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  • Garmin Varia Rearview Radar Light Bundle
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GarminVaria Rearview Radar Light Bundle
Sale 25% Off$224.99 $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.

  • Garmin's smart solution to bicycle light safety
  • Bar-mounted unit alerts cyclists to approaching traffic
  • Tail light adjusts output to draw attention
  • Light turns off when not in motion to conserve power
Tech SpecsWeight
Tech Specs
Batteries Included
steady, flashing
[radar sensor] 140 m
Burn Time
5 hours
seatpost, stem
Remote Battery
IPX-7 standard (submerged 1 meter for 30 minutes)
display unit, tail light, microUSB cable, stem mount, seat-post quarter-turn mount, universal seat-post quarter-turn mount
[Radar Display Unit] 6.0 x 3.4 x 1.9 cm, [tail light] 7.3 x 4.4 x 2.3 cm
Recommended Use
road cycling
Manufacturer Warranty
1 year

Claimed Weight

Claimed weights are provided by the vendor.

Have questions? Chat with a Gearhead

[Radar Display Unit] 28.5 g, [tail light] 63.5 g

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Great tech, must have!

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

OK, I love this device. I often ride on busy stretches of road with traffic speeds of 55-65 MPH and this is like a second set of eyes.

First, it detects cars approaching from behind but only shows them if they are moving faster than you are. This great because it 1. doesn't draw your attention to non-threats and 2. drops tracking if a car slows down to turn or stops.

Second, it has wide range, for me, it detects at least three lanes wide (I know this because I get tracks for the turn lane (left or right) and the straight lane. So, if I am in the center lane passing a left or right turn lane, it shows tracks in all three lanes, Now, the display is not robust enough to show three different lanes (only a single indicator on the display) but it makes one very aware of all potential traffic threats.

Third, the cockpit display is really pretty small (smaller than I expected) so I was pleasantly surprised. I have it mounted right next to my computer and it really tucks in nicely. Even though it is smaller than I thought it would be, it is big enough and it is easy to see.

Fourth, the tail light changes brightness and flash speed as cars get closer. Now, this may seem insignificant on the surface but the cars approaching from behind pass me at a slower speed and give me a wider berth than normal prior to adding the device. Any roadie will tell you that there is nothing insignificant about that.

Fifth, the devices mount to the included brackets with a quarter-turn lock, very solid and very secure.

Sixth (and finally), when I powered off the display it also powered off the taillight. An added and unexpected bonus.

Ok, only one negative comment, the display uses white light to indicate a car is approaching from behind. To the left of the indicator are two other lights that are also white. I would like it better if the only white light was for an approaching car.

And one "I wish" comment: I wish the kit had contained a rigid (not held on with rubber-bands) handlebar mount along with the included seat-post mount.

Closing thoughts: I ride almost exclusively solo and put this in the must have category, it really is like having an extra set of eyes and while it does not call out a "car back" warning, it does give you a lot of information with a quick glance including how many, how far back (up to 450 feet on a straight stretch) and an indication of how fast the car is approaching. At highway speeds (55-60 mph), with a closing speed of about 35 mph, I gained an average of seven seconds of warning that a car was approaching, better than my little mirror provided. If you are even thinking about buying this do it.

Update 23JUN18: Used it today on an organized ride and found myself riding in a group a couple of times. It allowed me to see how it worked around other cyclist...It does not detect other cyclist (individuals or groups) good if you are a group-rider, not so good if you want to know if another cyclist is approaching from behind. Also, it does pick up trains (makes sense), tracks are about 25 meters off the road...this does prevent the unit from displaying cars while the train is present.


  • 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: 52m 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 45m 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.