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Garmin Varia RTL515 Rearview Radar with Taillight

$199.99
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Varia RTL515 Rearview Radar with Taillight

As functional as the bar and helmet-mounted mirrors are, there is a cost in aerodynamic drag and, for some reason, an insurmountable drag to the image of the road-devoted cyclist. Garmin preserves our pride and taps into some nifty tech with the Varia RTL515 Rearview Radar with Taillight, that packs significant features into a small package. Fitting onto most road bike seat posts, it tucks out of the way and is a rear-facing, red light flasher with a built-in automobile radar feature.

The standard bulb modes are found here with 20 lumens on solid beam, 29 on night flash, and 65 on day flash, however, the Varia sends it over the top with a courteous peloton specific mode with 8 lumens of brightness. So keep your group ride safer without creating frenemies along the way.

The Varia's primary feature is the radar that picks up traffic headed your way from 140 meters behind, and relays that information to your Garmin Edge bike computer or Varia app on a smartphone. The "car" shows a relative distance to help you judge proximity and gives you time to make lane adjustments or turn corrections. And the bulb provides enough visibility for you to be seen from up to one mile away.

Battery life is impressive with 16 hours of on flash mode and six hours on solid, which will see you safely through most training rides.

  • Seatpost mounted taillight and radar provide peace of mind
  • Oncoming car data is displayed to your Garmin Edge computer or phone
  • Proximity display helps you make lane corrections in time
  • Taillight is visible from up to a mile away
  • Conserve battery with various bulb intensities to suit the conditions
  • Peloton mode turns down lights to keep the pack happy
  • Item #GRMF011

Bulbs
LED
Power Source
built-in lithium-ion battery, rechargeable by USB or wall-socket
Modes
solid, peloton, night flash, day flash
Lumens
[solid] 20, [peloton] 8, [night flash] 29, [day flash] 65
Burn Time
[solid] 6 hours, [peloton] 8 hours, [night flash] 6 hours, [day flash] 16 hours
Mount
seatpost
Waterproof
IPX7
Includes
Varia RTL515, mounting kit, cables, documentation
Dimensions
3.9 x 0.8 x 1.6in
Claimed Weight
2.5oz
Recommended Use
commuting, road cycling
Manufacturer Warranty
1 year

Tech Specs

What do you think about this product?

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>Rating: 1

Waste of Money

Familiarity:
I've put it through the wringer

I am on my fourth Varia 515. Garmin has been good about sending replacements but in reality this product is useless. It works for about three months then quits. It’s great in theory, I love the warning of an approaching car but it’s just too much a hassle. Another company needs to come along and do a better product because this one is a waste.

>Rating: 5

Concensus is right - this is a necessity

Familiarity:
I've used it several times

I wish the rear light were a bit brighter, otherwise I completely agree with all of the accolades from other reviewers.

>Rating: 5

Game changer

Familiarity:
I've used it several times

Rarely write reviews, but this thing is awesome. I ride a lot of lonely farm roads, where cars can come sweeping up on me. Sometimes I hear them, but when the wind is blowing they can sneak up. This device works perfectly with my Garmin 530 to give me warnings on approaching cars (and to tell my chatty ride buddies to get single-file in a hurry before the grain-truck blasts past). I feel way, way more safe. Super easy to set up (at least with my garmin, which it should be). Very happy with this purchase.

>Rating: 5

riding game changer - just get it!

Familiarity:
I've used it several times

Good bye neck cramps and swerves from constant over the shoulder looking! ok, maybe not 100% good bye but Hello to feeling a lot safer and less afraid of the unknown behind you on the road - this radar light is really sweet and super helpful for anyone who rides on the road. It is super sensitive and accurate BUT here are the 2 hiccups using this with my Wahoo Elemnt: 1. I'm not aware of an easy way to toggle the sound off/on easily while riding which only becomes a problem when... 2. if you ride a path along a highway or next to a busy road, prepare to get bombarded with alerts which makes my #1 hiccup a thing. But as I said to a friend today while riding, I'll take some extra beeps if it keeps me safe! I dig the sounds and lights and once you learn to stop looking down at the the computer every time it beeps and ou figure out what the sounds mean, it becomes part of the ride. Really happy I listened to my friend and got this.

I'm tempted to buy this, but also wondering if there would be any effect to my health while having radar waves underneath me. If anyone know anything about this, let me know. Thanks!

Nick M. If you have a cell phone, You're good. This will cause less (if any) damage then a normal cell phone would do, and I don't see any my cell gave me this illness.

>Rating: 5

Outstanding Product

Familiarity:
I've used it several times
Fit:
True to size

I purchased this unit based on the recommendations of some of my fellow riders and they were right on! The radar feature is surprisingly accurate at detecting cars approaching from behind, and the audible alerts give me an idea of how fast and how far approaching cars are. Setup was stupid easy...even with my non Garmin—Wahoo Bolt. One of the best purchases I’ve made for riding safety.

So what is the functionality with the WH bolt? do you have it set up to warn you with the light bar across the top of the bolt? or to just beep?

