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Radar love

Old 08-13-22, 08:56 AM
  #51  
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Old 08-13-22, 11:14 PM
  #52  
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rocking the garmin edge 520 plus and the varia rvr315 (no flashing light-just the radar) setup for the last two years. no probs with the interface
and both have been super-reliable and the varia has been a godsend. i was one of the skeptics before purchasing but it has been really helpful-
especially (as mentioned previously) on those long descents where the wind negates you ability to hear any but the loudest vehicles. i do a lot of
city and suburbs riding where it's not as helpful since there's nearly always at least a few cars behind you at any point. the varia comes in handiest
for me out in the country or mountains where the traffic volume is less. i tend to "zone out" in the boonies vs being hyper-aware in town. my only
complaint with the varia/edge setup is that running the varia the entire ride tends to drain the edge unit substantially. not being the fastest rider but
enjoying occasional longer rides up to 110 miles or so, the edge unit will throw out the "warning-low battery" disclaimer usually around the 85-95
mile point (with having turned off the varia during any lunch/snack/bevvie/flat tire stops). the edge unit has run out of juice a few times when fully
charged on these longer rides using the varia the whole time...the varia has never run out of juice tho when fully charged. now, if going on a longer ride,
i just turn the varia on and off for certain "sectors" to save edge 520 battery. sounds like a pita but it's not that bad and it works for me.
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Old 08-14-22, 09:13 AM
  #53  
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i tend to "zone out" in the boonies vs being hyper-aware in town. my only
complaint with the varia/edge setup is that running the varia the entire ride tends to drain the edge unit substantially. not being the fastest rider but
enjoying occasional longer rides up to 110 miles or so, the edge unit will throw out the "warning-low battery" disclaimer usually around the 85-95
mile point (with having turned off the varia during any lunch/snack/bevvie/flat tire stops). the edge unit has run out of juice a few times when fully
charged on these longer rides using the varia the whole time...the varia has never run out of juice tho when fully charged. now, if going on a longer ride,
i just turn the varia on and off for certain "sectors" to save edge 520 battery. sounds like a pita but it's not that bad and it works for me.[/QUOTE]

I've found that as the Garmin units age the battery ages too, and doesn't last as long as it did when new. Newer units batteries seem keep their charge longer. You could invest in a small power bank.
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Old 08-15-22, 10:36 AM
  #54  
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I've watched a lot of youtube videos on the Varia and all the cyclists do the same thing when the Varia alerts them. They all move to the very far edge of the road and hug the curb.

That seems to be opposite to what a lot of cycling instruction videos as well as people in Bike Forums and advocates say to do: to hold your line and avoid the edge where there are lots of hazards.
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Old 08-15-22, 01:58 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
I've watched a lot of youtube videos on the Varia and all the cyclists do the same thing when the Varia alerts them. They all move to the very far edge of the road and hug the curb.

That seems to be opposite to what a lot of cycling instruction videos as well as people in Bike Forums and advocates say to do: to hold your line and avoid the edge where there are lots of hazards.
I've been using the Varia for two months now. I find I can get two 2-hour rides between charging. It works for me. As far as moving to the right...

With the radar I find myself able to ride out into the lane in the smooth part when possible. When I get the tone that a vehicle is approaching I slowly move to the right, but not to the edge. Drivers seem to recognize that I'm aware of them from a good distance and we both go uneventfully on our ways.
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Old 08-16-22, 10:55 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Pinelander View Post
I've been using the Varia for two months now. I find I can get two 2-hour rides between charging. It works for me. As far as moving to the right...

