Garmin Varia Radar RTL515 and RVR315. Minor improvements and Bluetooth compatible.


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At last, Garmin is starting up its machinery of presentation of new productsstarting with the Garmin Varia Radar RTL515 (originally to be called RTL520...). This is a small update of the current model, the RTL510. In fact, the test serves exactly the same purposebecause there are hardly any differences between them.

Garmin Varia RTL510

Along with the RTL515, Garmin has also presented the RVR315, which in this case is a completely new product. Although the truth is that it had already been announced before, because Cannondale presented an electric bicycle a month ago where we could already see this radar (the Cannondale Mavaro Neo 1).

Garmin RVR315

Both models have very similar features, the only thing that differentiates them is the most obvious: while the RTL515 radar has a light, the RVR315 does not. I will start with the light.

Garmin Varia Radar RTL515

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Garmin Varia RTL510

As I was saying before, the RTL515 light is basically a small renovation with respect to the one we already know and that in fact has been on offer recently. There are very few changes, which I will list below:

  • Compatible with Bluetooth, in addition to ANT+ as before.
  • New mode of use: "peloton", to be used in a group to avoid dazzling cyclists behind.
  • Slightly increased autonomy in daily flicker mode (16 hours instead of 15). In the other modes, it still has the same battery life: 6 hours in fixed mode and in night blinking mode. As for the new "peloton" mode, it has a battery life of 8 hours.

Perhaps the most striking new feature is the addition of Bluetooth support. The RTL510 can simply pair with Garmin Edge cycle computers, some Garmin watches, the RDU display and recently Hammerhead Karoo, the Wahoo ELEMNT and Stages L50/M50. That connection is made via ANT+.


Now, thanks to Bluetooth, 1TP10 can also be connected to the cell phone. On the one hand to the application that Garmin has launched (very simple, it simply reproduces what the RDU does).

But it is also open to poderse use with third-party applications, for which they will have to be updated beforehand. For the time being, RideWithGPS already offers compatibility.

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Garmin RTL515 with RideWithGPSPlatoon mode

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The second new feature is a new operating mode called "peloton", whose purpose is to poder activate it without disturbing the visibility of those circulating in the group behind us.


It is a mode in which the light remains always on, but with less luminosity than in the fixed mode that we had until now with the previous RTL510 (and that is still present in the RTL515).

While in fixed mode the light emits 20 lumens of intensity, in peloton mode it will be only 8. This drop in brightness means that in this mode the autonomy goes from 6 to 8 hours maximum.

Therefore, this mode is added to the list of those that were already available, these being the luminosities they offer and the maximum battery life in each of them:

  • Fixed illumination: 20 lumens and 6 hours of autonomy
  • Peloton mode fixed illumination: 8 lumens and 8 hours of autonomy
  • Night flashing: 29 lumens and 6 hours of autonomy
  • Daytime flicker: 65 lumens and 16 hours of battery life

Honestly... no one has ever complained to me about the brightness of the light. But hey, it's just another mode, it can be useful in some cases.


Garmin Varia Radar RVR315

The Varia Radar RVR315 is indeed a brand new device. But there is not much to say about it, because it is exactly the same as the RTL515 but without having the associated light. So it may be useful because you already have a light currently (like a Bontrager Flare RT) and are only interested in the radar part. Or if your bike integrates a light into its own design, as is happening with many urban bikes lately).

Like the RTL515, it also offers ANT+ and Bluetooth connection with the same possibilities, and the only thing to note is that the maximum autonomy is 7 hours.

It has no modes of any kind beyond being on or off, because remember that modes are for light.

Availability and price

Both will be available in the next few days. As for prices, they are as follows:

  • Garmin RTL515: 199€ (same as RTL510 when released)
  • Garmin RVR315: 149€ (50€ less due to the lack of the light)

Certainly pod could be lower prices, but... you know what the problem is? It's a product that has no competition, and Garmin knows it. If you want a radar for your bike you can buy the Garmin one... or the Garmin one. The only thing is that for a while pod we will have access to the previous model at a slightly lower price (while stock lasts).

My opinion

Very, VERY slight renovation on the radar with light. In fact, if you already have an RTL510 I would not consider trading it in for the new model. In fact, if you're thinking of buying one, it's a much better choice. buy the previous model at a discounted price than waiting for the new one.

