The rise of the disc-equipped road bike continues with Scott Bikes launching a version of the Solace with disc brakes for 2015.
Based on the regular Solace with a carbon frame and geometry featuring a taller head tube and shorter top tube than their Addict race bike, the new disc model uses thru-axles. These are large diameter hollow axles that slot through closed dropouts and thread into the receiving dropout.
It’s a technology that dominates in the mountain bike market, where it has largely replaced conventional quick-release axles on most bikes. There’s a lot of debate about their benefits on road bikes; we’re seeing a split in the market as some manufacturers adopt them, and others are steering clear. Whether we get any sort of standard in the future remains to be seen, and is unlikely unless the manufacturers can agree on one axle standard for all road disc bikes.
But why use thru-axles at all? Scott claims, “Thru-axles provide increased axle-stiffness compared to standard quick releases.”
They also say, "[Thru-axles] improve the stiffness of the fork/wheel and rear triangle/wheel systems, ultimately working in favour of power transfer.”
They add that fitting and removing wheels is as quick and easy as regular quick release wheels.
“Wheels with thru-axle closing mechanism offer unparalleled precision when it comes to positioning the disc brake within the wheel system making for much ease of use," says Scott.
The Solace Disc uses a 15mm thru-axle on the front and a 12mm rear, with wider 142mm wheel spacing, directly borrowed from the mountain bike world. They’ve developed a new fork, which they reckon isn’t much heavier than the regular version because the thru-axle means they don’t have to add as much reinforcing material as they would if they were using regular axles. They also say the new fork offers a high level of compliance.
The rear brake caliper is mounted to the top of the chainstay inside the rear triangle. Interestingly, the caliper mount bolts pass through the chainstay from the bottom. We’ve certainly not seen this approach before.
Scott introduced the new Solace at Eurobike last September. Scott used their carbon fibre know-how and developed a frame with a Power Zone - head tube, down tube and chainstays - and the Comfort Zone - seat stays, seat tube and top tube. The idea is that the top part of the frame is designed to absorb vibrations, while the bottom half is beefed up enough for excellent power transfer and handling stiffness.
The caliper brake version removed the brakes from the seatsays to behind the bottom bracket, allowing them to provide more deflection. Scott also placed the seatstays at the side of the seat tube which they reckon further increases the potential for deflection, and with it increased comfort on the rough roads we’re likely to encounter.
As with most endurance road bikes, there is plenty of tyre clearance for 28mm rubber. All cables are internally routed and it uses a BB86 press-fit bottom bracket and tapered head tube.
Most manufacturers have been using their ‘endurance’ road bikes for the introduction of disc brakes on their road lines, such as the Trek Domane and Specialized Roubaix Disc. More people are buying these sort of bikes, with their relaxed geometry appealing to those who aren’t as flexible as the racing snakes that make up the professional peloton.
“[Disc brakes] increase the braking performance and reliability considerably no matter the weather conditions you are riding in,” says Scott. “The Solace has been consequently developed to offer a comfortable and reliable riding sensation to the demanding recreational cyclist - the addition of disc brakes emphasise this aim.”
We don’t have any information on availability and pricing at the moment, but when we get it we’ll let you know, and update this article.
We expect to see the Solace Disc range at the Eurobike show at the end of this month where we’ll get the full lowdown. It does look like they’ll be offering just the one Solace 15 Disc model for 2015, with the rest of the range running regular caliper brakes. Scott also sent us this Solace flatbar model, which looks just perfect for fast commuting.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.