Someone has finally listened! For a decade, automobile enthusiasts have had a performance measuring gadgets for their cars. These portable radar-detector looking devices measure all sorts of raw data for your consumption. For those of us who opt for open air and two wheels, we’ve been left out of the loop... until this year.
Ottawa, Canada based Nonlinear Engineering Inc. (NEI) has finally listened to the motorcycle rider requests for a similar two-wheel solution. Founded in November 2003 to produce “performance” automotive electronics, NEI came to market with a product designed specifically for motorcycles.
The performance oriented Veypor was unveiled in February 2004 during the 26th Annual Dealernews International Powersports Dealer Expo in Indianapolis. In a press release, Nonlinear Engineering Inc. describes their new product:
Veypor is a performance data acquisition and analysis system that lets motorcycle owners obtain and analyze accurate performance information. It allows the timing of 0 to 60 and quarter mile runs while displaying real-time speed, RPM, HP, torque, acceleration, and distance. Graphing functions plot the data sets for the current run and up to 6 saved runs.
What does all of this mean? In a word, datalogging. What is datalogging and why do you need it, you ask? Put simply, it’s the process of information gathering in relation to (motorcycle) performance. This is nothing new if you frequent the professional race track. Without such vital statistics as lap times, braking and corner speed, track riders have little data to gather in order to improve. The Veypor brings much of this data gathering task into a small and easy to use package the everyday rider can use to his advantage.
You’re not a track rider? No worries, there is so much information to be gained from this gadget, while you may not have a practical purpose for it, there is an unquestionable “coolness” factor in owning one. For under $300, this feature-rich gizmo is chock full of enough data gathering circuitry to keep you busy for weeks analyzing it all. But, before you can gather and analyze all of that data, you’ve got to install the Veypor.
As with any new product, there is not a wealth of information, yet, regarding installation. If you’re like us, you use the internet for this sort of thing. The Veypor website does have a forum to discuss installation topics, but we found it a bit underused. Also, NEI does provide a number to call for installation help as well. We didn’t use either but we did pose a couple of questions to the techies on www.twowheelforum.com
Our installation is on a 1999 Suzuki SV650S, a Canadian model, actually. It is virtually identical the U.S. half-faired version offered until 2002. Also, our unit was on loan from NEI so our installation was only temporary. There are several shortcuts we took for ease of removal.
In the box is an AC/DC wall transformer, PC Serial Cable, R.A.M. Universal Motorcycle Mount, wiring harness, superglue, two magnets, zip ties of various sizes, wires tapping clips, plug, pipe clamps, Veypor, manual and installation guide. Our initial reaction to all of this hardware had us a little concerned about the time it would take. However, being familiar with our SV, having it apart many times, was a tremendous asset.
Mounting the RAM
The first task is trying to figure out where to mount the RAM bracket (http://www.ram-mount.com
). We mounted the RAM bracket vertically on the back of the ignition key core. This location was well suited to the curve and design of the RAM mount. We used a ‘grippy’ material (typically used to keep floor rugs in place) under the bracket to keep it from moving and to prevent scratching. Instead of the supplied pipe clamps, we used one heavy-duty 14.5” zip tie we had in the shop; primarily for ease of removal. Total time: 25 minutes.
Installing the wiring harness
Once more, our familiarity with the SV proved invaluable. Under the seat is the battery and fusebox; it proved to be the perfect location for excess harness cable and the inline black box that is part of the wiring harness. From here we routed the harness up to the Veypor and down back along the swingarm.
The battery terminal hookups were a breeze, two screws and instant power. It should be noted that there is no power switch for the Veypor. In order to turn it off, you must remove it from the plug, which supplies power. It’s probably just was well, since you probably wouldn’t leave it on your bike unattended anyway.
The wire was routed to the Veypor along the right side of the frame away from the front ignition coil. NEI recommends keeping the wires away from ignition sources, with the exception of the white wire which you use to tap into the ignition coil. Alternately you may choose to tap into your bike’s digital tachometer signal. Since our ’99 SV is the old fashioned analog-type, the ignition coils were our only option.
