Garmin Varia RTL510 Marketing gimmick or really works?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
Stueys
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Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:12 pm

by Stueys

It's one of those things that you can't see the point in until you get one. I've had one for about three years (currently on the latest model) and I wouldn't ride without it. It heightens your sense of awareness of what's around you and I'm convinced that the changing light pattern is more noticable to an approaching car than a consistent light pattern.

It picks cars up from a long way out, certainly enough time to give you 5 or 6 seconds of warning that something is approaching. You also get a good indication of the speed of the approaching vehicle and whether it's multiples. Somehow it also fairly consistently manages to not flag bikes behind you but still pick out the cars, quite often I'm at the front of a group and am aware of an approaching vehicle before the guy at the back has called it.

I used to use a fly 6 camera light and swapped to the radar for that. A camera is nice if something happens but I'd rather prioritise avoiding the accident. I wouldn't ride without it now.

Only caveat is urban traffic, I find it essential for where I ride (suburbs and country) but I turn the radar off when I'm in London. It's not useful in consistent traffic.

kevinw
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Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:49 pm

by kevinw

I have one and love it.

I think that the fact the rear light flashes when there is a car is a bit pointless and it is super bright when it does this so I might recomend the german version that doesn't flash.

The radar itself is really good once you get used to it and while I would obviously still always check behind me before moving out it's great never being shocked by a car coming past.

More use on rural roads than in traffic, however, it isn't as annoying as you would think in built up areas becuase it only detects things moving and different speeds relative to you so if there is a line of traffice moving at the same speed as you it does nothing.

by Weenie


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Juanmoretime
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by Juanmoretime

I have the 510 and feel it is a safety net. Having been hit by a car, although not from behind, over two year ago and found on the pavement unconcious and with two brain bleeds it makes me feel better about know what is coming up behind me. I live where its pretty rural so traffic is not a constant and don't like the radar when in a heavy traffic area as when I tarvel to larger cities. I also do ot use it on team rides. Safety in numbers? I have had a few drivers pull aong side me, since I tend to ride early, as in dark or dusk with lights compliment me about being seen.
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Spinnekop
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by Spinnekop

kevinw wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:36 am
I have one and love it.

I think that the fact the rear light flashes when there is a car is a bit pointless and it is super bright when it does this so I might recomend the german version that doesn't flash.
You can adjust the flashing / not flashing in its settings and if it is not set up as a "light" on your Garmin, you can just press the button to page throught flash modes.
"In my experience, there is only one motivation, and that is DESIRE.
No reason or principle contain it or stand against it........"

demoCRIT
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Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:04 pm

by demoCRIT

i have both 510 and 511 on my GF bike.
Super happy with them, feel much more confident on the bike (sometimes probably too confident)...
It enables us to go along and talk for most of our rides without looking back for upcoming traffic etc.

I woudl highly recommend getting one and if you need to choose go with more pricey 510, flashing and brightness are much better!

ChiZ01
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Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:20 pm

by ChiZ01

when you route planning, avoid roads without shoulder at all cost, they are death traps

moyboy
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by moyboy

Exactly what Tobin says..... Love mine.... my wife and I share it when we go on ride separately.
This is a great product, so much so Wahoo added it to their headunits.
TobinHatesYou wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:56 pm
ANT+ Radar devices like the Varia Radar won't intrinsically make you safer, but I find myself riding in the middle of the lane more often (away from all the all the crap that gets pushed to the side of the lane/shoulder) because I can.

kevinw
Posts: 107
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:49 pm

by kevinw

Spinnekop wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:05 am
You can adjust the flashing / not flashing in its settings and if it is not set up as a "light" on your Garmin, you can just press the button to page throught flash modes.
I have mine set to "off" to save battery but it always still flashes when it detects a car - cant find an option to disable that - this is on an edge 1000 head unit.

