Bryton Rider 330 Long Term Review: Navigation With ANT+ On A Budget

Last modified on July 29th, 2018  |  Written by
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As budget GPS units have to compete with smartphones, they need some features to add value. The Bryton Rider 330 has a battery life of 36 hours, can follow GPS routes and supports ANT+ to do so. It’s small and with 54grams not that heavy to carry around. The Bryton Rider 330 has been on my bike for the past year for most of my rides and accumulated 4452km of on- and off-road riding. It’s still going still going strong, but there are a few caveats you should know of.

Video

Watch the full review video below or check out more MTB related videos at the MTB.guide YouTube Channel. Below this video you find the video transcription.


In the box

The Bryton Rider 330 is available in 4 versions, all featuring the same head unit, but with different sensors included in the bundle. The version that I have here is the 330 E version, which only includes the head unit. The Rider 330 C, H and T come respectively with a cadence sensor, heartrate sensor or both. The 330 supports ANT+, so you can also connect any existing ANT+ compatible sensor to it, including a power meter, might you have one.

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The Bryton Rider 330 E version; no sensors included, only the head unit.

In the box we find some paperwork, a micro USB cable for charging and optionally for transferring data, a simple mount to attach the Bryton to your handlebar or stem, and the Bryton Rider 330 itself.

Features

The Bryton Rider 330 is small GPS training unit, with a large battery, ANT+ support, has navigational features and a phone isn’t essential to use its features. The 330 is the cheaper version of the 530 and the newly announced Rider 450. While the 310 is the cheaper version of the 410. Besides the lower end Rider 10 and Rider One, these models show nearly identical features.

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The Bryton Rider 330 E version; no sensors included, only the head unit.

The Bryton Rider 330 retails for € 129,95 and is competitively priced compared to the competitors like the Lezyne Micro C or the Garmin Edge 25.

The Rider 330 and 310 share the same small 7 x 4,5cm body, 1,8-inch monochrome display and are, besides the branding, identical in appearance. Only the navigational features set these devices apart.

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At 54grams it’s not much of a weight penalty, but not one of the lightest.

The Rider 330 is a light device and comes in at 54grams for the head unit only which is slightly below the claimed weight of 56grams.

Determining your location is done only by GPS, in the device itself. While pretty accurate, this is where the higher end model like the 450 has an advantage with a combination of multiple satellite navigation systems. Elevation in the 330 is determined and calculated with GPS information, while the mid- to high-range models use barometric altimeters that utilize atmospheric pressure to accurately determine elevation differences.

One of the most appealing reasons to get one of the Bryton Rider models is the battery life. With a claimed battery life of 36 hours its quite a lot more than the usual 8-15 hours you get from many competitors. If that’s still not enough, you can even charge your 330 during your activity with an external battery pack.

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Despite having up to 300hours of storage, 16MB isn’t that much when using 1sec recording or riding GPX routes often.

Storage in this price range is usually limited to internal storage, as is the case here. You get about 16MB of non-expandable storage, which could get you up 300hours of activities stored. While this sounds like a lot, but start transferring some GPX files to your Bryton and you’ll be running out of storage quickly.

Navigation with the Bryton Rider 330 is rather simplistic without having a base map. Loaded GPX files are presented as a line on an otherwise empty background. Which might or might not be enough depending on your use and if you feel like exploring.

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The order from low- to high-end is 310, 410, 330, 530 and 450.

The Bryton Rider 330 supports ANT+, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, with some limitations. ANT+ sensors are fully supported, meaning heartrate, cadence and speed sensors but also power meters are supported. Bluetooth sensors however, are not supported. Bluetooth is only used for transferring data between the Bryton App on your phone and the Rider 330.

Connect the 330 to a Wi-Fi network and you can, without the use of you phone, upload your activities, sync planned routes and perform firmware updates. All activities are first uploaded to the Bryton Active website, where they can in turn automatically be uploaded to services like Strava or TrainingPeaks.

Software

The boot time, the time between turning on and being able to access the menu, is fast, being about 7 seconds for the Rider 330 and about 7 seconds later it states that is has acquired the GPS location.

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Up to 8 configurable fields per page.

When booted up you are presented with one of 7 programable data pages, which can consist up to 8 fields per page. Holding the right button gives you quick access to a few settings, including switching between the 2 bike profiles. Sound and backlighting are the only options you can change during your activities. All other settings can’t be changed unless you stop and completely finish your activity, since the stop and menu button are the same button.

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A simple but not so intuitive menu.

The menu gives a clear overview of the available options and you can navigate through these options with the 3 buttons, mapped as back, confirm and down most of the time. Navigating through the menu’s however, doesn’t feel as intuitive as for example a Garmin. There have been a handful of firmware updates, including one that updated the menu. The back button previously didn’t let you exit the main menu and you’d had to select the menu item Cycling to do so. Now you fortunately can, but the Cycling option which is now obsolete, still exists. Changing bike profiles on the Rider 330 always felt weird, until I discovered that they mixed up the bike order in the menu. Bike 1 is actually option 2, which isn’t fixed till this date.

Responsiveness of the menu is good with only a delay when stopping an activity, taking 5 to 10 seconds to give you a message it’s finished.

Stability of the Bryton 330 has past expectations and it only crashed 2 times in the past year and had 2 corrupt activity files which were recoverable.

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The most important information is shown in the Bryton App after synchronisation.

