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Title:
VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/175517
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A vehicle includes a forward frame portion with a seat support portion, a motion control system, and a rear frame portion movably interconnected to the forward frame portion by the motion control system. The motion control system, in response to a forward acceleration of the rear frame portion resulting from a driving force imparted by a wheel supported by the rear frame portion, imparts a force onto the forward frame portion that immediately accelerates the seat support portion in a forward direction.

Inventors:
VOSS, Darrell (PO Box 119, Vancouver, Washington, 98666, US)
Application Number:
US2018/023462
Publication Date:
September 27, 2018
Filing Date:
March 21, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
VOSS, Darrell (PO Box 119, Vancouver, Washington, 98666, US)
International Classes:
B62K19/00
Foreign References:
US5284354A1994-02-08
US5385361A1995-01-31
US20080258517A12008-10-23
US20140265208A12014-09-18
CN201030927Y2008-03-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
YOUNG, Bruce (1024 14th Ave SE, Le Mars, Iowa, 51031, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A vehicle (100), comprising:

a forward frame portion (110) comprising a seat support portion (115);

a motion control system (130); and

a rear frame portion (120) movably interconnected to said forward frame portion by said motion control system, wherein

said motion control system, in response to a forward acceleration of said rear frame portion resulting from a driving force imparted by a wheel supported by said rear frame portion, imparts a force onto said forward frame portion that immediately accelerates said seat support portion in a forward direction.

2. The vehicle of claim 1, wherein:

said motion control system imparts said force in a plurality of operating states of said motion control system, said plurality of operating states including a mid-range of a range of motion of said motion control system.

3. The vehicle of claim 1, wherein:

said motion control system imparts said force irrespective of an operating state of said motion control system.

4. The vehicle of claim 1, wherein:

said forward frame portion comprises said seat support portion in an upper region of said forward frame portion and a drive train axle support (119) in a lower region of said forward frame portion, and

said motion control system, in response to said forward acceleration of said rear frame portion, imparts a force onto said forward frame portion that accelerates said seat support portion in said forward direction at an acceleration no less than an acceleration of said drive train axle support in said forward direction.

5. The vehicle of claim 1, wherein: said motion control system is configured such that said forward acceleration of said rear frame portion does not reduce an obstacle-avoiding range of motion of said motion control system.

6. The vehicle of claim 1, wherein:

said motion control system comprises a sliding element (132).

7. The vehicle of claim 6, wherein:

said front frame portion comprises a tubular structure that extends from a lower region of said forward frame portion in a direction of said seat support portion, and

said sliding element slides along said tubular structure.

8. The vehicle of claim 7, wherein:

said tubular structure is a seat tube (118).

9. The vehicle of claim 6, wherein:

said sliding element is rigidly connected to a rear axle support of said rear frame portion.

10. The vehicle of claim 9, wherein:

said sliding element is a sleeve, and

said rear axle support and said sleeve are elements of a unitary chain stay structure (124).

11. The vehicle of claim 9, wherein:

cross-sectional shapes of said sliding element and said tubular structure engage to movably interconnect said rear frame portion and said forward frame portion such that motion of said rear frame portion relative to said forward frame portion is restricted to substantially in-plane motion.

12. The vehicle of claim 9, wherein:

said motion control system further comprising an anti -rotational structure that restricts relative motion of said rear frame portion relative and said forward frame portion to substantially in-plane motion.

13. The vehicle of claim 6, wherein:

said front frame portion comprises a tubular structure (632) in a bottom bracket region (617) of said front frame portion, and

said tubular structure slidingly engages said sliding element (626).

14. The vehicle of claim 13, wherein:

said sliding element is rigidly connected to a rear axle support of said rear frame portion.

15. The vehicle of claim 14, wherein:

said rear axle support and said sleeve are elements of a unitary chain stay structure (624).

16. The vehicle of claim 15, wherein:

said sliding element is disposed inside of said tubular structure;

said tubular structure comprising an opening to allow a portion of said unitary chain stay structure to extend through said opening.

17. The vehicle of claim 14, wherein:

said tubular structure having a lower end and an upper end, said upper end positioned rearward of said lower end.

18. The vehicle of claim 17, wherein:

said bottom bracket region comprising a drive train axle support;

said tubular structure positioned in said front frame portion to have an acute angle in the range of 30 degrees to 60 degrees between a longitudinal axis of said tubular structure and an imaginary straight line through an axis of said rear axle support and an axis of said drive train axle support.

19. The vehicle of claim 1, wherein:

said motion control system movably interconnects said rear frame portion and said forward frame portion such that motion of said rear frame portion relative to said forward frame portion is restricted to substantially in-plane motion. The vehicle of any one of claims 1 through 19, wherein:

said force onto said forward frame portion immediately accelerates said seat support portion in an upward direction.

