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NOTE: I originally wrote this review based on my experience with the Gardia R300 demo unit. I have updated it based on new knowledge and experience with the Gardia R300L and the latest firmware.
Bryton introduced the Gardia R300L radar with taillight during the Eurobike 2022 fair. And while Magene L508 was already several months on the market, Bryton officially launched Gardia on the 22nd of March, 2023. These ‘new’ cycling radars compete with the established Varia RTL515.
I found Gardia for sale in a few Italian online stores, so I bought it. I just received it and started working on the review. When taking pictures, I noticed that I received a DEMO unit. Later, I found out that it does not receive firmware updates.
So, I reached out to Bryton, described the issue, and got a new, final production unit from them.
Bryton Gardia R300L Summary
Competition is good for consumers. Varia RTL515 had no competitor for a long time. Now it has two new ones.
This should help to improve the bike radars’ quality and eventually reduce their price. Furthermore, we will have more options to choose from.
So, how does Gardia R300L differ from Varia RTL515? It claims to have longer battery life, more light modes, a better mount, and more. I will compare them below.
By the way, they have pretty similar names, huh?
Bryton Gardia R300L Setup
Then, you have to pair the radar with your head unit. The process is the same as pairing any other sensor.
Unlike the Magene app, the Bryton app can visualize the traffic (like the Varia Radar app).
UPDATE: The Magene app can also visualize traffic after a software update.
You can also use it to change multiple settings (like the alerts) and learn more about available light modes.
My Experience with Gardia R300/R300L
Below, I summarized the pros and cons of Bryton Gardia R300L.
Gardia R300L Radar Pros
- Stable mount
- Increased sense of safety
- Brake light
- Changes the light pattern during the entire overtaking period
- Auto sleep feature
- Long battery life
- USB-C charging port
- Improves side visibility as well
- It remembers the last used light mode
Gardia R300L Radar Cons
- Light modes are not customizable
- Low maximum detecting speed
- More false positives than Varia
- Worse multi-object detection than Varia
I used Gardia for about 200-300 km together with Garmin Varia. I placed Gardia on the seatpost and the Varia on my helmet to avoid signal interference.
Both radars detect them at basically the same time. However, while shooting a video review, I noticed that Gardia is not as accurate at detecting multiple cars. I tested this by pointing it at a highway with more traffic.
Later, I discovered that its maximum relative detecting speed is 10 to 120 km/h (6 to 74 mph). It couldn’t detect cars going faster than 120 km/h.
Anyway, it never missed a car within its capabilities. It only gave a false positive (showed a non-existent car) a few times per ride. I don’t consider that a major problem. But these false positives are more frequent than on Varia RTL515. I get them about as many times as with Magene L508.
NOTE: The R300 demo unit gave more false positives than the R300L with the latest firmware.
But what about battery life? I tested the battery life in day-flash mode, which is probably the mode most people will use the radar in.
After the first 4-hour ride, it looked like it could reach 16 hours (the remaining capacity was about 80%). Unfortunately, the battery started to drain faster and faster.
All in all, I got down to about 11 hours and 40 minutes. Compared to the supposed 17 hours, this was quite disappointing.
It’s worth adding that I tested the radar in temperatures around 41°F (5°C). So, lower temperatures may have affected the battery life. On the other hand, the 2-year-old Varia lasted about 9 and a half hours in similar conditions.
Battery life aside, I like the design of the Gardia and its app, and I am happy with the mount. It’s very solid and doesn’t need to be adjusted in any way while riding, even after cobblestones.
I will continue using Gardia to catch some bits here and there. However, the value you get for your money is adequate. The Gardia suffers most from real battery life that is much shorter than claimed.
