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Garmin Varia Vision could be the heads up display cyclist have been waiting for

garmin varia vision heads up display for cyclists works on any pair of sunglasses on left or right
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garmin varia vision heads up display for cyclists works on any pair of sunglasses on left or right

The heads up displays we’ve seen on the Recon Jet and Kopin Solos have been impressive, but they’re locked into a proprietary sunglasses frame and lens combo. Garmin’s about to change the game with their new Varia Vision by allowing you to mount it on either side of any pair of shades you want.

Combine that flexibility with its ability to provide all manner of performance metrics, navigation, competitive progress and safety alerts from its Varia rearview radar system, and it could be the category killer.

Look ahead for video, images, specs and more…

garmin varia vision heads up display for cyclists works on any pair of sunglasses on left or right

Varia Vision also builds in a lot of user friendly features and tech. The mount should fit most normal cycling shades thanks to two sets of four different size bands included in the box. Adjustable positions for the body and lens so you can get it just where you want it. The weather resistant design has a touch-enabled pad on the side to swipe between screens, and they say it works in wet and dry, with or without gloves.

Inside is an 8-hour battery powering the device continuously for always on, instant access to the data. An accelerometer presumably wakes it only during movement so you’re not having to charge it every day.

garmin varia vision heads up display for cyclists with performance and competitive metrics

For roadies, data sets include the usual performance and ride data like speed, power, ride time, grade, etc., pulled via ANT+ from compatible Garmin EDGE cycling computers. It also syncs with your smartphone via Bluetooth LE for call and text alerts, and will even show competitive data for your ride (details on that are sparse, we’ve reached out for more info).

garmin varia vision heads up display for cyclists with navigation and vehicle locations

For commuters, the data can be shown in simpler, more graphical views, and offers the additional situational awareness from their Varia rearview radar (check our first impressions of that here). Directions to your location come from visible cues with turn arrows and street names as well as vibratory alerts.

garmin varia vision heads up display for cyclists works on any pair of sunglasses on left or right

An ambient light sensor automatically adjusts screen brightness for best viewing without being distracting or getting washed out in blinding sunlight (wonder how that works at night?). Claimed weight is just 27.8 grams.

garmin varia vision heads up display for cyclists works on any pair of sunglasses on left or right
All images from Garmin.

To start, it’s compatible with their EDGE 1000 and EDGE 520 and the Varia Rearview Radar. Retail is $399.99 and it will start shipping by end of March 2016.

Garmin.com

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32 Comments
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Ben
Ben
7 years ago

Too bulky, restricts field of vision and so very not aero.

James
James
7 years ago

Well, it’s game on now with heads-up. If Garmin is in, its going to eventually be done right. But this still isn’t it. Obstructs vision too much, and on minor note looks stupid, just as its competitors.
When it finally is built into the glasses so that there is no arm in the way, heads-up will be ready for prime time.

M
M
7 years ago

No thanks. I would rather see everything ahead of me

Krazykanuck
Krazykanuck
7 years ago

The good thing about this gadget is that you’ll be able to tell your heart rate to the paramedics after being hit by a car that came right in the blind spot it creates !

Wut?
Wut?
7 years ago

Lance?

Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen
7 years ago

Super!

KL
KL
7 years ago

Wut? Lance?

Stiggy
Stiggy
7 years ago

Looks heavy …

dt
dt
7 years ago

this is the worst, just ride your bike and look around. soon a computer will move your legs for you.

John
John
7 years ago
Reply to  dt

*cough cough* ebikes? *cough*

kbark
kbark
7 years ago

If that is Lance it should also monitor your blood.

Gunnstein
Gunnstein
7 years ago

Could be a good product but it’s a terrible marketing video. Showing the display at the horison level gives people the idea that it will block your vision. Of course you place it at the point of minimum interference – lowest part of the glasses for most people.

Steady Eddy
Steady Eddy
7 years ago

I’m looking forward to seeing all the roadies around SoCal wearing this thing come summer time.

