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Garmin Varia RVR315 Rearview Radar

GarminVaria RVR315 Rearview Radar(Return to Product Page)

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User submitted reviews

Review by Worried about cars

Useful to enhance safety while on the bike
by Worried about cars
Competitive Racer
Michigan
6 of 11 customers found this review helpful.

My first ride with this radar detector and it was extremely useful. It easily mounted to my 2013 speed concept seat post and it easily connected to my Edge 520 bike computer. Out of the few dozen cars that passed me from behind, it warned me about every car. For the Edge 520, when there is a new car approaching, there is a short beep and the outer edges of the screen turns Red. Once the car has passed, the screen goes back to normal. If there are several cars in a row, there's only the 1 beep but the outer edge of the screen remains red until all cars have cleared. I was surprised at how handy this radar is and felt safer with it. I no longer need to constantly turn my head back to check for cars and can concentrate on the road ahead.

Reviewed 6/24/2021
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Review by Anonymous

Great, Dependable Tool for Safer Cycling
by Anonymous
Cycling Enthusiast
Central PA

The Garmin Varia RVR315 Rearview Radar is a reliable tool for safer cycling when sharing roads with motor vehicles. This purchase was a replacement for a second-hand Varia that quit working after 6,500 road miles. The Varia provides significant notice (up to about 150 yards) of approaching vehicles from behind, and emits alerts of varying intensity depending on the speed and doppler of the vehicle. There are occasional false alerts as the radar can sometimes sense a hard object, e.g., group of cyclists, guardrail in a turn, vehicle on a parallel road, etc., thinking it's an approaching vehicle. But because the Varia uses doppler, it eliminates most false targets. While it can't take the place of general cycling awareness, the Varia should be added to a solid traffic scan and over-the-shoulder glances for best security. The Varia pairs easily with various bike computers/apps, including Garmin Edge 130 Plus and RidewithGPS, and the volume can be adjusted on RidewithGPS (but not on Garmin Edge 130 Plus). A fellow cyclist said that, of the many available accessories he has used for cycling over thousands of road miles, the Varia is a must. I agree. I prefer the Varia model without the light so I can customize my rear-facing light. The Varia has become an important and necessary accessory for my safe cycling.

Reviewed 5/23/2024
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Review by CC

Does what it claims, and does it well
by CC
Cycling Enthusiast
Portland, OR
3 of 3 customers found this review helpful.

Have been using this for a few weeks on rural, solo rides, and the overall experience has been very positive and am happy I bought it. Chose this model as I already have a rear light I'm happy with. It does a great job picking up cars from far away when the radar has decent line of sight. But to reap all the benefits of visual alerts plus better audio alerts, it helps immensely to have a garmin/wahoo (or similar) or phone+ridewithGPS mounted on the handlebar. Initially I just used the Varia app on high volume and threw my phone in my jersey pocket, but the alerts were often barely audible over wind noise. Garmin also makes a dedicated radar display, but you're probably better off getting one of the above.

What I like:

- Accurate & reliable detection including car distance, often long before I can hear them (especially helpful with lots of wind noise)

- Supported by a variety of bike computers and apps (ridewithGPS, varia app, wahoo, etc)

- When paired with an app or garmin/wahoo/etc, it shows car distance visually on sidebar on-screen, gives radar battery life warnings, and gives lost connection warnings.

- Gives unique warning for fast-approaching cars

- Small size & very sturdy garmin quick connect mount. I use the mount & provided o-ring on my seat tube.

Other:

- Battery life is not quite as good on this model, but probably long enough for most people to get at least a few rides out of it.

- Wish it had USB-C

- It (or maybe just mine) has an issue with the Varia app where the radar unit itself will just turn off at random while riding and with no warning, but only with the Varia app on my android phone. I have NOT had the issue at all while connected to my Wahoo or when using ridewithGPS app on the same phone. Garmin offered to replace but decided not to since i don't use the app anymore.

