Bicycles

Garmin's Varia Radar warns cyclists of traffic approaching from the rear

Garmin's Varia Radar warns cyc...
Garmin's Varia bike radar warns cyclists when cars are approaching from behind
Garmin's Varia bike radar warns cyclists when cars are approaching from behind
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Garmin's Varia bike radar warns cyclists when cars are approaching from behind
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Garmin's Varia bike radar warns cyclists when cars are approaching from behind
The Varia Radar can also be paired with Garmin's Edge cycling computer
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The Varia Radar can also be paired with Garmin's Edge cycling computer
In essence, the bike radar hasn't changed dramatically from the pre-production model we reviewed last year
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In essence, the bike radar hasn't changed dramatically from the pre-production model we reviewed last year
Data is transmitted to the display unit in the cyclist's vision with soon-to-be passing vehicles presented as a line of LEDs
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Data is transmitted to the display unit in the cyclist's vision with soon-to-be passing vehicles presented as a line of LEDs
Data is transmitted to the display unit in the cyclist's vision with soon-to-be passing vehicles presented as a line of LEDs
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Data is transmitted to the display unit in the cyclist's vision with soon-to-be passing vehicles presented as a line of LEDs
Data is transmitted to the display unit in the cyclist's vision with soon-to-be passing vehicles presented as a line of LEDs
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Data is transmitted to the display unit in the cyclist's vision with soon-to-be passing vehicles presented as a line of LEDs
When a vehicle approaches from behind, the rear facing radar detects them at a distance of up to 140 m (150 yards)
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When a vehicle approaches from behind, the rear facing radar detects them at a distance of up to 140 m (150 yards)
View gallery - 7 images

Garmin gave hope to many a floundering tech startup's CEO earlier this year when it purchased Ikubu Ltd in the wake of a crowdfunding campaign that came up short. Though the company failed to capture the imagination of the Dragon Innovation crowdfunding community, Garmin liked the cut of Ikubu's jib, so it snapped the company up with a view to bringing its rear-facing bike radar system to market. Now, the electronics giant has unveiled the finished, more polished product dubbed Varia Radar, which also integrates with Garmin's Edge cycle computer.

In essence, the bike radar hasn't changed dramatically from the pre-production model we reviewed last year. The system consists of two modules, a tail light transmitter that attaches to the seatpost and a radar display unit that is mounted on the handlebars. When a vehicle approaches from behind, the rear-facing radar detects them at distances of up to 140 m (150 yards). This data is transmitted to the display unit with soon-to-be passing vehicles presented as a line of LEDs.

In the earlier model, the 40-lumen tail light begins to flash more rapidly the closer the approaching vehicle gets as a way to make the rider more visible to the driver. The updated model beams at only 15 lumens and retains this flashing feature, though the brightness of the LED scales up as the vehicle comes closer.

The Varia Radar can also be paired with Garmin's Edge cycling computer. This gives it the ability to detect up to eight approaching vehicles, giving an indication of how quickly they are approaching and also offering a threat level rating. Bundled together, the Varia tail light and radar display is priced at £240 (US$375).

You can check out a promotional video for the device below.

Source: Garmin

Garmin Varia Rearview Radar: World’s First Cycling Radar

View gallery - 7 images
6 comments
Nik
In my youth, a mirror did the same thing for less than a quid.
RobertProl
I've been uśing a reliable and cheap technology to detect traffic behind me. It doesn't require batteries, and has decades of reliable service. You may have heard of it, it's called a mirror.
Tonifumi
DOA
What a stupid idea!!! As someone who rides a lot, knowing if a car is in front of me by looking down to my handlebars is so hilarious it must be April 1. The indication of cars at the rear is useless too. Many cars pass me each minute, knowing that is meaningless. I repeat, meaningless! Garmin, give me your cash, you don't know how to spend it.
splatman
What a crock! As I kid I too had a mirror. In fact, IMO mirrors should be compulsory on all bicycles used on public roads.
esar
What are you supposed to do with the information anyway, pedal faster?
apprenticeearthwiz
Quite right. The only substitute for an inexpensive mirror attached to your helmet is a rear facing camera which is only nearly as good as the mirror. So, if you have pots of money and prefer style over substance..........