Have been using this for a few weeks on rural, solo rides, and the overall experience has been very positive and am happy I bought it. Chose this model as I already have a rear light I'm happy with. It does a great job picking up cars from far away when the radar has decent line of sight. But to reap all the benefits of visual alerts plus better audio alerts, it helps immensely to have a garmin/wahoo (or similar) or phone+ridewithGPS mounted on the handlebar. Initially I just used the Varia app on high volume and threw my phone in my jersey pocket, but the alerts were often barely audible over wind noise. Garmin also makes a dedicated radar display, but you're probably better off getting one of the above.
What I like:
- Accurate & reliable detection including car distance, often long before I can hear them (especially helpful with lots of wind noise)
- Supported by a variety of bike computers and apps (ridewithGPS, varia app, wahoo, etc)
- When paired with an app or garmin/wahoo/etc, it shows car distance visually on sidebar on-screen, gives radar battery life warnings, and gives lost connection warnings.
- Gives unique warning for fast-approaching cars
- Small size & very sturdy garmin quick connect mount. I use the mount & provided o-ring on my seat tube.
- Battery life is not quite as good on this model, but probably long enough for most people to get at least a few rides out of it.
- Wish it had USB-C
- It (or maybe just mine) has an issue with the Varia app where the radar unit itself will just turn off at random while riding and with no warning, but only with the Varia app on my android phone. I have NOT had the issue at all while connected to my Wahoo or when using ridewithGPS app on the same phone. Garmin offered to replace but decided not to since i don't use the app anymore.
An extra level of safety I was happy to pay for. It does not work perfectly in all conditions. This device cannot see around a corner or through earth. It will indicate the object behind you is gone if you block it by turning or going over a hill. It will redetect it once you have clear line of sight. I give it 5 stars because it does exactly what it is supposed to - adds a layer of awareness and safety. I pair this with a more powerful light by Lezyne than the one in the Radar/Light combo varient, and it is very effective. The price is steep but very much worth it. My sole complaint is with the mount. Essentially a rubber band holds it to your seatpost. I recommend getting an aftermarket clamp mount.
This is a game-changer.
Without a doubt the most significant piece of safety gear I've purchased (outside of a helmet) in the last 10 years.
I ride a lot of roads with less-than-optimum separation from vehicle traffic. I've increased the visibility/reflectivity of my clothing, added lights, and worn out my neck swinging left and right over my shoulder for traffic.
This changes everything.
The ability to know when traffic is approaching earlier than ever before gives me increased time to adjust and eliminates that "startle jerk" we've all done when the occasional car (usually electric) manages to sneak up and catch us by surprise.
9 times out of 10, the Garmin alerts me to traffic I hadn't even heard yet. Knowing how many targets there are also helps with planning turns, lane changes, etc.
I've still only done a handful of rides with it, but I've never had a false positive, and it's alerted me to a vehicle EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
There's obviously no substitute for your own eyes, but this is a close second!
I bought this along with a Garmin 830 during their recent sale. I had heard great things about it both online and from members of our local bike club. Turned out to be one of the best purchases I've ever made. The thing just works. It has always been accurate even for multiple vehicles (it tracks up to 8 at a time). It makes riding so much easier by eliminating the constant looking over your shoulder. I do a lot of riding on rural roads and the Varia definitely keeps cars from sneaking up on me. If you have been thinking about getting one, just do it! You won't regret it.
I like this product a lot. It is an extra set of eyes and reduces the need to check back . It is especially helpful with multiple cars, while I ride roads that make it easy to hear cars, it avoids the need to look back to see how many there are. I did have to get a different bike saddle bag to give it a field of view; most of them hang out too low to allow the device to work. Make sure it's charged (and your phone, too, if you use the phone app) as it draws a bit of power. It was a great deal with 33% off but I needed that drop to justify the price.
Performance of Garmin Varia radar is simply amazing. I do not want to ride on the road without one. Even when several bikes are behind me, the radar invariably still picks up a car approaching.
The alorithm used must essentially be only paying attention to objects closing in from behind. Yes, it may go off when another cyclist closes in from behind. It also will issue the 'all clear' even when a vehicle is behind if such vehicle maintains a steady distance. Just be aware of this.
Getting the device while on sale only added icing to the cake.
It is still good to have a mirror but I really depend on my Varia radar.
After many years of cycling friends encouraging me to try the Garmin radar, I finally took the leap when the product was on sale on Bike Tires Direct. This is one of those things where I ask myself "why did I wait so long". The radar works much more effectively than I had anticipated, and in combination with the mirror that I've always used, I feel more secure about being aware of approaching vehicles. The radar is easy to pair oh, and the display is intuitive and very helpful.