With the radar I find myself able to ride out into the lane in the smooth part when possible. When I get the tone that a vehicle is approaching I slowly move to the right, but not to the edge. Drivers seem to recognize that I'm aware of them from a good distance and we both go uneventfully on our ways.
Are you using the Varia with a cell or do you have the dedicated Head Unit?
If, Head unit, does it give a good visual signal, or must you rely on the audio?
Asking, because when riding solo, I use earplugs to greatly reduce wind noise - and I'm able to hear approaching vehicles... but may not be able to hear an audio signal unless it's very apparent...
Using the ear plugs has highest priority.
Thanks
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Old 08-16-22, 12:11 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
Are you using the Varia with a cell or do you have the dedicated Head Unit?
If, Head unit, does it give a good visual signal, or must you rely on the audio?
Asking, because when riding solo, I use earplugs to greatly reduce wind noise - and I'm able to hear approaching vehicles... but may not be able to hear an audio signal unless it's very apparent...
Using the ear plugs has highest priority.
Thanks
Yuri
I also ride mostly solo. I use both the Head Unit and my cell. The HU gives good visual signals and the number of cars approaching. If your hearing is pretty good you can hear the tone from the Varia unit. You could use Varia with the Varia app on your phone and there would be no need for the HU, unless you want the visual prompts. Again, I have hearing loss and depend on the app to bluetooth the tone to my hearing aides. That having been said, I can hear a faint tone from the unit itself a second or so before I get the tone in my HAs. I hope that makes sense. As long as your earplugs aren't noise cancelling you should be fine. BTW, I went from an Avocet-era type computer to the Garmin. It is well worth the $200.
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Old 08-16-22, 01:11 PM
  #58  
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A couple of riders that I ride with have the Garmin radar. It's surprisingly effective, with few false alarms. A mirror is still good, but riders don't monitor a mirror all the time. The radar tells me to look in my mirror to see what's happening when I hear the sound from the other rider with radar.
I considered getting one, but I wanted a brighter tail light and can't easily fit two lights. (I use the Cygolite 150 on Single Flash mode during the day--really bright)

We ride on very low traffic roads, and after many miles of no traffic at all, we can forget to check for "car back" and we start riding out in the middle of the road too. It's so nice to get an early warning that now there's a car coming up.

They use the Garmin radar with a Garmin 830 or 1030, and the rides can be 4-5 hours long, and nobody has mentioned battery drain. Maybe I'll compare their start and end battery percentage to my Garmin with the same ride.

Last edited by rm -rf; 08-16-22 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 08-23-22, 11:16 AM
  #59  
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To me, the Garmin radar is a supplement to a mirror, rather than a replacement. I wish there was a way to adjust the volume of the beep. Does anyone know if this radar can be picked up by radar detector?
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Old 08-24-22, 09:37 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by polyrhythmia View Post
To me, the Garmin radar is a supplement to a mirror, rather than a replacement. I wish there was a way to adjust the volume of the beep. Does anyone know if this radar can be picked up by radar detector?
Good question. I never thought of it, but it would be an added benefit if it was. They'd sure slow down around us. I agree it supplements a mirror.
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Old 08-28-22, 06:42 PM
  #61  
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I've had mine for a year now, I can't imagine riding without it.
I bought one of the 3D printed mounts for my bag (clip style). It broke last month, bunny hopping a railroad crossing. The Varia went skittering across the road.
Apparently no harm done, whew. I came up with a more secure mount using the factory mount.
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Old 09-02-22, 02:16 PM
  #62  
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I finally bought one and had my first ride with it today. It's absolutely brilliant.
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Old 09-02-22, 08:57 PM
  #63  
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I too ride in the country where the shoulders can be badly broken. As a result, Varia allows me to ride the center of the lane where the pavement is good. When I get an alert, I slowly move over but how far depends if there are oncoming vehicles. If I see that the vehicle behind and the oncoming will likely meet when I am being overtaken, thus squeezing me, I will not completely relinquish the lane but force the car behind me to wait. When there is no oncoming traffic, I will move over to the fog line.

It has to be the absolute best accessory I have purchased.
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Old 09-02-22, 09:47 PM
  #64  
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I'll echo what has already been said. I too have been using a mirror for years. Final broke down and bought a new headunit and the Varia. Total game changer, can't imagine not using it. Another plus for me is sometimes I'll go out for a leisurely ride on the Guv'nor or a few of the other bikes and wear a cycling cap instead of my helmet. Used to sort of freak me out because I didn't have my mirror. Now with the Varia I still know when something is coming up behind me.
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Old 09-08-22, 08:33 PM
  #65  
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Can’t add to the go/no go aspect of the radar. Just that I use it and like it. Recently I flew with it and an Edge 830. They were with me in the cabin. I have a bike at my son’s house and went riding. The Varia light, radar, and sometimes both kept disconnecting. I spent a lot of time over 2 days speaking with Garmin Support. They finally sent me a new one and a RMA to return mine. The new one arrived today. It paired easily and worked on a short ride. I will test it tomorrow. I truly missed it even though I use a mirror.

