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Good rear light 2020.

Old 11-27-20, 06:41 PM
  #26  
xseal
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For a cheaper solution that Varia, Cygolite HotRod 50. I tried the 90 and didn't see a difference in lummins.
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Old 11-27-20, 06:47 PM
  #27  
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Varia
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Old 11-27-20, 09:21 PM
  #28  
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Get the Varia. You won't regret it.
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Old 11-27-20, 09:45 PM
  #29  
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I'm currently using the Knog mid Cobber and it's been really good. It's programmable and has at least 6 different settings you can cycle through, but the biggest advantage over most other rear lights is that it is more visible from the side and angles than most other rear lights because of its shape. That said, I've been thinking about getting Varia radar once my Hammerhead bike computer ships (currently using my iPhone as a computer, and Varia only works with Ant+). The debate will be whether to get the Varia stand-alone radar and keep the Knog, or just switch to the Varia rear light for simplicity sake.

I will add that I recently bought a Knog PWR 1000-lumen front headlight, and it's pretty awesome. I'm totally comfortable biking in the dark now.
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Old 11-27-20, 09:47 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by xseal View Post
For a cheaper solution that Varia, Cygolite HotRod 50. I tried the 90 and didn't see a difference in lummins.
Unless I'm missing something, that's not really a competitor to the Varia. The whole point of the Varia is the built-in radar.
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Old 11-27-20, 11:06 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
It's cool that you're so well versed with its shortcomings having never used one - that's a gift.

It's bright. It can be seen plenty far enough away. When approaching vehicles are within radar range (150 yards or so), it goes spastic with brighter flashing regardless of mode, even when in Low. Since it's reactive, rather than dumb, more lighting modes really aren't necessary. In Day Flash mode, which is what I use 95% of the time, it'll last a good 200 mile week without needing a recharge.

But yeah, it sucks - don't buy one.
For the OP who asked about bright tail lights for use in Europe, the various models of the Cygolite Hotshot go up to 350 lumens and have seatstay as well as seatpost mounts. They have many modes for both steady and flashing. For the Amis answering his question, I would note the flashing lights on bicycles are forbidden in many European countries as they are for emergency vehicles only.

The Varia radar and light features apparently all work only with the Garmin 1030. Some features seem to work with other Edge models, but not with my Edge 800 or earlier. The owner's manual does not explain what works and what does not work with which devices. I would think that might limit it's apparently universal appeal. The website and manual mention nothing about mounting. For me, a very important feature of any tail light is that it have a good seatstay mount. Too many lamps only have seatpost mounts and none of my bikes have visible seatposts seen from the rear.

I've seen Varias on other bikes while out riding. I rate the steady lamp as DIM. Needing the radar feature might depend on one's riding habits and mirror use. I'm a stay-to-the-right rider. Thing is, the rider doesn't see the light. Only drivers do. I don't see what using a Varia has to do with anything. The vast majority of riders have no idea that they are almost invisible because they can't see themselves. How do I know that? Because I can't see them. I'm not saying that I love to use my lights. I'm saying that when I'm driving, I love to see lights as bright as mine. I like to have as much time as possible to adjust my speed and driving to maximize safety and minimize congestion. Many people don't realize how hard cyclists are to see in the rain and in tree shadows on a bright day. For drivers wearing sunglasses, riders without bright lights front and back are invisible in shadows, even in hiviz clothing.

That said, IMO the thing to do is to have 2 tail lights, a Varia if one wishes and a bright light. I always have 2 lights on my bikes. Lights can fail. At night or before dawn, I run them both in those conditions and if I'm riding solo, I'll have one steady and one blinking. Of course if it's a group ride or event or brevet, I'll have to run them both on steady when it's dark or near dark. Daylight, I just flash the 300 lumens and leave the other light off. That's all in the USA of course.
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Old 11-28-20, 06:50 AM
  #32  
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To users of the Varia and similar devices; I assume you still use a mirror or look back to check for approaching traffic?
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Old 11-28-20, 07:08 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
For the OP who asked about bright tail lights for use in Europe, the various models of the Cygolite Hotshot go up to 350 lumens and have seatstay as well as seatpost mounts. They have many modes for both steady and flashing. For the Amis answering his question, I would note the flashing lights on bicycles are forbidden in many European countries as they are for emergency vehicles only.

