UPDATE: Read our review of the new Bryton Rider 750 here!
Over the last few years I’ve field tested both the Bryton Rider 310 and Rider 410 GPS cycling computers, logging thousands of miles on each. Bryton sent me their latest Rider 420 unit, which I’ve tested over the last few weeks. Read our full Bryton Rider 420 review below!
The Rider 310 and 410 were both budget-priced bike computers with GPS and ANT+/Bluetooth functionality. In addition to the usual distance and elevation data, they also supplied cadence, speed, heart rate, and power info (with the appropriate sensors), along with dozens of associated metrics.
The Bryton Rider 420 features the same functionality, with a few major differences.
Bryton Rider 420 review
The Bryton Rider 420’s appearance differs notably from the 310 and 410. It’s now styled more like a cell phone, with “edge to edge” screen material, lacking the rounded bezels of the previous models.
The LCD is now much closer to the “surface” of the screen (as opposed to the more “sunk in” displays of the 310/410), making it noticeably clearer and easier to read. The 420 also retains the larger display of the 410 while managing to slim down the unit itself slightly.
I cited the 3-button layout of the Rider 310 as being somewhat awkward and prone to accidental presses. The Rider 410 switched to six buttons which, while less clumsy, was slightly overkill. Bryton redesigned the buttons once again for the 420, ditching the “scroll” buttons from the 410. It uses four buttons: two on the bottom corners of the unit and (unusually) two on the back.
This cleans up the the unit considerably, and the corner placement makes accidental presses unlikely. However, the buttons on the back feel a little weird since you can’t see them during normal operation, necessitating “blind” presses.
This requires a brief learning curve for memorizing where the buttons are and what they do. While not entirely intuitive, it’s simple enough that it doesn’t take long to commit to memory.
Sensors and battery life
If you buy the unit bundled with cadence/HR sensors they will come already paired. If not, pairing is simple and quick. Regarding compatibility, I’ve also paired mine to an ANT+ Garmin cadence sensor and a Bluetooth TomTom HR monitor without issues.
Bryton claims 35+ hours of battery life. My experience with the battery has been good, and the unit can go for several long rides without charging. However, as with the Rider 410 I did notice a “slow drain” effect even while powered down – after a week or two the battery will regardless of use. (Interestingly, the Rider 310 does not suffer this problem – I recently powered it up after two weeks of disuse and the battery life was exactly where I left it.)
Turn-by-turn navigation operates via route files that you’ve pre-loaded onto the unit. You can upload the maps from your computer, or over Bluetooth by creating them directly in the Bryton app itself or importing them from Strava, Ride with GPS, or Komoot.
The import process was a bit wonky, particularly with Komoot. I had to clear the Bryton app data a few times before it would properly sync third-party routes. However, once it’s all set up, it works pretty well.
While navigating, the unit displays a line map of your route along with relevant directions, street names, and distances. While it isn’t “on the fly” navigation, it corrects itself automatically whenever you reconnect with the predetermined route.
I’ve previously mentioned that the Bryton app was fussy and dated, if not functional. Although the app’s spartan appearance hasn’t changed, Bryton thankfully ironed out some of the bugs.
For one thing, notifications finally work with a fair amount of consistency. They are also customizable, so you can choose which apps (not just messaging apps) to receive notifications from on your unit.
Uploading activities from the Rider 420 is also much more stable than before. Although not perfect, the app is much less finicky and sensitive to crashing, and can generally work in the background without interruption.
Most of the device settings, including configuring the display metrics, can be managed conveniently from the app. Third party integration (Strava, TrainingPeaks, etc) is also a simple one-time setup deal.
As for the data itself, the activity detail pages look pretty much the same. Tons of information (especially if you are using external sensors). You can get as granular and into the weeds as you like, it’s all there!
PROS: Much more affordable than mainstream competitors. Excellent display (with or without backlight). GPS, sensor data, nav, etc, all function consistently and accurately. Ongoing app improvements.
CONS: Button layout still slightly awkward. “Battery drain” issues (battery life still good compared to competitors). Doesn’t include a standard out-front mount (sad face). App still has some kinks.
SUMMARY: While Bryton isn’t quite as ubiquitous as Garmin or as polished as Wahoo, the Rider 420 gives you essentially the same (or better) functionality and reliability for a fraction of the price.
You can purchase the Bryton Rider 420 as a standalone unit (either on Amazon or Merlin Cycles), or bundled with a cadence sensor and heart monitor (Amazon or Merlin).
Have you used a Bryton device? What did you think of our Bryton Rider 420 review? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
2 thoughts on “Bryton Rider 420 Review”
I bought a 420 about 2 months ago, using it for my 6 mile commute to work (4 days a week), and I like everything about it. I’m using their cadence sensor, and the GPS for speed, and it works well. However, I do have to charge it about every two weeks, riding 12 miles a day. That’s ok, it’s about a charge every 100 miles. But since my ride is only about 1 hour a day, I’m only getting about 8-10 hours on the battery, not 35! I haven’t use used the backlight much, and I don’t mind charging it every two weeks, but I’m wondering why the battery life is so different that what other folks are getting.
Hi Andrew! I’ve found the battery life on the various Bryton devices I’ve tested to be lower than claimed as well. I still consider the battery life to be objectively pretty good, just not as good as claimed. Those are probably pretty optimistic numbers under ideal conditions. I’ve noticed there are several factors that might be affecting battery life – cold weather, multiple paired sensors, and slow discharge over time. So anyway, you’re not alone there. Thanks for the comment!