Why don’t more People ride Bikes? Simple, Prices are Ridiculous!

why are bikes so expensive

Some of the most common questions I get asked as an auto writer and discussion I get into with people are actually not about cars but in fact ways someone could not use or own a car.  This includes topics like ride sharing and car sharing services.  You know companies like RelayRides, Lift, or say using public transportation, riding a bike (bicycle), etc.  One discussion I have fairly often with people is, “Why don't more people use bikes?”  The benefits are pretty clear;

  • It's good exercise
  • Gets you there faster than Walking or Running
  • Reduces dealing with traffic
  • You save on gas
  • Less wear and tear on your car
  • Less air pollution
  • It can be fun (if there are not too many big hills)

There probably are some more advantages I'm missing. If you feel I'm been left out anything leave a comment below.

So if the benefits are clear and most people know how ride a Bike (I think) and we all know riding a bike is great exercise, why don't more people do it?  Simple answer, road bikes are too damn expensive.

While this is an automotive website I thought it would be interesting to share my experiences with looking into a buying a bicycle recently.

Getting into Cycling

Since I've gained a good bit of “muscle” around my mid section during the winter I've been trying to figure out various physical activities to keep this muscle on. 🙂  Like most Americans I thought, “Hey, why don't I get a bike? It's great exercise.”  It makes sense since around here they've added a bunch of designated bike lanes on the roads to try to make bike commuting easier.  So why not get into cycling?

Before embarking on the journey of actually looking into a bicycle I decided to whip out my old Trek.  This Trek is a pretty good mountain bike that still shifts ok and the tires and brakes work fine. I started riding around trails and roads a little bit realized those knobby tires were slowing me down and it would be more ideal to get a road bike for more serious riding in the city.  The mountain bike would still works ok if I wanted to ride trails though, so I'd keep it for that.

I decided I'd like something that I could commute around town with, add a bike rack and possibly fenders in the future, and maybe do a triathlon If I'm really ambitious.  I started Googling for information and to see what bicycles were available in my price range.

Bike Prices at your Local Bike Shop

Lurking around on various bicycling forums and seeing what people suggested most recommend going to a local bike shop to see what's available because of the service and knowledge.  For those reading this that haven't look around at buying a beginner road bike in awhile you might be… well… floored by the cost.  There are some entry level road bikes but honestly I didn't see much besides hybrid bikes at my local bike shop in my price range.  Still I went into the bike store to see what they had.

“Most people come in here and spend $2,000.” is what the salesman told me when I asked about what road bikes they had in available at one bike store.  This obviously was way above my budget and what I felt like spending on my first road bike.  He assured me though of all the “technology!” on these bikes.  My eyes kind of rolled when I heard this. “Technology? What technology? It's a bicycle!”

Still I test rode a Sirrus Specialized equipped with hydraulic disc brakes.  Technically this is what is considered a hybrid bike since it had flat handle bars but skinny tires just like a road bike.  The price for the Sirrus is $700 but I should add the local bike shop includes a 2 year maintenance plan with a fitting session.  Not a bad deal just still slightly out of my budget since ideally I'd like to spend less than that on the actual bicycle and add any bike accessories or upgrades I feel I need.

I stopped at another local bike shop and the energetic salesman showed me a few models they had. He thought a Trek 7.4 hybrid would fit my needs which was $800.  A road bike he showed me was a Trek One series which he thought is ideal for city use and something like a Triathlon.  The Trek Cross Rip was another model priced at $1,000 which he said is extremely popular and hard for them to keep in stock.  They did have some other more expensive bikes on closeout that for $1,300 that he said was comparable to the Cross Rip but offered a lot more value in terms of components.  All were nice bikes, but still this is more than I wanted to spend on a road bike.

Since all the shops knew my budget and didn't offer any solutions outside of buying expensive starter road bikes, in my opinion, I thought I'd keep looking.

Buying a used Road Bike

With spring moving into summer I, like a lot of people, probably have considered getting buying a bicycle and using my car less.  Still I thought there must be people doing spring cleaning and getting rid of bikes they haven't used that have just sat around in their basement or garage.

