Garmin Varia Radar Tail Lights

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[Feb 22, 2018]


I have been using the Garmin Varia for 2 years and love it. It is coupled to a Garmin 1000. I get about 4 to 5 hours of battery life in the flash mode which I find insufficient. It is not just for the city although it is excellent at that. On rural rides with no traffic I can be startled when a vehicle passes me, not pleasant. I get a beep on the 1000 which is too quiet and indication of the vehicle and its proximity as it approaches on the head unit. There are colors from nothing to green and on to red to indicate the presence of approaching traffic. The lights on the Varia indicate the proximity of vehicles so riders behind me can also see approaching traffic. I still turn and look to verify the road is clear prior to any action that places me in traffic. If multiple vehicles are approaching it sometimes fails to sense the trailing vehicles, but it is enough for me to know there is oncoming traffic. If a vehicle is following you closely approximating your speed it will not sense it. It usually does not signal approaching cyclists. If it indicates if a vehicle is there, and if it does there will be a vehicle present which no false positives. I can trust its positive indications completely, and resort to age old best practices for safety regardless. In heavy traffic I can trust it to tell me there is approaching traffic so I am not constantly turning around to see if it is clear to take an action. In groups it can sense vehicles, but there have been times in very large groups where it missed vehicles. These are groups of more than 50 riders which are probably masking the signals. I was invited to a demonstration at Dave’s Cycle World in Clearwater, Florida and after the demonstration immediately purchased the unit. In all honesty, when the battery goes dead I feel naked. I find it extremely useful and an incredible asset to my cycling safety. And then there is the cool factor. The reaction that you receive when you tell people you have radar on your bicycle. Love it. Always visually verify prior to moving into traffic.


Battery life 4 to 5 hours Fails to indicate multiple vehicles approaching sometimes This is not really a negative for the unit but common sense. Do not trust the unit completely. Use cycling best practices and visually verify it is clear prior to taking any action that could place you in traffic.

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