Garmin Varia RTL510 Marketing gimmick or really works?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
Butcher
Shop Owner
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Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:58 am

by Butcher

I recently turned on the beep option, yeah, it's very annoying. I suspect that it would be ok if you were on a country road but in the light virus roadways right now, it beeps too much. I will have to change that option depending on where I'm riding.

As for picking up riders, I suspect the computer is only watching objects that are closing in. I too have picked up riders, but only when the closing speed is high.

JMeinholdt
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Location: Topeka, KS

by JMeinholdt

AMGRoadster wrote:
Fri Apr 10, 2020 3:53 pm
3Pio thanks for posting this topic. I can't remember who posted that the RTL510 was on-sale but thanks for sharing.

I purchased the RTL510 and have been very happy with it. It is really nice not to have to keep looking back when I pretty far over to the left due to potholes and debris on the right. The beeps are great for making you aware of a car behind you. They do get a bit annoying when there are multiple cars that trigger the beeps. I did not see this mentioned in any of the reviews but my unit will pick up other riders at times.

Who often is everyone recharging? Do you turn the unit off after a ride or let it go to sleep until the next ride? If you let it sleep how does that impact your battery life? I wish it would display battery percentage. I am very happy with the purchase. Now I just need to get a saddle mount. When I looked at the options mentioned earlier in the thread they all appeared to be sold out.

Instead of starting a new thread, I figured I would ask here. Who is running the Garmin UT810 front light? Is it worth the price vs. other options? My biggest hesitation around purchasing it is the battery life appears to be on the short side.
I have my RTL500 on flash. You can link the battery indicator into your Garmin. It only displays in bars and I think it's 20% intervals (5 bars). I ride in a relatively low traffic area so I feel like it's pretty easy for me to get 8-10+ hours before needing to recharge. Because my radar is in a "light network" through my Edge 530, it'll stop flashing as soon as I end the ride and sleep automatically.

I also use the UT800 (I assume that's the light you meant as there's no UT810). Battery life on it is decent when it's in daylight flash mode. But when I was commuting over the winter in more dark and dim hours, I would have to recharge after about 2-3 hours of auto use (changes the mode based on ambient light). Since the Edge 530 has an ambient light sensor it automatically adjusts the light mode from high to medium, to low, to night flash, to day flash. I had no trouble with the auto mode working for me.

This is another light that since it's in the light network, it automatically pairs and turns on/off by itself.

It may not be the best light in terms of $/lumen, but the smart features when used in the Garmin ecosystem makes it worth it to me.
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rides4beer
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Location: SC

by rides4beer

Butcher wrote:
Fri Apr 10, 2020 4:44 pm
I recently turned on the beep option, yeah, it's very annoying. I suspect that it would be ok if you were on a country road but in the light virus roadways right now, it beeps too much. I will have to change that option depending on where I'm riding.

As for picking up riders, I suspect the computer is only watching objects that are closing in. I too have picked up riders, but only when the closing speed is high.
Yup, it works on speed differential, so it won't pick up riders that are in a group with you, but it will sometimes pick up riders that are coming up on you quickly. Likewise, if a car is behind you and they back off, they'll drop from the display, then when they approach again, it'll pick them back up. You get used to it, but just be aware that sometimes the car might still be behind you.

Overall, I absolutely love mine and won't ride without it.

AJS914
Posts: 4119
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

AMGRoadster wrote:
Fri Apr 10, 2020 3:53 pm
The beeps are great for making you aware of a car behind you. They do get a bit annoying when there are multiple cars that trigger the beeps. I did not see this mentioned in any of the reviews but my unit will pick up other riders at times.

Who often is everyone recharging? Do you turn the unit off after a ride or let it go to sleep until the next ride? If you let it sleep how does that impact your battery life? I wish it would display battery percentage. I am very happy with the purchase. Now I just need to get a saddle mount.
I turn my unit off when not in use and I'm in the habit of charging my Garmin after every ride so I charge the Varia with it.

One time, I think I left the Varia on without charging it. Maybe it went to sleep after a while. On the next ride it conked out halfway through the ride. This was a one time occurance though so maybe it was a fluke.

I got the Garmin quarter turn seatpost mount and it has worked pretty well. I hate those Garmin rubber band mounts. The rubber bands have always cracked on me after a while.