A vehicle, comprising:

a forward frame portion;

a rear frame portion; and

a motion control system comprising a first motion control device that movably interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion and a second motion control device that movably interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion, wherein

said first motion control device connects to said rear frame portion at a first location, and said second motion control device connects to said rear frame portion at a second location that is a fixed distance from said first location, and

said motion control system, by virtue of a geometric arrangement of said motion control system relative to said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion, adopts, in response to a forward acceleration of said rear frame portion resulting from a driving force imparted by a wheel supported by said rear frame portion, an operating state in which forces imparted onto said motion control system by

a tensioning of a drivetrain element that transfers driving energy from a driving axle supported by said forward frame portion to a driven axle supported by said rear frame portion,

said forward acceleration of said rear frame portion, and

an acceleration of a user mass supported by said forward frame portion are in equilibrium.

The vehicle of claim 21, wherein:

said operating state differs from an end-of-range state of said motion control system.

The vehicle of claim 21, wherein: said first motion control device and said second motion control device collectively define a path of motion of said rear frame portion relative to said forward frame portion.

24. The vehicle of claim 21, wherein:

said motion control system, in response to said tensioning of said drivetrain element, imparts a force onto said rear frame portion that increases a force on said driven axle in a terrain direction.

25. The vehicle of claim 21, wherein:

said motion control system is free to move from said operating state in response to an obstacle-avoiding motion of said rear frame portion.

26. The vehicle of claim 21, wherein:

said forward frame portion comprises a seat support portion in an upper region of said forward frame portion and a drivetrain axle support in a lower region of said forward frame portion, and

said motion control system, in response to said forward acceleration of said rear frame portion, imparts a force onto said forward frame portion that accelerates said seat support portion in said forward direction at an acceleration no less than an acceleration of said drivetrain axle support in said forward direction.

27. The vehicle of claim 21, wherein:

said first motion control device comprises a sliding element.

28. The vehicle of claim 27, wherein:

said front frame portion comprises a tubular structure that extends from a lower region of said forward frame portion in a direction of a seat support portion of said forward frame portion, and

said sliding element slides along said tubular structure.

29. The vehicle of claim 28, wherein:

said tubular structure is a seat tube.

30. The vehicle of claim 27, wherein:

said sliding element is pivotally connected to said rear frame portion.

31. The vehicle of claim 21, wherein:

said first motion control device comprises a flexing element.

32. The vehicle of claim 21, wherein:

said motion control system movably interconnects said rear frame portion and said forward frame portion such that motion of said rear frame portion relative to said forward frame portion is restricted to substantially in-plane motion.

33. The vehicle of claim 21, wherein:

said second motion control device comprises at least one rigid link pivotally connected to said rear frame portion and said forward frame portion.

34. The vehicle of claim 21, wherein:

said second motion control device is pivotally connected to said rear frame portion at a location that is more distal to a support of said driven axle than a location at which first motion control device is connected to said rear frame portion.

35. The vehicle of claim 21, comprising:

an energy management system comprising at least one of a spring and a fluid-based shock absorber, wherein

said motion control system is distinct from said energy management system.

36. A vehicle component, comprising:

a front frame adapted to support a rider's mass, the front frame includes a bottom bracket sized and positioned to receive a driving device;

a four-bar linkage including a first link member and a second link member;

a swing arm including a first end and couplable to a rear wheel on an opposing end distal to the first end;

the first link member and the second link member movably couples the swing arm to the front frame, the first link member and the second link member positioned and angled arranged to create equipoise between forces of inertia and acceleration.

37. The vehicle component of claim 36, wherein the first link member and the second link member positioned and angled to create equipoise between forces of inertia and acceleration and braking while allowing the vehicle to ground trace.

38. The vehicle component of claim 36, wherein the first link member and the second link member each pivotally couple the swing arm to the front frame.

39. The vehicle component of claim 37 wherein the second link member pivots about the bottom bracket and about a portion of the swing arm below the first link member.

40. The vehicle component of claim 36 further including:

the second link member includes a slide link slidably coupled to the first end of the swing arm and a pivoting joint pivotally coupling the slide link to the front frame.

41. The vehicle component of claim 40 further including:

the first link member pivotally couples the swing arm to the front frame at a position on the front frame above the pivoting joint.

42. A vehicle component, comprising:

a front triangle including a bottom bracket, a seat tube, and a down tube;

a swing arm couplable to the front triangle on a first end and couplable to a rear wheel on an opposing end distal to the first end; and

a first link member pivotally couples the swing arm and the seat tube;

a second link member pivotally couples the swing arm to the front triangle below about the bottom bracket.

