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Anyone have a Garmin Varia tail light/radar?

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Anyone have a Garmin Varia tail light/radar?

Old 11-05-19, 10:00 PM
  #1  
rozman
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Anyone have a Garmin Varia tail light/radar?

Curious to hear what people think of the Varia radar tail light.
Like it?
Does it integrate well with the 530/520/etc?
Does it (the 530, or the tail light?) beep when a car comes into view of the radar?
thx
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Old 11-05-19, 10:36 PM
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Seattle Forrest
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Used to. Bike got stolen, radar with it. Immensely useful. Almost never missed a car. It shows you where the traffic behind you is, and the gaps, so you know when to merge with fewer looks back. That makes it useful in the city. Also great in rural places.
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Old 11-05-19, 10:43 PM
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yes
yes
yes

I never ride without it
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Old 11-06-19, 01:38 AM
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eja_ bottecchia
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Used to. Bike got stolen, radar with it. Immensely useful. Almost never missed a car. It shows you where the traffic behind you is, and the gaps, so you know when to merge with fewer looks back. That makes it useful in the city. Also great in rural places.
Sorry about your stolen bike.
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Old 11-06-19, 07:06 AM
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eja_ bottecchia
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This is what the Garmin Varia and the Cicliq 6 video camera look like mounted on my bike. As I mentioned in another post, the combination of the radar and rear camera gives me a certain measure of security.

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Old 11-06-19, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
Sorry about your stolen bike.
Thanks. It was a few years ago, and I'm mostly over it. It wasn't a great bike, but it had great wheels on it. A junkie broke into my car while I was in the bathroom and pulled the bike out through the window.

I was due for an upgrade and got the bike I really wanted a couple months later. It was a depressing couple months.

I wouldn't have parted with the radar unit willingly.
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Old 11-06-19, 02:15 PM
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eja_ bottecchia
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Thanks. It was a few years ago, and I'm mostly over it. It wasn't a great bike, but it had great wheels on it. A junkie broke into my car while I was in the bathroom and pulled the bike out through the window.

I was due for an upgrade and got the bike I really wanted a couple months later. It was a depressing couple months.

I wouldn't have parted with the radar unit willingly.
Now that I remember, you did mention this a while back, right after it happened. It does suck.

Must have been the same junkie who stole my Thule bike rack.

A few years back another suspected junkie broke into my daughter's station wagon and stole all of her very nice snowboarding equipment, board, jacket, pants, helmet, the works.

It had been a birthday present from me. she was devastated because she thought it was her fault.

I replaced the gear and told her that is part of life in the Big City, live and learn. But if I had caught the SOB who made my daughter unhappy, using drugs would have been the least of his problems.
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Old 11-06-19, 06:49 PM
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I have had the Varia about a month and I have maybe 15-16 rides with it. I use it with a Wahoo Bolt. I ride with a friend once a week who has a 520 and I also pair it to that when we ride. I use the Varia as a tool for situational awareness so my observations are from that perspective. By situational awareness I mean attention to conditions and potential threats as a means to avoid crashes and collisions. That is my definition and you can quibble with it, but it is what I mean when I say the Varia is one tool for situational awareness. I also ride with a Take A Look mirror and for me the combination of the mirror and the Varia improves my situational awareness.

My rides are often on a combination of rural, suburban, and urban roads. On rural roads -- often narrow and where 0-5 cars pass me in 5 miles or so -- I use the Varia as a vehicle alert and the mirror to examine vehicle trajectory and behavior. This means I can take the lane where there is less debris and it also allows me take the lane on descents with awareness of any traffic behind. With a lower volume of traffic I know when to take a look and I can pay more attention to the potholes in front of me.

On suburban roads -- where maybe 10 cars pass in 5 miles or so -- the Varia is useful to let me know when to look in the mirror to assess vehicle behavior. With this lower volume of traffic mirror checks would otherwise be less frequent, so Varia alerts are prompts to check what is behind.

