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Varia on long rides

Old 05-25-21, 08:08 AM
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Spellscape
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Varia on long rides

Hi all
anyone using Varia radar on long (14 hours and more) rides ? Any tips its battery only 17 h charge
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Old 05-25-21, 08:18 AM
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I don't think the Varia has enough battery to last more than 3-4 hours on a single charge. However, I just tested mine out and it *will* operate while its charging. So your best bet is some sort of portable power supply. If it were me I'd probably use a compact power bank, stash it in my saddle bag and run a charging cable to the Varia. Something like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005X1Y7I2...ogi&th=1&psc=1

A generator hub might be another option but I've never used one and I don't know if they provide enough power to simultaneously charge and operate the device.
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Old 05-25-21, 09:50 AM
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Which version of Varia? The original, current version with light or current version without light?

The current version with the light actually is expected by Garmin to go 16 hours if in "day flash" mode.
  • Battery life: 6 hours solid, 8 hours peloton, 6 hours night flash, 16 hours day flash
The current version without a light only is expected by Garmin to last 7 hours.
  • Battery life: 7 hours
My Son uses the original version and I know it's run for at least 4 maybe 5 hours. But don't know what mode settings. Nor do I know if it might have gone longer.
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Old 05-25-21, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
The current version with the light actually is expected by Garmin to go 16 hours if in "day flash" mode.
  • Battery life: 6 hours solid, 8 hours peloton, 6 hours night flash, 16 hours day flash
Ah I didn't realize this, I stand corrected. Thanks! I bought mine a year or so back and for some reason I had 3-4 hours stuck in my head. I might've been thinking of my old Cycliq camera/light that I no longer use because it died after a year or so.

At any rate, I did confirm that the Varia will run while charging.
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Old 05-25-21, 01:22 PM
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New one. I want to buy it but not sure if it will work for me
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Old 05-25-21, 05:19 PM
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You can put a small battery pack in your saddle bag and run a USB cable to the Varia.
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Old 05-25-21, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Spellscape View Post
New one. I want to buy it but not sure if it will work for me
Are all your rides so long the battery will go dead?

Varia's sort of nice to have IMO on the open road when you might get to daydreaming about how well you'd have done in the TdF or Veulta if you'd known back in the day that you could have gotten paid to ride a bike. (at least that's my daydream)

When it's all peaceful and quiet, other than the wind in your ears and you are cruising along, that little beep from your head unit when a car is way back there and approaching fast is nice to have.

In urban traffic, Varia might annoy and confuse you with all the beeping and alerts on your head unit.

Note what I said about the lighted version of Varia lasting longer on the battery than the unlighted version. Not sure why Garmin would do that. Maybe LED's don't add much to the cost as does the higher capacity battery.
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Old 05-30-21, 12:17 PM
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What's the thing DCRainmaker says about the Varia? "Only two kinds of people when it comes to Varia: Those that love it and those that haven't tried it." (paraphrased but close).
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Old 05-30-21, 09:09 PM
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I have a 1030 and found the Bike Lights Control app allows me to turn the light off or other function. The radar works with the light off. Still messing with it wondering if the light will come on when it sees a car and will
last longer.
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Old 05-31-21, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
You can put a small battery pack in your saddle bag and run a USB cable to the Varia.
Yup, something like this:
Amazon.com: Anker PowerCore 5000 Portable Charger, Ultra-Compact 5000mAh External Battery with Fast-Charging Technology, Power Bank for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy and More
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Old 05-31-21, 04:45 PM
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To maximize the battery on my Varia radar, I turn off the light on the radar, and use a separate bike light (Cygolite Hotshot!)
To turn off the Varia light:
Settings -> Sensor -> Lights -> Network Options -> Light Mode -> Individual
Settings -> Sensor -> Lights -> Radar -> Light Mode -> Off
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Old 06-02-21, 11:24 PM
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I have two and switch when the first one runs out of battery. It's pretty small and lightweight, so no problems throwing it in a jersey pocket.
The only negative is the Edge doesn't automatically recognize the second one; I have to find it in the sensor menu and manually connect to it.
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Old 06-03-21, 02:54 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
What's the thing DCRainmaker says about the Varia? "Only two kinds of people when it comes to Varia: Those that love it and those that haven't tried it." (paraphrased but close).
pretty much spot on. count me among the skeptical converts. got one this february and it's great. haven't been out with it for longer than six hours tho...
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Old 06-03-21, 03:26 AM
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How loud is the beep on a Garmin 1030 when a car approaches? Can it be heard at 25-30 mph?
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Old 06-03-21, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
How loud is the beep on a Garmin 1030 when a car approaches? Can it be heard at 25-30 mph?
They seem louder than the beeps from my Edge 530. My son uses a Edge 1030 plus. When I ride with him, I hear the beeps from his 1030 on his bike better than the beeps from the 530 on my own bike.

