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Bryton Gardia R300 & Magene L508 Cycling Radar Sensors Announced at Eurobike

IMG_1054

This week at Eurobike, both Magene and Bryton announced competitors to Garmin’s Varia cycling radar units, becoming the first non-Garmin company to make such an accessory. While many companies (including Wahoo, Stages, Hammerhead, and more) have made their bike computers compatible with Garmin Varia radar, only Garmin themselves has actually made the radar units that you affix to the back of your bike.

Apparently that’s set to change. Bryton was on-hand at Eurobike with a few of their new Gardia R300 radar units displayed around their booth, while Magene announced their variant online (Magene wasn’t at Eurobike this year). Albeit, Magene’s L508 Radar Tail Light has apparently been teased within the Chinese market since back in April, but this is the first time we’ve seen the company list it on their English sites & Facebook feeds.

Now, before we get into the weeds a bit, a few warnings up-front to set expectations accordingly.

A) This is not a review: This is a first-look post based on a blend of trade-show time, and details provided by companies

B) Bryton: In the case of Bryton’s Gardia R300, they officially aren’t announcing any specs or pricing until later in July. While they had units on display and were handily providing spec sheets to anyone that asked at Eurobike, they concurrently didn’t want any specs or prices published until their ‘official’ launch later this month. Obviously, that’s one of the more bizarre things I’ve seen, especially given that myself and others would have talked at length about both of these items.

C) Magene: Magene wasn’t at Eurobike this year, and thus no opportunity for hands-on time. On the flip-side, they are making their specs available for the L508 Radar Tail Light, as well there are a few forum posts in Korean from people that have picked up units in Asia. I’m not aware of any place to buy one online that ships to Europe/elsewhere at this time.

Both companies have a history of making good products, albeit this is definitely far outside their normal swim-lanes. In the case of Magene, they primarily have made trainers and power meters (and sensors like heart rate straps/speed/cadence), and even make trainers for Wahoo. More recently, they acquired the Kinetic branding, and have taken over things there. Meanwhile, Bryton has a long history of cycling head units as well as the same set of heart rate/speed/cadence sensors.

Generally speaking, both companies primarily focus on distribution within Asia, occasionally dipping their toe into Western markets (Bryton mainly). Again, both tend to make technically solid products, but usually without much of the polish of the products they tend to ‘recreate’.

Bryton Gardia R300:

IMG_0917

First up is Bryton’s Gardia R300. This was chilling on the back of a bike at Eurobike, as well as next to some other devices in Bryton’s booth. In my case, I just simply went up to it, powered it on, and started playing with it.

IMG_0918

Because I was trying to finish my Garmin Edge Explore 2 review bits (trying to find a compatible ebike), I happened to have that in my backpack with me. So, I cracked it open, and easily paired it up to the Gardia R300:

IMG_0924

It paired up just like a Varia Radar as both an ANT+ cycling radar unit and a connected bike light unit. It did so flawlessly (in terms of technically pairing), so that it appeared as one cohesive set of stuffs.

IMG_0925 IMG_0932

I was able to turn on the lights/etc, without any issues. So basically, in terms of following the ANT+ specifications for cycling radar and lights (for which there is an open standard), it seemed to do that just fine. Again, within the confines of a booth anyways. It offered different light modes (such as flashing). That’s significant though, because it demonstrates that Bryton is choosing to implement the ANT+ device profiles, which means this will be compatible with all sorts of head units beyond just Bryton’s.

Bryton of course shows it with their head units, but this means it’ll also work with existing units from Wahoo, Stages, Hammerhead, and even older Pioneer units.

Now, there are big questions. All of which I and everyone else at Eurobike have answers to, but none of which are apparently allowed to say for a product publicly shown at Eurobike:

A) What’s the battery life: Bryton doesn’t want to specify this yet, but suffice to say it absolutely blows away the current Garmin Varia units. So much so that it’ll outlast virtually every bike computer on the market today. Even the new ones with massive batteries.

