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Garmin Varia Rear Light Radar 2016
- Enter your model number to make sure this fits.
- The tail light brightens and blinks when approaching vehicles are detected for an extra measure of safety
- Detects approaching vehicles from up to 140 meters
- Compatibility for the Edge 1000, Edge 810, Edge 520, Edge 510 and Edge Touring Plus
- Includes: Varia radar tail light transmitter (RTL 500), seat-post quarter-turn mount, universal seat-post quarter-turn mount, microUSB cable, manuals
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From the manufacturer
The world's first cycling radar, Varia helps create a safer cycling environment by warning cyclists of vehicles approaching from behind up to 153 yards (140 meters). The radar tail light also warns approaching vehicles of a cyclist ahead. Works independently or integrates seamlessly with compatible Edge cycling computers. Edge computer or Varia head unit can show multiple approaching vehicles and indicates the relative speed of approach and threat level.
Varia Rearview Radar
Alerts You to Vehicles Approaching from Behind.
- World's first cycling radar that warns of vehicles approaching from behind up to 153 yards (140 meters)
- Works independently and wirelessly integrates with compatible Edge cycling computers
- Edge computer or Varia head unit can detect multiple vehicles and indicates the relative speed of approach and threat level
- Tail light unit brightens and flashes to notify approaching traffic of a cyclist ahead
Getting Hit From Behind is Leading Cause of Cycling Fatalities in U.S.
The threat is real. That’s why getting some extra help knowing what’s sneaking up behind you is an important breakthrough. You already use caution and check over your shoulder, especially before making turns, but Varia radar gives you an important tool by watching behind you even when you aren’t.
|Varia Rearview Radar|
|Dimensions||2.9” x 1.7” x 0.9|
|Weight||2.2 oz (63.5 g)|
|Lux (headlight use only)||N/A|
|Battery life (high power mode)||5 hours|
the garmin varia rear light radar 2016 is a maximum support to get on the bike since it becomes a key tool that lets you know at any time if a vehicle is approaching at a distance of 140 metres. this radar acts as a backlight. taillight radar alerts vehicles of the presence of the cyclist and adjusts the focus zone according to the speed and the light conditions in the environment. it allows to connect it with a compatible edge device that displays up to 8 cars approaching from behind, providing an estimate of the distance and speed of approach the cyclist. features: -radar various tarseras lights. -radar dimensions: 7.3 x 4.4 x 2.3 cm. -weight radar: 63.5 g. -light modes: fixed and flashing. -battery life: 4 hours. -includes: support of quarter-turn rear seat, microusb cable.
Size: One Size
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I have been using this for a few months now with a Garmin 1000 GPS. It easily connected to the Garmin as a new sensor. Without going into much detail, when a car approaches from behind, a small vertical bar appears to the right (or left if configured that way) on the GPS display with a dot for each car that is approaching. This dot will move towards another dot at the top of the bar (that top dot being you). If a silent ghost Prius is bearing down at a high rate of speed the approaching dot will be red. In fact, the entire screen edge will also turn red and the GPS will beep to wake you up and alert you to the rapidly closing traffic.
It works great and gives plenty of lead time assuming there is line of sight. If however you have just crested a killer hill and are gasping for air as you lolly gag over the top, it won't be able to warn you about the 18 wheeler that's about to pop over the hill behind you. In practice this rarely happens because you will probably pick up the 18 wheeler long before you crest the hill or you will be far enough along after the hill that the traffic won't be a surprise encounter.
The unit will pick up small vehicles (even motorized scooters) as well as big vehicles (as you'd expect). It is unaffected by cyclists that are drafting and tucked in tightly behind. I have no idea how that works or if I am cooking the cyclist behind with invisible microwave beams, but it does work (and they should move up and pull anyway). If a car gets behind and slows so that it is matching your pace, it will disappear from the radar display. Of course by then you'd know there is a car lurking 5 ft behind you as you struggle up that 15 percent incline.
The light itself is plenty bright and it can blink or be set to a steady light output. The unit has 8 LEDs. When set to constant on output, it uses two LEDs in the center of the light. As a car approaches, the unit begins to widen the number of LEDs lit up to the maximum of 8. When set to blinking mode it lights the center most 4 LEDs and expands to 8 as cars approach. This provides a somewhat meaningful feedback to the approaching driver.
