When Scott re-introduced the Addict and launched the Solace last year, there were some big shoes to fill. The Addict put Scott firmly back into the grand tour game while the Solace takes the old CR1 platform to the shed in terms of comfort and modern touches. The Solace 30 kit comes in at an entry-level price, but has performed well beyond my expectations.

Scott Solace 30 Features:

  • HMF carbon fiber layup with comfort geometry
  • Shimano 105 groupset
  • Bi Zone Construction — Comfort and Power Zones
  • Integrated Shock Dampening System — fork and seat stays
  • 27.2 mm seatpost for extra compliance
  • Press fit BB86 bottom bracket
  • Weight: 18.6 lbs (56cm)
  • Price: $2149.99
2015 Scott Solace 30 Review

The Scott Solace 30 offers quite the bang-for-the-buck.

Solace 30 Delivers Spot-on Performance

When considering a new bike, there’s no reason to insist on riding the latest aggressively-low frameset just to perform at the highest level. Heck, many riders don’t care about performance, but want to get out and enjoy themselves. However, those who do like to push their bodies to redline on occasion, the Solace 30 can be a willing partner.

When it comes to geometry, the Solace is really a bit of an enigma. While most endurance bikes feature a longer wheelbase and slack angles, the Solace falls mostly inline with the racy Addict — no joke. Aside from a taller head tube and shorter top tube, the remaining measurements remain nearly identical. Surprisingly, though, the Solace wheelbase is actually shorter than the Addict.

That’s all good on paper, but it’s also true on the pavement. Having just ridden the top-end Addict SL for much of last season, it has been interesting to get on the budget-level Solace for comparison. While there’s no question that the Addict is a racy, climbing machine, the Solace doesn’t yield much to it while adding an amazing dose of compliance.

2015 Scott Solace 30 Gravel Testing

Huzzah for gravel.

It climbs really well with the only thing holding it back being the extra weight of the wheels and parts. I’ve heard directly from others who have this bike decked out in full race attire. They all say it dramatically changes this bike into a rocket. So, only your pocketbook will hold you back, not the bike, should you wish to bling it out.

I will say that I really appreciated the calm nature of this bike on descents. The smoothness of the frame combined with its upright geometry has guided me comfortably down some long, demanding descents. The only negative being the lack of agility at times, but I’ll take rock-solid descending prowess at the expense of crit-style handling any day of the week.

Cold and dry -- a perfect opportunity to get out on the Solace.

Cold and dry — a perfect opportunity to get out on the Solace.

Serviceable Components

I can appreciate the bike companies pinching pennies with mix-and-match groupsets, but I am much more keen to full kits. In this case, the Solace 30 gets the near-full Shimano 105 treatment with the exception of the crankset and the pesky undermounted rear brake (which happens to be Tektro). So, where it counts, the Solace 30 gets the thumbs up from me. 105 is a consistent performer — no matter how poorly you treat it.

Case in point, I rode the Solace on a particularly cold and rainy day and then let it hang to drip dry overnight. The result was a bit of rust on the chain and cassette. Just to test things, I zipped out the next day without touching it — no lube, nothing. The drivetrain, though a bit rusty, didn’t skip a beat. So, neglectful cyclists will appreciate the no-fuss nature of the drivetrain.

Shifting has been consistent and the wide-ranging gear ratios have been awesome to have when needed. Yeah, it does top out on the fastest descents, but what compact-equipped bike doesn’t?

The only negative with the kit is the undermounted rear brake. Mounting it there yields amazing compliance but even after some expert love, the braking has never been on par with tried-and-true standard caliper rear brakes. It’s not mushy, but it just lacks some punch.

2015 Scott Solace 30 - Shimano 105 Drivetrain

Mostly Ultegra kit with generic Shimano-branded crankset.

Responsive and Smooth

We’ve all heard the increased compliance and lateral stiffness spiel. Everyone claims to have a corner on that market, but the Solace truly achieves a very high level of both. Having ridden the Solace 15 Disc and now the Solace 30, the Power and Comfort Zones on this bike are a reality. Particularly, the comfort zone as the seat stays do a masterful job of making road imperfections disappear.

I’ll add that I’ve purposely ridden the Solace on some of the roughest roads (paved and gravel) around. Every time, I’m taken aback at the compliance provided by this bike. The greatest thing about the compliance of the Solace is it is done without any widgets or gizmos. Yeah, you do have to cope with the undermounted rear brake, but there’s no denying the smoothness provided by the Solace.

In this entry-level spec, the cockpit features a nicely-shaped Syncros handlebar, but it is stiff compared to the rear end. That said, swapping to carbon bars is relatively painless and would yield an improved ride in no time.

The Shimano RS11 wheelset is certainly not race material, but again, fits the bill. And, what’s awesome about the wheels is they get up to speed well and don’t flex under load. Standing efforts never resulted in any brake rub or noticeable flex, which is a good accomplishment in this price range.

The overall fit and finish of the Solace 30 puts this bike in an elite class among its peers. At just barely over $2000, it remains a steal in my book.

