I took Lucas and a friend to Water Country in Portsmouth, NH (lots of fun) and on the way back, I stopped at John Baron's shop to see the new test frame in action.
While 3D CAD is amazing, it's hard to beat RL (real life)
This sequence shows the new morphing configuration in action. Alan Ball realized that in order to get the low riding mode we want, we should have a frame that has "dual flanking members." Which means that the part of the bike that goes up and down (the wheel to seat part) will fit in between two outer support members. This means that when the bike morphs down, it can go much lower because you eliminate the interference that stops the downward Morph in Morph II.. (Actually that was done on purpose in Morph II...so it would be rigid once you got down.)
Now, as you watch this sequence, you can see the benefits. The bike practically folds on itself in the up position (we probably can't do that once the gas spring is installed). And in the low position, you'll see that it can go REALLY LOW. (also not practical, but hey, fun to see.)
Note that right now we only plan to use the middle set of pictures as a real range. The very first ones and very last ones are outside the usable range of the full design with gas springs. (We think)
Here is a brief video showing John moving the test rig.
Note the automatic seat leveling device. Here in the low mode, it is tilting the seat forward. Note the angle between the left strut, and the small upper strut.
Now notice that the upper strut is almost parallel to the lower one. This tilts the seat back in the up mode, thus reducing the forward seat tilt that occurs with the morphing up.
Discussion: There is a lot of new ideas in this frame design. John has figured out a lot of details already in building the unit. He is also planning to use one gas shock rather than the two found on Morph II. This will save cost, and save weight.
In early discussion of the Morph, Rory talked about a "Super Tight" mode where you could make the bike even shorter than you might normally use, say for really tight spaces. This frame can do that, when going all the way up and when the morphing arms nest completely.
This picture shows the arm positions (roughly) in the high rider mode.
Now check this out. The twin flanking members are fully nested, and the bike will get a good 3" shorter.