When it comes to cycle computers, there are plenty of contenders on the market who can do the same job for less if you are prepared look beyond Garmin. Bryton is one of these brands and they have a competitive range for cyclists and runners who want data without too many extras. The Taiwanese brand started in 2010 and have since built a healthy distribution in Australia, now boasting 200 Australian bike shops as Bryton dealers.
But the brand had a rocky start, in Australia they switched distributers early on and in 2011 Garmin took them to court for copyright infringement, the result was that the case was settled “favourably” for Bryton (whatever that means) and Bryton stopped selling in the USA for a few years.
In December 2015, Bryton released two new models, the Rider 310 and Rider 100 GPS Cycle Computers which promise to improve the user experience by simplifying everything, keeping the computers competitively priced and adding ‘workouts’ (training programs).
The smartly packaged cycle computers each come in a number of packages from just the cycle computer or with additional sensors; a cadence sensor, a heart rate monitor, or both the heart rate monitor and cadence sensor. As the computers use ANT+, you can connect your own sensors and opt for just the computer. For this review I received the Rider 310 T and Rider 100 T which each have the cadence sensor and heart rate monitor (HRM).
The two units appear to differ solely in overall size and screen size though a closer look at the specs reveals that the larger unit, the Rider 310 has additional temperature, altitude and power data functionality. The Rider 310 has a 1.8” screen while the smaller Rider 100 shaves 1/3 off and has a 1.6” screen.
The Rider 310 (right) is slightly larger and has a few more features
The configurations and regular retail pricing (AUD) are as follows:
$109 Rider 100 E
$149 Rider 100 C (Cadence Sensor)
$229 Rider 100 T (Cadence Sensor & HRM)
$149 Rider 310 E
$189 Rider 310 C (Cadence Sensor)
$269 Rider 310 T (Cadence Sensor & HRM)
Rider Out of the Box
The setup and operation of the two models is mostly identical. To get started, fire up the cycle computer by pressing the orange button and then choose language and select from metric or imperial measurements. During setup on the Rider 310 you are also asked for personal data including gender, height, weight and age which the computer uses for some of the calculations (such as calories).
Personal details can be changed in the settings
I was asked for my LTHR, a value I don’t know and assume that many cyclists either won’t know their LTHR or what Lactate Threshold Heart Rate means and how they can get this value. As a reference, Joel Friel provides a simple overview how to determine your LTHR.
The bike computer comes with a mount that fits directly onto the stem or handlebar with O-Rings. There is an out-front style mount which can be purchased separately (or as a bundle). The Bryton mount is individual so can’t be used with Garmin compatible mounts.
Bryton O-Ring mount allow it to fit the stem or handlebars
The Rider 100 is compact and easy to use
Setting up the cadence sensor is straight forward – there are two parts, the receiver is mounted with the supplied cable ties onto the chain-stay while a magnet is mounted onto the crank and aligned to the receiver. A small green LED light blinks when the sensor is moved past the receiver unit. It is important to ensure the receiver is orientated in the correct direction – so take extra care with this before tightening the cable-ties as you can get it wrong. While I was setting up I noticed that one of the cable-ties was faulty and though I have a stash of spares, I always appreciate it when a few extra’s are provided.
Alignment of the cadence sensor on the chain-stay
The heart rate monitor has an elastic strap and detachable HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) unit. Finding the right length and fit for the strap is about making sure that it isn’t too tight or loose, and also overcoming that feeling that it will slip down when you breath out and your rib cage contracts. Connecting the computer to the sensors was automatic, the HRM was already paired and the cadence sensor appeared and registered quickly.
The Heart Rate Monitor and the Cadence Sensor both use a CR 2032 battery which are supplied. The Cadence Sensor has a plastic insert which needs to be removed first.
The HRM unit easily detaches so that the strap can be washed separately
For the handlebar mount, both a thin and a thick rubber wedge are provided to allow for some height adjustment as well as plenty of o-rings. The mount is reliable and solid, though I will explain later why I prefer an out-front style mount. Overall, the Bryton cycle computers appear to be well made. You will also notice the subtle integration of the speech-bubble design on the front face which has become a bit of a trademark design seen throughout the Bryton range.
The units are IPX7 rated so there should not be any concerns riding in pouring rain. That said, prior to publishing, the waterproof flap covering the mini USB port on the Rider 100 unit came out unnoticed. These moving parts can be to be susceptible and as it couldn’t easily be replaced, I now need to seek advice from Bryton.
The waterproof flap on the Rider 100 was suddenly off
KISS – Keep It Simple Silly
Bryton CEO, Samuel Wang announced during the launch of these new cycle computers, “Technology itself does not revolutionize the cycling computer market; the great and relevant user experience innovations on top of technologies will.”
From this comment I assume that the units should be intuitive – in practice they are fairly intuitive but it requires learning by doing as the three buttons at the base of the unit have different functionality depending on what you are doing… are you riding or adjusting the settings? It isn’t complicated – however as an instruction manual for operating the computers is not supplied, you will probably make a few mistakes along the way. As an example, while riding I didn’t notice that I clicked onto the next display screen which shows average speed and average heart rate and I wondered, while slogging up a hill, why my heart rate was so consistent.
Both the Rider 310 and Rider 100 feature the same button layout
Let’s take a look at the operation of the buttons – the orange button in the middle is flanked by a grey button left and right, all fairly accessible and it is best to separate the functionality while riding (and recording) and the functionality for selecting settings and options.