The Good

  • Unreal ride comfort
  • Killer price point
  • Inspires confidence on descents
  • Drivetrain has been flawless
  • Syncros-brand components are outstanding
  • Durable, stiff wheelset

The Bad

  • Direct mount rear brake is tricky to setup and access
  • Front end comfort doesn’t match rear (carbon bars should help there)
  • Handling can be a tad slow

The Bottom Line: Solace 30

It is truly remarkable that this bike hits the street at $2149. The HMF carbon frame yields amazing comfort and excellent fit for the majority of riders and the top-to-bottom journeyman parts spec has performed beyond expectations. Hopping into the Solace 30 should be an easy decision and is affordable to most riders.

Buy Now: Visit REI.com

The Verdict

8.2 Affordable Comfort

The Scott Solace 30 offers a ton of value for the money. What makes it stand out is its fantastically-smooth ride to boot.

  • Ride Quality 9
  • Handling 8
  • Responsiveness 8
  • Components 7
  • Value 9

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

6 Comments

  1. Steve Wachholz on

    Hi,

    I bought this bike, partly based on your review, and have mostly loved it. I did swap many of the components though. With light wheels and other upgrades it’s now at 16.8 pounds!

    I have a question though. I recently rode it in the mountains with descents reaching 45+ mph. This is not the first time i’ve done this and agree with the stable feeling at high speed. For some reason though on one road I experienced a high speed shimmy. I do have 50 mm wheels and believe that there was some kind of head/cross wind. The road surface was also bad. I hope that this was the perfect storm of combined factors but do you think the short wheelbase had anything to do with it? thanks!

    • Sorry to hear you experienced some shimmy. Was it bad enough that it knocked you into full-on speed wobble or just a bit of front-end shimmy? Either way, it’s likely the result of a perfect storm of conditions. However, 50 mm wheels are pretty deep when adverse crosswinds hit hard.

      I can notice a significant difference between the Zipper 404 and 303 in crosswind situations and much prefer the 303’s overall. At 50mm, you’re splitting the difference between the 404 and 303, but that’s still pretty deep for windy conditions.

      Still, I would double-check your headset tightness just to be sure.

      Something else that can affect handling and shimmy is your fit (stack and reach specifically). I notice that when my bike has a longer reach than is comfortable that I tend to get a little uncomfortable at speed. Just a couple of thoughts. I’m glad you’re enjoying the bike overall. It’s a good one!

  2. Hi Jason – Really helpful and true article about Scott Solace. I purchased this bike 4 years ago and actually it was my first ever bike since elementary school. I have upgraded the wheels (Dura-Ace C24 carbon laminated wheels), the handle-bars, saddle and drivetrain (Shimano 105 5800 11speed). The weight of the bike is now 7.8 kgr (Size Large). After those 4 years I feel a lot fitter now and I’m currently thinking about get into racing. Since this bike falls into the endurance category, and based on your experience do you think that I could race on it? Cannondale Caad 12 with disc brakes is on bargain price since its replacement from Caad 13 and I’m realy tempted . . . Please give me your advice.
    Thanks,
    John

  3. You could certainly race on just about any bike, but what types of racing are we talking about? Criteriums? Gran Fondos? Haute Route? Races like the Ultimate Challenge or Triple Bypass? That will all be helpful to know.

    This particular model and carbon layup isn’t the most aggressive or light. So, if you want something a little more racy, you might want to consider other options.

    If you’re considering the CAAD12 Disc, it sounds like you’re wanting something with a traditional, aggressive geometry. That’s great, but you will definitely want to be fitted to make sure you can maintain a more aggressive body position. I haven’t ridden any affordable full-on race bikes in awhile, but the Trek Emonda is available in alloy and affordable carbon versions, if that’s something you’re interested in trying. There are plenty of others too.

  4. Many thanks for your prompt reply Jason. Yes you are right !! There is some missing information in my previous message. I’m 46 years old and these races are organized by a local club primarily for ages above 40 and you know . . . since life is rushing along at top speed, I thought that I should try to race for gaining the experience. The majority of the races are around 70 to 80 km long accumulating elevation of around 1,000 to 1,300 meters, while there are also some Gran Fondos organized around 200 km long. I’m overall happy with this bike, but I don’t know if I could do better with another one. Check my strava account here (“John Scott”): https://www.strava.com/athletes/15805262

  5. That’s much better context. Yes, certainly there are racier bikes out there. You ride a fair bit with lots of climbing, so I think you’d appreciate something that’s a little more nimble climber. Is a CAAD12 Disc a better option for you? Hard to say.

    The new SuperSix Evo and Tarmac come to mind as better options, but I’m guessing the CAAD12 caught your eye because of the discounted price.

    Well… because I like to ride gravel, road and anywhere in-between, my suggestion is an Open UP/UPPER. Hands-down the best overall road bike I’ve swung a leg over. But, if you’re not into the gravel thing, there are plenty of other fast bikes with good 32c tire clearance. Keep riding and enjoying those Greek roads!

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