Interview: Custom Wheel Center Caps

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GloRyder co-inventor Kurt Bartels

If you've been looking for some custom wheel center caps to jazz up your ride, GloRyder center caps are just what you need. Learn about this innovative new product in the following interview with GloRyder designer, Kurt Bartels.

GloRyder Custom Wheel Center Caps

GloRyder center caps are a unique product idea that makes your car stand out from the crowd. Just replace your current center cap following the easy installation instructions and your wheels will light up automatically at night. They are available in nine colors to match or compliment your vehicle making it a perfect car accessory.

Recently, LoveToKnow was able to speak with the inventor of GloRyder custom wheel center caps, Kurt Bartels. See how he came up with this exciting concept and why you need GloRyders on your vehicle.

Developing GloRyders

What are GloRyders?

People pay good money for their wheels and should be able to see them day and night. GloRyders® are designed to replace the old plastic center cap on a car, truck, or Spyder® motorcycle wheel with a technologically advanced aluminum housing that emits a brilliant glow across the face of the wheel. We have a universal adapter that locks our device into the center hole of the wheel. There are no gimmicks, or flashing lights, it just keeps your wheels lit. We are just putting a light on a work of art.

How did you come up with the concept?

Actually, it was just one of those passing thoughts. I was driving down a dark stretch of highway one night and imagined what it would look like to see cars coming down the opposite side of the highway with glowing wheels. It seemed like a good idea.

How long did it take you to create?

I have to start by saying a good idea is nothing without the right people and I was very fortunate to be surrounded by good friends and family who believed in the idea and made it a reality.

The idea actually sat in a shoebox for several years. I created the original concept model from some neon lighting tape and showed it to my brother, Lance. It looked like the basic idea was there but it needed to make a technological leap forward if it was going to make it to the car wheel. That was in 1997 and it got put into the shoebox for the time being.

I came across the shoebox again when I was moving in 2004 and called Lance. We agreed the idea was too cool to stay hidden away, so we started working on it together. The first usable concept came along later that year with the help of our partner, Bob Williams. We finally designed it using a local machine shop and an electrical engineer, Bill Laffler in Colorado Springs. I was fortunate to have worked with some very creative people that believed in the idea and made it happen. We finally got our patent issued in 2008.

How did you start promoting it?

It was on a shoestring budget to be sure. We created a website to announce that we were going to be heading to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in 2005. It was a family and friends effort and we all ended up in a booth in the parking lot (along with a few hundred other vendors) because they had sold out the building that year.

Still it was a great show. CNN gave us some coverage, and my brother was interviewed on The Speed Channel. In 2007 we won two SEMA international awards for best new product. It was nice to get some recognition for all the work everyone put into the project.

Buying GloRyders

What are the benefits of GloRyders?

Red GloRyder

The old wheel is dead, at least at night. People spend a lot of money on quality wheels with the intention of showcasing them on their vehicle. Up until now, people could only see their wheels during the day. Historically, the ideal time to cruise is at night, the one time you cannot see those expensive wheels you paid for. GloRyder® brings the wheel into the 21st century by adding the technology that makes the wheel visible at all times. Secondly if you can't afford to spend a lot on your wheels It also makes your standard OEM wheels look like a custom wheel.

Another issue that has come up recently has to do with safety. We have had a huge response from the Spyder® motorcycle community, not only because it makes the wheel look cool, but because of the increased visibility it gives the motorcycle profile as it approaches an intersection. The governor of Maryland recently passed a law allowing LED lighting on motorcycles for just that reason.

Are they legal everywhere?

Good question. You know what it is like asking someone at the DMV if something is legal. They will always tell you they do not give out legal advice. We don't either. Always check your local laws before purchasing vehicle accessories.

Where can they be purchased?

Right now we are in the process of national marketing so the best place to get it is directly from our company, Automiq Power & Light, LLC, on the website at GloRyder.com. We are the worldwide manufacturer and distributor of GloRyder® products.

Using GloRyders

Do they fit on all wheels?

Let there be light.

As long as it has a hole in the center of the wheel that is less than three inches across, that is our market. We do not fit wheels that have a lug nut cover and those wheels are pretty popular so your wheel has to meet the criteria.

Do they require professional installation?

Not really. Anyone that knows how to use a wrench and a screwdriver should be able to do it. The instructions are fairly simple and we have installation videos on the website.

How long do the lights last?

Several months. People at first are a little wary when they hear there are batteries, but when you add up the hours you drive your vehicle at night you find that you rarely have to change them. They operate automatically to save battery life.

The Future

What are your future plans?

First, we need to let people know our product is out there for purchase. We refer to ourselves as the best kept secret in the automotive industry as most of our start up capital went into development and manufacturing. We really have not advertised the product. In spite of that, we have received inquiries from companies like Ford and Sears. In fact Sears was our first customer. We think we have only just scratched the surface on this technology and have many exciting developments on the horizon that we believe our customers will like. Nothing we can say right now but look for some announcements in 2010.

A new product we are promoting is a product called Chrome Shield (TM). It came about while we were researching how to protect our products chrome plating from harsh marine environments, as well as the road conditions a wheel faces. We wanted our product to be able to stand up to the corrosive salt air exposure we experience here in the Florida Keys and realized that people would likely want to protect the chrome plating on their expensive wheels and accessories as well.

It took some time to research, but we have worked closely with a popular chemical company and have come up with a formula that "creeps" over the entire chrome surface and shields it from the elements, inhibiting corrosion. We hope to announce something soon.

More Information

LoveToKnow would like to thank Kurt Bartels for taking the time for this interview. For more information about GloRyder products, visit their website at GloRyder.com. There you can view installation videos, check out awesome product images and order your own set of GloRyder custom wheel center caps to light up your wheels and turn some heads.

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Interview: Custom Wheel Center Caps