Garmin Varia RCT715

BikeRide Score

Summary of Reviews

We have read all expert and user reviews on the Garmin Varia RCT715. In summary, this is what cyclists think.

10 reasons to buy

  • The RCT715 offers four light modes: solid, ‘peloton’, night flash, and day flash.
  • Testers feel secure with the RCT715’s output in night flash (29 lumen) and
    day flash (65 lumen) modes.
  • The RCT715 incorporates a rear-facing camera.
  • A radar-activation sensor automatically initiates the camera to record before, during, and after a “potential incident”.
  • The RCT715’s incident detection system notifies you of approaching and encroaching vehicles.
  • Testers report from 4 to 6.25 hours of battery life, from the Varia RCT715, while recording camera footage.
  • Owners say the Varia RCT715 is easy to set up.
  • Three different adaptors are provided, to fit round, d-shaped, and aero seatposts.
  • Some testers say the RCT715’s camera resolution is good enough to read number plates.
  • An IPX7 water-resistance rating means the RCT715 can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water, for as long as 30 minutes.

7 reasons not to buy

  • Some testers and users say the RCT715’s camera resolution is not always good enough to read number plates.
  • Testers feel a better-quality camera could be found on an action camera. Image stabilization is frequently criticized.
  • Reviewers see the Varia RCT715 as expensive for the quality of the features offered.
  • Both reviewers and users are disappointed with the lack of performance and user-friendliness offered by the included Varia app.
  • Garmin provide users with a somewhat miserly 16GB microSD card for storage.
  • Some experts are bothered by the weight of the Varia RCT715.
  • A tester found that incident detection became hypersensitive. When turned off, there’s no guarantee that incidents are captured on camera.

Bottom line

The Garmin Varia RCT715 aims to be a lot more than just a quality rear light with four flash modes. It incorporates a rear-facing camera and ‘incident detection’ radar, which warn of and record approaching vehicles. Riders and reviewers are impressed with the concept, and with the RCT715’s operation, when it works. However, testers experienced issues with video quality, stabilization, radar sensitivity and using the Varia app. It needn’t be pointed out that the RCT715 is not cheap. True believers are expecting improvement from Garmin’s next firmware app.
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Light Type
Bike Type
65, 29, 20, 8 Lumens
Battery Life
6, 4 Hours
5.2 oz
Water Resistance Level
IP Rating

Expert Reviews

77/100 based on 5 rated expert reviews

Reviewed: Garmin Varia RCT715

The only time I do not ride with the Garmin Varia is when I race. Playback via a Varia app or MP4 player is straightforward. The quality of still images and video is on par with an action camera that’s several years old.

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Garmin Varia RCT715 Review – Not Worth It For Most People

Best bike radar, awesome smart bike light. It’s not a good enough camera to spot a flock of gnats. Not worth the upgrade unless you really want the rear-facing camera dedicated to accidents which, let’s face it, isn’t going to stop you from getting killed.

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Garmin Varia RCT715 Radar Light & Camera Review

A very good bike light by itself. Unfortunately, a few details hold it back. The camera quality isn’t very good. Late on a cloudy day, I couldn’t read any of the license plates. Incident detection needs some updating.

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Road Bike Rider

Garmin Varia RCT715 Rearview Radar Activated Tail Light with Built-in Camera Review

While the Varia RCT715 carries a hefty price tag, the benefit of having video documenting aggressive drivers gives me an added sense of safety. Unfortunately, there is no camera stabilization.

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Garmin Varia RCT715 Review – The Cycling Radar Tail Light Adds a Camera

Great light for day and night riding. The rear-facing camera and accompanying app need refining. Garmin’s safety system alerts you to fast-approaching vehicles. The footage was clear enough to spot vehicle registration plates.

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User Ratings

94/100 based on 354 ratings
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Bike Light Comparison

Garmin Varia RCT715 in comparison to averages