I had the original Varia Radar taillight and thought it was a great idea. I ride on rural roads that have high speed limits so I only get 5-6 seconds of warning before a vehicle is on me. So knowing what is approaching from behind dynamically is a huge advantage in safety for me.
The Original Varia Radar was great but it had three serious failings First, the taillight was all but useless and was far too low in power. Second, the form factor was all wrong with it being oriented horizontally and tending to interfere with my legs unless it was positioned perfectly. This unit fixes both of those problems. The Taillight is BRIGHT and works great as a daylight flasher. You can see if from a mile away and, as a driver, your eye is drawn to it. The form factor is vertical which solves the leg interference problem. So that's all good. Third, the head unit (available as a bundle) now includes a beeper so you get an audio warning of an approaching target as well.
The only reason I gave it 4 stars for value is that you really should buy the total package of a head unit plus the taillight. Garmin won't sell the head unit separately and should.
A wonderful device that keeps you from being surprised from unseen autos or ones that you dont hear. It makes riding less stressful because you dont have to constantly turn your head looking for autos.
The bright flashing read light is also a wonderful safety feature.
I figure if I was going to have a flashing light anyway, it might as well have radar to detect autos.
I've quickly gotten to really appreciate the radar, especially when riding alone. I've never liked riding with a mirror and sometimes less noisy vehicles would be passing me by the time I realized they were there. I don't get those surprises anymore. It reliably alerts me to vehicles approaching from behind and gives an idea of how fast they're going. Even works pretty well when riding in a group. One thing I learned quickly is that since it relies on speed differential to identify approaching vehicles, a vehicle that stays behind you and matches your speed for a short time will disappear off the radar until they start going faster than you again. So you do have to pay attention to cars that disappear off the radar without passing you- they may have turned off, or they may just be sitting there in stealth mode. The light is unremarkable but adequate and fairly bright (three modes). As with most Garmin products it seems a little pricey but not terrible if you find it on sale- and it's the only product of this type as far as I know.
Yes, the information this sends to my Garmin 820 and Varia Vision about approaching cars is accurate, reliable, and extremely helpful for safety. The only time it got it wrong was when it thought a tractor trailer was 2 cars. Big deal. Woulnd't ride alone without this.
While installing the mount, I discovered that the device did not fit the aero seat post of may Cannondale Synapse. The end result is that it has a tendency to rotate with the Varia attached to it. Since the moi t is fastened with a rubber band, Im also concerned about losing the device during a ride. The inclusion of a tether would remedy that concern. Otherwise, it performs very well. Im get a visual notification of traffic approaching from the rear and separate blips on my Edge 1000. Its a great add on for my cycling computer!
Read the DCRainmaker review and have had the same experience as Ray. Radar is easy to set up and gives me alerts on my 520 when a car comes up behind me reliably. Even my riding group likes it because they know what its telling me either because the light starts blinking or they hear the alert. In town, when cars are all around you, the radar's information is accurate but not much more useful than a bright blinking light (and this is a good, but expensive, bright light). Country roads and hills, when cars can can pop up on you, is where I've come to really like the Varia's information.
I often ride alone, usually on country roads where cars can come up suddenly. I purchased the light to pair with my Garmin 810 and have been very impressed. After riding with the rear view radar about 5 times I have become very confident in its ability to alert me to approaching traffic and even to track multiple cars. The audible alert and track display on the side of the Garmin screen is unobtrusive and easy to interpret. It seems to take a long time to recharge but otherwise awesome safety device.
I was looking into buying the older verson of this taillight for some time now. When I saw the newer version I had to have it. I am very happy that I purchase this item. Tail light works great just as advertised would not hesitate to recommend to anyone. If you are thinking about buying pull the trigger and do it great product.
I hadn't considered this until I had trouble with cars on faster descents. The RADAR works just as I expected, and gives me enough warning time to look ahead on the road and choose where to bike, and to turn and take a look behind me. This is what I wanted, a reliable device that told when to look. I'd recommend this rear light for anyone.
Likes the included mount fits on my pinarello aero seat post. It's fairly small but still very bright. It changes flash patterns and intensity when cars approach. It works seamlessly with my garmin 520 head unit. I ride with a small mirror on my glasses but this gives me MUCH earlier warning for approaching cars (and I'm not always staring at my mirror either). The radar works fabulously on smaller, more lightly traveled roads where you may not hear a car till the last minute. I find the display very easy to interpret. The form factor of the this model varia is nicer sleeker than the original model and works just as well.
Dislikes the seat mount is just a rubber band with a standard garmin quarter twist mount. The twist part feels very secure to me but the actual assembly tends to rotate on the seat post from time to time. It's an easy fix, even while riding but I'm not always paying attention. Getting it to pair the first time was a little dodgy (if I recall, I had to pair the radar and then also include it as part of a garmin light network, but it was only a one time issue)
Overall I now consider this to be an essential part of my daily riding gear.
As an owner of the original Varia, my only real complaint was battery life. Version 2 has fixed that. The original was good for 4-4.5 hrs, I have yet to come even close to draining the battery on my new model. Might be a tad heavier (I haven't weighed it) but well worth the tradeoff!