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Gear

Tech Week: 3 new lights and road safety products

products to see, be seen, and know see what’s coming next, even when it’s behind you.

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Garmin Varia RCT715

The Garmin Varia RCT715 is a light, radar, and camera.

After consulting many physicians, I’m sad to report that you in fact cannot have eyes in the back of your head. Garmin has the next best thing, however. The Varia RCT715 is a radar that alerts you via your Garmin computer of upcoming cars so you don’t always have to be looking backwards to know what’s coming your way. It’s that extra warning when a car zooms up the road your way quickly, or a low-noise EV sneaks up behind you. And it can pick up cars up to 140 meters away. But it’s also so much more than a radar.

The Varia is also a rear light and a 1080p camera capturing 30 frames per second. Really, it’s three devices in one compact package. Should something happen out on the road, the camera has the video evidence — and it can detect incidents and automatically save the footage. With three different functions running at once, the most surprising part is the claimed 6 hours of battery life with the radar running, camera recording, and light flashing in day mode. It’s a ride companion that has your back. 

$400; garmin.com

Trek Commuter Pro RT Front Light

The Trek Commuter Pro RT Front Light.

Whether you want to simply be seen or light up an entire trail, the Trek Commuter Pro RT Front Light is bright enough to do it. Boasting a 1,000-Lumen beam, this front light can illuminate every last nook, cranny, and pothole on the bike path, as well as every rock and root on a trail. And it can keep that high output going for 1.5-hours, long enough for even the longest commutes. If your journey is decently well lit, the light can back off to 500 Lumens for 3 hours. That’s still blindingly bright, so Trek has angled the beam down, focusing it toward the trail to both put the light where you actually want it, and spare the eyes of oncoming riders. 

LEDs let you know battery life at a glance.

Lights are important during the daytime too, so this $160 light features a daytime flash mode that lasts 12 hours. All that battery storage comes in handy even if you don’t need any light. You can use it as a battery to recharge other devices. As a bonus feature, it wirelessly pairs with a Trek Flare RT rear light, which means you only need to press a single button for both lights to turn on. 

$160; trekbikes.com

Lupine C14 Mag

The Lupine C14 Mag attaches magnetically.

Clipping a bike light into a mounting bracket admittedly falls under the “slightly inconvenient but not really, truly a hassle” category. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate an easier way to do just that. The C14 Mag rear light from German brand Lupine uses a proprietary technology to reinvent light mounting — just kidding, it uses a magnet. But that’s still a cool thing to see!

It charges magnetically as well.

This tail light mounts under the saddle, attaching via a bracket mounted to the rails. The C14 Mag then attaches onto that bracket with a magnet, which should make installing the light in this hard-to-reach area a breeze. (It works with carbon rails too, so go ahead and think about one for your high-end road bike). The aluminum-bodied light emits 45 lumens and features side visibility. It will run for up to 22 hours as well, so it’s ok to leave in place for many rides. When it does come time to charge this waterproof and impact resistant light, it’s done with, guess what, a magnetically attaching cable. 

$150; lupinenorthamerica.com