Because unless you are going to use the Bluetooth connection together with a cell phone (it can be interesting to move around town with an urban bike ... but little else), the truth is that it does not bring much more to the equation.

The RVR315, on the other hand, can be an interesting option if you already have a light. Although the RTL510 or RTL515 can also be used with the light off, functioning exclusively as a radar. The only advantage you can get is that while the light has vertical format, the radar is horizontal, so depending on where and how you want to place it may be worth one or the other.

Is it worth it? I always say the same thing, that it is an expensive light is clear. Undoubtedly much more expensive than any light bought in Asia. The usual problem with the latter is that they are always advertised as 800 lumens, 25 months of autonomy, and then neither one nor the other is true. We can compare it with more reliable models such as the Bontrager light, but it does not have the radar function either.

The Varia Radar is the typical product that you have never considered buying, and without having tried it, it seems absurd to spend so much money on "a light". But once you have it or try it, you can't live without it. I certainly can't.

I am yet to meet someone who has had one of these lights and is displeased with it.

And with that... thanks for reading!

Eduardo Mateos

I've been surrounded by electronic devices of all kinds for more than 25 years. Using them, testing them, taking them apart and dissecting them. Long distance triathlete: I swim, run and cycle for a long time. Maybe too much.

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  1. The truth is yes: the Garmin radar is the milk. Once you try it, you say how have I podido go out without it (and look that we try crap, in general). It gives you a security when it comes to knowing who is coming behind you and at what distance. Go comfortably or safely, without going on the far side of the shoulder, and poder shelter when you really need to. Great.
    Thank you for your articles.

  2. I have had both previous radars, and I agree with what was said, I can't agree more that once you try it then it's like riding barefoot if you don't have it on. That said, the new model, to say the least, seems like a joke to me. The current radar needs a lot of weight reduction and downsizing, because compared to a Bontrager flare RT, it's like comparing a cinquecento to a cement mixer truck. They should have tried to concentrate its size a little more, with a more traditional format (like the flare, which is brutal). Maybe technologically it's not possible, but anyway... they shouldn't release anything if they're going to take another 2 years to present an evolution.

    The platoon mode appears to me already in my light with the firmwares betas of the edge 1030, I get the platoon mode for months, I understand that it is the same and it is something software and not hardware. What I said at this point, and 200 € when then you get to put it for 100 and a little ... well ..... I hope that the next Garmin releases will not be so poor (I am waiting for the 1030 replacement with May water). As the lack of competition in this sector is noticeable.

    1. Note that it is the radar part that takes up the most size, it is not simply the light that takes up space.

      I had not noticed that with the beta the light mode was updated, let's see if I take some time and look at it because I have not installed any beta firmware on my Edge for a long time.

    2. I mean you control the radar from the 1030?????????? Please see my comment below. It is important thank you

  3. Absolutely. I have the rtl 510 with the 1030 and very happy. Only one PROBLEM: The 1030 detects the varia only as Radar NOT as light. You can not even control the state of the. Battery (which I have to write it down on paper every day...). With the recoil that seems to me) nor can I turn it on or off from the Garmin or change the light mode. By the way, as far as I know, mine only has 3 modes: flashing, pulsating and fixed. IS IT THE SAME FOR YOU? These are things that I assumed that pod could do!!!! Am I wrong?

      1. From the very first moment I synchronized sensors and it was always automatically linked to me as radar. And now even trying to add a light sensor manually does not recognize it as such.

  4. Okay!!!!! It already recognized it as light!!!! Thank you very much, I still can't believe it!!!!! Now the question is which is the mode that corresponds to what I put manually... High visibility would light more? In each mode I see that there is the fixed and flashing option but the pulsating one does not come out. My doubt is that in each mode the flashing is the same as I previously set by pressing the button? Or what is the real purpose of the modes? I would not like that now it was lighting less.... Since it seemed to me perfect as it illuminated turning it on from the button.

    1. The option to choose modes is so that you can change them directly from the Edge, without having to stop or turn around to press the button. They are exactly the same from the Edge as with the button presses.

  5. This radar (like many Garmin products) has a prevention called prop. 65, which warns of the potential risk of carcinogenic diseases. Do you have any information on this?


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