Just like its standard caliper-braked sibling, Scott’s Solace Disc was conceived from the outset as a bike for sportive/fondo and endurance riders. That means it’s 25mm taller at the front, with a top tube 5mm shorter, than its race-bred CR1 and Foil stablemates.
But that doesn’t make this Solace some sort of laid-back cruiser. Our XL (58cm) test bike has a 575mm top-tube, which is easily long enough for you to get down into a speedier, more aero position.
The reach – the horizontal distance between the bottom bracket and head-tube – is a mere 11mm shorter than the Foil’s, which is very little in the grand scheme of things. The 73.3-degree head angle is also steep enough to keep the steering sharp, with the sub-1m wheelbase further helping the Solace’s flighty nature.
Slender tapering seatstays offer some comfort-giving flex
Scott certainly hasn’t skimped on integrating the discs into this Solace. With a big reputation for making lightweight carbon mountain bikes alongside its road offerings, the firm has been able to appropriate knowledge and technology from the muddy side of things.
This is evident in the use of thru-axles: 15mm at the front, 142x12mm at the rear. These are common on mountain bikes for their ability to withstand the greater forces created by disc brakes.
Rather than slotted dropouts for quick release axles, the frame and fork have holes to take larger diameter axles. As a result, Scott says that it hasn’t had to compromise the carbon lay-up in the fork or frame to achieve the necessary strength, while still retaining the designed-in compliant comfort of the standard Solace.
It costs more than the Solace 20 and is 940g heavier; that isn’t down to the frame, but has more to do with the disc brakes, heavier chainset, wider rubber and heftier wheels. On the road, we didn’t notice any of that extra mass, and we reckon this has a lighter-feeling ride than the Solace 20. It’s also a sight more comfortable, especially at the front, thanks to the wheels’ wider rims and the 28mm Schwalbes wrapping them, which simply eliminated any vibration from poor roads.
Thru-axled, disc-braked – the shape of endurance bikes to come?
Climbing on the Solace is a revelation – its combination of a rock-solid, flex-free frame, great position and wide gearing means it can cope with both high-torque out-of-the-saddle cranking and seated spinning. Descending is a grin-inducing experience, with the spot-on handling traits and excellent braking from Shimano’s R785s meaning on-the-limit speeds, while the big tyres simply grip and grip, encouraging reckless velocities.
The Disc 15 is definitely the best incarnation of Scott’s Solace we’ve tried to date, but there are still a few opportunities for improvement. The FL2.0 saddle is a good shape and has ample padding, but its shiny, slippy covering doesn’t grip Lycra shorts with any real purchase in the dry, and in the wet it becomes comically slimy.
We’d also like to see a better chainset for the money. Shimano’s non-series RS500 is competent – sitting just below 105 in the pecking order – but we’d prefer something more swish on a mainly Ultegra-equipped bike with this kind of price tag.
That said, we’d still recommend the Solace highly. It’s comfortable, quick to react, equally quick to stop and has plenty of smile-prompting speedy potential to make every epic endurance ride fun.