Garmin has released two new Varia rear-view radar devices – the standalone Varia RVR315 and combined radar and light RTL515.
Garmin’s Varia radar systems provide audible and visible warnings to alert the rider to any fast approaching vehicles.
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In previous models, the rider had to pair the Varia device with a compatible Garmin head unit in order to take advantage of the increased hazard awareness the system provided.
The updated RVR315 and RTL515 models work with a Varia app that allows any smartphone to be utilised as the head unit, functioning as the Varia display – of course the new systems are also compatible with existing Garmin devices with Varia capabilities.
When used with a compatible smartphone, the Varia RVR315 and RTL515 are also able to integrate with popular third-party apps like Ride with GPS, letting cyclists overlay their maps with rear-view radar alerts.
Each device is capable of detecting approaching vehicles from up to 140 metres away. While riding, cyclists will receive colour-coded alerts on their phone – green means everything is OK, amber means a vehicle is coming and red means a car is approaching at high speed.
In addition to the graphics, tone and vibration alerts will let cyclists know when a vehicle is coming.
The new Varia RTL515 also has a couple of updated features for the rear light itself. Improved optics have enabled the new unit to boast a visibility of up to a mile when running ‘Day Flash Mode’ in daylight; increasing rider visibility for vehicles that might be approaching.
The light also features a new ‘Peloton Mode’ which reduces the intensity of the flash, helping to save your fellow cyclist’s eyes when riding in a group (when we are able to ride in a group of course!)
The Varia RVR315 features up to 7 hours of battery life and has a suggested retail price of £129.99. Featuring up to 16 hours of battery life in day flash mode, and up to 6 hours in night flash or solid mode, the Varia RTL515 has a suggested retail price of £169.99.
The launch of the new Varia kit comes soon after the unveiling of a Kickstarter campaign for rear view cycling glasses, HindSight.
Backed by Olympic cyclist Callum Skinner, the glasses allow a rider to see what’s going on behind them without looking over their shoulder. The founders comment: “Rear vision is important to anyone on the road. So important that it’s illegal for most road users not to have any” before asking: “If rear vision is so important, why do cyclists have no good options?”
At time of writing, the campaign has raised £7k of the £30k goal.