B) What’s the price: This too, Bryton doesn’t want it listed yet. But, it’s significantly cheaper than anything Garmin has that offers a light+radar piece, both in USD and Euro’s.

C) When: That I think I can say, which is after the end of July launch.

D) Size & Weight: You can roughly judge that from the pictures, but basically it’s the same size as the Varia Radar RTL-510/515 sized units. Weight-wise, it felt basically the same as a Garmin Varia RTL-515 unit.

Now again, the big questions here in my brain for testing will be primarily on accuracy and reliability. With such absolutely bonkers battery life, yet having a unit the same size as Garmin’s, that usually means some trade-offs have to be made. Sometimes that’s sorted via just normal technology progress. Other times companies make those two ends meet by basically reducing power to the sensor, which usually is at the cost of accuracy. So again, we’ll have to see in real life.

Magene L508:

MageneRadar1

Next up we’ve got Magene’s L508 cycling radar. This unit looks…well…exactly like the back of Garmin’s unit. And, for the most part, the specs are pretty similar. The key thing here being, we’ve actually got publishable specs. Woot!

Charging Type: USB-C
Wireless Connectivity: ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart (including ANT+ Cycling Radar profile)
Flashing Modes: Solid mode, flashing mode, pulse mode, peloton mode, and radar-only mode
Battery life: 6 hours in solid light, 8 hours in Peloton, 10 hours in flashing, 12 hours in pulse mode (all with radar on)
Light Brightness: 20 lumens solid light, 20 lumens flashing, 6 lumens peloton, 3-20 lumens pulse
Smart Brake sensing: Yes, it’ll go into a ‘highlight mode’ when you brake.

So essentially, these battery specs are slightly short of what Garmin advertises with their 16 hours in day flash mode, however, they have the smart braking bits that Garmin lacks. I’m not sure how many people want smart brake lights, but hey, it’s there! Plus, Magene has USB-C, which Garmin doesn’t have on their Varia radar units (except the new RCT-715 camera). The light brightness settings are equal or higher than Garmin for most modes, except pulse mode, where Garmin goes up to 65 lumens (versus 20 for Magene).

MageneSmartBraking

And on the flashing mode side, they match what Garmin has:

RadarModes2

From a back standpoint, you can see it’s the quarter-turn mount just like Garmin’s, with a bottom portion of the unit that’s precisely like Garmin’s is,

MageneMount 

I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Or, something like that.

As for pricing, it’s listed for 600 Yuan in China, which is $90USD. However, I’d imagine it’ll go for higher than that in the US, once you account for (very high) shipping costs, and any import costs. I’d guess something like $120-$140USD, but we’ll have to see once it’s actually listed somewhere you can buy it. Which ultimately, it isn’t today.

And that’s one semi-key difference between Magene and Bryton. Magene has historically mostly just courted Asian retailers and internet distributors. Whereas Bryton has built out a fairly substantial network of retailers globally, including in the US & Europe. Generally, once Bryton does list it, it’ll be pretty easy to find. Whereas getting Magene stuff in most countries outside of Asia is a bit tricky.

Things I’ll Be Looking At:

Now there’s a lot of questions here. Part technical, but part not. Starting with the easy side, are the technical ones. Both companies have shown themselves to easily (and correctly) adopt ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart standards, and generally engineer technically sound products. I’ve rarely had technical issues with products from either company, instead, most of my issues have been on what is often cumbersome and clunky end-user interfaces, or questionable support avenues. In the case of a radar, assuming that the radar portion works, there’s no need for most people to ever use a Bryton/Magene user interface. Instead, they’re just going to use their own bike computers.

