In early January, I was approached by the folks at Bryton to test a GPS of theirs, the Rider 310. More specifically, they sent me a Rider 310T, which includes a HRM strap (soft strap type) and a cadence sensor. The intended function of the GPS is for use as a basic road bike training GPS. Well, I don’t really use any GPS for its training functions, and Bryton was cool with that. I told them that the sort of riding I do is more recreational tracking with more mountain biking than road biking, and they were also okay with that.
Bryton’s product page covers most relevant features and specs. There are a few things I’d like to draw your attention to, however.
First, I’d like to note the price. MSRP of the Rider 310T is $170, and the head unit alone is $100. This is a budget GPS, keep this in mind. You won’t find the features of the Garmin Edge 1000 on this device, but I think a few will surprise you.
Next, the Rider 310 is compatible with a wide range of ANT+ fitness sensors. Yes, this device is compatible with power meters. Also, this device is compatible with combo speed/cad sensors as well as separate ones.
The Rider 310 has Bluetooth 4.0 for communication with the Bryton Sports app (iOS and Android).
The Rider 310 also has a combination barometric altimeter/thermometer sensor in the head unit.
The Rider 310 claims a 36 HOUR battery life. This is pretty remarkable. One of my criticisms of Garmin is that its Edge models keep getting less and less battery life. Garmin’s new basic GPSes (which the Rider 310 is supposed to compete directly with) only get 8hrs of battery life. That’s pretty pitiful, Garmin. Yeah, beginner riders aren’t terribly likely to be going for many 8+hr rides, but they might want to ride more than a couple of times between charging the device. We all know that posted battery life figures are optimistic, anyway. Especially when you have extra functions like sensors and whatnot (which the Edge 25 can use). Even if the Bryton only gets half its advertised battery life, it’s a winner here.
The Rider 310 DOES NOT do any sort of navigation. No breadcrumb. No following someone else’s tracks. This device simply records, or guides you along a workout.
What follows are my experiences with the device.
The device comes well-packaged.
Inside the box, starting at the top left include zip ties and wall charger, HRM strap, USB charging/sync cable, a single handlebar/stem mount with a couple of spacers and a few rubber bands, Quick Start Guide, and the head unit itself.
Looking at the head unit more closely, you’ll see a few things.
It has three buttons along the bottom of the device. From left to right, they are the “Back” button (which also stops or pauses recording), the “Record” button (which also manually marks laps), and the “Page” button (which also scrolls down when on a menu page). On the back of the device, you’ll see that pressing all three buttons will reset the device.
You’ll notice I didn’t say anything about Power buttons. Those functions are included, but not labeled on the device anywhere. I sorta had to figure it out. To power the device on, the orange center button serves. Powerup is quick. On first startup, the device guides you through the typical language and units screens along with a few bits of info about your rider profile. Initial startup does not guide you through the FULL rider or bike profile menus, though. You’ll have to return to those later to finish setting them up. To power the device down, you have two options. In a few minutes, it will power itself down. Alternatively, you can press and hold the Stop/Back button until it powers down (about 5sec or so).
I was instructed by Isaac, my contact at Bryton, to update the device’s firmware as soon as I had received it. It’s a fairly new device, but a firmware update was already available. Among other things, this firmware update added 1sec recording interval, which I have come to believe is absolutely essential if you’re going to be riding anywhere twisty, like on a mountain bike trail, or even on sinuous mountain roads.
To update the firmware, you need to download the correct interface software. Downloads can be found at the Bryton Support website. Of particular note here include the programs for product updates, manuals (the device only includes basic manuals, the ones found here provide more detail), as well as a device recovery tool. The Rider 310 requires the use of the Bryton Update Tool. As of the writing of this article, there is not a second update available, but I am told that Bryton is working on one to address some things I’ve brought to their attention.
The Bryton Rider 310 is only “sorta” compatible with Garmin’s mounts. They’re reportedly working with some aftermarket mount companies to offer aftermarket inserts, but with a little creative work with a very sharp knife or razor blade, you can make a Garmin mount work. Here’s the gist: The side tabs on the back of the device engage a Garmin-type 1/4 turn mount perfectly well. The problem comes from the little notches on the back face that are supposed to engage two little tabs on the mount. These are supposed to “click” into place and keep the GPS in the mount. If you compare a Garmin mount with the Bryton mount, you’ll find the tabs on the Garmin mount are about 1mm or so longer than the tabs on the Bryton mount.
