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I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia
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Well, I can't really say that since I've not tried the Varia, but this Zefal Spy mirror is something I can't live without. Excellent situational awareness, I never get surprised by any vehicle approaching from the rear.

Video is a bit wobbly, but in reality it's much more stable than that.

Can swap between bikes in seconds (although I own a couple of mirrors).

I can see behind me on all 3 hand positions. In a steady stream of traffic I can anticipate cars vs buses vs trucks etc - not sure what the Varia would do better.

Although it's better with 44cm bars rather than narrower ones, as you'll see more of your hip/thigh.

Can't recommend these highly enough, used them in the US and Europe. Never tried to fit one on my TT bike though.




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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [TOMOP] [ In reply to ]
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You do you, I won't ride without a varia anymore.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [TOMOP] [ In reply to ]
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TOMOP wrote:
I've not tried the Varia...not sure what the Varia would do better.
A mirror is a passive device that depends on you constantly looking at it. And, a mirror is limited in distance by what you can actually see. A Varia actively tells you when vehicles are coming, how many are coming, relatively how far apart they are, and how fast they are closing. And, the Varia typically sees vehicles much further back than you can see in a mirror. If you are riding in a group, others can also know what is behind you by the flashing pattern on your tail light.

If you are on a technical section of road, you may not look at your mirror as often. That is not a limitation with a Varia.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [TOMOP] [ In reply to ]
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I have always HATED those.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [exxxviii] [ In reply to ]
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exxxviii wrote:
A mirror is a passive device that depends on you constantly looking at it.

True. I presume the Varia makes some audible sound through the head unit? Will I always hear that?

exxxviii wrote:
A Varia actively tells you when vehicles are coming, how many are coming, relatively how far apart they are, and how fast they are closing. And, the Varia typically sees vehicles much further back than you can see in a mirror.

Hmmm, I've done tens of thousands of km with the mirror - I'm happy I can get all that info too, plus the advantage of seeing with my own eyes


exxxviii wrote:
If you are on a technical section of road, you may not look at your mirror as often. That is not a limitation with a Varia.

Only on an extremely technical descent maybe.

The potential issue with the mirror is more that it may distract you from looking straight ahead until you are quite used to it.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [TOMOP] [ In reply to ]
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TOMOP wrote:
Hmmm, I've done tens of thousands of km with the mirror - I'm happy I can get all that info too, plus the advantage of seeing with my own eyes


Advantage - I don't that word means what you think it means.

Man made fire with two sticks, or a couple of rocks for 1000s of years, also.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [TOMOP] [ In reply to ]
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TOMOP wrote:
I presume the Varia makes some audible sound through the head unit? Will I always hear that?

I'm happy I can get all that info too, plus the advantage of seeing with my own eyes

Only on an extremely technical descent maybe.
DCRainmaker pretty much nailed it when he put it this way "In general, there’s two trains of thought to people with the Varia radar: A) People that have tried it and love it;B) Everyone else." You are in the everyone else category.

Your risk of not happening to miss a car because you were not looking is probably much higher than missing an audio alert. But, that depends on your hearing and your head unit. I do not think I have ever missed an audio alert.

Varia is superior not because it tells you more (it does), but because it tells you before you would have seen it. Almost every time. It does the mental processing for you so that you can focus on the road ahead. You are not distracted from missing grates, getting door'd, missing a stop, whatever, because you are staring at a mirror behind you.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [TOMOP] [ In reply to ]
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I wish Garmin would advertise a '2 week, no questions asked' return on varia radar. Mirrors are good and situational awareness is definitely improved. But, until you try it, you really can't compare them.

If you are in PDX, I'll loan you mine for a week.

(By the way, transferring between bikes is seconds as well. The seat post mount hangs on by a (pretty dang indestructible) rubber band.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [TOMOP] [ In reply to ]
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I have a couple of these mirrors too although I find mounting it on the left side outside gives me a better result. If the car has DRL, its easily spotted at Varia distance but a dark car with no lights I agree is not seen until it is much closer. I ride the bike the way I drive a car, scanning the road, mirror(s) and periphery. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way. If your 10 year old car works fine for you, there is no need to upgrade to one that alerts you to lane departure, brakes for you, parks itself, has a rear view camera, etc. OTOH, some of these features are nice to have although I suspect they make you dependent on them. I have tried the Varia but have not bought one as yet.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [exxxviii] [ In reply to ]
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exxxviii wrote:
TOMOP wrote:
I've not tried the Varia...not sure what the Varia would do better.
A mirror is a passive device that depends on you constantly looking at it. And, a mirror is limited in distance by what you can actually see. A Varia actively tells you when vehicles are coming, how many are coming, relatively how far apart they are, and how fast they are closing. And, the Varia typically sees vehicles much further back than you can see in a mirror. If you are riding in a group, others can also know what is behind you by the flashing pattern on your tail light.

If you are on a technical section of road, you may not look at your mirror as often. That is not a limitation with a Varia.

