Review: Scott Solace 30
So I let it slip to Cyclebuttcrack a few months ago that I am on the hunt for a new bike. Somehow, I agreed to use my bike search as part of a guest blog for Cyclebuttcrack. Anyway, I am looking for the elusive “all-a-rounder” bike. I generally ride steel bikes (I currently ride a Soma Double-Cross touring/CX/commuter) which I love tremendously, but was looking something in the sub 20Lb region that I could take out on weekend club rides. I am in the market for a bike that is quick, light, fun, but still able to grind out 75 -100miles without having to go straight to the chiropractor afterward. The road conditions near my home in semi-rural So Cal, are less than stellar, so I need a bike that will soak up poorly maintained country back roads and even some dirt/gravel back roads.
This led me to the Scott Solace 30 road bike. You might wonder where the Solace fits in the Scott line-up. It’s not a high end race bike like Scott’s Addict and Foil, and slightly less aggressive than the very capable CR1. It is billed as Scott’s all-day riding machine, which is exactly what I was looking for.
To start off, the bike is beautiful, it looks “right”; the right proportions and lines that I look for in a frameset. It has nice design touches like internal frame cable routing and a beautiful and a classy detailed paint scheme. The highlight of the frame design is the rear brake caliper is hidden under, and behind, the bottom bracket. Scott claims that this was done to help improve the aerodynamics and cleans up the cable routing and lines of the bike. By eliminating the bridge needed to mount the rear brake above the rear wheel, the engineers were able to make the rear seatstays very thin, which increases the “compliance” within the rear triangle, giving the bike more comfortable ride.
The Solace 30 is fitted with a full Shimano 105 groupset, with the exception of the under-mounted rear brake. I’m a big fan of the 105 group, and it is a logical choice for a bike in this price range. My only gripe is the “swishy looking” Shimano crank, I prefer a more traditional looking crank. With that said, all-in-all, you really can’t go wrong with 105. The test bike came with a compact double crankset and an 11-25t cassette. I’m not sure why they didn’t go with at least a 28t instead (maybe even 32t), considering the probable use of this bike, it would be nice having a lower granny gear for the steep stuff. Also, I would like to see this bike with a disc brake variation for their extra stopping power and modulation. The seat-post, saddle, stem, and bars are all Scott house brand stuff, not bad, but just average. The saddle was like sitting on a brick, but then again, saddles are such a personal choice, and the stock saddle will be changed by 90% of us anyway.
The wheelset provided is the Shimano RS11, which are very solid, albeit not a super lightweight choice. In the future, this would be the first place for an upgrade, but should make most riders happy for many years. The excellent Schwalbe Durano 25c tires are the perfect combination of speed, grip and comfort.
My test ride was a ten mile loop with some climbing, flats, suburban streets, paved bikes path and gravel fire road. Having not ridden many full carbon bikes, I was struck by how “hollow” the bike felt. I’m sure this is just the nature of carbon bikes, but I found it noteworthy. The bike felt quick and lively with a somewhat upright riding position from the taller head tube geometry. The bike seemed to climb with ease, probably due to the upright riding position. I felt like I could ride all day on this bike comfortably, the flexy/skinny seatstays seemed to do their job well making for smooth ride on a mix of surfaces.
I like this bike a lot. I wouldn’t say that the bike blew my socks off, but I felt like it is a very solid bike that fits a perfect niche in the cycling market. It stands out as a beautiful machine that is pleasing to the eye. The designers and engineers as Scott did an excellent job will all aspects of this bike, from the frame design down to the components and wheelset. It does what it was designed to do, and does it very well. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give it a strong 8.
- Frameset: Solace Carbon
- Fork: Solace Carbon
- Headset: Ritchey PRO
- Brakes: Shimano 105
- Crankset: Shimano 105
- Bottom Bracket: Shimano Ultegra
- Cassette: Shimano 105 11-25t
- Wheelset: Shimano WH RS11
- Tires: Schwalbe Durano 700 x 25c
- Handlebars: Syncros SL1.2 carbon
- Stem: Syncros FL2.0
- Saddle: Syncros RR2.5
- Seatpost: Syncros FL1.2
- Size range: 47, 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61cm
- Size tested: 56cm
- Weight: 17.3 Lbs
- Price: $2,549