There are a few ways you can address this. One would be to stay with Bryton mounts. Bryton also makes an out-front mount for your road bike that looks like it’d be tall enough to flip backwards for your mountain bike, though I’m not positive on that. You can modify the Garmin mount by trimming a mm or so off the tabs until they click solidly into place. You can make the slots on the back of the Bryton GPS a mm or so longer with an exacto knife like I did. You could also try a dogearsgps, though this is an option I’d rather save for a last resort in case you destroy the back of the GPS in a crash.
My first function tests brought some interesting quirks to my attention. I really wanted to do a stationary test to check accuracy of the GPS when it’s sitting still. This can help visualize the amount of wander you might get, and if done with other devices, you can get some comparisons. This didn’t work how I’d intended. I started with four devices: Garmin Oregon 450, Garmin Forerunner 310XT, Samsung Galaxy S5 running Strava, and the Bryton Rider 310. The Garmins continued recording the whole time they were stationary and gave me the plots I wanted. The Bryton and the phone with Strava didn’t.
Strava only recorded a few points, and stopped the activity after less than a minute. Totally useless. The Bryton stored timing information, but only recorded a few points over the course of an hour+ of recording. After speaking to Isaac, and he to the product engineers, we pinned down what happened. Even though auto pause was disabled (I made sure of that on ALL devices), the Bryton Rider 310 engages in some point filtering. Instead of stopping the timing (which is what auto pause does), the point filtering just keeps the device from recording points when it does not detect movement.
Since I allow software to decide when I’ve been stopped or not, I just let the GPS run when I stop for a breather, a chat, or to take photos. With my Garmin devices, this always results in a mess of points clustered around the location where I’ve stopped. On the Bryton, I no longer get these. Rather, my track tends to look a bit cleaner. This is kinda nice. But it makes stationary accuracy testing pretty much impossible.
That limits me to testing the devices while actually riding, which only gives a partial picture.
For the moving test, I omitted the Oregon 450 simply for space concerns. My sweepy bars aren’t friendly to having so many devices mounted up. I had the Samsung Galaxy S5 tucked into a thigh pocket of my baggy shorts, which certainly reduces accuracy, but winds up being the way most people track mtb rides with their phones.
The first track I show here is from the Forerunner 310 XT. This device has long had a Garmin magnetless hub sensor attached. This ride is no different, so this one serves as a baseline for the correct distance of the ride at 17.6mi. As you’ll see, though, the GPS track is far from perfect. The climb that starts on Glenn Rd and parallels it is quite a bit off. This, I’d say, is the worst track of the bunch. I do ride here often, and prior to this day, often with the Forerunner. Such results are not unknown, but they’re not the norm. The results seen here are also not the worst I’ve seen on this trail with the Forerunner 310XT.
The next track is from the Samsung Galaxy S5 running Strava. You’ll see the track is generally pretty good, but you do see separation between each lap over the course of most of the ride. At 15.9mi, it’s about 1.7mi short from the distance recorded with a calibrated wheel sensor. FYI, zoom in on the Strava activities to see the full detail of the tracks.
The next track came from the Bryton Rider 310 with no extra sensors. There’s still separation between the tracks from each lap, but a bit less than the phone running Strava. It does also report the least distance, at 15.3mi. Bryton claims that a wheel sensor is not needed for accurate distance with this device. I have to disagree. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that for ANY computer used for mountain biking, a wheel sensor is absolutely essential to ensure that you’re recording distances accurately if that is a priority for you.
After that test, I decided that I needed to pair the Bryton with my wheel sensor. If you’re used to pairing Garmins with sensors, you might find the Bryton less intuitive. I did, at first. The Rider 310 supports two bike profiles. Each bike profile supports its own sensors, but that’s not obvious at first because the sensor menu is not underneath the bike profile menu. To start the process, make sure your profiles are set up correctly in the device. Having this step done first simplifies things.
After the rider and bike profiles are set up correctly (including a rollout for your wheel diameter, there is no auto wheel calibration here), choose the profile for the bike you’d like to add a sensor to. If you wish to use a Bluetooth sensor, make sure you enable Bluetooth, also. That option is located elsewhere, too, under the “General” menu. Next, go to the Sensors menu and choose the sensor type you wish to add. Make sure you turn on the sensor and activate it. Spin the wheel if it’s a wheel sensor. Wear the HRM if you wish to set that one up. Spin the cranks if installing a cadence sensor. Engage your power meter. Your sensor’s ID number will appear on the screen when it is detected. You may have to select “Rescan” and try again.