The Varia radar and light features apparently all work only with the Garmin 1030. Some features seem to work with other Edge models, but not with my Edge 800 or earlier. The owner's manual does not explain what works and what does not work with which devices. I would think that might limit it's apparently universal appeal. The website and manual mention nothing about mounting. For me, a very important feature of any tail light is that it have a good seatstay mount. Too many lamps only have seatpost mounts and none of my bikes have visible seatposts seen from the rear.

I've seen Varias on other bikes while out riding. I rate the steady lamp as DIM. Needing the radar feature might depend on one's riding habits and mirror use. I'm a stay-to-the-right rider. Thing is, the rider doesn't see the light. Only drivers do. I don't see what using a Varia has to do with anything. The vast majority of riders have no idea that they are almost invisible because they can't see themselves. How do I know that? Because I can't see them. I'm not saying that I love to use my lights. I'm saying that when I'm driving, I love to see lights as bright as mine. I like to have as much time as possible to adjust my speed and driving to maximize safety and minimize congestion. Many people don't realize how hard cyclists are to see in the rain and in tree shadows on a bright day. For drivers wearing sunglasses, riders without bright lights front and back are invisible in shadows, even in hiviz clothing.

That said, IMO the thing to do is to have 2 tail lights, a Varia if one wishes and a bright light. I always have 2 lights on my bikes. Lights can fail. At night or before dawn, I run them both in those conditions and if I'm riding solo, I'll have one steady and one blinking. Of course if it's a group ride or event or brevet, I'll have to run them both on steady when it's dark or near dark. Daylight, I just flash the 300 lumens and leave the other light off. That's all in the USA of course.
You're grasping at straws and clearly don't know what you don't know.

There's a Germany-specific model of the Varia, the RTL 516, with no flashing modes. The OP specifically mentioned the RTL 515.

The 510 is ANT+ only. The 515 is ANT+ and BT. ANT+ Radar is an ANT+ profile, not Garmin-specific communication. Head units with ANT+ Radar can take advantage of the Varia; this includes many Garmin products, not just the 1030, but it also includes the Wahoo Element, Bolt and Roam. I used the Varia 510 with a Bolt for a year - it worked just dandy. The 515 has even broader compatibility with the addition BT communication, including a phone app.

Light modes can be accessed one of two ways: cycling through the modes with the on-unit button or through an cycling computer that is ANT+ Light compatible (another ANT+ protocol, and not Garmin-specific). With the 510, there is a "Light Off" mode that can only be accessed via ANT+ Light control, but that's the only functional limitation that I'm aware of if your computer doesn't have ANT+ Light control.

Yeah, the steady light is dim in daylight, but if you're approaching fast enough (as a cyclist, the delta needs to be slightly higher than that of a vehicle), you'll trigger brighter flashing - I thought that we'd already covered this?
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Old 11-28-20, 07:11 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by waters60 View Post
To users of the Varia and similar devices; I assume you still use a mirror or look back to check for approaching traffic?
No, blind left-hand turns from the shoulder are de rigueur.
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Old 11-28-20, 07:23 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by mattcalifornia View Post
I'm currently using the Knog mid Cobber and it's been really good. It's programmable and has at least 6 different settings you can cycle through, but the biggest advantage over most other rear lights is that it is more visible from the side and angles than most other rear lights because of its shape. That said, I've been thinking about getting Varia radar once my Hammerhead bike computer ships (currently using my iPhone as a computer, and Varia only works with Ant+). The debate will be whether to get the Varia stand-alone radar and keep the Knog, or just switch to the Varia rear light for simplicity sake.

I will add that I recently bought a Knog PWR 1000-lumen front headlight, and it's pretty awesome. I'm totally comfortable biking in the dark now.
new generation RTL515 is also ANT+ and BLE. You can use it with ride itís gps iPhone app, or with its own app.
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Old 11-28-20, 07:39 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
The Varia is worth it. I don't know anyone that has a Varia who wouldn't replace it immediately if they lost or damaged theirs.
Cant agree more! This has been a game changer for my comfort level on the road.
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Old 11-28-20, 08:16 AM
  #37  
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I just started using lights on my bike. I have been riding with a Lumos helmet the last couple of years that has flashing led lights and turn signals. I don’t ride at night and the helmet works great but I thought I needed even more visibility so I bought a 200 lumen Lezne light set. The taillight fits nicely on the seat stay and the headlight is on the handle bar. Extremely bright and they are rechargeable.
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Old 11-28-20, 11:15 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
<snip>you'll trigger brighter flashing - I thought that we'd already covered this?
Thanks for the information not available on the Garmin website! I like to know what I'm buying and if it will work for me. From what you say, I guess it definitely won't work with my 800, too bad. Yes, you did cover the increased flash and brightness, but for me as a driver, that sounds like it might not be good enough. I need to see the rider several hundred feet away, if not several hundred yards away, to do my best with the pass. How far back does the vehicle start to see the bright flash?