Allan
Allan
7 years ago
Reply to  Steady Eddy

In their $700 Rapha rain shorts and shirt, when it’s 80 degrees and sunny?

Bob
Bob
7 years ago

1- It’s not a HUD, TRUE HUDs project the info onto the lens or visor, letting the user look through the information.
2- Blocks a significant portion of field of view.

Randy
Randy
7 years ago
Reply to  Bob

(deleted)

Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
7 years ago

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

Ford
Ford
7 years ago

best t shirt i saw (peeved i didn’t buy it) had 1 word on it
LANCEHOLE

downingK
downingK
7 years ago

I have to agree with some of the other comments. Right on for the HUD. However, I have a pair of the Recon HUD ski goggles, and as awesome as they are I had to stop using them after a near miss on the slope. The reason was a significant loss of peripheral vision. The display was not a distractor by the way, it was quite easy to focus at the task at hand and look at the data when needed. We all know situational awareness is paramount in our sport. I am all for tech that keeps my eyes on the road/slope, but not at the expense of peripheral vision. That being said, I should probably try it out first.

STS
STS
7 years ago

“cyclist(s) have been waiting for”. You sure? I’m quite optimistic it will take a looong time before I’ll actually meet someone riding who actually bought that nonsense.

Antipodean_eleven
7 years ago

N.O.

JBikes
JBikes
7 years ago

downingK says: “…I am all for tech that keeps my eyes on the road/slope, but not at the expense of peripheral vision.”

There is some irony in that the tech is the only real thing keeping your eyes from the road/slope.

Kerplunk
Kerplunk
7 years ago

Curious, but cautious of another $400 hit-or-miss chance with new technology. I guess I will be waiting on the sidelines for others to guinea pig it.

PsiSquared
PsiSquared
7 years ago

I really dig an unobstructed field of view, but maybe that’s just me.

Nathan
Nathan
7 years ago

Don’t worry about the blind spot. Just yell “STRAVA!” Occasionally so people know you’re coming.

Tom
Tom
7 years ago

Aside being a cyclist I am also a diver and similar devices appeared a few years ago and didn’t prove to be very popular except for some specific conditions such as Closed Circuit diving which requires an almost constant feedback from the system.

In cycling, I can’t see the masses using it but bike messengers may find it useful.

crackedframe
crackedframe
7 years ago
John
John
7 years ago
Reply to  crackedframe

Yeah, I think I would prefer the way that Ray of DCR has that mounted (up high) a lot better, far less blocked peripheral vision that way. The pictures above definitely all seem to put the display lower into the rider’s primary field of vision.

I generally like to have my cadence and power numbers available at all times, and every bike computer mount I’ve ever used requires that I look down and take my eyes off the road for a second.

Don
Don
7 years ago
Reply to  John

Agreed. The way Ray has it mounted, it doesn’t block peripheral vision any more than the arm of your sunglasses does. Riding on the right hand side of the road, I’m not usually worried about objects that would be approaching from the sky on my right hand side. Birds maybe? When you’re going hard as hell on an interval and trying to maintain a certain power, it’d be nice to not have to take your eyes off the road to keep glancing down at your power meter. I’d have to try it to see how it works in practice though. This would probably be an REI purchase in case I decided to take it back. If it saved me from one crash, it would probably be worth it. I don’t usually crash on my road bike anyway, but it’s not like I’m unaware of the increased risk when I’m having to look down at my power meter when I’m already riding on the ragged edge.

Alexei Pavlov
7 years ago

its perfect for cat 3/4/5 racers! LOL

James Gill
6 years ago

The Recon Jet and co really forget about prescription glasses wearers. It’s great to see a company remembering us glasses wearers! After all, we are very few in number!

But for this price, I really think we should have been looking at a stand alone unit, including GPS

Doron
Doron
6 years ago

I bought one, it works very well and does not block your vision it is all in the way you position it. It is really nice to not have to look down at your Garmin when pushing hard

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