The Varia RLT515 from Garmin is a bike tail light that pairs with your bike computer or phone to alert you of vehicles approaching behind you. The small device is compatible with nearly any bike and boasts 16 hours of battery life in day flash mode.
The Varia RLT515 provides audio and visual alerts for vehicles approaching from behind up to 153 yards away, giving the cyclist time to move over in their lane and prepare for the vehicle to pass. The tail light has several light modes, including a “peloton” mode that softens the light, so as not to be harsh for riders behind you in your group.
One GearJunkie team member rides his bike somewhere between 100 and 200 miles each week, many of which are in Minneapolis and the greater metro area. Needless to say, there is plenty of traffic, so having a feel for where vehicles are can go a long way in staying safe on the roads.
He paired his VariaRLT515 with the Garmin Edge 830 seamlessly, and right away he was impressed with what this device can do. He had heard good things from several people, but didn’t believe it could actually do what he heard it could — he was wrong.
The radar picks up on vehicles long before he can hear them. Plus, the visual cues on the Garmin 830 show (with color) the rate of speed at which the vehicle is approaching, and the progress the vehicle is making toward you.
You can watch the icons on the Garmin overtake you on screen at the same time the vehicle passes you. He has found it to be very accurate and reliable over the last several weeks of riding.