wBW First Look
by "Mad Dog" Earle and Rick for webBikeWorld.com
Glare Blast is a new type of quick detailing spray polish, but with a technological twist.
It has what Glare calls "Camo-Adaptive Technology".
This feature allows the product to be used on both matte and gloss surfaces without changing the reflectivity or sheen of the finish.
Glare Blast can also be used on many different types of surfaces, making it a "one stop shop".
It works on just about any surface on a motorcycle, from the windshield to matte or gloss plastic to chrome to vinyl or leather seats.
The product also contains the Glare "Glassplexin" paint protection technology and a UV light protective ingredient.
It's been 10 years since we first started using Glare Professional Polish (review) and in all this time, we haven't found anything better for polishing glossy painted surfaces.
It's pretty amazing stuff, and when it is combined with Glare Spider (review), those nasty "spider web" scratch marks that show up in the sunlight can be completely removed, resulting in one of those true "show" quality miles-deep shines.
Anyone can do it...but it will take some of that ol' fashioned elbow grease. Follow the directions to the letter and the results will come, but it's going to take effort.
So what's a Glare Polish fan to do? In those same 10 years, I've become, well, lazy is the only word for it. Or lazier, rather. With the limited amount of time everyone seems to have today, who wants to spend it rubbing up a shine on a motorcycle gas tank? I'd rather be riding...
So I'm always looking for the next best thing when it comes to saving me time and effort. But, I'm also a bit of a fanatic for a nice, clean, shiny motorcycle. So when the new Glare Blast "Quick 'n' Fast" came along, I was on it.
First, let me see if I can describe the new Glare Blast polish. This is a very unique product and a first of its kind, as far as I can tell.
Glare Blast is a nearly clear, slightly thick, liquid spray polish. It's claim to fame is what Glare now calls "Camo-Adaptive Technology", which, according to the company, is a first in the industry. What does this mean? Well, Glare Blast is a polish that can be used on shiny gloss painted surfaces, but it is also designed to work on those popular matte painted surfaces too.
It "adapts" to the specific characteristics of the surface to which it is being applied -- and that includes clearcoat, gloss, semi-gloss, matte, semi-matte, flat...you name it.
You'd expect a polish to work on a gloss surface, and it does. But spray the Glare Blast on a matte surface and when it dries, the reflectivity of the surface is unchanged, yet protected.
But that's not all: Glare Blast also works on leather, vinyl, chrome, windscreens, enamel, carbon fiber, helmets, rubber, chrome, aluminum, powder coated surfaces, sunglasses...you get the idea? It works on just about anything -- even including aluminum and engine casings.
And in each of those instances (or at least in all that we've tried), it does not change the reflective characteristics of the finish.
For motorcyclists, that means you have the potential of a single product that can be used to polish (and lightly clean) literally anything on the bike. That saves time and energy and, even though Glare Blast isn't cheap, it may even save money by not having to buy a half-dozen different polishing products.
Glare (actually Ultra 2000 Manufacturing, Inc.) mentions only briefly that Glare Blast is "...not just a simple cleaner, but a true polish...". So the surface to be treated should be clean, just like it should be for any other type of polish.
That being said, we've been spraying the Glare Blast on just about everything we could find and, since it's winter, this means we can't drag the bikes out for a bath. We found that Glare Blast also works as a mild/occasional cleaner as well.
So although it may not be recommended, we found that the almost-clear liquid consistency of Glare Blast helps to do a bit of minor cleaning on some surfaces, like a motorcycle seat or luggage. While it's probably not a good idea to try and clean a really dirty or mud-caked surface with it, so far it seems to work pretty well in cleaning up unwashed painted, chrome and other types of finishes.
It is very difficult to take photos that truly illustrate the results of a polish on a surface. We tried multiple photos but think that these animated .gif photos best illustrate the differences in the before and after Glare Blast treatments.
Let's take a look at the animated .gifs and we'll describe the results for each:
The first thing you do when you get a product that claims to work on just about any surface is...try it on as many surfaces as you can find! And here's a prime candidate: the new SHAD SH48 top box (review) that Rick just installed on his new BMW C 650 GT scooter (blog).