So the next question is how accurate are either units, in terms of detecting vehicles. Generally speaking, it’s virtually unheard of for a Garmin Varia Radar to have a false negative (meaning, it misses a car). Sure, you can have 7 cars stacked up and there may be one extra car in between car 6 and 7 (because it’s literally visually hidden by another car), but that doesn’t change the cyclist’s view, since they know there are plenty of cars back there. Garmin can and does have false positives (a phantom car that doesn’t exist), usually if the bike is stopped and the car is reflected off a building. But again, no impact to the end user. That long-winded background though is that these have to be accurate/reliable. There will be (rightly so), zero tolerance for false negatives. There was much skepticism of Garmin’s solution when it was first announced, but they’ve basically proven themselves over the past decade.

Which ultimately, gets to the final question – one which isn’t technical at all: What about Garmin’s patents?

Certainly, Garmin has patents here, likely from when they acquired Backtracker from iKubu in 2015. iKubu are actually the ones who invented their cycling radar and placed it on Kickstarter in 2014 before Garmin brought it to market as Varia Radar. And iKubu has some patents here. However, all of these patents in turn depend on a much broader 2001 patent from Duane Klaus, an individual, that expired this past September 28th, 2021:

Patent

iKubu’s patent lists the above patent as a reference point, but in reading through iKubu’s patent, I’m not sure it’d really be defensible in court. This may be why Garmin filed a far more in-depth patent in 2015. In fact, where it gets even more fun, is that Garmin’s 2016 patent filing that covers their recent Garmin Varia RCT715, actually references (in the citations) my 2014 DC RAINMAKER post in the filing. The kicker is, in that same post, in a 2014 comment lower down is someone listing the idea of a camera radar system that does exactly what Garmin ends up listing in the patent.

Ultimately, any time you go down the patent rabbit hole, things are liable to get messy. Garmin and Bryton have gotten messy previously over patent issues, though the waters have been calmer lately. Garmin doesn’t tend to proactively file patent lawsuits in the fitness space in the last decade or so. Instead, they’re usually listed in mostly patent troll lawsuits (and, it’s rare Garmin loses there – even to the world’s biggest companies).

I reached out to Garmin earlier today for comment on whether or not they were licensing any radar portions to 3rd party companies. Garmin’s official response: “We won’t be able to comment on this, but if that changes, we can certainly let you know.”

In which case, let the radar games begin! Albeit, I’m not sure if that’ll be legal games or tech games. Either way, thanks for reading.

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73 Comments

  1. dr_lha

    Wow I would not know that the Magene one wasn’t a Varia from the back of it. It’s.. identical. The front though, very different. Strange.

    BTW does this mean that Bryton’s computers support ANT+ light control, and Wahoo’s still don’t?

    • That’d be a correct assertion. All the assertions.

    • Rouleur

      Ray, you say the ANT+ Lighting (LGT) Profile is an open and published profile. That is actually incorrect.

      Radar is an open and published standard, Lighting (LGT) still isn’t and has effectively been in beta since 2015 when the draft profile was initially published. The document itself has ‘confidential – do not distribute’ across the cover, hardly open. It is available to ANT+ Adopters only (which requires a membership payment to ANT+ – and of which I am one). The latest LGT profile document I have is revision 2.0_M.001 which dates from 2016 and there have been no updates since. I have worked with this profile and it is a mess, hence the reason why ANT+ have not officially ratified it and why more computer manufacturers don’t support the over complicated shared channel ANT+ implementation required.

      I have asked ANT+ when they plan to officially ratify or refine the profile but have been ignored. If you can get an answer out of them on this I would love to hear it!

    • Hmm, I think at this point enough companies have worked with it through and implemented it that it’s sorta a moot point. Off the top of my head at 12:30am via my phone, implemented the ANT+ lighting side:

      Garmin (lights, head unit)
      Bontrager (lights and CIQ app)
      See.Sense (lights)
      Cycliq (lights)
      Hammerhead (head unit)
      Cannondale (lights)
      Bryton (lights)

      And I know I’m forgetting some. I mean, at this point, there really aren’t that many combinations to test out. And certainly Wahoo has the required membership level to get access to it, and to do it.