43. The vehicle component of claim 42, wherein:

the first link member pivotally couples to the swing arm at a first position, the second link member pivotally couples to the swing arm at a second position; and

the second position is closer to the first end than the first position.

44. The vehicle component of claim 42, wherein:

the first link member rotates equal or greater angle as compared with the second link member under acceleration.

45. The vehicle component of claim 42, wherein:

the first link member rotates equal or greater angle as compared with the second link member under acceleration and braking.

46. The vehicle component of claim 42, wherein:

the first link member and the second link member are positioned to create an equipoise between forces of inertia and acceleration.

47. A vehicle component, comprising:

a front triangle including a bottom bracket, a seat tube, and a down tube;

a swing arm couplable to the front triangle on a first end and couplable to a rear wheel on an opposing end distal to the first end;

a sliding link slidable within the swing arm, the sliding link including a sliding link end slidably and pivotally coupled to the front triangle proximate to the down tube;

a link member pivotally connected between the swing arm and the seat tube; and the first link member rotates equal or greater angle as compared with the second link member under acceleration and braking.

48. The vehicle component of claim 47, wherein the sliding link and the link member arranged to create an equipoise between forces of inertia and acceleration.

49. The vehicle component of claim 47, wherein the sliding link and the link member arranged to create an equipoise between forces of inertia, acceleration, and braking.

50. A vehicle component, comprising:

a first arm;

a second arm; and

a yoke portion that connects said first arm and said second arm, wherein at least one of said first arm, said second arm and said yoke portion comprises a tubular structure and an interior wall that divides said tubular structure into a first tubular chamber and a second tubular chamber,

51. The vehicle component of claim 50, wherein:

an inner wall of said first arm that faces said second arm comprises a bulging region that protrudes further in a direction of said second arm than an intermediate region of said inner wall intermediate said bulging region and said yoke portion.

52. The vehicle component of claim 51, wherein:

said bulging region protrudes at least 4 mm further in a direction of said second arm than said intermediate region.

53. The vehicle component of claim 51, wherein:

said interior wall interconnects said inner wall and an outer wall of said first arm that faces away from said second arm.

54. The vehicle component of claim 51, wherein:

said interior wall interfaces said inner wall at an apex of said bulge region.

55. The vehicle component of claim 51, comprising:

an opening that perforates said inner wall, said opening having a diameter of no more than 12 mm.

56. The vehicle component of claim 50, wherein:

said first arm defines a first receptacle that receives a first end of an axle of a wheel, said second arm defines a second receptacle that receives a second end of said axle, and said first receptacle and said second receptacle define a plane orthogonal to an axle axis through said first receptacle and said second receptacle and midway between said first receptacle and said second receptacle.

57. The vehicle component of claim 56, wherein:

said interior wall is orthogonal to said orthogonal plane. The vehicle component of claim 56, wherein:

said yoke portion is asymmetric relative to said orthogonal plane.

The vehicle component of claim 56, wherein:

said yoke portion comprises a cylindrical receptacle having a longitudinal axis parallel to said orthogonal plane.

The vehicle component of claim 59, wherein:

said cylindrical receptacle has a circular cross-section,

said longitudinal axis extends through a center of said circular cross-section and is offset from said orthogonal plane by at least 5 mm.

The vehicle component of claim 50, wherein:

said yoke portion is a double wall structure.

A vehicle, comprising:

a tubular structure; and

an interior wall, wherein

the interior wall longitudinally divides at least a portion of the tubular structure into a first tubular chamber and s second tubular chamber,

the vehicle is selected from the group consisting of bicycle, an e-bike, a motorcycle, a moped, a (terrestrial) rover, a snowmobile, a snow scooter and a personal watercraft, and the tubular structure constitute a portion of a frame of the vehicle.

The vehicle of claim 62, wherein:

said tubular structure and said interior wall are of a material selected from the group consisting of a carbon fiber material and aluminum.

The vehicle of claim 62, wherein:

said first tubular chamber has a length of at least 5 cm.

Description:
VEHICLE

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. non-provisional Utility Patent Application No. 15/468, 106, filed on March 23, 2017, U.S. non-provisional Utility Patent Application No.

15/468,094, filed on March 23, 2017, U.S. non-provisional Utility Patent Application No.

15/478,229, filed on April 3, 2017, U.S. non-provisional Utility Patent Application No.

15/796,053, filed on October 27, 2017, and U.S. non-provisional Utility Patent Application No. 15/898,645, filed on February 18, 2018. The entire disclosure of each of the aforementioned application is herein expressly incorporated by reference for any and all purposes.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The present disclosure relates to vehicle, e.g. to a two-wheeled vehicle such as a bicycle.

DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART

The present disclosure relates to vehicles and vehicle components. These vehicles can include, but are not limited to, bicycles, electric bicycles, motorized bicycles, motorcycles and the like.

For simplicity, portions of this disclosure will discuss bicycles, but this is only done for the convenience of the reader. The vehicle components, suspension systems, and the like, can apply to a wide range of human powered and motorized vehicles.

Bicycles and related vehicles often include front and/or rear suspension in an attempt to cushion, or suspend, the rider from uneven terrain with the aim of increasing control, safety, and comfort. Since the 1990s, attempts have been made to perfect bicycle suspension systems, especially with mountain bicycles because they are often ridden uneven terrain. Early suspension designs suffered from several problems. For example, in some early designs, known as a single- pivot rear suspension, a swing arm fixed at one end to the rear wheel pivots from either the seat tube or downtube near the bottom bracket. The swing arm can be suspended from the top of the seat tube near the seat by a spring dampener or other shock absorber. One of the problems with this type of suspension is the tendency of the pedals to move or bob up and down as the swing arm pivots the rear wheel on uneven terrain. Pedal bob is caused by the tension and compression on the chain as the rear wheel pushes up and then swings back. Another is the tendency for rear wheel to effectively lose contact with the riding surface because the upward force on the contract surface of the rear wheel during pedaling tends to rotate the swing arm and lift the wheel away from the ground.

One early attempt to solve these problems, that is still in use today, is known as a Horst link suspension. This suspension attempts to isolate the pedal forces and braking force from the suspension. The Horst link suspension uses what is called a four-bar linkage. A four-bar linkage includes four members called "bars" or "links" connected together by pivoting joints or a by a combination of pivoting and sliding joints. The Horst link suspension uses four pivoting joints. The four bars or links in the Horst link suspension can include the chain stay, the seat stay, a portion of the seat tube, and a lever arm. One end of the chain stay is pivotally connected to the seat tube above the bottom bracket. The other end of the chain stay is connected to the end of the seat stay near rear dropout (i.e. the portion of the seat stay the holds the rear axle). The lever arm pivots at one end against the upper end of the seat stay and at the other end against an upper portion of the seat tube. A shock absorber suspends the mid-point of the lever arm to an upper portion of the frame.

Another example of a suspension that attempts to advance the art is known as the DW link suspension. The DW link suspension attempts to eliminate the tendency of the rear suspension to compress as the bike is accelerated during pedaling. Some of the energy associated with pedaling gets lost because of this compression. The compression of the rear suspension under power is known as squat. The resistance to rear suspension compression is called anti- squat. The DW-link uses a four-bar linkage that is designed to reduce the loss of energy during pedaling from suspension compression by providing more resistance to rear suspension compression (i.e. more anti-squat) at the beginning of the suspension travel than later in the suspension travel. The DW link suspension joins a rigid rear triangular portion of the bike frame to the seat tube by two short links. One of the links is pivotally connected to the bottom of the rear triangle and the bottom of the seat tube. The other link is pivotally connected between the top of the rear triangle and an upper portion of the seat tube. A spring dampener is used to dampen the rear triangle to the front frame. During hard acceleration, the upward force on the bottom of the rear wheel rotates the upper link and pushes the upper member of the rear triangle into the dampener causing it to compress. When the dampener compresses, some of the energy that would normally go into accelerating the bicycle is lost to friction. In order to prevent this, the dampener can include a restriction valve or some other mechanical or electrical locking mechanism to prevent the dampener from moving. While this prevents energy from being lost during acceleration to frictional forces of the dampener, it restricts movement of the frame. During acceleration, since the suspension is restricted or "locked out," the bicycle acts like a non-suspension bicycle, i.e. as if it has a rigid frame.

Table of Contents for this Disclosure

The following disclosure contains four sections, each with its own set of drawings, and written description. While the drawings are numbered consecutively per PCT Rule 1.13(k), the reference numbers used within a section refer to drawings associated with that section, and may duplicate reference numbers used in other sections even though they refer to different drawing elements. The same reference number used within a section does, however, refer to the same feature. A reference to "this disclosure" within a section should, in general, be considered a reference to the section in which the reference occurs and its associated figures.

SECTION 1

ABSTRACT OF SECTION 1

A vehicle component, comprising a first arm, a second arm, and a yoke portion that connects the first arm and the second arm, wherein at least one of the first arm, the second arm and the yoke portion comprises a tubular structure and an interior wall that divides the tubular structure into a first tubular chamber and a second tubular chamber.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT DISCLOSURE

The present disclosure relates, inter alia, to a vehicle component, comprising a first arm, a second arm, and a yoke portion that connects the first arm and the second arm, wherein at least one of the first arm, the second arm and the yoke portion comprises a tubular structure and an interior wall that divides the tubular structure into a first tubular chamber and a second tubular chamber.

