Garmin Varia RCT715

96/100
BikeRide Score
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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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Facts

Light Type
Mounting
Brand
Bike Type
Lumens
65, 29, 20, 8 Lumens
Battery Life
6, 4 Hours
Power
Weight
5.2 oz
Water Resistance Level
IP Rating
IPX7

Expert Reviews

76/100 based on 5 rated expert reviews
81
the5krunner

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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70
Cyclingnews

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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80
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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90

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 – 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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DC Rainmaker

Garmin Varia RCT715 Camera + Radar In-Depth Review

Like anyone else, I wanted this to be awesome, but right now – it’s not. At best, it’s a frustrating and confusing experience. The problem here isn’t the addition of features. It’s that none of the features are fully baked.

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Slowtwitch

Garmin Adds Camera to the Varia RCT715

Despite its larger battery, it consumes its power fast. Camera, radar, and lights will do that. It is rated for 4 hours of use with continuous 1080p and the taillight on solidly. You can get 6 hours with the taillight in flash mode.

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SmartBikeTrainers

Garmin Varia RCT715 Cycling Radar With a Camera: Worth It?

The light intensity is the same on the RCT715 and the RTL510, except they added a ‘peloton mode’ on the RCT715, which is meant to be used when in group rides – and it’s only 8 lumens.

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Garmin Varia Radar with Camera: RCT715 Details // Ride Review

The light intensity will change on radar event detection. Although the idea is somewhat simple, the user experience is anything but. There’s a steep learning curve that’s plagued with a number of shortfalls with the app and the hardware.

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Garmin Varia RCT715 Review // Varia Radar… With a Camera

If you just wanna benefit from the radar light functionality, you should be able to get up to 6 hours of use using the solid or night flash mode, up to 8 hours of use using the peloton light mode and then up to 10 hours using the day flash mode.

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Always Another Adventure

Is Garmin Varia RCT715 Radar Camera Right for You? – How to Decide

The quick headline is this: If you already have a Varia radar/light combined, then don’t upgrade to this. Buy a separate rear camera if that’s what you think you need.

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The Cycling Triathlete

Garmin Varia Rear Light On-Road Test + Review + Unboxing

The actual rear light itself, it’s very nice. In terms of functionality, I’ve been really impressed. Yeah, I can’t fault it on its actual ability to detect cars or people, because it just works.

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Cycling Jack

Garmin Varia Radar RCT715 Footage. Is It Usable?

GoPro Hero 4 (front camera): See brand, color, license plate? Yes.
Garmin RCT715: Detect brand, color, license plate? Yes. Yes. Yes.

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Victor Campenaerts

Garmin Varia RCT715

The light flashes like it’s it’s a backlight, but it’s a smart backlight. It detects a car and the lights flashes harder. This is the Garmin Varia radar. I think everyone should have one. You don’t need this one. Maybe it’s a bit, uh, overkill.

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Lake District Cyclist

Garmin Varia RCT715 How Good Is It at Night & Bad Conditions?

I’ve been commuting to work at night so I wanted to give you some footage. I’m quite impressed with it.

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Bagel Ride 5/22/22 – Actual Footage – Garmin Varia RCT715 Review – Verdict=Meh

Radar works like like other Varia. Video quality is trash, you can’t even read license plates, also no stabilization. Very choppy.

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Matt LeGrand

A Camera Build Into a Garmin Varia Radar?

It’s kind of three things; it’s a tail light, it’s a radar and it’s a camera. I wouldn’t expect this camera to do super-well in low light or anything like that, but overall, the footage looks pretty good to my eyes.

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Dirty Old Sneakers

Garmin Rearview Camera & Radar – Varia RCT715

If you have an extra ___ bucks burning a hole in your pocket this is going to be a radar system for you. If not, you’re better off with the Varia RTL515, without the camera.

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Endurance Hour

First Review: 2022 Garmin Varia Bicycle Radar w/ Camera and Tail Light w/ Dave Erickson

I’m still gonna put other lights on my bicycle on the front, as well as this one being on the back, so it’s the alerts that is the big deal for me.

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Clint Gibbs

Garmin Varia RCT715: Tested and Reviewed!

A package of tail-light, camera and radar in one unit. I think it works just fine. Using the phone to download photos and videos was not a great experience, however, using the phone to change the settings worked great.

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Ordinary Bloke On A Bike

Garmin Varia RCT715 Cycling Radar & Camera: User Review

Day flash mode is the maximum intensity. This is the brightest at 65 lumen and to be honest the only mode I use as I only ride in daylight anyway.

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Road Bike Action Magazine

Garmin Varia RCT715 Review

The RCT715 offers a bright light that can be used day or night. Video quality is relatively minimal and was most useful at identifying the make and model of a vehicle rather than details of the driver and license plate.

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Cyclists Hub

Garmin Varia RCT715 Review: Great Idea but Badly Executed

You will feel much safer on roads with the RCT715 radar. The camera offers zero stabilization, and the app is not user-friendly. Considering the high price, I don’t recommend it to people who don’t need to record what’s happening behind them.

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Canadian Cycling Magazine

First Look: Garmin Varia RCT715 Rear-View Radar, Camera and Tail Light

During my initial testing, I was “lucky” enough to have an incident. It was actually a false alarm. I braked hard. It started beeping and counting down before sending my emergency contacts notifications. I cancelled the incident, and continued riding. I plan to keep using the Varia RCT715.

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Ciclista Rodando

Garmin Varia RCT715 – Review in Detail [Spanish]

Among the four available lighting modes, the ‘peloton’ mode is interesting. It detects your group and will not blind them.

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futurezone

Garmin Varia RCT715 Tested: Cycling With Radar and Dashcam [German]

The concept doesn’t really work for me for two reasons: on the one hand, the size and weight. I could overlook the size and weight if you then had videos, but the footage is mediocre at best. The app proves to be stubborn under testing.

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Garmin Varia RCT715 With Cycling Dashcam: The Complete Presentation! [French]

So in the end, for Garmin, it’s not 100% with this new Varia. The video quality is too poor, and the lack of a front-view camera is also an issue in some cases. But one thing after another. This first iteration is not completely useless!

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User Ratings

94/100 based on 354 ratings
  • 5 star
    82%
  • 4 star
    11%
  • 3 star
    4%
  • 2 star
    1%
  • 1 star
    3%

Bike Light Comparison

Garmin Varia RCT715 in comparison to averages

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