The new Bryton Rider S500 cycle computer, which launches today, is “more capable and more resourceful than other devices in its class” according to the Taiwanese brand. With its Google voice-activated search function and touchscreen it aims to navigate its way into a gap that the two biggest players might have left open.
‘S’ stands for sport: the Rider S500 is the flagship model in a new ‘performance line’ of GPS computers for Bryton. It has the pro team credentials to match: the S500 has been developed with UCI WorldTeam Wanty-Gobert. According to Bryton it has a design that is “optimised for pro cyclists, combining the power, durability and accuracy of its predecessors with the versatility and advanced features that the professionals expect all in an enhanced aerodynamic shell.”
With a 2.4in colour touchscreen it sits right between the Garmin Edge 530 (2.6in) and the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt (2.2in) - neither of which has a touchscreen. Four buttons complement the Bryton's touchscreen, and it can use Google voice search in its navigation. The Garmin Edge 830, which also has a screen size of 2.6in, does have a touchscreen, however.
The Bryton Rider S500’s features include Live Tracking, Climb Challenge, ambient light sensor, and what Bryton describes as “seamless” recording, as well as improved software and hardware, an improved user interface, simultaneous five-satellite connectivity, USB-C compatibility, improved processing power and customisable quick-status menu options in addition to improvements to routing and workout features.
Bryton is talking about improvements over the Bryton Rider 750T, which launched last year and which also features Google voice search. However, that computer was aimed more at the "advanced cyclist" or "daily fitness, weekend trekking explorer" type of rider according to Bryton, whereas the new flagship Rider S500 is pitched at the top level.
"Bryton's objective is more than just engineering the most powerful GPS cycle computers," explained Samuel Wang, Bryton CEO. "Our objective is also to seek to pave the way for unique, new features without the big-ticket price.”
The Rider S500 is scheduled for global release in January, and will be available in two different bundle packages, starting at £259/$299 for the base version (device, protective case, sport mount and lanyard) and £329/$379 for the sensor bundle that includes speed, heart rate and cadence sensors.
The Garmin Edge 530 also costs £259/$299 for the unit only, with the Edge 530 sensor bundle slightly more expensive than the Bryton at £349/$399.
However, it's a lot cheaper than the Garmin Edge 830 at £349/$399 or £429/$499 with the sensor bundle.
Meanwhile the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is £264/$299 for the unit only and also £349/$399 for the bundle.
So to be fair Bryton’s prices are almost identical to two of its rivals but it undercuts the Edge 830 by quite a margin.
Let’s take a closer look at the Bryton Rider S500’s headline functions.
The Rider S500’s voice search function eliminates typing out POIs, addresses or postcodes when you’re navigating. An internet connection (ie the computer needs to be connected to the app) is required and then voice recognition is available in over 100 languages.
The routing features are claimed to be improved with turn-by-turn and route guidance (from third party apps Komoot and RideWithGPS) on all pre-installed regional OSM (OpenStreetMap) maps, which are free.
There are the other routing features you’d expect such as auto-rerouting, on-screen POIs, reverse ride saving and route retracing, plus you can add your own with the Bryton Active app, sync third-party routes, add custom POIs to maps and more.
Bryton’s Live Track feature lets you share your real time location including all your ride data - speed, trip time, distance etc.
Garmin has its ClimbPro feature that lets you view details about a climb; Bryton's Climb Challange also allows you to see a climb's distance, ascent, altitude, start and finish points. According to Bryton, the screen switches to Climb Challenge as you approach the climb, with the various segments appearing as graphical representations.
Bryton says the Rider S500’s upgraded user interface features a new resilience workout which allows users to adjust, skip or revert workout progress plus a workout note feature which allows users to add notes from the Bryton Active app or TrainingPeaks and be viewed on workouts.
The new graphical workout overview allows the device to display workouts with customisable data fields. Target cadence can now be displayed alongside target power and heart rate.
With its ANT+ FE-C smart trainer compatibility, the Bryton Rider S500 can communicate with a trainer to control resistance/power, simulate custom virtual workouts (Smart Workout) or simulate a route (Virtual Ride).
Rear-facing radar support
Bryton says using “a connected rear-view radar system” users can view vehicles approaching from up to 150 metres behind. Since Garmin Varia is the main commercially available cycling radar system and the Bryton connects via ANT+, we can confirm the Rider S500 and Garmin Varia are compatible. Wahoo computers also connect with Garmin Varia.
The Bryton Rider S500 works with Shimano Steps and offers ANT+ LEV integration for e-bikes, displaying e-bike data such as assist mode, battery status, range and gears.
Ambient light sensor
Like Wahoo and Garmin, Bryton includes an ambient light sensor in the Rider S500, adjusting its backlight according to the lighting conditions.
Customisable quick status menu
The Rider S500 lets you organise your data just as Wahoo’s Perfect Zoom and Garmin’s Quick Look do.
Even more improvements…
Bryton says the Rider S500 “numerous improvements and upgrades including various quality of life enhancements including USB-C compatibility, improved processing power and an overall better user experience.”
Battery life is quoted at 35 hours (compared to the Edge 830 and 530's 20 hours in GPS mode and 40 hours in battery saver mode and 15 hours for the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt.
As for weights - of course there's only ever going to be a matter of grams in it - the Bryton weighs 87g compared to the Edge 830's 79g, the Edge 530's 76g and the Bolt's 68g.
So overall the Rider S500 looks like an interesting prospect - competitively priced, bang up to date and packed with features to rival the big players.
We have a Bryton Rider S500 on test and we’ll report back in the next month with our full review.
Don't forget to check out our guide to the best cycling computers. Will the Bryton Rider S500 be making an appearance on it shortly?
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
And the vital statistics:
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