You guessed it, the orange button turns the cycle computer on and another click starts the recording of a new trip – however this button doesn’t stop the recording. If you click the orange button while it is recording, it creates a new lap which is useful to gather averages from a specific segments of your ride.
The left button pauses the recording – to then continue recording (after wiping the milk moustache from your lips and mounting our bike), press the orange button. However if you wish to stop recording entirely, you click the left button a second time and are presented with an alert – do you REALLY want to stop? Toggle with the right button from NO to YES and then confirm by clicking the orange button. Got it?
The right buttom is the toggle/page button and changes the between three screens available which display ride data.
When the computer is not recording, the left button is clicked to access the settings/options. Inside the menu system, the left button is used to return to the previous (parent) menu. The orange button is pressed to confirm any changes while the right button is used to scroll through pages or options.
This sounds pretty easy, though expect a small learning curve as you become familiar with operating the unit.
The settings and option menu
You are now ready to go – this is all you need to know to get out there and start using the main functions. If you are signed up to STRAVA, after your ride you can connect the supplied micro USB cable to your computer and can then drag the .fit file (which is dated and located in the main director) across to Strava. As a trip, rather than clicking the upload button and trying to search for the file, drag the file from the Bryton unit (which is mounted and appears on your desktop) directly onto the upload file button. TCX or GPX files are not recorded and are also not necessary.
Update: Blutooth paired uploading can also be used to transfer files.
Micro USB port and mounting tab
Uploading the .fit files to Strava is straight-forward
Let’s Get Physical
The Rider 310 has a workout section inside the settings which lets you tailor training programs which Bryton names Workouts. This is may be useful for competitive cyclists and will take some patience to setup. I started to trial this and training guidance and information is delivered via on-screen visual alerts. This format may appeal to some riders, though it just doesn’t provide me with the excitement or motivation I want. For the majority of cyclists (myself included), this feature will likely be ignored.
The Workout menu
The Bryton Update Tool software for your computer appears to provide a better interface for uploading, downloading and editing Workouts. After downloading it onto my mac, I was prevented from opening the application installer. A security alert said the software was from an “unidentified developer”. While there are ways to bypass this, I prefer software to at least appear legitimate so my lack of patience got the better of me and I conceded.
Instead of having the Workout feature, I would have preferred to have options to customise the display of on-screen data. Currently I am limited to toggling between three pre-defined screens on both the Rider 310 and Rider 100. Although the display automatically adapts to display data from added sensors (such as the HRM or Cadence Sensor), I have no further control. There appears to be some customisation options if you set training goals though this doesn’t help me when I just want to ride.
Screen 1 display without any sensors detected
Screen 1 display with HRM and Cadence Sensor data
The Altitude feature of the Rider 310 feature is nice, particularly for the hilly part of Sydney where I ride. Strava however pinpointed a discrepancy in the elevation data supplied by the unit so this required a closer look. As manual is not provide in the box which is a plus (things should be intuitive and simply work), I turned to the online user guides which is available in many languages. The English Rider 310 User Guide s fairly good, though for the description of the Altitude it was a bit like lost in translation.
I think I understand how the Altitude setup works
In short, I need to know the altitude in the location I am in and can then create series of presets or defaults if I wish to ‘calibrate’ to other locations. A handy online website whatismyelevation.com was useful for acquiring elevation and I used this information to create a default – 88 metres.
On the flipside, if altitude data is not required while you ride and you opt for the smaller unit, the Rider 100, you can still view altitude data after uploading your rides to Strava.
Do you or Don’t You?
Before providing any recommendations, let’s briefly discuss the mounts. As already noted, the included mounts work well however the reason I prefer an out-front mount is because I find it easier and faster to take in ride data. The 10 centimetres difference between a stem mounted cycle computer and out-front mounted computer is enough to make a small different, particularly when the Bryton starts cramming in all of the sensor data onto the screen and the display becomes crowded.
Overall, the computers are very competitively priced and provide the standard requirements and good connectivity with sensors. Except for the flap coming off on the Rider 100, I didn’t face problems during the short time frame though will report back after spending more time with the computers.
My biggest grip is not being able to customise the data on the display to suit my preferences as the overcrowding of the screen, as more sensors and data is added, makes it harder to read at a glance. And although the Altitude user guide was a little ambiguous, this is still a feature which would sway me towards the Rider 310. Similarly the ability to connect a power meter and record this data.
I can save $40 and opt instead for the compact and simpler Rider 100. While extra data from the cadence and heart rate monitor are ‘nice to have’, if you are on a tight budget, try and stretch it to get at least the cadence sensor.
Stay tuned for long-term reports on the Rider 100 and Rider 310. For more information visit the Bryton Website.
The review was organised by Cycling Express who are promoting (at the time of publishing) discount pricing on the Bryton Rider 100 and Bryton Rider 310.
Become a Bryton Tester
Bryton are offering 10 readers of Bicycles Network Australia and the Australian Cycling Forums the chance to get their own Rider 100 or Rider 310 to review and to keep. For your chance to qualify, in the comments in 25 words or less explain why you should be selected.
Test candidates will be required to write a review and include photos to be published either in the Australian Cycling Forums (registration is free) or on their own personal website or blog. You need to submit your response by midday Jan 29. 2016 for a chance of qualifying.