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.
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!
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.
There are two problems. The ding tone in the speedometer unit is not anywhere near loud enough and if your use the unit in the winter, the Garmin speedometer battery will go dead long before the ride is over!
Riding on country roads, cars can kind of sneak up on you. Especially the quiet hybrid and electric types. The radar, synced with an Edge 520, does a great job of giving a heads up on cars and trucks coming from behind. The light is super bright and has a bunch of different flashing sequences. It can be a bit finicky to get the radar working sometimes. I have to turn it offon along with the 520 to get it to sync up properly sometimes. Kind of annoying when youre trying to get going, or dont notice until cars are passing with nary a beep. But when its working properly, it is totally worth it.
The 2nd generation Varia has a longer battery life, and is more visible to drivers both daytime and nighttime. The Varia 2 is an excellent improvement over an already great product. I bike commute to work all year around weather permitting, and with short day light hours Nov-Feb, having the rear radar to alert me to traffic as well as provide a highly visible tail light makes this an accessory I never leave home without.
I use it on my Road and Gravel bike. It really helps given I am hard of hearing to give me early warnings of approaching cars. The Fenix 5 is also paired and it vibrates which is a great alert when I am not looking at my Edge. Also it last a really long time for 100 mile rides.
The light is much brighter than the older rectangle model making this a much better product in general. No need to run a second light now.
The radar works flawlessly and seems a bit more sensitive than the old one as well. I did like the way the old one gave you a charge level indicator at start up but that is the only flaw in the new one.
I bought this to help when commuting. I know I could have bought a mirror but tech is so cool. Also helps when doing fast long descents I can glance to see if cars are behind me.
I am a gravel cyclist in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. To get out into the Mekong region, we have to use various roads, highways, ferries, etc. Having this light has been a godsend. Not only is it incredibly bright, it last for our 6 hour Sunday bike rides. On the flashing mode it can last up to 15 hours.
As for the radar function, I am able to pick up cars and trucks at least 100 meters behind me. There is a small ball that moves up the screen of my Garmin Edge 520 giving me a general idea of how far and where the vehicle is in relation to me. The only fault I have found is that it doesn't always pick up motor bikes as quickly as cars and trucks. However, this might be due to the size of these, the fact that they only go at about 20mph or placement of the radar device on my bike. I am going to move it to the end of my bike rack and see if that improves things.
I really like the improvements in the second generation of Varia. Particularly, the ability to select different patterns for the light depending on conditions, extended battery life, and it is much brighter. I have two concerns. One, the form factor is limiting in how one is able to attach it to the bike. On the original model, it was more compact and convenient. Second, and this may be a user issue, the light goes into pairing mode every time it is turned on.
The light is very bright and the radar detection of vehicles approaching is very effective, if you go out on solo rides or with small groups on quieter country roads this is incredible good at giving you advanced warning of traffic approaching.
It typically gives you a warning of vehicles approaching about 10 to 20 seconds before you can hear them. Since I got this I have not been surprised by an approaching vehicle once, even on roads where the traffic travels at 50 mph.
The Varia works with a wide range of Gamin cycle computers, I use this with a Garmin Edge 520 and it works flawlessly with it but I was surprised to find it also works well with the Edge 25 I also have.
Overall its a great bit of kit, easy to use and definitely keep me safer while out riding around country roads.
For years, I have ridden with a large mirror on my road bike. It has worked fine unless the sun was low behind me or the mirror fogged. In those situations, the mirror was useless. But in those situations (and all others), the Varia works great! Once a vehicle comes within range, you get an audible beep and the blip shows up on your Garmin. Very dependable. It picks up every vehicle. Relative speed and distance is very accurate.
So . . . why not five stars? Three minor nits 1. It occasionally gives you false positives. One cyclist I ride with triggers it as if he were a car - but just one. Nobody else. 2. I wish the light were brighter. 3. I wish the range were 1.5 to 2 times as far as it is. On roads with a 50 mph speed limit or above, by the time the Varia alerts you of the car's presence, it is upon you. I would just like to receive a few seconds more notice.
This is an amazing device for the price. \
I've had this for about three months now. It picks up cars at a good range, but you do need to point it straight back, and for those of us who do long distance rides where we need a large saddle bag that is a challenge. I've been mounting it on the left seat stay when I do that, but then it doesn't point straight back or quite level. It's a pity that there aren't more mount options. Also for long distance, it would be nice if there was a mode where it just acted as a radar, and not a light. The battery could last much longer then.
Originally I thought why would I spend $200 on a tail light for my bike? Well, so far it has been the best money I have spent. Cycling on the road has inherent dangers. With the radar I have a tool that lets me know what is coming up behind me. Combined with mirrors, it certainly helps.