Garmin Varia RTL510 Review

Garmin Varia Bicycle Radar Rear Tail Light

The Garmin Varia RTL510 Radar Rear Tail Light (New Varia), is a much needed improvement over its predecessor the Garmin Varia Rear Light Radar 2016 (Old Varia). I had the old version for about 5 years, and would not ride on Connecticut roads without one anymore. I believe they are a must for any serious road cyclist or enthusiast.

New Varia specs:

  • Works with most Garmin Edge Cycling Computers. I prefer the Garmin Edge 830
  • You can also buy a companion Display in a bundle version of the New Varia
  • On the Edge the New Varia provides visual and audible alerts to warn of vehicles approaching from behind up to 153 yards (140 meters) away.
  • Battery life up to 15 hours in flashing mode or 6 hours in solid or night flash mode. Battery life for the Old Varia is 5 hour. More like 3 in real life!
  • See and be seen, day or night. Lumens are 20 solid, 29 night flash and 65 day flash.

Old Versus New Comparisons

Should I buy the New or the Old, and is it worth upgrading…

  • The New Varia has much longer batter life. The old version used to die on me on long rides about 2 hours into the ride, NOT GOOD! New VARIA Wins!
  • The New Varia is MUCH BRIGHTER than the Old Varia. You can be seen without having to have a second tail light (Blinky). I used to have to put on a second rear tail light just to be seen from the rear. NOT GOOD! New VARIA Wins!
  • The radar range is similar and the old and new versions both detect cars approximately the same. A WASH!
  • Styling: The Old Varia as a horizontal orientation and is smaller in size, while the New Varia is Larger with a Vertical orientation. I prefer the new look and style although a bit big. Importantly, you can be SEEN! New VARIA Wins!
  • Mounting is the same for both models and is universal 1/4 turn mount for all Garmin Devices. Nice! A Wash!
  • Should I upgrade: Let the battery life tell the tail for you. Most importantly, do you want to be seen! In short…YES! Upgrade! New VARIA Wins!

Conclusions!

Buy the Garmin Varia RTL510 Radar Rear Tail Light: if…

  • You ride on US ROADS, PERIOD!

BE SAFE!

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