kode54
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Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 9:39 pm

by kode54

Doesn't help much on my rides. A fellow rider has one...and it does avoid his head turning, cars or rather trucks seem to be gunning for us all the time out of spite. Just had a pick up truck swerve onto our path as he passed us...and we were single file. So in those cases, nothing will prevent you from getting side swiped even with the radar light or wide shoulders.
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Spinnekop
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by Spinnekop

kevinw wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:27 pm
Spinnekop wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:05 am
You can adjust the flashing / not flashing in its settings and if it is not set up as a "light" on your Garmin, you can just press the button to page throught flash modes.
I have mine set to "off" to save battery but it always still flashes when it detects a car - cant find an option to disable that - this is on an edge 1000 head unit.
You need to set it up as a "light" and not as a "radar"
And the unit needs to be in Bluetooth mode before you can pair.
"In my experience, there is only one motivation, and that is DESIRE.
No reason or principle contain it or stand against it........"

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ms6073
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by ms6073

moyboy wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:15 pm
Exactly what Tobin says..... Love mine.... my wife and I share it when we go on ride separately.
This is a great product, so much so Wahoo added it to their headunits.
Installed these on both mine and the wife's road bikes and will agree that they do help increase awareness but traffic congestion is a limiting factor. I suspect that eventually we will have a new generation Varia with and integrated camera like the Cycliq Fly6 which connects to compatible Edge devices and would provide real-time rear views of the approaching traffic to to better anticipate what a vehicle is doing. The limiting factor is how to transmist the video to the head unit as I doubt there is an ANT+ video protocol while casting video via bluetooth has been around for a while with tablets and smart phones.
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TobinHatesYou
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by TobinHatesYou

ms6073 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:37 pm
moyboy wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:15 pm
Exactly what Tobin says..... Love mine.... my wife and I share it when we go on ride separately.
This is a great product, so much so Wahoo added it to their headunits.
Installed these on both mine and the wife's road bikes and will agree that they do help increase awareness but traffic congestion is a limiting factor. I suspect that eventually we will have a new generation Varia with and integrated camera like the Cycliq Fly6 which connects to compatible Edge devices and would provide real-time rear views of the approaching traffic to to better anticipate what a vehicle is doing. The limiting factor is how to transmist the video to the head unit as I doubt there is an ANT+ video protocol while casting video via bluetooth has been around for a while with tablets and smart phones.

I doubt this is coming just because of the bandwidth and energy requirement. A mirror on the end of your drop bars or a helmet mirror performs these duties.

spdntrxi
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Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:11 pm

by spdntrxi

I have this old go pro type camera ( I think they are out of business now) used to be able to ad-hoc a local network and view the live image on the phone... as soon as you hit record the live image would stop though.

MichaelB
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Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:31 am

by MichaelB

3Pio wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:24 am
...
U said u tested and work good.. Can u please be more specific about ur experience?

Thanks
I live in the inner city, so for many of my rides, it goes 'alarms' often and has a big drain on the battery.
At night, you need the backlight onm all the time to see where the cars are and how fast they are approaching, so you end up looking at the screen more.
It can get distracting, as it may alert to a car coming that then turns off., but also, if cars follow each otrher closely, then can blend to be a single dot.
The rear light pulse changing when it detects a car is good, but the unit isn't bright enough for me.
It can only pick up cars it can "see" - it can't pick up cars on a windy road.

It is good for picking up cars that are very quiet that you may not hear approaching due to other noises/concentartion.
It can pickup from a wide angle and also can pick up a bike too (in the right conditions.

I've attached a link to my review as well.

Summray, good, expensive, works well, but not for my use
https://www.bicycles.net.au/2018/10/gar ... ar-review/

by Weenie


3Pio
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Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:13 pm

by 3Pio

Thanks a lot guys...

I decided to order and to test it my self on my rides.. Probably in the City i'll turn off the radar (hope it can be easy done trough Garmin Edge 520), and will turn on as soon as im out of heavy traffic... Again hope is easy to turn on/turn off this regarding situation/needs on the ride...

One scenario that i think about and it can be helpfull is winter riding with winter cap under helmet.. Last season had a few situations where together with wind noise i did not hear the cars and got suprised.. So probably will help on this..

Will share my experience as soon as i test it my self in my riding conditions... Thanks again..

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