We chose the rear coil, which is just forward of the battery and fuse compartment box. This is where we guessed a bit. There were two wires coming from the coil: orange and white; a shop manual or wiring schematic would have been handy at this point. The Veypor manual stated it is “usually red or yellow” wire, but our SV didn’t have either. Therefore we gambled and figured we had a 50/50 shot and went with white. Afterall, the harness wire was white. Using the blue tapping clips, we easily tapped into the coil wire. The only part of the harness left to route was the wheel sensor. Total time: 15 minutes.
Installing the wheel sensor and magnet
The wheel sensor wire is not required in order to use the Veypor, but its usefulness is greatly diminished without it. Therefore this wire was routed on the left side of the bike (where the sprocket is located) down to the swingarm and back. This proved a bit tricky.
The manual states the magnet (installed next) must be within 2cm of the harness tip where the sensor is location. The sprocket bolts nearly touch the swingarm which left little room between the bolts and where the chain meshes with the teeth. You cannot mount the sensor without simultaneously mounting the magnet.
One important step in mounting the sensor is orienting the sensor to the correct side. By saying that, it IS possible to mount it backward and get no response on your Veypor. NEI recommends plugging in the Veypor and rubbing the magnet past the sensor to determine which side is to face out. The Veypor will indicate velocity and show distance traveled when you perform this procedure.
Using a mirror we were was able to coordinate the sensor and the magnet to get a reading. Again, we used zip ties to route and mount the sensor. This isn’t the best way, but again our install was temporary. We tightened down the ties, moved the magnet around and then rolled the SV back and forth to see if the Veypor would register any velocity. Once the “sweet spot” was found, the ties were tightened permanently in hopes the sensor will not move.
Another area of concern is the mounting method of the magnet. NEI recommend you mount the magnet close to the center of the wheel so it’s not as susceptible to shock from bumps. Regardless, the adhesion method is cyanoacrylate, or commonly known as superglue. NEI is working on a better solution, but for now this was the install method.
The rest of the harness was secured to the frame using the supplied zip ties. Total time: 45 minutes.
The Veypor manual illustrates the installation of the wheel sensor and magnet.
It should be noted that our Veypor unit, when first plugged in, glowed a brilliant blue but registered nothing. After several power cycles, we were able to see the Veypor splash screen and begin the setup. We don’t know what to attribute this anomaly to, but hoped a firmware upgrade would remedy the issue.
The initial splash screen displayed a firmware of “1V3”. After checking the Veypor website, we noticed version 1.45 was released on November 2004. It was a very small 24K file even dial-up user would not have a problem downloading. According to the readme file included with the firmware file, 1.45 added the following features/fixes:
- added a contrast adjustment in the system configuration menu - 24 steps of contrast
- smoothed out and cleaned up RPM display values
- added semi metric units which use kph and metres but display HP and torque in ft-lbs
- changed metric units setting to display HP in kW and torque in N-m
- fixed a configuration save error where changing one setting caused others to be lost
- lap times and course stats are saved during power off
- added circuit timer menu option to view last course/circuit statistics
- trip meter keeps value during power off, reset by pressing enter
- fixed bug with tripmeter that limited it to 128km. New range is 5000km.
- improved resistance to lock-ups due to noisy power supplies and starter motors.
- added Gear indicator display to lap timing modes.
- made "save" the default option after finishing runs.
The process to upgrade is somewhat technical, and if you’ve never used Hyperterminal (included with Windows) you may have some questions. With a computer techie on staff, we were able to flash the firmware in about 90 seconds. You’ll need a 9-pin serial port available on your PC for this process and to download any data from the Veypor.
After this upgrade, our Veypor did not experience the glowing screen problem again. It’s noteworthy, however, that our Veypor retained some settings and others it did not. The firmware upgrade disabled the accelerometer and wheel sensor, yet retained our RPM multiplier. We had to recalibrate the gear ratios, yet our shift light setting went unchanged. Our maximum velocity setting was unchanged, while we had to recalibrate the accelerometer. If you’ve calibrated your Veypor before a firmware flash, make sure you do it again afterward.
