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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [fatboyslow] [ In reply to ]
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Yea, in the days of the Prius cars, these are great as often cars are very quiet.

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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [gkartashov] [ In reply to ]
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I have a much cheaper version of the Varia . . . they are called me ears. By listening, I too can tell when a car is coming up on my, about how fast it is going and when it has passed me. And guess what, I don't have to look down and take my eyes off of the road to do it. If I am going to change lanes, have to pull into traffic to avoid something I am going to turn around and look behind me first.

People, stop relying on technology to take the place of something we have on our bodies, that 2.5 millions years of evolution has perfected.

The Varia does not tell you if a car is going to collide with you, which would be helpful. And even if it did, let's say 1 second before you got hit, it still wouldn't provide enough foreshadowing to avoid 90% of those devastating accidents.
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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [PhxTri] [ In reply to ]
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I have one and love it. My ears are valuable, but the varia sees a lot farther than my ears can hear. From what I have seen virtually every person who has purchased one, loves it. The only people who don't like it are people who have never tried it. Kinda like DI2 and disc brakes....
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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [Greatzaa] [ In reply to ]
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Ha, you hit that one on the head. Disc brakes provide a valuable service if you are a pro cyclists in Europe where weather conditions change often when coming of long/dangerous descents, which was the original reason they were placed on road bikes. They make little sense on triathlon bikes in which braking is infrequent, as is descending on large gradients. They are even more confusing when people buy something like a P5 and explain how aero the bike is. Then I point to the large offset disc brakes and explain that a P2 with pulley brakes would now beat your bike in a wind tunnel test. Di2 is nice. I'm not sure it's worth another $800-1200 for smoother shifting in my opinion. It is nice having two points of shifting though on tri bikes so let's call that one a draw.

As a police officer in Scottsdale, AZ (a very popular cycling community) I've responded to many, many cyclist vs car accidents over my 20 year career. The really devastating ones are all the same story, cyclist hit from behind by either a distracted driver and drifted into a bike lane and/or the driver was blinded from the rising sun in their eyes. These types of accidents, the exact ones the Varia is designed to prevent, all have a similar story from the cyclists if they survive. They heard the car coming up behind them just before they were hit but did not know they were in their path of travel. Until the Varia is able to read the roadway, the cyclist's position on it and calculate if the moving car is within the cyclist's path in time for the cyclist to pull over (if they even can) it provides little actual benefit.

I would like to hear from anyone that has one, was somehow warned by it that a car was about to collide with them and used that warning to pull out of the path of the car. Until that type of analysis can be done by a device like the Varia, it might provide cyclists with a false sense of security. I can even argue that having a warning signal which requires a cyclist to look down at their cycle computer, the Varia might even be the cause of a few more accidents that would otherwise happen.
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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [PhxTri] [ In reply to ]
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The Varia can alert you to a car way sooner than your ears can. This is particularly true at high speeds when wind will drown out the sound of cars until they are very close.

Don't knock it until you try it.
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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [PhxTri] [ In reply to ]
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"I would like to hear from anyone that has one, was somehow warned by it that a car was about to collide with them and used that warning to pull out of the path of the car. Until that type of analysis can be done by a device like the Varia, it might provide cyclists with a false sense of security. I can even argue that having a warning signal which requires a cyclist to look down at their cycle computer, the Varia might even be the cause of a few more accidents that would otherwise happen."

Tough to say definitively whether the warning from the Varia would prevent a collision from the rear because, well, there was no collision. Seems like only a lab setting could answer that question, but from my experience I frequently ride on narrow mountain roads and when the Varia beeps I move over, so the car can pass without having to swerve into the other lane or buzz too close to me. Whether my moving further to the right has ever saved me I don't know. But I do know that I gave cars more space between and their front bumper. So I feel it provides a benefit.

Likewise on regular surface streets, I'll pull further to the right when I know a car is coming. Sure a distracted driver could still hit me, but if a few more feet, or even inches, makes a difference, then it was worth it.

I love the Varia and wouldn't ride the streets without it.
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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [PhxTri] [ In reply to ]
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I'm from Scottsdale, also. We should meet. I will let you try my Varia!
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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [BayDad] [ In reply to ]
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BayDad wrote:
I use the original Varia with my 520 and battery life is awful. Did an hour ride the other day and was down to about 25% charge.