So like a lot of people suggest, if you aren't sure you can afford what a local bike shop sells beginner bikes for check online local classifieds like Craigslist.  Well… I've been looking around on CL for an adequate beginner hybrid or road bike. So far I've come up empty and haven't seen anything that would work. It's either people that want too much for garbage or trashed bikes, something that might work but the size does not fit me, or pros looking to offload some crazy expensive road bike for thousands of dollars they don't need anymore. Honestly I feel I've wasted more time scouring Craigslist and other places to get a used road bike than was really worth the effort or time.

Why are bikes so expensive?

For the price it costs to get a supposedly “decent” equipped road bike according to some of the cycling snobs it seems you must spend at least $1,500-$2,000 dollars these days. Let's be serious for that amount of money I don't feel like riding a bicycle, but I'd rather buy a scooter or used motorcycle.  These have much more components, parts, as well as technology behind them. Are you seriously f$%@ing telling me that there is more research and development behind a bicycle than a motorcycle or scooter with an engine?  No, there isn't and don't try to tell me there is.

This is a fairly long video by Martin Horn, an ex-pro racer, that explains that for the recreational cyclist spending a ton of money on a bike doesn't make sense.  It won't make go that much faster nor does he believe the components are that much better.

Horn makes a good point that the Ninja motorcycle he bought was $3,000 dollars which has an engine, hydraulic brakes, a transmission with a clutch, and an electrical system.  This is waaay more technology than a road bike no matter how you cut it.

Pretty much to answer the question, “Why are bikes so expensive?” Bicycle manufacturers and companies are charging these prices because they know the can.

Buying a Bike Online

The company that Martin Horn bought the bikes in his videos from is known as BikesDirect.  I have not ordered from them but I'm considering using them or another company like Nashbar, BikeShopWarehouse, or Performance Bike (they have retail locations too).

The most expensive bike he has is the Motobecane Grand Record which cost $650. He also has the Windsor Wellington 2.0 which cost $350 which he believes is an incredible value for the a bike of that price.  Horn has only replaced the wheels and tires and rode the Wellington for tens of thousands of miles.

I'd love to buy a bicycle from the local bike shop but I don't know, I feel like they are out of touch with recreational cyclists and people just getting started. I'm strongly considering ordering online.

Bike Co-Operatives and Collectives

In some cities you can find bike co-operatives and collectives.  They offer shared workshop spaces for working on bicycles and rebuilding them for those that don't have a lot of money.  They have training and classes for those looking to learn to repair their own bicycles in addition to parts for those looking to build their own.

While the collectives are a great idea but I think most people prefer to buy a ready to roll bike.  I might buy one online through a company like BikesDirect and then see if someone at the local bike coop here can help me make sure everything is good to go.  These bike co-operatives are a great solution for those who want cheap transportation and are looking to pick-up skills to work on their own bikes. To bad they don't have these for cars… of course think of the legal issues there. 🙂

Should the Bike industry rethink their pricing Strategy?

It seems like the industry has freewheeled into thinking they can charge whatever they want for bikes.  To be honest I guess they can as a lot of people pay these ridiculous prices.  Of course a lot of people won't so they never buy a bicycle or get into cycling.  Is this a positive for our society and bike shops?

Even if we were to look at some of these carbon fiber top-of-the-line bikes… how much material does the bike use? Compared to cars… little.

Talking with a friend about buying a bicycle and how expensive they are, and my experience trying to buy a one he said, “I bought a bike for $50 from Wal-Mart!”  Granted this was for his son and was a few years ago when he was smaller but illustrates the point that Americans generally are not keen on spending a lot for bicycle.

As Martin Horn pointed out in his video those really expensive bikes doesn't really make you go all that faster, unless you are really good at pedaling.  Most people are not so you'd probably be fine with going with an aluminum frame road bike.

Also keep in mind there are really only a few places that make bicycles frames and components these days and they are all in China and Taiwan.  They can be made with different tolerances, materials, and such but if they are all coming from the same place why do they charge so much?

I've noticed the amount of people use bicycles for transportation, at least in this city, still seems to be laughable low.  If the cycling community and manufactures wants to see a serious uptick in the amount of riders using bicycles for transportation or leisure fitness I think they need to take hard look at their pricing model and radically change.

