Garmin Varia RCT715

Despite Ray’s critical review of the Garmin Varia RCT715 – which actually reflects how I feel about EVERY Garmin product when they dump it into the market and fix blatant errors and design flaws with “updates” after that – I got myself this rear radar / camera combo anyway.

You can read that review here.

Last Saturday, I first used it during my Gran Fondo.

Out of over 100 clips in total recorded during this ride, less than half contained useful footage of an incoming vehicle.

Why Garmin decided to make 1:30 the default – and minimum – video length and split that in 30 second clips, whereas most vehicles pass within 15 seconds or so, is one of those things that baffle me.

Other than that, I didn’t bother to get frustrated with the Varia app and just plugged the RCT715 into my Mac and used Telemetry Overlay to create the compilation.

Somehow, I managed to create a video with only some of the clips I wanted first, so that is the short version. Which is probably going to be watched more than the one that is 4 times as long 🤣

Short version here:
Long version here:

The bottom line starting with “Garmin” followed by coordinates / speed at the beginning of each fragment, is what gets imprinted as overlay if you so configure the device.

(Note that the TO speed gauge “behaves” erratic, as the footage jumps from one spot in the ride to another.)

So far, even when using the Varia app, I haven’t experienced any significant issues with it.

Arguably, there isn’t really a reason why you wouldn’t settle for a cheaper RTL515, other than for it being a nice gadget.

And just in case you ever get hit from behind and live to tell it – or as useful help for your surviving relatives – it does have added value.

I, like Ray have only been hit from the side, where a GoPro mounted on the front of your bike will probably be more helpful.

I’ll run another test and see if I can get the Varia higher on the seat post, so the tire is less visible…

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