See and be seen with Garmin Varia™ RTL515 rearview radar with tail light. It pairs with your Edge™ bike computer, other Garmin device or compatible smartphone to alert you of vehicles approaching from behind up to 153 yards (140 meters) away.
When used with your compatible smartphone, the Varia™ app helps increase your awareness with vibration alerts and more. With daylight visibility up to 1 mile, motorists will be able to see you from a distance. The radar's compact vertical design allows for device mounting on most road-use bicycles. And peloton mode provides a low-intensity flash that is kind to other riders' eyes when riding in a group.
B-Stock - This product has one or more B-Stock units available. These units can be purchased at a discount (see option select). B-Stock units were returned from other customers and may have missing or damaged packaging materials. These units are otherwise as new. The full manufacturer warranty applies. Click Here for more information.
* Due to limited availability of this product, we are limiting the quantity per customer to 2 units to allow more of our customers to purchase this product. We are sorry for the inconvenience.
Light Type: Rechargeable
Mfg PartNum: 010-02376-00
Max. Runtime: 16 hours (day flash) / 6 hours (solid mode)
Mfg Warranty: 12 Mo. Parts & Labor
Safety on the road has always been a concern. As a result I often am twisting my neck to see if there are cars behind. This is especially true when I ride 2 abreast with a friend (I choose to change to single file if I know a car is behind). Yes I have tried every mirror option available (helmet, bike handlebars, etc...) none of them consistently gave me the confidence that I knew what was behind me.
But the Vario does what it says. An audible as well as visual warning, well before I can hear a car coming. It was 100% accurate-I was quite impressed. What happens when 1 car passes you? Well, the noise of the 1st car makes it impossible to be certain if there is another car or now, so you have to turn your neck, which invariably means you sway a bit (even if just a little) in your lane. The Vario addresses this too. The red warning lights stay on if there is a 2nd or 3rd car until all cars have passed-genius.
I am a Wahoo user and it paired just fine with my Elemnt Bolt, full functionality.
Why almost perfect? One of my concerns is the poor driver who may drift out of their lane and hit me (much more of a problem with Cell Phones). My preference would be to have a camera that would show me that a car was getting dangerously close so I could head to the ditch and have some control of the outcome. Radar can't do that. So it is not all I could want but it is a massive improvement.
Had I realized how well it works I would have bought it sooner. Game changer!
Up to 5 cars displayed each look like a lady bug crawling up the side of display . Typically picks a car up at 6 seconds back and triggers a beep on rural roads . Battery life is 2 ea 50 mile rides but should be longer . Weight and aero drag are minimal .
After initially scoffing at the idea of the Varia radar as being yet another piece of electronics for the bike I finally grew tired of cars sneaking up on me and with a 25% discount from WesterBikeWorks finally pulled the trigger. I was an idiot for not buying it sooner. That's no joke. It's great getting alerted to approaching cars particularly on windy days where I can't readily hear them. I have the single radar paired to both my Garmin as well as my wife's so when we ride together we can both take advantage of it. The light is bright and very difficult to miss (and blinding on group rides when people don't set it to a lower intensity). The only negatives I've found is the included universal mount is so-so on my round seat post and will be replaced by the Garmin clasp type mount in the future. The other negative is you can't use it while charging, meaning on a long ride you need to be conscious of which light mode you're using so you don't run out of battery.
Always thought my hearing was good enough to hear traffic coming up from behind me. It took only one ride with the Varia to appreciate the benefit of having radar. Let's me know traffic is approaching before it can be heard. Also shows when multiple vehicles are approaching. It easily paired with my Garmin 530. Had my wife drive up behind me while I was riding and she noted the high visibility of the light. Definitely an essential part of my riding gear to be used on every ride.
Bought the Varia RTL515 for my son, after first having experience with the 715 that has the rear view incident camera, on my bike. The camera on the 715 adds bulk and weight, and is only really useful to have video evidence if you happen to get hit from behind. The best thing about either light is the alert to your computer that there are cars or other bikes gaining on you from the rear. Saves your neck from having to check back as frequently, especially on aerobars. You get the alert on your computer much sooner than you would generally see the vehicles otherwise. Only reason I gave the 515 four stars instead of 5, is because my son ( who lives in another state, Oregon) reports that on his older Garmin computer, the alert is just an orange bar plus audio, whereas on mine I also see dots for each vehicle, as well as their relative distance from each other and me. I don't know if his just isn't synced correctly, if the radar on the 515 doesn't relay this info, or if it's just because his compatible Garmin computer is older, and just unable to show the approaching dots. But I know he likes it, as I do. If it's an issue with his computer, he can upgrade it, because the added safety feature is worth it.
Did you live without it before? Could you drive without one now? Yes of course, but it's REALLY nice not having to crane your neck around to confirm no one's there. Same thing with this radar. Drivers are increasingly distracted so on the road, I like having a tail light. I also like bombing descents as fast as possible, and taking the lane makes that easier. Having a quick glance at my head unit confirm there's no cars behind makes bombing descents that much more enjoyable.
I waited until after all my riding partners had a Varia to get on one for myself. I wish I'd gotten it sooner! All those years I spent trying in vain to use a mirror connected to my glasses! The Varia integrates seamlessly with my Hammerhead Karoo 2 computer which detects it the same way it would a HRM or cadence sensor. When a vehicle approaches from behind, a vertical band appears on the left of the Karoo that tells me how many vehicles and if a car is coming REALLY fast, it flashes a red alert. It also picks up other cyclists if they are "closing" on me to help me be aware and avoid crashes. The mount it comes with is adequate, but if you're gonna use it on more than one bike, I would recommend separate mounts for each bicycle as it isn't easy to put on or remove the mount. Oh, and I've used a taillight for a long time so having the functionality in this unit is also a big plus and the fact that it shines more brightly when cars are approaching is pretty neat!