Don't know if it's a volume thing or a frequency thing. I have a little hearing loss at some frequencies. So electronic beeps and alarms that don't have a full sound spectrum are difficult for me to hear sometimes.
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Old 06-03-21, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
They seem louder than the beeps from my Edge 530. My son uses a Edge 1030 plus. When I ride with him, I hear the beeps from his 1030 on his bike better than the beeps from the 530 on my own bike.

Don't know if it's a volume thing or a frequency thing. I have a little hearing loss at some frequencies. So electronic beeps and alarms that don't have a full sound spectrum are difficult for me to hear sometimes.
So, it is just a standard beep. Nothing special because a car is coming. Thanks. That is not sufficient for my needs. Glad I asked.
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Old 06-03-21, 02:19 PM
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Depends on your hearing, and possibly your choice of helmet since that creates wind noise close to your ears. With a Giro Atmos Synthe it's easily audible for me up to 25 mph or so, but around 30 mph or above it's definitely inaudible and I find myself glancing down on occasion to see what its current status is.
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Old 06-03-21, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
So, it is just a standard beep. Nothing special because a car is coming. Thanks. That is not sufficient for my needs. Glad I asked.
My watch vibrates noticably on my wrist when there's a car behind me.
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Old 06-03-21, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
So, it is just a standard beep. Nothing special because a car is coming. Thanks. That is not sufficient for my needs. Glad I asked.
Well you only ask how loud is the beep. You didn't ask if it was a standard beep or a premium beep. <grin>

But if you'd explain what your needs are maybe someone can assist you.

As mentioned with the phone app it can be paired to a watch. I think elsewhere I read someone had it paired to hearing aids. So if you use headphones of any sort, you ought to be able to get it through them.

My son has Varia Vison, which is the heads up display that clips to your sunglass arm. I'm pretty sure he gets visual alerts from the Varia radar on it. Garmin discontinued Varia Vision though. Sad, I sort of wanted one, lot of useful stuff it can show you without having to look down at your Garmin Edge while riding.
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Old 06-03-21, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
So, it is just a standard beep. Nothing special because a car is coming. Thanks. That is not sufficient for my needs. Glad I asked.
It's a unique beep different than beeps for other notifications. I have minimal hearing in my right ear but don't have any trouble hearing normally including going down hills at up to 60kph. On the flats if there's a strong headwind it can be harder to hear sometimes but it's rare I don't hear the beeble.
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Old 06-03-21, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
So, it is just a standard beep. Nothing special because a car is coming. Thanks. That is not sufficient for my needs. Glad I asked.
You also get a visual cue on your Edge when a car approaches.
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Old 06-03-21, 08:43 PM
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Thanks for digging the link up.

Everybody should have one of these, Varia or no. It will let you charge your phone and other things in an emergency.
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Old 06-04-21, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by sfrider View Post
I have two and switch when the first one runs out of battery. It's pretty small and lightweight, so no problems throwing it in a jersey pocket.

The only negative is the Edge doesn't automatically recognize the second one; I have to find it in the sensor menu and manually connect to it.
I was going to say the same thing. Buy 2. Of course that cost more than my bike.

That said I am not impressed by the security of the charging port for external charging.

An electronics insurance policy might pay off with a search for a low profile/magnetic plug, as well.


Same issue of needing a tether attachment point for the varia rear, for those of us with little faith in rubber bands.
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Old 06-04-21, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
So, it is just a standard beep. Nothing special because a car is coming. Thanks. That is not sufficient for my needs. Glad I asked.
You really ought to watch some YouTube reviews instead of drawing conclusions from bits of information because that is not accurate at all.
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Old 06-04-21, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
You really ought to watch some YouTube reviews instead of drawing conclusions from bits of information because that is not accurate at all.
I had read plenty of reviews and watched videos. The salient missing information was whether Garmin increased the volume or tone of the warning beep compared to other beeps off the 1030, 810 or whatever unit it is paired to. I got that answer. I won't be looking at little dots on my Garmin 1030 to monitor approaching cars. The beep is the critical warning for me. The standard beep is not sufficient for my riding. I am not deaf or hard of hearing, I tend to ride much faster than most riders and the wind noise makes it difficult to hear Garmin's anemic beep.

If you have information contrary, please let me know.

How hard would it have been for Garmin to provide a volume setting and a selectable tone for something as important as the warning of an approaching vehicle

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