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Garmin Varia RTL515 Radar With Tail Light

GarminVaria RTL515 Radar With Tail Light(Return to Product Page)

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(131 customer reviews)
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Reviewed 3/7/2022
by velodvm
Competitive Racer
Tucson and Iowa
Value Rating
Overall Rating
Best safety device available

I love being able to see when cars are approaching. On bad roads I can ride in the better pavement but move over to the edge when cars are passing. When riding with a friend we will ride 2 abreast on county roads but one of us goes up and one goes back when cars are approaching. Sometimes there is no better place to be but even then it is good to know when there are no cars approaching.

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Reviewed 5/13/2021
by Low Country Biker
Cycling Enthusiast
Charleston SC/ Chicago Il
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1 of 1 customers found this review helpful.
This REALLY works!!!!

I have bee using a Garmin 510 for at least six years. After a recent software update I noticed this radar unit listed in the menu. Upon a little research I found that with the update this unit was compatible with older Garmin units. I purchased this rear light/ radar unit and have been using it for the past month. I've been impressed with its performance and ease of use. I ride mostly on paved county/ farm type roads and average about 700 miles month. The unit warns me when traffic appears about 400 ft behind and graphically shows the progression toward me. I have found it very helpful when I have to merge into a traffic lane. I always look before moving but this shows the gaps in traffic and lets me know when to look back. Good product

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Reviewed 5/5/2021
by Bill B
Cycling Enthusiast
Massachusetts
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1 of 1 customers found this review helpful.
Must Have Safety Component!

This product has made my rides a lot less stressful. I love getting a warning that a car is approaching before I can hear it. When I'm flying down a hill it's comforting to glance down at my Wahoo Element Roam, and see a nice green line, letting me know that the road is all mine. I would have bought one sooner had I soon it was compatible with my Wahoo device. I was proud to say goodbye to the little mirror on my sunglasses. This is much better, and I like a little cooler!!

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Reviewed 3/22/2021
by Merlin
Cycling Enthusiast
Portland, OR
Value Rating
Overall Rating
1 of 1 customers found this review helpful.
Game changer for safety.

I use this with my new Garmin 1030 Plus. I feel much better now when turning left. Even with a mirror, I like the radar for giving me the added security!

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Reviewed 1/7/2021
by Sooner
Southwest WA state
Overall Rating
2 of 2 customers found this review helpful.
Wonderful safety product!

Wish I had bought this sooner than I did! Held off for years using helmet mounted mirror! That was dumb! This is so much safer...works perfectly with my Edge 830! Only challenge I had was where to mount it as am also using a camera on seat post. Saw where some folks had mounted to seat bag using a home-made bracket! I did this and it works well - movement of the bag does not seem to bother it! Got caught in rain storm which didn't stop it from working but killed the camera! Only suggestion to Garmin is to add provsion for a safety cord as they have on the Edge units!

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Reviewed 5/20/2022
by Ted
Portland, OR
Overall Rating
Life saver

I bought this from REI and it works great with my Wahoo Roam. This is one of my best safety devices - worth every penny.

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Reviewed 11/19/2020
by Paul F
Cycling Enthusiast
Franklin Mass
Value Rating
Overall Rating
Great kight for visibility on the rear and radar function

excellent battery life

great app for battery and warning of approaching vehicles

Garmin computer syncs seamlessly with the light, and you as a rider can get prepared for passing cars with plenty of warning, ~ 1 mile on a straight road, less on curvy roads. Love it! feel naked riding without one now!

I think this is a must have safety item unfortunately these days, with so many distracted drivers and so many large vehicles that approach us way too close for comfort.

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Reviewed 8/23/2020
by BKane
Competitive Racer
Western Maryland
Value Rating
Overall Rating
3 of 3 customers found this review helpful.
Immediately indispensable

The Varia RTL515 has immediately become indispensable for me. I ride mostly country roads and have never been able to get used to a helmet mirror, so the Varia is great. It picks up vehicles at the same time as my riding partners with mirrors. The battery life is fantastic - no problem for 100+ mile rides. Garmin undersells what I think is a great feature - the reactive-blink tail light. I think drivers intuit that increasing blinking to mean you know they're there, and they are less apt to brush you with their side view mirror. The only feature/flaw that I see as a negative is that any vehicle that appears on the radar then matches your speed disappears! Once you realize that, you can adjust your perceptions accordingly, but this characteristic of the radar could be in all caps in the manual. Overall, not inexpensive but worth every penny.

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Reviewed 8/27/2020
by Anonymous
Cycling Enthusiast
Chicago
Value Rating
Overall Rating
1 of 1 customers found this review helpful.
Best Cycling Product Ever

This product to me is a game changer. I bought this because with the pandemic I was mainly riding alone and felt more vulnerable to cars than in a group of 20 riders. This tells you without looking that a car is coming from about 1 1/2 football fields away (I think actually 143 meters). You can see it approaching you and how fast. I know if I happen to be riding side by side to mover over or if by myself to move as far right as I can. Even if there are things in the road like a hole or debris I know if I can just go right around it or if I need to slow down because there is a car. The brightness of the flashing rear light increases as does the frequency when it detects a car. There is also an audible tone if you want and colors of the approaching car to indicate how fast it is approaching. I see people riding with mirrors but this if far superior. I think at $199 it is the deal of the century. Seems more than worth it to avoid getting hit by a car. Battery life is great. Syncs perfectly every time to my Garmin. Easily can be transferred from bike to bike. Takes about 30 seconds.