The Bryton Rider 330 can be synced via Bluetooth with your Android or iOS device with the use of the Bryton App. Which in turn uploads finished activities to Bryton Active and then to for example Strava. The Bryton app for Android that I tested is not good to say the least. It crashes often and has occasional sync issues. Over the last year I had multiple sync issues with activities and syncing with Strava also stopped several times. Most things do however get fixed after a couple of days or weeks. Syncing via Bluetooth is still extremely slow despite the updates, taking about 5 minutes to sync for every hour that you have ridden. Take a look at the App store for some reviews to get an idea how many users had a flawless experience.

The Bryton App is fortunately not the only way to sync your files, connecting the Bryton to the PC or syncing via Wi-Fi are the alternatives.

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Averaging 10KB/s transferring activities from the 330 to the PC (11.8MB took 21min).

Syncing with the PC also wasn’t as good as I had in mind. The file transfer speeds are also slow, extremely slow on all 4 pc’s I tested it on. I was only getting 10KB/s transferring data from the Rider 330 to my PC and an even slower upload of less than 1KB/s.

This means that every hour of ride time takes about 10 seconds to transfer. A big improvement over Bluetooth and doable if you sync after every ride. But putting a large GPX on your 330 will take a while.

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Wi-Fi sync is easy, connects directly to your Wi-Fi network, and is the fastest option.

Wi-Fi is in my opinion the best choice, taking only 7 seconds to transfer for every hours of ride time. The only issue is that you can’t upload a GPX this way. The only way to sync routes via Wi-Fi is through Bryton Active.

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The minimalistic (and somewhat old-fashioned) interface of Bryton Active.

All synced data goes through Bryton Active, which is like a heavily stripped-down version of Garmin Connect. It’s simple and offers the minimal amount of information that you would expect. It’s also where you set up the syncing for your Strava account and is the only place where you can create Turn-by-Turn navigational routes.

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Turn-by-Turn navigatie op de Bryton 330.

I have to say that I didn’t use Turn-by-Turn that often due to syncing issues (that’s why I don’t have footage of it), GPS inaccuracies, a map that lacks detail compared to Strava and a missing manual mode for creating mountain bike routes.

On the trails

One of the first things that I noticed is how small the Rider 330 is, especially with the standard mount. It’s unobtrusive but then again also a bit small to see. I found that 6 fields on the screen in combination with a front mount is still doable. Garmin mounts are, even though similarly looking, not fully compatible with Bryton. They do fit but don’t snap in place and have a little wobble. I’ve used these mounts with the Rider 330 though and haven’t lost it on the trails, unless I crashed.

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The screen isn’t that scratch resistant; use a screen protector.

Visibility of the screen in the dark is good due to the backlighting and has acceptable brightness and contrast to for bright daylight. Visibility of the screen did decrease over time due to all the accumulated scratches of whipping dirt off the screen. While screen protectors weren’t available when I bought it, they are now and I do recommend them.

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Navigating on the Rider 330 gets you from A to B…eventually…

Acquiring a GPS signal goes quick, while not being that strong compared to other devices. In the forest and urban areas there is a noticeable decrease in signal strength. These are usually cases where you need your GPS the most and accuracy is needed. So, to also check the Rider 330’s navigational features I made a random urban route on Strava and put it on the 330. This meant also no turn-by-tun navigation and only a line on an empty background. Here you can see the route that I planned to ride and what I have actually ridden.

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When riding without Turn-by-Turn, navigating is near impossible.

Breadcrumb navigation is more difficult than navigating with a full map but it should be possible. One important thing the Rider 330 is missing is a sense of scale while navigating. You can’t tell the distance to the next turn. Even if the scale of the map always remained the same, you still had some kind of reference. Add in the inaccuracy, slowish update rate of the map, random scaling and it’s nearly impossible to follow a route. Let alone try to follow a trail in the forest.

Conclusion

The Bryton 330 is one of the cheapest navigational devices that fully support ANT+ and have a long battery life, which after a year of abuse still has a runtime of over 25 hours. This small device is less obtrusive, doesn’t distract you with smart notifications and can function completely without a smartphone, keeping your phone’s battery charged just in case.

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Small, unobtrusive and enough visible stats on the screen.

As a tool for registering your rides, the Bryton Rider 330 is sufficient, but then again, there are many other and better alternatives, even the Rider 410 in Bryton’s own range. What sets it apart at this price point is the ability to load your own routes. Navigating with a breadcrumb trail is possible, especially if you don’t mind a bit of exploring. However, with the Rider 330 you’ll be taking exploring totally to the next level. With only a few changes, like adding a distance scale and Strava Turn-by-Turn, it would have been better. While GPS inaccuracy can’t be solved with a simple software update.

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Updates continue, but improvements aren’t self-evident.

Updates are made quite often in terms of firmware and software updates. It’s nice to see that Bryton keeps supporting these devices, but it’s unfortunate that these updates aren’t always an improvement. Support is also a point of improvement, getting only a 1 in 4 reply rate on my questions.

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Strong competitors for not much more, battery life however is not matched.

Competitors for the Bryton Rider 330 include the Lezyne Micro C and the Garmin Edge 25. These are feature wise closely matched and especially the Lezyne is a strong contender being also closely priced.

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The Bryton Rider 330 doesn’t completely live up to its features.

While the Bryton Rider 330 is the cheapest option, it’s not automatically the best value. Good execution of the features, can make or break these devices. What the Rider 330 really needs are a few quality updates to the firmware and software to make it more competitive.

MTB.guide rating   3 star rating
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