Bryton Rider 50 and Rider 30 GPS units - First look

Cheaper Taiwanese rivals to Garmin 705 and 500

The Bryton Rider 50 and Rider 30 are ANT+ enabled GPS cycling computers that rival the popular Garmin Edge 705 and Edge 500 but are significantly cheaper.

Bryton are a Taiwanese startup company specialising in GPS devices. Besides the Rider 50 and 30, they'll also be selling GPS sport watches for runners and multisport athletes.

They've only recently hit the market (the Rider 30 will be available by mid-November 2010) and BikeRadar were given a first look at both computers by UK distributors Selwyn Sport.

Bryton Rider 50

The Rider 50 is the Garmin Edge 705 rival and at first glance they're very similar. But there is one big difference: the Rider 50 is around £100 cheaper, retailing in the UK for £179.99. The Rider 50T, which includes a heart rate monitor strap and cadence/speed sensor, is £249.99. They're also available in the US and Australia for $399/$499 (with accessories), US and Australian dollar prices being identical, and in Europe for €199/€299.

The Rider 50 is slightly smaller (5.5 x 9.6 x 2.16cm) but shares the same screen size (3.5 x 4.3cm), weight (106g) and claimed battery life (15 hours) as the 705. It features two buttons on each side and two plus a joystick on the front, again almost identical to its better known counterpart.

The Rider 50 will use a mount similar to this one on the Rider 30

The unit we were shown has an adjustable but clunky looking mount. However Selwyn Sport's Peter Cooke told us that the next shipment of Bryton Rider 50s will have new, more elegant mounts fitted.

The Rider 50 comes with 2GB of internal memory as well as a 2GB SD card that can be used to store maps and other data. All maps are based on OpenStreetMap which means they're detailed – including bridleways and cycle routes in some countries – easy to read on screen and, importantly, free. The downside is that OpenStreetMap is a community generated resource, which from past experience means that all roads are not mapped and the routing at junctions can be flaky. 

The SD card should have a map preloaded but it's fairly straightforward to update maps via the supplied CDs or online.

The compass option could come in handy

The main on-bike display is customisable with up to six different data fields, with 33 options for each one (the 705 has up to 16 fields on two screens if desired). They're easy to read and include some nifty graphical features, like a central compass if that option is selected. The only one that's missing at the moment is a field for power (current, average, maximum, etc.), but we're assured that will be available in a future firmware update.

In addition to the bike and map modes, there's a training mode where you can record lap data and race against yourself or MyBuddy, a virtual partner. There's nothing like having a carrot to chase when you're pushing yourself to the limit. There's even a step counter so you can measure your walking/running.

The device features a navigation option, either via a preloaded route or to a co-ordinate or point of interest. At the moment you can only plot routes on the www.brytonsport.com website, which you can transfer to the unit via the free Bryton Bridge software.

Bryton want to build an online route sharing community, but we anticipate that it won't take too long before they open it up so that users can plot their routes on different websites and upload GPX files to their unit. You can also share routes and training history with other Rider 50 units via KnockKnock wireless data transfer.

The Rider 50 is only available in one colour scheme: black with a blue strip. A few more neutral colours that are compatible with a wider range of bike colour schemes would be nice, and given how fast this product is evolving we don't think it's out of the question.

Bryton Rider 30

With RRPs of UK£139.99/US$149/AU$199/€149, the Bryton Rider 30 is hoping to be a direct rival of the Garmin Edge 500 (RRP £199.99). It's a GPS training computer first and foremost, although it can give you basic route directions. Training options include lap data and the MyBuddy virtual training partner.

The Rider 30 weighs 55.5g, measures 6.9 x 4.8 x 2.1cm and is ANT+ compatible – essentially the same as the Edge 500. Its claimed battery life is an impressive 35 hours, though.

We've yet to see the Rider 30 in action but once we get our hands on one we'll be sure to put it through its paces. As for the Rider 50, stay tuned for a full review on BikeRadar. If it holds up under our testing, then it could well be a winner in the do-it-all cycle computer stakes.

Finally, given that Garmin have recently brought out the Edge 800, we don't think it will be long before a similar Bryton product makes it to market...

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