkpoint ALR 5. An aluminum frame gravel bike with high-end components and hydraulic disc brakes. Compare the full range. ... Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 review - a confident, capable gravel bike. Sep 2022 · Steve Williams. Trek's updated aluminum Checkpoint is a surefooted, confidence-inspiring ride that's perfect for ruined back ...

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  7. Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 Review [2021 Guide]

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    2021 Trek. Émonda ALR 5. An aluminum frame race bike with upper mid-range components and hydraulic disc brakes. MSRP: $2,099: Weight: ... The Trek Émonda ALR Is a Sleek, Affordable Race Rocket. Aug 2018. A smooth and stylee aluminum road bike that hauls ass at a great price. Read Review.

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    A fine all-rounder with special touches

  11. 2021 Trek Checkpoint ALR 4

    The 2021 Trek Checkpoint ALR 4 is an Gravel aluminium road bike. It is priced at $1,700 USD, comes in a range of sizes, including 49cm, 52cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm, 61cm and a shimano drivetrain. The bike is part of Trek 's Checkpoint ALR 4 range of road bikes.

  12. Test Report: Trek's Domane+ ALR is a Dream eRoad ...

    March 17, 2021 - With the popularity of e-road bikes hitting the tarmac I was excited to test the Trek Domane+ ALR and get more acquainted with this growing craze. The Fazua Evation equipped Trek was like a 2-wheel fountain of youth making the ride experience feel like I was 20 years younger and 10 pounds lighter.

  13. Checkpoint ALR 4

    Model 601518. Retailer prices may vary. Checkpoint ALR 4 is an aluminum gravel bike that offers an incredible amount of capability for the price. It's built for the rigors of gravel and dirt roads, but it's also right at home on morning commutes and centuries. This bike knows no boundaries, which makes it the ideal gateway to adventure on any ...

  14. 2021 Trek Domane+ ALR

    The 2021 Trek Domane+ ALR is a Endurance and e-bike aluminium road bike. It is priced at $4,599 USD, comes in a range of sizes, including 49cm, 52cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm, 61cm and a shimano drivetrain. The bike is part of Trek 's Domane range of road bikes.

  15. 2021 Trek Domane+ ALR

    The new 2021 Trek Domane+ ALR e-road bike takes the same lightweight Fazua Evation system from the carbon bicycle, but wraps it in alloy. Read Review. Bike Test: Trek's Domane+ LT 7. Apr 2020 · Troy Templin. Trek's Domane+ offers added boost (sometimes) Read Review.

  16. Star Trek Into Darkness Moscow Premiere

    Star Trek: Prodigy August 31, 2021 . Additional Prodigy Voice Cast Revealed Uncategorized August 26, 2021 . ... Yesterday was the Moscow premiere of Star Trek into Darkness and in attendance were ...

  17. Domane+ ALR

    This lightweight, high-value electric road bike is built with a dependable parts group and a premium 300 Series Alpha Aluminum frame. Assist 20 mph. Range 65 miles. Weight 33.3 lbs. More uphill. Less uphill battle. Domane+ ALR helps you tackle bigger adventures with a subtle boost that gives you the power to explore longer routes and harder ...

  18. Bike Expo 2021(Moscow)

    The main idea of the exhibition is to gather under one roof a maximum number of distributors and producers of bicycles and cycling accessories working in R. Bike Expo 2021 is held in Moscow, Russia, from 9/16/2021 to 9/16/2021 in Moscow.

  19. 14 Night Imperial Russia Cruise from Moscow

    See details and pricing for the Scenic Tsar 14 Night Imperial Russia Cruise sailing September 26, 2021 from Moscow. Book Scenic Cruises online or call 1-800-427-8473 -

  20. Émonda ALR 5

    Model 570356. Retailer prices may vary. Émonda ALR 5 Disc is a light and responsive road bike with an advanced alloy frame that gives it the sleek looks and handling of a far more expensive carbon bike. Paired with big upgrades on parts, like a dependable Shimano 105 drivetrain and powerful hydraulic disc brakes that stop in any weather, this ...

  21. Moscow City Ballet

    Moscow City Ballet to najbardziej prestiżowy podróżujący teatr baletowy świata. Założony został przez wybitnego choreografa Victora Smirnova-Golovanova, któr...

  22. Émonda lightweight aluminum road bikes

    Always metal. Émonda ALR is a strikingly light, fast, and fun aluminum road bike built for flying up climbs and racing to the finish line. It's built with our best and lightest Alpha Aluminum, Kammtail aerodynamic tube shaping, and an optimized race-specific geometry that cuts through the wind and puts you in the right position for power.