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Garmin Varia RCT715 Radar With Camera

GarminVaria RCT715 Radar With Camera(Return to Product Page)

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(20 customer reviews)
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User submitted reviews

Review by stupech

Love it
by stupech
Cycling Enthusiast
Delray Beach, Florida
3 of 4 customers found this review helpful.

At first, I was put off by the weight of this light vs my Lights in motion tail light. But the radar tracking of aproaching vehicles is fantastic. I've always used a small rear view mirror on my helmet, which I'm not abandoning, but that involves me tipping my head to look up every so often. The Varia alerts me to cars and even other bikes consistently, so I know well in advance if something is comming. If there are several cars in a row, the Varia shows me that as well, without my taking my eyes off the road ahead. I have it paired with a Garmin 840 edge computer.

I've seen some useres complain about the difficulty picking out specific instances to view on the cameral video aftereward. I agree. You have to scroll through a lot to find what you might be looking for, and can only do so when viewing on your cell phone. But the main reason for the camera is to document a crash or other dangerous incident. In that case , you can mark the spot on your computer widget, or if you are hit, at least the camera will have automatically recorded it for retrieval later.

It can be set to record only when the radar is detecting something, and then continues for about 30 seconds after. This saves battery, and disk memory, which is several hours anyway on flashing mode. You can get even more battery life by setting it to only flash when there is a vehicle aproaching from the rear.

For me, the benefits of this light are worth the weight, sort of like electronic shifting and disc brakes are worth the added weight over old cable shifting and rim brakes. And unlike disc brakes, you don't need to upgrade your entire bike frame to add the light.

Reviewed 8/17/2023
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Review by CoastalRider

Great safety device
by CoastalRider
Cycling Enthusiast
Mission Viejo, CA

This is my first bike radar and I found installation and set-up easy, the alerts on my Wahoo computer are clear and easy to understand. The video is cool too but I feel like they could add image stabilization for the price (hence the 4 stars). I would definitely recommend it to anyone riding on busy streets.

Reviewed 5/9/2024
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Review by Joel

Upgraded from the 515
by Joel
2 of 2 customers found this review helpful.

After using the Garmin 515 for several years, I finally decided to upgrade to the 715. As far as radar and tail light functionality, I haven't noticed a difference in performance between the two models. Both warn me to scoot back into the shoulder when Im riding out in isolated backroads by myself. Both give me a greater sense of confidence while I'm out riding. The camera feature is a bonus for me. This is NOT an action camera by any means, but good enough to capture license plates, car make, model, color,etc - should I ever need this information after one of my rides.

Reviewed 11/24/2023
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Review by Jake

Not good enough.
by Jake
Cycling Enthusiast
Omaha, NE
1 of 7 customers found this review helpful.

I recently purchase the 715 and 830. Its nice to know there is a car coming up behind you, but the really important part, is that car going around you or over you. I expected the camera to show me a image of the car so I can tell its going around me. Apparently not. A cyclist was recently killed here. I don't know what devices he had but the road didn't have a shoulder, so this device would have just let him know a car was coming up behind him until he was struck. Not good enough.

Reviewed 9/18/2023
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Review by PJF

Returned, no way to mount it
by PJF
Cycling Enthusiast
2 of 5 customers found this review helpful.

There just isn't room for both this and my saddlebag on my seatpost (custom frame laid out by my fitter, so frame is NOT too big for me). I hoped to figure out some way to mount this to the saddlebag or elsewhere, either modifying the stock arrangement, finding a 3D printed clip, zip ties, etc but when it arrived I was stumped. So I returned it for credit.

Instead I will continue to use my RTL515 on a 3D clip attached to the saddlebag loop and have added a C**** brand rear video camera strapped to the tip of the seat tube.

You�d think Garmin would package Varia RT units with clips to mount them to saddlebag loops, as most cyclists who cover any distance use saddlebags to carry spares and tools.

