Scott have added discs to their previously rim-braked endurance model to create the Solace 15 Disc. This has one of the most appealing carbon fibre frames I've ridden in a while, and hydraulic callipers and Shimano Ultegra shifting add to the overall package, making it one of the most rewarding bikes in this sector.
We've seen a fair few bikes of this style come through the doors of road.cc HQ lately. Whether you call them endurance or sportive frames, the combination of a shorter top tube and taller head tube than you'd find on a race bike (Scott's own Addict, for example) gives a more relaxed upright and comfortable position.
Scott haven't gone too extreme with this, though. The M(54) we're testing here has a 545mm effective top tube with a 165mm head tube which, coupled with a relatively short wheelbase of 986mm (most of the disc brake-equipped bikes we've tested are over a metre) and a 72.5-degree head angle, makes for a sporty ride on a bike that is really chuckable through the bends. Also, the bike arrived with a few spacers on the steerer, and by moving all but the bottom spacer above the stem, the Solace 15 Disc instantly felt more aggressive.
The standout feature for me, though, is the comfort. Scott's designers have used the carbon fibre layup to create a stiff and lightweight frame that, more importantly, absorbs road vibration, resulting in a highly planted feel to the ride. With the bike feeling settled you can just get on and enjoy yourself.
It's a bike you can ride for miles at a quick pace, whether you're in the drops or on the hoods. It feels purposeful and in its element, making for a fun time in the saddle as you nail that tight bend or chicane.
I was testing it alongside the Rose Xeon CDX and even though that's nearly 2lb lighter than the Scott, it's the Solace that felt quicker and more responsive.
Standing-start acceleration is blunted a little by the Syncros wheels and grippy but hardly svelte 28mm Schwalbe Durano tyres, but when you're already moving then bridging gaps in traffic or on the chain gang is easy and very rewarding, and flying efforts out of the saddle see no flex from the frame and fork at all.
Even in the hills the Scott rides like a much lighter bike, helped by a decent spread of gears and feedback from the frame that makes you want to get out of the saddle and kick on the pedals. With this kind of attitude the Solace is perfect for riding a sportive style route at a fair lick.
The handling is at the racier end of neutral, which means it's engaging for the seasoned rider without scaring the timid descender. The redesigned disc-compatible fork is stiff and tracks wonderfully through bends, and should you have an 'oh bollocks!' moment mid corner at high speed, the fork legs handle the high braking and cornering forces with ease. On the whole it's a very confidence-inspiring bike.
Frame & fork
The 15 is the only drop-bar model with disc brakes in the Solace range, and while the majority of the frame matches that of the rim-braked versions there have been a few modifications to cope with the extra braking forces.
The completely new fork not only has mounts for attaching the calliper but also internal routing for the hydraulic brake hosing, giving a clean look. It comes with a full-carbon tapered steerer too, keeping things light and stiff.
Scott have decided on thru-axles front and rear, with a 15mm diameter on the fork. It's technology that has come over from mountain biking to provide more security against disc braking forces (the axle goes through holes in the dropouts, rather than slotting in). Personally I haven't noticed any difference between bikes using standard quick release and thru-axles under heavy braking, and many in the industry are waiting to see which way things go.
The frame is designed in two zones, the Power Zone and Comfort Zone. The Power Zone is basically the upper half of the fork legs, the head tube, down tube, bottom bracket area and asymmetrical chainstays. Oversized is a simple way of explaining it. The top tube increases in size as it reaches the head tube, providing much more material here than is at the seat tube end, while the down tube changes profile, getting wider where it meets the BB86 shell (which accepts press-fit bearing cups).
The chainstays have been beefed up to resist braking forces, and back here you get a 12mm diameter thru-axle.
The Comfort Zone sees areas of the frame promoting some flex for comfort. The seatstays, for example, are dainty in relation to the rest of the frame, and they run up the outside of the seat tube rather that meeting at the rear. Scott say this promotes more flex, and considering that the comfort the Solace delivers, I wouldn't argue with that.
