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Garmin Varia UT800 Smart Bike Light In-Depth Review

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Today, Garmin introduced their latest generation front bike light – the UT800.  This light builds upon the connected concepts from their first generation lights, such as integration with their head units.  With the UT800 though, the company has shifted the focus to the trail side of the cycling realm (though, it’s still perfectly fine for commuting).  The unit now increases and decreases brightness with speed, as well as has other modes to save battery.  Not to mention the nifty new mounting system.

I’ve been able to test out the UT800 both on trail and road rides, and thus have a pretty good handle on how it all works.  Aside from the Varia Radar light I reviewed two years back, this is actually the first pure light focused in-depth review I’ve done (though I did do a first look of the See.Sense ICON lights).  I have talked in a few posts about the Bontrager RT lights in the past, though never quite finished my review.  The general concept there is similar though, and I like those lights quite a bit too.

In fact, it’s a point Garmin made pains to emphasize: While they technically compete with Bontrager in this space of ANT+ enabled bike lights, they don’t want to make it some sort of ugly marketing battle.  They just want people to use lights on bikes, regardless of who it is. And it’s something that Bontrager has also echoed to me in the past as well.

In any event, this unit was loaned to me to try out and soon I’ll ship it back just like normal.  If you find this review valuable, you can check out the links at the bottom to pick up your own illuminating goodness and help support the site via Amazon or Clever Training.  With that – let’s dive into it!

(Oh, and like some other product reviews I do where the product is relatively straightforward, I’ve slimmed down the format here to pack as much detail as humanly possible into a more compact version. Hope you like it!)

Video Overview:

Oh, wait. Before we unbox this baby, if you’re the type that just likes videos – then the below is where it’s at.  It’s about as close to a complete video review as you’ll get from me.  But most importantly it includes legit and real light tests while outdoors trail and road riding to show how it all works.

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s talk boxes.  Or rather, getting box naked.

Unboxing:

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First up we’ve got the box itself.  It more or less looks like most other Garmin boxes these days.  And it packs quite a bit inside that small package.  Do note on the back that compliance warning for StVZO, which governs light usage in Germany.

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Also of note is the side of the box, which has a handy little chart showing lumens and how the light responds over time.

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After opening it up, we’ve got a pile of plastic bags full of little parts:

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Removing those bags you’ll find the core pieces sitting ready:

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First up is the paper manuals, where the quick-start guide is actually kinda useful.  It lists all the different modes and more nifty charts for figuring out speed and light intensity:

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Next, we’ve got the light itself, but don’t worry, you’ll get plenty more looks at that by the time this post is over.  It comes in at 130g in weight.

Moving along, there’s the micro-USB charging cable. It’s just like every other micro-USB charging cable out there.  It plugs into the back of the unit:

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Then there’s the mount.  This is not like every other mount out there.  Sure it’s got the standard Garmin quarter-turn mount up top for your Garmin Edge device, but down below it’s got what is basically an inverted quarter-turn mount.

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More interesting though is the small adapter piece that’s included.  This allows you to attach the light to it, and then easily lock it on/off the bike in a single twist.  One side being GoPro compatible, the other being Garmin quarter-turn mount compatible.

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Here’s how the whole pancake stack looks:

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Oh, and in case you missed it up above, they also included two small hex wrenches to adjust both the GoPro-style mount as well as the mount onto your handlebars.

Finally, just to put size into perspective – here’s the older HL500 side by side with the newer (and brighter) UT800:

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With that all set – onwards into the basics we go.

The Mounting System:

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We’ll start first with the mount side of things, and then move into the technical components.  Then I’ll compare light visibility in the next section.

First up we’ve got the Garmin out-front mount that I mentioned earlier.  This is the same core Garmin out-front mount that came with the HL500 light a few years ago.  However, it’s different than the standard Garmin out-front mount packaged within an Edge series bike computer box.  This one has a quarter-turn mount on both upper and lower halves:

DSC_1491 DSC_1492

Up top is where you stick your Garmin Edge (or other bike computers that fit into that slot).  Where things differ from the HL500 is that this now has the secondary adapter.  This adapter has a GoPro/VIRB mount on the bottom, and a Garmin quarter-turn mount up top:

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In fact, you can even use this to mount a Garmin or GoPro action camera as well, making them handy to perhaps buy a couple of them so you can quickly pop on and off action cameras or lights without any tools.