Bryton Gardia R300L vs. Garmin Varia RTL515
The following table summarizes the technical specifications of Gardia R300L and Varia RTL515.
|Feature||Bryton Gardia R300 (Eurobike 2022 specs)||Bryton Gardia R300L |
|Dimensions||97×20.9×40 mm |
|97×20.9×40 mm |
|Claimed battery life||9 hours high solid|
12 hours low solid
10 hours group ride (peloton)
22 hours night flash
27 hours day flash
|8 hours high solid (20 lumens)|
12 hours low solid (5 lumens)
11 hours group ride (peloton)
17 hours night flash (12 lumens)
17 hours day flash (73 lumens)
24 hours radar only
|6 hours solid
8 hours peloton
6 hours night flash
16 hours day flash
|Real battery life||n/a||11 hours and 40 minutes in the day flash mode||9 hours and 30 minutes in the day flash mode¹|
|Lumens||Up to 65||Up to 73||20 (solid mode)
8 (peloton mode)
29 (night flash)
65 (day flash)
|Light modes||High/low solid, group ride (peloton), flash, no light||High/low solid, group ride (peloton), flash, no light||Solid, peloton, night flash, day flash|
|Detecting distance||Up to 190 m||Up to 190 m²||Up to 140 m|
|Relative detecting speed||10 to 120 km/h |
(6 to 74 mph)
|10 to 160 km/h |
(6 to 99 mph)
|10 to 120 km/h
(6 to 74 mph)
|Horizontal detection angle||n/a||n/a||40°|
|Protocols||Bluetooth, ANT+||Bluetooth, ANT+||Bluetooth, ANT+|
|Buy||Not available for sale yet||Check Price||Check Price
Check Price (rei.com)
Check Price (wiggle.com)
The actual specs are based on a product description from Italian online stores.
¹About two years old unit. The battery depreciation probably influenced the battery life.
²Doesn't correspond to reality. The detecting distance is about 140 m.
And here are the specifications directly from the information booklet. The Bryton website (and R300L booklet) states a radar range of 190 m. However, my testing has not proven it. Gardia detects cars at the same time as Varia and Magene (~140m).
Bryton Gardia R300L is a little larger than Varia RTL515 but pretty similar.
It’s not compatible with Garmin mounts because Bryton uses its own mounts.
Gardia R300L has 6 modes:
- High solid [20 lumens]
- Low solid [5 lumens]
- Group ride [12 lumens]
- Night flash [12 lumens]
- Day flash [73 lumens]
- LED off (radar only)
The light changes its flash pattern when you are overtaken by a car and then returns to the selected light mode. And, by the way, the R300L also has a brake light that activates when you start braking.
Check out this in-depth comparison of Gardia R300L vs. Varia RTL515 vs. Magene L508.
Things to Consider Before Buying Bryton Gardia R300L (or Any Other Bike Radar)
Garmin Varia RTL515 is highly reliable. That’s exactly what you should expect from a bike radar.
Varia radars may give you false positives, meaning they show a car that’s not there. But they never miss one (false negative).
Remember, if you buy a device like a cycling radar, you should have zero tolerance for false negatives. But you also shouldn’t 100% rely on Varia (or other radars) and use your other senses while riding.
Based on my testing, Gardia R300L proved to be reliable, but it gave more false positives than Varia.
Bryton Gardia R300L FAQ
The MSRP of the Gardia R300L is $129.99 (129.95€), which means it’s cheaper than Varia while offering better specs on paper.
I love its boxy design and the sturdy mount, which keeps radar stable even when riding on harsh roads and cobblestones.
Although my testing showed that the real battery life is far behind the claimed battery life (11 hours 40 minutes vs. 17 hours), I think R300L still provides great value for the money.
It reliably detects vehicles, and I didn’t get any false negatives during my
2 weeks months of experience.
On the other hand, the number of false positives is higher than on Varia, and the multi-object detection is far less accurate. Gardia also has a lower maximum relative detecting speed of 120 km/h, so it won’t detect cars riding faster than this limit.
It’s great Garmin Varia RTL515 has new competitors. I believe it will lead to more innovations and improvements in future bicycle radars and, eventually, more competitive pricing.