BikeRadar Tech writer Matthew Allen takes Garmin’s latest safety product, the Varia bike radar out for a spin to give us his impressions.

So, I’ve been using the Garmin Varia for a couple of months. I use the Varia paired with a Garmin Edge head unit. Initially I was skeptical it had any use in the ‘real’ world, but, I now consider it to be an important piece of tech, as an addition to normal safety procedures.

With the Varia on-board and in flashing mode, I have found most vehicles do pass with reduced speed and greater distance, when compared with a normal flashing light, day or night. I was surprised – so much so, I decided to install a small camera (where it could not be seen) in order to record the movement of traffic behind me. (I’m looking to upload the video soon).

As for the head unit information, consider I am bombing along at a rapid rate, I come across a pot-hole, no time to check behind – I either jump the pot-hole, move to the left or as would be the safer option, move out onto firm ground. A glance at the head unit tells me there is a car approaching or it is clear, both inform, and allow me to take, the most appropriate, safest, action. I have been a party to both of these scenarios.

Described as a flashing light with a radar built-in, doesn’t say anything. Use it for a while and it is surprising how useful this little unit is.