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.
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.