One of the things Bryton tells me they plan to include in a firmware update would be a slight reorganization of the menus to allow sensor setup to be a little more intuitive. By now, I have my Bryton set up for my mtb as well as my road bike. I have a Garmin magnetless hub sensor on my mtb and my road bike. I have the Bryton cadence sensor installed on my road bike, and I use the HRM strap with both. I also set up the Bryton Rider 310 with a Wahoo Kickr at an indoor training studio and received power data for my training session there.
I find the Bryton Rider 310 to be pretty darn accurate for a basic bike GPS.
It’s not perfect, for sure. You might notice I haven’t mentioned GLONASS in the post yet. That’s because the Rider 310 doesn’t support it. I think it’d be even more accurate with GLONASS support, but keep in mind that this is a basic GPS with a very budget-friendly price. At $100 for the head unit alone, you’re going to get much better results from this GPS than you will from a Garmin Edge 20, and you’re going to have compatibility for a TON more sensors than the Edge 25. For $170, you’ll even get some sensors included in the deal.
The biggest spots I’ve noticed accuracy problems have been in urban canyons so far. The following ride is a prime example.
The accuracy problems appear when I’m in downtown Indianapolis. The trail along Virginia Ave. passes underneath a multi-story parking structure. You might think ANY GPS would have problems there, but I didn’t quite find that. I checked out the Strava Flyby feature and found others with fancier hardware that tracked accurately.
Here’s one with a Garmin Edge 520 (GPS+GLONASS support on that device).
Another Edge 520.
I spent last week riding with the Bryton Rider 310 in the deserts of NV and UT. Conditions were VERY open and generally much easier for a GPS than the thick forests and hollows that I commonly deal with.
I’ll say that riding new-to-me trails all week (some of which were extremely poorly marked/signed), I really found myself wanting a device with some navigation capability on my handlebars. I had my phone on me (the Galaxy S5 posted above) with a mongo battery pack that I used with mtbproject and Trailforks apps for nav assistance. But I really would have preferred to have a quick access map on the handlebars, because I had hard copy maps for more detailed analysis in my pockets. It is really irritating to be digging out both my phone and my hard copy maps when the trail peters out into nothing way out in BFE.
You get the point. It is certainly possible to have better accuracy and more features with better-than-budget hardware. If top notch accuracy is what you want, then the Bryton Rider 310 isn’t going to be your device. But if you want something simple to track your rides and help guide you on some road bike workouts, the Bryton is a great option. Additionally, if you want something inexpensive that will allow you to take advantage of improved tracking with fitness sensors, then the Rider 310 is another great option.
I, for one, am looking forward to the next firmware update. Another little tidbit the Bryton folks are claiming to work on at my suggestion is a shortcut menu that will allow you to change bike profiles quickly, and to turn the GPS off for a trainer ride. Currently, to do those things, you have to push a number of buttons to find the settings buried in the menus.
Another odd quirk I found recently. The Rider 310 does not let you access menus while you are recording a ride. You have to stop your ride, go to the menus for whatever you need, and then start a new ride after you’ve finished. This is because the button you use to access the menus is the very same one that you use to stop or pause recording.
It’s pretty easy to do whatever you like with the data files. The Rider 310 records all the data from your ride into .fit files that you can upload on your favorite sharing site. There are no fancy wireless uploads or anything like that. Manual file uploads are the way to go. In many respects, I prefer manual uploads. It allows me to tweak things before uploading. Like, say, merging two files that resulted when I had to stop recording to access the menus.
So far, I haven’t described any MAJOR problems. Here is where I talk about the issues I’ve had with the device. One is that the device is shiny. All of it. Even though Bryton says it has an anti-glare screen, it will reflect glare off of things. It’s irritating at times. It’s not horrible, but it’s there.
The biggest problem I’ve had with it is that the screen response is absolutely terrible in the cold. Terrible.
It’s difficult to see what’s going on here, because it’s simply difficult to take a meaningful picture of what’s going on. But in the cold, the LCD slowly fades in and out on fields that change rapidly, like the timer. On other fields, it doesn’t matter so much since those numbers don’t change quickly. The coldest I’ve had the Rider 310 out in has been about 15F this year. I’ve no idea if it plain stops working at any particular temp or not. I do know that my Forerunner under the same conditions does not have the slow screen problem. I used that GPS down to 0F last winter, and experienced nothing adverse except for the expected slight drop in battery life.
