Garmin Varia RCT715 rearview radar-activated tail light and camera.
The Garmin Varia RCT715 rearview radar-activated taillight and camera are designed to give riders peace of mind when they hit the road; (photo/Garmin)

Garmin Adds Camera to Varia Radar-Activated Taillight for Unparalleled Peace of Mind

There are plenty of ‘what if’ scenarios all cyclists consider every time they throw a leg over a bike. Garmin’s radar technology aims to ease some of these concerns.

Whether riding on roads or backcountry trails, things can and do go wrong from time to time. Garmin’s new Varia RCT715 rearview radar video camera and taillight are built to make riding safer while protecting riders when that dreaded “what if” becomes a reality.

Garmin Varia RCT715 mounted to a seat post.
The Garmin Varia RCT715 activates with visual and audible alerts when vehicles approach from behind; (photo/Garmin)

The Varia RCT716 uses radar to detect approaching drivers and alert both you and them to each other’s presence.

Garmin Varia RCT715 detail photo.
The Garmin Varia RCT715 will alert riders to vehicles up to 153 yards away; (photo/Garmin)

The radar will alert the cyclist of vehicles up to 153 yards away with visual and audible cues, and the taillight can be seen from up to one mile away. This gives ample time for both drivers and cyclists to give each other space to pass safely.

Garmin’s earlier Varia RTL515 radar-activated taillight did the same thing without the added assurance of video monitoring to offer more protection during less-than-cordial encounters.

The RCT716’s camera captures continuous, clear video to provide peace of mind to riders should there be an unfortunate incident.

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The Varia RCT717 camera records up to 1080p/30fps and comes complete with automatic incident capture; (photo/Garmin)

The camera records up to 1080p/30fps. And it comes complete with automatic incident capture that saves footage from before and after a detected incident — just in case.

The battery can run for up to 4 hours with the radar and taillight running on solid high or night flash. On the day flash setting, it can last up to 6 hours.

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The Garmin Varia RCT715 costs MSRP of $400; (photo/Garmin)

The Varia RCT716 can pair with compatible Garmin Edge cycling computers, Garmin smartwatches, the Varia smart device app, and smartphones, which open it up to other apps, including Ride with GPS.

Garmin Varia RCT715 mount.
The Garmin Varia RCT715 can run for a maximum of 6 hours depending on which light mode you use; (photo/Garmin)

Our cycling editor has been using a different version of the Garmin Varia, and it has become an integral part of his road cycling kit, just as important as his helmet.

He finds the radar warning system much more valuable on less-traveled country roads. In urban environments, he rides with his head on a swivel and assumes there is a vehicle behind him. But in the country, he can zone out. And the Varia system interrupts these periods to warn him of cars that he wouldn’t know about until they were right behind him.

The Varia RCT716 goes for an MSRP of $400 and is available now on Garmin.com.

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Mark Wilson
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Mark Wilson is a freelance journalist for Lola Digital Media.

Mark has been writing about cycling, climbing, outdoor events and gear for more than a year. Before that, he spent more than a decade as a journalist at major daily newspapers in Texas covering crime, public safety and local government. Mark spent every free moment during that time carving up singletrack and gravel, or climbing with friends and family in Texas, Colorado and Mexico. Based in Texas, Mark is always looking for new trails, crags and gear to help navigate the outdoors. As a new dad, he is particularly interested in learning how to share his love of the outdoors with his son.