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DC Rainmaker review

Garmin Varia Bike Camera Radar RCT715: In-Depth Review - YouTube

He REALLY doesn't like the camera, does he? It seems to do the job as a safety camera, spotting license plates, but he seems to want a GoPro with full image stabilization, hi-res and normal file structure.  I agree image stabilization would be a great thing to have, but it probably comes at the expense of battery life, and these gadgets are already running out of gas too quickly. 

He also trashes the usability through the phone app, and yeah, I get that, but you can still access the files from your computer, right? 

The 128gb card limit seems strange, but at low res and occasional recording, it's going to take a long time to fill up.

Mounting is a disappointment. I'd really like to see standard go-pro style mounting options, especially since this has already deviated from the normal Garmin quarter-turn standard. I'd also like to see a seat stay mounting option, since many of us have seat bags and more-powerful rear lights that are already taking up the real estate the RCT715 wants to use.

Battery life- why is it so difficult to get an answer for battery life on the Garmin Radar units that have a light with them? What is the Radar life with the light off?

Nothing said in the review seems to justify his overall trashing of the product.

  • Lack of image stabilization could be an issue for resolving license plates. That it records video in 30 sec. chucks seems completely nuts to me. The Cycliq is more like 5 mins and the GoPro Hero 10 I have is 12 mins. Those make way more sense.

    I have a 256 GB memory card in my Hero 10. It will record about 10 hours of 1080/30 video, so 128 GB for the Varia means about 5 hrs. I am currently using the Hero 10 as a rear safety camera, so I have to swap the battery about every 90-120 mins.

    I will wait and see what I hear from people using it in the wild. At the point my Cycliq 12 fails (and it will because they all do) I will consider moving the Hero 10 to the front and get the Varia for the rear.

  • Owning a RTL510, what rearlight is that much more powerful?

    I didn’t even think about Image stabilization because I think of it as standard in 2022. The same for a working mobile app wich is able to download the media reliably and reasonably fast.

    Did you really look at the size of this thing? I wouldn’t mount it to any thin seatstay, it will only twist and roll. 

  • For a license plate, image stabilization might not be the deal breaker you might think it is. In the old days, pre-image-stabilization, I could take a video and go through it frame-by-frame and generally find one out of 15 or so that would be markedly sharper than the rest. Can't tell you why this is so. Just seems to be.

    It is strange that image stabilization isn't part of the package though. You'd need a larger sensor so you could throw away data, and a bit of processing power, neither of which would be a deal breaker if you also came up with an easy interface to external power. Which, of course, it already has. What's the big deal with a small phone backup battery thingee in your seatbag and a cable going to the radar?

  • Small powerbook won’t work, seems like you can’t use it while charging. 

  • The mount incompatibility is definitely an issue; not everyone mounts the Varia to their seat post.  

    For example, I use a K-Edge mount to mount it to the back of my rear rack and if that won't work, I use a 3D-printed mount to clip onto my trunk bag.

    Such a non-seat post mount is required when riding or touring with a trunk bag or a seat-mounted "saddle bag" which obscures any light or radar that would mount to the seat post.

  • I think you can bet on third parties coming out with solutions for such mounting needs.

  • Been looking for some time; this isn't a new need, we needed it with the original Varia as well.

  • The seat bag mounting... it surprises me that something like that doesn't care if it's moving around a lot. I would have thought resolving ability (accurately determine where a car is) would be better from a fixed position. My basis for this is the importance of mounting a camera to a firm location, but could be an entirely different thing for the "radar" used by the Varia.

  • Actually, I have one on order from Amazon. My Cycliq lights have all died, but one Cyliq 12. I ride 5-6k miles per year, and none of the Cycliqs last more than a year, 18 months at the most, before they fail for no good reason, and their customer support is horrible.

    The Varia RCT715 can replace the Varia light-less radar I have, a blinky light, and I can move my GoPro Hero 10 to the front of the bike in anticipation of my last Cyliq failing (it’s at just about a year now, so anytime now).

    As long as it resolves license plates, I’m good with it. I don’t need the iPhone app DC Rainmaker complains about, and I can use iMovie or something to stitch the tiny videos together if I need to.

  • The new mount is my biggest issue. On my Madone, I use a 3D print mount for my Varia. This will cause me to have to use the rubber band and I do not want to use that. And on my other bikes, I use the fixed Varia mounts for aesthetics. I'll have to wait for a better mounting solution.