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Bike Radar

Old 05-09-24, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical
Well, this is a pretty uniform positive response from actual users! Might be time to look into buying one.

Has anyone used the Trek CarBack unit?

Also, the Garmin units appear to have a short (1.5 hour) battery life. Are they capable of accepting a charge while operating?
donít know where youíre getting a 1.5 hour battery life. My Varia 515 gets at least 6 hours with the light on daylight flashing
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Old 05-09-24, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 13ollocks
donít know where youíre getting a 1.5 hour battery life. My Varia 515 gets at least 6 hours with the light on daylight flashing
Yeah, mine is good for at least 4 of my go to rides, each of which lasts just under 2 hour each.
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Old 05-09-24, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
Yeah, mine is good for at least 4 of my go to rides, each of which lasts just under 2 hour each.
Good to know. That number came from a review in a bike magazine.
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Old 05-09-24, 08:42 PM
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with stuff like these, very cold temps mess with the battery life too.
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Old 05-09-24, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
I use a Garmin Varia radar with a Wahoo Bolt head unit. It's excellent. Having an audible alert means I don't need to be looking at a mirror or my head unit to know there's a car coming.
Eric, Which model Bolt are you using?
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Old 05-09-24, 10:49 PM
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I’m in! Garmin Varia should be arriving tomorrow.
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Old 05-09-24, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
I donít own a Varia. To clarify my question, I wonder if folks who live in less urban areas and are often on backroads, often without shoulders, are finding these more useful then perhaps a rider, like myself, who rides in more congested areas, where there is pretty much always a car back, as it were. Thus a user in a congested area, might have less need for a radar, as itís kind of telling you what you already know, thereís a car back. In a rural area, I understand the usefulness as it alerts you and gives you time to maybe move a bit out of whatever lane is remaining. As well, I really doubt I would hear an audible alert, I donít wear my hearing aids when I ride and I currently do not hear the audible alerts a 1040 gives for navigation route changes.

The rear camera is a feature I might desire as it provides a record of ďwhat happenedĒ when a teenager on a cell phone mows you down. Thus my interest in plunking down $400 is increased.
I ride mostly in San Francisco proper these days, and I always ride with my varia. I use the overlay graphic on my cycling app, which shows a bar at the side of the screen in green, yellow or red depending on whether anyone is approaching from the rear, and then there are car icons (multiple ones) that approach the top/front of the bar as they close in on you. itís incredibly useful in a dense urban environment, and I find it easier to intuitively understand than the beeping for approaching and all clear in dense traffic. the graphic is so simple that you donít really even have to focus on it, you can see it out of your downward peripheral vision, whatever thatís called.
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Old 05-10-24, 04:07 AM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical

Also, the Garmin units appear to have a short (1.5 hour) battery life. Are they capable of accepting a charge while operating?
My Garmin RTL515 battery life is about 10 hours in day flash mode. I have no idea if it can charge while in use.
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Old 05-10-24, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical
Prices for rear facing radar are becoming reasonable and there are a couple of brands available.

Does anyone have any experience with one?
I bought a Garmin Varia (non-camera type) and have used it for about 1 1/2 seasons. (We have seasons in New England). I think it's a game changer. I would rather ride without a helmet than without my radar. FWIW Garmin customer support has been phenomenal. You actually get to speak to a person.

I should add that I also use an Italian Road Bike mirror and I ride in areas where there are few cars for the most part. And, my hearing is actually excellent so I feel pretty secure.

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Old 05-10-24, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical
Eric, Which model Bolt are you using?
The older one (1st generation).
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Old 05-10-24, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
My Garmin RTL515 battery life is about 10 hours in day flash mode. I have no idea if it can charge while in use.
after around 1,000 hours of use, mine is down to around 5 hours of battery life in flash. it probably needs a new battery - and it cannot charge while in use. plugging power in shuts it off.

i use it so ubiquitously that on my e-bike iím really tempted to get the hardwired no-battery version and wire it up internally. iíd love to do the same on my aethos but the varia battery is about the same size as the di2 battery, which would mean very many charge cycles.
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Old 05-10-24, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mschwett
i use it so ubiquitously that on my e-bike iím really tempted to get the hardwired no-battery version and wire it up internally.
Hmmm! Coincidentally, I have just removed the SmartSense system (from my new Cannondale Synapse 2RLE) which includes a battery cradle, battery, Varia rear radar, rear light, front light, a display for the Varia, and the necessary wires.