I use it with the Varia Android app and it shows me exactly what I want to know. I've never had a false positive or negative. I never liked mirrors as vibration was a problem and my eyes were off the road too much, trying to figure out what the mirror was showing. I chose the RVR315 model because I use an integrated helmet rear light and don't need one on the radar unit. Install and setup were fast and easy although I did have to switch out my underseat tool bag for a frame bag to enable the correct dimensional mount.
I have ridden with a rear view mirror for decades. I like knowing what is coming up and whether any action is required. Occasionally I am surprised to have a car passing too close because I didn't hear the approach. With the Varia there is an audible alert as well as the visual on the Garmin computer. A quick glance in the mirror let's me know if all is good or I need to signal the driver to give more room. Both my wife and I appreciate to added safety.
Works surprisingly well. Maybe zero false negatives. A few false positives . Always links up to my Wahoo computer. I recommend you buy the model with light that has more battery life. This one can do 2 ea 3 hour rides on a charge and a few times i have ran dead. Normally get 6 second warning of a car on rural roads.
Helps me stay on drops and pushing myself while enjoying the smoother wheel rut on county roads.
Works well paired with my Garmin Edge 130 Plus. Reliably shows vehicles (and bikes) coming up from behind. An audible alarm is sounded on my Edge when a vehicle comes into view. This is a worthwhile safety device that helps you to keep your eyes on the road rather than looking back behind you.
As the title calls out, cool tech. I use it with Ride With GPS on iPhone with the audio alert on high. Ya get a visual warning if the screen is open. If know the route I turn off the screen to save battery and just get the audio clue and the buzz on my Garmin watch.
Very happy with purchase and price ( was $50 off!)
The Unit was very easy to sync and get up running with my Element bolt. The display makes sense and is easy to understand. My only complaint is during busy sections of road or city travel, the constant beeping can get irritating. A muting function would give this item a five star rating.
I bought this for my BF for his birthday and was greatly pleased AND surprised that I could also connect to this to watch traffic when we are on rides together. It really helps anticipate the cars coming up from behind much better!! An extra widget on your device allows you to even know the speed they're overtaking you by.
I decided to purchase a Garmin Varia RVR315 based on the positive feedback on several forums and product reviews. This is a game changer for me. I showed a friend how it works and he purchased one the next day. It certainly gives you more awareness of traffic coming up from behind you. I have some moderate hearing loss and sometimes don't hear cars coming up on me. This helps with that problem. I'm purchasing one for my wife's e-bike. I chose the RVR315 instead of the RTL515 as I don't think the RTL515's light is bright and noticeable enough. I purchased a Dinotte Quad Red tail light to use instead as it's much more noticeable and brighter. The Quad Red adds a fair amount more to the total cost but I consider it cheap insurance. Now if Garmin would make the Varia with a camera similar to the Cycliq Fly 6 with more reliability than the Fly 6, I'd buy it in a heart beat.
I waffled on purchasing this for quite some time. All the reviews said how this was a game changer once they purchased it and wish they had purchased it sooner. Same for me. There's significantly better awareness of cars coming from behind, especially the "quiet" ones. I use this in conjunction with a Dinotte Quad Red tail light instead of the Garmin RTL515 as I believe the Dinotte Quad Red is much brighter and much more noticeable. Just my opinion though.
I start my Radar when I start my Garmin Edge 830. It provides advance warning of an approaching car from behind. although no substitute for checking for cars, it provides peace of mind knowing when a car is coming. So far (approximately 1000 miles of use) it has been accurate 100%. Battery lasts for about 6 hours -- and Garmin Edge 830 alerts you to a low battery so always know when to charge. The mount is the standard Garmin mount (same as the Garmin Edge 830) -- easy on and off, but secure when on.
Pros: Lightweight. Has worked flawlessly paired with my Wahoo Elemnt. Mount seems to be very secure. Especially useful on rural roads.
Cons: No safety tether but an aftermarket tether can be purchased/attached to the back of the unit. In heavy traffic you will receive constant warnings.
Would I purchase again? Absolutely. I now wonder how I've ridden so long without it even though I use a helmet mounted mirror. Several times the radar detected an approaching vehicle before I noticed it with my mirror.
Just picked one of these up a couple of weeks ago. Used points to knock the price down. But this is a must have item for any cyclist. Whether climbing or descending, you have awareness of cars coming behind you. It has been 100% accurate so far...the only downside i've noticed has been when two cars are too close together (tailgating), the device doesn't always catch it. But considering how much we spend on bikes and equipment, this is the most important safety add-on i've come across. Been riding in Colorado and i feel so much safer. highly recommend.