Although it is easy to quickly look behind you and/or use a helmet mirror, there are instances when you have to focus on the road ahead, the route, your training plan etc.. Wind and road noise can obscure the sound of oncoming cars, I found that having an alert on the head unit was a huge safety advantage when your focus is divided. Also the light on the unit pulses quicker the closer the vehicle is to you, giving the driver a visual clue as well. I have installed a Garmin quarter-turn mount on all my bikes so I can use the Varia Radar every time I ride. In my opinion it is an indispensable bit of tech.
Been riding for 30 years - don't know how I survived without the Varia radar. My new confidence in situational awareness on the bike cannot be overstated. The unit performs superbly as it detects overtaking motion (car, cyclist, runner?!?) LONG before you can even see it over your shoulder. And it has not returned a false positive yet nor missed any overtaking vehicle (the device detects overtaking motion, not "presence").
The only negative is the mounting: it sucks for aero seatposts, and I can't imagine it's any better for round seatposts. The device is secure and snug to the seatpost (aero or round) but will NOT stay in place; it is constantly rotating to the left or right. Fortunately there are a plethora of aftermarket 3D printed mounting solutions.
I have had both the radar only and the radar plus light. The 515 turns my light and radar on which allows me to skip two activations in the back. A small plus. What makes it more convenient than the 315 is the 515 battery life is significantly longer. Less removals for charging. I know, I'm lazy. Other than that, they are both fine and I use now use the 515 all the time.
The Varia radar is seriously awesome. My buddy had one and was able to call out whenever a car was coming up behind us on a ride. I quickly bought one shortly thereafter and it is a necessary item whenever I'm out on the road. The peace of mind that it gives while descending at speed and having a warning when a car comes up behind me is worth the price alone. I pair it with my Garmin Fenix watch and it gives me an alert, love it.
The Garmin Varia RTL515 has improved my overall feeling of safety on the road ever since I turned it on. It has a very bright light that is easily seen by motorists. The radar is great at picking up traffic coming up from behind and it will notify you on your had unit and start blinking to make motorists aware of your position. I would 100% buy this product again based on how helpful it is in ensuring safety.
This product was an instant success, I smile as I see cars coming up from behind, and can prepare with enough notice. Addicted to the safety aspects after one mile, truly a game changing product. As important as riding with a helmet for added safety on the road. Expensive, but would pay twice the price for what it does and how it improves the quality of every ride. Easy to link to my Garmin display with plenty of battery power for a 100 mile + day ride.
The vast majority of the 150 Miles per Week that I ride are on roads. The Varia Radar in conjunction with my Edge 1030 Plus make those rides far safer. The unit starts to flash as soon as it "sees" an approaching vehicle. I was told by a UPS driver that he could see the flash as far back as 3/4 of a mile in bright sunlight. That anyone who claimed they didn't see it was either blind or lying. Simultaneous with the intensified flash a display on the computer screen tracks the approaching vehicle. I have found it is quite easy to estimate the relative speed of the vehicle. As many as 6 individual cars have shown simultaneously in the display. The display is tinted red until the last vehicle has passed, then it turns green indicating the road is clear. No car has ever passed me and not shown on the display well in advance. It is absolutely essential when I have to move across the lane to reach a left turn lane. This unit is my second one. The earlier one was still going strong after more than three years of use, and many thousands of miles of travel. I mistakenly thought that the battery was weakening, and chose to replace it. That is fine. I gave it to a friend who will continue to use it, likely for many years to come. Of all the safety gear I have purchased over the years, this is the best. For those who might wonder, it is also usable with Wahoo computers.
I recommend using the Varia in conjunction with a dropbar end mirror, or helmet mirror, for knowing what's behind you. The Varia syncs cleanly with my Wahoo Bolt head unit, and is mostly accurate.
The Varia's cons are: 1) If a car/truck is keeping pace with you, it won't show up. It needs to be gaining on you. So, sometimes the car shows up on the screen only as it's passing you. 2) Ghosts. The vehicle icon stays on the screen sometimes even after there's no longer a vehicle behind you. Seems to happen most after making a turn. 3) "RADAR ERROR". I get this message occasionally, maybe once per ride. The quick fix is to Dismiss the message. Then it starts working right again, usually.
This RLT515 is a replacement for the RLT510 that I had been using for almost 4 years but sadly lost. It looks virtually identical but also now includes bluetooth and "peloton" mode. Unfortunately I've been having problems with my new unit throwing "0:FC" errors somewhat randomly during my rides. Some rides it performs great while other times it gets so bad that I have to disconnect it from my Edge 1040 solar. For instance I went for a 3 hour ride recently and it was fine for the first hour and a half then is started throwing the error several times a minute which is both frustrating and dangerous. The error came up probably 30 times in about as many minutes so I just disconnected it from my headunit and used it as a dumb light.
I never had these problems with my old unit and would go back to it in a heartbeat if I could find it. Searching the Garmin forums made it seem that it's a software issue and Garmin is aware of it. I love Garmin hardware but their software is utter garbage, hopefully they take care of this soon.
Today was my second ride using the Garmin Varia. I really like it because it warms you about cars that are behind you from a very long distance. All that information is shown on your Garmin head unit. The view on the screen contracts and there is a dot that shows the car as it approaches you. I feel much safer knowing what is going on behind me and this device works very well. I did get a sensor error message once for a short time. But it resumed working as it should shorty after. I'm glad I bought it.