Other objects, advantages and embodiments of the present disclosure will become apparent from the detailed description below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The Figures show:

FIG. 1 : a first embodiment of a vehicle component in accordance with the present disclosure; and

FIG. 2: a second embodiment of a vehicle component in accordance with the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present disclosure relates to a vehicle component. The vehicle component may constitute a portion of a vehicle frame. The vehicle component may be a front fork or a rear fork, e.g. a front / rear fork of a bicycle, e-bike or motorcycle.

The vehicle component may be a(n individual) component that transfers (at least part of) a gravitational force acting on a payload of a vehicle to at least one (propulsive) element that interacts with an ambient environment of the vehicle, e.g. for the sake of providing a propulsive force and/or for the sake of allowing the vehicle to glide / roll over an ambient surface. The payload may include a driver, a rider and/or a passenger of the vehicle. The payload may include an inanimate payload. The ambient surface may be terrain. Similarly, the ambient surface may be a water surface, e.g. a surface of a body of water. The (propulsive) element may be a terrain- engaging element, e.g. a terrain-engaging element selected from the group consisting of a wheel, a skid, a ski and a (continuous) track. Similarly, the (propulsive) element may be a marine (propulsion) element, e.g. an element selected from the group consisting of a float, a hull, a water ski, a jet nozzle and a propeller. For the sake of conciseness, the term "terrain-engaging element" will be used hereinafter to designate any (propulsive) element as described hereinabove, regardless of whether such element is a marine element. (An elucidation of the term "any" is given in the closing paragraphs of this specification.) The vehicle may be a vehicle selected from the group consisting of a bicycle, an e-bike, a motorcycle, a moped, a (terrestrial) rover, a snowmobile, a snow scooter and a (personal) watercraft. As such, the vehicle may be a vehicle selected from the group consisting of a human-powered vehicle, a (gasoline and/or electric) motor-powered vehicle and a vehicle powered by both human and (gasoline and/or electric) motor power. In the context of the present disclosure, the term "e-bike" may be understood as a bicycle comprising an electrically powered motor that contributes a driving force to at least one wheel of the bicycle.

The vehicle component may comprise at least one (aluminum and/or carbon fiber) structure. At least 80%, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the vehicle component (by volume and/or by weight) may be carbon fiber material. At least 80%, at least 90% or

(substantially) an entirety of the vehicle component (by volume and/or by weight) may be aluminum. For example, an entirety of the vehicle component may be of such a material except bushings and/or thread elements, e.g. for interconnecting the vehicle component with other structures of a vehicle. Such bushings and/or thread elements may demand wear characteristics and/or machining tolerances not achievable with aluminum or carbon fiber.

The vehicle component may comprise / consist of at least one tubular structure. The tubular structure may have a longitudinal axis (that extends through a lumen of the tubular structure). The longitudinal axis may spaced from a wall forming the tubular structure by at least 10%) of a maximum diameter of the tubular structure. A minimum distance from a wall forming the tubular structure to the longitudinal axis may be at least 10%> of a maximum diameter of the tubular structure. The vehicle component may comprise an interior wall. The interior wall may be (substantially) planar. At least 60%>, at least 70%, at least 80% or at least 90% of an area (of a major surface) of the interior wall may be planar. The longitudinal axis of the tubular structure may lie in the plane of the planar portion of the interior wall. The interior wall may (longitudinally) divide (at least a portion of) the tubular structure into a first tubular chamber and s second tubular chamber. The tubular structure may have a maximum diameter of less than 5 cm, less than 10 cm, less than 15 cm or less than 20 cm. The tubular structure may have a (minimum) length, e.g. as measured parallel to the longitudinal axis, of at least 15 cm, at least 25 cm or at least 50 cm. The tubular structure may have a (maximum) length, e.g. as measured parallel to the longitudinal axis, of no more than 100 cm, no more than 80 cm or no more than 50 cm. Any of the first tubular chamber, the second tubular chamber and the interior wall may have a (minimum) length, e.g. as measured parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tubular structure, of at least 10%, at least 20%, at least 40%, at least 60%, at least 80% or at least 90% of a

(minimum) length of the tubular structure, e.g. as measured parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tubular structure. At least 80%, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the tubular structure (by volume and/or by weight) may be carbon fiber material. At least 80%, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the tubular structure (by volume and/or by weight) may be aluminum. At least 80%, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the interior wall (by volume and/or by weight) may be carbon fiber material. At least 80%, at least 90% or

(substantially) an entirety of the interior wall (by volume and/or by weight) may be aluminum. The tubular structure may be a tubular structure selected from the group consisting of a seat tube, a top tube and a down tube of a bicycle. The tubular structure may be an arm of a fork, e.g. a front / rear fork of a bicycle, e-bike or motorcycle. The tubular structure may be a yoke portion of a fork, e.g. a front / rear fork of a bicycle, e-bike or motorcycle

