Sports Tech Tidbits: Whoop Adds Strength Training, Garmin eBike Varia eRTL615 Radar, Wahoo’s RGT Elite Sterzo Support

We’ve got three tidbits of sports tech coming in today, from three very different realms. First up is the oft-rumored, and finally here, addition of Strength Training to the Whoop platform. Then there’s Garmin launching a wired version of their Varia cycling radar for eBikes, and then finally, out of left field, we’ve got Wahoo’s RGT cycling platform adding support for the Elite Sterzo Smart, which allows turning within the game.

So let’s jump straight into it.

Whoop Adds Strength Training:

Whoop has added a huge new suite focused on strength training to their app, which includes guided step-by-step elements, as well as tracking of those elements into the app. Previously, when you did a strength training workout, it was basically just a heart rate graph. Now, each portion of the set is fully categorized. There’s also small videos for each movement, showing how to complete them. There’s also pre-built routines to follow.

You’ll access the strength portion via the ‘Coaching’ tab at the bottom, and then ‘Strength Trainer’. From there you can choose a pre-canned routine or build your own:

IMG_3407 IMG_3406 IMG_3408

The builder seems to offer a lot of movements, and the UI itself looks pretty good. However, there isn’t an easy way to quickly add repeating sets without doing a lot of search/rinse/repeat.

IMG_3415 IMG_3423 IMG_3410

The app will then try and give you a breakdown of both your muscular load and your cardio load. One of the big complaints of Whoop (somewhat ironically, given the biggest supporters of Whoop are gym-based folks) is it can’t really account for non-cardio load very well (lifting where the HR lags or doesn’t spike). This aims to account for that.

Speaking of which, I’ve been travelling the past two days, so I haven’t had a chance to dig into this as deeply – however, FitGearHunter has, and I generally find his opinions pretty on-point when it comes to tech bits in the strength/gym realm. Check out this long-form video where he dives into the feature in quite a bit of depth:

Certainly, some of this is coming from some of the acquisitions that Whoop has made in this space. But I think there’s also an element here where Whoop is realizing it has to create more value for the rather high monthly price of the subscription. We saw them recently reduce prices (at a time when everyone else is increasing prices). As usual, there are two basic ways to increase perceived value in a product: Reduce prices, or increase functionality/feature. Whoop has selected both.

Garmin eBike Varia eRTL615 Radar:


Next up, Garmin has just announced/released an always-powered Varia radar designed for eBike. This new unit is designed to be compatible with various existing bike power systems, allowing relatively easy integration for eBike manufacturers. Varia radar is Garmin’s cycling-focused radar that’s been around for a number of years, and alerts cyclists to overtaking vehicles (or mopeds, or even an airplane in the right circumstances). Anything overtaking the cyclist is alerted.

Garmin’s new Varia eRTL615 radar uses power from the eBike battery system, via wires. This is roughly similar to the Varia radar system that Garmin made in conjunction with Cannondale for Cannondale’s SmartSense series of connected bikes. In that scenario, the power for the Varia radar came from a much smaller USB-like battery bank on the frame that also powered front and rear bike lights. Most e-bikes already have front and rear bike lights that are powered via the larger battery. From a power standpoint, the Varia radar is a trivial power draw compared to the beastly power draw of the motor on a typically large eBike battery.

Varia-eRTL615_HR_1001Varia-eRTL615_HR_1004 Varia-eRTL615_HR_1000

Like many things eBike, there tends to be a price premium just because. In this case, the prices are as follows:

– No cable included*: $299
– Bosch cable included: $329
– Shimano cable included: $329
– USB-A cable included: $329

That’s essentially double the price of Garmin’s battery-included Varia RTL-515 light/radar combo unit (which is list priced at $199, but often just $149). I’m not entirely sure how a battery version is somehow cheaper than a non-battery version…but Garmin also probably knows consumers will almost never buy this unit outright. Instead, it’ll just come on their bike, like in the Cannondale scenario.

(*This no-cable model appears exactly like what Garmin did with their newish Edge power mount, and is actually compatible directly out of the box with the Cannondale canbus system. It’s not terribly clear to me what other platforms use the same wiring system as-is.)

Speaking of which, while most road bike users of Garmin’s Varia radar tend to use dedicated cycling GPS units/watches (like a Garmin Edge GPS, Wahoo ELEMNT, etc…), in an e-bike scenario, most users are probably going to be using either their phone with an app, or a built-in display. Garmin has a Varia radar app already, along with 3rd party access on both the ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart side. Meaning that companies can easily utilize the ANT+ spec to connect to the radar as many do today already. Or, they can use Garmin’s more proprietary Bluetooth Smart option within an app.


As the owner of two cargo eBikes (that we also race…), I’d definitely be open to giving this a whirl. I don’t typically cycle the cargo bikes with a dedicated bike GPS computer, I do have a phone mount there. In theory there should be an extra power port available on the Bosch power system that Urban Arrow uses, so it should be technically possible. Would be a fun experiment.

