Always an exciting day when you get a new bike – after a long gestation period, Charlie finally arrived.
Charlie – Trek Checkpoint SL7 eTap- is my new touring bike and heading off to Europe with us this week.
When Trek first announced the release of this bike around September 2021, Tony noted it and suggested that this would be great for me for touring – better set up, with better gearing for my knee. So I contacted Aaron Keefe at Trek Port Melbourne, who is the one who recommended me as a Trek Ambassador. It was ordered and the deposit paid.
The bike arrived into Australia only last week. Via local contacts who pulled a few strings, the bike arrived into Tasmania last night! Thanks to Aaron for running it out to an unmanned warehouse in Sunshine North.
Aaron looking a bit bewildered – needing the secret code to get through the gate at the unmanned warehouse.
Big thanks here to Aaron and Trek for going out of their way to give the bike a chance of getting here on time. Trek also sent their marketing loan bike (albeit size down – so my actual bike was always going to be the preferable option.
If you want to talk Trek and look at what they have to offer, remembering N+1, contact Aaron – now at the Rapido store in Essendon that has recently been taken over by Trek.
Big thanks for David Urquhart, Kara and Price’s Transport for expediting the transport across Bass Strait in a matter of days – a well known Tasmanian freight carrier took around two weeks to do the same journey with the loan bike.
What does the new bike look like? What are its features?
Colour – Dark aquatic and carbon smoke.
The bike is essentially a gravel bike despite the fact that it will predominantly be on bitumen – we need to provide for all terrain surfaces touring. As we have found on previous trips, there are always mapping surprises! We have ridden through farm paddocks and vineyards, scouted land mine fields, ridden over many varieties of dirt and gravel, puddles of unknown depths.
The bike has a carbon gravel frame – SRAM wireless electronic drivetrain, carbon wheels and internal storage area for tools in the downtube.
The tyres are describes as “meaty” – and are 45mm. As a comparison for non cyclists, my road bike has 23 mm, and my Roubaix used on previous tours, 30mm. Touring is not fast – if we wanted to go fast, we would use a road bike and go on supported tours.
How much does it weigh? 8.9 kg – without me and the gear! It is rated up to 125 kg so plenty of room for those French boulangeries!
There is an integrated frame bag mounts – and thanks to Trek I have two new bags on the top tube.
Not yet ridden it – so once we are in Switzerland we will need to tweak the seat height, position etc – and fortunately the first few days of our trip are following rivers and canals so we can stop easily and play mechanics.
It is getting all very real now – this time tomorrow we will be in the air on our first leg, leaving Tasmania, and leaving our beautiful Khaleesi whom we shall miss heaps.
As you can see from the photo below, she is trying to prevent us leaving – that was a neck pillow – minus its case and some filling – and now relocated to the rubbish bin!