"The threat is real," warns Garmin in a scary promotional video for its new rear-view radar unit. The Varia warns cyclists of motor vehicles closing in on them, and flashes warning lights at motorists. The radar is mounted in a a rear light that scans up to 140m behind a cyclist for incoming traffic. It can then flash warning signs on a compatible Garmin Edge system or a standalone handlebar-mounted unit. The technology was released last year by iKubu its with Backtracker radar – Garmin bought the company and has incorporated it into the Varia.
Garmin is also launching "smart" lights that adapt to speed and weather conditions. When paired with a compatible Edge, the Varia headlight will project its beam further ahead at faster speeds, and closer at lower speeds. The matching tail light uses the same data to increase its intensity when a cyclist is slowing down in order to warn approaching traffic.
“As leaders in creating innovative cycling technology, we’re excited to introduce our line of cycling awareness products and take the next step in providing a complete experience for riders,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “Varia rearview bike radar and smart bike lights not only alert cyclists of vehicles, but also alert the vehicles of the cyclist. With Garmin cycling products you can now track all your essential stats with peace of mind on the roads.”
To promote the Varia, Garmin says "approximately 726 cyclists are killed and an additional 49,000 are injured in motor vehicle crashes, and of these incidents around 40 percent occur when a cyclist is hit from behind. As the first-of-its-kind radar system for bikes, Varia rearview bike radar alerts the cyclist and the approaching vehicles to assist in creating a safer environment on the roads."
Based on GPS data from a compatible Edge, the Varia headlight beam automatically projects further ahead at faster speeds during a ride and closer as a rider’s speed decreases, lighting the road where cyclists need it the most. It also focuses the light ahead instead of all around, shining 100 lux at 10 meters and features a high-beam cut-off to prevent blinding oncoming vehicles.
The Varia tail light operates in solid and flashing modes, and increases intensity when the bike decelerates to warn approaching traffic. By adding a second tail light cyclists can utilize turn signals, which can be controlled through a compatible Edge or the Varia remote. 3 The Varia remote or Edge also controls the pattern, intensity and on/off function of the lights.
When paired with an Edge 1000, Varia smart bike lights can adjust their brightness based on ambient light conditions. Paired with other Edge devices the lights can automatically turn on and off, preventing accidental battery drain.
The Varia radar tail light is available for £159.99, or £239.99 bundled with the radar display unit. The Varia smart bike lights are available as a bundle including the Varia remote for £239.99, or separately for £159.99 (headlight) and £59.99 (tail light).