Garmin Varia Radar Lights

I had my first commute with the Garmin Varia lighting system this evening. When paired with a Garmin GPS device (in my case, and Edge 1000 Explore), the headlight dims or brightens based on speed and/or time of day. and the rear (radar enabled) light lets you know if cars (or other cyclists) are approaching from behind.

The implications for our Tours and Micro-Tours are obvious, providing more safety for groups on northern country roads. For urban commuters, these devices can provide a great safety net, specifically when trying to cross across traffic to make a left turn on the city grid.

Garmin Varia UT 800 Smart Headlight Urban Edition,  available in our Online Shop here .

Garmin Varia UT 800 Smart Headlight Urban Edition, available in our Online Shop here.

Garmin Varia RTL510 Rearview Radar Tail Light,  available in our Online Shop here.

Garmin Varia RTL510 Rearview Radar Tail Light, available in our Online Shop here.

I have a Garmin Edge Explore 1000 that I generally use for our longer trips. On a day-to-day basic, I don’t use it too much as I think I have my 1.37 mile route home pretty nailed. I know I could be tracking daily mileage, but it seems like barely a ride.

Now, however, my mind is changed. Using the radar device made me feel like I had an ace up my sleeve in the endless battle to arrive home safely.

Targets approaching (dots on right side of screen, red edges to screen, beeping)

Targets approaching (dots on right side of screen, red edges to screen, beeping)

“All Clear” (Green Screen)

“All Clear” (Green Screen)

Regular read-out

Regular read-out

It was hard (and dangerous) to shoot a smooth video as I was riding home…as you can tell, 4th Avenue is a target rich environment!

The headlight mounts on the underside of a specific Garmin mount. It dials in tight and solid. The tail light really wants to go on a seatpost. Since I use various saddle bags regularly (blocking the seatpost), I mounted it on the non-drive side chainstay, with the thinking that this would be the best position to detect approaching cars. Turns out, the radar was unbelievably effective in that position in detecting everything behind me on both sides of approach (including speedy delivery bikes).

As I approached my least favorite part of my commute (cutting a left turn from 5th Ave onto 16th street), I used my devices to increase my situational awareness dramatically. Cars are detected about 150 yards away and are tracked inbound.

These devices aren’t cheap (see below), but its hard to put a price on safety. Now available at our Online Shop or in-store.

Garmin Varia UT800 Smart Headlight
149.99

Meet the Smart Headlight That Shines Brighter for Longer

  • High-intensity cycling headlight for urban and trail use that’s visible in daylight from more than 1 mile (1.6 km) away

  • Projects a steady blast of 800 lumens for up to 1.5 hours

  • Automatically adjusts to ambient light conditions, speed and ride profile¹ to extend battery life

  • Works independently or pairs with compatible Edge® cycling computers to automatically turn lights on or off, control brightness and more

  • Offers 5 light modes, including high, medium, low, night flash and day flash

  • More info on Garmin Website Here

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Garmin Varia RTL510
199.99

See and Be Seen, Day or Night  

  • Provides visual and audible alerts to warn of vehicles approaching from behind up to 153 yards (140 meters) away

  • Tail light offers daylight visibility up to a mile away and is visible within a 220-degree range, so drivers can see you well before the radar sees the vehicle

  • Sleek vertical design easily mounts to most road-use bicycles, including racing, touring and commuter styles

  • Requires a dedicated radar display unit or wirelessly integrates with compatible Garmin devices (sold separately)

  • Battery life: up to 15 hours in flashing mode or 6 hours in solid or night flash mode

  • More info on Garmin Website here

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