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Garmin launches Varia line of smart accessories

Jordan Gibbons
1 Jul 2015

The Garmin Varia line includes GPS responsive smart lights and rear view radar.

There is a peril like no other than riding along not knowing what is going on behind you. It’s always worried me – if someone just doesn’t see you and hits you from behind what chance do you have? Well it seems it worries the people at Garmin too as they’ve launched a series of smart accessories under the Varia label.

Garmin Varia rearview bike radar

The most exotic item in the range is really the Varia rear view bike radar.  Garmin says that 40% of collisions come from behind so the new rear view radar warns cyclists of a car’s presence and warns the cars of the cyclist’s presence.  The Varia radar is a package of a light transmitter and radar display unit. The transmitter can detect an approaching vehicle from up to 140m and increases the light output as car approach. If the Varia is in flashing mode it increase flash intensity too. The display unit, and compatible Edge computers, can show up to eight vehicles as they approach that change colour as the risk increases. Personally I can’t wait to try it out – sure it’s not a guaranteed safety mechanism, and it might breed a little bit of false confidence, but anything that keeps you that little bit safer is great.

They've also made this informative, if rather terrifying, video.

The Varia radar unit is available for £159.99 or £239.99 when bundled with the radar display.

Garmin Varia smart bike lights

Garmin Varia front light

The Varia smart bike lights use information from an Edge head unit to vary (vary/varia…) the amount of light they put out. The front light automatically projects the beam further ahead at faster speeds and closer as you slow down. It also includes a high-beam cut out to prevent you dazzling any oncoming traffic. Output is measured as 100 lux at 10 metres.

The rear light operates in a very similar manner, although it brightens as you decelerate. If you add a second tail light you can use them as turn signals that you control through an Edge or with the remote. If you pair the lights with an Edge 1000 then the lights will adjust their brightness based on ambient light. They also turn off automatically to prevent battery drain.

The Varia smart lights are available as a pair with the remote for £239.99 or separately with the front priced at £159.99 and the rear £59.99. All the products will be shipping this autumn.


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