I recently purchased a Garmin Varia RTL515 Rearview Radar with Taillight. I have had a chance to use it a few times and wanted to share my experience with all of you. It only took a few minutes to decide this thing is awesome and I wish I had
bought one sooner. Village Cycle has a few on order according to Mike Page and should have them in stock soon if you decide you want one.
It works like this, when a car approaches the radar picks it up from 150 yards back, gives you an audible alert, and displays on your Garmin (or phone app) amber lines on each side or red lines if the car is approaching rapidly. A small dot moves up your
screen as the car approaches, multiple dots for multiple cars, then after all is clear the red lines turn green then go away. The taillight flasher pattern changes when a car approaches to give you way more visibility. This is a great feature! The button to
change the pattern manually is easy to reach right on the top of the radar unit.
I rode with a friend and he was able to pair his Garmin to my radar and get these same warnings. I'm not sure how many devices you can pair to 1 radar. When a bike is behind you you get a warning but then after a few seconds it realizes its a bike and
the warning goes away. It also changes the flasher to be less obnoxious assuming you are in front of another rider. It will still show cars coming even if there are bikes behind you. The battery life is 15 hours when the taillight is in flasher mode. It comes
with 3 different seat post mounts and uses the standard Garmin 1/4 turn mount.
I still see roadies out there everyday riding w/o a rear flasher. You should be using one day or night. Spend a few extra bucks on the Varia and get the additional safety of rear radar. It will take one ride to get used to not having to turn around constantly
to see if any cars are coming. I did a long ride last week and was amazed at how many times I was a few feet in the road after 15 or 20 minutes of no cars passing me. My Garmin would beep, I moved over and all was good.
This is one of those accessories I thought about buying for a long time. I wanted to share my experience with all of you in case you were doing the same thing. Go buy one. You will be happy you did!
- Brian Louis