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Speaking of the sans-tool part, the main goal of this design is that you can just twist the locking ring in a single motion (even with gloves) and it locks on tightly.  And yes, it does do exactly that.  Once locked it doesn’t budge.

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Yet you can still adjust the up/down angle of the light using a hex wrench as you see fit.

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All of this works pretty well and is probably one of my more favorite parts of the whole kit.  I just wish Garmin would then offer an aluminum version of the same double-sided mount, and I’d be totally happy.

Illuminating Details:

Next, let’s talk the light itself.  On the left side is a single button.  This powers it on and off, and also changes modes.  You can further hold it down to power it off entirely.

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Once you power it on it’ll go into a pairing mode, which enables it to be added to a ‘light network’ from your Garmin Edge device.  Technically this is open standard ANT+ (Lighting Profile), so any company (like Wahoo or Lezyne) could implement this in their head units.  You can thus also add in multiple lights, even from different vendors.  For example, you could use Bontrager’s rear tail lights, and combine them with Garmin’s front light.  Whatever floats your boat.

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Within the lighting options on your Edge you’ll see each individual light and the battery status of that light.  You can also pull this up from the status menu by swiping down on the Edge 820/1000, or pressing into the status button on the Edge 520.

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You can then configure options for the network.  For example, you can set it to not turn on your lights until you actually press start on your Edge device.  As soon as you do that, it’ll turn on the lights automatically.  Thus saving battery while you’re standing around getting ready.

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You can also configure whether or not the Edge will automatically control brightness on the lights, or if you want that to be manually controlled.  You can always override this at any time either from the Edge itself (and a new lighting control panel data page to be released soon) or just by tapping the button on the light.

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Which gets us to the variability aspect.  The light has a number of modes within it, each with different battery levels:

800 lumens: 1.5 hours
400 lumens: 3 hours
200 lumens: 6 hours
100-300 lumens pulsing (night mode): 6 hours
700 lumens flashing (daylight mode): 25 hours

Each of these modes can be manually iterated through by simply pressing the button on the side.  Also, the manual says it’ll hold a charge for an entire year if not in use, which his pretty darn impressive.  Obviously, I can’t validate that at this point.

Next, and more importantly is that the light, when used in conjunction with a Garmin Edge device, will automatically change intensities based on speed.  It does this in the three settings noted above (200/400/800 lumens).  This is done to save battery and to give a non-overkill amount of light to your situation.

The idea here being that as you climb on a trail you’ll need less light because you’re moving slower.  Whereas when you’re riding downhill at full speed, you’ll need more light to ensure you aren’t outrunning your lights.  All of which in my testing actually worked out great while out on the trail.

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Speaking of which, I’ve gotta give props to a crew of guys that helped me out in filming and photographing out in the (very dark) woods last week.  Being a moonless night, all of us were at times standing in the pitch black next to a camera waiting for whoever was riding to ride by with the UT800.  We didn’t want any other ambient light or other bike lights messing up the shots.

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We’ve got Jonathan Lee on the right (from TrainerRoad), and Ian Meintjes in the middle (also of TrainerRoad, and Pro Enduro Racer for KTM).  All of us spent hours out on the trail in clothing definitely not suitable for the task trying to get the night shots.  As for ‘my bike’ for those days, it was loaned by Steven Lewis of MTBPodcast.com.  It’s an incredibly sweet and totally brand new bike.  I was actually the first to put it through its paces between that and the previous day of riding.

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Funny aside…much of the shooting was about a 20-minute ride away from where the trailhead started, but I didn’t bring a secondary bike mount for the older HL500 light.  No worries, Jonathan managed to MacGyver a solution together using a Wahoo TICKR strap on a K-Edge Garmin out-front mount for his bike. Astoundingly it actually held the entire night.

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Once again – thanks all!