Obviously, within the city of Amsterdam, cycling radar doesn’t tend to be super useful in relation to cars – mainly because so much of my day-to-day cargo biking tends to be on dedicated paths.  While mopeds are allowed on some bike paths, and do overtake, you generally hear them coming, and some non-majority portion of the time they’re even polite about the pass.

In any case, perhaps more to come!

Wahoo RGT gets Elite Sterzo Smart Support:


This last one will be a quickie! Wahoo has quietly added support for the Elite Sterzo Smart turning block/platform to RGT. You’ll remember back a number of months ago they released their own Wahoo KICKR STEER handlebar turning system/hardware for RGT. While technically a fine piece of sorta-pricey hardware, many (including myself) questioned why Wahoo didn’t just leverage existing hardware options on the market. Or at least provide compatibility.

So, they’ve answered those calls (or complaints as it were), and done just that. In their latest app update, you’ll notice a line-item mentioning Elite Sterzo Smart support:


I haven’t had a chance to give it a whirl as I’m travelling this week, but I presume it works in the same way it would on Zwift – or equally, the same way Wahoo’s steering works on RGT. If you do have a chance to try it out, drop some comments down below on how it all works.

With that – thanks for reading!


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  1. Pavel Vishniakov

    Given the fact that Varia Radar is more annoying than useful in the city, I wonder if the target audience are the cargo bike rider or the growing number of touring e-bikes where the addition of a radar would make more sense.

    And I really hope that Garmin would finally release an official radar mount for racks.

    • I think both. Or really, everything.

      There’s tons of e-bike scenarios that aren’t city focused, or cargo bike scenarios that aren’t city focused. So all of those are great. Think more suburban type stuff. In fact, most of our non-Amsterdam friends that have cargo bikes fall into that category, where radar would be super helpful as they’re generally not on amazing Dutch-cycle infrastructure, but instead on generic American/French/etc roads.

    • MatthewQC

      The eRTL615 shows two threaded holes on the back on the Garmin website, and a picture of one mounted on the back of a rack. Whether that’s the EU-standard 50 mm, the 30mm common on some older Omafiets, or the US less-standard 80 mm is unclear to me.

      I agree that I would like to see a Garmin quarter turn to 50mm mount, available as an accessory to purchase for my existing Varia radars.

  2. Hans

    One mayour benefit that does not seem to be pointed out here (true not only for the EBike version): The Light reacts to the cars – the light blinks faster or gets brighter the closer the car gets. I think this is super helpful to alert the car driver. I got positive feedback from multiple car drivers mentioning this. And this is especially true for city usage.

    • Shahed

      You can do all kinds of “smart” options using the Smart Bike Lights ConnectIQ datafield/widget. I’ve got mine setup so the Varia’s lights are off unless the radar detects something or during evening/night-time hours. This helps extend the battery life too without compromising safety. There are also options to set the light mode based on acceleration/deceleration so you can setup a “brake lights” mode too. Wonderful tool.
      link to forums.garmin.com

  3. Tim

    I gues you intentionally did not mention the TR thing? Or did you involuntarily forget about that?

    • I don’t typically cover personnel changes. About the only exception I’ve ever made is the Strava CEO exiting – largely cause it’s a company with 100 million sports users, and also cause some have argued I had something to do with it.

      Either way, Chad has posted on the forums his thoughts, and frankly, neither side is gonna say anything of value at this point on whatever happened there.

      Said differently, while TR clearly didn’t pick the most ideal phrasing/announcement, I don’t see any reason to create more drama for something that just doesn’t need it (or justify it).

      As Chad himself noted, the company has shifted more and more towards a computational system. lessening his impact. Combine that with him seeming to be less and less involved with the company (or even cycling, or specifically racing), and I think it’s a natural evolution. People change, they move on, and such. And on the other side, ultimately, it’s a company that has to make business decisions. Aside from the semi-sloppy announcement, I don’t have any information that says Chad is somehow raging upset and has a legit beef that’s worthy of a greater discussion.

  4. Ken

    For the majority of us who don’t live near Schiphol being overtaken by an airplane is most definitely the WRONG circumstances, especially for the airplane!

    • Thomas

      I live close to the Cologne airport and there is a famous Strava segment parallel to the (rather long) runway (actually long enough that it was one of the alternative space shuttle runways, long enough to get the 747 with the shuttle on top into the sky).
      But Varia never detected an overtaking airplane. Most probably because the street is not close enough to the runway.

    • Yeah, I’ve only managed to do it on one runway at Amsterdam, and there it’s quite intermittent. I long had it on my…err…radar, to do a fun video out there. I’ve gotta wait for a nice day when the planes are landing the right direction on that runway to hang out there for long enough get the right timing/combo.

