I'm testing the Garmin Varia RCT715 for you

I must admit, I’m a fan of the Varia concept. Even though I’m 1.95m tall, have sprinter’s thighs, fluorescent socks and take up a lot of space on the road, I feel much safer with a flashing light under my saddle and small dots blinking on my cycling computer telling me where the cars are.

So I was like a kid at the thought of discovering not only a new model – the Garmin Varia RCT715, but a version with a built-in camera, designed to act as a witness to any road events and other attacks in the peloton.

The packaging experience is just as neat and pleasant as usual.

Discover the product

The packaging is just as neat and pleasant as usual, but there’s nothing new here. On the other hand, I have to admit I was a bit surprised when I discovered the Varia RCT715. To say the least, Garmin has thought big with this new radar/fire/dashcam combo. Longer and, above all, twice as thick as its predecessor, the beast has eaten well. As far as the clip is concerned, we’ve done away with the little rubber bands and the plastic support, and now we’re talking about a commando version with a locking lever and all. Given the size of the machine, it was a necessity. (If you’re one of those climbers who empties the water bottle at the foot of the pass, stick with the original Varia; between support and device, you’ll save a good 100g).

This new Varia takes up a lot of space, but once you’re on the road it’s only the drivers (and the guys sucking on your wheel) who see it, and that’s the whole point. Safety-wise, it’s relentless.

However, if you were hoping to film your next IG reel with the dashcam, you’re out of luck. However, if you were hoping to film your next IG reel with the dashcam, you’re out of luck. It’s not much, but it’s enough to record a road event or a number plate. The device has a basic 16GB memory card and, once the card is full, saves the previous data over it. Without being a computer scientist, this means that on a 3-4 hour outing, the data from the beginning, or even the middle, will clearly be overwritten. That said, the Varia RCT 715 is apparently equipped with an accelerometer to detect any incidents and automatically save the corresponding data.

To be honest, and fortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to test the dashcam’s functionality in detail. It may be reassuring, but for me it’s the radar function that remains a must-have and that I’ve loved since the first version. You’re visible on the road, which reassures you, so you’re not surprised when an ultra-quiet Tesla passes you, but above all you communicate with other road users by indicating your presence. Finally, what if this was the secret to good harmony and respectful sharing of the public highway?

What you’ll love:

  • The feeling of safety on the road knowing that cars can see you
  • The feeling of safety on the road of knowing where the cars are
  • The reliability and robustness of a Garmin product

What you won’t like:

The size of the device, almost bigger than your saddlebag