09 Nov 2015
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Garmin targets safer cycling with Varia bike radar and smart lights

By Heather Wright

Garmin’s Varia line of smart cycling devices have hit the Kiwi market, with the vendor saying the first-of-its-kind rearview bike radar and smart bike lights help create a safer cycling environment.

The Varia rearview bike radar warns cyclists of vehicles approaching from behind up to 140 metres and also warns approaching vehicles of a cyclist ahead.

The system includes a radar tail light transmitter and a radar display unit. The radar tail light increases brightness as cars approach. When in flashing mode, it also increases flashing intensity.

The radar display unit and compatible Edge cycling computers show up to eight vehicles as they approach, indicating increasing risk with a change in colour on a LED interface or using an overlay of the current data screen on an Edge device.

Meanwhile, the smart bike lights automatically adjust to changing conditions as well as the speed of the cyclist.

Based on GPS data from a compatible Edge, the Varia headlight beam automatically projects further ahead at faster speeds during a ride and closer as a rider’s speed decreases, lighting the road where cyclists need it the most.

It also focuses the light ahead instead of all around, shining 100 lux at 10 metres and features a high-beam cut-off to prevent blinding oncoming vehicles.

The Varia tail light operates in solid and flashing modes, and increases intensity when the bike decelerates to warn approaching traffic. By adding a second tail light cyclists can use turn signals, controlled through a compatible Edge or the Varia remote.

Both the radar and lights work independently, or seamlessly integrate with each other and with compatible Edge cycling computers.

The radar tail light retails for $279 or $419 bundled with the radar display unit. The Varia smart bike lights are available as a bundle including the Varia remote for $419, or separately for $279 (headlight) and $109 (tail light).

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