I purchased a Garmin Varia RTL510 a while back during a winter sale, having been introduced to it by a cycling buddy last summer. For those of you unfamiliar with this Garmin product, it a very bright rear light, with added radar. The radar is a cool little safety feature that connects to a Garmin computer, and lets you know when traffic is coming up behind you. It’s so clever, that it will tell you how many cars are coming up behind you, and how far behind they are. I find this really useful, as more and more cars are electric or electric hybrids that are harder to hear. Whilst I consider myself a considerate cyclist, I will move close to the edge of the road when I know there is something wanting to pass, but when it is quieter, I tend to ride a little further away from the edge so as to avoid drain grids, potholes etc.
Garmin claim the light can be seen as far as a mile away even in daylight, and I suspect that claim is fairly accurate (in the right conditions, etc.). It also has a wide angle field, with Garmin calming it to be around 220 degrees. I have been impressed with the battery life. I tend to charge all my rechargeable units (e.g. front light, bike computer, etc.) after each ride; the longest ride I’ve been on with it to date has only been a couple of hours, but no issues with it running out. I think Garmin make claims that battery will last 15 hours on flash mode, and around 5 hours on constant.
The light comes with a micro USB charging lead, and a seat post Garmin vertical mount, which is attached by strong rubber band. Installs in seconds. I have 3 bikes, the first two have no racks on (one is a hardtail MTB, and the other is an endurance road bike) and therefore the standard mount is perfect for when I am out on those. However, I have an adventure bike, that I keep the pannier racks on all year round, as I use the bike not just for adventures, but to go to the supermarket on, and for commuting. I pretty much always have panniers on my bike, therefore the seat post mount is useless, as luggage blocks both the light and the radar.
A couple of months ago, I decided to purchase a rack mount for the RLT510. Or more accurately, I tried to purchase a rack mount. My first port of call was the Garmin website, but low and behold, they don’t make a mount. I then tried Wiggle, and all the other leading online cycle shops, thinking that surely one will stock a non-Garmin Garmin mount. But that also drew a blank. I then resorted to Google, which led me to many forums with other cyclists eager to get their hands on a suitable rack mount for the RLT510. The best option was so small company in the USA, that had created something using a 3D printer, but the price for a tiny bit of plastic, and the postage to the UK was way over the top.
I then resorted to eBay. Where I spotted this:
It was cheap as chips at just £5.99 + £2.50 postage and packaging. Admittedly, it was slow postage (being shipped from China). I purchased with the initial idea of just using it on the bottom of my saddle, as at least that should be higher than my top luggage. However, when it arrived, I decided to see if it would fit the pannier predefined holes for a normal rear mounted pannier light.
Although not completely central, (the width of the light mount, and the holes on the rack were not completely compatible), it doesn’t look too bad. It is very secure, it hasn’t damaged my rack, and it works perfectly for my needs. I am sure if and when Garmin do design a rack mount for the RLT510, it won’t be cheap as chips, but I won’t need to buy one now, as this cheap little Chinese import works just fine.