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Garminís Varia light and radar

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Garminís Varia light and radar

Old 04-08-20, 07:16 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Do you think it would be worth having if I won't use a head unit, just my watch?

I don't mount the watch on the bars. Even if I wanted to they wouldn't really be amenable to it, and that would give up the buzz which is very noticeable on the wrist.
When my wife and I ride together she connects the radar to her Vivoactive 3. She doesnít use a head unit but the watch vibrates and shows a dot on the side. Itís red when a car approaches, amber as it passes then beeps+vibrates and turns green once the car passes.

I use a Wahoo Bolt and am jealous of the watch interface. Although the beep from the Bolt is very loud

I wouldnít hesitate to use it with a watch only.
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Old 04-08-20, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by RGMN View Post
I've got to figure out how to get that working with my Edge 130. I don't know how many times I've finished a ride, shut off the Edge, and find the Varia blinking a blue light a few hours later.
That's the way it works. Varia needs to be left in BT detect mode or whatever it's called. It doesn't draw much power and can go for days. But it is a little annoying.
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Old 05-04-20, 06:07 PM
  #53  
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I've never used the lighting network thing. Not sure how it works with a watch? Anybody know, or do I have to read the manual? (I googled it but everything that's coming up if for Edge units not watches.)
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Old 05-06-20, 12:26 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by tntyz View Post
That's the way it works. Varia needs to be left in BT detect mode or whatever it's called. It doesn't draw much power and can go for days. But it is a little annoying.
Actually, you can press the power button for two seconds and the Varia will power off. The blinking blue light means it's in standby mode.
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Old 05-08-20, 02:42 PM
  #55  
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Like those who like the RTL510, I like the RTL510. It's a situational awareness multiplier for me for certain. If I've a complaint, it is the mounting system. The 1/4-turn lock seems good enough but the single band (or even doubling it) just seems undependable. It's a fair bit of money to just trust to rubber bands. Add to it the lack of solid fitting to non-round/non-aero seat posts like the Specialized Pave and I just don't have confidence in the mount.

I've found a number of saddle options based on 3D printers and a bar that mounts to a Specialized SWAT mount which I've ordered. Once installed it will place the unit as high as practical and allow adjustment to pure vertical. That comes from a GoPro like mounting option. Both of those factors will lend themselves to making the most of the claimed 140 meter range.

However, these items are coming from overseas so I expect a few weeks in transit.

In the short term I cut a channel in the seat post block of the mount and threaded two zip ties for my own peace-of-mind. Good enough until my new hardware arrives.

I like the RTL510 a lot!



Zip tie modification.

Last edited by cybirr; 05-08-20 at 02:43 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-09-20, 06:31 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by cybirr View Post
Like those who like the RTL510, I like the RTL510. It's a situational awareness multiplier for me for certain. If I've a complaint, it is the mounting system. The 1/4-turn lock seems good enough but the single band (or even doubling it) just seems undependable. It's a fair bit of money to just trust to rubber bands. Add to it the lack of solid fitting to non-round/non-aero seat posts like the Specialized Pave and I just don't have confidence in the mount.

I've found a number of saddle options based on 3D printers and a bar that mounts to a Specialized SWAT mount which I've ordered. Once installed it will place the unit as high as practical and allow adjustment to pure vertical. That comes from a GoPro like mounting option. Both of those factors will lend themselves to making the most of the claimed 140 meter range.

However, these items are coming from overseas so I expect a few weeks in transit.
It seemed very dangerous to me too. I found this post mount on Amazon and it shipped and arrived within just a couple of days. Seemed very well made. I've yet to break one of those oring rubber bands that holds so many things to bars and seat post, but they do seem like an accident waiting to happen. I liked this mount much better.

