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Rear facing camera or radar

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Rear facing camera or radar

Old 09-05-19, 09:15 AM
  #51  
ksryder
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Just pulled the trigger on the Varia yesterday. I have a friend who works at Garmin so he can get me the employee discount. Now that Wahoo has updated the firmware I can use it with my computer. I have several riding companions that have one and they all think its great. For the type of riding around here -- country roads, low traffic, but high speeds, it's perfect because it actually lets you know when there is traffic. For city riding, maybe not so useful.

I also own Cycliq cameras, front and rear. First generation so they're both pretty bulky. The front stopped working after about a year and I didn't even bother trying to contact Cycliq customer support since it was out of warranty and I haven't heard a single positive thing about their support. I don't know if the rear camera still works, I haven't even tried it in months. It was just too big and bulky and I got tired of messing around with it. The video quality was decent although *knock on wood* I never had to use it to prove anything. It's also of somewhat limited value in my state because we don't have front license plates here.

If cameras were smaller and less fussy and had better longevity I'd try them again. Not super impressed with Cycliq, though.
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Old 09-05-19, 02:25 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by ridelikeaturtle View Post
I read a lot of statements saying, "it's great"; but it's not clear how. OK, so there's a car coming behind you, wonderful. Now what? Is that it?

When I go through the city, there's *always* a car behind you. Whenever I move lane position, first I look.

I don't see where this device - though technologically effective and certainly interesting - is doing the cyclist any favors.
The favor it does is, it detects vehicle(s) up to 140 meters back and can track up to 8 vehicles with a visualization of where they are in relation to you and to each other as little dots on a bar (scaled to fit the length of your screen of course). That means you are aware of them before you can hear them.

To to see it in action, you do need to check the u-tube videos so you can have a better idea on the “how” you so insistently keep asking.
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Old 09-05-19, 02:29 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
Just pulled the trigger on the Varia yesterday......

Now that Wahoo has updated the firmware I can use it with my computer.
A word of caution; early testers cautioned that the “bar” scale cars are shown is the full screen height, but detected cars only show up on the top half of the bar. I believe wahoo is aware and are expected to address it with a further update.
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Old 09-05-19, 03:40 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
I just set it up on my Edge 520. You probably need to go into pairing mode first to make it show up as a new sensor.
I'll give it one more shot by adding it as a new sensor, but I'm pretty sure I would have seen the option first time around.

Edit: ya, doesn't work still. I guess for some reason the 820 doesn't support that function.

Last edited by Princess_Allez; 09-05-19 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 09-06-19, 11:02 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by kissTheApex View Post
The favor it does is, it detects vehicle(s) up to 140 meters back and can track up to 8 vehicles with a visualization of where they are in relation to you and to each other as little dots on a bar (scaled to fit the length of your screen of course). That means you are aware of them before you can hear them.

To to see it in action, you do need to check the u-tube videos so you can have a better idea on the “how” you so insistently keep asking.
And you can distinguish between individual cars, and gauge their rate of approach - which your ears definately can't tell you. But I guess the takeaway is that unless it can magically cloak you in an impenetrable bubble of perpetual happiness, he's not impressed.
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Old 09-06-19, 11:35 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
I'll give it one more shot by adding it as a new sensor, but I'm pretty sure I would have seen the option first time around.

Edit: ya, doesn't work still. I guess for some reason the 820 doesn't support that function.
If you already added the varia as a radar first and are trying to set it up as a light network, it does not work. Remove it as a radar sensor and add it as a light first. That way you can successfully create the light network with all its advantages (automatically turn on and off with the Garmin. After the light network is successfully created, add the varia as a radar.
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Old 09-06-19, 11:47 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by bladehack View Post
If you already added the varia as a radar first and are trying to set it up as a light network, it does not work. Remove it as a radar sensor and add it as a light first. That way you can successfully create the light network with all its advantages (automatically turn on and off with the Garmin. After the light network is successfully created, add the varia as a radar.
I tried this, but not the last step. I added it as a light, but I did not go back and add it again as a radar. After adding it as a light, it showed as a radar. I'll go back and try it again and see if there's any new results. Thanks.

Edit: no dice. It didn't work. The computer recognizes it as a radar. When I add it as a light it shows as a radar. After adding it, it is already paired and can't be searched for again.

Last edited by Princess_Allez; 09-06-19 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 09-06-19, 04:01 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
I tried this, but not the last step. I added it as a light, but I did not go back and add it again as a radar. After adding it as a light, it showed as a radar. I'll go back and try it again and see if there's any new results. Thanks.

