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  1. #76
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    On my ride and descent today I realized the value of this device. Mottled sunlight combined with no shoulders and rockfall debris made the descent a little sketchy. Rock faces made it difficult to determine if the noise was coming only from the approaching car or partially from behind. It would have been good on the slower sections to know with certainty about the distance of the cars approaching from behind as it would have made rockfall avoidance decisions easier. Also it would have been good to know if multiple cars were gaining from behind (wind noise and passing cars made that impossible.

    I think the heads-up display would have been essential because debris in the road required serious and constant concentration. Looking in the mirror was useless and looking down at the 1000 was iffy.

    I can see a lot of situations where this thing may have merit.

  2. #77
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    Took my first ride with it today, paired with my new Garmin Edge 25.

    Set up was trivial. The thing was instantly recognized and paired.

    The good news is it works. It detected every car that passed me. I had a couple of false positives that very briefly appeared -- three -- two of which I think were instances of the radar picking up my wife behind me. One was unexplainable. They appeared as brief blips, and went away. More common was the detector not beeping or indicating a car until it was almost on top of me. Windy roads seem to limit the effective range quite severely. It worked significantly better on straight roads. Overall, I am a bit less than impressed. Even when detecting a car well in advance, it would appear on the radar a good 3 or 5 seconds after I first heard the car. In exactly one instance, the alert identified a car before I heard it (going downhill at speed). Turned out to be a model citizen driver.

    Overall, I think this isn't worth $200. I got it at REI, so I can put it through its paces before I decide to return it. My midwest puritan ethic seems to prevent me from doing that.

  3. #78
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    Glad your hearing is better than mine! Give it a few rides, you may find places where it's more useful for you. Funny thing is the more cars there are, the less useful it is because you get to a point where you just know you're in urban traffic.

    Is the firmware on it up-to-date?

    Hopefully they will nail it with the 2.0 version whenever they release new hardware.

  4. #79
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    I didn't even realize it had firmware. (The head unit's firmware is up to date.) I plan to play around more with it. I'm just afraid that windy roads in the redwoods aren't its forte.

    Garmin: Varia? Rearview Radar Software Update Collection
    Last edited by wgscott; 05-09-2016 at 11:40 AM.

  5. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
    I didn't even realize it had firmware. (The head unit's firmware is up to date.) I plan to play around more with it. I'm just afraid that windy roads in the redwoods aren't its forte.

    Garmin: Varia? Rearview Radar Software Update Collection
    Did you use Garmin Express to register and update the firmware?

  6. #81
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    No, I haven't tried. I guess I should ...

    Are we talking about the light/radar unit itself, or the optional head-unit (which I do not have)?

    It doesn't identify the light when I plug it in via USB
    Last edited by wgscott; 05-09-2016 at 01:44 PM.

  7. #82
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    The light / radar unit itself

  8. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
    I didn't even realize it had firmware. (The head unit's firmware is up to date.) I plan to play around more with it. I'm just afraid that windy roads in the redwoods aren't its forte.

    Garmin: Varia? Rearview Radar Software Update Collection
    its radar... winding roads is never going to be it's strong point. Also the car is better detected at speed differences... meaning if the car slows down to keeps the same speed as you .. well harder to detect. Firmware has improved this but still. I find mine very useful... I prefer to use it on all my rides, even riding partners pair with it or listens for sounds.

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
    No, I haven't tried. I guess I should ...

    Are we talking about the light/radar unit itself, or the optional head-unit (which I do not have)?

    It doesn't identify the light when I plug it in via USB
    http://static.garmin.com/pumac/Varia_Radar_OM_EN.pdf
    Read page 4 of the manual under supports and updates.

  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
    I didn't even realize it had firmware. (The head unit's firmware is up to date.) I plan to play around more with it. I'm just afraid that windy roads in the redwoods aren't its forte.

    Garmin: Varia? Rearview Radar Software Update Collection
    Are you referring to "windy" roads or "winding" roads?

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumper FSR View Post
    http://static.garmin.com/pumac/Varia_Radar_OM_EN.pdf
    Read page 4 of the manual under supports and updates.
    Thanks. Maybe I need to try another USB cable or something.

    Edit:

    It turns out it was a bad USB cable. Now syncing works fine, and indeed there is a software update. Thanks for making me persist.
    Last edited by wgscott; 05-09-2016 at 05:14 PM.