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Old 05-09-20, 08:09 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I've never used the lighting network thing. Not sure how it works with a watch? Anybody know, or do I have to read the manual? (I googled it but everything that's coming up if for Edge units not watches.)
It is made primarily for head/tail light display and control. My Edge 130 "establishes a network" when I turn it and the radar on. However, the 130 is rather primitive; the only thing it displays is the battery level for the radar (and of course the radar signals themselves). On higher-level Edges, I think it allows control of various lights through one of the optional downloadable "apps." I was thinking of getting those little Bontrager lights so I could geek out with a light network, but then I discovered the only thing the Edge would do is tell me they were on or off.

So, unless your watch allows you to download and implement the same sorts of apps, I suspect it is limited to Edge units.
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Old 05-10-20, 06:29 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by cybirr View Post
Like those who like the RTL510, I like the RTL510. It's a situational awareness multiplier for me for certain. If I've a complaint, it is the mounting system. The 1/4-turn lock seems good enough but the single band (or even doubling it) just seems undependable. It's a fair bit of money to just trust to rubber bands. Add to it the lack of solid fitting to non-round/non-aero seat posts like the Specialized Pave and I just don't have confidence in the mount.

I've found a number of saddle options based on 3D printers and a bar that mounts to a Specialized SWAT mount which I've ordered. Once installed it will place the unit as high as practical and allow adjustment to pure vertical. That comes from a GoPro like mounting option. Both of those factors will lend themselves to making the most of the claimed 140 meter range.

However, these items are coming from overseas so I expect a few weeks in transit.

In the short term I cut a channel in the seat post block of the mount and threaded two zip ties for my own peace-of-mind. Good enough until my new hardware arrives.

I like the RTL510 a lot!



Zip tie modification.
My Colnago has a round seat post so when I got my Varia, I used the mount that came with it. I also have a saddlebag that takes up pretty much the entire height of the seat post. To mount mine, I had to lift my saddlebag high enough to get the radar underneath it. The problem I was having was that on bumpy roads, the saddlebag would bounce on the radar causing it to turn to the left or right of center. If the radar turned to the right, I would lose any contact with approaching cars. So my DIY solution was an old gas valve key I had lying around. The smaller O-ring that came with the Varia is used to secure the mount to saddlebag. I can easily move the Varia from bike to bike without having to have multiple mounts or remove an existing mount.


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Old 05-10-20, 08:47 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
My Colnago has a round seat post so when I got my Varia, I used the mount that came with it. I also have a saddlebag that takes up pretty much the entire height of the seat post. To mount mine, I had to lift my saddlebag high enough to get the radar underneath it. The problem I was having was that on bumpy roads, the saddlebag would bounce on the radar causing it to turn to the left or right of center. If the radar turned to the right, I would lose any contact with approaching cars. So my DIY solution was an old gas valve key I had lying around. The smaller O-ring that came with the Varia is used to secure the mount to saddlebag. I can easily move the Varia from bike to bike without having to have multiple mounts or remove an existing mount.
I have this problem (short legs), the Viara and that saddle bag, so I am extremely interested in your solution. I have no idea what a gas valve key is. Would you be willing to post more details?
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Old 05-10-20, 09:04 AM
  #60  
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What I have done that makes it work very well with a saddle bag is to get a GoPro style mount that fits between the saddle rails, use a curving GoPro extension piece which then attaches to a Garmin GoPro to qtr turn mount. This works very well and my Silca seat pack fits perfectly behind it. The Varia winds up slightly below the edge of the saddle, right in front of the seat pack and aimed appropriately for drivers to see. You can get mounts like this from Amazon that work.


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Old 05-10-20, 09:41 AM
  #61  
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@JohnJ80 Thanks. I many even have all of those parts.
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Old 05-10-20, 02:24 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I have this problem (short legs), the Viara and that saddle bag, so I am extremely interested in your solution. I have no idea what a gas valve key is. Would you be willing to post more details?
A gas valve key is flat, forked piece of metal that is used to open/close old style natural gas valves. I've had one sitting in my toolbox for years and finally found a use for it. What I did was to cut off the forks of the key, removed the twist mount from the Varia's factory mount and marked and drilled two holes on the key where the twist lock mount was going to go.I used the mounting screws from the Varia mount to connect the twist mount. Since the key's handle was longer than the radar, I cut the key to the length of the radar. I'm assuming you won't have one of these valve keys lying around but you can use a T-bracket (from Home Depot or hardware store) or any stiff piece of metal you have lying around. A T-bracket is what my buddy used and it works quite well. I would measure the inside width of the light loop on the saddlebag to make sure you get a T-bracket that fits snug into the loop. Here's what the mount looks like.