On urban roads where there is a larger volume of traffic the Varia is less useful because the alerts are so frequent. However, there are a few routes where traffic lights result in spurts of cars and periods of no traffic. So, it is helpful to know when there is a spurt of traffic that needs attention.

The combination of the Varia and mirror help to keep track of what is going on behind and that improves my situational awareness. I’m not a fan of the Varia light output, but it is better than northing if you do not ride with anything else (I use a Dinotte tail light).

I have a couple of issues with the Varia/Wahoo Bolt implementation. First, a beep sounds when a vehicle is identified, but above 15mph the wind and road noise makes the beep inaudible, but then I have aging ears. My friend with the Garmin 520 has no trouble hearing the beeps on his device. The Bolt also has a row of LEDs that come on orange when a vehicle is identified, then turns red as it is closing, and green when it passes. In bright sunlight, the orange lights are nearly as hard to see as the beep is hard to hear. Still, all in all, it is a pretty useful device for me.
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Old 11-09-19, 04:44 AM
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Question

Originally Posted by rozman View Post
Curious to hear what people think of the Varia radar tail light.
Did you read all the existing threads?
Garminís Varia light and radar
Garmin Varia RTL510 and saddlebags
Garmin Varia Radar
Garmin Varia? Useful?
Garmin Varia Radar light - radar-only option?
garmin varia help
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Old 11-09-19, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by angerdan View Post
Did you read all the existing threads?
Thanks for the links!
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Old 11-10-19, 12:32 PM
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I also have an RTL 510 connected to a Whaoo Bolt. It was a birthday present from my wife and I use it every time I ride on roads. I used it a few weeks ago on a 220 mile, cross state ride and it never failed to pick up a car behind me. Worked flawlessly the entire time. The only thing I don't like about it is the way it mounts to your seat post. Depending on the size of your saddle bag, your seat post may not be able to accommodate both the radar and the saddle bag to where the radar isn't obstructed by the saddle bag. With a little ingenuity, you can easily make a mounting plate that you can attach the twist mount to and slide it into the loop on your saddle bag. It actually works better on the saddle bag than on the seat post.


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Old 11-10-19, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by metalheart44 View Post
I have had the Varia about a month and I have maybe 15-16 rides with it. I use it with a Wahoo Bolt. ..... I have a couple of issues with the Varia/Wahoo Bolt implementation. First, a beep sounds when a vehicle is identified, but above 15mph the wind and road noise makes the beep inaudible, but then I have aging ears. My friend with the Garmin 520 has no trouble hearing the beeps on his device. The Bolt also has a row of LEDs that come on orange when a vehicle is identified, then turns red as it is closing, and green when it passes. In bright sunlight, the orange lights are nearly as hard to see as the beep is hard to hear. Still, all in all, it is a pretty useful device for me.
Odd! I use my Varia with a Bolt, as well, and have zero problems hearing the audible alarms or have issues seeing the LEDs. I seldom ride on roads using ear buds, but I can hear the alarms even with ear buds in. I'm 73 and also have chronic tinnitus, which certainly doesn't help my hearing.
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Old 11-10-19, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
Odd! I use my Varia with a Bolt, as well, and have zero problems hearing the audible alarms or have issues seeing the LEDs. I seldom ride on roads using ear buds, but I can hear the alarms even with ear buds in. I'm 73 and also have chronic tinnitus, which certainly doesn't help my hearing.
Your young age explains the difference in hearing . I also have chronic tinnitus, since about the age of 35, but the issue for me is hearing high pitched beeps. I don't hear the beeps on the kitchen oven and any number of other such devices, it is just the nature of my hearing loss. When wind noise is low, I can hear the Bolt beep, but as I noted, anything about about 15mph and that noise is washed out. I might try a Roam and see if the beep is any more audible for me, but even if it is not, I still find the Varia useful for how I ride.
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Old 11-11-19, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by metalheart44 View Post
Your young age explains the difference in hearing .....
Why thank you sir! It's been a very long time since someone called me "Young Man."
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