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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.

  • In case of a accident, the video would need to be easily found and shown on a phone”

    Why? I’d have thought the opposite. If there’s an issue of liability, then that’s not something that needs sorting out at the side of the road. 

  • If it's a hit and run, the faster the police can identify the vehicle the better.

  • I don't think hit and runs involving cyclists are a big priority with police around here. Better to share the video with a lawyer after the fact.

  • I created a 3D printed mount that adapts the mount to a GoPro mount. I'm sure that in time there will be commercial products similar.

  • Kudos for doing this! I'd strongly recommend starting a new thread about it though, I'm sure many people will be keen to use it, but it might just get lost in this thread which I suspect is going to end up pretty long.

  • I agree with you completely.  Just look at simular products to see why. Cycliq - simular product, no radar, no radar, no 4K and no stabilization - this gives it a 4hr battery. Gopro - 4K and optical stabilization - 45min - 1.5 hrs battery. 

    4K done right requires a much bigger camera sensor especially for lower light conditions. Besides killing your battery prematurely, the unit would require much more cooling than what's already designed in. 4k looks great on big screens and making out details on distant objects, but again what is the unit being used for. At some point the car has got to get close enough.

    Also, dividing the output files like they did makes sense. Bluetooth file transfers take much longer.

    That's not say there isn't some issues and things that could be improved, but 4k and stabilization aren't what I think we need.

    DCR should just strap a Garmin 515, a  Gopro and  10,000mah battery on his bike.

  • The Cycliq Fly 12 CE has video stabilisation and up to 7 hour battery life (camera only) or 5 hours with the light, depending on mode. Agree 4k is likely over the top but 1440p would have been better, or at least better low light performance. The killer though is really the price. Being that expensive its reasonable to expect a better spec. Also file transfer is via wifi not bluetooth and even via the USB-C interface is apparently very slow. I hope the next version is both better and with us soon as I really want to like this product and my fly6 died recently.

  • Do you have a Cyliq that actually gets 7 hrs of battery life in real world use? If so, you must be really lucky. I’ve had four Cyliqs: a second and third gen Fly 6CE and two second gen Fly 12 CE. All but one have since died for no good reason, bricking unexpectedly within 15 months of new, and Cycliq support is worthless: I like to call their support Helpless Desk. They want me to send them to Australia with no guarantees of anything, and they won’t even give me an idea of what it would cost to fix out of warranty. In fact, my third gen Fly6 CE bricked in less than a month of use. Cycliq tried to tell me I had to send it to Australia for them to look at, but I insisted they replace it with a new retail unit and issue a call tag with a carrier for return of the bad one. They refused until I got AMEX to issue a chargeback. Then they changed their tune. I’ll never do business with them again.

    Anyway, the best battery life I ever had was about 4-5 hrs on a Fly 12 with no light running, but that was new. With just a few months of age I was getting about 3-4 hrs of battery life. The Fly6 was even worse. With no light running a brand new one got maybe 3 1/2 hrs, but by the time it bricked after a little more than a year the best I was getting with no lights on was about 2 1/2 hrs, maybe 3. Cyliq’s claims for battery life are complete BS in my experience.

    So far the Varia is getting great battery life. After 4 hrs rides with radar, camera, and light all running I still show about a 1/3 battery life remaining, so I have no doubt when I do a six hour ride I will be fine. Also, Garmin products tend to last a long time. I still have a first generation Varia radar that works fine and still gets decent battery life.

    So for $400 with light, camera and radar the Varia is far better value for money than the Cycliq Fly6CE at $240 that isn’t likely to last much beyond warranty in my (and some friends’) experience.

    As for file transfer, I just pull the card and use an adapter to put it in the SD slot of my Mac (M1 Max Macbook Pro). Transfers are lightning fast.

  •  "4k looks great on big screens and making out details on distant objects, but again what is the unit being used for. At some point the car has got to get close enough."

    Unfortunately, this is exactly right. The car can't really be an issue without getting "too close", any way you look at it. And at "too close" range, you don't need high resolution. But, better night capability would still be a plus. Wonder if you could synchronize the camera to the flashing light? You wouldn't get illumination in every frame, but probably enough. Better to make it shift colors at night to compensate for the red light?

  • DeanWette,  I got 6 1/2 hours out of my Fly12CE yesterday at RideLondon, I turned it off to stop the annoying low battery beeps when it had about 10% battery left. That was with the light off, at 1080p60 with stabilisation on. I guess if I'd run 1080p30 without stabilisation it would have lasted longer. 

    I've heard bad things about Cycliq support but haven't experienced them myself. As I said my fly6 died recently but its pretty old anyway and the position on the rear of the bike is unfriendly to any device, Cycliq sent some debugging info despite it being out of warranty and I expect they'll offer a discount on a replacement but I'm less keen on the new Fly6 as they reduced battery life to make it smaller. Fly12ce has been fine for 3 years now.

    Regarding the RCT715, 6 hour battery with all three functions running sounds promising.

    For data transfer, taking the card out is of course an option, but other devices manage fast native transfer so the Varia should be able to as well. also isn't the video stored in multiple locations?

    I liked the gopro sub option where data is uploaded automatically over wifi when you charge. Less faff the better.