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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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'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 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.
Does what it says, identifies cars well with a beep and visual. That is nice and easier than training the eye to see things in that helmet mirror. But when paired with edge 100, it causes he 1000 to consume about 1.2-1.5% per mile, so it will cause the edge to not make it through a long ride. So you have to turn it to make it through a t century, and then you are just packing deadweight and dont have a rear blinker. Unless you pack a spare blinker, but who packs a backup blinker.
I ride predominantly on country roads where the speed limit is 50mph or faster. It's easy for a car to surprise me if I'm not paying100% attention all the time. This device gives you about a 6-10 second warning at high way speeds before the car reaches me. That's plenty of time to check their attention to the fog line and if they are starting to move to avoid me (get a Take a Look rear view mirror). What this does is tell you when that car is coming so you know when to look. It's a force multiplier for sure.
Two problems as I see it
1. The tailight is woefully inadequate. At 16-22 lumens, it's next to worthless and in the wimpy blinkie class of tail light. It has two modes - blinking and on steady. I wish it had a third mode - completely off. It mostly just wastes battery.
2. THe mount is such that the width of the device interfers with my legs on the downstroke unless I use the aero mount that puts the unit about 12 further aft. You can also just put it in your jersey pocket and it will work just as well.
But this is a 1.0 advice. While it is far from perfect, it is a huge force multiplier for safety from behind. Not so much for being seen but for giving you the warning to look in your mirror and see what's up.
I'd buy it again and I'd buy v2.0 when that's available as well.
This taillight is a must have for anyone who is riding the roads. It alerts you by beeping and signals my 1000 to let me where the car is behind me. I do most of my riding with a group and there are some imperfections with the unit. If there are lots of riders behind you riding two abreast there is a good probability that the unit will not sense the car until its close. Secondly it alerts based upon the closure rate of what is coming up from behind you. So if a car comes up quickly it will alert you but when the car slows down and drops back it goes off the screen because it is no longer closing in. You have to realize that the system works like this and track the cars in your head or look with a mirror. I have had it also alert me when another rider comes upon me quickly from the back. So its not perfect but it is a monumental step in the right direction. I highly recommend it even with the quirks. Its expensive but much cheaper than one near miss that sends you into a ditch or even worse the er.