This user review of the Bryton Rider 450 is after having lived with it for 7 months. Through the monsoons, north Indian winters and 40 degree desert summer! Checking out the features, testing its battery life and then drawing conclusions about this value for money cycle computer…
Bryton Rider 450 Review
There are many good things and a few bad things with the Bryton Rider 450. But the one standout feature amongst the rest is its insane battery backup.
A claimed 32 hours on a single charge. My God, you could use it as a power bank to charge your phone! Okay, that might be quite a bit of an exaggeration, but it is impressive nonetheless.
Before delving into the meaty details of this power packed gadget, lets take a step back and get to know this Taiwanese company.
Err. Who be these Bryton fellas?
Bryton based in Taipei has been operational for more than a decade in the GPS device market.
They first started operations in 2009 and have been a player ever since. The company was founded by a bunch of clever souls who had incredible experience with GPS devices, having worked previously with Mio, NavMan and Magellan.
Which makes it all the more surprising that so few people have ever heard about them!
There was a time when the list of cycle computer devices started with Garmin and ended with Bryton and not a third competitor between them.
From inception, Bryton has been selling products which offer similar features like the competition at a significantly lower price point.
The company has never targeted premium and to be quite honest, they still aren’t a premium brand, even after 11 years of operations. Newer devices from Wahoo have been able to stick it to Garmin in the premium segment, but not Bryton.
Which brings us to the Bryton Rider 450, a cycle computer which the company says is built for mountain bikers. Or not!
Bryton Rider 450: What’s in the Box?
In the physical box, you get a device, a charging cable, a stem mount with rubber bands, a lanyard and the manual.
In the figurative box you get a whole host of features which makes the 450 quite a deadly tool for the price. It supports up to 78 functions, which is a dizzying number, so I shall just skim through the most interesting.
All the basics are covered, which includes, speed, time, lap, power, distance, cadence, altitude, gears (for electronic shifting), heart rate, temperature and calories.
On the device you can have a maximum of 5 pages displaying your ride data, with each page capable of accommodating 10 data fields. That is 50 bits and bobs of information. Even the most data hungry of cyclists will probably not need that much information while out riding.
As you increase the number of data fields from one towards ten, the font size gets progressively smaller to accommodate the lot. You might not need all the data available, but it does allow you to customise the hell out of the device as per your needs and eventually make it look very different from your riding buddy with the same device.
It connects to all your sensors via ANT+ or BLE, irrespective of the sensor brand. Pairing them to the device is also a matter of seconds for each sensor.
The data field pages is followed by your route tracking map page. You can upload a route and follow it on the device itself. The routes are based on OpenStreetMap. It will only show you the route which has been defined before the start of the ride, you cannot do anything midway through the ride.
You can choose to either upload and sync the route through the Bryton phone app or directly build your route on the app itself before syncing it with the device.
It uses a breadcrumb type map, which will only beep and notify you when you go ‘off route’. It cannot reroute to get you back on track.
Personally, I have never bothered with using the map on the Bryton. It is much easier for me to check the route on a colour (and much larger) display of my phone, rather than squinting into a 2.3″ LCD screen.
Not quite MTB eh!
Bryton sells the Rider 450 as a cycle computer for mountain bikers.
Yet it supports electronic shifting. Which is mostly used on high end road bikes.
It shows the combination of gears being used on the display and the particularly useful battery charge level of your e-shifters.
The 450 works with Sram, Shimano and Campagnalo, the last of which makes nothing for mountain bikes.
The 450 was the first model in the Taiwanese company’s lineup to get the full gamut of satellite connectivity. From the most common GPS, which is American to the lesser known GLONASS which finds its origins in Russia.
Few would have heard of Galileo, the European satellite navigation system. And only die hard fans of these orbiting balls of technology would have heard of Bei Dou Satellite or Quasi-Zenith Satellite System, satellite systems from China and Japan respectively.
This little device on your cycle connects to all of the above. Not at the same time of course. But you choose which of the two satellite systems you want your cycle computer to connect to, depending on where in the world you find yourself!
According to the company this helps the 450 give super accurate information even in the presence of buildings, mountains, clouds, trees et al. In the 7 months of usage, I haven’t got any false data from this device.
Bryton also claims that this helps with a super fast boot up time, something to which I can attest. On most occasions, satellite signal has been found in 15 odd seconds. Which is rather impressive.
In this age of increasing human stupidity, most people are looking for smart gadgets. From our TVs to couches to bulbs to the bloody toilet! As such, a cycle computer cannot horrifyingly be dumb, now can it.