One thing that’s been even more difficult to take a picture of has been the way the screen looks with polarized sunglasses. It gets a similar odd mottling to it the same way that the tinted windows in my car get. Again, not something that my Garmins do.
One odd software bug I’ve encountered is related to having the device auto-lap. I have it set to do so every 1mi. My recorded files show the laps correctly, as you can see on any of my Strava activities where I used the Rider 310. However, on the notification screen that appears when auto-lap sets a new lap, it ALWAYS tells me 17.5 or 17.6mi. The only thing I can come up with is that this is a bug. I’ve informed Bryton about it.
Some other unusual behavior I noticed last week was with the elevation screen. I’m near the high point of this particular ride. The lower right field says that the max altitude is 4112ft. However the current altitude field only shows 411ft. It appears to be omitting the ones place of the current altitude. There appears to be room for it. Maybe it’s another bug? Maybe not? I’ve yet to bring this one to Bryton’s attention.
So far, Bryton has been responsive to my questions and comments. Hopefully they’ll address what they can through continued firmware updates, and address the hardware issues with a better device in the future. Continuing to keep in mind that this is a budget GPS and the devices it is competing directly against, I’ll say that this is a winner. It certainly beats the Edge 20/25 models on price and features, as well as accuracy due to the 1sec recording interval capability of the Rider 310. Another basic GPS competitor on the market is Lezyne with its lineup (the Mini, Power, and Super GPS). There are reports that the Lezyne is less accurate with a type of “Smart” recording. Lezyne’s website doesn’t make it clear whether any of its models supports 1sec recording.
I’ll give the Bryton a B+. Addressing some of the remaining software questions would bring the device up to an A- for intended purposes (being clear that this device is NOT for navigation assistance) because of the issues with the hardware (Garmin mount incompatibility, screen response in cold, lack of marking Power functions).
After using this device a bit more, I’m finding some real irritations with the data it provides. There are some real issues here and getting them sorted has been a challenge. Take, for example, a mtb ride I did yesterday.
My first hint was that the distances of several rides did not match the distance on the Bryton Rider 310. On this ride, the Bryton reported a distance of 17.3mi. Strava is clearly tossing out the wheel sensor data. My research into why Strava does this pointed me to this article where Strava basically says if it detects wonky data, it will correct it and reprocess it. So in short, the Bryton data is off somehow. In an effort to figure out what’s up, I tried uploading to another site. I’ve been using RideWithGPS to plan road rides lately (to use with my Forerunner 310XT as Courses for directions), so I uploaded there. The results are even more bizarre.
RideWithGPS says I rode 32.5mi. Strava says 14.5mi, and the Bryton device told me 17.3mi at the end of the ride. If you dig a little deeper into the data on Strava and RWGPS, you’ll see some other oddities. Strava provides smooth HR and temp plots. The Rider 310 records temp, and I was using a HRM, so this makes sense. It should be smooth, unless there are sensor problems or dropouts.
This is not the case on RWGPS. Even though RWGPS gives me a profile, it tells me that my elevation was +2/-5ft. What is that? I can get that in the parking lot at this place. Looking at RWGPS’s analysis plots, there’s all kinds of missing data. Grade is 0 for the whole ride, which also is not correct.
Why are the two sites reporting vastly different things when I am uploading the EXACT SAME .fit file? Next step is to look at it in the .fit file repair tool. The .fit file repair tool did appear to find some errors. Particularly with duplicate timestamps. I noticed some “stuck points” in a different ride. According to Strava, stuck points are what tends to happen when a device loses its signal. They are often what prompts Strava to reprocess a file. The free version of the fit file repair tool inserts a lot of dummy data, so I can’t really do much with it. But it looks like the data the Bryton is putting out is funky. Even my old Garmins don’t do this.
I really want to like this device, but until Bryton fixes these problems with the bad data it records, I have a hard time recommending it for use with a wheel sensor. The GPS location data looks to be largely accurate, the question is what else is going on. Is the device actually losing its signal, and recording “stuck points” or is something else going on? Whatever it’s doing, it also is doing it on road rides out in the open, because Strava basically strips wheel sensor data out of every ride I record with the Bryton, whether it’s a road ride or a mtb ride.