Back to the tech side, some might be wondering how the light shifting/changing piece is different from before.  With the previous HL500 (which has 500 lumens), that light had two different bulbs in it, which in turn hit two different reflector points.  So instead of changing the light intensity, it changed where the beam was pointed (closer or further).  But that didn’t save any battery, it just shifted things around.  Whereas with the UT800, it’s saving some considerable battery by reducing the brightness.

As for on-road visibility, it was just as good as in the trails.  With on-road on brightly lit streets you can get away with the pulsing light (which isn’t total on/off, but just slowly increasing/decreasing lumens).  Whereas when things get darker, you can go with the full 200/400/800 lumens.

One oddity I did stumble into just two nights ago in Los Angeles was that some well-lit intersections would ‘trick’ the Edge 820’s ambient light sensor.  As such, it thought I was in daylight and would toggle over to the daylight flasher mode.  I brought this up to Garmin and they’re looking at a possible fix in an upcoming firmware update.  Though I could always just override it via either the Edge or unit itself.  I never had this trigger in any darker road or trail situations, but only in a handful of very bright intersections.  It didn’t really impact my visibility for the simple reason that it was already pretty darn bright.  Either way, something I’ll look for in the future.

Comparing Light Visibility:

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When it comes to comparing the different lights, the most important aspect to consider isn’t the light at all – but rather, the camera.  In the same way that I stress that configuration of microphones is the most important aspect in trainer noise tests, the same is true for light tests: It’s all about the camera settings.

I can make any light look like any lumen value I wish.  I can make two totally different lights look identical.  I can make one brilliant light look horrible, and another horrible light look great.  The quality of the lens/camera being a major factor, as with the exact settings I use.

The purpose of this isn’t to make you think I’m showing you #FakeLights, but rather to be aware that on any comparison site (including here) that the limitations of photos and video come down to the settings used.  In my case, all of my on-road and on-trail comparisons were done with a GoPro Hero5 Black in 4K/30 mounted on a GoPro Karma Grip Gimbal attached to my chest using the GoPro Seeker backpack.  This gives me a bit better light performance, but it’s nothing compared to my DSLR.

To demonstrate this, look at the below imagery.  These were taken at the same time with one camera atop the other.  One from the $399 GoPro, and the other from the $3,000+ DSLR setup:

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With that in mind, let’s look at some comparisons out on the road.  Here are the three light levels while riding in complete darkness:

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Next, let’s look at the comparison between the older HL500 (500 lumens) and the new UT800 (800 lumens).  Remember that the HL500 is designed to have a very narrow beam (primarily for road use), whereas the UT800 is designed as a wider beam.  That’s easily seen below comparing these two lights against a wall:

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(These last two photos were shot with a DSLR on a tripod, which goes to show you just how different cameras evaluate light compared to the moving shots on the bike with the GoPro.)

What I found was that the brightness of the UT800 was more than sufficient for trail riding, even downhill at speed.  And equally, it was just fine at the lower lumens for going uphill on trails.

While out road riding on brightly lit streets I didn’t find the light made all that much of a difference, and I could have primarily used the slow-pulsing mode to save battery.  However, once I went into darker areas, it was nice being able to pump up the brightness and light up my surroundings.

Summary:

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I’ll be honest – when I first heard of another bike light from Garmin, I wasn’t super excited.  It was roughly akin to being told I was being given broccoli with a side of cauliflower.  Yet, once I had my hands on it, I’ve gotta say I’m kinda impressed.

I’m not sure whether to be more impressed with how well the light works itself, or with the nifty mount doohickey.  I’m a sucker for cool mounts.  It’s like my comfort food of technology.  And this one delivers with a truly useful mount innovation that’s actually super functional.  If only they’d make a darn metal/aluminum mount with that same lower attachment point and we’d be in golden-happy land (for better action cam footage).

Of course – this is all about the light – and in that area they really do actually nail it.  I totally see myself using this thing as my primary bike light, for the simple reason it doesn’t look like a brick.  I rarely need to ride more than a couple hours at night at a time, and most of the time it’s in the city.  Yet when I do go outside, it’s nice to have the power behind the light to illuminate the darkest of trails.