The seat tube accepts a 27.2mm-diameter seatpost, which will flex more under load than a 31.6mm one. Every little helps.
It's a smart looking frame, with well positioned entry and exit points for the fully internal cable and hose routing, creating smooth cable runs and avoiding frame rub.
Component manufacturers Syncros are owned by Scott, so it's no surprise to see the Solace decked out in Syncros finishing kit.
The alloy RR2.0 handlebar is an anatomical shape rather than the compact style we're used to seeing on this style of bike, and offers plenty of hand positions plus a comfortable, unrestricted ride. The drop isn't massive, so every part of the bar remains usable for the majority of riders.
The FL1.0 ECL seatpost is carbon fibre, continuing the comfort theme, the material flexing more than its alloy equivalent. Perched on top of that is a Syncros FL2.0, a saddle I get on well with. Its firm padding keeps you supported without being overbearing on a long ride.
For the cost, the drivetrain is pretty much spot on, with Ultegra mechanical derailleurs paired to Shimano's RS685 hydraulic/mechanical shifters. These cover from 105 through to Dura-Ace if you want to run hydro brakes and mechanical mechs, so you are getting top notch shifting here with a sharp, defined click on each change. They are expensive, though, with the shifter/calliper combination being roughly the same price as an entire Ultegra groupset. It adds to the overall price, but it's a worthy place for Scott to have invested in.
As expected with a bike of this ilk, Scott have specced an 11-32 cassette and a 50/34 compact chainset. The crankset is a non-series model with the older five-arm spider design, which is a shame as it detracts from the look of the rest of the bike, though performance doesn't suffer noticeably.
The rotors are Shimano's SM-RT99 CLs, which offer brilliant performance in both power and modulation. They're 160mm diameter, though, which I don't think are necessary on a road bike, especially on the rear; 140mm rotors are much more forgiving if you have to brake hard, whereas 160s will easily lock at the rear as your bodyweight transfers to the front of the bike. It can be scary in the wet, though I appreciate you'll adapt if it's the only setup you ride.
The wheels are built by DT Swiss and badged as Syncros RP2.0 Disc. Judging by the weight and hub they are very similar to the DT R24 Spline DB models we reviewed a month ago. The quality is high and they're a solid feeling wheelset. Their wider rim size means the 28mm Schwalbe Durano tyres match the wheel profile well.
The Schwalbes roll well enough and are certainly robust, but I'd upgrade to something faster when they wear out. The racy nature of the Solace deserves something like the same company's One tyres for a properly quick ride.
I really rate the Solace 15 Disc. At its heart is a great frameset that's a joy to ride. It's positive feeling with loads of feedback and poise. The way it can deliver both power and comfort in equal measure shows the skill of the engineers and designers who created the carbon layup and material choice.
With a swap to some Mason x Hunt 4Season wheels and some faster tyres, the Solace became even better, so an upgrade here would definitely be on my list.
Comparing it side by side with the Rose Xeon CDX, similar bikes being ridden on the same roads over the same test period, the Scott had the edge in real world speed, even though it was carrying extra weight. Being so much more comfortable at the front end meant my arms and hands weren't taking such a battering and I'd feel much fresher for longer.
For the money it's a good, solid build. You're getting a top notch frame with sensible finishing kit, and with a couple of upgrades you'd end up with a very light, very comfortable mile-muncher.