Reviewed 9/1/2021
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Review by Anonymous

Fantastic Safety Device - Rearview Radar Varia RVR315
by Anonymous
Casual Cyclist
Portland, OR

I have this device paired to a bicycle computer. It lets me know the situation long before I can hear approaching traffic. What is really great is a second car approaching is also displayed. With this device, I won't be surprised. The algorithm is accurate. I have not had any false readings. On a busy street the radar info is helpful, but radar really shines while riding on secondary roads with intermittent traffic. If I were group riding, radar with taillight might be a good choice. The taillight provides everyone in the group rear approaching vehicle notification. I really enjoy the feeling of knowing the complete situation around me. Reduced stress is valuable.

Reviewed 12/16/2022
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Review by Anonymous

Extra peace of mind well worth it
by Anonymous
Competitive Racer
Rhode Island
1 of 1 customers found this review helpful.

An extra level of safety I was happy to pay for. It does not work perfectly in all conditions. This device cannot see around a corner or through earth. It will indicate the object behind you is gone if you block it by turning or going over a hill. It will redetect it once you have clear line of sight. I give it 5 stars because it does exactly what it is supposed to - adds a layer of awareness and safety. I pair this with a more powerful light by Lezyne than the one in the Radar/Light combo varient, and it is very effective. The price is steep but very much worth it. My sole complaint is with the mount. Essentially a rubber band holds it to your seatpost. I recommend getting an aftermarket clamp mount.

Reviewed 7/1/2022
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Review by 737 Driver

Indispensable
by 737 Driver
Salt Lake City, UT
2 of 2 customers found this review helpful.

This is a game-changer.

Without a doubt the most significant piece of safety gear I've purchased (outside of a helmet) in the last 10 years.

I ride a lot of roads with less-than-optimum separation from vehicle traffic. I've increased the visibility/reflectivity of my clothing, added lights, and worn out my neck swinging left and right over my shoulder for traffic.

This changes everything.

The ability to know when traffic is approaching earlier than ever before gives me increased time to adjust and eliminates that "startle jerk" we've all done when the occasional car (usually electric) manages to sneak up and catch us by surprise.

9 times out of 10, the Garmin alerts me to traffic I hadn't even heard yet. Knowing how many targets there are also helps with planning turns, lane changes, etc.

I've still only done a handful of rides with it, but I've never had a false positive, and it's alerted me to a vehicle EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

There's obviously no substitute for your own eyes, but this is a close second!

Reviewed 6/13/2022
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Review by Anonymous

Works like a charm
by Anonymous
Cycling Enthusiast
Middle Tennessee
1 of 1 customers found this review helpful.

I bought this along with a Garmin 830 during their recent sale. I had heard great things about it both online and from members of our local bike club. Turned out to be one of the best purchases I've ever made. The thing just works. It has always been accurate even for multiple vehicles (it tracks up to 8 at a time). It makes riding so much easier by eliminating the constant looking over your shoulder. I do a lot of riding on rural roads and the Varia definitely keeps cars from sneaking up on me. If you have been thinking about getting one, just do it! You won't regret it.

Reviewed 6/17/2022
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Review by Anonymous

Great assist, although I hear the car(s) as soon as or before the device does, knowing the number of cars is great..
by Anonymous
Cycling Enthusiast
Olympia, WA

I like this product a lot. It is an extra set of eyes and reduces the need to check back . It is especially helpful with multiple cars, while I ride roads that make it easy to hear cars, it avoids the need to look back to see how many there are. I did have to get a different bike saddle bag to give it a field of view; most of them hang out too low to allow the device to work. Make sure it's charged (and your phone, too, if you use the phone app) as it draws a bit of power. It was a great deal with 33% off but I needed that drop to justify the price.

Reviewed 6/3/2022
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Review by TeeArgh

Definitely helps as eyes behind
by TeeArgh
3 of 4 customers found this review helpful.