I'd be happy to hear reader thoughts, what do you think of bike prices? Are they justified or completely out-of-whack?  Do you believe that local bike shops are justified charging a grand for a beginner road bike?  Would you get a bike if it was less expensive?

Own a piece of Top Gear history, Richard Hammond’s BMW M3 up for sale [VIDEO]

richard hammond bmw

Do you love Top Gear? If you read Adam's Auto Advice we are sure you do. Well you have a chance to own a piece of Top Gear history and a nice car too.  The BMW M3 (E36) driven by Richard Hammond on the wildly popular car show is going to be coming up for sale.

The Bimmer was used on the Top Gear segment “Cheap Car Super Saloon Challenge” where the three hosts battled for 4-door supremacy in a Ford Sierra Cosworth, a Mercedes 190E Cosworth and obviously Hammond's BMW M3 sedan. This Top Gear challenge featured the Stig racing each car around a track, a fuel economy showdown, fitting an entire brass band inside each car.   The best was probably the road safety test which concluded that Hammond’s BMW M3 was the most unroadworthy of the three cars and a bit of a deathtrap.  The inspectors said the BMW M3 had in an accident at some point prior to the car being on Top Gear and the repairs may have not been done professionally. Still, we doubt this will affect the value.

The BMW M3 driven by Richard Hammond on Top Gear will come up for sale next month and will be auctioned by Classic Car Auctions at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, UK on June 6th. The car is expected to be sold for £7500 to £10,500 British pounds, which is $11,500-$15,300 US dollars.

California Automotive Teachers (CAT) Conference

 

cat conference

The semiannual CAT conference was held April 24-25, 2015 at Skyline College in San Bruno, California which is near the San Francisco airport. This two-day event started on Friday morning with tours of local hot rod shops as well as training sessions held at the college.

The Friday events included:

  • Pico Scopes, Down and Dirty Basics-Hands-On Workshop
  • Hiller Aviation Museum
  • Diagnosing with Pressure Transducers and the Pico Scope.
  • Roy Brizio Street Rods, Inc., Tour
  • Introduction to the Nissan Leaf
  • Diagnosing with Pressure Transducers and the Pico Scope.
  • Teaching CAN Bus

The events included lunch (BBQ) and dinner (Mexican) for all attendees which Pearson helped to fund. Training classes even extended into the evening after dinner with several training sessions being offered from 7:00 to 9:30 PM.
The conference continued Saturday with a trade show followed by two training sessions in the morning and two in the afternoon.
The Saturday sessions included:

  • 2015 All Electric Golf
  • Electric Vehicle Operation and Driving Strategies
  • Today Featuring the Nissan Leaf
  • Lubrication Fundamentals
  • Automotive Service Consultant
  • Toyota New Technology Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicle
  • Diagnosing Vehicle Electronics
  • K & N Engineering
  • Gas Direct Injection
  • Tips and Highlights for Successful Repairs in the Transmission Industry
  • Matching the Learning Materials to the Learners
  • Teaching Lab-Scope Diagnostics
  • Steering Angle Sensors & Advanced Alignment Angles

My session, on Saturday 10:30 to 11:45 AM, titled “Engine Oil Update” was very well attended with standing room only. I heard many compliments about this presentation because I included the many changes coming in late 2016, early 2017 regarding oil specifications driven by emissions and fuel economy mandates. One instructor, Mike Morse, said “Really liked your presentation on motor oil. Information was right on the cutting edge.” I posted this presentation on my website so that instructors can use it in their classes. To download this and other conference Halderman Power Points visit www.jameshalderman.com then click on “Jim’s stuff” at the top and then select “Conference Power Points”.
Attending the CAT conference is a “have to attend” event for me twice a year when CAT offers the fall conference in southern CA and the spring conference in northern CA. I have been attending these conferences now for over ten years and I believe that as a result, my textbooks are much improved due to the suggestions and feedback I receive from automotive instructors. Automotive instructors are not shy when it comes to letting you know what they want and I try to include these ideas and features into all titles and editions. Visit the CAT website for information on future conferences. http://www.calautoteachers.com/

Bottom line:
Great CAT conference, excellent food and fantastic training sessions at a beautiful campus right next to the Pacific Ocean. It does not get much better than that!