The 450 is ‘smart’ in the sense that it gives you notifications from your phone on the screen of the device itself. So you know who is calling without actually having to pull out your phone from your jersey pocket.
But what’s so smart about that you ask?
Ha! Most other devices give you notifications only for calls and SMSes. Calls are perfect, but who in this day and age sends an SMS. Nobody lives in the stone age. This Bryton gives you notifications for your WhatsApp and Email as well.
Whether that is useful or irritatingly intrusive, is a matter of personal choice. I just switch off my phone when riding, to hell with notifications!
Remember those days of the ‘not so smart’ phones.
Where you can tell your grandkids about a phone that needed to be charged only once a week. Mostly because the battery lasted so long. Also, because none of your friends cared about you enough to call!
This device will take you down that memory lane.
Bryton claims a full charge will last you 32 hours. While that reduces substantially depending on the number of sensors you pair and the notifications enabled. Yet it lasts a LONG time.
During my recently concluded cycle tour. The device would be on for 12 hours a day straight, and I would charge it every alternate day. So that’s 24 hours of usage and the battery still had juice.
A friend who borrowed it for his 600 km brevet, was shocked that after a full day’s ride the battery was down just by a third.
It probably will not last the full claimed 32 hours, but it will surely outlast most other devices in the market and still have life remaining to have a hearty laugh at the competition…
To make this deal even sweeter, you can charge it from a regular powerbank while recording your ride. A boon for endurance cyclists in the country.
The short answer to this is, the build quality of the Bryton Rider 450 is solid but not premium.
The LCD screen is a millimetre inset and some have reported trouble reading the screen when the sun is on the horizon. But I have had no such problem as the screen contrast is sufficient.
There is also a notch at the bottom right of the screen to drain the water off. This helps when it is raining, you needn’t keep wiping off the screen with your hand.
The rear of the device has golf ball like depressions on the top. Which supposedly makes it more aerodynamic, not something I will ever notice with my baggy shorts on a road bike!
There is a small rubber to seal the charging port shut at the bottom. If you don’t shut this properly, you run the risk of water entering the device.
On the edge there is a groove to run the lanyard (which is provided) through.
All of the above looks and feels good to the touch.
What feels cheap are the 6 plasticky buttons, which would have felt modern in 1980, now not so much. Though the buttons feel cheap, the feedback when you press them is positive.
Rider 450 Everyday Manners
All the software and hardware aside, how is the 450 to live with?
The ‘cleat’ mechanism on the rear of the device slots nicely onto the mount. You press it down and turn it 90 degrees and it is locked in solid. The mount is fixed onto the stem or handlebar of your bike with two strong rubber bands.
So far even on the mountain bike with some rocky trails, the 450 has shown no signs of falling off. But do secure that lanyard to the bike, especially if you are using it on your MTB.
A slight press of the power button and zap the device is turned on in under 3 seconds, which is phenomenal. Another 10-15 seconds for it to find a signal and you are ready to ride. Or at least your device will, you will mostly take more than 20 seconds to get ready to move.
10 seconds after you start moving, the 450 will beep and ask you if you want to start recording. Useful for old people like me who forget to start recording their ride! As expected it is equipped with auto-pause and 1-second recording features.
The downside is once you start recording your ride, you cannot make any changes in the settings. You will need to stop the ride, make your changes and start another ride.
Pressing the stop button once, pauses it and press it twice and your ride will be stopped and saved.
To scroll through the many pages of data, you use the menu button at the bottom. Which is not easy to press while looking at the road ahead.
For a device which does most things impressively fast, this comes as a surprise. There is a lag while switching between pages and the map. Initially you end up pressing the menu button multiple times and after a couple of seconds seeing all the pages flying by, with you unable to see a thing.
This is quite annoying at the beginning, after living with it for some time, you just learn patience. Press the button, wait a couple of seconds and then see the data of your choice.
The device is backlit with a nice white light. The contrast is fantastic, in one quick glance you see everything you need to see.
I did find the screen too bright. The light from the screen would be in my face, especially while riding the aerobars on my touring bike.
You can switch off the screen light, but when riding in the dark, you really don’t want to get your eyes off the road to fiddle around with the device.
The 450 App
The app is functional, gets the job done, but it is clunky. It feels very much like a work in progress which needs refinement.
Even with all the drawbacks the app is useful to make you a happy camper. There are four main pages on the app, which I will address one at a time:
The result page shows all your activities in chronological order. You can view it weekly or monthly.
When you click on an activity, it takes you to an another page with details pertaining to that activity.
In that page at the top, you can add the route to your saved routes. For example if you want to a particular trail again, but are afraid of getting lost.
