1.800.651.4050 Mon-Sat 8am-5pm PT
FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER $50More info
JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST
WISH
0
Garmin Varia RTL515 Radar With Tail Light

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

Add your own review
(130 customer reviews)
5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 stars
(121)
(6)
(3)
(0)
(0)
(93%)
(5%)
(2%)
(0%)
(0%)
Won't road ride without it!
rating
by Peggo
Cycling Enthusiast
Front Range Colorado

This is a great device for making me aware of vehicles behind me. I used the Varia app on my smartphone and strapped the phone to the bar. I was constantly amazed by how far away the radar sensed vehicles behind me. Both the graphic and audible alert on the phone are great! However, I do not like the large phone on the bars so have purchased a Garmin Edge 830 to use instead and hope the alerts on the Edge will help as much as the phone app did ! I was more relaxed riding having this one more tool in the box (besides listening, looking behind me and using a mirror). The radar picked up vehicles often before I could see any detail in my mirror or hear it so it helped me stay alert and avoided those last minute surprises that can happen when a fast vehicle suddenly shoots around you.

Reviewed 7/20/2022
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
Wouldn't ride without it!
rating
by HerbP
montclair, NJ

Another on-line review said there are two kinds of people: those who don't have a Varia and don't see the need for one and those who have one and wouldn't ride without it. I moved from the first group to the second.

Easy interface with Wahoo computer. I turned off the audible alerts: TMI and annoying. But glancing down from time to time I see what's coming well before I hear it. I've tried to catch it making errors but so far have not been able to. Even tells you how many cars are coming. The LED alerts are usually washed out in daylight so are not that helpful.

Reviewed 4/28/2022
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
Amazing piece of safety gear
rating
by Dave O
Cycling Enthusiast
Anacortes, WA
1 of 1 customers found this review helpful.

I have my Varia RTL515 mounted on the back of my seat bag so the radar unit is positioned high for maximum distance and no interference from the rear tire. Although I like using it on small group rides it seems to be most beneficial on solo rides, keeping me aware of all rear approaching vehicles in plenty of time. The unit works as advertised and is living up to my expectations although I would have liked longer battery life. Isn't that always the case.

Reviewed 4/11/2022
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
A game-changer, but a few limitations
rating
by Anonymous
Cycling Enthusiast
SE CT
5 of 6 customers found this review helpful.

Have been using an RTL510 for 6-8 months, now won't ride without it. Useful in ways I hadn't imagined: (a) on fast descents when it's too dangerous to look back, it tells you if traffic is coming up behind you, (b) tells you if it's safe to move left to avoid bad pavement, (c) if you need to turn left, it helps you tell if a clot of traffic is approaching from behind, (d) while it doesn't display the lateral position of a vehicle passing you, you should expect a close pass if it shows that a pass is happening close to a blind corner or crest, or oncoming traffic. Also, I was unaware that its flash rate increases when traffic is approaching from behind until one day in my car I came up behind a RTL-equipped cyclist - quite a light show!

Limitations: (a) in high-traffic areas it will alert continuously (I avoid areas like that anyway), (b) if you are cycling along a secondary road paralleling an expressway, it may pick up traffic on the highway, (c) on curvy or rolling roads, terrain may block the radar beam long enough for a contact to be temporarily lost, reappearing as it gets closer. You should double-check with a head turn when it's important, because the RTL gives a low rate of false positives (not critical) and a lower rate of false negatives (critical!) in certain specific situations. The false positives seem to be triggered by motion-detecting lights or cameras (I routinely get false alerts when passing certain facilities). Occasionally it may temporarily show multiple dots when there is only a single vehicle, or "miss" a vehicle following closely behind another. False negatives happen when an upcoming vehicle slows to wait for a safe opportunity to pass me, so that it is going at my speed, no longer approaching me. If that situation persists long enough, that vehicle may vanish from my screen, making an abrupt left turn risky. Have gotten these false negs a number of times.

All in all, the RTL is a huge plus, greatly reducing the amount of shoulder-checking I have to do, so I wobble less and scan the road ahead more closely.

Reviewed 8/13/2020
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
I simply wouldn't ride without it
rating
by Eugene Kriegsmann
Cycling Enthusiast
Bonney Lake, WA
9 of 9 customers found this review helpful.

I have been using the earlier version of Varia Radar 2 for a bit over two years. I have been told by drivers, among them two FedEX drivers, that it is the most effective tail light they have ever seen. It was visible at a distance of more than a mile. It begins flashing as soon as a car comes within the radar range. I ride just about every day and I have never been surprised by a vehicle coming up behind me. My computer beeps and the display of the vehicle or vehicles approaching shows along the right side of my Edge 1030. I can judge the speed and distance of the approaching vehicle from the display. It really is a remarkable piece of equipment, and it sounds like they have made it even better. My unit will start giving me a low battery warning after about 4 hours on a ride. I have never run out of battery, but my rides don't usually last longer than 4 hours. The longer life battery is certainly not a waste. To give some idea of the sensitivity of the radar, I was once standing by the side of the road taking a break when a runner I had passed earlier approached. The computer beeped, and the display showed the runner approaching. That is pretty amazing. Yet, at the same time, when I have ridden with another rider, his presence is not noticed by the radar, only cars approaching us. The stimulus for the radar is something approaching, not something keeping pace with you. Recharge time is about an hour or less. It is, in my opinion, a necessity if you ride on the road. It will pair with most Edge computers and, also, with Wahoo computers.