Editor's Note – This article is by James Halderman, a contributor to Adam's Auto Advice.

Want to be the next Top Gear Host? Jeremy Clarkson dismissal prompts Open Casting Call

top gear

Ever dreamed of working on Top Gear? How about being a host on Top Gear? Well here's you chance.

Top Gear and BBC producers announced yesterday that they are holding an open casting call for the wildly popular TV show about cars.  After the dismissal of the well known and charismatic Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson earlier this month.  The reason Clarkson was let go from the show seems to be the fact that he threw a punch at one of the Top Gear producers.

Even though Jeremy Clarkson has left Top Gear, the show must go on and the Top Gear production team has decided to run open casting calls. What does that mean? Basically anyone with some automotive media experience and a desire to be the new Top Gear host can apply.  They are inviting people to send in applications for the job via the official Top Gear website.  This is a bit unusual as a position as important as this usually isn't how producers find a replacement. You would expect the BBC and Top Gear production would reach out to potential hosts to fill Clarkson's role with the other hosts James May and Richard Hammond.  Inside sources have reported that the producers for the BBC and Top Gear have been scrambling to find a replacement and this statement by Andy Wilman stated on the application page shows why they are doing this;

“Initially we were only holding discussions with a select few we thought would be ideal to replace Jeremy Clarkson. However, due to scheduling or contractual requirements none of these hosts will work for next season's Top Gear in the short term.”

Once the page went up on the Top Gear website announcing the open casting call, the website was flooded with traffic and applications.  It brought down the server for several hours last night but the Top Gear web hosting and site team seems to have resolved any issues now.  The site and page is back up and running. It's been reported from several sources that there have been tens of thousands of applications since the open casting announcement.  An update on the page reads;

The Top Gear producers put some requirements here but many seemed to have been ignored by the excitement over this open casting call.

Still the requirements are pretty open considering choosing a new Top Gear host is no easy task.  On the page it says, “The new host should ideally be British but we are open to considering a new host who is not from the United Kingdom.  However, you must be a native English speaker and have grown up in a country where English is a native language.”  I assume this includes the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and some other countries.

Ideally applicants should submit work showing 3+ years of past work within the auto media industry.  This can include written work in online or print publications, radio, TV, or online shows.  Credentials with an auto media organization are also preferred.  Andy Wilman says does say;

We will look at anyone who we think can truly fill Jeremy Clarkson's shoes.  Experience is preferred but does don't matter.

Another part of the application is submitting a video of yourself hosting and talking, explaining why you should be chosen.  You will need to be good on TV after all and obviously you will have to have good on air chemistry with Richard Hammond and James May.  They are planning on doing screen tests for potential hosts at the end of the summer.

Letting Jeremy Clarkson go has put the BBC in precarious position. Top Gear isn't just another show for media conglomerate, since it funds lots of TV shows they produce which do not make money.  Top Gear is arguable the crown jewel of the BBC as has hundreds of millions of viewers across the globe and is broadcast in many different countries and varied languages.  Top Gear is a huge cash cow an revenue machine for the BBC.  The production team is worried letting Jeremy Clarkson go and leaving Richard Hammond and James May could potentially not work.  Top Gear USA was cancelled due to a poor ratings and high productions costs. The BBC and Top Gear want to avoid the “Top Gear America disaster and horror” as one producer put it.

It's hard to know what Top Gear producers are looking for but it seems they are trying to cast a wide net and see what they turn up.  I imagine they will continue to be flooded with applications in the coming weeks.  The window for applying closes at the end of this month, so that should give any potential hosts out there a chance to apply to be the next Top Gear host.

Will you be applying to be the next Top Gear host? What would you do if you replaced Jeremy Clarkson?

Happy April 1st Everyone! 🙂

Automotive Training Expo

automotive training expo

The Automotive Training Expo (ATE) event was held March 20-22, 2015, at the Doubletree Hotel across the street from the Seattle International Airport. This event was put together by the Automotive Service Association (ASA) Northwest and included two and half days of both technical and management training. This year over 580 attended (compared to 425 two years ago) and this number included over 75 automotive instructors.

