A women's specific bike that aims to balance power and comfort

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 8

Scott Contessa Solace 15

Pros:

  • Shimano Ultegra throughout
  • Performance
  • Good looks
  • Women’s specific

Cons:

  • Rear brake position requires expert set-up

Product:

Scott Contessa Solace 15

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£2,399.00

The Contessa Solace is the women’s specific version of Scott’s latest endurance bike. The Solace 15 sits at the top of Scott’s women’s Contessa range that features seven bikes including the entry-level aluminium Speedster.

Perhaps a little unfairly for women looking for an out-and-out racer, the range-topping Foil aero bike and the lightweight Addict range are currently only available as men’s bikes.

Frame

Scott Contessa Solace 15 rear stay top tube junction

The super thin stays flow through and meet the top tube

The difference with the Scott Contessa Solace 15 and the standard Solace is the geometry. There’s no exact equivalent sizes to make direct comparisons, but suffice it to say there are smaller sizes in the Contessa range which come with more stack and less reach, resulting in a more upright position in the saddle.

>>> The best women’s bike saddles

Made from high modular carbon-fibre, the Scott Contessa Solace 15 shares the same dual personality as the standard Solace, in that the frame is split into two ‘zones’ — power and comfort.


Get to know training zones


The power zone comprises the tapered head tube, oversized down tube, asymmetrical chainstays and a huge bottom bracket (BB86) that has been designed for maximum power transfer by being incredibly stiff. Everything else, including the fork legs, fits into the comfort zone.

Hiding the rear brake under the chainstays, next to the bottom bracket, has done away with the need for a brake bridge and corresponding load-bearing seatstays.

>>> Are direct-mount brakes the future?

This design approach has allowed Scott engineers to get away with the use of pencil-thin seatstays that flow right through to meet the top tube, which according to Scott allows for greater deflection of both tubesets.

Specification

Scott Contessa Solace 15 Shimano Ultegra rear derailleur mech

Shimano Ultegra throughout is a welcome feature of this bike

As the range-topping Contessa Solace, the 15 is specced reasonably highly with 11-speed Shimano Ultegra 6800 throughout.

The compact 50/34 chainset and 11-32t cassette won’t be to everyone’s taste, but as a consumable you’ll be changing these at some point anyway and they’re much better suited to an endurance bike than a standard 53/39 chainset with 12-23t cassette.


All you need to know about Shimano’s second tier groupset


Syncros is Scott’s in-house component brand. It’s another plus point as it’s well-engineered, top quality equipment. With the exception of the wheels, you wouldn’t be looking to make any initial upgrades.

Ride

Scott Contessa Solace 15 front end

The stack and reach are designed for power and comfort

It was clear from the first pedal rev that the Contessa Solace 15 is anything but a slouch. In the saddle it delivers with a responsive turn of speed and after a couple of three-hour jaunts on it, I was left far from battered and bruised — suggesting that Scott’s engineers also have the comfort factor nailed.

It’s planted and predictable. But there is a niggle: that tidy rear end makes any rear brake adjustment a pain in the proverbial.

As a rule, once the dual pivot/direct mount rear brake has been set up, it should only ever need occasional adjustment.

However, you may want to set it slightly wider than you’re used to on the Solace as I found that the compliant rear end occasionally caused the wheel rim to kiss the brake pad when out of the saddle while climbing and accelerating out of corners.

Value

Scott Contessa Solace 15 frame detail

An excellent value machine

With full Shimano Ultegra at under two and a half grand, the Contessa Solace 15 is a very rare find and offers excellent value.

The wheels are where you would gain most improvements from an upgrade; the Syncros RP2.0 so far seem more than up to the job, but a lighter, faster-rolling set of wheels would enhance the ride.

Verdict

Slender tube profiles reminiscent of a traditional steel frameset and a contemporary design means the bike scores highly when it comes to aesthetics. The ride strikes a near perfect balance between comfort and performance, and while some may find the front end a little high, long distance comfort is superb. With so few rival women’s specific bikes that can compete in terms of performance, spec and looks, the Contessa Solace 15 truly is a standout machine

Details

Miles ridden:257
Size tested:51
Weight:7.6kg (16.79lb)
Frame:Solace HMF/ IMP Carbon technology/ Road Comfort geometry/ INT BB
Fork:Solace HMF 1 1/8in carbon steerer, alloy dropout
Size range:XXS/46, XS/48, S/51, M/53, L/55
Groupset:11-speed Shimano Ultegra 6800
Gear ratios:50/34 11-32t
Wheels:Syncros RP2.0
Tyres:Schwalbe Durano
Bar:Syncros RR2.0 Woman 31.8mm Lady Anatomic
Stem:Syncros FL2.0 Women
Seatpost:Syncros FL2.0 Women
Saddle:Syncros FL2.0 Women
Distributor:www.scott-sports.com