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Hi guys,

considering buying Garmin Radar Varia RTL 510 bundle.

There are many reviews and opinions  around since first generation of the radar system from Garmin.  Without doubt, this is a great addition to safety.

However one aspect that is not covered or discussed is a potential influence on health after long term exposure of cyclist "sitting" on the radar beam.

Spec: Radio frequency/protocol: 24 GHz @ 12 dBm nominal/2.4 GHz @ 4 dBm nominal

I believe no one took this particular radar for any scientific test therefore concerns are more of general nature of being exposed to extra  radiation from radar 3-4 hrs a day.

Any thoughts?

Update 22.04.2019

Finally received Garmin Varia RTL510. 

On rear side of the box there is Warning from California Prop 65 saying "Cancer and Reproductive Harm". Right way to legally protect itself from Garmin. 

In supplied doccumentation there is a following text relevant to this post.

Radio Frequency Radiation Exposure

This device is a portable transmitter and receiver that uses an internal antenna to send and receive low level of radio frequency (RF) energy for data communications. The device emits RF energy below the published limits when operating in its maximum output power mode and when used with Garmin authorized accessories. To comply with RF exposure compliance requirements, the device should be installed and operated with a mimum 5 cm (2 in.) distance between the device and your body. The device should not be used in other configurations. This device must not be co-located or operated in conjunction with any other transmitter or antenna.  

40 comments

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Vovis [26 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

@alansmurphy

Garmin Varia Radar is passive device unlike car's radar system and can't prevent something from happening.

It helps you with information about vehicle behind, and, should you wish, you got an extra second to react, adjust your cycling style or even stop if there is a large vehicle consuming 90% of narrow road for example.

If you are cycling in morning fog, on mountain's serpentine or got strong face wind, chances to detect car behind differently are very limited. 

Unfortunately, majority of cars on roads aren't equipped with ACC and delay in noticing of cyclists or human factor is still enormous.

Cateye has some statistics about accidents on site https://www.cateye.com/safety/

As you can see, rear-end collision is only 8.7% of full story. This, as well collision while turning without noticing car from behind, is an area where Varia can help.

Some cyclists noticed change in their cycling style to more forgiving using Varia and, because of that, they don't like it. It also depends what is your environment and if you can benefit from such  information of can't use it at all.

See video from Chris Miller Cycling below

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhf32Zd7swE

Happy and safe cycling!

 

 

Avatar
HoarseMann [276 posts] 5 months ago
3 likes

Well, before you splash the cash on the Varia, try one of these...

Not only does it give you a heads-up on the upcoming traffic, it will also let you know if it’s a tractor, lorry, that chav that always close passes on your commute etc...

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/accessories/busch-muller-cycle-star-mirror-f...

Avatar
Vovis [26 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

@HoarseMann,

for trekking bike and long miles on roads  mirror like this is a nice thing.

For aerobike and aero handlebar you probably want something different due to drag. 

For regular roadbike 2 examples as well as image shown below can be adapted.

https://www.amazon.de/Sprintech-MI2004-Rennrad-Spiegel-Schwarz/dp/B0017W...

https://www.amazon.de/THE-BEAM-CORKY-fahrradspiegel-links/dp/B07D7DHSTZ/...

Again we are talking here only about danger coming from behind and mirror won't help in case you have bike or car in the back without light in dark.

I got undercut by car suddenly comming  from side to main street across bike path few days ago. Ended landing into its side window. There is no way how the current radar or mirror would help me.

There is still long way to go but I trully beleive that one day we will get AI powered device communicating with bike PC unit or independent, estimating risk of danger and necessary action from cyclist and driver. Not only presence or absence of vehicle should be detected  but vehicle behind should actively react to avoid danger for cyclist like advanced ACC systems do (google car etc).  

Avatar
Vovis [26 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

Hi guys, 

to complete the story, finally received Garmin Varia RTL510. 

Below is a picture of box itself indicating warning from California Prop 65. Right way to legally protect itself from Garmin. 

In supplied doccumentation there is a following text relevant to this post.

Radio Frequency Radiation Exposure

This device is a portable transmitter and receiver that uses an internal antenna to send and receive low level of radio frequency (RF) energy for data communications. The device emits RF energy below the published limits when operating in its maximum output power mode and when used with Garmin authorized accessories. To comply with RF exposure compliance requirements, the device should be installed and operated with a mimum 5 cm (2 in.) distance between the device and your body. The device should not be used in other configurations. This device must not be co-located or operated in conjunction with any other transmitter or antenna.  

Avatar
hawkinspeter [3932 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

I'm a huge fan of my current handlebar end mirror after trying one of the Sprinttech style mirrors. The Cateye BM-45 is superb: https://www.amazon.co.uk/CatEye-BM-45-Bike-Mirrors-Black/dp/B011DLUBIK

What makes it the best is that it is easy to adjust to the perfect position whilst riding and yet it doesn't seem to move unless it gets knocked. With the Sprinttech mirror (I think I had a different make), you put it under the handlebar tape which makes it difficult to adjust after you've fitted it.

Avatar
Vovis [26 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

Will it fit drop bars without interfering much with position of hand? Sprinttech mirror seems to be more discreet, better integrated and  also look more "aero". That is not my setup but found elsewere. 

First experience with radar is very positive. So far no false positive detection.  Because radar doesn't have AI and no indication of type of vehicle provided, having such small extra mirror would be a good companion. As mentioned in comment section below the item on Amazon, "The mirror doesn't need a battery so it will outlast the Varia! "  1

Additonally implementation could be to watch how far behind other guys are without turning head. 

 

Avatar
ktache [1993 posts] 5 months ago
4 likes

Now I understand more, when "commuter racing" looking back to make sure you've actually dropped them means you are just trying too hard.

Avatar
hawkinspeter [3932 posts] 5 months ago
3 likes
Vovis wrote:

Will it fit drop bars without interfering much with position of hand? Sprinttech mirror seems to be more discreet, better integrated and  also look more "aero". That is not my setup but found elsewere. 

Yes, I've got it on my drop bars and as it replaces an end-plug, it's nowhere near my hand. I position mine more inwards of the handlebars so that when leaning the bike against a wall, the mirror isn't moved at all, however that means that I'm more likely to hit it with my knee as I have long legs and a short wheelbase (never hit it whilst cycling though).

I'd say that it looks less aero than the Sprinttech ones, but the ease of adjusting it makes it much more useful. As these mirrors are small, they need to be in just the right place to give you a useful view and once you get used to using them, you can just have the quickest of glances to get an idea of what's behind you.

ktache wrote:

Now I understand more, when "commuter racing" looking back to make sure you've actually dropped them means you are just trying too hard.

Absolutely - with a mirror you can have a discreet glance to see if you've dropped them (rarely) or not (most common).

I do find a mirror handy for a pre-look when you're planning to turn right/switch lanes/exit a cycle path etc. You still need to have a full look behind you before performing a manoeuvre but sometimes you want to look to see if it's a suitable time to do it.

Here's my bike (currently cleaning it) with the mirror in place.

 

Avatar
Simon E [3812 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

Here's my bike (currently cleaning it) with the mirror in place.

Disappointing.

I was expecting to see a furry character pop his head out of the top tube bag or admiring his/her own reflection in the mirror.

 3

Avatar
hawkinspeter [3932 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

Here's my bike (currently cleaning it) with the mirror in place.

Disappointing.

I was expecting to see a furry character pop his head out of the top tube bag or admiring his/her own reflection in the mirror.

 3

Can you not see the hidden detail in the brickwork?

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