      As for ANT’s documentation, everything certainly seems to have mostly died there in recent years. Not sure what to say.

    • Rouleur

      Yes it is open, but it is a nightmare. Believe me I know this first hand as I developed an implementation of the ANT+ LGT Profile for the Nordic NRF52 for one of the products on your list.

      I found that different Garmin devices implemented the protocol in different ways. There were frequently bugs which Garmin had worked around with hacks and the entire thing was a mess.

      Agree with you on ANT+, the developers forum is dead now and even Nordic’s support for it going forward in their new SoCs and SDKs is vague and non-committal.

      ANT+ is a dying standard and needs replaced, BLE is fair fair superior.

    • Yeah, it’s tough on ANT+. From a design standpoint, most companies I talk to say the spec design (as in, how it’s thought through from a use case perspective), tends to be better on ANT+. Power meter profile being the most obvious example of that.

      Yet of course, from a timeliness standpoint, ANT+ has always struggled there (for a variety of reasons). Some of it internal, some of it external.

      Meanwhile, on the BLE side, I haven’t seen any meaningful progress on any sport profiles. So while consumer adoption is obviously 100%, the industry movement towards new standards is basically at a standstill.

    • Great overview Ray. I’ve had my hands on a Magene and been testing it for about a week now and I really like it. Here is a short video I did on it if anyone is interested. I will have a side by side test out soon. Would love to hear your thoughts on it when you get it in your hands.

      link to youtu.be

      Bryton numbers seem too good to be true but if it is true, that could be a game changer on the battery front.

    • Mark H

      Is there no ANT+ camera profile? Just closed, private implementations?

      Cycliq doesn’t seem to have any camera control, except loosely linked to the poor light control and maybe Bluetooth. Annoyingly their cameras can start up with the lights via ANT+ but do not stop even if the lights are turned off.

      And the only other would be the Varia camera which has okay camera control, but gets screwed up by mixing use with a non-camera Varia, so I wouldn’t call it robust. Or maybe that’s more a bug in my Edge 830.

    • So sorta. The ANT+ Remote Control profile is basically what’s being used behind the scenes (and literally what Garmin used for VIRB), and Garmin says they’re not opposed to allowing others to control it from other head units. But, at the same time, I think they’re just getting tired of spending time to make things open and have nobody bother to utilize it (see: Running Dynamics for years, Cycling Dynamics for years, etc…).

    • Kev Swindells

      Do See Sense actually have full Ant+ support?

      My circa 2019 See Sense Ace front light has the Ant+ logo, but neither of my Garmin watches find it (they find the rear) and their own support site says it requires further development to support control of the front.

      link to seesense.freshdesk.com

      Would be very usful to have them turn on/off with the head unit but the lack of support is one of the shrinking list of items that’s in my “don’t replace the Wahoo with an Edge yet” list.

    • Kemal

      @Mark H

      ANT+ control profile has many sub-profiles, one of them is camera control (both playback and recording)
      The way Garmin has implemented it in the edge units is a bit weird, regardless of the camera type (I specify mine as “video, recording only”) it also shows a “Take photo” button which would send an undocumented command id. And it’s advised not to act on undocumented commands in the ANT specs.

      Anyway, they’ve removed the VIRB widget from the Edge 1040 (and Explore 2 as well, as far as I can tell from the screenshots) so the only recourse is to use the “VIRB Record” and “VIRB Take Photo” commands in the general control widget, which are available once you’ve paired an ANT+ video control profile (“VIRB” in sensors) device… which is the second page (just after sensors/settings page, one with the bike alarm) when you pull down from the top. And VIRB Record is now broken and won’t do anything. Great.

      So yes in theory they’re supported but in practice it seems they’re getting phased out.

  2. Gaith

    Happy to see this! I think all bikes should come equipped with this. I feel significantly safer with this, and I hope competition to Garmin will drive Garmin (and others) to innovate and make better radars (better battery, better statistic capturing etc.).