Many automotive instructors attended this event because, according to the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF), each instructor is required to attend at least 20 hours of update training each year if they are teaching at a NATEF certified school. With eight hours of training on Friday, eight hours on Saturday, plus four hours on Sunday morning, this expo allows automotive instructors to meet this requirement.

automotive training expo

  • Shop owners attended their choice of management courses over the weekend event choosing from eight classes on Friday, nine classes on Saturday and four classes on Sunday.
  • Service technicians attended their choice of technical training courses over the weekend event choosing from 14 classes on Friday, 14 classes on Saturday and seven classes on Sunday.
  • Meals were included for Friday lunch, with a keynote speaker as well as food was included at the trade show. Saturday meals included breakfast with a keynote speaker, lunch with another keynote speaker and food available as part of the trade show. Sunday morning breakfast with a keynote speaker was followed by technical and management classes ending the expo.

automotive training expo

The expo was well organized and the ASA Midwest staff handled the crowd very well. With so many attending, most classes were filled and the host at each session checked that everyone was where they were supposed to be to help insure that those who signed up received a handout and a seat. Next year’s event will be held March 18-20, 2016. Check their website for additional information http://atetrainingexpo.com/

Editor’s Note – This is article was written by one of our contributors James Halderman.

The Shop Show 2015

the shop show

The Shop Show, formerly the Hotrod & Restoration and Restyling & Truck Accessories trade show, was held at the Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, IN March 13 – 14, 2015. This trade show is exclusively for hot rod, performance, and restyling professionals and is designed to connect shop professionals with industry manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors. Besides the trade show, there was a variety of classes taught in a classroom setting or in an exhibitor’s booth, depending on the topic and nature of the training. All classes were 60 minutes in length followed by a question and answer period. Training on the trade show floor was also occurring during the show offered by select exhibitors throughout the show. Some of the more interesting things I saw and learned included:

  • I attended the Evans waterless coolant session where I learned that this coolant uses several different types of glycols to create a coolant that does not contain water. http://www.evanscooling.com/
  • I also attended a training session presented by Penn Grade High Performance oil on engine oils designed for antique and collector cars, that while they often do not meet the requirements for current engines, their oil is perfect for use in older engines. http://www.penngrade1.com
  • On the trade show was a demonstration of wrapping a car using a Honda Civic as an example. It was cool seeing this procedure in action.
  • I ran into several people I knew, including some automotive instructors and even some former students.

It was a great day. About a 100 mile drive for me and the show itself was free, making this event a very cost effective event. It made me think that spring and car care is just around the corner.

Editor’s Note – This is article is from one of our contributors James Halderman.

shop show shop show shop show shop show

2015 Ford Edge Review

ford edge review

Does the 2015 Ford Edge have the edge in the mid-size SUV and crossover category?  That's what I tried to find out this past week when I was invited by Ford to test drive the new 2015 Ford Edge in Phoenix, Arizona for half a day.

2015 Ford Edge Updates & Changes

Ok, so let's take a look at the new 2015 Ford Edge. A few changes have taken place, most significantly, in the engine and trim offerings.  The Ford Edge trim line-up used to consist of the SE, SEL, Limited, and Sport. Now you have the SE, SEL, Titanium, and Sport.

In addition to the new Titanium trim line are revised engine and powertrain options which provide better fuel efficiency and power.  The engine options include;

  • 2.0-Liter EcoBoost Inline 4-Cylinder with 245-horsepower and 275 lb. -ft of torque
  • 2.7-Liter EcoBoost V6 with 315-horsepower and 350 lb. -ft of torque
  • 3.5 Liter V6 with 280-horsepower and 250 lb. -ft of torque (naturally aspirated)

All models come with a 6-speed automatic transmission.  FWD (Front Wheel Drive) is standard, but a change for 2015 is that all engine offerings can be ordered with AWD (All Wheel Drive).