The unit uses a very nice quarter turn mount like the one used by Garmin GPS units. The mount comes with various shims to fit most seat post sizes. I was even able to get it to work even on my small 25.4mm Cannondale seat post. In terms of weight, it is about the same as a similarly sized light. This light weighs 63 grams (sans mount). A Cateye Reflex weighs 66 grams and the small PDW Red Planet weighs 53 grams for comparison. It is very well constructed and feels much more solid than a Cateye even though it weighs less.
Recharging is done with a micro-USB connection under a rubber grommet on the back of the unit. My rides are generally 2-4 hours long and I have yet to knock the battery below 70%. When turning on the light, the LEDs will light from left to right indicating the charge level. If it lights all the way to the right, it is full charged. It is a simple and effective way to check the battery level. Any generic charger works with the included cable as does a typical USB port on a PC. This same USB-PC connection is used to update the software on the light also. This is done via Garmin Connect like it is with all other Garmin GPS computers/watches/etc.
The only negative I have found has to do with the 'light network' the light and radar create when attaching to the Garmin GPS. If I sleep the Garmin GPS and turn off the light, when turning the light back on and waking the GPS it sometimes fails to create the light network. The GPS will still show a radar icon in the upper right indicating that the radar is paired and functioning, but there are no radar warnings. This is disconcerting when the first car zooms past and makes you jump off the saddle. To fix this problem, I completely power off the GPS and the light, turn on the light then turn on the GPS. This can be problematic in the middle of a ride or race. However, when looking at the GPS sensor status screen you will see an entry for the light and an entry for the attached radar. When it is not working, the radar entry will not be present and you will see a message that it is trying to connect. I have gotten into the habit of checking that screen before I head out for a ride to make sure everything is paired properly. Once it is properly paired, I have never had it drop out and stop working during a ride.
All in all, it doesn't completely alleviate my desire to spin my head like Linda Blair in the Exorcist, but it does provide much needed ample warning that a car is approaching and sometimes at a great relative speed by an inattentive driver. This gives me a slight edge to make sure I am seen or to take corrective actions. That alone is worth the price of admission for me. Even if it only gives me two to four seconds of response time to react, that seems like an eternity when your about to get hit and provides a great safety margin I previously didn't have.
So why not 5 stars? I have to ding it a star for the failure to create a light network properly from time to time (which may in truth be a GPS fault) and the fact that it isn't the brightest light available given the size. I highly recommend this light if you have a compatible GPS (1000, 820, 810, 520, 25 to name a few - check Garmin's site) or intend to use the head unit (which I haven't tested). It is a great safety lookout partner when riding on roads where the ever present Prius lurks or worse, the distracted texting teenager in Daddy's SUV.
For a super in-depth review of this light (if the above isn't enough), check out DCRainmaker's website. Ray is super detailed with all his reviews and they are entertaining to boot!
I paid $149 for this via Prime and I think it's the best cycling purchase I've ever made. I do 4-5000 miles a year, and think that this could be a life saver. It only has to work once to more than pay for itself. Absolutely 5 stars all the way - I've had some issues with Garmin devices in the past but this thing does exactly what's advertised.
I like it more after using it for over 3 months. I've gotten more confident about trusting the radar in many situations which makes most rides more enjoyable. So I'm changing my review from 4 to 5 stars.
I also wish Garmin will support the Varia Rearview Radar Tail Light with an iOS or Android app.
Flat roads it works flawlessly. On hilly or curvy roads, it wont pick up the oncoming vehicle until they are much closer due to line of sight.
If the vehicle is cruising at equal speed, the radar will not pick it up. So you cannot soley rely on this for safety. Cars have snuck up on me then floored it to go around, while the radar never detected it. But thats a very rare case.
It failed to notify me once because the Garmin 1030 navigation was in the middle of telling me I was off course. This is one thing that bothered me, but Its software related, and is fixable.
Overall, I cant imagine why any serious cyclist would not use this.
As the photo shows, the bracket has some mounting flexibility (philips head screws) so you can see I've made sure it's right behind my seat and not obscured by anything on the bike ... that definitely helps
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