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Bryton introduced the Gardia R300 radar with taillight during the Eurobike 2022 fair. And while Magene L508 is already on the market,
Gardia’s launch is expected in 2023. Bryton officially launched it on the 22nd of March, 2023.
These ‘new’ cycling radars will compete with the established Varia RTL515.
Recently, 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. I’m not sure what the final difference between the demo and production unit will be, but the design and main features are expected to remain unchanged.
However, according to the product description (and its manual), the specifications differ from those released at Eurobike 2022.
Continue reading for more info.
Bryton Gardia R300 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 R300 differs 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 R300 Setup
Bryton developed the Bryton Gardia app (for iOS and Android) that you can use for setting the radar. It’s super simple and intuitive.
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
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.
I connected both to different bike computers (Karoo 2 and Edge 830) to watch how quickly they would detect vehicles.
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.
Anyway, Gardia never missed any cars. It only gave a false positive (showed a non-existent car) a few times per ride. I don’t consider that a major problem. These false positives were more frequent than on Varia RTL515 but less frequent than on the Magene L508.
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 dice.
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 R300 vs. Garmin Varia RTL515
The following table summarizes the technical specifications of Gardia R300 and Varia RTL515.
|Feature||Bryton Gardia R300 (Eurobike 2022 specs)||Bryton Gardia R300 |
|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|
|Horizontal detection angle||n/a||n/a||40°|
|Protocols||Bluetooth, ANT+||Bluetooth, ANT+||Bluetooth, ANT+|
|Buy||Not available for sale yet||Check Price(Amazon UK)||Check Price
Check Price (rei.com)
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
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.
And here are the specifications directly from the information booklet.
UPDATE: The Bryton website states a radar range of 190 m. However, my testing didn’t prove this range to be correct. Gardia detects cars at the same time as Varia and Magene (~150m).
Bryton Gardia R300 is a little larger than Varia RTL515 but pretty similar.
It’s not compatible with Garmin mounts because Bryton uses its own mounts.
Gardia R300 has 6 modes:
- High solid [20 lumens]
- Low solid [5 lumens]
- Group ride (probably the same mode as Peloton mode) [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.
Things to Consider Before Buying Bryton Gardia R300 (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 R300 proved to be reliable, but it gave more false positives than Varia.
Bryton Gardia R300 FAQ
The MSRP of the Gardia R300 should be 129.95€. Although Bryton didn’t unveil the price for the US market (yet), considering the current exchange rate, it will probably be similar.
This means Gardia should be cheaper than Varia while offering better specs.
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 R300 still provides great value for the money.
It reliably detects vehicles, and I didn’t get any false negatives during my
2 weeks month of experience. (I will continue testing it and update this review eventually.)
It’s also great Garmin Varia RTL515 has new competitors. I believe it will lead to more innovations and improvements in future bicycle radars, eventually, more competitive pricing.
Finally, I want to emphasize that I tested the DEMO unit. The production unit may behave differently (e.g., due to newer firmware or other changes I do not know about).
32 thoughts on “Bryton Gardia R300 Review: Is It Better than Varia?”
Looking forward to hearing information about when these will be available in Australia. Hopefully it’ll work well with the Bryton 420.
Also, I think you’ve made a typo:
>But they never miss one (false positive).
>…you should have zero tolerance for false positives.
I think you meant false negative?
Yes, the specs look promising, but maybe too ambitious. We will see.
Yes, thanks for pointing this out! I forgot to fix it. 🙂
Hi Forrest, check out the updated review. 🙂
How did you recognize that you received a demo unit? As the Gardia R300 finally is available in Mantel I hope the European rollout will be soon.
Thx for the upcoming review updates 🙂
It’s written on the side of the unit. Check out the pictures. 🙂
When you write that “I noticed that Gardia is not as accurate at detecting multiple cars” exactly what did you mean? When there are multiple cars, does it only show one? Does it ever not show the next car when it becomes the first in line?
Did you compare Gardia’s rate of false positives to Varia’s? Any difference?
Finally, does the Gardia have a mode where it blinks faster when cars are approaching, similar to what Varia does?
Thanks for doing the review, the first I’ve seen of Gardia!
Thanks for your questions. Yes, I believe this is the first review. 🙂
It’s hard to describe but let me try. 😀 I was above the highway (on a bridge), so I could see 3 cars in a row, for example. But Gardia detected the first two and the third after a while. Due to their speed, the first disappeared from the screen (once it was outside the view field) and only the 2 left. Varia could detect all three at once. Their movement on the screen was more accurate and predictable. I am working on a video review where this should be visible.
Yes, the rate of false positives is higher than Varia but lower than Magene L508.
Yes, it does. It will also be visible in the video review.
Is this device compatible with Garmin? I mean can you switch the modi with the Garmin menu?
yes, it’s compatible with Garmin, Wahoo, and other bike computers. However, those who allow changing modes from the screen are limited to a few light modes only (they don’t display all light modes). To switch between them, it’s better to use the power button.
Thank you. I have an Edge 830. I think I can switch the modi with a Varia 515, or not? I think about buying the Bryton instead. Can I switch the (some) modi? When you switch it with the power button, you do not see which modi you have in cycling.
You can switch between solid, flash, and ‘light off’ modes, but not all 6 modes. For example, Gardia has “day flash” and “night flash”. You can’t switch between them from Garmin.
I hope it’s more clear now. 🙂
Let me know if you have any questions.
It’s a little bit more clear. But what modi is f.e. solid? is it high or low? Is light off radar only or standby?
You know what I mean?
Solid seems like day solid, flash like day flash, and off is probably radar only.
Thanks, Petr, for your very helpful insights.