The SHAD SH48 top case is also a good test case, because it has three different surfaces. The painted surface on this one has a semi-matte finish, while the black trim is matte and the translucent plastic trim that looks like a brake light has a glossy finish.
Spray the Glare Blast on (shake the container first) and, following the directions, wipe it with a clean micro-fiber towel. We found in all instances that a micro-fiber towel works best with Glare Blast and noticeably so -- other types of cloth rags, like old sweatshirts, do not seem to work nearly as well. As in the past, Glare instructions are usually specific and should be followed exactly for best results, and that is the case here also.
The Glare Blast liquid is slightly thick and it doesn't take much -- you definitely do not have to coat the entire surface. We found that the optimal application method is to wipe it so that there is a consistent coating on the surface, then give it a quick once-over buffing. Then let it dry just a bit, like around 20 seconds or so, then use a dry portion of the micro-fiber cloth for the final buff-out.
As you can hopefully see in the animated .gif photo above of the SHAD top case, the reflectivity of the matte surfaces does not change after the treatment. In fact, this is one of the most difficult "psychological" issues to overcome when using Glare Blast.
You expect a "polish" to make a shiny surface. But when the Glare Blast leaves the semi-matte or matte finishes with the same semi-matte or matte finish as when you started, your brain tells you it's not working. Except it is. The Glare Blast, that is!
Let's take a look at another mixture of surfaces, the typical black textured plastic and a semi-matte painted surface, this time on the BMW scooter handlebar:
The .gif above shows the handlebar arrangement on the BMW scooter. This scooter coincidentally is another good test case for Glare Blast because of its variety of surface finishes, from matte (the side panels shown in the .gif below) to the varying reflectivity of a couple of different types of semi-matte surface finishes on the handlebars.
The handlebar close-up shown above has a semi-matte "eggshell" finish in the center plastic section around the BMW roundel, while the black plastic sections are that sort of roughed-out matte surface texture you find on motorcycles and in automobile interiors.
Again, you could not use a standard polish on these surfaces without altering the reflectivity. You could, however, but a couple of different types of plastic treatments. There used to be a matte version of Armor All, but that seems to have disappeared and it didn't do a very good job anyway, leaving the surface with more gloss than it started with. In fact, most of those black plastic cleaner/polish products are designed to leave a shine, not to adapt to the original finish.
A cleaner could be used instead; in fact, we buy Glass Plus by the case because it's a very good, very handy non-ammonia all-purpose cleaner. But it is a cleaner -- it strips most of the finish from the surface it is applied to. The Glare Blast leaves the invisible protective UV and "Glassplexin" protective coating behind that will (hopefully) protect the surface over time.
Next is an animated .gif of the matte-finish painted front side panel on the BMW scooter:
The animated photo above demonstrates that the matte surface finish of the panel is unchanged after being treated with Glare Blast.
Again, it may take some time to wrap your mind around this -- a cleaner like Glass Plus will clean the surface and, after it dries, leaves the finish reflectivity unchanged. But, Glass Plus is not a polish; the Glare Blast leaves the surface protected after the treatment, although the reflectivity is unchanged.
Next is a more dramatic example, the matte "pebbled" or "marbled" rough surface of the mirror housing. Note that we did not clean this surface first before the treatment with Glare Blast; you can see the bugs and dirt on the housing in the first image:
We found that Glare Blast also works well on vinyl surfaces, such as a motorcycle seat. The passenger seat on the scooter has yet to be used, and it was starting to get a dull (and dusty) appearance. Here is a sequence of photos that we think do a good job at illustrating the progression.
First, the untreated scooter seat; you can see the dull and somewhat dirty finish:
Spraying the Glare Blast. Probably holding it too close to the seat here and you can see the combination of misting spray with the "glob" in the center under the sprayer, caused by holding the container too close to the surface (for photographic purposes!).