Ford has a lot of great new technology on the 2015 Ford Edge.  Available as an option this year is the hands-free rear liftgate which can be activated by moving your foot under the rear bumper.  Testing it out was fun. Anyone who's ever loaded and unloaded a vehicle can see why this innovation would be useful. You've probably seen Ford touting this feature in TV commercials. The kicking motion to open the rear liftgate was originally only available on the Ford C-MAX and Ford Escape but the 2015 Ford Edge has changed that.

The suspension and driving dynamics of the Ford Edge has also been significantly improved this year.  One of the suspension and body engineers told me the goal was to make the 2015 Ford Edge feel less top heavy.  Basically they wanted it to not feel like an SUV with top heavy weight while maneuvering.  The Ford Edge went on a diet, shedding 50 pounds compared to last year's model.  This has helped refine the driving dynamics.  They have also used a sedan platform to underpin the 2015 Ford Edge.  Along with MacPherson struts in the front and integral-link independent suspension in the rear, the Ford Edge definitely feels more like a sedan.  With the slightly light weight and the sedan platform there is not as much body roll as other SUVs I've driven.

The other important area Ford has made improvements in in storage space. I am not just talking about an extra 7 cubic feet in the rear hatch but a lot of storage compartments in the cabin.  One of the Ford Edge planners told me he had his wife in mind while designing some of the storage areas. I thought the best storage compartment was on the dashboard above the SYNC infotainment screen.  The storage area is quite generous and it is easily accessible while driving.  It's a great place to put a cellphone or stow your sunglasses.

During my test drive experience in Arizona I got behind the wheel of two different trims, the Ford Edge Titanium and the Ford Edge Sport.  These are the higher end models in the Ford Edge line-up and I took both on some nice highways and scenic twisty mountain roads outside Scottsdale, near Phoenix.  With 80+ degree weather (a welcome contrast to the East Coast freezer) driving the Edge on the open roads was a genuinely positive experience.

Ford Edge Titanium

I started the day in Arizona with a 2015 Ford Edge Titanium which comes equipped with the 2.0 Liter Inline 4-Cylinder EcoBoost engine.  I could definitely the peppiness of the engine kicking in going down the road.

One of the powertrain engineers commented on how engine power is more immediate with the turbo and reworked engine design.  While the Ford Edge Titanium has significantly less turbo lag than the majority of turbo'ed vehicles I've driven, I found that in some driving situations I could still feel a slight lag. The power hesitation on the turbo is there… but only for a split second.  This would probably be indiscernible to most drivers who do suburban and urban routes.  At lower speeds the turbo on the 2.0 Liter 4-cylinder engine does a fine job.  I only found turbo lag was an issue at higher speeds. While the engine may not appeal to hardcore gearheads, the 4-Cylinder EcoBoost should be fine for a wide variety of driving situations.  It's enjoyable and adequate in my opinion.

The interior on the Titanium felt quite nice as it was cognac accented with black.  With heated and cooled leather seats it felt quite luxurious and comfortable even driving around on different terrain for two hours.  You might not think you need cooling but in 80+ degree weather, how  could you live without it?

Ford Edge Sport

Those who want more power and “oomph” will love the 2.7 Liter V6 EcoBoost.  When I switched out my Ford Edge Titanium for the Ford Edge Sport equipped with the V6, the power difference was immediately noticeable.

While a select group of people might care about the differences between a turbo EcoBoost 4-Cylinder and an EcoBoost V6, I am under the impression most Ford Edge customers will opt for the 2.0-Liter engine due to the better fuel economy compared to the 2.7-Liter V6.  If you mostly do around town driving and some highway miles, can you live with 4-Cylinder EcoBoost?  I would certainly think so.  Of course the extra power from the V6 is hard to resist once you've driven and experienced it.  Plus, one engineer indicated that feedback from many Ford customers was that they want a V6.

I didn't find the interior of the Ford Edge Sport as comfortable as the Ford Edge Titanium since it was black interior.  The temperature difference was apparent even with the air conditioning on with cooling seats.  The model I drove had cloth seats but they were still comfortable.

The huge moonroof on the Edge Sport was quite enjoyable to open it up as it sort of felt like a convertible.  Ford calls it the VistaRoof and it is a great option if you want to spring for it.  It is also available on the Titanium.  My driving partner for the day commented on how enjoyable convertibles are. Hey, life is short so if you don't get a convertible at least opt for a Vista Roof.

