Garmin Edge 520 Plus and Varia RTL510 announced

GroupTrack and messaging added to 520; new slim rear-facing radar released

Garmin has two new cycling products, the Edge 520 Plus GPS computer and the new Varia RTL510 rear-facing radar.

The Edge 520 Plus is an evolution of the popular competition-minded head unit, now with more navigational features. And the Varia RTL510 is a slimmer version of the company's original Varia radar that mounts on the seatpost to alert the radar of cars approaching from behind.

Garmin Edge 520 Plus

The Edge 520 is a popular GPS head unit for competitive cyclists, which can do things like measure and track functional threshold power (FTP), VO2 Max and related performance measurements when used with a power meter and heart-rate monitor.

The new Edge 520 Plus has all the training and racing features of the 520 but includes Garmin Cycle Maps, which feature turn-by-turn directions and alerts to sharp curves ahead. 

Garmin Cycle Maps also offers a back to start feature. 

The Edge 520 Plus also has Garmin's rider-to-rider messaging, where you can communicate via text messages without pulling out your phone.

The Garmin Edge 520 Plus offers GroupTrack so you can see your friends' positions on your screen, routing back to your start point, and rider-to-rider messaging
The Garmin Edge 520 Plus offers GroupTrack so you can see your friends' positions on your screen, routing back to your start point, and rider-to-rider messaging

And the 520 Plus also has Incident Detection, so if the unit detects a crash it will send a message to an emergency contact with the unit's GPS location.

Finally, GroupTrack and LiveTrack let the rider's location be tracked both on the screen of other Edge users and the web browser of friends or loved ones. 

All three of these features require tethering a smartphone via Bluetooth.

The Edge 520 Plus comes with the latest version of Strava Live Segments, where you can race your favorite segments in real time against your previous best time, the KOM/QOM, or someone you follow on Strava with the time closest to yours.

The Edge 520 Plus also comes with the Best Bike Split Race Sync app, which shows how changes in weight, power and drag affect a rider's goal race time.

Finally, the TrainingPeaks Connect IQ app on the 520 Plus walks riders through their daily workouts, if they use TrainingPeaks.

The app guides riders through their workouts in real time with intensity targets and interval durations. After the ride, the data goes to TrainingPeaks wirelessly.

The Edge 520 Plus is available now for £259 / $279 on its own or for £349 / $379 with a heart-rate monitor and cadence and speed sensors.

A mountain bike bundle that includes a mountain bike mount, Edge remote control and silicone case is £299 / $329.

Garmin Varia RTL510

Garmin introduced its Varia rear-facing radar in 2015, which monitors approaching cars and relays that information to the rider on a handlebar-mounted screen.

The Varia works with its own monitor or with newer Edge computers. The new Varia RTL510 does the same thing but in a slimmer, vertically-oriented design instead of the original, wide Varia.

When connected to its dedicated display or a newer Edge, such as the 130 or Edge 520 Plus, the Varia delivers visible and audible alerts.

The Garmin Varia RTL510 alerts riders to vehicles approaching from behind, and doubles as a tail light
The Garmin Varia RTL510 alerts riders to vehicles approaching from behind, and doubles as a tail light

Garmin claims the radar can detect vehicles up to 153 yards away. 

The Varia RTL510 also serves as a rear tail light.

Claimed battery life is "up to" 15 hours in daytime flash mode and six hours in night flash or solid mode. 

It is available now for £169 / $199 alone or for £259 / $299 with the handlebar display.

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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