  3. Nighthawk700

    Glad to see some competition to get the price down, and hopefully some more innovation with the concept. As a Deaf bicyclist, I won’t hit the road without my Varia.

  4. Tyler

    3, 6, and 20 lumens on that Magene unit?
    Pretty weak.

    Lower output than most of Garmin’s modes, and lower battery life.

    My 4+ year old Varia 510 is 65 lumens for day flash, and 15 hours battery life.
    It’s the only mode I use when riding solo.

    I suppose it could be appealing if very cheap, but the best safety light is one that can be seen, and doesn’t die on you, mid-ride.

    • Tyler

      Scratch the cheap part – I just noticed the price.

    • True on 65 lumens, though, the other Garmin modes are limited at the same 20 for the rest of the time.

    • Tyler

      Maybe I’m being unfair.
      Let me compare 510 vs 515 vs Magene:

      High: 20 lumens/6 hours for 510, 515, and Magene || No winner
      Low: 8 lumens/8 hours for 510, unspecified for 515 and Magene || Unclear
      Peloton: n/a for 510, 8 lumens/8 hours 515, 6 lumens/8 hours Magene || Garmin winner
      Pulsing: 29 lumens/6 hours for 510 and 515, 3-20 lumens/12 hours Magene || Unclear
      Day flash: 65 Lumens/15 hours for 510; 65 lumens/16 hours 515, 20 lumens/10 hours Magene || Garmin decisive winner

      Price:
      510 commonly available for $130 – $150; 515 at $150 a month ago, and occasionally as low as $170, but mostly $200; Magene looking like $120-140 USD || Garmin the better value

    • Yeah, I’d agree with your round-up and overall winner.

      However, once you toss the Bryton specs in the mix, it gets fun real quick!

    • Tyler

      Oo, nice. Can’t wait to see Bryton’s, then.

    • Eli

      The specs I see are:
      “High Solid” with a claimed run time of nine hours, “Low Solid” (12 hours), “Group Ride” (10 hours), “Night Flash” (22 hours) and “Day Flash” “. (27 hours). But don’t see lumen mentioned
      link to bike-forum.cz

    • frankyboy707

      If I check the 5th picture I think I see 63 lumens mentioned? For which mode that is is unclear..

  5. GLT

    I suspect these offerings may partly explain why the Varia RCT715 is what it is.

    For whatever reason I imagined Wahoo would be the next one in with road safety sensors.

  6. Daryl

    Insignificant typo in the expiration date of the patent. Should read 2021.

    Great write up. Looking forward to the review of the Bryton in particular.

  7. Richard H

    “However, all of these patents in turn depend on a much broader 2001 patent from Duane Klaus, an individual, that expired this past September 28th, 2001” — that should be 2021, no?

  8. Eli

    Does any radar unit support the Threat Side part of the protocol to know if it’s too the left or right or straight back? Could shift the dot on the screen to give a bit more info to the user

  9. Michael

    Comparing the back of the Magene and Bryton radars to the Garmin radar it seems the quarter turn thing is aligned differently. Wondering if the Magene and Bryton radars won‘t be compatible with the existing Garmin quarter turn mounts unless you want your radar to be horizontal?

  10. Spencer Cheng

    I went for my first real ride with the Magene L508 this morning.

    Initial impressions are the radar appears to function similarly. A Reddit comment mentioned the angle of coverage of the radar is 40 degrees compared to 15 degrees. The tail light is more omnidirectional compared to the Varia of 515 which I also own. The detection threshold for caution vs. warning appears to be different which I am unable to quantify so far. No obvious false negatives nor false positive yet. Vehicle count on my Karoo 2 is about as accurate as the Varia 515.

    Pairing was straightforward. The K2 paired with the radar and light separately using ANT+ similarly to Varia 515.