Does the Varia tell you if the car behind you is vearing onto the shoulder and that the driver is clearly distracted?
Mirrors are the bomb and that constantly looking at it crap is something I get tired of. I can see with peripheral vision on my mirrors on my sunglasses exactly what is going on behind me at all times.
I think the Varia is a cool product but it does not beat being able to actually see what is happening behind you.

https://www.miles4matt.run/
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [M~] [ In reply to ]
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Varia can give audible signals. Meaning your eyes are on the road until necessary. Not always staring at a mirror.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [M~] [ In reply to ]
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Its too bad you are forced to only have one or the other. Wouldn't it be cool if you could actually put both on a bike? Maybe the Varia could look behind you ALL THE TIME, and whenever it beeped you could check the mirror to see exactly what the car is doing as it gets close enough to cause harm. That would be cool....maybe, some day.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [exxxviii] [ In reply to ]
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exxxviii wrote:
.... because you are staring at a mirror behind you. ....

And also: you cannot stare at your powermeter and your mirror at the same time 🤣🤣

Citizen of the world, former drunkard. Resident Traumatic Brain Injury advocate.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [M~] [ In reply to ]
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When i'm done riding with my mirrors i upload my ride on my ipad.


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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [exxxviii] [ In reply to ]
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exxxviii wrote:
TOMOP wrote:
I've not tried the Varia...not sure what the Varia would do better.
A mirror is a passive device that depends on you constantly looking at it. And, a mirror is limited in distance by what you can actually see. A Varia actively tells you when vehicles are coming, how many are coming, relatively how far apart they are, and how fast they are closing. And, the Varia typically sees vehicles much further back than you can see in a mirror. If you are riding in a group, others can also know what is behind you by the flashing pattern on your tail light.

If you are on a technical section of road, you may not look at your mirror as often. That is not a limitation with a Varia.

Exactly. The purpose of the Varia is to keep you visible the radar is just a bonus. It will change it's blinking pattern as a car approaches and gives you an audible beeping.

I have had a few folks tell me they were able to see that blinking from way down the road.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [exxxviii] [ In reply to ]
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This is all a misdirection. No one needs mirrors or radars in Zwift!
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [Tom_hampton] [ In reply to ]
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This is exactly the reason I do not use Zwift. It is so primitive that they have not built rear-view mirrors into the simulation. Totally lame. Car video games had rear view mirrors in the 90s.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [exxxviii] [ In reply to ]
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I'm sure the friction model is equally primative. Maybe they can upgrade to the iRacing tire models, and it will help the Zwifters' bike handling skilz.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [exxxviii] [ In reply to ]
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Well said!

Cheers, Neal

+1 mph Faster
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [TOMOP] [ In reply to ]
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I wonder if you could see draft marshals with that?

Sorry :)
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [TOMOP] [ In reply to ]
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I won't ride on roads without it anymore.

I would also go so far as to say it's a performance enhancer for both training and when racing on unclosed roads.

The number of times it has alerted me to cars that my mirror wouldn't have seen or I would not have seen without looking back is worth it on it's own. I've never had a false negative and all the "False positives" I've had are from cops (their radar signature does something to the device) or when i've gone under an overpass and it thinks the cars above me are suddenly coming at me full speed.

A few weeks ago I did TT race on unclosed roads. Never once did I have to worry about where I was riding in the road or keep glancing behind me. When a car came, it beeped with plenty of warning, I moved to the right, the car passed, and I went back to riding on the smooth part of the road.

I was honestly skeptical at first, but for $150 bucks it's a no brainer. A mirror is only $8. And you get exactly what you pay for
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [Tom_hampton] [ In reply to ]
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While we are on the topic of this dumpster fire that is Zwift, I would like to see Zwift, InsideRide, and Wahoo partner for a next-generation Wahoo CROSSWIND. The problem with Zwift is that does nothing to help riders deal with crosswinds. Set this sucker up on rollers and then randomly blast the riders with a 20 MPH crosswind while on a Zwift race. Only the strongest survive. No more of this wimpy bike handling skills problem triathlon is plagued with.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [burnthesheep] [ In reply to ]
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I alternate looking at the road, looking at data. Road, data, road, data.

I don’t think I’d like to be having to add in mirror checks. That’s less time my eyeballs are on the road. And what if I forget to check a mirror and miss a car zooming up behind me? Varia audio alerts work just fine. I took a tip from someone on ST and when I see a new dot, I move over and take the lane so I am more apt to be seen. Then when they get closer, I move to the right so they can safely pass.

Varia for the win. And honestly they’re not that expensive.
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [jaretj] [ In reply to ]
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jaretj wrote:
I wonder if you could see draft marshals with that?

Sorry :)

Does Zwift have draft marshals ?
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Re: I much prefer this $8 solution instead of Garmin Varia [TOMOP] [ In reply to ]
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TOMOP wrote:
Well, I can't really say that since I've not tried the Varia, but this Zefal Spy mirror is something I can't live without. Excellent situational awareness, I never get surprised by any vehicle approaching from the rear.


Better:


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