Trek CarBack Bike Radar Detects Oncoming Cars Up to 240 Meters Away


Garmin offers arguably the best bike radar out there with their Varia series, which integrate a radar and camera into a bicycle’s tail light. Of course, they’re not the only player in the space, with outfits like Magicshine and Brighton also offering similar bike safety systems. The Trek CarBack is the latest to join the fray.

A bike taillight with an integrated radar, the device sits on the back of your ride, providing rear visibility for the bike and detecting any nearby vehicles, similar to other existing bike radars. So why not just get one of Garmin’s models? Unlike Garmin, this one is compatible with most bike computers in the market, so you can use it, whether you use a Garmin, Wahoo, or some other device as a GPS head unit.

The Trek CarBack is designed to mount on your seat post, much like a regular bike tail light, where it provides rear lighting that keeps you visible to motorists on the road. It has four light modes, namely Night Steady (five lumens), Night Flash (five lumens), Day Steady (25 lumens), and Day Flash (90 lumens). If you’re familiar with Trek, then you probably make some of the more popular daytime running lights in the market right now, with the integrated tail light here offering daytime visibility for up to 2km away (1.2 miles).

The built-in bike radar, on the other hand, sends continuous pulses that will then echo off any vehicle situated behind the bike. Once those echoes come back, the system then extrapolates the distance of each vehicle and how fast they’re closing in, allowing it to collect you a pretty accurate estimate of the traffic situation behind you. According to the outfit, the radar can detect vehicles from up to 240 meters (780 feet) away, so it should be able to easily recognize when one is about to come up right behind you and alert you accordingly.

The Trek CarBack can provide two types of alerts: audible alarms and a visual display. The source of the alarm will depend on what kind of device you paired with your bike radar (it has both ANT+ and Bluetooth), since it’s compatible with most bike computers and smartphones via a companion app (iOS and Android). The audible alarm plays out immediately as it detects oncoming vehicles nearby, which should prompt you to move your bike to the side to give way. For the visual cues, it actually shows a graphic of the oncoming vehicles and their speed of approach, so you can time your move a bit better. On smartphones, the visual takes up the entire screen, while on bike computers, it’s shown as a small strip on the side.

It’s IPX7 waterproof, by the way, so you can just keep it on the bike even in inclement weather conditions. Other features include a compact profile that allows it to fit comfortably even when you use saddle bags, an LED battery gauge on the device (so you have an idea how much charge it has left), and a USB-C charging time of four hours.

The Trek CarBack is available now, priced at $199.99.

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