While I did see the one quirk noticed on the Edge giving a false-positive for daylight (thus triggering the light into daylight mode), I’m optimistic Garmin can fix that.  Or failing that, I can just use it in manual mode.

Either way – if you’re looking for a great trail light that doubles for commuting, this is definitely one to consider.  It starts shipping today, and is priced at $149USD, which is in the ballpark for other connected lights.

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Garmin Varia UT800 Smart Bike Light

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95 Comments

  1. Changren Y.

    Is there very little demand for a bike light that does not temporarily blind coming cyclists on paved bike trail (like the Burke Gilman trail in Seattle)? I think it would be nice to have a “bike trail” mode that when enabled, casts a more narrow beam pattern.

  2. Patrick

    Interesting how the light is relatively small. For trail use you’d think a bigger battery would be necessary. The burn times are not confidence inspiring for a longer night ride.

  3. Thomas

    Oddly, the FR935 is not on the “compatible devices” list for the UT800.

  4. BartMan

    Hi Ray. There is something wrong – I cannot see the video on your page (nor on YT). Also – both your page and CleverTraining is saying that price is 149,99$ – yet Garmin page is saying 139,99$.

  5. erik

    Thanks for the review!
    How would you consider the waterproofness of the light? Up here north with the salty roads in winter waterproofness is absolutely criticial..

  6. Walter Guerra

    Hi,

    Do you know if it’s possible to charge the light’s battery while still using it? This is kind of a deal breaker to me, because if I need longer battery life for a 24h race or something like that I could just use a usb battery pack on the camelback and a long usb cable.

    Thanks!
    Walter

    • You need a 24-hour headlight?

      Where are you racing? Northern Norway in winter?

    • Walter Guerra

      No, no, I don’t really need 24 hours of light. :)

      But on a 24 hour race I need about 10 hours of continuous light, and that’s more than the internal battery is able to provide.

    • phr3dly

      There is a niche market for this. I just did a road night ride last weekend with a good 10 hours of darkness, and outside of a few lights that are designed for the 24 hour races (Niterider used to sell a 8-cell battery for their setup for example) there aren’t great relatively lightweight options.

      My solution is to use two Dinotte AA-powered lights. 4 Lithium AAs will usually last through the night with judicious use, and I can carry one spare set with minimal weight penalty in case of emergency.

      But the AA powered Dinottes aren’t nearly enough light for night-time MTB rides. For that, I’d like to have the ability to strap a 12000 mah battery to the my toptube and run off that instead. I haven’t found many lights that allow that.

    • I tried plugging it into a 1AMP wall outlet, and it won’t power from that and turn on at the same time. I can’t seem to find any 2AMP outlets nearby me at the moment to see if it’ll work there.

    • Tyler

      Have you considered a headlamp?
      Petzl makes several headlamps that have 10+ hours of light, and even auto-adjusting brightness for whether you’re looking far ahead or at near terrain.
      I wear one on my bike helmet for commuting, and on my head when trail running at night.

    • Don

      The Petzl headlamps are nowhere near bright enough for MTB racing.

      24 hour races are usually lapped events. Rather than carry one super-large battery for the 10 night laps, people usually just get some extra batteries, whether buying additional ones, or borrowing ones from friends that use the same light system, then just switch them out as you come through the pits. Quite a bit of weight savings, and you’re not reliant on just one battery. A lot of 24 hour races even provide charging stations so you could use 3 2-hour batteries, and have someone go throw one on the charger each time you come through.

    • Don

      Also, when mountain biking you generally want one light for your handlebars, and one for your helmet, so you can see where you’re going when your turning. Whenever you’re entering a turn the handlebar light will be facing straight still, not into the turn. It’s also for safety. If one light craps out while you’re bombing downhill, you won’t be plunged into total darkness.

    • Don

      Generally, you want the brighter one on your helmet, as that’s the one you’re looking further down the trail with, looking through corners, etc. The handlebar light just provides some general light in the more immediate vicinity of your bike.

    • Eli

      I hate lights with built in batteries on my helmet, the weight is annoying. Both headache aspect and because the weight makes the helmet move around more

    • Fwiw – they do have a helmet mount for this light.