The vehicle component may comprise / consist (substantially) of a first arm, a second arm and a yoke portion. Any of the first arm, the second arm and the yoke portion may be a tubular structure as described supra and may comprise an interior wall as described supra. Each of the first and second arms may comprise / define a receptacle, e.g. a dropout, opening or bore, (in a rearmost / lowermost 10% of the respective arm) that receives a (respective) end of an axle (of a wheel). A "rearmost" / "lowermost" region of the first / second arm may be understood as a region most distal from the yoke portion. The yoke portion may interconnect the first and second arms (at a (respective) forward / upper portion of each of the first and second arms). The fork may comprise a space between the first and second arms that accommodates a (forward / upper) portion of the wheel (as known in the art). The fork may be a monolithic / unitary structure. The fork may be termed a "swingarm".

The yoke portion may comprise a cylindrical receptacle. The cylindrical receptacle may constitute a barrel of a slide link. Similarly, the yoke portion may form a piston of the slide link. The slide link may comprise a barrel and a piston (that slides at least partially within the barrel). The barrel may comprise a (circular) cylindrical inner wall. The piston may slide within the barrel along a (linear) slide axis. The piston may comprise a (circular) cylindrical outer wall, e.g. a cylindrical outer wall that (within tolerances as known in the art) matches (the dimensions of) the cylindrical inner wall of the barrel. The cylindrical outer wall of the piston may have a length of at least 10%, at least 20% or at least 30% of a length of the cylindrical inner wall of the barrel. The cylindrical outer wall of the piston may have a length of at most 40%, at most 30% or at most 20%) of a length of the cylindrical inner wall of the barrel. The cylindrical outer wall of the piston may have a length of at least 5 cm or of at least 10 cm. The cylindrical outer wall of the piston may have a length of at most 10 cm or at most 20 cm. The length of the cylindrical outer wall of the piston and/or cylindrical inner wall of the barrel may be measured parallel to the slide axis. The cylindrical inner wall of the barrel may have a minimum dimension of at least 5 cm, at least 8 or at least 10 cm, e.g. as measured perpendicular to the slide axis (at the respective location). The cylindrical inner wall of the barrel may have a maximum dimension of at most 15 cm, at most 12 cm or at most 10 cm, e.g. as measured perpendicular to the slide axis (at the respective location). At least 80%>, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the slide link (by volume and/or by weight) may be a material selected from the group consisting of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. Similarly, at least 80%, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the barrel (by volume and/or by weight) may be a material selected from the group consisting of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber and at least 80%, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the piston (by volume and/or by weight) may be a material selected from the group consisting of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber.

The yoke portion may be asymmetric relative to a (first) plane orthogonal to the second rotational axis (and midway between the receptacles of the first and second arms). As touched upon supra, the barrel / piston may comprise a circular cylindrical inner / outer wall. An axis of symmetry of the barrel / piston may be parallel to the (aforementioned first) plane. The axis of symmetry of the barrel / piston may be offset by at least 5 mm, at least 10 mm, at least 15 mm or at least 20 mm from the (aforementioned first) plane (in a direction away from the drivetrain). The vehicle component may constitute a chain stay, e.g. together with the remainder (e.g. barrel / piston) of the slide link not formed by the yoke portion. A chain stay may be understood as an element that supports a driving axis (e.g. a bottom bracket) relative to a driven axis (e.g. the axle axis), i.e. prevents the driven axis from being (unduly / catastrophically) pulled toward the driving axis as a result of a drivetrain force (e.g. the tension of a driven chain or belt). The chain stay may be an elevated chain stay. An elevated chain stay may be understood as a chain stay having a portion located higher (e.g. more distant from the terrain) than a drivetrain / chain of the vehicle. The chain stay may have the overall general shape of an arch and may comprise a central / elevated region. A bottom surface of (the central / elevated region of) the chain stay may be located at least 2 cm, at least 4 cm or at least 6 cm higher than the drivetrain. The central / elevated region may have a length of at least 10 cm, at least 15 cm or at least 20 cm. A forward / upper portion of the (respective) first / second arm may constitute the (respective) central / elevated region. An acute angle between the axis of symmetry of the barrel / piston and a longitudinal axis of the central region may be in the range of 30° to 60°. Similarly, an acute angle between the axis of symmetry of the barrel / piston and (a major surface of) the bottom surface of the central region may be in the range of 30° to 60°. The yoke portion may have a length of at least 10 cm, at least 15 cm or at least 20 cm, e.g. as measured in a direction parallel to at least one of a slide axis of the slide link and an axis of symmetry of the barrel.