Once the Veypor is installed and you have the latest firmware, it must be (re)configured. Without this procedure it’s of little value. Taken from the manual, the configuration options include:
1. Units Selection
– Choose between Metric and Imperial display units
2. Driving Mode Graphics
– Choose data display graphics for driving mode
3. Shift Light Setting
– Choose the RPM at which the shift light turns on
4. Velocity Maximum
– Choose the Velocity at which the speed light turns on
– Set the Vehicle and Rider combined weight
6. LED Function
– Choose shift or speed light function
7. System Config
– Set RPM sensor, accelerometers, wheel size and gear ratios.
Our experience with configuration
Before you press any button, if you’ve attached the RPM sensor (to the ignition coil or digital tachometer) correctly you should get a reading on the Veypor while idling. The SV was reading about 30 RPM before calibration.
- We chose Imperial units, despite our SV still having the Canadian gauges installed (KPH). For the first time ever, we will glance down and see MPH instead of converting to KPH!
Driving Mode Graphics
– This is a purely cosmetic preference. The default screen is set to “overlap”, the other option is “symmetric”. We preferred symmetric primarily because it represents G-Force numerically.
The two display options for the Veypor are shown here. In symmetric mode (top), when you’re not in the middle of a run, the progress bar changes to gear selection.
Shift Light Setting
– Setting this tells the Veypor two things: when to illuminate the shift light and scale of the RPM bar graph on the display. Your peak engine horsepower is usually near redline (10,500 on our SVS), so you’ll want to adjust it near your bike’s redline. The shift light will come on and the bar graph will be completely colored when you reach this preset RPM.
– This, similarly, sets the scale of the velocity (speedometer) on the Veypor. If you were to set it at, say, 30MPH then the bar would be fully colored at 30MPH. You’ll probably want to set this at your bike’s top speed, provided you know it.
– This is a very important entry in your configuration. Improper entries or guesses here will cause the Veypor datalogging to be inaccurate, though you’ll have to guess fuel weight. You’ll want to add the following items to arrive at your weight:
Motorcycle + fuel + rider + rider gear = Weight calculation
Since the weight of fuel is dependant on how much you have, we calculated it this way: One gallon of gasoline weighs roughly 6.2 lbs, the SVS has a capacity of 4.2 gallons, a full weight of 26.04 lbs.
We decided to use the weight of half tank of gas as our calculation, but since one cannot ride with an empty tank, we subtracted 1/8th a tank to arrive at a capacity of 3.675 gallons. Half a tank of gas is 1.8375 gallons times a weight of 6.2 gives me: 11.3925 lbs.
The published weight (dry) of the SV is 364 lbs. Gear weights varies so we suggest suiting up with the gear worn most often and step on a scale.
– This illuminates the LED at the top of the Veypor to indicate when to shift OR when you’ve reached your maximum speed set in the Maximum velocity setting.
– This part of the setup consists of five separate sections: RPM Multiplier, Wheel circumference, Sensor enable, Accelerometer calibration, and gear ratio.
The RPM Multiplier
isn’t a literal multiplication of the initial indicated reading (we mentioned ours was 30RPM at idle earlier). We adjusted our “multiplier” to a factor of 6 in order to achieve an accurate reading. This is trial and error, use your factory tach to set it.
is measured in tenths of an inch. We used a piece of chalk to mark the tire where the wheel was touching the ground, then another mark matched up to the tire mark, on the ground. We rolled the bike forward until the tire mark made one full revolution, marked the new spot on the ground and measured the distance between the ground marks. If you have rear or center stand, you can simply wrap a piece of string around your tire and measure it.
lets you enable or disable the wheel rotation sensor and/or the internal accelerometers. We’re not sure why anyone want to disable either as they work with one another to produce accurate results.
is used to calibrate the triple axis (3D) accelerometer. This needs to be done with power to the Veypor. Since there is little slack in the harness cable, we suggest using the AC power adapter. You simply rotate the Veypor end over end and sideways.
Gear ratio calibration
requires some riding; We suggest doing this when traffic is minimal. You will need to shift your attention to the Veypor and off the road, so you don’t want to do this with a lot of other vehicles around.