More a 3.5 star I�d say. Works well with my Wahoo, and I appreciate that the screen will show multiple cars and change from yellow to red when cars are approaching at high speeds. I�ve ridden with the Varia for about a month now, and I�ve only had two cars pass me that weren�t detected and didn�t show up. That said, often times other riders show up as cars, so this thing isn�t flawless and there is no way that I was able to research to adjust sensitivity. That said, I�d rather false alerts than missing a car completely. Do not rely on this thing to be 100% accurate and use it more as an added alert system to help be your eyes behind you, and it should do you well. It�s not a replacement for alertness and common sense.

Now, Garmin, let�s talk about the post mount on this thing, or more accurately the �security� rubber O ring and recesses on the unit. That is a garbage solution. I�ve seen friends units fall off multiple times from road chatter. For the cost, the lack of security on the fit is inexcusable. I�ve taped over mine to ensure it won�t fall off, and would strongly suggest others do the same. Otherwise, it�s a handy piece of kit.

Reviewed 5/24/2022
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Review by The Dogfather

Awesome safety device
by The Dogfather
Cycling Enthusiast
Winston Salem, NC

Performance of Garmin Varia radar is simply amazing. I do not want to ride on the road without one. Even when several bikes are behind me, the radar invariably still picks up a car approaching.

The alorithm used must essentially be only paying attention to objects closing in from behind. Yes, it may go off when another cyclist closes in from behind. It also will issue the 'all clear' even when a vehicle is behind if such vehicle maintains a steady distance. Just be aware of this.

Getting the device while on sale only added icing to the cake.

It is still good to have a mirror but I really depend on my Varia radar.

Reviewed 5/23/2022
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Review by Anonymous

You Can Rely on What it's Displayig
by Anonymous
Cycling Enthusiast
Park City, UT

I use it with the Varia Android app and it shows me exactly what I want to know. I've never had a false positive or negative. I never liked mirrors as vibration was a problem and my eyes were off the road too much, trying to figure out what the mirror was showing. I chose the RVR315 model because I use an integrated helmet rear light and don't need one on the radar unit. Install and setup were fast and easy although I did have to switch out my underseat tool bag for a frame bag to enable the correct dimensional mount.

Reviewed 4/26/2022
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Review by Tjakester

Best alert system I've used!
by Tjakester
Cycling Enthusiast
Sacramento, CA

I have ridden with a rear view mirror for decades. I like knowing what is coming up and whether any action is required. Occasionally I am surprised to have a car passing too close because I didn't hear the approach. With the Varia there is an audible alert as well as the visual on the Garmin computer. A quick glance in the mirror let's me know if all is good or I need to signal the driver to give more room. Both my wife and I appreciate to added safety.

Reviewed 2/7/2022
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Review by The Caped Crusader

This is a game changer!
by The Caped Crusader
Cycling Enthusiast
Vancouver, WA
6 of 6 customers found this review helpful.

I decided to purchase a Garmin Varia RVR315 based on the positive feedback on several forums and product reviews. This is a game changer for me. I showed a friend how it works and he purchased one the next day. It certainly gives you more awareness of traffic coming up from behind you. I have some moderate hearing loss and sometimes don't hear cars coming up on me. This helps with that problem. I'm purchasing one for my wife's e-bike. I chose the RVR315 instead of the RTL515 as I don't think the RTL515's light is bright and noticeable enough. I purchased a Dinotte Quad Red tail light to use instead as it's much more noticeable and brighter. The Quad Red adds a fair amount more to the total cost but I consider it cheap insurance. Now if Garmin would make the Varia with a camera similar to the Cycliq Fly 6 with more reliability than the Fly 6, I'd buy it in a heart beat.

Reviewed 5/2/2021
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Review by Anonymous

Didn't know what I was missing
by Anonymous
Cycling Enthusiast
Vancouver, WA
3 of 3 customers found this review helpful.

