I really like this radar. I ride mostly on county roads around Fort Collins, with varying amounts of car and truck traffic. Many rides involve crossing the FC urban area. I use it with a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt, and see no compatibility issues. It is wonderful to know when a car is behind, and even nicer to know when the road behind is clear. There is an occasional false positive which clears quickly, it never misses an approaching car or truck. Occasionally a quickly-overtaking bicycle will show briefly, but it becomes easy to interpret how that displays differently on the Wahoo display than a car. Cost was $200, but eliminates the need for a $35 usb-chargeable taillight. So radar peace of mind for $165. Not cheap, but well worth the cost in my mind.
For long lonely dirt road gravel grinding this is a must have safety tool. It warns you when someone is approaching from behind. Works perfectly every time. Even tells you if another rider is approaching. When the wind is blowing this radar is especially handy - no more surprise blow by's from vehicles.
The 6 hour run time limit is pretty true so far, though run time will undoubtedly fade with use. For longer rides I turn it off when I don't need it. For example, riding on busy highways the constant alerting gets a bit annoying. At this point I don't use it on any road where I expect traffic - I just expect traffic.
I have this paired with an Edge 830 and works well. Been a couple of issues where it needs to be reconnected during the first minutes of a ride. Wife has one too, connected in the same way and she's had the same connection issue. Nothing cycling it on and off doesn't solve.
Don't really care for the multi piece mount. It works, even on bumpy single track, but I have no doubt I will eventually lose a piece or two. I have to remove the mount to put the bike in a stand, and I take it off to wash it too. Those little pieces and the O-ring are easily misplaced in a pocket, on a bench, the deck, the truck bumper... you get the idea.
Hey Garmin - make a simpler mount. See the Lezyne tail light stretchy rubber strap thingy as an example of good implementation of the KISS principle.
I just got back from riding a section of the Oregon Coast Route. Much of the route is on HWY 101, a major highway with a speed limit of 55 mph much of the way (thank goodness there's usually a good shoulder). Having the radar function of this device to alert me to vehicles approaching from behind was an incredible benefit. It generally alerted me before I had even heard the vehicles and gave me a chance to pick the best line to hold to stay safe. I've never, as a driver, seen the lights increasing flashes as vehicles approach, but that sounds cool, too. This thing, a rearview mirror or some sort, and the brightest clothing you can find are probably your best bets for staying alive riding busy roads of any sort. A front flasher's a good idea, too.
I am a gravel cyclist in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. To get out into the Mekong region, we have to use various roads, highways, ferries, etc. Having this light has been a godsend. Not only is it incredibly bright, it last for our 6 hour Sunday bike rides. On the flashing mode it can last up to 15 hours.
As for the radar function, I am able to pick up cars and trucks at least 100 meters behind me. There is a small ball that moves up the screen of my Garmin Edge 520 giving me a general idea of how far and where the vehicle is in relation to me. The only fault I have found is that it doesn't always pick up motor bikes as quickly as cars and trucks. However, this might be due to the size of these, the fact that they only go at about 20mph or placement of the radar device on my bike. I am going to move it to the end of my bike rack and see if that improves things.
I really like the improvements in the second generation of Varia. Particularly, the ability to select different patterns for the light depending on conditions, extended battery life, and it is much brighter. I have two concerns. One, the form factor is limiting in how one is able to attach it to the bike. On the original model, it was more compact and convenient. Second, and this may be a user issue, the light goes into pairing mode every time it is turned on.
The light is very bright and the radar detection of vehicles approaching is very effective, if you go out on solo rides or with small groups on quieter country roads this is incredible good at giving you advanced warning of traffic approaching.
It typically gives you a warning of vehicles approaching about 10 to 20 seconds before you can hear them. Since I got this I have not been surprised by an approaching vehicle once, even on roads where the traffic travels at 50 mph.
The Varia works with a wide range of Gamin cycle computers, I use this with a Garmin Edge 520 and it works flawlessly with it but I was surprised to find it also works well with the Edge 25 I also have.
Overall its a great bit of kit, easy to use and definitely keep me safer while out riding around country roads.
If you ride on roads with vehicle traffic, you NEED this item! I no longer have to look behind me or listen for traffic, this device will inform you on your Garmin screen of the vehicles behind you and reference roughly how soon they will be upon you and pass you. The ability to display up to 8 vehicles behind you, on the right side of your Garmin screen, will be appreciated too. It is one of the best cycling safety devices I have purchased. Well worth the price!
For years, I have ridden with a large mirror on my road bike. It has worked fine unless the sun was low behind me or the mirror fogged. In those situations, the mirror was useless. But in those situations (and all others), the Varia works great! Once a vehicle comes within range, you get an audible beep and the blip shows up on your Garmin. Very dependable. It picks up every vehicle. Relative speed and distance is very accurate.
So . . . why not five stars? Three minor nits 1. It occasionally gives you false positives. One cyclist I ride with triggers it as if he were a car - but just one. Nobody else. 2. I wish the light were brighter. 3. I wish the range were 1.5 to 2 times as far as it is. On roads with a 50 mph speed limit or above, by the time the Varia alerts you of the car's presence, it is upon you. I would just like to receive a few seconds more notice.