>Rating: 5

Be aware

Familiarity:
I've used it several times

Love this product! Paired with my iPhone through Ride with GPS does exactly what it is supposed to - alerts with sound and graphics about cars approaching from behind. Often the tone goes off before I hear the car. I used to use a mirror, but this is better in my opinion. Set up was easy as was mounting. It would be nice if there was a more secure mounting option, like cable ties, but the rubber band does hold it. I highly recommend.

>Rating: 4

Lacks adequate sound signal

Familiarity:
I've put it through the wringer
Height
0` 1"
Weight
0 lbs

Agree with others on general performance. I can't keep staring at a screen to see a warning and can't hear the "beep" in traffic. Needs Bluetooth.

>Rating: 5

Wahoo!!! Compatible

Familiarity:
I've used it several times
Fit:
True to size
Size Bought
One size
Height
5` 11"
Weight
200 lbs

Wahoo!!! That’s right this garmin product is wahoo compatible. It paired seamlessly and does every time I start up both gadgets for any ride Love knowing when them cars are sneaking up on you. Garmin says it will track up to 8 cars. I have experienced tracking 4 cars (Not too busy of a road? Also Tracks cars coming in two of four lane (two lanes coming at you/two going away). Signals Upcoming cars with orange light at top of ELEMNT and an audible signal. And then green lights when “the coast is clear” I just wish the little “lane” on the left with incoming “cars” was a little larger for my old eyes. Can’t blame that in Garmin or Wahoo. I would buy again

>Rating: 5

Game Changer for Serious Riders

Familiarity:
I've put it through the wringer

My wife and I ride 9 months of the year here in New England and put on thousands of miles and hundreds of hours. We typically rely on helmet mirrors and handle bar mirrors to keep track of approaching vehicle traffic. However we are blessed to ride on many lightly traveled country roads. The Varia for us is a game changer. It picks up approaching vehicles about 150 yards to your rear, notifies you with a distinctive sound and then allows you to see precisely how quickly the approaching vehicle is overtaking you on your bike computer screen or iphone/smart phone or both. It's so consistent and accurate that you gain a sense of freedom and confidence in terms of owning the lane because you know there's no car approaching. And if you regularly use a headset or earphones, (we do) you don't have to keep checking your mirror every 5 seconds because the alert tones always give you plenty of heads up to ease back towards the shoulder. The reliability of the unit is outstanding. As others have noted, once we started riding with the Varia we both felt we couldn't ride without it! The only problem if you're a riding family or couple, is everyone who uses it will want one for themselves! It's that good.

>Rating: 5

A MUST BUY

Familiarity:
I've put it through the wringer

I agree with Gene D. The best cycling accessory I’ve purchased. Definitely worth the money. I’ve been using this for over a year and it has never failed me. Ever have a car speed by you then make a right hand turn in front of you because the driver thinks he has time to make the turn. You hit the bakes to avoid T-boning the moron. Now you can look at your head unit and watch as the car approaches you from the rear and be prepared . Highly recommend.

>Rating: 5

Buy this now.

Familiarity:
I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Are you thinking about buying that fresh jersey? Maybe those lighter pedals? New shoes? If you don't own this, stop your browsing for incremental or style upgrades and buy it now. Yes its pricey compared to other rear lights and yes you need a compatible head unit. But chances are if you're shopping here you own a head unit already. Paired quickly and easily to my Edge 530. I took this on the first ride yesterday. Its uncanny to have eyes in the back of your head. It detects cars easily 10-15 seconds before I can even hear them. Especially now in the autumn with more chilly headwinds to contend with, the alerts this thing provides are invaluable. Riding around northern NJ on busy suburban and country roads, I really can't say enough good things.

>Rating: 5

Varia Radar Tailight

Familiarity:
I've used it several times
Fit:
True to size

My son has been using a Garmin Varia radar tailight for 2 years, and now that I'm doing more riding on streets & country roads with my local cycling club I want that extra level of safety. It works just as expected and is very reliable indicating the speed and closing distance of an approaching car. Setup was easy with my Garmin 830.

>Rating: 5

Wouldn’t ride without it

Familiarity:
I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Went for my first ride with this amazing piece of technology. Works exactly as indicated. Easy to set up and use. Paired with my Garmin Edge 520. Display is great. Instructions in box are a little understated, but there are some very good you tube videos available. Haven’t tried it in a paceline, but I sure felt safer out on my own.

>Rating:

Can you use this with a seat post bag in place?

Hi Mark, excellent question. As long as the rear view of the Varia is not obstructed by a saddle bag / seat post bag you should be fine to mount both.

>Rating:

Does this device allow for USB charging?

Hey Mario, Yes, this comes with a small charge cord that works via USB. So it should work with any current charge boxes you have, or more simply your computer!

>Rating:

will this work with a Garmin 510 computer?

Hey John, Yes this will work with any Garmin or Wahoo Head Mount, all you need is the most current firmware on your system, and it will synch right up!