  12. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumper FSR View Post
    Are you referring to "windy" roads or "winding" roads?
    Undulating, windy and through wineries.

  13. #88
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    I don't hear great and the cap I wear under my helmet has ear flaps so I find Varia useful for both windy and winding conditions. Mt Diablo is often both. True that the way the radar works limits how soon a car is detected on winding road, though.

  14. #89
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    I've warmed up to mine. It seems to be more useful on downhills, where I get up enough speed to prevent me from hearing an approaching car (and appreciate the ability to navigate road hazards without having to look back over my shoulder, which has a huge chip on it. Speaking of which, the wife is about to take me to divorce court for buying this thing (with my REI dividend, no less).

  15. #90
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    I've been thinking about getting one of the radar units. I'm very hard of hearing and usually don't know of cars or trucks till they blow by me. But I've been noting on my last few rides I only look down at my computer every 10-20 minutes or so. Does anyone here have a Edge 1000 with the sound , how loud is it? If it's not very loud it won't help me very much.

  16. #91
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    Well I'd say it's loud enough...whether thats loud enough for you...? But when I cant hear anything but wind noise and a truck sneaks up on you, I can clearly hear the beep from the 1000.

    edit: I think its the same beep as start/stop/lap.
    All the gear and no idea

  17. #92
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    Per other threads, Gen 2 radar just announced and available soon. Radar tech doesn't sound any better but the light and general shape of the unit supposedly are.

    Garmin RTL510

    https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/601468
    Last edited by jetdog9; 04-22-2018 at 08:28 PM.

  18. #93
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    I have a Garmin Varia and like it a lot. The real benefit is being able to tell you how many cars are approaching from behind. I ride on country roads a lot and I can always hear when a car is approaching. Generally, after the car passes I kind of relax but sometimes times get startled if their is another car right behind the first one. With the Varia, I know when there are multiple cars and if so, not to relax too much after the first one passes. A mirror can't always tell you if there are multiple cars following each other closely. Just my two cents.

  19. #94
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    I always assume the car behind me is pulling a trailer and there’s another car behind them.

  20. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus View Post
    I've been thinking about getting one of the radar units. I'm very hard of hearing and usually don't know of cars or trucks till they blow by me. But I've been noting on my last few rides I only look down at my computer every 10-20 minutes or so. Does anyone here have a Edge 1000 with the sound , how loud is it? If it's not very loud it won't help me very much.
    In addition to the moving dots and sound, there ar other visual cues that light up more of the screen when cars are coming as well, just FYI.

  21. #96
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    Just upgraded to the new version RTL510 and they have really addressed all the issues with the first gen. Vertical form factor, much better light output (now equal to a great rear light), higher sensitivity and better battery life. All good!

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk

  22. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodboyr View Post
    Just upgraded to the new version RTL510 and they have really addressed all the issues with the first gen. Vertical form factor, much better light output (now equal to a great rear light), higher sensitivity and better battery life. All good!

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    I did too and love it. The initial ride was at night with no problems. I plan on getting the smart light also.
    Cheap bikes are great... because they're cheap!

  23. #98
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    I'm a new adopter to the Varia and recently picked up the RTL510. I'm using a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt, so I ended up getting the model with the included display which I mounted on top of my stem. I left my Bolt out front of my bars. This cockpit set up has worked surprisingly well.

    The Varia is really fantastic. I ride a lot of quiet country roads and cars have a tendency to sneak up behind you and often I wouldn't notice them until the last minute. Now I get plenty of warning and this allows me to get over to the side. I've noticed with the flashing rear light that cars seem to be swinging wider around me as well.

    So far the Varia hasn't missed a car. I have had a couple of false positives where it seems to detect a car but then there isn't one, but these events are quite infrequent.

    Honestly, I wouldn't want to go back to riding without it. Now if Wahoo would just consider adding support.

  24. #99
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    I suspect there's technology involved where Garmin would have to allow Wahoo to add support, and may not be so willing to do so.... Glad you like the Varia.

  25. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetdog9 View Post
    I suspect there's technology involved where Garmin would have to allow Wahoo to add support, and may not be so willing to do so.... Glad you like the Varia.
    Apparently not DCRainmaker commented during his review that Garmin let the door open for other manufacturers to interface with it.

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