It also doesn't help that popular riding clothing today is mostly the color of asphalt, but maybe posters can just ignore that opinion in this thread. That's just another place in the market where riders seem to be less concerned with safety than with tech. The only car/vehicle unfortunate interactions that I've witnessed were when a oncoming druggie turned left across the centerline in the middle of the block and killed a woman in our paceline. The other was when an elderly woman pulling a travel trailer changed back into her lane while a rider was still in the middle of the trailer. No damage done, but terrifying. His fist may have dented the side of the trailer, though. Neither of those could have been prevented by any sort of tech, lighting, action of the rider, etc.

On the positive side for the Varia, it would be good information if one were accustomed to riding 2 up and conversing. It would be a good signal to single up. I suppose that folks who are taking the lane don't care what's behind them or they wouldn't be doing that. Doing those things reminds me too much of brake checking a truck videos.

On the curious side, I'm wondering what those who are so enthusiastic about the Varia find that they do differently while using it that they didn't/couldn't do without it? I like data. Can we have a love fest?
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Old 11-28-20, 01:24 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Thanks for the information not available on the Garmin website! I like to know what I'm buying and if it will work for me. From what you say, I guess it definitely won't work with my 800, too bad. Yes, you did cover the increased flash and brightness, but for me as a driver, that sounds like it might not be good enough. I need to see the rider several hundred feet away, if not several hundred yards away, to do my best with the pass. How far back does the vehicle start to see the bright flash?

It also doesn't help that popular riding clothing today is mostly the color of asphalt, but maybe posters can just ignore that opinion in this thread. That's just another place in the market where riders seem to be less concerned with safety than with tech. The only car/vehicle unfortunate interactions that I've witnessed were when a oncoming druggie turned left across the centerline in the middle of the block and killed a woman in our paceline. The other was when an elderly woman pulling a travel trailer changed back into her lane while a rider was still in the middle of the trailer. No damage done, but terrifying. His fist may have dented the side of the trailer, though. Neither of those could have been prevented by any sort of tech, lighting, action of the rider, etc.

On the positive side for the Varia, it would be good information if one were accustomed to riding 2 up and conversing. It would be a good signal to single up. I suppose that folks who are taking the lane don't care what's behind them or they wouldn't be doing that. Doing those things reminds me too much of brake checking a truck videos.

On the curious side, I'm wondering what those who are so enthusiastic about the Varia find that they do differently while using it that they didn't/couldn't do without it? I like data. Can we have a love fest?
The flashing light can be seen from quite far away - I've never been so thoroughly dropped by a clubmate with one, but Garmin says a mile. Half a mile is probably conservative. Radar detects at ~150 yards, but again, daylight flash is active all the time and is definitely visible way beyond that. Quite frankly, I think that a "requirement" of being seen a mile away, or even several hundred feet, is an arbitrary set of goalposts - a car traveling 60mph faster than the cyclist would take a full 60 seconds to cover a mile gap. You're not going to convince me that 60 sec is just a barely adequate amount of time to adjust and pass... and that's at a 60mph delta, which is pretty absurd for the vast majority of people the vast majority of the time.

Yes, it is nice for those riding two up and, as a bonus, a Varia can feed ANT+ Radar to as many head units as are in range, which is a good 120+ foot radius in my experience. I've ridden with 5 or 6 clubmates piggybacking off of my Varia.

As far as solo riding, I find that it significantly changes FRAPs for me - I spend far more time in the right tire track of the lane, where it's smoother and there's less debris, as opposed to the left of the fog line. I move over when I get a notification; even on 55mph road, that's plenty of time for me. I think that this also has a couple of non-obvious positive effects: I'm more visible when I'm in the lane vs on the shoulder and, by moving over, I'm demonstrating awareness and courtesy to the driver - I think that helps, though others are free to disagree.