All you do is ride in the gear displayed on the Veypor, and bring your RPMs to 3500 and hold it for three seconds, then hit enter. Once you complete the first gear, you move onto the next. The higher gears, naturally, require higher speeds.
Our first experience with using the Veypor can be summed up in one word: fun. It’s easy to start playing with the menu and shift your attention from the road, so we just left it in driving mode and monitored RPMS, gear selection, and velocity. We enjoyed watching the G meter change, as well.
We don’t know why, but we weren’t able to get the shift light LED working, at first. We actually wound up lowering the user-defined RPM shift point to 9500. The light is easy to see in daylight and, of course, at night.
The blue display is certainly eye catching. If you’re riding at dusk, dawn or in the dark the Veypor will add a coolness factor to your instrument cluster.
The two-button interface is adequate. The buttons are easy to manipulate and press down with a solid “click”. Even with riding gloves on, there were no problems.
Using the Veypor
This is what it’s all about; what can the Veypor do? The datalogging options available to you are:
- Driving Mode
- Auto 1/4 Mile Run
- Staged 1/4 Mile Run
- Auto 0 - 60 Run
- Lap Timer
- Braking Run
- Graph Analysis
- This simply displays either the symmetric or overlap graphics you set previously. This is most useful for everyday riding on public roads. It displays real-time data and logs distance traveled.
Auto and Staged ¼ Mile Run
– Exactly as you’d expect, this records then plots your data for a ¼ mile run, without the need for a drag strip. They differ only in how each run is initiated. The Auto run starts as soon as the internal accelerometers detect movement, where the Staged presents you with a “Christmas Tree”.
The timing for the staged run works as it does at a drag strip. There is a five second pause, and the yellow lights will light up. Of course the Veypor display is not color, so it’s assumed you know the top three rows are yellow. The reaction timer starts when the third yellow light is lit. A false start is declared (red light at the drag strip) when you exceed the pre-set rollout of 12” before the green light comes on. If you manage to rollout 12” at the exact same time as the green light illuminates, you’re awarded with a perfect reaction time of 0.5s.
The elapsed time is started once the rollout is completed and ends once you reach ¼ mile.
Your trap speed (average velocity during the final 60 feet of the run) is calculated along with your trap horsepower (estimated based on your trap speed).
The Veypor displays the results after a ¼ mile run.
Auto 0 - 60 Run
– This will measure your performance to 60MPH, then display the results similar to the ¼ mile run. There is no Staged version of this run, it begins once the Veypor detects movement.
- This is one feature we did not have the opportunity to test to its capability. Weather kept us from the track during our testing. Most functions you can test without a track, but the Lap Timer is not one of them.
There are three circuit timer modes available:
1 – Button Triggered
2 – Distance Triggered
3 – Course Timer
All three have their consistency limitations and avid track riders might find these limitations prohibitive for use as a lap timer. However, most casual track riders will probably accept these limitations.
requires the rider to hit a button on the Veypor indicating a lap. The obvious issue here is safety, you’re taking attention away from riding to hitting a button. Also, it’s near impossible to trigger the lap at exactly the same time each lap and doing so each lap might artificially deflate your performance figures.
allows the Veypor to calculate its own laps based on the preset distance you configure. This is a better trigger and more accurate, provided you take the same line around the track each lap and don’t venture off.
NEI is working on a more accurate alternative. According to their website in January, 2005:
An Infra-Red lap timing system is currently under development.
This Veypor IR receiver add-on plugs into existing Veypor units. It provides infra-red beacon triggered lap timing for highly accurate, automated lap timing.
Estimated completion time is fall 2004 with a cost estimate between $50 and $100 USD.
Perhaps one of the most valuable features is the Course Timer
. This feature will measure performance during a long run or a day at the track. At the end it will show total distance covered, total time elapsed, average speed, maximum speed, maximum acceleration, and maximum RPM. This could be useful for a long trip as well, not just track riding.
– This allows you to log the data for a 60-0 MPH braking run. It will display similar graphic results (to other runs) when the Veypor shows a speed of 0 MPH.
