25/07/2024 3:17 AM


If You Really

Garmin’s rearview bike radar evaluate: Eyes for the back of your head


  • Identifies approaching cars from up to 140m absent
  • built-in tail light-weight
  • Effortless to put in on seatpost
  • Seamlessly connects with Garmin and Wahoo cycling computer systems, as perfectly as Garmin’s Varia application (and other cycling apps) for smartphones
  • Good battery daily life

Don’t Like

  • A tiny pricey
  • Charges via Micro-USB, not USB-C

I’ve been executing a honest sum of biking these days, and the one issue I’m often a tiny anxious about is that some motor vehicle is heading to come up guiding me and take me out — or at the very least sideswipe me and knock me off the highway. The prospects of that happening are little exactly where I trip in rural New York, but I’ve experienced friends who’ve gotten hit so when I observed Garmin’s rearview radars, the RTL515 ($200), which integrates a tail light-weight, and the stepdown RVR315 ($150, no tail mild), I imagined I would give them a shot to see if it designed me really feel safer — and make me a safer rider.

I have Garmin’s entry-amount monochrome Edge 130 bike pc, and equally the RTL515 and RVR315 seamlessly join with Garmin’s cycling pcs, as effectively Wahoo Elemnt computer systems and iOS and Android smartphones managing the Varia application. Also, Garmin says it integrates with 3rd-social gathering applications such as Experience with GPS to overlay your maps with rearview radar alerts (I did not attempt that, nevertheless).

You get mounting alternatives for three unique seatpost kinds, so it ought to healthy most bikes (each of them mounted vertically to the seatpost of my Large gravel bike without having a hitch). The radar is easy to clear away for charging — it rates by way of Micro-USB, not USB-C — but continue to keep in intellect that also would make it straightforward to steal if you depart it on your bike unattended. Battery lifetime for RTL515 is rated at 16 hrs with the gentle in working day-flash method and 6 several hours with it in good manner. The lightless RVR315 gives up to 8 hours of battery existence. 

You mount the radar vertically on your seatpost.

David Carnoy/CNET

When a car or truck is approaching you from driving, it shows up on your laptop or computer as a smaller icon — essentially a spherical blip — on the aspect of your display screen. And it can recognize multiple autos approaching and display them on the display with their suitable spacing. It can “see” autos up to 153 yards (140 meters) absent. With a smaller sized computer system like the Edge 130, you do have to consistently look down at the display screen to see the autos coming. But often I would see them prior to I read them, allowing for me to move more than to the edge of the highway to give them much more area to move me. 

Cars show up as round blips on Garmin’s entry-level Edge 130 laptop or computer.

David Carnoy/CNET

My brother-in-legislation is a more severe biker than I am, and I had him check out out the RVR315 simply because he previously had a tail gentle. He was riding on New Jersey roads that experienced a ton a lot more automobiles on them. The radar built-in seamlessly with his Wahoo bike laptop and he was impressed that it in fact picked up multiple cars as they approached. “Each and every time I went on a trip with it, I definitely felt safer.” His computer showed minimal auto icons the greater the monitor, the easier it is to be alerted.

If you have your phone mounted on your handlebars and are using the Varia app, along with the car graphic you also get a tone and vibration alert. However, a large amount of folks desire driving with a committed cycling computer somewhat than a telephone.

Autos as they show up on a Wahoo biking laptop.

David Carnoy/CNET

Some people have mirrors on their helmets to location cars and trucks powering them. A mirror is definitely a excellent security aspect, but the radar can perhaps spot a car or truck coming towards you right before you see it in your mirror, so the radar would nonetheless be additive. I know people today who use the two and like the elevated skill to see what is actually coming up from powering them.

Clearly, if you personal a tail light-weight by now, you can find no explanation to shell out the excess $50 on the RTL515 except if you want an integrated alternative. At $200, the RTL515 is a very little expensive, but it can be a really great small accessory that does make you come to feel safer while biking.