Connected. That’s a word we’ve been hearing a lot of lately. Essentially in many cases it seems to be a fancy word for a wireless way for your devices to work with each other. But having connected devices like lights allows for interesting potential that Garmin looks to be exploiting. Until bicycles all have their own built in lighting systems, we’re on our own to hang lights on our rides. The more lights – head lights, tail lights, etc., the more visible you’ll be. Though that also means there is a lot more to make sure you have turned on before you head out to ride.
By adding the new Garmin Varia smart head light to the mix, Garmin has created nearly a full lighting system that not only will keep you visible, but will communicate with your GPS for some interesting features…
Even on its own, the Garmin Varia head light is interesting. Sold with a double sided out front mount that allows you to mount the light underneath your Garmin, it’s a clean way of adding 600 lumens to the front of your bike. But the real magic starts when you connect the light with an Edge 1000 or Edge Explore 1000. Based on GPS data the light will automatically turn on or off when you start or stop riding (you can control it manually as well), and it also gets brighter as it gets darker and vice versa. More interestingly though, the beam pattern actually changes based on speed. Slow speeds cause the light to focus on the ground immediately in front of you, while increasing speed causes the light to project farther forward.
Pair it with the Varia Smart Tail Light and/or Varia Rear Radar and it will cause brake lights to be activated and even turn signals to activate based on GPS tracks or manual controls on the Edge. When everything works as intended, powering up your Edge 1000 is all that’s needed to turn on all the lights meaning all you have to do is go for a ride. Adding a Varia smart head light to your bike will set you back $199 with the mount and it can be used on its own without the tail lights or Varia Radar. All of the devices are rechargeable via micro USB.
Already announced, this was the first time we’ve been able to check out the Garmin Varia Vision. A companion to the Varia Radar the Vision attaches to any pair of sunglasses to give you a heads up display of the information that is typically relayed to the compatible head units. Fairly light, the 29.7g device is micro USB rechargeable, ANT+ compatible, can be mounted on either side of the glasses, and is adjustable to place the display where you would like it to a degree. Like other sunglass displays the Sight places a small rectangle of information out of the line of sight that can be seen with a glance to the side. The only real drawback seems to be the $399 price tag which doesn’t include the $199 Varia Rearview Radar.
Now with the addition of the new lights, your Garmin Edge 1000 can control your Virb XE camera, Vector 2 power meter, display info from your Di2 drivetrain, speed sensors, cadence sensors, heart rate monitors, all while controlled from your Edge remote or Garmin Connect mobile app. That’s a lot of connectivity.