Beautiful frame that offers comfort and performance in equal measure. Upgrade the wheels and tyres for even more speed
road.cc test report
Make and model: Scott Solace 15 Disc
Size tested: Black/Red
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
*Frame - Solace HMF / IMP Carbon technology / Road Comfort geometry / INT BB
*Fork - Solace HMF DISC 1 1/8" Carbon steerer Alloy Dropout
*Headset - Ritchey PRO Int. Cartridge
*Rear - Derailleur Shimano Ultegra RD-6800-GS 22 Speed
*Front - Derailleur Shimano Ultegra FD-6800
*Shifters - Shimano Ultegra ST-RS685 Disc Dual control 22 Speed
*Brakes - Shimano BR-RS785 Hyd Disc 160/F and 160/Rmm SM-RT99 CL Rotor
*Crankset - Shimano FC - RS500 Compact Hyperdrive 50/34 T Black 11 Speed
*BB-Set - Ultegra SM-BB7241
*Handlebar - Syncros RR2.0 Anatomic 31.8mm
*Handlebar Stem - Syncros FL2.0 1 1/8" / four Bolt 31.8mm
*Seatpost - Syncros Carbon FL1.0 ECL 27.2/350mm Ergoptimized Comfort Layup
*Seat - Syncros FL2.0
*Hub - (Front) Syncros RP2.0 Disc
*Hub - (Rear) Syncros RP2.0 Disc
*Chain - Shimano CN-HG600 11 Speed
*Cassette - Shimano 105 CS-5800 11-32 T
*Spokes - Syncros RP2.0 Disc
*Rims - Syncros RP2.0 Disc Front / Rear
*Tyres - Schwalbe Durano FOLD 700 x 28C
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Scott say: "The SCOTT Solace 15 Disc was designed to provide you with a perfect balance of comfort and performance on the roads. Its HMF Carbon Fiber frame was designed with two zones, a Power Zone and a Comfort Zone, in order to result in a stiff and responsive bike that will also keep you comfortable all day long- regardless of frame size. Now equipped with disc brakes, the Solace 15 Disc will help you find your Solace on all roads and in all weather conditions."
The Solace 15 Disc is an excellent combination of comfort and speed so it seems Scott have nailed their brief.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
The overall finish of the frame is tidy with a flowing ergonomic shape. The cable entry and exits points are well positioned and give an overall clean look to the bike.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Both the frame and fork are constructed from high modulus carbon fibre.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
A slightly taller head tube than a typical race bike at 165mm giving a slightly more upright ride. A shorter wheelbase than many endurance bikes paired with steepish angles makes for a quick handling bike.
Sizes available: XXS/47, XS/49, S/52, M/54, L/56, XL/58, XXL/61
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
The stack and reach figures give a ratio of 1.498, 1.5 being the figure that many in the industry deem ideal for the majority of riders.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Yes, the carbon layup is very well considered without any harshness or buzz over rough surfaces.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
The Power Zone part of the frame delivers stiffness under acceleration and tight steering under load.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
The bike delivers power smoothly, with the frame taking everything you can throw at it while absorbing enough of the bumps to make sure the rear tyre stays planted to the ground.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral handling for those long miles, but lively enough to excite in the bends.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The Solace is easy to ride and real fun in the bends thanks to that neutral handling. It holds a tight line and you get plenty of feedback to know what the bike is up to.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The Syncros kit is very comfortable, especially the saddle, and even though the bar and stem are alloy they are not harsh.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
It's a good all-round selection of kit, meaning a neat balance of stiffness versus comfort.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
Even taking the added weight of the disc brakes into account, they do increase efficiency, especially in the wet as you can always rely on having the performance there so can hold speeds for longer, into bends, junctions and so on.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
The Shimano Ultegra/Hydro mix is a great groupset and really suits the quality of the frame. It's a shame Scott couldn't spec an Ultegra 6800 compact chainset, though, for aesthetics. It'd make the bike look more complete.
Wheels and tyres
Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?
The Syncros wheels and Schwalbe Durano tyres are a good, robust choice that suits the style of riding the Solace is intended for. For more speed an upgrade would transform the Scott into near race territory.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
The Syncros kit is decent stuff. It's nothing flash but it's comfortable and stiff.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The Solace 15 Disc is a very nice bike with the quality of the frameset really standing out. The comfort and its ability to damp road vibration make it great for long distance rides. It loses out a bit to the similar Rose Xeon CDX on both weight and price, plus the Xeon gets better wheels and tyres, but the Scott has a better frameset. It is very good and with a few tweaks could be exceptional.
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Mason Definition
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.