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Garmin Varia Rearview Radar Light Bundle

$299.99

Item # GRM004U

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Item # GRM004U

Tech-savvy safety.

From reflective accents to mirrors, to perfecting the over-the-shoulder glance, we've all taken plenty of precautions to try to stay visible to motorists while riding on the roads. Lights are a popular choice, and it’s the area Garmin chose to focus its attention on when developing a product to make cyclists less vulnerable to being hit from behind by motorists — the circumstances of 40% of all motorist/cyclist collisions. The Varia Rearview Radar Light Bundle is the company's attempt to address that sobering statistic, and in true Garmin fashion, it offers plenty of technological firsts.

This bundle includes both a Varia Rearview Radar tail light and a handlebar-mounted Radar Display Unit (RDU), which work together to warn you when a motorist is approaching. Starting at 140m away, the RDU lights up to announce the presence of up to eight vehicles, and the LED lights change color to warn you of each vehicle's proximity.

The tail light itself aims to proactively make your presence known to motorists by increasing its brightness as vehicles approach. The tail light is bright enough to be seen in sunlight, too, so the Varia Radar Bundle isn’t just for low-light rides. If you're cockpit is already a bit cluttered, the Varia Radar tail light can also transmit to Garmin's Edge 1000, which incorporates the information with flashing, colored lights. However you choose to run it, the high power mode will get you around 5 hours of continuous use, and when you aren't moving, the light turns off to conserve power.

Current head unit compatibility is limited to the Edge 1000; however, according to Garmin, the Edge 810, Edge 510, Edge 25, and Edge Touring Plus will also be made compatible with a software update in Q3, 2015.

Tech Specs

Bulbs:
LED
Batteries Included:
yes
Modes:
steady, flashing
Lumens:
24
Distance:
[radar sensor] 140 m
Burn Time:
5 hours
Mount:
seatpost, stem
Remote Battery:
no
Waterproof:
IPX-7 standard (submerged 1 meter for 30 minutes)
Includes:
display unit, tail light, microUSB cable, stem mount, seat-post quarter-turn mount, universal seat-post quarter-turn mount
Dimensions:
[Radar Display Unit] 6.0 x 3.4 x 1.9 cm, [tail light] 7.3 x 4.4 x 2.3 cm
Claimed Weight:
[Radar Display Unit] 28.5 g, [tail light] 63.5 g
Recommended Use:
road cycling
Manufacturer Warranty:
1 year

Reviews & Community

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  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Got the unit of the box, installed it and it worked. Then I upgraded the software and now it does not work. Even after I tried customer support and followed their recommendations, it still does not work. If you like frustration, this the product for you.

Had the same problem. Latest software fixes it, and also improves the performance. Frustrating, but works now.

Avg. ride time: 2h 43m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

Works pretty much as advertised

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Took it out for a first ride today. Its very easy to install with the mounts and rubber bands. Turn it on and its ready to go. Works pretty much as advertised. If you are on a winding road or a hilly country road it won't see the car coming up at the maximum distance. I had one occasion where I noticed a car out of the corner of my eye and the device didn't see it. I think the reason was that the car was coming up on me very slowly and I believe it has to come up on you at 8 mph or more to be detected. Might be something the vendor should give us a way to modify. However the goal is to make you aware of traffic and for the most part it did. So if you're riding along and suddenly see a pothole, a quick glance at the indicator lets you know if its safe or not to swerve around it. I suspect its a little over priced but its the first of its kind and does make riding on the road with cars safer. Recommended.



Update: After a few more rides I find that it continues to work well. Exceptions are when a car swings well wide of you, the Varia can't see it but then the danger is low. Also if a car comes up behind you and is following you at the same speed, it won't detect it until it speeds up to pass you. I also find that it helps me ride faster because I don't have to turn around to see if there is a car behind me. I look down and if its clear I can ride in the smoother middle of the lane.

Works pretty much as advertised
Avg. ride time: 2h 42m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

Garmin bike radar

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Excellent gizmo: shows you when cars are coming up from behind, how fast, and very accurate (e.g. when cars turn off the road, they vanish from the display). I also sense that cars know that I know, since the device flashes differently as they approach. Very nice feature, and generates a two-way communication about me on the the road. Looking forward to integration with the Edge 810 units, should be soon. One improvement would be a beep tone when a car approaches, perhaps in the Edge integration this will be included.