– While graphing your runs immediately after you perform them can be valuable, the display of the Veypor limits what you can do in the field.
The Veypor 128x64 pixel resolution is sufficient for other functions, but it lacks detail for chart graphics.
You can save up to six runs and display the following statistics:
- HP and torque vs. RPM
- RPM vs. Time
- HP vs. Time
- Velocity vs. Time
- G’s (acceleration) vs. Time
- Distance vs. Time
If you really want to take advantage of the Veypor datalogging capabilities and graph your results, you’ll want to leave this task to VAS – Veypor Analysis Software.
Complementing the graphing ability of the Veypor itself, is the software (VAS – Veypor Analysis Software) available for your PC. At 16MB, it’s a hefty size if you’re still a dial-up user, however we would highly recommend the download. It’s free and displays a much better representation of your saved runs.
The software is currently version 1.0.0 and while early versions of most software are typically buggy and featureless, VAS is the exception. Downloads via the supplied serial cable are fast and easy. While viewing your performance results on the Veypor is great while you’re out riding, but it lacks the resolution (128 x 64 pixels) VAS will give you. VAS will also give you the opportunity to compare your runs on one chart.
This ability we found as one of the most valuable features. We could actually visualize our riders improvement over each run, and compare riders. VAS also provides the ability to share the files, saved as .VPR files, with your friends who have Veypors installed. This way, you can compare yourself to others who also have a Veypor. Very cool.
This graph shows the first 0-60 run we did with the Veypor (black). The blue is a run on a GSX-R 1000 and was a high-speed run.
You can also print your graphs, a nice feature. VAS will allow you to save the graphs as an image file, however NEI opted to use the little used .PNG image format. The good news is most web browsers will view .PNG files and NEI expects to add the ability to save graphs in more common formats (JPG and GIF) in future releases.
Aside from the graphs, VAS gives you oodles of number to pour over. You also have the option to export this information into a .CSV (comma separated value) file which can be opened in Microsoft Excel. Excel has its own graphing features and with the ability to write your own formulas, number crunchers will love this option.
Finally, VAS gives you the option to make notes about your runs. You might want to mention the weather was hot, cold, rainy, or maybe you missed a shift. Or, you could be comparing performance improving mods and want it notated. Either way, the notes feature is valuable for comparison sake.
How accurate is the Veypor?
The accuracy of the Veypor is based largely on how you configure it. We cannot stress enough the importance of accurate configuration. Determining your weight, wheel circumference etc. is critical. Our observations regarding RPM and speed found the Veypor to match what the factory gauges were telling us.
In August 2004, Motor Cycle News, a magazine published in the United Kingdom, tested the Veypor against a Microsat GPS. The Microsat GPS is, according to MCN, accurate to 0.1 MPH and used to calibrate speed cameras. Their review found the accuracy of the results to be impressive as it was “pretty close” to the Microsat GPS.
What we’d like to see
While navigating the menus isn’t difficult, it would be nice if there was a “shortcut” button. A third button that you could program for a specific task. Alternately a double-click using one of the existing buttons could serve this purpose. Veypor engineers purposely left the interface simple, two buttons. However, we found navigating the menu to get our favorite run (0-60) to be somewhat cumbersome while riding.
It would be really nice if the Veypor had a battery option, even if it were a separate battery pack that you plug into the back. The AC adapter is cumbersome to carry around, if the Veypor could operate under its own power, you wouldn’t need the AC adapter as much. Also, trips where AC power isn’t readily available, camping for instance, a battery pack would be most beneficial.
One concern we had, that was not addressed in the manual, was whether Veypor is water resistant. NEI does say this on their website, “The Veypor is water resistant and not fully waterproof. Huge amounts of water may damage the unit.” We suggest covering with a zip-lock if you’re caught in a downpour. Then again, you’re probably not going to be engaged in performance testing while it’s raining.
The Veypor warranty is six months. For a product as technical as this, we’d like to see a warranty extended to a year. Will this be a deal breaker for potential customers, doubtful. A note of caution, if you pick one up on EBay, NEI will not provide support for you.
