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Garmin Varia RCT715: It’s got your back

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1 Jun 2022
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The Garmin Varia RCT715 rear-view radar with camera and taillight is the ultimate in ‘see and be seen’ smart cycling tech

The compact Garmin Varia RCT715 is the last word in road cycling peace of mind, allowing you to give your full attention to the road ahead whatever kind of ride you’re on.

Its rear-view radar system integrates with a 15-lumen rear light to make you more visible to approaching motorists, while its camera continuously records your ride and automatically saves video footage before, during and after events if it detects an incident.

We could all use a little extra help to know what’s sneaking up behind us, and this breakthrough product has your back, keeping a watchful eye on what’s behind you while you enjoy the ride. 

Eyes in the back on your head

The Varia rear light unit’s built-in radar and video camera allows you not only to see and continuously record what’s behind you, but it also saves footage automatically if it detects an incident.

Its intelligent technology looks back while you ride ahead, instinctively saving video before, during and after any event occurs, if it detects an incident.

The smart approach

The Varia’s radar range allows it to detect approaching vehicles up to 140m away, monitoring them carefully for you so you can continue to direct your own effort into your pedalling.

A paired Garmin Edge computer, Varia head unit, and selected Garmin wearables can even alert you to multiple vehicles and indicate the relative speed of approach and perceived threat level.

Built for any ride

The Varia is fully charged in just two hours and boasts an impressive battery life that gives reassurance no matter how far you’re going.

With the taillight on solid high or night flash mode, there’s four hours of battery life; set to solid low mode the unit has five hours of juice; and with its day flash mode activated you’ve six hours of charge to play with. All the while, it’s recording your ride in 1080p resolution.

There are also three separate recording modes to maximise battery life – always-on, lights and radar only, or radar-activated mode, which only turns the camera on when traffic is approaching.

Appy talk

The Varia mobile app keeps everything neatly in one place and is simple to set up. From your paired smartphone with Bluetooth enabled, you can easily view footage, control the camera, and detect approaching cars.

And if you’re riding with your phone in your jersey pocket, it will keep you notified with tone and vibration alerts.

The Varia app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play store.

Small but mighty

Both the taillight and radar unit fit easily to your bike with Garmin quarter-turn mounts and are incredibly compact.

The 15-lumen rear light weighs in at just 63.5g, while the radar head unit barely worries the scales at all at 28.5g. That’s not going to bother anyone, even on an Alpine climb!

The camera records its clear, sharp video footage in 1080p at 30fps, while there’s also a 720p mode to extend battery life for longer rides.

A 16GB SD card is included, so you’re ready to roll straight out of the box.

Vital statistics

Recent research from the League of American Bicyclists unearthed the sobering statistic that 40% of cycling fatalities it studied happened when the rider was struck from behind by a car or truck.

The Garmin Varia – the world’s first cyclist radar – has its eyes firmly focussed on the parts of the road that matter… those you can’t see.

Invest in your safety

The Garmin Varia RCT715 costs £349.99 RRP. The radar tail light version costs £169.

To find out more, or to buy, visit www.garmin.com

Cyclist says…

‘Once again, Garmin proves why its name is synonymous with cycling tech. The Varia is not only compact and easy to fit and pair to a wide range of devices – including Garmin smartwatches – but is also unobtrusive in use, allowing you to get on with the ride safe in the knowledge that someone (or something) has got your back!

‘Much as a rear-end shunt is an unpalatable thought, its threat remains an inescapable possibility, and a product this clever and easy to use is exactly what the road cycling world needed.

‘Garmin’s next step in the development of its Varia range to promote cycling awareness and safety deserves all the applause it gets. Smart technology that stays alert to danger, makes you more visible to following motorists, and barely adds any bulk to your bike… what’s not to like?’