Having the extra info is helpful in all kinds of little ways throughout the ride, otherwise. Knowing that there are two (or more) cars approaching is nice; it's always the second one that sneaks up on you. If an upcoming hazard is going to cause you to alter your line, knowing that you'll have to factor in approaching vehicles, seeing how many and their relative closing rate, is great. Some times it's "you should be good, but check first," but it's arguably more useful other times when it's, "oh, you'll definitely need to slow/stop," in which case I don't bother looking back over my shoulder; I slow, let the traffic clear and *then* visually confirm before moving out.

People that have never used one love to sit on the sidelines and think that they're connecting with their little pot shots but, at the end of the day, there *have* to be reasons that it has a user base that's so universally positive. If those reasons aren't apparent from the sideline, either get in the game and see for yourself or just accept it and move on.
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Old 11-28-20, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
The flashing light can be seen from quite far away - I've never been so thoroughly dropped by a clubmate with one, but Garmin says a mile. Half a mile is probably conservative. Radar detects at ~150 yards, but again, daylight flash is active all the time and is definitely visible way beyond that. Quite frankly, I think that a "requirement" of being seen a mile away, or even several hundred feet, is an arbitrary set of goalposts - a car traveling 60mph faster than the cyclist would take a full 60 seconds to cover a mile gap. You're not going to convince me that 60 sec is just a barely adequate amount of time to adjust and pass... and that's at a 60mph delta, which is pretty absurd for the vast majority of people the vast majority of the time.

Yes, it is nice for those riding two up and, as a bonus, a Varia can feed ANT+ Radar to as many head units as are in range, which is a good 120+ foot radius in my experience. I've ridden with 5 or 6 clubmates piggybacking off of my Varia.

As far as solo riding, I find that it significantly changes FRAPs for me - I spend far more time in the right tire track of the lane, where it's smoother and there's less debris, as opposed to the left of the fog line. I move over when I get a notification; even on 55mph road, that's plenty of time for me. I think that this also has a couple of non-obvious positive effects: I'm more visible when I'm in the lane vs on the shoulder and, by moving over, I'm demonstrating awareness and courtesy to the driver - I think that helps, though others are free to disagree.

Having the extra info is helpful in all kinds of little ways throughout the ride, otherwise. Knowing that there are two (or more) cars approaching is nice; it's always the second one that sneaks up on you. If an upcoming hazard is going to cause you to alter your line, knowing that you'll have to factor in approaching vehicles, seeing how many and their relative closing rate, is great. Some times it's "you should be good, but check first," but it's arguably more useful other times when it's, "oh, you'll definitely need to slow/stop," in which case I don't bother looking back over my shoulder; I slow, let the traffic clear and *then* visually confirm before moving out.

People that have never used one love to sit on the sidelines and think that they're connecting with their little pot shots but, at the end of the day, there *have* to be reasons that it has a user base that's so universally positive. If those reasons aren't apparent from the sideline, either get in the game and see for yourself or just accept it and move on.
That's cool, thanks. Now you have a thread you can just link to! I have a number of those, very handy.
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Old 11-28-20, 03:15 PM
  #41  
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Thank you very much for your answers. I found a great deal for Varia on chainreactioncycles (£123.49), so will give it a try.
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Old 11-28-20, 03:31 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
No, blind left-hand turns from the shoulder are de rigueur.
Pretty ignorant reply to a serious question. Does use of Varia or similar device obviate the need for looking back? I have used a mirror for many years. It is an old habit and I am routinely scanning the road behind me. Given this awareness and my Quad Red I donít know what is to be gained from a Varia.
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Old 11-28-20, 04:27 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by waters60 View Post
Pretty ignorant reply to a serious question.
No, it was a reply knowing what you were getting at and not being terribly impressed with the weak sauce logical judo attempt.
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Old 11-28-20, 05:02 PM
  #44  
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It is amazing to me the hate for the Varia among folks that have never used one...Every thread about them seems to go this way. I don't get it. On the other hand, I have never heard anyone that actually owned one say they didn't like it. Not even a "meh. it's OK". Everyone I know that has one loves it. Most telling for me is my amazingly frugal wife. She hates to spend money on ANYTHING. She won't ride without her Varia now though and would absolutely spend the money to replace if it failed or was lost...BTW, anyone with any sense whatsoever looks before they change lanes...Varia or no...
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Old 11-28-20, 05:21 PM
  #45  
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I love my Dinotte Quad Red light. I routinely have it set for the four quick flashing mode during night or day riding, and it has given me at least nine hours on that setting without shutting down. It's the one cycling electronic device I have that is rock solid reliable. With the exception of a few vacations, it has been used three to five times a week for the last 5.5 years. No problems ever! It's also bright as hell. I'm not only concerned with how far it can be seen, but I also want to gain the attention from someone who is looking down at their cell phone. While I don't know this for sure, I think the flashing brightness of this device catches the corner of someone's eye who is looking down at their cell phone while driving.