A somewhat firmer suspension setup makes for a more racer like driving experience.  Discerning drivers will appreciate it.  On curvy roads it's nice to have a firmer suspension but as we got closer to the hotel, i.e. more toward city roads and stop and go traffic, the suspension felt cumbersome.  With beefier 21-inch tires compared to the Titanium's 20 inch tires, the Sport looks better.  The larger tires are also more aggressive and provide better grip for more precise handling.

Technology

The Ford Edge comes with the SYNC infotainment system with MyFordTouch.  I ended up not being a fan of the SYNC and MyFordTouch system.  While driving I found that it took awhile to understand certain controls and functions on the screen.  I found it difficult to concentrate on driving while trying to operate MyFordTouch.  SYNC is a bit clunky and at this point Ford needs to consider switching to a more intuitive software system.

In terms of technology you get other nice additions like Sirius Satellite Radio, 2 USB charger ports for various devices, GPS navigation, and you can change the ambient lighting in the car to whatever color you want.

Safety

There are a lot of safety features on the 2015 Ford Edge. Some nice safety features include;

  • Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist
  • 180-Degree front camera system with a little washer system
  • Rear Parking Camera
  • Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning
  • Enhanced Active Park Assist

I thought that the power steering had a weird “kink” as it felt notchy while going down the road.  I realized that was actually the Lane Assist kicking in.  It does what it is supposed to do, keep a vehicle on the intended path and in the lane.  Like any technology you experience for the first time it takes getting used but once you know it's there and feel the steering wheel making corrections it is somewhat comforting.

The front and rear camera systems are to help with parking. I didn't get to try out the 180-degree front cameras, but anyone who has used a rear back-up camera knows how useful this feature is.  This will become a standard feature by law within a few years.

Ergonomics and Comfort

I found the driving seat quite comfortable on both Ford Edge models .  On many cars driving after 1 hour or so can become a chore if the ergonomics of the seat are not built properly.  On the Ford Edge even after roughly 4 hours of driving it felt like I could comfortably drive all day.  Having a well thought out cabin also helped.

Style

The new Ford Edge looks great. It has slick and sweeping lines emerging from the front to the rear.  The front fascia looks more powerful, aggressive, and hip while still retaining a, “Come drive me” attitude.  I actually don't think I heard one journalist say they didn't like the way the Ford Edge looked.  Compared to the outgoing design the exterior is a stunning improvement.

On the interior it's clear that the Ford Edge designers have attended to details.  The stitching on the seats and doors panels feel high quality.  The fit and finish on interior components are well put together.

Final Thoughts on the Ford Edge

The first thing I noticed when I got into the Ford Edge was how sturdy the door felt when I closed it.  Usually a sturdy door can tell you a lot about a vehicle before you even start driving it.

The Ford Edge lived up to the door closing expectations and there is a lot to like.  The 2015 Ford Edge drives and handles well, feels comfortable, has good safety features, and works well as a mid-size crossover SUV.  My biggest issue was with SYNC and MyFordTouch.  If Ford improved the infotainment system it would be hard to outdo the Ford Edge in the crossover competition.

Should you get the Ford Edge Titanium or the Ford Edge Sport?  I'll tell you when I got out of the pricier Ford Edge Sport I was a little sad to see it go.  With the Ford Edge Titanium I just got out.  That V6 is addictive but you do take a hit with fuel economy.

I should let readers know that I did not have enough time to go through all the safety and technology features, like pairing up my phone and using the Parking Assist to parallel park, on the 2015 Ford Edge.  I'd also like to check out some other things.  In a crossover what you really want to know is how it works when fully loaded with gear, people, or pets.  In my opinion the best way to experience the Ford Edge would be if I was able to test drive it for a week and see how it fits into my lifestyle with my two dogs, Cody and Sierra, with their dog seatbelts on.

The Ford Edge is ideal for those do not mind a slight price premium for safety, technology, and luxury in a mid-size crossover.  Overall it's a great package.

If you have any questions or comments about my 2015 Ford Edge review and first drive impressions, feel free to leave a comment below.  I will try to answer them as best I can.