Edit: no dice. It didn't work. The computer recognizes it as a radar. When I add it as a light it shows as a radar. After adding it, it is already paired and can't be searched for again.
Ok, trying to go by memory here, but the LED on the Varia will blink purple when in pairing mode. I think you need to hold it down for 2 seconds or so, but it sounds like you figured out that part. I had to search Google to figure out the light network and the key was Varia as light first, create the light network second, and Varia as radar third. FWIW, I have an 830. Search for YouTube video of DC Rainmaker review of the Varia
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Old 09-06-19, 10:42 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Chaloney View Post
Particularly asking those who have experience with both, which do you like better, a rear facing camera (like the cycliq) or a radar system (garmin varia)? Why?
I use both at the same time.
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Old 09-07-19, 12:06 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by bladehack View Post
Ok, trying to go by memory here, but the LED on the Varia will blink purple when in pairing mode. I think you need to hold it down for 2 seconds or so, but it sounds like you figured out that part. I had to search Google to figure out the light network and the key was Varia as light first, create the light network second, and Varia as radar third. FWIW, I have an 830. Search for YouTube video of DC Rainmaker review of the Varia
Will do. Thanks again.
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Old 09-09-19, 11:25 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
I have both (Varia and Cycliq rear camera). I never use the rear camera but I always use the radar. The most useful camera for either dealing with infractions sent to LE is the front camera anyhow. I'd prefer being aware of what's behind rather than having the video of an incident after the fact. If you couple the usage of the Varia radar with a rear view mirror, the combination is pretty handy.

On top of that, the Varia taillight is considerably better than the Cycliq rear camera as a tail light.

So if you have to pick one, pick the Varia Radar. Excellent product. As said above, the only people that don't like it are people that haven't tried it. I completely agree with this.

Now here's the downside of the radar:
1. If you're in an urban environment, you can get overloaded with the target rich environment of heavy traffic behind you. It's still beneficial but the information may be of more limited utility. If you're on a rural road, it's golden, awesome, and amazing.

2. If you have a car pacing you, the "target" can drop off the radar since it really only sees targets that are approaching you. So any time you are going to turn into any part of the roadway that could have traffic, then you need to look behind you (or better, handle it with a mirror).
neither one - helmet mirror -
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Old 09-09-19, 11:51 AM
  #62  
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I have been using the Varia for a couple of years now...

In the city - I find it most valuable when approaching a parked car and need to go around it. The Varia lets me know if there is a vehicle or vehicles approaching from behind - so I can decide if I want to slow down for that vehicle or vehicles to pass.

On the highway - the vehicles are traveling so quickly - that the Varia basically lets me know that there is a fast approaching vehicle - and obviously the time for me to contemplate my fate is minimized...

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Old 09-09-19, 12:30 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by wle View Post
neither one - helmet mirror -
wle
They aren’t mutually exclusive. The Varia Radar is quite synergistic with a mirror.
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Old 09-09-19, 01:10 PM
  #64  
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I picked up a Varia over the weekend and just had my first ride with it.

It's certainly useful and it gives you more warning than your ears/eyes ever could, even in ideal conditions. In less than ideal conditions, like today's windy ride? Forget it - completely different ballgame.

Situations where I appreciated it most were when pinch points were approaching, and I could more subtly alter my speed to avoid potential conflict, or when the streets were in really crappy shape and I could be less conservative with picking a clean line through the cracks and potholes.