    • Bruce Burkhalter

      Make sure you use a Wahoo and change the car icon to a plane. 🙂

  5. Do you know if the new Varia eRTL615 would work with a dynamo hub powering a USB junction box such as a kLite dual USB charger? Or perhaps plugging it straight to a USB power bank and having the dynamo charge the power bank while the power bank feeds the Varia. If so, I’d be curious to know the power consumption for the Varia and battery life on say a… 20,000 mAh power bank! This would be really useful on ultra distance rides or races.

    • That, I don’t know. But I’ll round-up any questions and shoot it over.

    • Jim Bob

      Usually when a power bank is charging it cuts the current to its outputs. At least that is my experience so far.

    • Paul S.

      Usually, but not all of them. I had that exact problem when years ago I bought a backpack on Kickstarter with a big integrated solar panel and 2 easily reached USB ports on the outside of the pack. Inside was a power bank. Whenever the sun came out, the power to the external ports cut off. But I found a Zendure power bank that didn’t have that problem. There are probably other power banks like that since I’d guess that’s a common need.

  6. Kris

    Yesterday I had my first Varia annoyance!

    I was riding a road alongside the highway, the Varia detected all the cars on the highway rendering it useless for the cars that were on the same road as me.

    But still, I love my Varia radar and feel safer with it.

    • Indeed, any routes/roads alongside highways are usually useless if going the same direction of travel. There’s also a high-speed rail line about 30KM or so from AMS that I do a lot of drone stuff nearish too, and alongside that is a bike path right next to the rail line.

      It’s scary AF when Varia triggers bright red (high warning speed), but then a split second later the train whooshes past.

  7. vicent

    I have a tern GSD that includes and the taillight included is also a brake light when lights are off. Do you think i could replace it with this new varia?

    Also thinking about buying the RTL515 for my road bike. Is a new onecoming soon or should i take advante of the $150 current price? previous releases have been in may and always 2 years apart

    • MatthewQC

      Presuming your Tern has the OEM spec Bosch Cargo Line motor and battery, the eRTL615 has a Bosch option you can select (and it shows the plug that comes with it on the Garmin website). Without having the GSD in front of me, does your included tail light mount directly to the battery with a plug that looks like Garmin’s, or does it go to some Tern-specific distribution point outside the battery?

  8. MatthewQC

    Re: the eRTL615, can you ask Garmin:

    1. What is the voltage that the device expects to receive from the power supply, and
    2. For the USB-A option, is it drawing from all four pins on the plug (including data pins 2 and 3) or only the power pins 1 and 4?

    The reason I ask is that the power mount (which also has a USB-A) option has been a godsend for me as a touring cyclist and randonneur. I can connect the Edge head unit directly to a dynamo AC to DC converter and get buffered 5V DC power. But the power going backwards to my StVZO compliant tail light is AC, directly from the dynamo. So I would have to wire up some sort of power converter on my rear rack to make the radar/light connect.

    As an aside, please ask them to consider a USB-C dongle for both the Power Mount and the eRTL615. All the good dynamo stuff comes from Europe, and Europe is going strictly USB-C for consumer electronics, meaning the power converters now have USB-C power instead of USB-A.

    • Good questions. I’m going to round them all up and shoot them over in the morning (thus, anything making the cut-off by then). :)

    • Angstrom

      Spec on the Garmin web page says 6-12 VDC, which doesn’t seem to match the USB option unless there’s a wide tolerance or the USB cable has an integrated DC-DC converter.

  9. Fit Gear Hunter

    Remind me to buy you a steak dinner next time I am in Amsterdam. Thank you!
    (And dear Lord now I am wishing I hadn’t forced out this video at 1am the night of release and had made it more polished haha)

  10. Miloš Matůš

    I would like to see a new Garmin Varia Radar with USB-C. I hope it will come soon or not?

    • Tyler

      Agreed. And passthru charging.

      And with better mounting options, like rack, or seat bags, or seat mounted, but raised above the seat and seat bag (especially larger seat bags, for touring/bikepacking).
      Also, much longer battery life.

      That all sounds like complaining, but the Varia taillight is my favorite biking gadget, and has saved my bacon numerous times.
      But it has several.limitations that could be easily overcome.

  11. Lester

    Speaking of RGT, a the start of (northern hemisphere) trainer season they announced a lot of plans after Wahoo bought them. Did RGT make any gains in users or anything like that this winter?

    • Claus Jacobsen

      i do see a bit more people on the free routes, but not exactly as if people are waiting in a line.

  12. Mister Ray

    I have the Elite Rizer which has the Sterzo steering and I could not get Wahoo RGT to connect to the steering function. Was running latest version on iPad. Elite Rizer works great with Zwift.

  13. James

    I noticed the new strength trainer feature on whoop doesnt allow really to use the peloton digital app when doing full body workouts etc? Do you think it will work properly if i just do a workout without the strength trainer? Seems like you need to set it in advance for the work outs you will do .