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Reviewed 8/21/2020
by Rob Hill
Cycling Enthusiast
Orlando, FL
Value Rating
Overall Rating
May seem unneccesary - until you try it.

It only takes one ride to realize how valuable this is. It works extremely well. It does not get fooled and give false alarms very often. However, if you are riding on a trail that parallels a street, it will rightfully pick up that traffic. If you make a 90 degree turn, the cars passing on the street you just turned off of, will briefly trigger the radar. When you do get an alarm (a very distinct beep) there is plenty of time to react and being able to track its progress is fantastic. If there are multiple cars approaching you will see multiple dots on the screen. It does very well on twisty roads as well. It detects cars approaching around corners sometimes before you can see them. My only word of caution is to always charge it up before every ride. Not that it doesn't have a good battery but It takes a lot of power to do all this and a real bummer if it runs out during a ride.

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Reviewed 10/25/2021
by Joe biker
Cycling Enthusiast
Hayward, WI
Value Rating
Overall Rating
Garmin Varia RT515 Radar tail light

the radar tail light is awesome. I makes you feel more comfortable what is behind you when you are riding. It is easy to use and works.

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Reviewed 5/19/2020
by Mick
Cycling Enthusiast
South Dakota
Value Rating
Overall Rating
6 of 7 customers found this review helpful.
I wont ride without it.

Im 75 with bad hearing and cant wear my hearing aids because of the wind noise. I ride in Spearfish Canyon and there is a lot of traffic at times and loging trucks. It works great and if the are several vehicles behind me it will show each one on the led lights.

My son bought it for me on Fathers Day several year ago and I been using it ever since

I highly recommend it.

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Reviewed 9/9/2021
by Hal
Cycling Enthusiast
Georgia
Value Rating
Overall Rating
This light is a game changer for safety!

I love knowing when cars are approaching fro so far back. I have an Italian racing mirror but with the wind and road noise you don't always know something is back. The combination of mirror and radar is fabulous and I don't feel comfortable without them. I don't particularly like the rubber band mount. A fixed mount would be better but with so many seat posts designs I can see how it would be difficult.

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Reviewed 8/28/2021
by Anonymous
Cycling Enthusiast
NY
Value Rating
Overall Rating
Will never ride without it again!

I love it. I used to right with just a tail light and thought it was a little overkill for radar. But after a few months with it, I can easily say I'd never ride without it. Can't count how many times it's alerted me to oncoming cars that I didn't hear, or 2 cars approaching together that I would have missed thee second car. Really invaluable tool for safety. Gives me a little more peace of mind out on thee roads. Definitely recommend.

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Reviewed 8/12/2021
by Anonymous
Overall Rating
Love it

Can't say enough about how much more peace of mind the radar gives me while riding. It almost always spots cars before I hear them, beeps loudly enough to be noticed, and gives a clear sense for whether they're coming in particularly hot. I now own two of these and bought a third as a birthday present for my sister in law. Would recommend without hesitation.

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Reviewed 8/13/2021
by Anonymous
Cincinnati Ohio
Overall Rating
It's easy to use and frankly love it

The setup on it was simple and easy to pair wirh my wahoo edge. I feel a lot more comfortable on the road knowing more about where cars are relative to me. I'm also impressed with it's ability to detect speeds and change color on my screen.

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Reviewed 8/2/2021
by mverni
Cycling Enthusiast
las vegas
Value Rating
Overall Rating
1 of 1 customers found this review helpful.
Garmin Varia RTL515 Radar With Tail Light

This is my third unit. Worthwhile upgrade from RTL510. Dual notification of approaching cars: visual on the head unit and sensory, by iPhone vibration in your pocket.

Battery is long lasting.

Would never consider road riding without this.

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Reviewed 8/5/2021
by DSS
Cycling Enthusiast
Northampton, MA
Value Rating
Overall Rating
1 of 1 customers found this review helpful.
A terrific product, that I highly recommend. Provides an additional level of safety.

I tend to listen to podcasts when I ride, and the auditory signals that the Varia send out provide an alert to switch my attention to traffic approaching from the rear. My experience is that it gives virtually no false positives. The light flashes when a car is approaching, and if someone is riding with me they also get this visual warning to be vigilant.

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Reviewed 8/6/2021
by Carey
Cycling Enthusiast
Seattle, WA
Value Rating
Overall Rating
1 of 1 customers found this review helpful.
Most awesome!

The word "awesome" is overused. Not in this case. You feel like you have eyes in the back of your head. The alerts, yellow to red, definitely help with situational awareness. It isn't a solution to distracted drivers, but now I know when a vehicle is approaching too fast, too close or is just big.

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Reviewed 7/19/2021
by kchester
Cycling Enthusiast
Boston
Value Rating
Overall Rating
2 of 2 customers found this review helpful.
It's a lifer saver when riding alone

Initial testing

Tested my new Varia today in today's morning ride - In a straight line it's great - Could not detect the cars sneaking out of alleys - it did- when it's too near. My conclusion -it's good to have both the radar and a mirror

Summary after 2 months

The Varia is a literal lifesaver when riding alone on quiet roads.I�d say the Varia is best suited for quiet country roads and very small groups where you get limited traffic and need a warning that a car is approaching, especially helpful when your mind is wandering from taking in the sights.

There are supposed to be some tricks to reduce false hits when riding in a larger group

When riding in a group, look behind for teammates to stay at a group pace or keep the group together.

When turning right, after an initial check for traffic, I can continue looking while turning, but the Varia radar is still pointing to the angle of the old road.

Wishlist:

Size of car or truck behind. Helps me decide how much I need to swerve out of the way.

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