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Trek's ALR 5 Is a Gravel Cruncher Bent on Giving You the Best Low-Budget Experience
One of the fastest growing branches of cycling is gravel biking. By mixing abilities and traits from an array of bicycle classes, these buggers have grown to be known as some of the most versatile around. Today, we'll be checking out a machine that's sold out on the manufacturer's website, and with good reason.

Trek's ALR 5 Is a Gravel Cruncher Bent on Giving You the Best Low-Budget Experience

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Folks, what we're looking at today has been dubbed the 2023 Checkpoint ALR 5, and it's part of Trek's 2023 Checkpoint lineup. However, this is the aluminum wonder you'll find as part of this pack, which means a lot for you, a future owner of such a bike.

About Trek Bicycle Corporation, what is there to say? Heck, this crew has been in the market since 1975, a time in which they've unleashed relentless R&D upon the industry, often paving the way for subsequent manufacturers that can only help to replicate their work. I'm not saying they're the only ones designing and building excellent bikes, but if you turn on your TV to any cycling channel, chances are that you'll see a Trek in the next few minutes.

As for the Checkpoint family, Trek appears to have aimed to create a machine that goes a tad beyond what your average gravel bike can achieve; it's designed to get you on the road, no matter the surface, and literally outride yourself every time. To help you do that, the ALR 5 is designed to feature an array of cargo bags and carriers. Not only can the aluminum frame be utilized, but the fork features mounts too.

What does this mean for you as a rider? It means rider further than before, even if you're forced to spend the night out on some ridge, and that alone is worth every penny of this $2,500 (€2,500 at current exchange rates) bike. Think about it. You've been riding for 80 miles or so today, and eventually, your legs just can't take any more of a beating. No worries, as your tent, cooking utensils, and food are packed in their respective bags.

Diving deeper into this bike, I found that it's a bit different than its carbon fiber brethren in that there's no IsoSpeed on this one. You'll be relying on nothing more than the bike's geometry and components, such as tires, seat post, and saddle, for comfort. One thing I liked about the bike is that even though it's an aluminum frame, it still cruises in with a weight of just 9.75 kg (21.5 lbs), and that's with the components I'm about to mention.

Now, for a bike that can handle the amount of work you throw at it, the price tag is one way that Trek appeals to you. But, to do this, they've relied on Bontrager, their in-house brand, for things like tires, hubs, rims, rims, and just about anything else you can think of, except for the drivetrain.

Speaking of drivetrains, the ALR features the same Shimano GRX 2X drivetrain as the carbon fiber Checkpoint SL 5 I covered a few days ago. An 11-34T cassette supports an HG601 chain controlled by front and rear RX810 derailleurs. To slow you down and stop safely, Shimano is called upon again with SM-RT70 brakes clamping down on 160 mm (6.3 in) rotors.

At the end of the day, you can do your best to buy one of these buggers from Trek, but you should know that this beauty is sold out online. Your only chance is to find one sitting in some shop window or on Craigslist. Wherever you find it, take a test ride but have the cash to buy it, as it may just be the gravel machine you've been looking for.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.


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