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Garmin Varia RTL510, vehicle radar is updated


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The full analysis of the Garmin Varia RTL510 Radar is now published. This article is only from the presentation of the model.

Click here to see all the details and opinion of Garmin's radar light.


And finally, completing today's presentations (Garmin Edge 520 Plus and Garmin Edge 130) we have the latest of the American company's renovations, the Garmin Varia RTL510. The new device follows in the footsteps of the Garmin Varia Radar of a few years ago, which is not really from Garmin since it acquired a company to take over its technology. So after taking advantage of it initially, the brand has decided to give it a facelift and do its part to make something just as complete, but smaller. Advantages of having your own production line.

> Garmin Varia Radar Test

Is there any major news? Not really, just some slight changes that I'll explain below.

Garmin Varia RTL510, the new radar from Garmin

The concept is exactly the same as the first Varia Radar. It is a cycling light with a built-in radar that sends information to our compatible clock or computer about what is going on behind us. If there are cars approaching, how many there are and when they have disappeared. Even if they are approaching at high speed. All that information is reflected either on the specific unit (which probably few people have bought), or on most compatible edge devices and multisport clocks.

There are few new features, especially the new design, which has changed from a horizontal format to a vertical one that is hidden behind the seat post and is therefore more aerodynamic. It is always important to save watts.

Technologically, of course, it has also evolved, mainly because LED lighting has made a tremendous leap over the years, both in power and consumption. Despite being a much smaller device, the amount of light emitted has increased enormously, as evidenced by the lumens data from both devices.

  • Garmin Varia Radar: 16 lumens, in fixed or blinking light
  • Garmin Varia RTL510: 20 lumens fixed light, 29 lumens night blink, 65 lumens day blink

It's a remarkable difference, especially in the daytime blink function that now that we can use with complete peace of mindThose 65 lumens in day mode mean that we will be visible at a distance of more than one and a half kilometers, while the radar will provide us with information when the vehicle is more than 140 meters away from us (although I have obtained results at much more distant distances).


And as I was saying, thanks to LED lighting technology that has advanced by leaps and bounds, range has also advanced. While the first version of the radar had a maximum range of 5 hours in fixed-light mode, the new RTL510 has gone up to 6 hours.

My opinion

With a price of 199 euros I know what many of you are going to tell me. Yes, it's an expensive light. And yes, there are very powerful lights for a fraction of the price. But they don't have radar. From here on it's up to each one to value what security it provides and at what price they value it.

Personally I have the first version since it came out, and I can't think of many devices I've been happier with. It does what it has to do, has hardly any false positives and above all it increases my security. Before I had it I never would have imagined I would need it, but now it annoys me enormously if I run out of battery power in the middle of an output or have forgotten to charge the light.

Garmin claims to have improved the algorithm, so it will have to be tested. What is clear is that the improvement as a rear light is very important. From this point on, it is up to each person to decide if it is a useful product according to how they ride their bike and where they ride 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. Hello.

    I am trying to find out the differences of the new specific unit vs the old ones. Is it just that it has sound? Is it possible to use the old unit with the new radar?

    Thank you and greetings.

    1. Yeah, that's the only difference. Everything's compatible with each other, no ANT+ protocols

  2. Hi, Eduardo:

    I would like to ask you a question, do you know if it also acts as a brake light when you decelerate hard on the bike by increasing the intensity ?

    Thank you and a greeting.

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