I am having trouble with my Varia RTL510’s battery. Looks like there is no way to replace it easily without possibly destroying the casing. So apparently, I am in the market for a new radar. Do you have any sense that the Gardia’s might be user replaceable? Or is it also factory-sealed like the Garmin? (I have the same question about the Magene L508.)
Thank you. 🙂
All radars are sealed, so battery replacement won’t be easy. Have you tried contacting Garmin for a possible replacement?
thank you for the review and usefull information. It is very helpfull.
I would ask you how the Gardia R300 blinks when it detects cars.
I saw the video review of Magele L508 from GPLama and there was a difference between Magene L508 and Varia RTL515.
If the Varia detects the first car, the radar begins to blink fast and bright until all clears. That means if there are more cars, it will blink the whole time.
The Magene L508 blinks fast and bright just few seconds after it detects the first car and then returns to the mormal function despite the fact, that there are multiple cars.
In this case, the second and the next cars are not warned.
You can see it here: https://youtu.be/HdCNEXyeXPM?t=504
Can you please check how the Gardia R300 behaves?
Thank you. 🙂
Gardia behaves like Varia. You can actually see it in my video review (time stamp added).
However, I am actually not sure whether the different pattern is for the entire duration of being overtaken (I think it is). I will double-check it once I am outside.
Let me know if you have any questions.
I buyed the Gardia in Italy. I have some questions:
1. How to update the firmware? I have 0.7.6 installed (Garmin Edge 830 says 17.00?!?)
2. How to change some modi with the Garmin Edge? The light modi in the Garmin menu is deactivated. I’m only sabe to witch the modi in the light network. You have 4 options, but they are all nearly the same: automatic, “Gute Sichtbarkeit” (in German), trail and individual. All is a high flash light but only in individual you can switch manual on the light.
3. Is there a modi that the light only flashes if a car will be measured?
4. The modi high or low flash is nearly the same? Both are extremly light!
1. You can update the firmware using the Bryton Gardia app.
2. There is a specific (widget) page in Garmin Edge bike computers. 🙂
3. I think when you have the ‘radar only,’ the light starts to flash when a car is approaching.
4. Yes, the difference is not as visible.
sorry I found it. You have to set up the light to individual, then you can swith ALL modi. But it’s only possible to switch them in the Light-Menu. No chance with fast start or in the bike computer sites or not?
I am sorry, I don’t understand your question.
In the Garmin Edge menu for the lights, you can set the light network to “Trail”, “Automatic”, “Best visibility” or “Individual”, for example. You can only use the lamp modes if you set to “Individual”. Otherwise the field is greyed out.
And you’re right, if the “Radar only, i.e. lights off” mode is on, it only flashes when a vehicle is approaching, I just tested that.
What’s the name of the widget? Do you have to download it or is it a build-in app?
Ok, then there seems to be no newer firmware than 0.7.6. There is no option to check for new firmware in the Bryton app itself. But in the “manual” it says that when you start it is searched.
The device is really cool, thanks for the explanations.
Oh, I see. But still, it doesn’t give you access to all light modes. Using the power button is easier and faster.
I mean the menu in the Garmin Edge, no 3rd party widget. 🙂
I have R0.8.6 firmware. The Gardia app offered an update automatically.
You are welcome, Stefan. 🙂
You are right, today I also have R0.8.6 firmware. But without changelog. But the device is really nice. Only the Bryton-App is terrible. But I use it standalone or with my Garmin.
Yes, it is without a changelog. :-/ What do you don’t like about it? It’s much better designed than Varia app, in my opinion.
Well the app is terribly translated into German. Ok, I can live with that. But e.g. for the firmware update cancel and update was the same wording (I think “cancel” or something like that and I had to guess what updating really means).
The app is also closed if no light is connected and you click on “Manage Guardian”. Sometimes the lamp is not found and only very slowly.
Which is also very illogical: In my Android menu: left arrow actually means a menu/step back. But this button also exits the app. In itself, the app already works, but in my opinion relatively illogical and sometimes very buggy.
Oh. I use it on iOS and it works flawlessly. 🙂
Hello! I’m wondering if Bryton works with the Garmin IQ app (traffic app).
I haven’t tested it, to be honest. I will try it and let you know.
I testet the Gardia yesterday outdoors with my Garmin Egde 830.
– no car was missed, only 2, but I was on a bike path and 2 meters below the car and one car was immediately behind me after turning.
– The “Radar only” mode works perfectly when there is a vehicle behind, then the light comes on.
– Battery life
What’s not so good:
– You can switch all of the Guardia’s light modes in the Edge, but that’s only possible in the nested light menu. So far I haven’t found an IQ app or widget that is direct and faster.
– The display is delayed, almost always the car is already over, but is still displayed behind it.
– There is no yellow visual warning. It’s just red and green. I find that a bit illogical. It’s almost always red, it doesn’t matter how fast the car approaches.
– The detecting multiple cars is not very reliable.
– So far I haven’t found a way to statistically evaluate the traffic on Garmin Connect. Apparently this is a proprietary functionality that is only supported by Varia. It should actually work, but my unit didn’t save any traffic data (I uploaded the fit-file to mybiketraffic.com).
– Once the Guardia recognized a crash barrier as a vehicle(s). But it was downhill in a long curve and it was only once.
I have one addition:
Sometimes, but very rarely, a car will be recognized as 2-3. I think the Varia is probably better in this discipline. But the light modes and cheaper price make the Guardia a very good alternative. Hopefully the detection will be improved with future FW updates.
Thanks for sharing your experience! I might add a few details to my review. 🙂 But except for that, I think our conclusions are pretty similar.