garmin varia is excellent

vincent

Well-Known Member
recently got the new varia that bluetooths to my phone, just leave the phone in a bag and it is loud enough to let me know when any cars are coming up behind me- and if they are going fast

i did not want anything else on my handlebars and dont think i need a display with it

being mostly deaf this is a lifesaver for myriad reasons

product seems to work great and has a 16 hour battery life on day flash mode
 

WattsUpDude

Active Member
Interesting thing, yet it seems "one gadget too many" to me. Rear-view mirror doesn't need to be charged, for instance... Works for deaf people, too.
I was a mirror user for many years before I purchased Garmin Varia 2 months ago. I really like new tech but this is one of those gadgets that's not just "technology for technology's sake". I have multiple routes to work but there is main road that I usually avoid because it's tough to make a left turn when I need to because of the speed differential. This little gadget gives me so much confidence that it's clear and that I have time to merge into the left turn lane. The parameters in the programming make it so that it may give you false positives (I get an alert when I take my bike outside and the closing of my metal front door will set it off) but will never give you false negatives. I've seen all the rave reviews prior to purchasing but was still hesitant to get it. But now cars are getting quieter and stealthier (electric cars with no DRL or lights on) and a mirror or shoulder check are becoming insufficient. I still do shoulder checks as a habit but it's really turned into a motion of intent rather than a necessity. I always have it in use when I bring my toddler in her trailer. It seems like an expensive gadget but I think it's one of the best things I've ever bought for cycling.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
I was a mirror user for many years before I purchased Garmin Varia 2 months ago. I really like new tech but this is one of those gadgets that's not just "technology for technology's sake". I have multiple routes to work but there is main road that I usually avoid because it's tough to make a left turn when I need to because of the speed differential. This little gadget gives me so much confidence that it's clear and that I have time to merge into the left turn lane. The parameters in the programming make it so that it may give you false positives (I get an alert when I take my bike outside and the closing of my metal front door will set it off) but will never give you false negatives. I've seen all the rave reviews prior to purchasing but was still hesitant to get it. But now cars are getting quieter and stealthier (electric cars with no DRL or lights on) and a mirror or shoulder check are becoming insufficient. I still do shoulder checks as a habit but it's really turned into a motion of intent rather than a necessity. I always have it in use when I bring my toddler in her trailer. It seems like an expensive gadget but I think it's one of the best things I've ever bought for cycling.
It's for sure a useful thing, only think of charging all of them gadgets...
 

WattsUpDude

Active Member
It's for sure a useful thing, only think of charging all of them gadgets...
Haha, yup. It definitely takes some time to make it a habit. Right now I have the Garmin radar, a tail light and an action camera that I disconnect when I get to work. If my commute was shorter I may forgo some of those things but it's turned into a pre-ride checklist of sorts.
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
I have mirrors on all my bikes and use them all the time but I ride Forest roads mainly and can go hours without seeing anyone else

I NEVER hear a car approach unless it is super loud or it is after dark/see the lights I do not know it is there

nobody can ride looking at the mirror ALL the time
I am on rough dirt roads and better have my eyes on the ground in front of me all the time To keep the bike upright

I got this not just for cars, but for other bikes, horses, joggers etc

A few weeks ago 3 hours into a ride in the middle of nowhere I had stopped on the left hand side of the road to take some pictures of elk, will preface this by saying I NEVER see bikes out riding anywhere in flagstaff on the forest roads
In four years maybe 3 times
In this ride had seen 3 cars-and no one else over the previous 2.5-3 hours

got done taking pictures and started rolling down the left side of the road, these are single lane roads
Went down the middle a bit and then was just about to move over to the left out of habit, a gravel bike comes flying by me on the right, if he said anything I did not hear him at all

he is very lucky I did not kill us both by moving right into his path
I freaked out, one of the closest calls I have ever had

this device stops that from happening ever again, would pay double for it And charge it every day