Next, wiping the surface with the micro-fiber cloth:
Here's the surface after being wiped and before the Glare Blast has dried:
Next is a photo of the surface about 30 seconds after the previous photo:
It started to rain, so we pushed the scooter into the garage, which actually worked out better because the indoor lighting reflected in a way that now illustrates that the surface is restored to like-new condition, yet without any added sheen, as shown in the next photo:
ADDENDUM: By the way, it does not change the "traction" of the seat, nor does it make it more slippery. It feels the same as it did prior to the treatment.
One other excellent use for Glare Blast is on the motorcycle windshield. Again, we did not clean this windshield first and you can see the bugs and dirt in the first photo of this animated .gif:
Here's the real "acid test": a motorcycle helmet with one of those matte "rubbery" surface finishes. This is the cool-looking Marushin X-Moto Helmet (review), currently listed as a review leftover for sale in the webBikeWorld Garage Sale. This type of surface is notoriously difficult to clean without altering the reflectivity or sheen.
It's slightly more difficult to treat this type of surface with the Glare Blast, because it's more difficult to get a "clean" swipe of the micro-fiber cloth on this type of surface texture, which is "sticky".
Here are a series of photos with explanations:
We found that the best results are obtained when using a clean, dry micro-fiber cloth. The Glare Blast doesn't dry very quickly from the cloth, so you may find that you'll use more micro-fiber towels than usual with this product. The cloth needs to be dry to remove the Glare Blast; as soon as the towel becomes damp, it loses most of its effectiveness in wiping away the product, which results in some streaking between the dry and still-wet areas.
Also, it is slightly difficult to get a consistent spray, probably due to the consistency of the Glare Blast product. This can also result in some streaking at first, until the product is thoroughly wiped over the surface.
We also found that there's a fine line between too little and too much spray from the Glare Blast container, and this becomes more of a factor on matte surface finishes. Too little Glare Blast and some streaking can occur because the matte finish "absorbs" more of the product. Too much Glare Blast means it may take more time to wipe the product from the matte surface and to quickly dry the surface.
After the Glare Blast has dried, it leaves a very mild "waxy" sort of feel on both the gloss and matte surfaces. It doesn't leave what might be called the "deep" shine that results from an intensive treatment with the Glare Professional Polish, but then again, the Glare Blast treatment is basically a spray 'n' wipe affair, taking (literally) seconds instead of tens of minutes or even hours.
Plus, the ability to basically spray the Glare Blast on anything and everything -- paint, chrome, plastic, seats, windscreens -- makes it even easier to use.
The Glare products are more expensive than the mass-market polishes and formulas you'll find in the local auto supply store. But search around the internet and you'll find that motorcycle owners and others are consistently pleased with the results.
We've been big fans of Glare products since 2003 when we first tried the Glare Professional Polish (review) and nothing has come along in all that time to change our minds. The Glare Blast is the newest formulation that makes keeping a motorcycle clean that much easier.
Our long-term evaluation of the product will take some time, as it's now winter, so we have only been able to try the Glare Blast on various surfaces in and around the garage.
As we mentioned, it does take somewhat of a different mindset to use this product. When it's sprayed on a non-glossy surface, you'd expect the surface finish to change. When it doesn't, you'll probably wonder if the Glare Blast is doing anything at all. Honestly, we'll have to take Glare's word for it that the product provides UV protection and the protection from the "Glassplexin" ingredient, and that will remain to be seen over the long term.
The bottom line is that this is a very interesting new product that, we think, is just right for modern times, where fewer and fewer owners want to spend time polishing their motorcycles. Glare Blast also comes at a time when more varied surface finishes and textures on plastics and other materials are being used in modern motorcycles and the older-style classic polishes and solutions are somewhat outdated.
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From "P.E." (January 2013): "The Glare (Blast) review is interesting. Looks like a great product but at $40 is kinda pricey. My question is: you show it being used on a scooter seat but how is the "traction" between motorcycle seat and rider bum after use? I've ridden a couple of bikes that had ArmorAll on the seat and, frankly, it wasn't safe to accelerate too hard lest you end up sitting on the road."
Rick's Reply: Good question, we should have noted that (and just added an addendum). It does not change the "traction" of the vinyl, which has the same amount of "tackiness" as it did prior to the treatment.