I did experience a couple instances where it would 'clear' a car when it paced me long enough, and that's a little frustrating, but it only happened when the cars were close enough to be on my personal radar, anyway. If it could be made a little more sensitive to those situations without dramatically increasing false positives, it would be damn near perfect.
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Old 09-09-19, 01:12 PM
  #65  
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I've had a Varia for over a year and wouldn't ride without it now. It's not perfect, but sure is nice to have that information and have it be 97% accurate. Reminds me I need to plug mine in and check for firmware upgrades.
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Old 09-09-19, 02:17 PM
  #66  
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My Garmin Varia syncs with my Edge 1000 to display approaching cars and I like that it also chirps to alert me as they come into view so I don't have to take my eyes off the road.
I know I'm safer on the road with this extra layer of situational awareness and wouldn't leave home without it.
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Old 09-09-19, 03:12 PM
  #67  
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I apologize in advance if I'm saying something already said, but what Varia Radar has done for me, is allow me to focus my attention forward to bad pavement, animals, glass, etc. and only bring rearward focus when a car is approaching. I ride with a mirror also, but when I hear the initial "beep", I check the mirror to see the vehicle and then can watch it approach either in the mirror or on the narrow strip on my Elemnt Bolt. When the vehicle passes, the radar gives an all clear signal. The last part is very interesting. Prior to using the radar, I don't know how many times I have approached a left hand turn to hear a car behind, let it pass, only to turn my head to check one last time to see a second or third car right there. With the radar, it shows that second and third car and so far, I have not been surprised at the last moment. I doubt its perfect, but so far, I have not found any examples where it told me the wrong information. Still, I have a mirror and do one last check before turning. Being alerted 500 ft out instead of just my range of hearing or if I've checked my mirrors, or only when I'm focussed on traffic, has given me plenty peace of mind.
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Old 09-09-19, 06:22 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
A couple asides with the Varia:
  • Wahoo Element/Bolt/Roam are now compatible (though they don't do the ANT+ light control, so you have to turn it on manually)
  • If you have Blue Cross/Blue Shield, there's a Garmin discount program - I hear that the Varia goes for ~$130 with this program; that's not that much more than a decent light.
I have Blue Cross. How do you find the discount for Garmin on their webpage?
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Old 09-09-19, 06:32 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by jdcowboy View Post
I have Blue Cross. How do you find the discount for Garmin on their webpage?
Look up Blue365. I have BC/BS, but my the plan that I'm enrolled in doesn't participate in Blue365 for whatever reason. I ended up getting mine at REI over the weekend when they were matching dividends (plus my REI CC dividend).
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Old 09-10-19, 05:25 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
A couple asides with the Varia:
  • Wahoo Element/Bolt/Roam are now compatible (though they don't do the ANT+ light control, so you have to turn it on manually)
  • If you have Blue Cross/Blue Shield, there's a Garmin discount program - I hear that the Varia goes for ~$130 with this program; that's not that much more than a decent light.
Thanks for heads up on Blue365deal for Garmin Varia. That made the difference. Ordered one today to start my venture beyond the rollers now.
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Old 09-10-19, 08:48 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
A couple asides with the Varia:
  • Wahoo Element/Bolt/Roam are now compatible (though they don't do the ANT+ light control, so you have to turn it on manually)
  • If you have Blue Cross/Blue Shield, there's a Garmin discount program - I hear that the Varia goes for ~$130 with this program; that's not that much more than a decent light.
Great! I checked my plan and it participates with Blue365. Just placed an order for the Varia; only $129 + tax and free shipping. Very small price to pay for an extra layer of situational awareness and safety!

Thank you so much for sharing!!!
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Old 09-10-19, 09:09 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by Chaloney View Post
Particularly asking those who have experience with both, which do you like better, a rear facing camera (like the cycliq) or a radar system (garmin varia)? Why?
This is a good topic as I am considering the Varia as an added safety feature. I would forgo the Cyclic and instead get a helmet mirror with the Vario. The mirror IMO is an essential safety feature you can add for less than $15. I won't ride without one (and have an extra in my saddle bag) as it gives a great view of what's happening behind. In my experience, turning your head to glance behind has a tendency to pull you further into the lane of travel.

Last edited by Steeler_fanatic; 09-10-19 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 09-10-19, 03:10 PM
  #73  
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For those Wahoo users that have recently picked up a Varia because of the Wahoo's implementation of the ANT+ radar protocol, you may have noticed that there's no way to use the radar with the tail light off. With a compatible Garmin, you can access that mode via the ANT+ light controls, but Wahoo doesn't have ANT+ light controls. With that in mind, I've dropped suggestions with both Wahoo (suggesting that they get a move on the ANT+ light compatibility) and Garmin (suggesting that they make the mode available via button push on the unit). If you think that this functionality would be helpful, I'd encourage you to do that same -

https://www.garmin.com/en-US/forms/ideas/

https://support.wahoofitness.com/hc/en-us/requests/new
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Old 09-10-19, 04:51 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
For those Wahoo users that have recently picked up a Varia because of the Wahoo's implementation of the ANT+ radar protocol, you may have noticed that there's no way to use the radar with the tail light off. With a compatible Garmin, you can access that mode via the ANT+ light controls, but Wahoo doesn't have ANT+ light controls. With that in mind, I've dropped suggestions with both Wahoo (suggesting that they get a move on the ANT+ light compatibility) and Garmin (suggesting that they make the mode available via button push on the unit). If you think that this functionality would be helpful, I'd encourage you to do that same -
The whole point of using a radar is increased safety, so why wouldn't you want the tail light turned on?
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Old 09-10-19, 06:55 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
The whole point of using a radar is increased safety, so why wouldn't you want the tail light turned on?
Group rides. I want it on all the time during my solo rides, but I don't need to be flashing in my guys' faces on group rides.
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