I waffled on purchasing this for quite some time. All the reviews said how this was a game changer once they purchased it and wish they had purchased it sooner. Same for me. There's significantly better awareness of cars coming from behind, especially the "quiet" ones. I use this in conjunction with a Dinotte Quad Red tail light instead of the Garmin RTL515 as I believe the Dinotte Quad Red is much brighter and much more noticeable. Just my opinion though.

Reviewed 4/3/2021
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Review by T. Wiz

Great added safety feature -- 100% accurate so far
by T. Wiz
Cycling Enthusiast
Silicon Valley, CA
3 of 3 customers found this review helpful.

I start my Radar when I start my Garmin Edge 830. It provides advance warning of an approaching car from behind. although no substitute for checking for cars, it provides peace of mind knowing when a car is coming. So far (approximately 1000 miles of use) it has been accurate 100%. Battery lasts for about 6 hours -- and Garmin Edge 830 alerts you to a low battery so always know when to charge. The mount is the standard Garmin mount (same as the Garmin Edge 830) -- easy on and off, but secure when on.

Reviewed 3/25/2021
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Review by TexasNightRider

Money Well Spent
by TexasNightRider
Cycling Enthusiast
Great State of Texas, Houston area
3 of 3 customers found this review helpful.

Pros: Lightweight. Has worked flawlessly paired with my Wahoo Elemnt. Mount seems to be very secure. Especially useful on rural roads.

Cons: No safety tether but an aftermarket tether can be purchased/attached to the back of the unit. In heavy traffic you will receive constant warnings.

Would I purchase again? Absolutely. I now wonder how I've ridden so long without it even though I use a helmet mounted mirror. Several times the radar detected an approaching vehicle before I noticed it with my mirror.

Reviewed 1/26/2021
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Review by JAR

Simple to get started and Great to know what is coming up behind me
by JAR

I�ve had this radar detector for several weeks. I haven�t spent a lot of time trying to get to know all the ways to get notifications and what the different notifications are, but all I really want is a simple audible notification, and it provides that. I use it with RidewithGPS on my iPhone. I had to pair it with RidewithGPS (open the RidewithGPS app on your phone and go to More/Settings/Bluetooth and Sensors), not with my iPhone/Settings/Bluetooth. It isn�t easy to see when it is on, but once you know that it is on when the small blue light on the side flashes, look for that. It is easy to get on your bike since once you have a holder attached to your bike, it snaps in and with a twist, it is secure, and you do the reverse, twist and snap, to get it off so that you can charge it.

That all folks!

Reviewed 1/19/2023
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Review by Rick1

Great addition to my gear
by Rick1
Cycling Enthusiast
Detroit MI

I like the alerts of cars behind me provided on my 520 Edge and even more on the Garmin app on my phone which I have mounted on in front of me on a quad lock. Sometimes get false readings when riding in a group. This should not replace a rear view mirror, but works great in conjunction with it.

Reviewed 12/19/2022
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Review by PTMoe

Great Price & Reviews
by PTMoe
Cycling Enthusiast
So Maine
0 of 1 customers found this review helpful.

I have not actually used this yet because I don't have a Cycle GPS computer yet which I plan on getting before spring. Reading reviews and comments on cycle forums it looks like it's a must have and it was on sale at a good price so I grabbed one.

Reviewed 12/16/2022
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Review by BPChicago

Must Have!
by BPChicago
Competitive Racer
2 of 2 customers found this review helpful.

Just picked one of these up a couple of weeks ago. Used points to knock the price down. But this is a must have item for any cyclist. Whether climbing or descending, you have awareness of cars coming behind you. It has been 100% accurate so far...the only downside i've noticed has been when two cars are too close together (tailgating), the device doesn't always catch it. But considering how much we spend on bikes and equipment, this is the most important safety add-on i've come across. Been riding in Colorado and i feel so much safer. highly recommend.

Reviewed 8/3/2020
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