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