    Battery life appear good so far but it’s only been a 1.5 hour ride. Note that the nominal 40 degree coverage (compared to the nominal 15 degree coverage) and the same detection range of 140m implies that the radar is consuming more power compared to the Varia 515. I am not really surprised that the nominal light output of the light will be lower to allow the radar to consume more of the battery.

    I was riding on my own so don’t know if the brake light feature works as advertised.

    My main peeve with it is that the quarter turn mount is rotated 90 degrees which meant all my existing quarter turn mounts for the seat post, saddle or the rear rack are 90 degrees off so the L508 mounts sideway. The supplied lanyard help to make sure it doesn’t just pop off on very rough roads.

    Price on Taobao is 600 RMB delivered.

  11. Rob Westendorf

    I have a Varia, and I have lots of false negatives. One of my friends has the same issue. Specifically, if a car doesn’t pass me immediately, and lingers behind me for 200-250 meters, or falls back slightly, the notification turns off. I have to physically look back to see if it’s still there. The notification only comes back on when the car is right on top of me and actually passing. I’ve checked that the firmware is up to date. Garmin has not repied to my messages to support.

    • Hi Rob!

      Unfortunately, this isn’t what would be considered a false-negative. In effect, this is as designed and correct. If your speed matches, and it never makes any forward progress. It’s designed to show approaching vehicles, and so in this case, since the vehicle is no longer approaching – it’s no longer considered relevant.

      As soon as that vehicle gains ground on you, it’d immediately pop back up again.

      Cheers!

    • dpawlyk

      The Varia is “speed differential” sensor.

      It won’t report on things that have a 0 speed differential.

      Note that the Varia will detect bicycles moving at faster speed too.

      If it reported on vehicles moving at the same speed, it wouldn’t be very useful in a group of cyclists.

    • Doug Cornelius

      I’ve done that to my pals on a ride. Rather than “on your left”, it’s “that’s just me” as I pip past them and hear the Varia alert.

    • chukko

      thats a pity they designed it that way. i would prefer if there was a setting to keep reporting even wehicles that move at the same speed (or slightly slower). it could be useful if you ride in a small group to track your buddies behind you (showing object size (car/bike) would be the next wish then 🙂

  12. David D.

    I live in Texas where most of the drivers are either stupid or have a real hatred of cyclists (I can’t tell the difference). It doesn’t help when you can kill a rider and the police won’t cite the driver, if they don’t hit and run, for vehicular manslaughter. Not really sure what any rider can do when a pickup comes from behind at 50 miles an hour. I had the Varia and by the time it told me something was in the vicinity it was already on me.

  13. JONATHAN C WOO

    Thank you Billy for the Magene video review. One interesting aspect of the Magene is its ability to have the light be off completely until a car approaches. Once a car approaches the light will flash. Currently the Varia has no such feature. Sometimes when the battery of my Varia gets low I use the ANT+ light network to turn the light off to conserve the battery. But turning the light off means it’s off no matter if a car is approaching or not. I’d like to see the Varia have an option for the ‘off until a car approaches’ option to conserve battery life.

    • Heinrich Hurtz

      Nice feature for battery life, but as a motorist, I prefer cyclists use a very bright light that is visible from far away during the day. I don’t think the radar has the range to turn it on soon enough. I see the majority of cyclists using either no blinkies or blinkies so weak as to basically be useless. Of course, when riding, I use very bright blinkies front/rear as a courtesy to motorists. 😉

    • inSyt

      But as a motorist, I will also prefer a light that comes on and flashes as I approach the cyclist, instead of no light at all due to low battery.

    • Andreas

      As a cyclist, I prefer motorists who are aware in what happens on the street and adjust their speed 😉

    • GLT

      The entire trade-off between taillight & radar is somewhat reduced if all future bike radar products would run while charging.