I wouldn’t have spent that much time trying to sort it out if I didn’t value it highly. Kudos to Garmin. Fingers crossed that it works. And problems won’t reappear when I fly home Sunday.

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Old 09-08-22, 11:25 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Has anyone read any human factors research by Garmin on the design of the warning for cyclist-warning systems? At least in the automotive world such warnings receive a lot of attention for how long it should be, how soon to expect correct response, most audible or recognizable pitch or modulation of pitch, et cetera. The main techniques for conducting the experiments and tests are to arrange sessions with human subjects. One potential failure would be if the cyclist hears the warning and responds by moving away from the road edge area possibly into the path of the approaching vehicle, not to say that's ever happened except with voice warnings ("On your left!") to peds on an MUP or paved rail trail.
In grad school I studied under a Human Factors prof for a couple of courses. He worked with the Air Force on fighter jet cockpit controls and had lots of cool stories (unclassified). Was always fascinated by human centered design in a number of areas, particularly traffic design and was published on roundabout design as a student.

I know as a fact that Garmin uses Human Factors engineers in their avionics division and there are currently job openings for additional engineers. Cannot say as a fact that they used HF engineer for the displays and tones associated with Varia displays, but even if they didn’t they did an excellent job since they are intuitive and easy to interpret.

Don’t understand your potential failure comment. A brain would have to cross wired to do what you suggested.
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Old 09-09-22, 01:15 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
I've been riding for over 35-years and have had 4 bike/car collisions and countless close calls. I've been using a mirror for the vast majority of those >35-years and it's great for preventing close calls from becoming more than that.
which is it?
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Old 09-09-22, 08:50 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
which is it?
Really? Is that really necessary? I thought the 50+ was the more civil area of BF.
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Old 09-09-22, 09:57 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post

Originally Posted by work4bike

I've been riding for over 35-years and have had 4 bike/car collisions and countless close calls. I've been using a mirror for the vast majority of those >35-years and it's great for preventing close calls from becoming more than that.

which is it?
When I first read the paragraph you quoted, I asked myself why I would make such a post, it didn't make much sense. So I went back and looked at my post and realized you deleted a very important part that puts the above paragraph in context.

This is my original post (below), notice the sentence you deleted above the paragraph you quoted. My only point was that I found it unbelievable that someone could ride a bike for over 40-years and never had a close call. I must be an awful cyclists


Originally Posted by work4bike
Riding for over 40 years and never had a close call...