    • Tyler

      Petzl makes a headlamp that is nearly identical output to this Garmin (750 lumen max, 300 lumen sustained), and appears to have a wider and longer throw of light.

      I use their 300 lumen one for night trail running and bike commuting, and it’s way more light than I need.

    • Sean P

      @Phr: I love my Dinotte lights. I’ll gladly strap a battery on the top tube or stuff a battery in my hydration pack and have hours of riding time with much more light than the Garmin will give me. My primary use would obviously be for mtn biking at night and 24 hr races for riding at night:-) Dinotte make some incredible lights. I really wish they’d make a 6 cell battery. I’m also with Ray on this mount. Super cool and hopefully an aluminum version will show it’s head soon.

    • Jonni

      I’m not sure if I’d call it a niche market in this day and age. But ok, it’s not mainstream. Being able to charge or externally power your lights while riding is important to any long distance rider and this has been my biggest complaint with the current Garmin lights. The smart features and ability to control them from your head unit and via the Di2 Dura Ace Remote switchers are simply great. But you should at least be able to plug in an auxilary power source while riding. The lights shut down the minute you plug them in.

      Exposure make great lights that not only allow you to run while charging, but also have the ability to transfer power from one light to another over an umbilical cord. But then there’s the lack of smart features and the ability to mount them on the out front mount.

      This light is still a big step up from the old one, which was heavy and bulky.

      I guess we can never get it all in one package :-(

  7. Well the Varia radar unit is really great. A really valuable piece of equipment have on the back of your bike.

    However, as a front lights were spoilt for choice and I can’t imagine anybody really spending a lot of time configuring and controlling their front light simply because they can.

    The Cycliq fly 12 front light including a camera is fantastic – except for the (sorry) completely incompetent implementation of the Bluetooth function. But if you don’t bother to use that, it’s a great light/camera. Long battery life, rugged, good quality film. Everything you need.

    I think if Garmin had wanted to make a real splash, then they might have integrated a light and camera and that would have been a very interesting and in my view natural development.

    Another thing about Cycliq is that their customer service is superb. Garmin seem to treat themselves as gods. You can pray to them as often as you like, but you never get an answer.

    • Tyler

      Agreed.
      Garmin needs both dumb head/tail lights and a version with integrated cameras.

      How about instead of the Varia radar, it had a motion sensing camera that displayed the image on your head unit, their Vision heads up display, or buzzed your watch/head unit to tell you to check your helmet mirror?

  8. Dude

    What mateial is this, pls? Plastic fantastic or titan?

  9. Sam

    I may be missing something but I still don’t see the usefullness of this but I guess I never did MTB trail but for my commute having a dumb light works for me, no need to be connected to my garmin, it’s just a switch on switch off. Thanks for the review tho!

    • Jeff

      I agree. Simple is often good enough. I have a decent flasher for day time that lasts for weeks on a charge and a decent, bright light for nights that has to be charged after use. No syncing required.

    • Daniel

      Absolutely agree!!! Cannot say any advantage!!

    • Don

      The advantage is that the light lasts longer, being only brighter when you need it to be when you’re going faster, and it dims to save battery when you’re going slower. You could do the same by trying to remember to turn up the brightness before any downhills, and then remembering to dim it on the climbs, but it’s easy to forget, and it can be hard to reach the light to change it manually if you’re already going fast on a downhill and you can barely see because you left your light on dim.

  10. Mike

    As always, thanks for the great review.

    Unable to watch the video as “This video is private.”

  11. Stewart

    Nice review.

    I would hope that Garmin come out with a Fly-6 competitor. Fly6 has an ongoing on / off switch issue – it just wears out and stops working but despite hardware revisions, Cycliq have never fixed the issue. I’ve had replacements on a 12 month basis. Anyway, I don’t want to sound like a fly6 rant, because it is a good device otherwise.

    Having such a backlight with Ant+ support would be great, and the video uploaded to the phone. Garmin already have the technology to do this. Such a device would be a nice revision to the next Varia device.

    • Well I’ve never had any problems with my Fly6 switches – and I’ve had three of them.

      I had problems with the amount on the original version – but I reinforce the mounts and it was fine.