      My RTL500 is finally well-used enough that it bumps into the low battery warning when called upon to do two long rides on the same charge. Since it was sunny the coin battery blinkie stayed in the seat bag with the patch kit & other self-rescue items. Having to finish the last five miles without radar was an excellent incentive to be more diligent about charging for every ride.

      Although these new offerings are intriguing & actually have okay aesthetics, will definitely swap out the RTL500 battery when the time finally comes. The light pattern is just too good at getting motorists to move over.

    • FWIW – The RTL515 and RCT715 can both run while plugged in.

      And, as a cousin to that, so can Garmin’s radar within the Cannondale Smart Sense system.

    • Leszek

      Use the CIQ Smart Bike Light field programmed to only turn on the flashing light when a vehicle is detected during the day.
      I configured my CIQ Smart Bike Light in this way, as well as turn on / off the appropriate lighting modes depending on the time of day or the gps signal strength (entrance to the tunnel = no GPS -> lighting on, as well as when slowing down, the light informs about braking. Very useful field!

    • Paul S.

      Wait, from what little I’ve seen about Smart Sense, it looks like a bus inside the bike connected to various things. I thought it would be powered by a central battery. It’s not? (Really looking forward to your review of that Synapse.)

    • It is, sorry, my wording was fuzzy up above. Yeah, there’s actually no battery at all in the Cannondale Radar (or Lezyne lights up front). Everything is by the central battery, except Di2, which stands alone via its battery in the seatpost.

      But up front on the back of the lights (as seen in my Garmin Edge Explore 2 post), are two Canbus ports for expansion. Might even be another on the back of the bike, can’t remember off-hand.

    • JONATHAN C WOO

      Thank you! I installed the CIQ today and it worked as intended in my limited testing in a car garage. Tomorrow I’ll be testing it on the road! This will likely double or triple the battery life!

  14. David

    It would help to provide a brief description of what is a ‘bike radar’

    • Leszek Prozorowicz

      Radar mounted on the bike that detects and informs about approaching vehicles, displaying this information on training computers such as Garmin Edge, Wahoo Bolt, Karoo, etc.
      May have / be integrated with rear lighting.

  15. Dmitry Pupkov

    Speaking of this request ” I’m not aware of any place to buy one online that ships to Europe/elsewhere at this time”. Usually, such things can be order via aliexpress. For example, there is at least one seller shipping L508 radar to Netherlands and the rest of EU:

    link to aliexpress.com

  16. tooque

    Radar beam width is a critical spec I need to know.

  17. Tyler

    Several commenters have highlighted my main frustration with both taillights and headlights – battery life.

    I’d like to see Garmin and others offer 2 different versions of their products – the normal version, and an ‘ultra’ version, focused on having at least 24 hour continuous operation.
    The ultra products could simply be larger (and heavier) dimensionally, to contain a larger battery.
    I don’t think a 50% larger size/weight would cause undo burden on the attachment systems.

    I know there are options to carry extra batteries and/or a hub mounted dynamo, etc.
    But a simpler (and lighter weight) plug and play system would serve a large section of the market, including the rising popularity of long distance events like Garmin Unbound and Unbound XL.

  18. Joe

    If either of these work as well as the Varia, I’ll switch ASAP. Not willing to ‘upgrade’ to Garmin’s camera version to get USB-C, and the Varia is my only holdout on microUSB.

    Well, that and the Assiomas, but since they need their magnetic adapter anyway, I don’t count those.

    …Unless someone is also willing to put out a USB-C version of that magnetic adapter. 🤔

  19. Max Apel

    there is a copy of your article at another site:
    link to tech2daily.com

    Seems to be not a real cooperation.

  20. Rob Westendorf

    If a vehicle is sitting behind me, waiting to pass, and the notification turns off, I consider that a flaw, even if it doesn’t meet Garmin’s definition of a false negative. Plus, it does not pop on immediately whe they accelerate. It seldom comes back on until they’re actually passing. This happens enough that I can’t recommend the Varia to anyone else.