Below it you get a route map of your activity. With information about your activity, including speed, elev. gain, calorie, max. speed, cadence and HR along with total time and kilometres covered. All of this is visible on the ‘summary‘ page.
The next page within is ‘detail‘. This as the name suggests gives you a lot more detail about your time, distance, speed, altitude, gradient, heart rate, cadence, calorie, temperature and power.
The third page is ‘Laps‘. It will breakdown your activity into the number of laps you have done. This is only useful if you have preset laps while recording your activity. Else it will just show 1 lap!
The final page is ‘analysis‘. This is the most useful post-ride page. It shows you the breakup of your HR and power numbers. Including how much time you spent in each zone. A paid feature on Strava, which you get for free on this app.
The second page of four in the app.
The menu in this page has your route building and training functions.
The ‘route building‘ allows you to view routes you have previously saved, plan a new route by building it on the app itself, importing it from Komoot or Ride With GPS, or directly importing .gpx or .fit files.
Once you build a route, it will be visible in the ‘my route’ subsection. And it will be synced to your device whenever you decide to sync it.
The ‘training‘ section of this app allows you to build a training plan, with some Bryton presets for Interval Training, Easy Tempo or Endurance Training. And if you want more, you can edit and make your own training workout plan and sync it with the device.
The third page of the app. It is where you can view and edit details about your physical and social self!
From here you can link your Bryton App to Strava, TrainingPeaks, Selfloops and Relive. It will auto sync all your activities from the Bryton app to the apps mentioned above.
You can also edit your details on this page which includes, height, weight, birthday, gender, MHR, LTHR, FTP and MAP.
The fourth and final page of the app is the settings page.
This is where you control your device through Bluetooth. It is much easier to make changes to the device from the phone app, rather than scrolling through the settings on the device itself. You can also change settings for the device whilst recording a ride, which you cannot do on the device!
The settings page allows you to sync your tracks, calibrate your altitude and switch off and on auto-pause.
Then there is the option of making changes to the grid layout of the device. You can add/ remove the number of pages you want to see as well as the data you want to see on each page.
Next up is the notifications settings. You can control which apps send notifications to your device while you are out enjoying your ride. Pretty much every app on your phone can be added to your Bryton screen.
Including your GoPro. Imagine recording with a helmet mounted action camera, while seeing notifications from your camera on your Bryton being relayed by your phone. Sheesh, information overload!
Next up is setting up your bike with the 450. You can add two bikes to this device, including all the sensors on your bike. Again this is much easier to do on the app rather than the device itself.
The most useful setting to be changed I found is the WiFi password! Instead of taking a billion years to type in a password on the device, you can do it in a matter of seconds on your phone. Oh, if only I knew it in the first couple of months…
Who for: Road, Mountain or Touring?
By this point of time in this blog, it is quite clear what the Bryton Rider 450 is capable of and where it lags.
But the question remains, who is this device actually meant for? A question made muddy by Bryton projecting it as a mountain biker friendly device.
The short answer is practically anybody who is looking for a good cycle computer at a bargain price. It will miss out on some features which the competition has and it will not have the snob value of some other brands. But the few thousand rupees saved here can easily be spent on other parts of your bike!
For data hungry roadies, this device will sync to all your meters properly, show you all that data while riding and provide the dump to you after the ride as well.
Mountain bikers will be happy to have a device which is robust and can display a map so as to not get lost on the trails. It is also secured properly to your bike and there is minimal chance of losing it during the ride.
Tourers and more importantly randonneurs will be delighted with the backup the Bryton Rider 450 provides. It gives you much more data than you would ever need and it will last for the duration of your ride without a recharge. You can also view your route map, which you probably will never use…
A summary for those who did read the entire blog and a TLDR for those who didn’t about this power packed device.
- Claimed 32 hour battery life and charge while recording
- OpenStreetMaps based route guiding system
- Works with 5 satellite systems
- Display can be customised to rider’s specifications
- Quick startup time
- Quirky app. The app should actually be there on both sides of this fence…
- Connects to e-shifters, if that’s your thing. Also shows shifters battery life.
- Smart notifications
- Significantly lower price as compared to the competition
- Plasticky buttons, which feels less than premium
- Lag while switching through the data pages while riding
- Brightness level of screen cannot be adjusted
- NO Strava live segments
- Doesn’t come with an out-front mount in the bundle, it needs to be purchased separately
- You need a working internet connection to sync your ride from the device to the app, since it uses WiFi and not Bluetooth.
- MOST IMPORTANT. Bryton isn’t officially in India. You need to import it and hope nothing goes wrong because zero support in the country!