The yoke portion may comprise at least one, at least two or at least four interior wall(s) that extends from an outer wall of the yoke portion to a wall forming the barrel. Any of the interior walls of the yoke portion may (longitudinally) divide a tubular (outer wall) structure of the yoke portion into a first tubular chamber and a second tubular chamber (e.g. as described supra). An angle between a respective major surface of any adjacent walls may be (substantially) equal to 360° divided by the total number of such walls (provided at a given cross-section (through the barrel and) orthogonal to at least one of a slide axis of the slide link and an axis of symmetry of the barrel). Any of the interior walls may have a (minimum) length, e.g. as measured parallel to a slide axis of the slide element or an axis of symmetry of the barrel, of at least 50% or at least 80% of a length of the barrel, e.g. as measured parallel to a slide axis of the slide element or an axis of symmetry of the barrel.

A first inner wall of the first arm that faces the second arm may comprise a first bulging region. Similarly, a second inner wall of the second arm that faces the first arm may comprise a second bulging region. The first bulging portion may protrude further in a direction of the second arm than an intermediate region of the first inner wall intermediate the bulging region and the yoke portion. The second bulging portion may protrude further in a direction of the first arm than an intermediate region of the second inner wall intermediate the bulging region and the yoke portion. The protruding of the first / second bulging portion may be in a direction orthogonal to the aforementioned (first) plane. The bulging region may protrude at least 4 mm, at least 6 mm or at least 8 mm further than the (respective) intermediate region. The bulging region may constitute at least 5%, at least 10%, at least 15% or at least 20% of an area of the (respective) inner wall. The bulging region may have a (generally) V-shaped cross-section in a plane orthogonal to a straight line from the axle axis to the yoke portion and orthogonal to the

(aforementioned first) plane (through an apex of the bulging region). Similarly, the bulging region may have a (generally) V-shaped cross-section in a plane parallel to a straight line from the axle axis to the yoke portion and orthogonal to the (aforementioned first) plane (through an apex of the bulging region).

At least one of the first and second arm may comprise an interior wall that extends from an outer wall of the respective arm that faces away from the other arm to the (respective) first / second inner wall. The interior wall may (longitudinally) divide the respective first / second arm into a first tubular chamber and a second tubular chamber (e.g. as described supra). The interior wall may be substantially perpendicular to the outer wall. The interior wall may intersect the respective first / second inner wall at the apex of the (respective) first / second bulging region. The interior wall may extend over at least 60%, at least 80% or an entirety of a length of the bulging region, e.g. as measured in a longitudinal direction of the first / second arm and/or parallel to the interior wall. The apex of the bulging region may be located in a rearward / lower half or rearward / lower third of the central region. The bulging region may extend beyond the central region in a direction of the receptacles.

At least one of the first and second arm may comprise an opening that perforates the (respective) inner wall (of the first / second arm). The opening may have a diameter of no more than 6 mm, no more than 8 mm, no more than 10 mm or no more than 12 mm. At least one of the first and second arm may comprise a (tubular) cable guide, e.g. for a brake cable or a shift cable. A lumen of the cable guide may perforate the (respective) inner wall (of the first / second arm) at the opening. The opening may be located in a (most rearward / lowermost) third of the vehicle component (most proximate to the receptacles.

FIG. 1 shows first embodiment of a vehicle component in accordance with the present disclosure. In the depicted embodiment, the vehicle component is a front fork for a bicycle.

FIG. 2 shows second embodiment of a vehicle component in accordance with the present disclosure. In the depicted embodiment, the vehicle component is a rear swingarm / fork for a bicycle. The depicted fork comprises two arms and a yoke portion connecting the two arms. The yoke portion forms a barrel (dotted) of a slide link. Each arm comprises a bulging region that protrudes in a direction of the other arm. As shown in the cross-sectional depiction of Figure 2A taken along the dotted line through the arm of Figure 2, the arm is a (generally triangular) tubular structure that is divided by an interior wall into a first tubular chamber (upper triangle within the triangular arm depicted in FIG. 2A) and a second tubular chamber (lower triangle within the triangular arm depicted in FIG. 2A). FIG. 2 also depicts an opening of a cable guide between the protruding region and the axle region of the arm.

In the present disclosure, the verb "may" is used to designate optionality /

noncompulsoriness. In other words, something that "may" can, but need not. In the present disclosure, the verb "comprise" may be understood in the sense of including. Accordingly, the verb "comprise" does not exclude the presence of other elements / actions. In the present disclosure, relational terms such as "first," "second," "top," "bottom" and the like may be used solely to distinguish one entity or action from another entity or action without necessarily requiring or implying any actual such relationship or order between such entities or actions.