Reviewed 8/13/2023
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Review by Anonymous

Radar works very well, video quality leaves a bit to be desired
by Anonymous
Cycling Enthusiast
Everett, WA
3 of 3 customers found this review helpful.

i bought this to replace my 515 radar unit which was working very well but i wanted a bit more insurance in case of an accident and thought the video function would be helpful in that regard. this radar works just as well as the 515 model.

video quality is OK during the day but dont expect to be able to see most license plates in the evening or nighttime. audio quality is filters wind noise well but picks up gear shifts as loud clanks. voices are very difficult to hear as well.

i'm not sure anything short of a real "action camera" like a gopro will get high quality and/or smoothing but at least this exists to give a small piece of mind.

Reviewed 2/24/2023
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Review by Anonymous

Get this and hope you will never need it!
by Anonymous
Cycling Enthusiast
16 of 16 customers found this review helpful.

I love my RCT715. I have no complaints. Let me address what others have complained about, including You Tube reviewers. Firstly this is a dash cam not an action cam. Two different animals.

Segment Limit 30 sec recording (Dash cam technology)

Front plate illegible (Designed for direct line of sight, up close. As in seconds before you are hit, not passing you)

No image stabilization (Not needed since you are only looking at individual frames after an incident)

Size of unit (Increased battery capacity, lighter than camera, radar, and light separately)

Cost (Less than priced individually. Can be found on sale)

This is meant to be used for investigative purposes. You may get some unexpectedly cool clips-Bonus! OTOH- If you want to relive moments in a race, get a Go-Pro.

Reviewed 10/13/2022
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Review by Anonymous

A useful addition for road cycling
by Anonymous
Cycling Enthusiast
Carrboro, NC
3 of 6 customers found this review helpful.

I've found the RCT715 to work well and to be worthwhile. I ride a lot on 2-lane country roads and the visibility of the tail light (especially in "day flash") is great. Radar picks up objects at around 140 yards back. The camera has stabilization - a must. The 1080p setting is what I find I need to capture sufficient details. You will need a new mount (one is included), which is very secure and not compatible with the 1/4 turn Garmin mount, but I still use a special tether. The battery life seems sufficient for longer rides - 3+ hours - at 1080p. Garmin says up to 6 hours at 1080p on flash mode. The Android app is clunky - while you can view your ride (in short 1-minute segments, unless you change that in the app) using the app and a peer-to-peer WiFi connection that the app sets up and closes automatically, I'd suggest popping out the SD card and using your PC if you have one. All in all, I think this was a good choice for me, riding alone, or with a friend.

Reviewed 7/14/2022
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Review by Anonymous

Fails to meet expectations
by Anonymous
Cycling Enthusiast
Middle Tennessee
34 of 35 customers found this review helpful.

I have used Garmin products for 20+ years and have been quite satisfied. Among the products I currently use are the Edge 1030 Plus, UT800 light, HRM, and Venu 2 watch -- all great products. I also have the original Varia "Rearview Radar", also great. However, I had always hoped Garmin would incorporate a camera into the Varia unit, so when announced I immediately bought it *knowing* that I could rely on high quality from Garmin. Sadly, this product leaves much to be desired: yes, the tail light and radar work just as well as the previous units, but the camera has no image stabilization and the software's file management is awful. First, the default is to create 90-second files! That can be adjusted, but apparently not if the file is created automatically by radar. Given that you may have hundreds of files from a ride, one might hope they could be easily viewed and copied. Nope -- you must select and transfer them one at a time, and much more slowly than expected. Currently, the only option for me was to pull the SD card and plug it directly into a computer. I can only hope Garmin will address the SW issues (including adding stabilization) and remove the bad taste & disappointment I've had from this purchase.

Reviewed 5/26/2022
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Review by Robert

Questionable upgrade over RTL series
by Robert
Cycling Enthusiast
Minneapolis, MN
9 of 11 customers found this review helpful.

I have a RTL510. When I saw this product announced, I immediately ordered one. After seeing the DCRainmaker review, I changed my mind, as the video review and transfer is so slow and to be unworkable.

I did receive the RCT715 but sent it back. There are three issues.