This is an amazing device for the price. \
I had the original Varia Radar taillight and thought it was a great idea. I ride on rural roads that have high speed limits so I only get 5-6 seconds of warning before a vehicle is on me. So knowing what is approaching from behind dynamically is a huge advantage in safety for me.
The Original Varia Radar was great but it had three serious failings First, the taillight was all but useless and was far too low in power. Second, the form factor was all wrong with it being oriented horizontally and tending to interfere with my legs unless it was positioned perfectly. This unit fixes both of those problems. The Taillight is BRIGHT and works great as a daylight flasher. You can see if from a mile away and, as a driver, your eye is drawn to it. The form factor is vertical which solves the leg interference problem. So that's all good. Third, the head unit (available as a bundle) now includes a beeper so you get an audio warning of an approaching target as well.
The only reason I gave it 4 stars for value is that you really should buy the total package of a head unit plus the taillight. Garmin won't sell the head unit separately and should.
I hadn't considered this until I had trouble with cars on faster descents. The RADAR works just as I expected, and gives me enough warning time to look ahead on the road and choose where to bike, and to turn and take a look behind me. This is what I wanted, a reliable device that told when to look. I'd recommend this rear light for anyone.
As an owner of the original Varia, my only real complaint was battery life. Version 2 has fixed that. The original was good for 4-4.5 hrs, I have yet to come even close to draining the battery on my new model. Might be a tad heavier (I haven't weighed it) but well worth the tradeoff!
Likes the included mount fits on my pinarello aero seat post. It's fairly small but still very bright. It changes flash patterns and intensity when cars approach. It works seamlessly with my garmin 520 head unit. I ride with a small mirror on my glasses but this gives me MUCH earlier warning for approaching cars (and I'm not always staring at my mirror either). The radar works fabulously on smaller, more lightly traveled roads where you may not hear a car till the last minute. I find the display very easy to interpret. The form factor of the this model varia is nicer sleeker than the original model and works just as well.
Dislikes the seat mount is just a rubber band with a standard garmin quarter twist mount. The twist part feels very secure to me but the actual assembly tends to rotate on the seat post from time to time. It's an easy fix, even while riding but I'm not always paying attention. Getting it to pair the first time was a little dodgy (if I recall, I had to pair the radar and then also include it as part of a garmin light network, but it was only a one time issue)
Overall I now consider this to be an essential part of my daily riding gear.
When I attached this radar/light to my bike and turned in on, my first reaction was "Wow, this thing is bright!" (It's best to turn in on outside, where you won't be blinded). Then after a quick spin, I found that the radar is very sensitive, and will pick up everything behind you. This is great when you're on a country road, where traffic is light, but not so much in the city, when it just becomes one constant warning (you can turn off the alerts when in traffic). All told, it's a great product - people will see you with the bright tail light, and you can see them with the sensitive radar. I liked this radar/light so much that I bought two of them; one for me, and one for my son.
Until they come out with a lightweight armor plating for bike riders less than 18 lbs. overall, then you kind of need to keep track of what's about to crush you from behind. The Varia RTL 510 keeps you alive and lessens the possibility of becoming a hood ornament for some Yahoo with loud pipes and big tires or, sometimes worse, the silent electric vehicle. Wouldn't leave home without it because not everyone you are in front of on the road has read the relevant section of their state's vehicle operator's manual which specifically states you have a right to exist on the roadway. Good luck out there.
I hesitated to buy this due to the cost, but I finally got it on sale. I also hesitated because of the spacing on my bike between my seat pack and the tire position, but those are not a problem at all. (The instructions say it requires more space.) The light finds cars way before I hear them coming and it lets me know how close it is. The light has definitely made me feel much safer on the road. I usually ride by myself these days and often on rural roads, and I'm very glad I have the light.
I bought this after getting hit by a car from behind despite using a rear flasher, after which I was riding more nervously. The device would not have deterred the stupid driver, but it has made me less nervous about approaching vehicles, and I am turning my head to check out what's occurring behind me far less frequently. I live and ride in a fairly rural area, on lightly trafficked roads. The warnings are flawless. I think that it would be less useful in urban settings.
Ingenious product and absolutely a peace of mind enabler. You are alerted to cars approaching from the rear on your Garmin head mount unit and it blinks in increasing cadence as cars approach to alert distracted riders to your presence. I would not bike without it.
I was skeptical about this product as I have been riding with an eyeglass rear view mirror for years-why would I need radar? After reading some reviews I decided to give it a try. Boy was I surprised. I though it would be redundant with the mirror but boy was I wrong-they are complimentary. With the mirror, generally I had to hear the car first and then look with my mirror, or just look with my mirror before changing lanes. I can maybe hear the car coming 25 yards back so I get a few seconds at best to look at it in my mirror and decide what to do. This thing sees the car coming waaaay back there, more than a football field and gives me a tone. This tells me to check my mirror and now I have three or four times as much time to decide what to do. Now I know way before I get to the intersection how many cars aee behind me before I even check the mirror-situational awareness is vastly improved and with a whole lot less effort and drama. It is like having a buddy 150 yards behind you saying, "car back" and you can hear him. It is expensive but worth every penny. Get the cheaper model that just talks to your Garmin and save the $50.00.