Cycliq fly6 vs Garmin Varia

I’m in the market for a new taillight and thought I might as well get one that has some additional safety features.
I live in a pretty rural city but ride canyon roads whenever I can.
I have had 2 close calls in recent memory.
Car clearly saw me but sped up to try to make a right hand turn in front of me.
Teenage kids threw a cup a fast food cup at me on a pretty deserted road.

I do occasionally get surprised by an early AM car coming up behind me in a canyon so I can see where having the radar would have been nice.
But if I had been hit by either the car or the cup then the camera might have been better

OR maybe I should just get an inexpensive $30 taillight like I just lost. :man_shrugging:t2:

Varia. It’ll assist you in being able to do your best at not getting hit. Fly6 will mainly only help after you are hit.

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That’s a good point.
I never considered that!

Anyone have experience with both that can weigh in?

I had the original Fly6 and then tried the CE for a little while. Now I and my wife ride with Varia radars.

I have a desire to have a good quality camera / light on the rear but for my personal use cases the Fly6s never quite fit the bill.

The original seemed generally ok, battery could have been improved as the quality of footage and lack of BLE / ANT+ integration. I also didn’t love the Velcro mount needing to be undone for any recharging.

I had hoped the CE would solve my issues with the original, but the battery life was awful and it seemed to die within a few days or week of being set on the counter between rides. For me that alone was the killer.

I bought a Varia and the battery life is fine, doesn’t have vampire drain issues and love having notification of upcoming traffic.

I do still wish for a combo Varia + camera with adequate battery, maybe they could enable the camera only for brief moments when radar detected objects… but for now, for me, the Varia is the way to go.

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I run the cyliq, after a mate of ours got rear ended by a driver. Ended up with a broken his pelvis and shattered bike.

No witnesses so the police couldn’t pursue anything. I think having a camera is super important if you ever run into a situation like this, at least you can take something to the police + pursue any damages.

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Garmin should have done this instead of just tweaks from the 510 to the 515!

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That’s my biggest worry.
I’ve never needed something yet, but the one time I do I’ll be sorry I didn’t buy the camera.

Kind of like tire plugs for road tubeless.
You probably won’t need them, but that one time you do you’ll be extra grateful you packed them

I have both a fly6 and fly12 on back order, so can’t attest to their quality yet. I think of them as revenge cameras. They will do absolutely nothing to prevent an incident. They will give my wife’s lawyer some ammunition if I get squished.

I’ve been riding with a varia radar since it first came out. I was eagerly awaiting its release before Garmin bought the company that created it. I have had zero issues with it. I’ve “calibrated” the display by knowing when the dot for the car reaches a particular data field on my head unit, it’s time to check the mirror. Yes, I ride with a small mirror on my left bar-end. The two together are indispensable. I’m pretty sure I’m able to type this today because I had the radar and mirror 2 weeks ago.

I was riding on an empty road when the radar chirped, and the dot popped up on the head unit. i checked the mirror and saw a beater pickup about 100m behind me, riding the very edge of the shoulder-less road. I kept my eye on it and it wasn’t moving off the edge as he approached. I waited as long as I dared, then bailed onto the grass next to the road (no curb). It passed without ever moving over. After a lot of swearing (and wishing the cameras had arrived already!) I got back on and finished my ride without further incident.

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I’ve got a fly6CE. I really like it. People often ask what light I have, it is bright and clearly visible from a good distance. I do use the video but mostly incase something goes wrong after the fact. I also have a fly12 which is awesome. Both work with my Garmin 1030, although I don’t like the Garmin light network functionality - it is a little bodged. I’d buy both a fly6CE or fly12 again.

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you’ll like the two fly models, that is exactly why I use mine. Occasionally I look at the suffering that was going on behind me in the pace line :joy:

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When your fly6 comes will you run both?

