Garmin is a leader in cycling technology with some amazing technology with GPS, cadence, post-ride stats and much much more. Their new Varia Rearview Radar is something special though, bringing car-like radar technology to cyclists.
The idea is simple. A leading cause of accidents and fatalities among cyclists are cars or trucks approaching from behind. Whether it’s the vehicle not driving safely or the cyclist moving unaware of the vehicle it’s a problem difficult to solve when rear-view mirrors aren’t exactly the norm for cyclists of any level.
Enter Garmin Varia. This system is a set of front and rear LED lights. The front light is a nice bright beam, but when paired with a compatible Garmin Edge GPS unit it can automatically adjust the brightness based on your speed and location.
At the rear the tail light again is a standard setup – red light on or flashing red depending on how you operate it. But it’s the radar technology that brings this into its own.
Using radar technology the Varia can detect cars or trucks approaching from behind up to 140 meters away.
There are two things that can happen when a vehicle is detected. Firstly the rear light will flash or shine brighter to ensure the driver has the best chance of catching sight of the bike.
And if the cyclist has a compatible Garmin Edge GPS unit it will also show a flashing alert over the map on-screen.
This is a simple overview of what is some very complex and frankly amazing technology.
The Varia radar tail light is available for $259, or $389 bundled with the radar display unit. The Varia smart bike lights are available as a bundle including the Varia remote for $389, or separately for $259 (headlight) and $99 (tail light).
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.