At the 2017 Tour Down Under we spotted Team Sunweb riding with computers that appeared to be the Bryton Rider 530, but were labelled as a Giant unit. Initially, we dismissed this as one of the many cases where products are re-labelled on the World Tour.
Now half a year later we’ve learned that it wasn’t just smoke and mirrors at work, Giant and Bryton were, in fact, collaborating on this newly released NeosTrack computer.
Giant NeosTrack highlights
- ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity
- Breadcrumb navigation with turn-by-turn directions
- 33 hour battery life
- 2.6in screen
Ben Johnson, Giant's gear product manager told us that “A little over 18 months ago Giant formed a technical partnership with Bryton computers. Their expertise has been an integral part of making this product a reality. The project started out with the desire to fulfil the demand we saw in the market for a powerful yet price savvy GPS computer. This really came to life as we began to strengthen our ties with the Team Sunweb pro cycling team."
Team Sunweb has really helped in the testing of the new computer as Johnson explains: “We have been working to include more and more of Giant’s product onto the pro team to really utilise their feedback to create better commercial products (Rev and Pursuit helmet projects are great examples). We approached them with the GPS computer project and they were instrumental in developing it.”
The basis for the NeosTrack computer is the Rider 530, and by working directly with Team Sunweb the brands were able to test various generations of the NeosTrack as it evolved and have the riders and team provide feedback on features they felt would be beneficial to their training and racing.
In addition to making the computer lighter, sleeker and changing the location and function of the buttons, Giant and Bryton were surprised how many teams utilized the navigation features during the race.
“Team Sunweb take their stage reconnaissance data seriously when they plan their in-race tactics. Team Sunweb riders all use the track feature to keep tabs on exactly where they are on the stage at any given time,” Johnson said. “It enables them to know (without being reminded constantly on race radio) how much further this climb is, how long the next descent is, when that difficult turn is coming up. This helps them more effectively run their pre-race plan and the team can really effectively communicate any strategy changes to the riders over the radio.”
It's not a Bryton
For the NeosTrack, Giant has shuffled the button layout by moving the two bottom buttons to the side of the computer and the on/off/backlight button to the bottom. The buttons on the side are quite small and stiff so may cause trouble with thick winter gloves.
The computer itself measures 54.9mm x 92.7mm x 13.8mm and weighs 79g by our scales. Interestingly, Giant has opted for its own proprietary quarter turn mounting system and the computer doesn’t work with any of the Bryton mounts I had on hand.
With a 2.6in screen, there is plenty of real estate for data, and the computer can display up to six pages with ten fields on each page, in addition to dedicated Altitude and Track (navigation) pages.
When it comes to metrics, the NeosTrack allows for 72 data fields by our count covering everything from your standard speed, power and distance, to TSS, pedal balance and even integration with your Di2 drivetrain. The computer can also connect to external sensors via ANT+ and Bluetooth.
With a claimed 33 hour battery life, the NeosTrack more than doubles that of the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt.
Follow the trail of breadcrumbs
The NeosTrack doesn’t have base maps like the latest units from Garmin and Wahoo, however, the breadcrumb style navigation does give you turn-by-turn directions telling you the direction and distance to your next turn.
We're interested to give the Giant/Bryton navigation another crack because when we experimented with creating a route in the Bryton app during testing of the Rider 530, it wanted to route onto a four-lane highway — not ideal. We’ll see what happens with Giant’s version of the software.
The NeosTrack also gets the ‘Giant Lab,’ which allows you to build workouts on the computer to then be guided through. There is also a pre-made LTHR/FTP test programmed onto the computer.
Giant's NeosTrack App is quite simple and allows you to wirelessly upload activities, analyse data and track workouts, plan routes and send them directly to the device. From here, the app can automatically push workouts to Strava and TrainingPeaks.
When it set out to make the NeosTrack computer Giant wanted to make a feature rich computer that didn’t break the bank. And priced at $180 / AU$300, if the NeosTrack is anything like the Rider 530, which it’s based on, we'd venture a guess that Giant has achieved just that.