    • Hmm, I’ll be honest Rob, what your saying just doesn’t match what I’ve seen on any Varia radar units over the (many) years. As soon as acceleration/overtaking happens, the car pops back into view on Varia. It’s super sensitive.

    • Paul S.

      Yeah, that’s been my experience, too. Just this morning on a gravel ride I got followed by a Jeep down a mountain road. It popped back on my radar every time it closed the distance (turns out Jeeps can’t corner) but it never attempted to pass until the bottom.

      But if you’re that concerned, mount a mirror on your helmet or your bike. That way you know what and where it is. Radar is great, but it’s not the only solution, and a mirror is in some ways superior. I rode with a mirror long before bike radar came along, and I continue to use one with my Varia.

    • JONATHAN C WOO

      The scenario you mentioned doesn’t concern me. This is because I’ve already been warned once that a car is approaching. If I don’t see a car pass then I know the car has either turned off or is hanging out behind me going at the same speed. I do have a helmet mirror and it’s useful in this situation.

      What does concern me is the Varia’s lack of sensitivity in the rain. Cars have to be super close in order to register an alert. Has anyone notice this?

  21. Peter

    The question that has not been asked/answered is one of range. Accuracy certainly is nice but if the unit only picks a car up at 50 meters it really is of no use. I have the Varia (radar and light, no camera) and like it but would love greater range.

    • GLT

      It would be interesting to get the technical details on why the limits are what they are. Some of the advanced car systems are rumored to increasing rear facing radar to 160m, but they probably don’t have the same electrical constraints.

      One of my final turns for home is across a highway with a 60 mph speed limit. On that one segment having more range would be superb. It would irritating every where else, but it would be highly useful there.

    • Peter

      @GLT, That is an interesting point that I had not considered. It may well be that there are regulatory limits on the range.

      The other thing that I would love to have is some level of side to side perspective. There are situations/rides where I am on a road that is multi-lane and knowing that the traffic is in the outer lane means that they are less of a concern.

      All in all, this is just another safety device for me that augments my glasses mounted mirror to be sure I don’t miss out on a possible threat from behind. Now if only there was a way to identify recreational vehicles/trailers where the operators have forgotten to retract the stairs.

  22. The majority of nations outside of Europe are like this. The only option is to bike at sunrise and carefully choose your routes.

  23. NRM

    The tabs on the Bryton and Magene quarter turn mount are 90 degrees offset from the Garmin orientation, seemingly similar to Wahoo. Does that mean a Wahoo-to-Garmin adapter could let you use these radars on a preexisting Garmin mount?

  24. Hugues

    Wow, the Bryton for $129 US with 27 hours battery on day flash, if it works as good as the Varia I might actually upgrade to one.

  25. Peter

    Seeing as we are hitting the end of the July, any news on the release of the Bryton?

    Btw – it’s unclear, but is the Bryton also USB-C?

    • Fabian

      Was it ever available? I can not find it anywhere.
      Or was it still not launched? I did not find any news/info/anything.

    • Billys

      It is at AliExpress at the price of 168euros for EU.
      I think it is overpriced .

    • Fabia

      I can’t find it at all. Not on AliExpress, nowhere.
      Any link welcome. I am in the market for a radar.
      I like the USB-C and break light feature on the Magene but it seems that some features are still bugged/missing (light stops after first car passed but other cars are still behind).
      Garmin seems to be “old” (micro USB, no break light).
      So I hope the Bryton will check all the boxes.
      But since I can’t find any information or even a shop to buy it, it’s not an option I guess.

  26. Jorge

    Looking forward to your review. I have a Varia RTL510 and recently ordered the L508 for my girlfriend.

  27. Marvin

    Seems like Bryton has kind of issues to get its product on the market which is sad to see as I wanted to buy it instead of the Garmin Varia. The Magene wouldn’t be my pick instead of the varia as the “street” price is the same but with Garmin I would and could expect better support.