The wait times for Trek’s gravel bike the Trek Checkpoint is insane. I have asked two to three different shops now and all of them have quoted me at least December 2020. I tried looking on the second hand market through Facebook but nothing is being sold in my size. An event due in July 2020 was my target date in getting a gravel specific bike but I knew I had next to no hope in getting one or at least the one I wanted. A couple of weeks before the event, a Trek Crockett 5 2020 was posted for sale on Bicycle Market in my size 52, there were quite a few interest, a few people commenting and tagging their mates. From there my obsessive research began…
For those that are not aware, the Crockett is not a “gravel specific bike” in the Trek range. That tag goes to the Checkpoint, the Crockett is a CX bike and has been around for a number of years. The Crockett is an alloy frame that has been designed to be lightweight and handles like a carbon frame bike. When I rode my Emonda through 60km of gravel and steep climbs, I asked myself why wouldn’t I want a light gravel bike that handles like a road bike or at least something that is similar in weight to a carbon setup. The Crockett 2020 is made from Trek’s Series 300 Alpha Aluminum which is the same material they use to make the Emonda ALR. This and the similarity in geometry to my Emonda SLR convinced me that this would make a great first gravel bike.
It took me a few days to see if any other bikes would get posted on Facebook Marketplace but I had a specific budget I wanted to spend and this slightly used Crockett was within my range. I knew that I would be changing a few things on the bike but since I didn’t have any other gravel ride experiences I had zero expectations. The bike came with a SRAM Rival 1x setup, 40T Praxis Alba crankset and 11-32T cog in the rear, stock Bontrager rims with GR1 Team Issue tyres which were already at 40c when I bought it.
It didn’t take me long before I took it on a test ride through Audley and Royal National Park, the ride was quite comfortable after I adjusted the saddle height and moved the saddle forward and if it wasn’t for the 40c tyres you could say it’s no different to my normal road bike. One of the main differences between a Crockett and the Emonda is that the bottom bracket sits 8mm higher and has a slightly more relaxed geometry compared to a H2 fit Emonda. I grinded up the steep climb from Audley on a 40-32T so I knew then I’m going to need bigger cogs at the back. One of the other things I did notice immediately is how thin the standard Bontrager rims are with the GR1 on them. I knew I had to look for slightly wider rims.
I found an almost brand new Bontrager Paradigm 25 rims on Facebook Marketplace for a decent price which only took a couple of days to arrive. Being a complete n00b when it comes to SRAM, I totally ignored the fact that these rims came with a XD driver so I had to make a few more changes than I had anticipated. We took the bike again for another test ride through Burralow Firetrail which in hindsight was an excellent test ride because it gave me a better idea on what type of gearing and tyres I’m going to need moving forward. The Bontrager Paradigm wheels forced my hand at replacing the rear SRAM rear deraileur to long cage so that I can fit a 10-42T cog in the back, this also meant a new chain and new set of Bontrager GR2 tyres
So the new setup is as follows:
SRAM Rival 1 Long Cage
SRAM 10-42 Casette
Bontrager GR2 Team Issue Tyres
Bontrager Paradigm Comp 25 wheelset set up as tubeless
Switching over to this Paradigm wheelset with an internal width of 25mm has stretched out the tyres a little wider and my chainstay clearance on the driver side are getting pretty close to its limit. I would say less than 2mm clearance.
So there you have it, my journey into Gravel cycling has begun…I have a few routes lined up to test this bike on so hopefully I’ll be able to provide more feedback then.