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Turn up the lights for vision — and safety

By By Kate Swanson

With continued growth in the powersports industry, LED lights offer a brighter — and safer — future for enthusiasts. Kevin Bluhm, CEO of River Falls, Wis.-based Bluhm Enterprises, first began the Brite-Lites brand in 1993 in the snowmobile and ATV markets. The company has now expanded to make quality lighting products for motorcycles and UTVs as well.

Kevin Bluhm, CEO of Bluhm Enterprises, promoted two of Brite-Lites’ newest light kits at the 2015 Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties National Vendor Presentation in Madison, Wis.

Kevin Bluhm, CEO of Bluhm Enterprises, promoted two of Brite-Lites’ newest light kits at the 2015 Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties National Vendor Presentation in Madison, Wis.

“High visibility is what got me into the market. When I started Brite-Lites in the mid-’90s, I realized that lighting was a key thing for safety. After having my family, I started working everywhere I could to make lights more visible and safer for the rider,” Bluhm said.

Powersports Business caught up with Bluhm in August at the Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties National Vendor Presentation in Madison, Wis. Brite-Lites featured two new products at this year’s showcase, an LED accent kit and an HID conversion kit.

“It’s been really positive experience here. A lot of the dealers that I’ve showed it to have really felt that the LED accent kit is going to be a new piece that can really help supplement the requests they have for putting more glow effect on the vehicles they sell,” Bluhm said. “Young and old alike, people like to have a glow effect on their vehicles, so it’s a fun way to put something on that’s going to be very durable no matter where they want to put it.” 

The LED accent lights are equipped with 3M adhesive backing, which allows them to be placed anywhere. The unit doesn’t produce heat, so it poses no fire hazards, and the LEDs are low-power consuming.

“We’re incorporating a new one-watt Samsung LED chip and a much more robust structure, so it can be used in any type of off-road vehicle. It can withstand any of the elements, whereas older ones weren’t nearly as durable,” Bluhm said.

At the same time that Brite-Lites began making products for riders, the company began making accessory lights, so others could see vehicles easier as well. This focus on safety has helped the company grow from one item in the mid-’90s to 163 products on the market today.

Brite-Lites’ accent LEDs are molded into a waterproof plastic case and are available in several color options, including red, green, blue, yellow, white or purple. Bluhm added that the kit comes with instructions on the back and with a low price it’s an easy point-of-purchase item.

“It’s a very new item. We just got it into the warehouses two weeks ago,” he said.

The HID conversion kit is another new product that Bluhm says has been readily available in the warehouse since mid-summer.

“The most practical thing we introduced is the LED headlight replacement piece. It gives you a light now that’s solid, using the latest LED wafer technology, and it still has a high-low beam functionality. But it gives you a light that is three times brighter than the stock light,” he said.

The conversion kit can be installed in less than 30 minutes with its plug-and-play setup and provides added safety to any vehicle. Brite-Lites now offers these kits for most all motorcycle, snowmobile, ATV and UTV applications.

“It ends up being a tremendous amount of light that comes out, and a very white light, so it’s a very safe light — people can see you much easier,” Bluhm said. “As the driver, that light will reach further and wider off the road into oncoming areas so that you can see things in the ditches alongside of you much easier.”

Recently, a dealer told Bluhm that while riding to the Parts Unlimited show, he and his brother came across four deer on the side of the road. While the dealer had his Brite-Lites headlight, his brother had a standard bulb and drove right past the deer without seeing them. Bluhm said that the white light is so reflective that it can alert riders and drivers alike to possible danger: “It gives you much more of a margin to respond in case something changes or you need to take evasive action.”

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