1> It is bulky and heavy. It's about 1.5 times the size of the RTL510/515 (thicker and taller) and about twice as heavy.

2> It uses a different mount. This is a problem for me, since I already own the RTL510 and planned to use it as a backup on longer (60+ mile) rides when the main light ran out of battery.

3> I want to be able to retrieve video to make police reports about dangerous drivers. Based on the DCRainmaker review, I'm not sure I'm willing to put in the hours necessary to find and transfer the right video.

For the money, I think the RTL515 is a better investment.

Please take this for what it's worth. I don't think this is a good upgrade from the RTL series, but it still might be a good investment if you are starting from scratch and really want a radar/camera combo.

Reviewed 6/17/2022
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Review by Anonymous

Good for what it's meant for
by Anonymous
Cycling Enthusiast
9 of 9 customers found this review helpful.

The radar works just like the other varias. The camera works just fine as an incident camera. Do not buy this if you want an action cam. Do buy this if you are tired of running a Varia + Cycliq Fly6 side-by-side in a custom 3d printed mount that keeps breaking.

This essentially combines the Fly6 and the Varia together into one package. If you're using this as an incident camera, you really shouldn't need to get footage off of it very often, so the software side doesn't bother me at all.

Reviewed 6/3/2022
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Review by amisus

camera almost useless
by amisus
Cycling Enthusiast
Puget Sound region
6 of 7 customers found this review helpful.

My real-world usage has found that, even in good lighting, you can read plates less than 50% of the time. Maybe on butter-smooth roads it is usable. But even on even average paved road, and set to record at 1080p, the image is so jittery that the quality is too low to read the plates most of the time. The radar and light are great, though. Get the version without the camera.

Reviewed 6/23/2023
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Review by Laurence Gibson

Awesome Garmin
by Laurence Gibson
0 of 2 customers found this review helpful.

Super great idea . This is one of the coolest tools to make your feel safer one the streets. The light is bright and the camera is awesome. It let's you know about oncoming cars and gives you plenty of early warnings with beeping and notification on your head unit!

Reviewed 5/22/2023
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Review by Alan

Radar work and camera
by Alan

Lets you know if there is car behind you and I�ve looked at videos and the quality is okay. The unit is a little heavy but for safety is not a bad.

Reviewed 8/27/2023
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Review by criz

good concept, mounting issues
by criz
Cycling Enthusiast
Minden, NV
5 of 6 customers found this review helpful.

My wife and I are users of the radar tail lights and were looking forward to the version with the camera. It was a surprise that we would have to change the mounts on all 5 of our bikes. The camera version is significantly heavier, maybe that's why they changed the mount.

Reviewed 11/7/2022
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Review by Anonymous

Love it
by Anonymous

Reassuring I can not only get video but seeing on my Garmin screen when vehicles are approaching . It's all about safety !

Reviewed 8/21/2023
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Review by John F

Great Bike Safety Device
by John F
Cycling Enthusiast
Sarnia, Ontario
2 of 5 customers found this review helpful.

The Radar is awesome. Great safety feature, do not have to constantly check your rear view mirror. The light is very bright. I have not checked any video recorded from the camera yet. My only complaint is the poor battery life when using the camera and the price.

Reviewed 7/20/2022
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Review by Frank

So far I really like this thing!
by Frank
Cycling Enthusiast
1 of 1 customers found this review helpful.

I've used this on several rides now and it has worked flawlessly. It integrated seamlessly with my 1030 Edge, and it is great knowing when a car is approaching from my rear. The battery life isn't awesome, but for most of my rides it is sufficient. It is a bit expensive, but living in the country where the driver's are prone to driving distracted I think it is a great investment so far.

Reviewed 7/7/2022
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Review by Shaw

Safety is the most important thing and some video could help
by Shaw
1 of 6 customers found this review helpful.

To many times cars come up on you now you can record them if you need some more info on the car

Reviewed 7/11/2022
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Review by Anonymous

great item
by Anonymous
0 of 1 customers found this review helpful.

great item, love it, super quality video, a must for all cyclist !!

Reviewed 7/7/2022
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