Trek CARBACK Smart Rear Radar Tail Light Opinion

Trek CARBACK Smart Rear Radar Tail Light – Opinion

Trek’s new CARBACK smart light-cum-radar is a me-too product in the mould of Garmin Varia and other offerings from Bryton (Gardia R300L) and Magene (L508).

Trek sets itself a hard task, pricing in line with the Garmin Varia RTL515 – the best-in-class product. I use the Varia and I recommend it because I don’t want to die. These types of products have to nail safety with a very large, sharp and pointy nail – ideally hit with a sledgehammer.

Let’s start with the specifications


Trek CARBACK specifications

The specs are in line with the competition but not quite as good as Garmin’s.  For example, Garmin boasts a superior 16 hours battery life in day flash mode but brightness is similar between the two.

  • Size: 70 x 50 x 30mm
  • Weight: 70g
  • Tail light brightness: up to 90 lumens
    • Trek: Day Flash 90LM, Day Steady 25LM, Night Steady 5LM and Night Flash 5 LM vs
    • Garmin: 20 lm (solid mode) 8 lm (peloton mode) 29 lm (night flash mode) 65 lm (day flash mode)

  • Radar detection range: up to 240m
  • Visibility: up to 2 km away
  • Over 7 hours of usage time:
  • Battery: lithium-polymer, 3.7V 2,000mAh
  • Charging time: 4 hours
  • Charging Port: USB Type-C
  • Wireless connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth
  • Waterproof rating: IPX7
  • Recommended selling price: $199.9, £170

Perhaps the nicest feature Trek introduced is the battery charge indicator, a series of green LEDs on the side. I can’t count the number of times I ride worrying about the state of the Garmin Varia battery. I could have avoided that had I reliably known the battery charge when starting out.


I haven’t tested the Trek and don’t have one. I don’t plan to formally review one unless Trek sends me a media loaner.

Check out GPLAMA’s Youtube video HERE where he doubts the 240m distance claims made by Trek.

Another light worth checking out for handy installation and good day time awareness is the Ravemen FR160 reviewed here.


Whilst the price point is not unreasonable in the general sense, the features and performance needed at that price point are lacking. The battery charge LEDs on the side are nice and it looks nice. But Trek should have made a larger unit holding a MUCH larger battery that could deliver over 20 hours of in-ride usage time. Trek perhaps also should have considered adding a PELOTON (low light) mode and also included an accelerometer to act as a trigger for a brake light – both the Magene L508 and Bryton do this.


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