I have a lot of lights etc on my bikes and have a quick organized system for charging stuff, it is not that big a deal

usually bring in 4-5 things that need charging, they all go on the battery charging table next to the bike battery charger and get done right there
Once charged they all go back in a big bag with the bike battery and back to the vehicle
Takes a very few minutes And I am never without excellent lighting, my gps, my Varia etc
I do long rides and still don’t have to charge everything everyday, it is not that difficult
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
Good thought provoking discussion. With the new bike added to the fleet, I am a mirror short right now and yesterday forgot to switch it over. I was paranoid the whole ride not being able to check behind me, obviously especially for left turns. I’ve read about the Vario but never gave it a lot of thought, so maybe it’s time I do. I’ve certainly come to rely on the sensors in my car that watch for cars coming up on either side.
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
would not replace my mirror with it but add it to my safety features

here are some points on how it works

it should pick up anything approaching you from behind i think
if i walk behind the bike it goes off

so my hope is, bikes, horses, people, mtn lions, bears etc lol

it ignores anything that passes you coming from the front

it beeps when a car gets in range
if the car is going fast it beeps fast a couple of times to alert you

i was not pleased with the mounts that come with it
they are only for seat posts which is useless if you run rear bags on the bikes

there are not many aftermarket options for mounting which was disappointing
but there are a few
very surprised k-edge has not stepped up here and filled this void...


i have a bag with a light strap on it and was able to put one of the seat post mounts on it and have the varia ride horizontal
garmin says it wont pick up right this way but i found several referances online of people doing that and saying it worked fine
seems to be working great

i found this and should be able to put it vertical now


also picked up a k-edge gravity top mount and think it could be bolted to my rack
not sure if i will do that or not

when it is on the bag i can look back and see it
if i put on the rack will lose the ability to see it
it is not cheap and does not come with a catch strap like it should...
the mount seems solid in the locking but still

it does beep twice if it loses connection- like walked to far from the bike
but would prefer it goes crazy beeping so if it fell off the bike you would know right away...

it would annoy me to some extent if i was on regular roads and it was going off all the time, but i have mine turned all the way up for sound and it is loud
there are adjustments/settings for all this
i have not seen the ones with displays in person, you can buy a display later so i started with the new 515 bluetooth device and figured i would upgrade my gps if i wanted a display, so far do not feel i need it
you can also use your phone as the display and ride gps app works with it too

the displays show how far, fast the car is etc

hope this helps some
 

WattsUpDude

Active Member
Didn’t get a chance to play outside with the bike today so here are some grimy garage pictures.

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As you can see, I use the same mount for my phone, too. It’s really secure. This is a rigid bike and I ride it on some single track. I don’t worry about anything falling off.
 
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vincent

Well-Known Member
Nice
On mine the panniers come further back so right now the Arkel tailrider bag is the furthest point

it stayed on today for 53 miles, probably 30-32 rough dirt road but think I will do something similar to yours

maybe mount onto a piece of metal that I can secure better on the bag...
Will see

so far no issues with the o rings but I don’t trust them
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
A no go. None of my racks is suited to mount the Varia. I pass. Nice thing to have, yet my bikes don't like the thing.
 

WattsUpDude

Active Member
Nice
On mine the panniers come further back so right now the Arkel tailrider bag is the furthest point

it stayed on today for 53 miles, probably 30-32 rough dirt road but think I will do something similar to yours

maybe mount onto a piece of metal that I can secure better on the bag...
Will see

so far no issues with the o rings but I don’t trust them
it should be ok if your panniers go a bit past it. it's radar so it can actually "pass through" quite a bit of mass. i leave it in the same spot when i have my child trailer behind it and notice no difference in performance.
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
Wanted to post an update on this, still love it but..

did notice if i am on pavement and maybe doing 15-18mph i cannot hear it because of the wind, even with the phone turned up all the way- this may be just me because of my hearing loss


anyway i got the display hoping the lights would catch my eye if i cant hear it- it was a waste of money, dont buy it

little bigger than my thumb, beep is really quiet and The lights do not stand out and catch your attention if you did not hear it...

At night it is better and may catch your eye but i still think it was a waste of money
 

WattsUpDude

Active Member
Thanks for the update. I was curious about that Garmin display. I use an iPhone UltraMaxBigBoy and I max out the volume for commuting uses. Mine is mounted on the stem so it does get plenty loud and the display is almost obnoxious big but it's great for this use.