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Magene introduced L508 radar with taillight during the Eurobike fair (although Magene didn’t have its booth there).
I summarized what we know about the Magene L508 in this article. If you can’t wait to get your hands on it, you can order it from Aliexpress.
You will also learn how its technical specification compares with the Garmin Varia RTL515 I already tested.
Let’s dive in.
Magene L508 Summary
Thanks to the popularity of Varia RTL515, it was only a matter of time before other manufacturers introduced their radars with taillights.
Unfortunately for them, Garmin patented the technology, making it harder for others to get a piece of the market share.
Although it remains to be seen how the legal side of things will play out, the Magene L508 is one of the first* direct alternatives to the Varia RTL515.
*Bryton also introduced its radar with taillight on Eurobike called Gardia R300.
It brings a few new features (more about them below) and seems like a promising newcomer.
Magene L508 vs. Garmin Varia RTL515
There is no doubting the similarity between L508 and Varia RTL515. Garmin clearly inspired Magene.
So how do both radars compare in terms of technical parameters? Check out the following table.
|Feature||Magene L508||Varia RTL515|
|Dimensions||94×38×25 mm |
|Claimed battery life||6 hours solid|
8 hours peloton
10 hours flash
12 hours pulse mode
|6 hours solid
8 hours peloton
6 hours night flash
16 hours day flash
|Lumens||20 (solid + flashing mode)|
6 (peloton mode)
3-20 (pulse mode)
|20 (solid mode)
8 (peloton mode)
29 (night flash)
65 (day flash)
|Light modes||Solid, peloton, flash, pulse||Solid, peloton, night flash, day flash|
|Horizontal detection angle||40°||40°|
|Protocols||Bluetooth, ANT+||Bluetooth, ANT+|
|Buy||Check Price||Check Price
Check Price (rei.com)
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
Magene L508 looks sleeker but similar to Varia RTL515. However, I don’t think its glossy finish was a wise choice. It will probably scratch easily when cleaning off the dirt.
L508 is not compatible with Garmin mounts (if you mount it in, it will be rotated sideways).
L508 has 5 modes:
All modes are the same as on RTL515, except the ‘Pulse mode,’ which is new. It only changes the brightness of the light from dimmer to brighter.
I like that L508 comes with USB-C charging port like RCT715. RTL515 uses a MicroUSB port.
L508 can detect if you slow down. If you do, it increases the brightness of the light to warn those behind you.
The last feature I want to highlight is auto-sleep. The radar can automatically go into sleep mode after detecting your bike in a stationary position for longer than 5 minutes and automatically turns on once you start riding. Remember, this feature has to be enabled using the Magene smartphone app.
Things to Consider Before Buying Magene L508
Garmin Varia RTL515 proved to be highly reliable. Sometimes, it gives you a false positive (shows a car) but never misses one (i.e., false negative).
Except for the following review, there are no other reviews of L508 yet. Although Black Water Cyclist hasn’t experienced false negatives, his ‘mileage’ sample is relatively small.
Remember, if you buy a device like this 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.
Magene L508 FAQ
It’s great to see some competition for Garmin Varia radars finally. However, Magene is not the only company that introduced its own radar.
Bryton also introduced Gardia R300 (sounds familiar, right?) radar with a taillight on Eurobike. Specifications-wise, it should be much better than Varia RTL515, but we will have to wait for real-world tests to validate Bryton’s claims.
It will also be interesting to see if Magene or Bryton is infighting any of Garmin’s patents. It’s no secret that Varia radars’ technology is patented, so other manufacturers struggled to catch up.
But, in the end, the competition is good for the consumer. Hopefully, it will force manufacturers to innovate and improve their products or reduce prices.
What do you think about the new Magene L508 radar with taillight? Let me know in the comments.