BikeBrain Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is the VeloTrend BikeBrain?
A: The VeloTrend BikeBrain is a new class of bicycle computers that is based on 3Com's Palm hand-held organizer. VeloTrend has adapted the Palm to bicycles with a sleek case, a wheel sensor, and an application, BikeBrain, that will revolutionize bicycle computing.

Q: Why did you design the BikeBrain for use with Palm organizers?
A: 3Com's Palm products are the most popular hand-held computers currently on the market with about 5 million sold. Their form factor, level of functionality, and price makes the Palm organizer the platform for the ultimate BikeBrain. Additionally, new releases of the BikeBrain software will add features...something that traditional cyclometers can never do.

Q: With which Palm organizers is BikeBrain compatible?
A: BikeBrain is compatible with Pilot 1000/5000,  PalmPilot Professional/ Personal,  Palm III/x/e, Palm V/x.  We do not support the Palm VII yet.

Q: Can I buy a Palm organizer directly from you?
A: We do not currently sell Palms.  Just choose your favorite retailer, there are many that carry the Palm line of organizers.

Q: What are the BikeBrain's unique features?
A: Think of a cyclometer, now think ultimate! The VeloTrend BikeBrain includes,
* Patented Route Directions feature
* Speed and Split recording
* Route recording
* Configurable screen with the largest digits available
* Real-time graphs of speed vs. time or distance
* Automatic wheel calibration
* Foolproof setup
* Data upload to your PC or Mac for analysis and display
And it's the world's best functioning and best selling hand-held computer!

Q: What type of cyclist will benefit the most from a BikeBrain?
A: Performance-oriented riders as well as touring fans will benefit from the BikeBrain's features. The ability to analyze your performance data over weeks and months of rides will benefit the serious athlete. And there is nothing as useful as the patented route directions feature for tourists and all other cyclists for exploring new rides on or off road.

Q: How does the Route Direction feature work?
A: You download a ride to the BikeBrain that you want to follow, and the BikeBrain prompts you to take the next turn as you ride. If the downloaded route sheet contains altitude data, then the graph of the route's altitude profile is displayed and you can tell how far it is to the summit, for example.

Q: What if I take a detour from the route sheet?
A: Simply hit the "Freeze" button to suspend the route odometer. When you hit "UnFreeze" or the "I'm here" button, the route tracking will continue.

Q: Where can I get routes?
A: The VeloTrend web site,, contains a large repository of ready to ride routes that have been collected from cycling books, touring organizations, bike clubs, and individuals.

Q: How can I create and share routes?
A: Two ways: record a route with your BikeBrain, or compose a route with the BikeBrain Desktop software. The BikeBrain has a Mark button which allows you to insert a distance/time/direction marker in the recorded log. You simply press this button every time you make a turn or pass a landmark, for example. After the ride, you upload the data from the BikeBrain to your desktop machine where you annotate each of the marks using the BikeBrain Desktop software. If you have altitude information for the route you can add that data to make the route sheet even more useful. Once you've made all of your annotations, you save the route sheet to disk and your ride is ready to download to your Palm or your fellow BikeBrainers'.

Q: Can I generate a route sheet without recording it on a BikeBrain?
A: Yes. There are two ways to create a route sheet with the BikeBrain Desktop software without actually riding the route. The first way is to use the "Add Route Point" menu item or button on the Route Sheet Editor multiple times. This is useful for adding a few route points, but it can be cumbersome for a 50 direction ride. The second method is by using the "Import Route Sheet" menu item. This action prompts you for the name of a text file that is formatted with the VeloTrend Route Sheet syntax. Thus a ride with many twists and turns can be imported very easily.

Q: How does automatic wheel calibration work?
A: If you are following a route sheet you may need to synchronize your BikeBrain's notion of distance with that of the particular route sheet. To do this you simply press the "I'm here" button (the bulls eye) whenever you reach a particular direction point. Once you've done this with at least two route points, the BikeBrain can account for any discrepancy between your wheel size setting and the route sheet. Hence, the BikeBrain will be in sync with the current route sheet. Additionally, you may choose to set your wheel size setting to the size automatically calibrated from the route sheet and the "I'm here" inputs.

Q: What data is recorded on the BikeBrain?
A: Two types of data are recorded. The first is marks or splits. Every time you press the "X" button, a distance is stored. If you are in "route record" mode, the BikeBrain also prompts you for a direction which you easily enter with a touch of a button.  When uploaded to your desktop machine, the distances appear as route points in the Route Sheet view and as splits on the ride log view. The speed data is recorded every time the wheel makes a revolution. This data becomes the data for the graphs you see on the BikeBrain itself as well as in the BikeBrain Desktop software.

Q: How much data is recorded?
A: The amount of data is user-settable: Low Res (8KB), Mid Res (16KB), High Res (32KB) or Max Res (64KB). The recording uses a smart algorithm that uses the selected recording file size intelligently to provide maximum resolution.

Q: How can I view the recorded data on the BikeBrain?
A: The BikeBrain displays the speed data as function of time or distance. You can see different spans of time or distance by tapping the graph.

Q: How do I upload and view the recorded data on my PC?
A: After a ride, you place the Palm device into its cradle, press the "Hot Sync" button and wait for synchronization to complete. After synchronization has completed, start the BikeBrain Desktop software, and each recorded route and speed log will be fetched, processed, and displayed in a window.  You can view, analyze and print your ride logs, or annotate and publish your recorded routes. You can have multiple ride logs and routes open at any time.

Q: Is it easy to set my wheel size?
A: The BikeBrain setup screen contains a pull-down menu of the most popular tire sizes. You can choose one of the predefined sizes or you can increment or decrement the wheel size by millimeters with a pair of intuitive buttons.

Q: Can I change my wheel size on the fly?
A: Yes. Also see "automatic route calibration."

Q: How long do a fresh set of batteries last in the Palm?
A: The Palm organizers can be on continuously for 27 hours before they need a battery change.

Q: Does the auto-off feature of the Palm interfere with BikeBrain?
A: BikeBrain disables the auto-off feature while it's running, and restores it when it exits.  You can conserve your batteries by turning the Palm off, but BikeBrain does nothing when the power is off.

Q: How does the BikeBrain mount on the bicycle?
A:  A picture is worth a thousand are eight, BikeBrain hardware installation.

Q: Is the case rain proof?
A: The case is sweat and splash proof.  We have a simple solution for weather proofing your BikeBrain.

Q: How long is the wheel sensor cable?
A: The cable assembly is approximately 33 inches (85 cm).  It is easy to extend by splicing additional wire into the cable and soldering the spliced connections.

Q: What about kilometers and the Mac?
A: Release 1.10 of the BikeBrain software (July 1999)  and subsequent releases have included metric support and a MacOS version of the BikeBrain Desktop   New versions are available for  free download to current BikeBrain owners at the Update Center.

Q:  Can BikeBrain be used on a motorcycle?
A: Yes! BikeBrain easily works at over 100 miles per hour, and some folks have successfully used BikeBrain with their motorcycle as a nifty digital speedo/odo/route recorder/route follower.  Those 1" inch tall digits sure make a difference!

Q: Does BikeBrain monitor heart rate and cadence?
A:  We plan to monitor both of these types of data in a future version of BikeBrain.

Q: What are the hardware and software requirements for BikeBrain?
A:  View the requirements.