You should give Garmin tech support a call. I have the same set up and the battery is still holding strong. I can get a 5 hour ride in and still have decent life left.
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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [PhxTri] [ In reply to ]
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PhxTri wrote:
I would like to hear from anyone that has one, was somehow warned by it that a car was about to collide with them and used that warning to pull out of the path of the car.
The strength to the Varia is not that it will tell you when a car is about to collide. It gives you a situational analysis that massively exceeds anything you could hear or see. You know cars are approaching and whether fast, and whether more than one long before you could ever hear one, and without looking back. When I know a car is approaching fast, I am on ready alert and listening for its approach to be sure that I am not in its path. And, if another car is on its bumper, I know, so I can continue to be viligent.

Take Greatzaa up on his offer. At a minimum, you will have a fun ride with another tri guy. And, you may fall for the Varia.
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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [Greatzaa] [ In reply to ]
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Ha ha, that's funny. I'm sure we've ridden together if you do any group stuff out here. I had a Varia. I pre-ordered one when they first came out. I wouldn't comment unless I've tried it. The idea of it did appeal to me. I got rid of it about three months after I had it. It wasn't bad. Over time I just found the warnings less and less useful. I would go through entire solo rides and not realized it was even on. I also found the light a little too dim and pattern to consistent for my liking. I moved to a brighter light that uses a constantly randomized pattern of flashing.
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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [ggeiger] [ In reply to ]
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ggeiger wrote:
Thanks for the nice comments. I really am totally sold on my Varia and feel it has not only helped me feel more secure and in control, I have found cars give me more room when passing. Perhaps they see the beam width grow and it affects them but it is too coincidental to not be the Varia.
I've used mine with my 920xt, but usually have the Garmin 520. Mine is fine for 5 hours, so not sure what other's issues are. As far as attaching to bikes, I have mostly aero seat posts, but swap the bracket back and forth in less than 2 minutes by using the O-Ring type attachments. I actually even doubled up the o-rings in case one broke. I would think that extra mount brackets could be purchased, but given how little time and effort it takes me I have resisted that.
Just to clarify its my 520 that doesn’t last long battery wise. The Varia seems to have excellent battery life n

A wise man once told me " you're here for a good time, not a long time"

How right he was!!
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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [Greatzaa] [ In reply to ]
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Greatzaa wrote:
the varia sees a lot farther than my ears can hear.

Agreed.

I also noted during my ride last night that it was better than my ears at telling me whether another vehicle was following soon after the first. This, despite 45 y of riding that has trained to listen closely for that second vehicle.
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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [PhxTri] [ In reply to ]
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PhxTri wrote:
I also found the light a little too dim

I also wish it was brighter.
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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [PhxTri] [ In reply to ]
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PhxTri wrote:
I have a much cheaper version of the Varia . . . they are called me ears. By listening, I too can tell when a car is coming up on my, about how fast it is going and when it has passed me. And guess what, I don't have to look down and take my eyes off of the road to do it. If I am going to change lanes, have to pull into traffic to avoid something I am going to turn around and look behind me first.

People, stop relying on technology to take the place of something we have on our bodies, that 2.5 millions years of evolution has perfected.

The Varia does not tell you if a car is going to collide with you, which would be helpful. And even if it did, let's say 1 second before you got hit, it still wouldn't provide enough foreshadowing to avoid 90% of those devastating accidents.

If you ride where there is a headwind you cant hear 100 yards plus behind you. To each his own but I love mine and don't ride w\o it
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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [pedal-boy] [ In reply to ]
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I've been using one for just under a year and won't leave home without it. I've never had a problem hearing it with my Garmin 510 no matter what the wind conditions, and I have missed hearing cars until they are right next to me before Varia. My casual rides are in the 17 to 20 mph area and I've never missed an alert. When training for TT my speed will obviously be faster, and I can still hear the alert. The excuse that you have to take your eyes off the road doesn't fly. A quick glance is all that is needed. And forget mirrors...... talk about taking your eyes off the road, sheesh!
The only time it might not work great would be if a car pulls in right behind you from an intersection or cross road. It might not alert right away. You get used to looking back if you think a car has turned in right behind you. Also, if a car slows to your pace it will appear that the car has turned off and you will not see the little dot. I've gotten used to glancing back to see if the car is still there. You still need to look back occasionally as before, but this little device has been life changing on the bike for me.
Last edited by: kkerns: Jun 22, 18 14:55
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Re: Garmin Varia Radar/Cycling Light thoughts? [ In reply to ]
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Does anyone have the Euro version of the vertical radar light, the RTL511? If so, could someone plug it into their computer and send me a copy of the GarminDevice.xml file in the Garmin directory on the device? I'm trying to get a 510 flashed as 511.

The 510 unit automatically flashes the tail light when a car approaches, and you can't turn it off. It is annoying in group rides, and I feel it is dangerous to change the lighting and distract the driver as they approach. There is no setting to change it, which is very short sighted.
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