Garmin's Varia bike radars are some of the most popular pieces of cycling tech around – and now the company has delivered its first rearview radar to have been specially designed for some of the best e-Bikes.
Garmin's Varia range mounts to the back of your bike and broadcasts a radar signal behind you, so you can get visual and audible alerts when something's overtaking you. Even better, the new Varia eRTL615 plugs directly into most e-bikes, with no battery required.
Because the catchily-named Varia eRTL615 is also a tail light, it'll also make sure you're visible to other vehicles too, promising to emit a flashing or solid light that's visible from up to a mile away in daylight.
To connect Garmin's new radar tail light to your e-bike, you'll need to pick the right Garmin adapter cable (which isn't included). You can buy power cables compatible with Bosch, Shimano, or USB-A terminals or connections, with more info on those available on Garmin's Support site.
Once you've negotiated that little complication, though, you should be all set up to head out on the road and benefit from its safety features. Naturally, you'll be able to get the most out of the rearview radar if you have one of the best Garmin watches or a Garmin Edge bike computer.
These will receive visual or audible alerts when vehicles approach from around 150 yards (or 140 meters) away. But if you don't have one of those Garmin devices, the system will also work with a smartphone that's running the Varia app.
The light itself also promises to be bright enough for most conditions, producing 65 lumens in its 'day flash' mode, which then goes down to 20 lumens in its solid, non-flashing mode. There is also a 'night flash' option to keep you safe on winter rides home from work.
If you have an e-bike and are looking to upgrade it with a combined radar and rear light system, the Garmin Varia eRTL615 is available to buy right now for $299 (around £240 / AU$499).
Analysis: A bright idea for e-bikes
Garmin has been making its Varia bike radar units since 2015, and they've long been a popular alternative to physical rear-view mirrors, thanks to their ability to help with general road awareness and help you prepare for turns.
Right now, there are five options in its range, including the new Varia eRTL615, and this is the first one that Garmin's made for e-bikes. It's also the second most expensive in its range, below the high-end Varia RCT715 which also includes a camera to act as a kind of cycling dash cam.
One of the weaknesses of the latter, though, is a relatively short battery life, with the RCT715 promising a maximum of six hours with the day flash turned on. Because the new Varia eRTL615 plugs directly into your e-bike, it could be a more convenient alternative that fits neatly into your bike-charging routine.
With decent IPX7 water resistance and a relatively lightweight design at just 50g, it's promising to be a good all-around cycling companion for e-bike fans.