Reviewed 5/19/2020
WesternBikeworks.com Comments
Very informative review.
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
Great product
rating
by Robert
Holly Ridge

This product was exactly what i was looking for and needed. I feel more comfortable riding on the road now knowing when cars are approaching from the rear. Everyone i bike with also enjoys it because they also know when a car is coming. The light is bright and battery lasts for several rides. Great product would highly recommend to anyone.

Reviewed 7/15/2022
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
Most Valuable Investment
rating
by aerodienamic
Competitive Racer
Portland, OR

It might be an illusion of safety, or just something to make you more aware of what is happening behind you. I for one have been hit by a car, and this little device has made me feel more confident with being out on the road alone. I would recommend this to anyone who ride a lot outdoors. I would say that riding in an area with higher density of population (ie City with a lot of cars) its starts to lose it value, I found that its better out on an open road in a suburban or rural area.

Reviewed 2/14/2022
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
Awsome
rating
by Danimal
Cycling Enthusiast
Midwest

went on sale, got one. Don't know why I waited , WORKS GREAT

Reviewed 7/19/2022
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
A third eye
rating
by Mike
Happy Valley Oregon

My commute takes me on busy roads with a bunch of left hand turns so it's nice to know how I'm going to take that turn based on the cars from behind. This device makes it easier to determine if I take the lane or do a u turn on a perpendicular road. Very few ghost cars if any. Great safety device.

Reviewed 4/18/2022
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
A third eye
rating
by Mike
Happy Valley Oregon

My commute takes me on busy roads with a bunch of left hand turns so it's nice to know how I'm going to take that turn based on the cars from behind. This device makes it easier to determine if I take the lane or do a u turn on a perpendicular road. Very few ghost cars if any. Great safety device.

Reviewed 4/14/2022
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
Great peace of mind while road riding
rating
by FCoons
Cycling Enthusiast
Columbus, OH
2 of 2 customers found this review helpful.

I used to rely on handlebar mirrors and/or quick glances over my shoulder to check for cars behind me, but the Garmin Varia has been a savior and at least replaced the mirrors. The read out display on my Garmin head unit gives and audible warning and also provides ample alert to cars approaching from the rear. If there is any concern it is that while in group rides with teammates behind me the radar can sometimes confuse cars and bikes and filter out the warning, but perhaps I don't have the unit set correctly to accommodate for both bikes and cars behind me. I will not ride again without the Varia on my bike and should have purchased it when it first came out.

Reviewed 7/5/2021
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
Excellent product which detects car traffic behind.
rating
by Anonymous

Great way to observe cars behind. I use it to supplement my rear view mirror. It provides ample warning.

Reviewed 6/19/2022
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
Lifesaver
rating
by HO
Cycling Enthusiast
Detroit
2 of 2 customers found this review helpful.

This is, without a doubt, one ofnthe best purchases I have made. I ride in a city where most streets don't have bike lanes, so it used to be a constant craning of the neck to check on traffic. The radar on this light is amazing. It is highly accurate and gives a city block distance of warning of approaching cars. I never look back now. I ride how I want, and pull to the shoulder when the radar beeps. An incredible experience. Only issue is with integration with my Edge 820 (it won't connect unless another sensor first connects, Garmin is no Apple) but once it does, it is perfect.

Reviewed 12/10/2020
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
Best. Product. Ever.
rating
by Anonymous
Cycling Enthusiast
Portland, OR

A friend recommended this to me and I bought one. I love it. For a techie product, I love that it just works. Easy peasy. It is a substantial safety improvement to see cars approaching from behind. It is really the only game changer in many years. I bought an Edge 130 computer to go with it, replacing an older computer, and it is great, too. The best thing is that 1) I can work it, and 2) it requires no sensors. No wires, no batteries to keep replacing. I liked it so well I bought my daughter the same kit.

Reviewed 10/23/2020
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
Accurate and reliable. I don't think I could road ride without after using.
rating
by Josh

Excellent purchase. Highly recommend. May not be of great use if you constantly have traffic behind you.

Reviewed 8/8/2021
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
I don't ride without it
rating
by OhioCyclist
Cycling Enthusiast
Cleveland, Ohio

Very reliable device for road cycling. Paired with my Garmin Edge, get visual and audio cues about approaching vehicles. Effective in identifying multiple vehicles. Usually warns me before I can hear vehicles. Combined with the integrated flashing beam, offers better margin of safety than my previous combination of mirror and rear light. Usually get about 4 hours of riding between charges.

Reviewed 8/6/2021
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
Don't leave home without it.
rating
by Greg
Cycling Enthusiast
Colorado
1 of 1 customers found this review helpful.

Increases awareness of cars on the road. Easy to connect to Garmin head unit. Love that the cadence of the blinking light will change as cars approach.

Reviewed 1/29/2022
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
Great for Urban riding
rating
by NastyHabits
Cycling Enthusiast
Oakland, CA

I'm a recreational cyclist and prefer lonely country roads. However, I need to ride urban roads in order to get to them. The Varia taillight/radar gives me warning without having to constantly look over my shoulder. Highly recommended.

Reviewed 5/10/2021
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
Add safety!
rating
by Docholaday2
Dublin, Ohio

Loved line so much in bought this for my wife. Easy to use. Long battery life. Adds safety to alert you of vehicles coming up from behind before you can hear them. Recommended.

Reviewed 1/20/2022
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.
Makes a huge difference in my rides.
rating
by VC
Cycling Enthusiast
Los Angeles

For my rides this is a huge help in alerting me of cars approaching. No longer am I constantly looking behind me.

Reviewed 1/21/2022
Was this review useful to you? Yes/No
Thank you for your feedback.