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Old 05-13-24, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
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 fet 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.
Originally Posted by PromptCritical
... 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.
I definitely see your point about too many warnings being worse than no warning at all. While a Varia (or another rear-facing radar) cannot predict which (if any) approaching object will collide with me, I still find it invaluable for the times I have to cross traffic lanes to turn left or leave the bike lane temporarily to avoid obstructions.
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Old 05-13-24, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
I definitely see your point about too many warnings being worse than no warning at all. While a Varia (or another rear-facing radar) cannot predict which (if any) approaching object will collide with me, I still find it invaluable for the times I have to cross traffic lanes to turn left or leave the bike lane temporarily to avoid obstructions.
Yes, I totally agree with that. There is one ride that I do weekly, where that will be invaluable, and likely other similar situations.

I'll have to play with it to see what works best.
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Old 05-13-24, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
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 fet 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.
Please note that I'm not trying to change your opinion (as if that was an option). However, for those who are curious about bike radars, I'd like to share some information. In an urban area, the notification alarm is turned off, but it still appears on your bike computer. This feature is helpful when you have to deviate from your path due to obstacles. It's much more reliable than relying on a quick shoulder check or using your hearing. In addition, when you hear a truck or other vehicle approaching, it's natural to move slightly to the right if it's safe. The display shows if there are multiple vehicles behind the truck. Most people who use a radar find it helpful, and only a very few outliers regret purchasing one. This validation speaks for itself. There is a theme among a very vocal minority of BF members that anything new is unnecessary. However, in this case, a very useful tool is being missed.
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Old 05-13-24, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical
Yes, I totally agree with that. There is one ride that I do weekly, where that will be invaluable, and likely other similar situations.

I'll have to play with it to see what works best.
Prior to getting the Varia, I wasted too much time studying maps to plot routes to avoid left turns.
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Old 05-13-24, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
Please note that I'm not trying to change your opinion (as if that was an option)......
It is an option. Changing minds, or at least, providing info and broadening the knowledge base on which people form opinions is what forums are about.

So, I'm not trying to convince anyone to use or not use new tech. However, I'm not as sold as many others are. Part of that is because use of tech leads to reliance on tech, so it can become zero sum.

I agree with your point about left turns and lane changes, which I also could use help from time to time. OTOH, I don't know if and how much I'd rely on that info vs. trying to be an owl. I also don't know if the quality of the info is good enough to bet my life on.

All in all, I'm not arguing against tech, just giving my personal perspective and reminding folks to think before deciding.
‐‐-------------
Side story below, read only if you care.

Besides bicycling I engage in various "dangerous" activities, one of which is SCUBA diving. When I started we had to manually track depth and time, then use tables to manage dives.
Then, dive computers thad did that for you became popular, allowing much better dive management. The expectation was that better management would reduce dive accidents. The opposite happened, and the rate of decompression went up instead. It turns out that working somewhat blind made divers err to the side of caution. With a dive computer, divers felt empowered to work closer to line.

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Old 05-13-24, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
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.
I've not read the whole thread, so perhaps this was already answered by others...But I'll chime in, since you've described my use-case. I ride mostly on quiet rural roads, usually very quiet gravel roads, with little traffic. I have poor hearing, and there is a near-constant wind around here, and also usually the sound of my tires crushing the gravel -- all of which means that I might not hear an approaching car until it's nearly on me. For this riding, I find the Varia very useful. If I'm riding a rough road and find the best (smoothest) line in the center, or even on the left side, it feels much safer to have an alert when a vehicle approaches from the rear.

To address your concerns over the audibility of the beeping sound, I will mention that the visual display on my Edge 1040, which is on an out-front mount and so in my sight line, almost always catches my attention.

When I ride my commuter bike through town, I find the Varia far less useful -- to the point that I rarely use it. There will always be cars approaching, so I always ride all the way to the right and assume there are approaching vehicles. The Varia might offer a bit of benefit by virtue of its flashing pattern, which changes (for max visibility) as a vehicle approaches, but since I typically run two tail lights (one solid, one flashing) I'm not too worried about it.
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Old 05-13-24, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by AxxisPowers
Also, I've heard from a friend that the Wahoo Fitness RADR is similarly good.
Please provide a link, as I've never heard of this and an internet search turns up nothing.
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Old 05-14-24, 12:19 AM
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the sudden alert of the tail light flashing in itself is worth it imo. The radar adds on top of it. A single rear facing light in solid or flashing might be enough for some, but for my areas of riding you should have one steady on 200+ lumens tail light & a flash upon close range distance 200+ lumens tail light. it'll have a better chance in "waking up" a driver.
I will say this, if* you don't see me as you approach, you either are having a medical issue, intoxicated, or are deliberate in your attempt in checking off a vindictive box.
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Old 05-14-24, 04:30 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
It might be age, experience, or worldview, but even for free, I'm not interested.
Originally Posted by FBinNY
It is an option. Changing minds, or at least, providing info and broadening the knowledge base on which people form opinions is what forums are about.

So, I'm not trying to convince anyone to use or not use new tech. However, I'm not as a old as many others are. Part of that is that use of tech leads to reliance on tech, so it can become no sum.

All in all, I'm not arguing against tech, just giving my personal perspective and reminding folks to think before deciding.
‐‐-------------
A bike radar is one of those tech products that you really need to try for yourself before making up your mind either way. I was curious enough to purchase a Varia RTL515 a couple of years ago and now wouldnít want to ride without it. That doesnít mean I am dependent on it. It just means that I find the info it provides very useful and it is also a very effective rear light.

They have become very popular over the last few years for good reason and I havenít come across anyone in real life who has regretted buying one. But this is BF, so Iím fully expecting someone to hate their Varia😂
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Old 05-14-24, 11:05 AM
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So, we just finished a 20 mile ride and the Varia significantly improved my awareness. It let me know when a car was approaching so I could check my mirror.

