Seven years ago, we first heard about Garmin’s Varia Radar taillight, which warns cyclists of vehicles approaching from behind. After adding smartphone compatibility in 2020, Garmin has already installed a camera in the device.
The new backlight of the Varia RCT715 radar camera is in the form of a rear-facing module mounted on the seat, which is wirelessly connected to a Garmin Edge bicycle computer mounted on the handlebars, a smart watch or a smartphone mounted on the bar, working with the Varia application.
Like the original version, the device sends radar pulses that are reflected by vehicles approaching from a distance of 495 feet (140 m). As the module receives these reflected signals, it notifies the driver via a beeping sound and a color-coded display on their speedometer / clock / telephone – green means everything is fine, amber indicates that a vehicle is approaching, and red warns that vehicle approaching at high speed.
In addition, the rear light of the device automatically starts flashing faster when a vehicle is detected, in order to better attract the driver’s attention.
The 1080p / 30fps camera continuously buffers footage from the road behind the bike. If the built-in accelerometer detects that an accident has occurred, the shots from before, during and after the accident will be recorded on the included 16GB SD memory card. This video can then be accessed through the application for use in court proceedings (if necessary).
It should be noted that unlike some other products, Varia RCT715 users cannot watch real-time video from the device on their phone mounted on the steering wheel – in other words, it cannot be used as a digital rear view mirror.
The device weighs 5.2 ounces (147 g), is waterproof IPX7 (can be submerged up to 1 m / 3.3 ft in 30 minutes) and can be set to four different backlight modes. They range from 20-lumens steady-state mode – in which one battery charge should be good for four hours of use while recording video – to 65-lumens / 6-hour daytime flash mode.
The backlight of the Varia RCT715 radar camera is now available through the Garmin website and is priced at $ 399.99.