Garmin Edge 130 & Varia Radar

Garmin hold an impressive place in cycling: That electronic box on your handlebars which tells distance and speed is no longer called ‘a cycle computer’ or ‘a speedo’ - it’s now called ‘a Garmin’ regardless of what brand it is.

The Edge 130 is the latest mid-sized headunit from the powerhouse company. The Edge 130 strikes a perfect balance between the tiny Edge 20 and the larger Edge 520, 800 and 1030 models. The display is big enough to clearly show 3 customised data fields and in addition to GPS tracking of speed and distance the Edge 130 will connect to most Ant+ power meters, cadence sensors, or other devices. The Edge 130 also syncs with your smartphone and can upload automagicaly to Strava.

The Varia

The Varia is a rear facing radar which pairs with your Garmin headunit to give a visual warning of cars approaching from behind you. As a car approaches a small icon appears on the Garmin screen which moves up the screen as the car gets closer. As the car approaches the screen turns yellow to alert you, and if the car is approaching quickly the screen turns red. I’ve got to admit that my first impression of the Varia was “what the hell do I need that for? I can hear cars coming behind me!” and in some cases that’s correct but in other cases the Varia offers some really useful features and for some people this will be a really useful safety device. On a quiet road with minimal traffic the Varia can provide a nice prompt if you drift into la-la-land and with the increase in quiet electric cars the Varia can be a useful aid and for riders with poor hearing the Varia would be an immense tool. A rear facing red light is integrated into the Varia to alert approaching vehicles of your presence. Overall the Varia is a smart piece of tech and I’m really excited about logging more kms with it and learning it’s strengths and weaknesses.

To get the very best of NZ Cycling direct to your post, subscribe to our print edition.