The type of T-bracket that my buddy used. Cut off any access metal that sticks out beyond the twist lock mount to make it look nicer. Painting it is optional. What I like about having it on a saddlebag is, as mentioned in my last post, that it can be moved from bike to bike without having to remove the mount or have multiple mounts. Simply slide it out of one saddlebag and slide it into another.

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Old 05-10-20, 02:42 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
@JohnJ80 Thanks. I many even have all of those parts.
The other piece that isnít easy to see is the curved extension piece denoted by the arrow. Thereís a million of them available through Amazon for cheap. It goes in that orientation from the GoPro rail mount. The top edge of the seat pack tucks up underneath. Comes
out pretty clean looking and compact.


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Old 05-11-20, 06:05 PM
  #64  
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Cool. I think I have all of the parts (if only I can find them).
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Old 05-11-20, 06:08 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
A gas valve key ... [or]... a T-bracket
OK, thanks. I get it now. In fact, I did something similar with my rear pannier rack on one bike.
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Old 05-11-20, 10:10 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
It is made primarily for head/tail light display and control. My Edge 130 "establishes a network" when I turn it and the radar on. However, the 130 is rather primitive; the only thing it displays is the battery level for the radar (and of course the radar signals themselves). On higher-level Edges, I think it allows control of various lights through one of the optional downloadable "apps." I was thinking of getting those little Bontrager lights so I could geek out with a light network, but then I discovered the only thing the Edge would do is tell me they were on or off.

So, unless your watch allows you to download and implement the same sorts of apps, I suspect it is limited to Edge units.
Thanks for this info.

Turns out my watch can wake the Varia from standby mode, and tell me about cars. But that's it. I can't even seem to get the battery level in the radar unit. It does run apps, I'll look through them. But I guess when you get right down to it, that's all I really need.

I forgot over the last few years what it's like to ride with one. And traffic is still light here. I'm riding out in the lane where the pavement is better (less cracked) and there isn't as much debris. The thing tells me well in advance of when I need to move over.
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Old 05-12-20, 10:06 AM
  #67  
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I just bought a Garmin 530, and y’all have got me thinking about the Varia. Seems suited for my usual routes, which involve occasional vehicles but not the hustle and bustle of constant urban traffic.
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Old 05-12-20, 10:29 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I just bought a Garmin 530, and yíall have got me thinking about the Varia. Seems suited for my usual routes, which involve occasional vehicles but not the hustle and bustle of constant urban traffic.
It definitely shines in a more rural/non urban setting for sure. Thatís mostly where I ride.

That said, itís also highly useful in urban areas be cause you can see how many cars are back there (most of the time) so you have an idea of when you can take the lane or release the lane. I would note that it doesnít replace a look a back and it is synergistic with a mirror. I use the tiny Specchio mirror on my glasses and scan it just as if I were driving a car. The Varia Radar is great to interrupt my scan since I know that there is a car approaching. Since I ride in a predominantly rural area on high speed roads, thatís the time to look back because the speed of approach. The Varia gives me about 5-6 seconds of warning and thatís enough to see if Iím going to be ok or have to evade.