It was also very helpful in seeing vehicles approaching on the right when they are exiting the freeway.

The app is a little kludgy and doesn’t give any indication of lateral position. Does anyone with more experience know if there is setting that will show lateral position?

Update:

We just finished a 52 mile ride, and the Varia lasted 7 hours (I left it on during lunch). On the way home, the traffic was much heavier and the alerts became almost constant, rendering it much less useful.

The lack of lane advice is disappointing, so I'm going to try the Trek CarBack. The advertising for that clearly states it give lane information. Will have to see how accurate it is.
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Old 05-14-24, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical
The app is a little kludgy and doesn’t give any indication of lateral position. Does anyone with more experience know if there is setting that will show lateral position?
The Varia detects and track vehicles based on closing speed. It cannot distinguish which lane an approaching vehicle is in; no rear facing bike radar in the market can. Implementing this additional capability would require either (a) the radar to sweep back and forth and a processor to calculate the resulting differences in the Doppler shifts or (b) adding a rear facing camera and a processor to correlate the respective data stream from the radar and the camera.
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Old 05-14-24, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
The Varia detects and track vehicles based on closing speed. It cannot distinguish which lane an approaching vehicle is in; no rear facing bike radar in the market can. Implementing this additional capability would require either (a) the radar to sweep back and forth and a processor to calculate the resulting differences in the Doppler shifts or (b) adding a rear facing camera and a processor to correlate the respective data stream from the radar and the camera.
The advertising for the Trek Carback expicitly states it can discern which lane the car is in. See minute 1:58 in this video. https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/carback/

Not that I believe much advertising, but a false claim like this would be a huge issue for Trek.
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Old 05-14-24, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
Prior to getting the Varia, I wasted too much time studying maps to plot routes to avoid left turns.
UPS does the same
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Old 05-14-24, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical
The advertising for the Trek Carback expicitly states it can discern which lane the car is in. See minute 1:58 in this video. https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/carback/

Not that I believe much advertising, but a false claim like this would be a huge issue for Trek.
I had heard that Trek has recently released a rear-facing radar but this is the first time I have seen any details. The audio says that the radar can tell whether the car is your lane or has moved over, and the visual of the app shows the car is in the next lane even though the car is only straddling the center lane in the video. I wonder if it can detect the lateral position if there are multiple vehicles approaching side-by-side.
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Old 05-14-24, 05:09 PM
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Check the GPLama youtube channel. He has a thorough review of Trek, Garmin and Bryton together. The lane feature is only on the app, which means you have to use it w/ your phone.
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Old 05-14-24, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical
The advertising for the Trek Carback expicitly states it can discern which lane the car is in. See minute 1:58 in this video. https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/carback/

Not that I believe much advertising, but a false claim like this would be a huge issue for Trek.
You might find this review video useful. He mentions the lateral lane detection on the Trek, but he didnít think it was effective and that feature only works with the phone app, not cycle computers.

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Old 05-14-24, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by howaboutme
Check the GPLama youtube channel. He has a thorough review of Trek, Garmin and Bryton together. The lane feature is only on the app, which means you have to use it w/ your phone.
I am still curious how the Trek CarBack accomplishes the lane or lateral position feature. One can imagine the consequences of getting this wrong.
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Old 05-14-24, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
You might find this review video useful. He mentions the lateral lane detection on the Trek, but he didnít think it was effective and that feature only works with the phone app, not cycle computers.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=z481-qOzQn0
Great video - thanks!

Sounds like the CarBack is bit disappointing. I'll stick with the Varia for now.
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Old 05-14-24, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical
Great video - thanks!

Sounds like the CarBack is bit disappointing. I'll stick with the Varia for now.
Yeah, the CarBack doesnít appear to offer any real world advantages over the similarly priced Varia. despite claims of longer detection range and lane position. The Varia seems more sorted, which is not surprising since itís now a 3rd gen product. I expect the CarBack will probably improve with updates. In practice they both appear to work almost identically when paired with a Garmin computer.

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Old 05-14-24, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical
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 ...
Garmin or Avidyne avionics?
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Old 05-14-24, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe
Garmin or Avidyne avionics?
Avidyne
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Old 05-15-24, 04:05 AM
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Soon enough we'll be roped into an agency paid by taxes that monitors pov ground transportation... ATC... Automotive Traffic Control

I don't foresee a free future anytime soon...
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Old 05-15-24, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Troul
Soon enough we'll be roped into an agency paid by taxes that monitors pov ground transportation... ATC... Automotive Traffic Control

I don't foresee a free future anytime soon...
Yep, that's when my '69 Alfa Romeo becomes my daily driver. Pretty tough to monitor a car with no electronics.
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Old 05-15-24, 08:42 AM
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I found this one on Amazon: angled for a 73 degree STA and mounts the Varia low enough to clear the saddle bag but above the rear wheel.

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Old 05-15-24, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
The Varia detects and track vehicles based on closing speed. It cannot distinguish which lane an approaching vehicle is in; no rear facing bike radar in the market can. Implementing this additional capability would require either (a) the radar to sweep back and forth and a processor to calculate the resulting differences in the Doppler shifts or (b) adding a rear facing camera and a processor to correlate the respective data stream from the radar and the camera.
I think the Varia is great for as far as it goes, but it's not infallible. There's the lane issue, there's cars disappearing off radar when they track your speed, and, in my experience, there are the albeit-rare instances where the radar simply fails to register a car even when it's plainly visible in the rear-view. I think radar in its current form powerfully augments, but doesn't replace, a rear-view mirror and/or a look behind before you maneuver.
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