022_rev2-_smartsense-oms_138691__en.ashx (cannondale.com)

You must be one of the few people who actually want this system. Pretty much everyone else takes it off their bikes.
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Old 05-10-24, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical
Iím in! Garmin Varia should be arriving tomorrow.
The stock Garmin seatpost mount sucks. I recommend this one: Amazon.com: TUSITA Bike Seat Post Mount Compatible with Garmin Varia RTL510 RTL515 RVR315, Rearview Radar - Round,D Shaped,Aero Seat Post Compatibility : Electronics
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Old 05-10-24, 10:02 PM
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I ordered one of those too, but Amazon seems to have lost them. Strange, the exact same thing happened last time I bought a Garmin product (power pedal upgrade) on Amazon.
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Old 05-10-24, 11:01 PM
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I prefer the seatpost mounts that clamp on rather than the ones held on by rubber bands. You can find cheap ones from AliExpress that work fine on standard (27.2-31.6mm) round seatposts. This didn't quite fit for the larger diameter seatmast on my Trek Domane so I machined my own:

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Old 05-11-24, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by wayold
I prefer the seatpost mounts that clamp on rather than the ones held on by rubber bands. You can find cheap ones from AliExpress that work fine on standard (27.2-31.6mm) round seatposts. This didn't quite fit for the larger diameter seatmast on my Trek Domane so I machined my own:

Holy sharp edges! My fat inner thighs tremble in fear.
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Old 05-11-24, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
Holy sharp edges! My fat inner thighs tremble in fear.
Actually you're right. That was a picture from when I first test fit the radar mount, and in a test ride I did get the occasional bit of 'shorts rub'. So I just cut the corners off at 45 degrees as shown. I've since ridden with this set up for over 2000 miles without it ever making contact with any body part. Not as clean looking as the $4 AliExpress part, but it works for me.


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Old 05-11-24, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by wayold
Actually you're right. That was a picture from when I first test fit the radar mount, and in a test ride I did get the occasional bit of 'shorts rub'. So I just cut the corners off at 45 degrees as shown. I've since ridden with this set up for over 2000 miles without it ever making contact with any body part. Not as clean looking as the $4 AliExpress part, but it works for me.
My inner thighs are fat and I had issues even with the bolt side of this mount: Amazon.com: TUSITA Seat Post Quarter Turn Mount Compatible with Garmin Varia RTL510 RTL515 RVR315 Rearview - Fit 27.2mm 30.9mm 31.6mm Bars Seatpost : Electronics
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Old 05-12-24, 02:49 PM
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I've had one for years and recently lost it, ordered a new one and found the old one under a pile of my dogs stuffed animals....dang dog. Somehow I missed that there is a phone app for the varia! I was using my fenix watch which is good but in strong winds I might not hear the beep. On the phone it's awesome and loud with a great visual on the approach! Fun fact two...my old unit won't work with the app...only the newer model which is exactly like the old one...sigh.
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Old 05-12-24, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by howaboutme
Ok. I agree w/ you but I think you missed my point. My point is similar to the post just below yours. Of course always look behind!
No doubt. However, the Varia can help you know when to look. For example if I want to turn left, and the Garmin tells me a carís there, I stay put, no need to look back, If it tells me nothingĒs there itís a good time to look, verify that, and make the move left.
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Old 05-12-24, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
No doubt. However, the Varia can help you know when to look. For example if I want to turn left, and the Garmin tells me a carís there, I stay put, no need to look back, If it tells me nothingĒs there itís a good time to look, verify that, and make the move left.
Yep, preaching to the choir except I use the Bryton Gardia 300L.
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Old 05-13-24, 11:13 AM
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I've used the Garmin Varia RTL515, and I can say I'm quite satisfied. Also, I've heard from a friend that the Wahoo Fitness RADR is similarly good.
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Old 05-13-24, 03:54 PM
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It might be age, experience, or worldview, but even for free, I'm not interested.

Even if it worked great, I don't imagine there's any way to reliably predict which drivers are going to hit me from behind and which are going to swing around and pass safely (defined as no contact). Secondly, there's the question of timing, Even in the best of worlds, with excellent accuracy, I don't believe, I can get warned soon enough to react effectively. So, I don't want to ride where I'm repetitively diving for shoulders, or tuning out false alarms. If I can't use info effectively, I don't need to have my peace disturbed.

Ask those who live with automated warning alarms, ie. jet pilots, and they'll tell you how too many alarms is as bad, or worse, as never having alarms in the first place.
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Old 05-13-24, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY

Ask those who live with automated warning alarms, ie. jet pilots, and they'll tell you how too many alarms is as bad, or worse, as never having alarms in the first place.
So true. I was flying a Cirrus SR-22 when it had an avionics failure, which normally isn't a big deal. There was no way to turn off the alarm, which was absolutely deafening, except to turn off all the power. After trying to dig out the hand held radio for a couple of minutes so we could still communicate , it turned out turned out to not be necessary as the failure turned into a serious amount of smoke in the cockpit so I turned off all the power anyway. (We were over the Miramar USMC Air Station, and I heard later they were seriously unhappy with the plane "going dark" in their airspace).

To keep this bike related, I've just acquired a Garmin Varia, and it works great from a detection standpoint, but I think it's really like to turn into a largely useless annoyance. Time will tell. Unfortunately, it's not easy to find a place to ride in San Diego without lots of cars at a reasonable hour.
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Old 05-13-24, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical
.....so I turned off all the power anyway. (We were over the Miramar USMC Air Station, and I heard later they were seriously unhappy with the plane "going dark" in their airspace).
I imagine they would have been more upset if you landed there dead stick.
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