AMGRoadster
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2014 3:57 am

by AMGRoadster

Yes, I meant the UT800 not my made up UT810.

I have the RTL510 paired with my Garmin 1030. The flash mode seems to be too bright for any riders behind me so I leave it in auto. I let it sleep the other day VS. turning it off. The flashing blue light was a bit annoying.

I would am fine with the $/lm on the UT800 and the smart features would be nice to have. But as I suspected battery life is too short.

young
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:11 am

by young

I turn my radar off after each ride. if you put it in sleep it still discharges. will be dead by next day.

I can also tell you I've got straight 13 hours on flashing. I was impressed.

tleo
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2020 5:08 pm

by tleo

I never turn off or even touch my 510 except to remove/install it when it needs a charge. It is set up to turn on automatically when I start the timer on my Edge 830 and turn off automatically when I stop the timer at the end of the ride. I get great battery life and have never had it discharge unexpectedly or overnight.

HaroldC
Posts: 203
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 2:21 am

by HaroldC

I recently bought the RTL510 on sale and don't know why I didn't purchase it sooner. I am amazed at how well it works, picking up cars far off in the distance. Yes the beep can get annoying, but I find its usefulness far more important than the slight annorance. I sometime wish the beep is louder, especially when going downhill and there is a lot of wind noise.

I currently have the 510 mounted upside down on the stock round seatpost mount on my SL6. Mounting it this way doesn't seem to affect the performance at all, and I like how it tucks closer to the seatpost. I ordered the Varia mount for the SWAT mount on the saddle for the Allez Sprint.

I do charge it after each ride. I know it's probably bad for the battery, but I don't want to run out of juice midway through a ride. I figured by the time the battery degrades enough, it'll be time to upgrade because of newer technology.

For anyone on the fence, it is a game changer for me. Definitely worth the investment and real estate on the seatpost. I rode the other day without it on the Allez and really missed the early notification of cars behind me, especially Teslas that sneak up on you!
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pdlpsher1
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Location: CO

by pdlpsher1

I also recharge the battery after each ride. Typically my rides last three hours long. In fact I think it's better for the battery when the battery is not depleted below 50% of total capacity.

Another benefit of the radar is that I can take fast canyon descents using the entire lane. I'll know when a car is behind me and only then I move over to the shoulder.

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ms6073
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by ms6073

When we first got them, I noted that we could ride a little over ~11-hours before the needing to recharge, but these days I typically recharge our every Sunday.
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Jugi
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by Jugi

tleo wrote:I never turn off or even touch my 510 except to remove/install it when it needs a charge. It is set up to turn on automatically when I start the timer on my Edge 830 and turn off automatically when I stop the timer at the end of the ride. I get great battery life and have never had it discharge unexpectedly or overnight.
My usage experience has been exactly the same, however I purchased one only some weeks ago so I haven't had to recharge it much.

In my opinion, in an urban environment the constant alarms can get a bit tedious. The radar picks up vehicles which are on completely different lanes and different paths of travel because it monitors such a wide angle. That wide angle is necessary to keep tracking vehicles right until they have passed. However, on the open roads it's so good I would feel a bit naked riding without one.

mike
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by mike

Just get a mirror for your glasses . Way better than some beeping device or GoPro for safety. You want to live and avoid an accident

jacobeh
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:56 pm

by jacobeh

Very happy with the new version where you don't have the light as part of it - I have much better rear lights that I prefer instead and is a bit annoying when riding in a group

Impressed with how accurate it is - let's me use much more of the road instead of always driving in the gutter since you never know when a car might pass you

My setup is the Specialized Power saddle + special GoPro mount that fits the holes in the saddle + GoPro to Garmin adapter
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Jugi
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:10 am

by Jugi

mike wrote:Just get a mirror for your glasses . Way better than some beeping device or GoPro for safety. You want to live and avoid an accident
Oh yes, shards of glass around my face and eyes are definetly welcomed as a safety addition.

markyboy
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Location: Bristol uk

by markyboy

I had some abuse from a guy in his 4x4 just on my way home the other day,i was just riding up through a shaded area of trees and he pulled up beside me put his passenger window down and shouted some rude remark about my light rtl510 and drove off :noidea: well at least it works he saw me :D
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