We had no quality issues with build or workmanship, in fact we were quite impressed. The initial lockup of our unit disappeared with the firmware upgrade. The Veypor appears quite durable and able to withstand the inevitable fall to the ground.
Installation of the Veypor was quite easy, but some of this is attributable to our familiarity with the SV. Without, it would have taken longer but we would not go so far as to say you need to be mechanic to install the Veypor.
Functionality of the Veypor is great for both track and everyday riders. We mentioned the limitations for track riders, but the soon expected infrared timer add-on will alleviate most of these limitations. For everyday riding, the Veypor will give you accurate and usable results.
The cost of the Veypor, directly from NEI, is $279 USD. Considering what the Veypor can do, this is a downright bargain. The ability to capture the type and amount of data the Veypor can handle would cost much more using other methods. To have this in a single unit that can interface with you own PC for under $300 moves it near the top of our list of mods.
The ergonomics of the Veypor are designed to allow the rider to focus his or her attention to the road and not on the Veypor. The menu system is easy to navigate and we found we didn’t really need the manual to understand how it functioned. Repeatedly pressing the MENU button to cycle to the menu options was our major complaint. We believe this can be remedied easily with a double-click “shortcut”, as mentioned earlier; a firmware upgrade could accomplish this. We found the Veypor to be quite user friendly.
Thankfully, we did not need support for our Veypor. The website is well designed and we found most of what we were looking for on the site. As more people purchase these units, we suspect we’ll see a lot more information about them; from installation to usability.
There you have it. The first entry of a performance gathering datalogger for two wheel riders is here. It’s a good match for all types of riding, and comes with a price palatable for most sport bike enthusiasts. We enjoyed our time with the Veypor and found one of most difficult parts of our review to be giving it back.
Contents of the Veypor box
Excess wiring harness cable is stored under the seat.
Splicing into the Ignition Coil.
The wiring harness path along the frame (before zip ties).
The wiring along the swingarm and attaching the wheel sensor.
*** More photos of the final installation available soon! ***
Copyright 2005 TwoWheelforum.com
The preceding article may not be reproduced in whole or part without express written consent of TwoWheelforum.com. TwoWheelforum.com is in no way affiliated with NEI.
Safety disclaimer (From Veypor Manual)
: Use the Veypor at your own risk. To reduce the risk of unsafe operation carefully
review and understand all aspects of this Owner’s Manual.
: IT IS THE USER’S RESPONSIBILITY TO USE THIS PRODUCT
PRUDENTLY. THIS PRODUCT IS DESIGNED FOR USE ON STREET MOTORCYCLES,
AND INSIDE CARS. USE ON ANY OTHER VEHICLES HAS NOT BEEN TESTED AND
IS NOT RECOMMENDED.
: This product is designed to minimize user interaction while the vehicle is in
motion. Always come to a complete stop in a safe location before proceeding with any data
analysis and review functions.
: For use on motorcycles and cars, it is the sole responsibility of the owner/operator
of the Veypor to secure the unit so that it will not interfere with the vehicle’s operating controls,
obstruct the driver’s view of driving conditions, or cause damage or personal injury in the event
of an accident. The mounting hardware provided by Nonlinear Engineering is not warranted
against collision damage or the consequences thereof.
: For use on motorcycles and cars, it is the sole responsibility of the driver of the
vehicle to operate the vehicle in a safe manner, maintain full surveillance of all driving
conditions at all times, and not become distracted by the Veypor to the exclusion of safe driving
practices. It is unsafe to operate the controls of the Veypor while you are driving. Failure by
the driver of a vehicle equipped with a Veypor to pay full attention to operation of the vehicle
and road conditions while in motion could result in an accident or collision with property
damage and personal injury.
Our safety disclaimer
:We do not recommend, condone, endorse, suggest or advocate using the Veypor in any manner inconsistent with manual. While it’s designed for both street and track use, certain functions should be left to the track. If you use the Veypor on the street, it will necessarily shift all or part of your attention from the road. Your riding ability, weather, traffic, and road conditions should be taken into consideration before performing any of the Veypor functions.