Iíve been riding with the Hammerhead Karoo as of late and itís implementation of the Varia Radar is superb and class leading, IMO. I also have the Wahoo ELEMNT and an Edge 1000. All of them work well.
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Old 05-13-20, 06:17 AM
  #69  
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FWIW, a new RTL515 model just released. Has compatibility with apps and offers some lighting adjustments suited for group riding.
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/69...n/010-02376-00
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Old 05-13-20, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
FWIW, a new RTL515 model just released. Has compatibility with apps and offers some lighting adjustments suited for group riding.
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/69...n/010-02376-00
Interesting! The Peloton Mode sounds like a nice upgrade and could come in handy for group rides. One thing that would be nice is if they listed the compatible apps that will currently work with the radar.
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Old 05-13-20, 10:43 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
FWIW, a new RTL515 model just released. Has compatibility with apps and offers some lighting adjustments suited for group riding.
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/69...n/010-02376-00
basically adds BTLE support and one lighting mode which is not particularly useful unless you can change it easily from the head unit. Looking around to find the prior unit at $129 is probably the smarter play.

also a light without a light. I thought that was interesting. That could be dropped into a jersey pocket for operation if you have another light or donít use a light.
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Old 06-06-20, 05:06 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by RGMN View Post
I've got to figure out how to get that working with my Edge 130. I don't know how many times I've finished a ride, shut off the Edge, and find the Varia blinking a blue light a few hours later.
Originally Posted by tntyz View Post
That's the way it works. Varia needs to be left in BT detect mode or whatever it's called. It doesn't draw much power and can go for days. But it is a little annoying.
Originally Posted by John_V View Post
Actually, you can press the power button for two seconds and the Varia will power off. The blinking blue light means it's in standby mode.
So I went out and got a Bontrager Ion 200 RT so I would have a complete daytime lighting system controllable from my Garmin 130. The real fun has now started - on more than a few occasions I've found either RTL510 or the Ion 200 RT even thought the 130 was off. Yesterday I couldn't get the Bontrager to turn on at the start of the ride. Then I figured out the battery was dead. It must have been on all night. Today the RTL510 was on, blinking away, 4 hours after I finished my ride, even though it was off when I powered off the 130 at the end of the ride. I'm starting to think the only solution is to completely power off both the RTL510 and the Ion 200 RT after every ride.
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Old 06-07-20, 07:08 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by RGMN
..... Today the RTL510 was on, blinking away, 4 hours after I finished my ride, even though it was off when I powered off the 130 at the end of the ride. I'm starting to think the only solution is to completely power off both the RTL510 and the Ion 200 RT after every ride.

On page 7 of the RTL510 Owners Manual (PDF) it states the following:

Up to 6 hrs in solid mode
Up to 6 hrs in night flash mode
Up to 15 hrs in day flash mode
Up to 5 mo in standby mode

I use mine exclusively in day flash mode and I don't think I've even come close to 15 hours of battery life. I think 8 to 10 hrs is pretty standard for me. The last time I had it on standby for any length of time was when I forgot to turn it off and it was in standby overnight. If I recall correctly, this was my third ride after a recharge, Next morning, I went for a ride, turned on the radar and immediately got a Low Battery warning on my Bolt. I would love to know how they calculate the battery life on these things because nothing I've used ever gets near their "up to" hours.
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Old 06-07-20, 07:59 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
On page 7 of the RTL510 Owners Manual (PDF) it states the following:

Up to 6 hrs in solid mode
Up to 6 hrs in night flash mode
Up to 15 hrs in day flash mode
[b}Up to 5 mo in standby mode

I use mine exclusively in day flash mode and I don't think I've even come close to 15 hours of battery life. I think 8 to 10 hrs is pretty standard for me. The last time I had it on standby for any length of time was when I forgot to turn it off and it was in standby overnight. If I recall correctly, this was my third ride after a recharge, Next morning, I went for a ride, turned on the radar and immediately got a Low Battery warning on my Bolt. I would love to know how they calculate the battery life on these things because nothing I've used ever gets near their "up to" hours.
Maybe the hours are achievable if only used as a light, and the unit is unpaired with any radar device?.. and also on a completely empty road for the full 15 hours, so it never gets a hit on a car and has to transmit anything? IOW, turn it on and stick it in your sock drawer...
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Old 06-07-20, 08:56 AM
  #75  
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I added a tether loop as added protection in case the rubber band fails.
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