@JS84 I’ll run everything. Right now I run a Nite Rider 750 in blink mode on the front, and a Flare R in the back, just above the radar. The radar light is too dim to be useful in the daylight. Once the Flys arrive, I’ll see if the lights are bright enough (I expect they will be) to ditch the dedicated lights, but the radar will absolutely stay. The cameras won’t prevent anything (blinking lights not withstanding), they’re only useful after the fact.

@IceBear I’m looking forward to the footage, too. I’ve never had a camera on the bike before. It’ll be fun to see what’s captured.

One additional benefit of the radar: Since I upgraded my head unit from an 810 to an 830, I can use an IQ app (https://apps.garmin.com/en-US/apps/c5d949c3-9acb-4e00-bb2d-c3b871e9e733) that records the approach speed and distance of cars as they approach. The head unit display is only a count, but when you look at the data on Garmin Connect (phone or web) there are graphs for cars with absolute and relative approach speed. A useful tidbit that coupled with video will very accurately describe the behavior of an approaching car. More ammunition for my wife’s lawyer. :wink:

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That is intersting, with the app, can you see at what distance they passed you? As in, was it a ‘close overtake’?

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I’m making the same choice and decided to go with radar. I would take any chance not to get hit rather than a chance recording a plate of the vehicle…

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I’ve had both. The fly6 CE stopped working and their customer support didn’t reply to my message at all so I sent it back and got a varia. Garmin Support can be flakey, but it definitely exists.

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I’ve been running both since last summer, I recently changed from the v1 radar to the one without taillight and still run it with the fly cameras. The change to the non-taillight radar was partially prompted by an attempt to fix a downside that the 1030 garmin doesn’t control all these lights well, it drops connection to one or more pretty often and doesn’t gracefully recover; I’m hoping the latest firmware actually helps but so far I haven’t noticed a change in behavior. I dream of a radar+light+camera gizmo but the battery life of the fly6 already struggles so for the foreseeable I will continue running them all alongside each other.

If I had to choose between, it’d always be the radar. Always. The thing is indispensable.

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Yep absolutely love mine. I haven’t used any kind of video camera on my bike but if i did i think i’d just have one on the front.

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The rear is fun too, it’s provided some entertaining pics of various dogs chasing me for strava pics.

Overall I haven’t had great success with Cycliq’s software, but the same can generally be said of the Garmin app experience so I suppose I’m numb to random cycling tech struggles. I just run the cameras unconnected to the garmin these days and toggle the light modes with the physical buttons. My state only has rear plates so it’s really up to the headlight to capture it. License plate clarity is hit or miss depending on light conditions, I could read 2/3 plates I’ve gone for the footage of over the last year but a strong midday sun easily washes them out.

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I’m running the Garmin 510 now will buy the 515 with points for my wife once my Kickr bike shows up at Backcountry. I try and stay off roads but on gravel it’s nice to have a warning of a truck, side by, or motorcycle coming up since tire gravel noise reduces my ability to hear them coming.

And no, I don’t think I’ll need one on the Kickr bike but our cats may sneak up and attack spinning pedals, once.

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I have both, Fly6CE and the Varia 510. I have had the Fly6 for about a year and a half, the Varia since this spring.

Short version: I ride with the Varia every time. I ride with the Fly6 about 1/3 of the time. Every time I ride with the Fly6, I also have the Varia.

I love how the Varia keeps me from being spooked by drivers and it allows me to ride out in the road more without constantly looking over my shoulder. I’m just more confident.

I love that the Fly6 lets me catch idiots on record, but I’ve never had to do anything with it yet (thankfully). The Fly6 is a less polished product, the app pretty much sucks, the battery life is terrible, but it does work. The recording hasn’t failed me, and the fact that it will overwrite it’s oldest recordings gives it a big leg up over a gopro-type solution.

Truth is, I want to like the Fly6, but it’s not that great. So much potential, and it just doesn’t quite get there.

As others have mentioned, the perfect solution doesn’t exist yet: a varia that records video like the fly6. One day…

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