      I bought the new version and it all works extremely well. Fantastic light, fantastic rear camera

  12. Ken

    Can this be run and recharged via a dynamo hub?

    • It would depend on the exact power output. In our discussions they noted that smaller USB battery packs couldn’t power it constantly (draw is too much). I’ll dig up the exact draw figures.

    • Jonni

      Does the new light switch off and go into charge mode when you plug it into a power source like the old lights?

  13. Pips

    Is there a standard for connected lights? I only ask because the head unit space has a lot of fantastic competition, and a lot of people are moving away to newer Wahoo, Bryton, and Lezyne units. I know you hate proprietary as much as everyone else.

  14. Tyler

    This is very similar to the Petzl headlamp that I use both for trail running and bike commuting.
    The difference being that it also shifts light to terrain and head position, so that you don’t blind oncoming runners/cars.
    It also has a red light mode to preserve night vision, which granted, isn’t as valuable on a bike.

    I still think my Petzl is a superior choice to this, especially being multi-functional for biking, running, camping, and having multiple battery options.

    link to petzl.com

    • Don

      300 lumens just isn’t anywhere near enough for a mountain bike headlamp. Double that to 600 lumens and it would be sufficient for a normal mountain bike pace. You would have to really slow down if using a 300 lumen light, and this light is targeted at mountain biking.

    • At full speed it’s 800 lumens, whereas at slower speeds (basically uphill), it’ll drop down to 200 lumens. It was more than sufficient for me in both dense brush/trees as well as wide open stuff while climbing (slow) at 200 lumens. And at 800 lumens, no issues there for descending.

    • Tyler

      Good to know. I have no experience night trail riding, just trail running.

      The next step up from the Petzl light I linked is 750 lumen max (6.5 hours) or 320 sustained (15 hours). It’s reactive to terrain, just like this Garmin light, except without GPS info – it senses light reflecting back and self-adjusts.

    • Robert

      “… so that you don’t blind oncoming runners/cars…”

      I could not prevent myself from finding this funny – the main reason I use a light when running *is* to blind oncoming cars when coming to tricky intersections… It’s magical, they stop instead of just driving straight through stop signs. Most drivers who would have zero issue cutting you off if they knew you were just an idiot runner will stop if they cannot tell what that bright light in their eyes really is.

      But my running headlamp (Black Diamond Sprint) is a measly 200 lumens, good to run (and blind drivers), but I couldn’t see myself moutain biking with that little power.

  15. Lucas

    Great review. I sometimes read these posts even though I don’t always have interest in the product.
    I use a zebralight h600 MK II with my bike. So I’m good for light for a very long time.

  16. Eli

    Am I the only person who hates the round beam pattern? Well guess I do more road biking where I like a cutoff at the top and more spread out. I do love the Seca’s beam link to lightandmotion.com
    But no Ant+ :(

  17. Forrest

    It looks like a cool mount and a nice way to keep your stem and bars clean. How does the full setup (lights and an Edge on an out front mount) affect aerodynamics?

  18. Peter K

    Hi Ray, please could you add a few pics showing the interface on the Fenix5?

    Cheers!

  19. Scott E

    You had me at #CoolMount.

    Any feedback on light vibration on rough roads? With rough gravel I usually get some light twitching from the slight mount vibration. As you said, an aluminum mount would welcomed.

  20. Paul S.

    I currently have a Light & Motion (1400, 700, 350 lumen) and the big brick of a battery has been unreliable for a while, since it’s many years old. But the reason I bought it and had to drag myself out of bed at 5:30 am to go out has long ago disappeared, so I only use it occasionally these days, mostly if I think I’m going to run into fog or rain during a ride (and I rarely go out when that’s a possibility). The big advantage of it is that it easily pops on and off whichever bike I’m using, so when it’s off, it’s completely off, with no mounts at all left behind. That doesn’t seem to be the case here. Is Garmin going to sell a mount for the light only that’s easily and completely removable?

  21. Chris

    Will this work at all with a 810?

    • The Edge 810 does connect to Garmin lights, though I’m not sure off-hand what nuanced differences there may be between the Edge 810 and 820 from a lighting standpoint.

