I have been using See.Sense lights, and have been quite happy: they are bright, they are intelligent (connect via Bluetooth to my iPhone, change lighting pattern when they sense braking, etc.), are competitively priced and, importantly, have great mounting options. Their customer service is superb.
In short, they make great lights … with one exception: their weather sealing is not good enough to deal with Japan’s humid climate.
I need a new rear light. Previously, I have had a Cateye X2, which was great in everything but connectivity and mounting options, but no match for my 5-year-old’s fingers.
Here are my requirements:
- I want to use the lights on my road bike, my mountain bike and a bike trailer.
- I need flexible mounting options: my road bike has a D-shaped seat post, I used to hang the lights off of my Ortlieb saddle bag on my mountain bike and the bike trailer has two loops. Ideally, I would like a twist lock mount of some sort.
- I obviously want something that I can also use during the day, so it needs to be bright.
- Ideally, I want it to be smart, but if it isn’t, then that’s ok, too.
- It need not be small. I’m not against small lights, but I don’t have to sacrifice battery life for a few more grams.
- Battery life should be good.
- It should be robust.
Do you have any recommendations or ideas?
Don’t know how anyone uses anything but the Garmin varia
The Varia is on the short list. Is there any light that’s not a Garmin Varia that I should consider?
Before the 2nd gen Varia, I had the original Varia and it’s too dim to be used as a light. Paired it with a Bontrager Flare RT and both were controlled from my Garmin 530 (light network).
I’m jealous that Wahoo never implemented that (to my knowledge). I would love to be able to switch my lights on and off with a SRAM blip or so.
If someone is planning to get the Rotlicht, the international version is the way to go. The version for the German market is significantly less powerful (160 lm vs 40 lm).
It is basically the same thing as with Varia RTL 515 vs Varia RTL 516: the first one is 20 lm, the other only 5 lm.
Oh, bastards. I always wondered what the difference was. I’ll be moving from Japan to Austria (as a German expat), so this side remark is highly relevant and useful! Thanks
Not sure how it mounts to D shaped post the Moon Arcturus are very good been using mine over 5 years no problems so far commutting in the uk wet winters.
I can no longer imagine riding the road without my Varia. It has saved me from 100% getting squished once, and several high likelihood incidents.
I use a Varia and Bontrager Flare RT combo. sometimes I turn off the Varia light to save power. Flare despite its size lasts a looooong time.
I didn’t care much for the Garmin Mount though, light would always seem to move so got a cheap one off ebay something like this Garmin Varia Seat Post Quarter Turn Mount Black 753759142872 | eBay
For me, the determining question is “What light is better than a Varia, and why is it better?”
I have yet to see a light that is materially brighter than a Varia…if it exists, I would have to think it is marginally brighter, at best. The Bontrager Flare is probably the best other rear light I have seen, but it lacks radar (obviously).
So for any marginal increase in brightness, you have to give up the radar functionality. That is not a trade I am willing to make.
No brainer - Varia, 100%.
You can control the Varia via a Wahoo head unit. It’s not as clean as on a Garmin, but I do it all the time. On/Off/Mute options.
I used to think a Varia was an extravagance. No longer. It’s essential kit for roadies IMO.
Varia is a great product, the radar provides good information, but the light is barely in the “okay” category, especially for use during the day. It’s marketed as a radar with a light, not a light with a radar.
After going through a number of other light models, I’ve landed on the Omega 330 from NiteRider. It’s a great light, It has a variety of flash / solid modes, great battery life, and can be seen even on bright days from miles away. I’ve not had any weather / seal issues.
Personally, I don’t like the supplied mounting options. I’ve found ways to mount the light, but options are a little limited for aero or non-round tubes. Still, the light is so good I’ve been willing to spend a little time making the mounts work.
On my road bike, I use a Varia on my saddle bag, and have two Omegas mounted, one on each seat stay. When all three are on, the Omegas are so bright that most people don’t even notice the Varia.
It literally changed the way I ride. Knowing that a car is NOT behind you means the entire road is available to you. No more cowering at the edge of the street or road enduring crappy pavement on the off chance you might piss off an oncoming driver or heaven forbid get rear ended. Just ride where you want in your lane and move over when your head unit lets you know someone is coming. Rear radar is a complete and total game changer.
Granted I ride in fairly low traffic areas but for 95% of any ride my Viara lets me ride like I’m on a closed course with a clear conscience and no worries.
Very Viara curious (especially now seeing all the glowing remarks!)
I’m a big fan of the Lezyne lines I have the 1000 and the 1500 lumens along with the smaller flashers. Their attachment is a simple big rubber strap that connect to anything. the battery is in the light (separate battery packs strapped to what-ever are a recipe for disaster and soo 1990’s). The only problem i’ve had was their charging female-fire-wire (or what ever it is) is tough to get into and is secured internally on the “mother-board” and crushes/fails. Had this happen once but they were really cool and warrantied it.
That is not my experience…it is on par with almost any other light out there, IMO (although I have admittedly not tried the Omega you note).
I have never heard one person complain about the light functionality on a Varia…