- by James Hutchison
- Published: 26 May 2016
I’m a data junky, I admit it. If it’s live data, I like it even better. After publishing a review of the Bryton 310 and 100, BNA publisher Christopher sent me a Bryton 100E so I could provide you all with a second opinion. I fired up Strava, put my wonderfully informative Garmin 305 to the side, and rode off in search of the warm and fuzzy feelings that data gives me.
Get it out
Small; that was my first thought. Not undersized, but small. The difference between the Bryton the Garmin was rather obvious. The Garmin is 4.4 x 9.4 x 2.3cm. The Bryton 100E is listed as 3.98 x 6.05 x 1.65cm and clearly looks and feels significantly smaller. The larger Bryton 310E (which I am not reviewing here) is closer in size to the Garmin 305, however.
Unboxing delivered no surprises and as expected the package contained: the unit itself, a brief manual, a USB cable for data connection and recharging, the mounting unit, and three pairs of rubber O-rings for strapping to your stem or bars.
The unit uses a simple mounting system as revealed in the original review; loop a pair of rubber O-rings to strap on the mount, twist the cycle computer 90 degrees onto the mount, and it’s locked. It is a solid connection and for the duration of the review never looked like slipping or falling off. And yes, you can put it on sideways if you don’t pay attention. Not so much an issue, more of a minor quibble, albeit one that involves another five seconds of work to correct. My Garmin 305 has the older slide-on Garmin mount, in comparison the newer twist mounts are a relief and they feel more secure.
Set it up (simple)
The Bryton first wants to know a few things about you, some pertinent measurements so that it can provide more accurate ride data. While setting the user profile and bike profile is fairly simple it is also time-consuming as there are only three buttons and you have to take care to press the right one at the right time.
The User Profile requires inputs for Gender, Birthday, Height in cm, Weight in kg, Max Heart Rate (HR) and Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR).
The Bike Profile requires inputs for Speed Source, which provides the choice of GPS, Speed/CAD (cadence sensor) or Speed (speed sensor). Also required are bike weight in kg, and wheel circumference in millimetres. Fortunately, Bryton have a table in the paper manual which displays the most popular wheel sizes.
There is only 1 User Profile, but 2 Bike Profile slots available. If you use your device for analysis, then setting and switching is going to assist you. Input data for Bike 1 and Bike 2 then use the Bryton on both. This may be helpful if you run sensors on one bike and rely only on GPS on another. Or perhaps if you have a heavy commuter and a lightweight Sunday bike. While having two different wheel sizes is less of an issue with GPS-enabled tracking, the option exists to change it between profiles. This would help give accurate power and calorie information based on the User and Bike profile information, to avoid you thinking you’ve burned a thousand calories when you did half that.
Five to ten minutes should have you ready with all your info input and ready to roll.
Or it can help you develop a complex…
Out of the box the unit has three ‘data pages’ (screens) of information to scroll through. On start-up, the main screen shows:
Current speed, ride time and distance
Two more pages of data give you:
Average speed, trip time and Trip 1 odometer
Max speed, time of day, and total odometer
You are certainly not overwhelmed with information on screen by default. Unless you’re bit of a live data junkie, then this is not going to worry you. The Bryton 100 is the little brother and so doesn’t record and display temperature, altitude and power data like the Bryton 310.
I spotted an error in the original review on Bicycles Network Australia which suggested that the onscreen data can’t be edited. In fact, you can modify the data pages to suit with more info, less info or different info. You can configure up to 5 screens worth of information, which would be a lot to scroll through on the go. There is an ‘Auto Scroll’ feature that will switch between pages/screens at a pre-set interval, which may appeal to some people.
It does have Bluetooth and ANT+ capability to connect to external sensor devices, but as I don’t run anything like this, I have not looked into this feature.
You can also go as far as setting exercises and laps in the unit, for example if you do a regular loop and want guidance to race or train against yourself.
Put to good use
Like the Garmin, the Bryton 100 occasionally seems to take a few minutes to locate the GPS signals. The unit has three GPS settings: Full Power, PowerSave and Off. I have been using it on PowerSave, which may be why it takes a few minutes. Turn it on before you put your socks or helmet on and it is usually active by the time you throw your leg over the bike. Cloudy days are more problematic than clear days though, which is not unusual in my experience.
It will beep to prompt you to start when it senses movement and it also has an auto-pause feature. This is set by default to ‘no’, but is nice to activate, so as not to blow out your average speed, and make you look bad.
The cycle computer records plenty of information and you will recognise this after you import your ride data from the unit into Strava. A quick test with the Bryton 100 and the Strava Android App gave very similar results:
All 3 devices were started together. The Garmin is set to auto-pause below 5km/h (walking pace), which possibly accounts for the time discrepancy over the test. The Bryton measured over a kilometre shorter than the Strava app, despite both being GPS tracked. The Garmin has generally been closer to Strava in terms of distance during the period I was using both, so I don’t know why it’s 1km shorter this time.
The energy results were vastly different, even with user data input the same or similar. 132Cal (more accurately kcal) is approximately 550kJ, which means Strava and the Garmin are mostly in agreement there, but the Bryton has overestimated at 377kCal (1550kJ).
Why the difference? Different algorithms, probably. If you are using any of these as a tracking tool for energy expenditure, you will need to determine the accuracy levels that satisfy yourself. I would not feel happy using the result from the Bryton as it has appeared, given its difference to the others.
I habitually charge my Garmin every 3 weeks, regardless of use. The Bryton barely shows a battery drop after 2 weeks of use (about 8 hours), which you would probably expect, given stated battery life is 25 hours. Until it goes flat or I forget to charge it, I can’t really comment on the accuracy of the claim. Like many manufacturer’s weight claims, battery life can be a little optimistic, so time will tell.
As a foray into the GPS-located world of bicycle devices, the Bryton 100 is a good start. For those who seek active data or feedback while riding, it may, however, be a little dry. And for those who want a rich display of numbers, it may be a little small.
If the screen was a larger, I think it would just about consign the Garmin 305 to backup duties. Another $40 for the 310 appears to be worthwhile budgetary stretch if you need some display size. I’ve not really found much this unit cannot do that the bigger (and older) Garmin 305 does, aside from altitude.
All that for $109! For a GPS-enabled device with this level of information, the Bryton 100 is quite keenly priced.
Do you or don’t you?
Consider buying the Bryton 100 if:
- You are moving to GPS-enabled hardware for the first time
- You are upgrading from an older unit on a limited budget
- You want to capture ride data and are satisfied with a smaller display