  22. The Real Bob

    I think people are really missing the commuter aspect of the connect lights. I love my varia connected taillight. I commute to work 3-4 days a week by bike. I love walking out to my bike in the morning and turning on my edge 520 which powers up my tail light. 1 button turns on the “system”. My edge also gives me battery status so I know when I have to charge, etc. I would love it if the edge displayed hours of use left instead of the simple battery bar, but, maybe that is next.

    I stayed away from the garmin headlight because it was big, ugly, and expensive. This light is still 50$ over priced compared to the others, but I am considering it just because of the connected features.

    For commuters, connected lights controlled by the edge are awesome.

    • Tyler

      Could you not get the same effect by using ‘dumb’ lights with a simple accelerometer/motion sensor.
      Sense motion, lights on.
      Sense stop in motion, wait 3 minutes before powering lights off.

      I like the idea of the Garmin lights, but all are way overpriced.
      You can get decent quality LED bike lights for under $10.
      Powering them on/off is worth the convenience of $150-$300 saved.

      These Garmin lights need to be in the $50 range.

    • The Real Bob

      There still wouldn’t be battery info with accelerometers only.

      Tyler, your pricing is off. You are not getting a 800 lumen quality light for 10$. Light and motion are around a 100. Lezyne niterider are all in that price range also.

  23. I’m assuming the light, in flashing mode, doesn’t interfere, electrically with the head unit? With a Cygolight Dash mounted on the handlebars, and Garmin 820 mounted on an “out-front” type mount, the Garmin goes crazy when the Cygolight is in flashing mode.

  24. Andy

    I like it; I wish this will be followed with a new and sleeker looking Varia rear light…

  25. Lacout46

    I hope that the “new lighting control panel data page” will also work with HL500 because there is a lot of room for improvement in this area ;)

  26. Doug

    Hi Ray,
    Is there a note of what speed the automatic light setting will change at and is it configurable via the Edge?
    e.g. 200L 0 to10mph, 400L 11 to 20mph, 800L 21mph +
    Cheers, Doug

  27. Pedro

    Hi, is there a way to mount this light in a flat handlebar? I own a Scott Foil Team Issue and I cannot find a suitable mount for any decent front light.

    • Not from Garmin, though, I believe Bar Fly makes some mounts for certain bikes (like some Cervelo ones) that do have a GoPro adapter on the bottom. That would technically work, though lack the movement flexibility of the Garmin lower quarter-turn adapter.

    • Pedro

      Many thanks, Ray. I will give it a try. I am tired of light blinding my cycling buddies with my helmet light…

  28. Jim Flesch

    I was at Sea Otter and I was very disappointed that the Edge 1000 was not updated. Do you know when it will be updated?

  29. Nick B

    They’ve missed the boat here for targeting commuters. Like many in my area I commute 1:15 each way, with 50% requiring operation at 800 output (through dark Sydney national parks and back-streets). Like most commuters far better to ride both ways before charging over-night and removing the lights from the bike, and that’s what differentiates a commuter from a regular rider reviewing a bike light – we always ride in pairs of rides.

    You also need to assume you’ll be seeing battery deterioration to 80% or less within a year of constant use, and far more again in cold weather (ok we only get 5 deg C not that code but enough to reduce battery).

    So I don’t think the 1.5h in overdrive is enough when alternatives like my Cateye Volt 800 already provided 2h overdrive years ago, and matched with the 4-5h of the rear Cycliq Fly6 it’s the perfect fit for a serious commuter.

    I had higher hopes for this one.

  30. Jonathan Isles

    Hi Ray, Can you tell me if the light will automatically detect the darkness, say of a tunnel, and turn on to 800 lumens automatically while riding?

  31. Can you clarify if this is continuously variable levels based on speed or just switching between the 800, 400 and 200 levels? From my reading of the original ANT+ lighting spec continuously variable was not possible with the original version. Although it would not be a complex addition.

