This is another excellent product from Garmin. I had very few issues pairing it with a Garmin 520, but then I found that I had to pair the radar before activating the ride on my Garmin. Other than that, it is very neat.
I use a Bontrager Flare R for daytime riding and I continue to use this light, but the Garmin Varia adds another layer of protection while on the road. It provides another light source, hoping to catch drivers attention BUT knowing that cars are approaching without having to turn around and look so you can stay focused on the road, had provided added safety!
As a tail light, this is not anywhere near as bright as some of the better rechargeables that have come out in recent years. It's sufficient for night time riding, but not bright enough to be easily noticeable in bright sunlight.
The radar feature, however, is compelling. With my Garmin Edge 1000 (I think it is compatible with several other Edge units as well), I get an audible warning when something is approaching from the rear, as well as a visual indication how fast they are approaching. This makes it very easy to glance in my rear view mirror to see if I need to move over. It can be pretty frightening when a car passes a little too close and you didn't even know they were there. If I'm riding fairly fast with a lot of wind noise, this happens to me more often than I'd like (at least before I got this Garmin unit).
It's also helpful for your riding buddies since they can easily see the light flashing as a vehicle approaches.
The integration with my 820 is works great, and it works as described. On my rides in town where I have to make a lane change to cross railroad tracks at the right angle and need to check for traffic it gives an additional level of reassurance there isn't anything I missed checking for cars. Out in the country it let's me know well in advance of hearing any indication that a car is approaching. In group rides, riders behind me will sometimes block the view maybe 50 % of the time, but solo or when on the rear of a pace line it's not an issue. It does show multiple cars and where they are. If the vehicle is going the same speed as you like looking for a place to pass, it will not show but you probably will have had an alarm to let you know it was back there well before it slowed the the bike speed. Overall, very happy with it, it adds an additional level of notice of a vehicles presence so you can ride in a predictable pattern - holding a line andor going single file in a group if needed. I find myself calling out car back long before others in the group now. You do need to be careful not to become totally dependent on it, it's just another tool not perfect.
I really like the idea and it picks up around 95% of vehicles approaching from behind. It doesn't usually pick up cyclists but I've noticed it does recognize some larger steel bikes as vehicles. It's not the brightest of lights but I think it's bright enough to be seen. My main complaint with this unit is how it drains the battery on my Garmin 520, I've turned the backlight all the way down but I still struggle to keep my Garmin going for longer rides. I would definitely purchase it again and would recommend it for rural riders.
When I first saw some videos for this product, I thought it was a silly gimmick. I heard a few good things, so I bought one for me and one for my wife. We love them. They add an extra level of awareness while riding. I use it to enhance my safety.
Love it. The only time now while riding I will have to use my mirror or turn my head around is check on a fellow rider or when I am turning. The radar is real accurate. Great device.
My son got this for Christmas, we discovered that his Radar Tail Light will sync with multiple bikes computers at the same time. When we ride together we all sync with his bike. This make riding so much safer. If you are in a pack you can ride 2X2 and always be confident if there is a car back. No need to yell Car Back any longer. I have asked for on for my birthday, can't wait. Strongly recommend this and hope this will save your life!
I love knowing when cars are approaching. If you are riding on a back road talking with friends or on a busy street and can't hear approaching traffic the Varia Radar lets you know of approaching cars. This is a quantum leap forward for bike safety. It pairs well with you existing Garmin computers.
I've used the Varia on several rides and can say that it works very well in the various conditions that I have used it. It does a fantastic job of picking up cars and other vehicles and almost always can tell the difference between a bicycle and motorcycle. There are better taillights out there in terms of visibility and brightness, but the Varia's light isn't bad. I haven't used the Varia in heavy traffic (urban setting) very much to know if there are any issues in those conditions, but for my purposes this device works great.
I've been using this unit for a couple of months now and am completely satisfied with it. It consistently alerts me to vehicle traffic from behind and the battery lasts more than long enough for the couple of century rides i have used it on.
Easy connection with my Edge 1000, both initial setup and during rides. When I am on my indoor trainer the Edge continues searching for the Varia (likely an Edge problem vs a Varia problem). Does not seem to be as many mounting options (third party) as there are,for the Edge. Still working on a rack mount to use on one of my bikes.
I like the Varia Rearview Radar Tail Light because I ride alone quite often and when I am not looking in my mirror the radar alerts me to traffic coming from behind. Especially on cold and windy days when I am tucked in with my head down getting shelter from the wind.