I've been riding for over 35-years and have had 4 bike/car collisions and countless close calls. I've been using a mirror for the vast majority of those >35-years and it's great for preventing close calls from becoming more than that.
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Old 09-09-22, 10:14 AM
  #70  
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For me the Varia is now a must-have for road biking. It doesn't matter that I rode for the best part of 50 years without one and survived. It's a great product, especially for cycling on rural roads with occasional fast approaching traffic. I'm not normally a big fan of Garmin UI and software implementation, but they really nailed this one. It works perfectly with my Edge 530 and I love the way it indicates approaching vehicles speed and distance both visually and audibly.
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Old 09-09-22, 10:59 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Counterpoint -- I won't ride without a mirror, which I find extremely valuable for checking traffic patterns and watching for things like impending right hooks, and also to help me with politely assertive lateral lane positioning. If I want or need to merge or change lanes, I use the mirror first to identify a gap in traffic, before looking back to verify the gap.
I have been cycling with a mirror for years now. For me, it’s so much easier during group rides, or solo to take a quick look at said mirror vs looking over my shoulder. I can’t imagine cycling with out it.
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Old 09-15-22, 11:00 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by Litespud View Post
I was pretty skeptical about the need for a Varia, but I wanted a decent rear flasher that lasted more than the 4 hours I was getting from my current flashers. I already had a Garmin 530 head unit. However, the radar is really impressive - since it works on speed difference, it will "see" cars behind the group. It's not perfect - it can be flummoxed if the car is maintaining distance rather than overtaking, the car can disappear off the radar. Also, while it can graphically represent multiple approaching cars, if one car happens to be in the preceding car's "radar shadow", it won't show up initially, only popping up out of nowhere when the first car has passed. The Varia will also register fast-approaching bikes, with no way if distinguishing bike from car. However, I think, when used in conjunction with a rear-view mirror, it's a great addition, but it's important to make allowances for its shortcomings. On balance, though, I don't think I would ride on the road anymore without it. The audible alert means you don't have to constantly monitor your rear-view to avoid being startled by overtaking traffic, which is really nice. I recently travelled to Ireland for a couple of weeks and rented a road bike while I was there, so I could punish myself in the Wicklow Mountains. I brought my Garmin and Varia with me to install on the rental. The Varia worked great - alas, Ireland seemed to flummox the GPS - I ended up navigating by Google Maps (I used to do it with an Ordinance Survey map in my jersey pocket, so this is progress, I suppose).
Ok, this must be a Doppler radar, at least as a primary sensor. A Doppler reacts to the doppler effect and looks at the difference in frequency between the radar signal beeped out at the traffic behind, and the returned signal that bounces off the traffic behind you. That difference indicates how fast a car is approaching you, and can be analyzed to indicate a threat. If a car behind is moving at your speed (congrats for having 45 mph legs --lol!!!), then first it is not a collision risk, and secondly it should return to the radar display after the speeds diverge (either you slow down or the car speeds up), and thirdly the radar may have been built to hold the now-innocuous target in the display for some time, for your information.

I say these things because if my experience designing automotive safety radar-based systems. I don't have any direct experience with any Garmin stuff. I've been using a Wahoo on my bike, and actually the Navi and ride tracking functions are not very interesting to me. Bio monitoring (HR, cadence, performance history) are interesting, as is iPhone status.

Can Garmin devices compatible with the Varia also drive a Wahoo Snap indoor cycling stand? That's one of my other blockages to pulling the Garmin trigger, because what you folks say this little radar does sounds pretty good to me!

Human-machine interfaces are still a big problem in cars, and not surprised if there are still improvements for Garmin to make - like volume and warning style.

As far as other cyclists go, I also hate the nanny-like response where the person dinks around slowly until I pass them, regardless of whether a pass is safe. If bikes had cooperative safety systems perhaps there could be better rider cooperation, but this is still very advanced for cars.
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Old 09-15-22, 05:12 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by rwhillman View Post
Varia works perfectly with Wahoo Bolt. Only possible improvement would be some type of Vaira battery monitoring by the Bolt.
What about with an Elemnt?

Sorry, I see post #45 answered me already!
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Old 09-15-22, 05:39 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
In grad school I studied under a Human Factors prof for a couple of courses. He worked with the Air Force on fighter jet cockpit controls and had lots of cool stories (unclassified). Was always fascinated by human centered design in a number of areas, particularly traffic design and was published on roundabout design as a student.

I know as a fact that Garmin uses Human Factors engineers in their avionics division and there are currently job openings for additional engineers. Cannot say as a fact that they used HF engineer for the displays and tones associated with Varia displays, but even if they didn’t they did an excellent job since they are intuitive and easy to interpret.

Don’t understand your potential failure comment. A brain would have to cross wired to do what you suggested.
Not saying some brains are cross-wired, but just observations. Many times riding on MUPs where pedestrians are ahead of me, I've tried tocall out "On your left!" only to have people move to their left and block or complicate my interest in passing. You could say it is a "traffic calming measure."

But, it is a possible failure mode of what might seem a reasonable warning strategy. Could it happen with a Varia/Garmin or Varia/Wahoo setup? I don't know, but it has been seen by many cyclists. Cross-wiring? I wouldn't know. But I have witnessed this phenomenon without radar.
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