    It’s good someone is getting this stuff to the market. Having just checked the results it’s almost 7 years since I raced the UK 24 hour MTB champs with a dual home made light setup using a private ANT protocol and continuously varying light levels based on speed. If they get something with a separate battery pack and more light then they will be getting to where my homemade setup was. I better put some effort into adding in support into IpBike. It only exists because of my original homemade lights and bike computer work and of course my very dodgy soldering skills.

    • It’s just switching between those three levels.

    • damn still not quite there then. The setup I used was continually variable (well 256 levels) then 4 settings for max speed, max power, min speed and min power. So you could set it up for just a short blast running it full on from a lowish max speed and only dimming to something like quarter power for climbing speeds to help keep things cool. At the other extreme you only used a max of something like half power and only with a lot of speed and went to something like 1/16th for walking type pace and you get 4 or 5 times the battery for a 24 hour race.

      Of course for real 24 hour racing you want to be looking at a twin helmet and bar setup and possibly a few more lumens available at the top end as well as swappable external batteries.

  32. Wayne

    Another vote here for focused lights for road and multi use trail riding. Nothing like meeting someone on a bike trail in the dark and the glare from their 600-800 lumen unfocused beam forcing me to look down at the edge of the path to try avoid crashing into them as we pass head on each going 20 mph within a foot or two of each other.. Unfocused beams are great for off road but there is a reason cars don’t drive with high beams on all the time.

    Another benefit of the focused beam is that half the lumens are not wasted illuminating the night sky. There on the road where they are useful.

  33. Tien

    What is the length from the center of the UT800 mount to the back edge? I want to know if it will fit a quad lock out in front mount. Thanks!

  34. Marc Simkin

    Ray, do you know if anyone makes a GoPro mount quick disconnect that I can use with this light? I just got it, love it. I would rather use a metal mount arm instead of the plastic. However, I need to be able to quickly disconnect the light when I lock my bike up on the streets of NYC. If I can’t find some sort of quick disconnect GoPro adapter, I will just be depressed.

    Thanks for the help.

    marc

    • I’m not aware of anything like this. It’s actually a brilliant design, and I also wish it was metal (for action cams more than anything).

      That said, the Garmin mount is actually far more sturdy than it may seem. It’s got these internal braces throughout it. So it’s probably the best plastic mount (in terms of sturdiness), that I know of. Albeit…a bit fugly.

  35. Fred E

    I use a Pioneer SGX computer, but have a Fenix 5X. Can my Fenix control the light as it’s paired with my Garmin Speed & Cadence sensors & Di2..?

  36. Rick

    Great review, looks like a great product. Would love to get one but the urban version with the dual out front mount is not available anywhere, even on the Garmin site. Could buy the helmet mount version, but then would have to pay $39 for the dual out front mount, to pricey for this little light. Tried your amazon link and their site states they don’t know when they will have it.

    Why does Garmin ship out product for reviews like this that two months later is not available? Guess I will use something else.

    Keep up the great reviews, but I’ll see ya later Garmin.

    • They were in stock though, others have bought and received them. And it says the base version is expected ‘later this month’ on Clever Training – so basically in the next week or so.

    • Rick

      Some are saying end of month (next week) but Garmin’s own site says 5 to 8 weeks and it has said that for a while. Actually had one ordered but never received it so I cancelled the B/O. Thanks for the response and the great reviews, keep up the good work.

    • Fwiw, for reasons that defy much logic, Garmin.com orders are usually fulfilled last. Been that way for almost a decade or so.

    • Rick

      Thanks for all the info. Was going to order one at clever training but they charge when you order. With this and Garmin….don’t think so. As a matter of fact, Amazon now says the item is no longer available and they won’t take an order for it. Not sure what is going on with this, to bad, was going to get one. But, no matter, I will keep up with your reviews, just need you to manufacture also :-)

    • Molly G

      It seems that Garmin only has a limited supply of a new product initially and they allocate this for the dealers rather than sell it themselves. Giving the dealers the priority of shipments of new products could even be part of the dealer agreement that also enforces the price restrictions. Garmin doesn’t turn on the Add to Cart button until they are ready to fulfill the web orders .

  37. David

    Another great review! Your site is my go to place before buying any tech for my bike or other activities.

  38. John Foster

    Does this have a beam cut out like the previous model?