I recently wanted to purchase the Varia, but considering I've had problems with my Garmin 820 Bluetooth connectivity with my iPhone, I'm gun shy about purchasing this device. I'm concerned that it will somehow lose it's connection with my Garmin computer. My Dinotte is "dumb" but it's reliable.

This thread has me reconsidering the Varia, but my experience with my Dinotte Quad Red is reliably simple joy.

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Old 11-28-20, 05:48 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post

On the curious side, I'm wondering what those who are so enthusiastic about the Varia find that they do differently while using it that they didn't/couldn't do without it? I like data. Can we have a love fest?
We can never have an enough of a love fest with the Varia.

Like written before me, it allows one to ďtakeĒ the full lane with much confidence and saves me from needlessly turning back and checking traffic while it already warns me of existing car(s) behind. It detects them far beyond your hearing range, so you already know how many cars are behind you before you even hear them and move to the right.

As said by others, there are two types of riders when it comes to Varia, riders who love it, and riders who havenít tried it yet.
Originally Posted by rublow View Post
Thank you very much for your answers. I found a great deal for Varia on chainreactioncycles (£123.49), so will give it a try.
. Good catch! You will be quite happy with it.
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Old 11-29-20, 03:45 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
I love my Dinotte Quad Red light. I routinely have it set for the four quick flashing mode during night or day riding, and it has given me at least nine hours on that setting without shutting down. It's the one cycling electronic device I have that is rock solid reliable. With the exception of a few vacations, it has been used three to five times a week for the last 5.5 years. No problems ever! It's also bright as hell. I'm not only concerned with how far it can be seen, but I also want to gain the attention from someone who is looking down at their cell phone. While I don't know this for sure, I think the flashing brightness of this device catches the corner of someone's eye who is looking down at their cell phone while driving.

I recently wanted to purchase the Varia, but considering I've had problems with my Garmin 820 Bluetooth connectivity with my iPhone, I'm gun shy about purchasing this device. I'm concerned that it will somehow lose it's connection with my Garmin computer. My Dinotte is "dumb" but it's reliable.

This thread has me reconsidering the Varia, but my experience with my Dinotte Quad Red is reliably simple joy.
I own about 6 of this model above for my bikes here in states as well in Sri lanka and it would be difficult to show me a more well built powerful tail light... It is BRUTAL...




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Old 11-29-20, 04:11 AM
  #48  
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I plan to only use solar bicycle lights from now on. I have a solar tail light, which if you search the internet, is the most common solar tail light. I only use it when it is dark. Where I ride, that is all I need. If you fit these to your bike, you don't need to replace or charge batteries.
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Old 11-29-20, 06:45 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by yarbrough462 View Post
It is amazing to me the hate for the Varia among folks that have never used one...Every thread about them seems to go this way. I don't get it. On the other hand, I have never heard anyone that actually owned one say they didn't like it. Not even a "meh. it's OK". Everyone I know that has one loves it. Most telling for me is my amazingly frugal wife. She hates to spend money on ANYTHING. She won't ride without her Varia now though and would absolutely spend the money to replace if it failed or was lost...BTW, anyone with any sense whatsoever looks before they change lanes...Varia or no...
It's like in-car GPS: there are people who want to take the contrary point as a matter of pride. My uncle insisted he didn't need one when I moved to San Antonio and then got lost trying to take me to the Alamo. Literally two days after saying how he knew how to get around and didn't need GPS.

I'm sure this post will get several such responses.
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Old 11-29-20, 06:46 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by waters60 View Post
Pretty ignorant reply to a serious question. Does use of Varia or similar device obviate the need for looking back? I have used a mirror for many years. It is an old habit and I am routinely scanning the road behind me. Given this awareness and my Quad Red I donít know what is to be gained from a Varia.
Cool, cool. Hey, what do you do when the sun's at your back and your mirror is full of blinding glare?
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