It’s been a little while since we took on any new brands, mainly because we’ve been very busy promoting the products we already stock, but also because the market for car care and detailing products has become rather saturated. As a result, when looking at new products, we now feel it’s important to take our time and have a good long think about what’s going to make long-term sense, rather than what’s going to be fashionable in the short-term. It should therefore come as no surprise to discover that we’ve been talking to FLEX for well over a year now about their rather excellent power tools, some of which have been designed specifically for the detailing market. And, now that we’ve decided to take them on and sell them, it should also come as no surprise that we’ve been quite fussy with regard to the exact model line up we’ve chosen. However, before we run through this, you may wish to know a little more about FLEX…
FLEX high-performance electric power tools have been produced in Germany since 1922. With numerous inventions and developments, FLEX has been able to continually supply its customers with machines and accessories that enable them to complete their work more quickly and to a superior standard. For example, FLEX invented and was the first to manufacture the high-speed angle grinder, which revolutionised the metalworking trade. The technical know-how accumulated over the last 90 years will also be the basis for future developments that will help FLEX customers to complete masterpieces of craftsmanship. In car paint shops and high-end detailing circles, perfect surface quality demands high-torque polishing tools that run at low speeds. Several specially designed FLEX machine polishers are optimally adapted to these environments, and enable a superior result to be achieved in less time and with less user fatigue.
Take the FLEX PE 14-2 150 Rotary Machine Polisher for example, which is fast becoming the preferred tool of many of the best automotive detailers in the world. From the moment you pick it up and take control of the lightweight body with its curved rubber-coated head, there is no doubting that it is a beautifully designed and exceptionally well built tool that will perform faultlessly in any professional detailing environment. In addition to its robustness, the design is also ergonomically brilliant and extremely well balanced, meaning that all of the switchgear is conveniently positioned at your fingertips and that even long periods of use remain comfortable. In accordance with the needs of the industry, the FLEX PE 14-2 150 Rotary Machine Polisher has been built to be light, agile, and fast; perfect for professional detailers who spend many hours compounding and polishing automotive paintwork to perfection.
Moving on to the needs of the experienced enthusiast, the FLEX XC 3401 VRG Positive Drive Orbital Polisher is a dual action polisher with a key difference. In contrast to many of the low cost dual action machines currently available, the FLEX XC 3401 VRG Positive Drive Orbital Polisher features a powerful 900 watt motor with a permanently driven rotary movement (160 – 480 RPM) that operates in conjunction with the powerful random orbital action (3200 – 9600 OPM). As a result, it offers nearly the same level of cutting performance as a traditional rotary polisher, but with none of the usual risks. For example, thanks to the dual action movement, frictional heat is effectively dispersed, meaning that the chances of overheating or burning the paint finish is minimised. In addition, the dual action movement also ensures that holograms are not formed during the polishing process, meaning that endless hours of careful finishing down are no longer required after heavy compounding.
Going back to the start of this article, we mentioned the need for long-term sense when taking new products on, and it’s only fair of us to clarify a point here; why has it taken us so long to commit to stocking and using FLEX polishers, given that they have been available in the UK for many years now? One of the main reasons concerns the use of a proprietary gearwheel fitting system on the XC 3401 VRG. This clever fitting system drives the permanent rotary movement that makes the XC 3401 VRG unique, but at the same time it has hitherto precluded the use of spot repair pads, as the minimum backing plate size manufactured by FLEX is 115 mm. When we first looked at the XC 3401 VRG, this issue was a total deal breaker, as we consider the use of spot pads as essential. However, a solution now exists to this problem in the form of the Lake Country XC 3401 VRG Backing Plate System, so this issue is now a moot point.
A further concern that has delayed our decision to commit to stocking and using FLEX polishers is their price; there is no disputing the fact that FLEX tools are expensive. However, this alone was not the sticking point, as you generally get what you pay for in life, and the build quality of the FLEX machines is second to none. Rather, our concern centred more on whether the detailing market and our customer base was ready to see £350+ polishing machines in our store. Do it yourself machine polishing has only really taken off in the UK in the last five years, and up until recently most customers have been first time buyers, and only really interested in entry level machines at modest price points. Now that these customers have gained experience and are able to properly appreciate the benefits that high-performance tools offer, we believe that the time is now right for such machines to be added to our store.
Moving back to the FLEX product line up we have settle on, we are delighted to be able to offer a vacuum cleaner in our store for the very first time. Those of you who have felt your other half’s wrath after scratching the wheels of the ‘best’ vacuum cleaner on the garage floor or filling its clear dust bucket with the remnants of a wall will appreciate this a lot! Unlike many vacuum cleaners, the FLEX VC 25 L MC Vacuum Cleaner can be used for both wet and dry duties, which is a blessing if you are a detailing enthusiast, as this opens up the possibility of shampooing your interior fabrics and extracting spillages without calling in professional help. As you would expect from a German-built machine, the VC 25 L MC exudes quality, and not withstanding our previous comments about pricing, makes many domestic vacuum cleaners look seriously expensive.
In addition to the FLEX machines outlined above, we are also now stocking a number of dedicated extras, including replacement FLEX XC 3401 VRG Backing Plates (two sizes), a soft storage solution in the form of the FLEX Carry Bag, a hard storage solution in the form of the FLEX Carry Case, and a range of FLEX VC 25 L MC Accessories & Parts. Furthermore, we will be keeping a close eye on the expanding range of FLEX detailing tools in the future, and will add more tools and accessories to our line up in due course, provided that they add value and make long-term sense. To us, this is an important point. We aren’t a box shifting business that will add everything and anything to our store just to make a sale. Rather, we are discerning detailing enthusiasts, and wish to offer you only those products that meet our rigorous quality standards and that will enable you to achieve the best possible results.