In the present disclosure, the term "any" may be understood as designating any number of the respective elements, e.g. as designating one, at least one, at least two, each or all of the respective elements. Similarly, the term "any" may be understood as designating any

collection(s) of the respective elements, e.g. as designating one or more collections of the respective elements, wherein a (respective) collection may comprise one, at least one, at least two, each or all of the respective elements. The respective collections need not comprise the same number of elements.

In the present disclosure, the expression "at least one" is used to designate any (integer) number or range of (integer) numbers (that is technically reasonable in the given context). As such, the expression "at least one" may, inter alia, be understood as one, two, three, four, five, ten, fifteen, twenty or one hundred. Similarly, the expression "at least one" may, inter alia, be understood as "one or more," "two or more" or "five or more."

In the present disclosure, expressions in parentheses may be understood as being optional. As used in the present disclosure, quotation marks may emphasize that the expression in quotation marks may also be understood in a figurative sense. As used in the present disclosure, quotation marks may identify a particular expression under discussion.

In the present disclosure, many features are described as being optional, e.g. through the use of the verb "may" or the use of parentheses. For the sake of brevity and legibility, the present disclosure does not explicitly recite each and every combination and/or permutation that may be obtained by choosing from the set of optional features. However, the present disclosure is to be interpreted as explicitly disclosing all such combinations / permutations. For example, a system described as having three optional features may be embodied in seven different ways, namely with just one of the three possible features, with any two of the three possible features or with all three of the three possible features.

While various embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed and described in detail herein, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes may be made to the configuration, operation and form of the invention without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. In particular, it is noted that the respective features of the invention, even those disclosed solely in combination with other features of the invention, may be combined in any configuration excepting those readily apparent to the person skilled in the art as nonsensical. Likewise, use of the singular and plural is solely for the sake of illustration and is not to be interpreted as limiting. Except where the contrary is explicitly noted, the plural may be replaced by the singular and vice-versa.

The above disclosure may be summarized as comprising the following embodiments.

Embodiment 1 : A vehicle component, comprising: a first arm; a second arm; and a yoke portion that connects said first arm and said second arm, wherein at least one of said first arm, said second arm and said yoke portion comprises a tubular structure and an interior wall that divides said tubular structure into a first tubular chamber and a second tubular chamber.

Embodiment 2: The vehicle component of Embodiment 1, wherein: an inner wall of said first arm that faces said second arm comprises a bulging region that protrudes further in a direction of said second arm than an intermediate region of said inner wall intermediate said bulging region and said yoke portion.

Embodiment 3 : The vehicle component of Embodiment 2, wherein: said bulging region protrudes at least 4 mm further in a direction of said second arm than said intermediate region.

Embodiment 4: The vehicle component of Embodiment 2 or 3, wherein: said interior wall interconnects said inner wall and an outer wall of said first arm that faces away from said second arm.

Embodiment 5: The vehicle component of any one of Embodiments 2-4, wherein: said interior wall interfaces said inner wall at an apex of said bulge region.

Embodiment 6: The vehicle component of any one of Embodiments 2-5, comprising: an opening that perforates said inner wall, said opening having a diameter of no more than 12 mm.

Embodiment 7: The vehicle component of any one of Embodiments 1-6, wherein: said first arm defines a first receptacle that receives a first end of an axle of a wheel, said second arm defines a second receptacle that receives a second end of said axle, and said first receptacle and said second receptacle define a plane orthogonal to an axle axis through said first receptacle and said second receptacle and midway between said first receptacle and said second receptacle.

Embodiment 8: The vehicle component of Embodiment 7, wherein: said interior wall is orthogonal to said orthogonal plane.

Embodiment 9: The vehicle component of Embodiment 7 or 8, wherein: said yoke portion is asymmetric relative to said orthogonal plane.

Embodiment 10: The vehicle component of any one of Embodiments 7-9, wherein: said yoke portion comprises a cylindrical receptacle having a longitudinal axis parallel to said orthogonal plane.

Embodiment 11 : The vehicle component of Embodiment 10, wherein: said cylindrical receptacle has a circular cross-section, said longitudinal axis extends through a center of said circular cross-section and is offset from said orthogonal plane by at least 5 mm.

Embodiment 12: The vehicle component of any one of Embodiments 1-12, wherein: said yoke portion is a double wall structure.

Embodiment 13 : A vehicle, comprising: a tubular structure; and an interior wall, wherein the interior wall longitudinally divides at least a portion of the tubular structure into a first tubular chamber and s second tubular chamber, the vehicle is selected from the group consisting of bicycle, an e-bike, a motorcycle, a moped, a (terrestrial) rover, a snowmobile, a snow scooter and a personal watercraft, and the tubular structure constitute a portion of a frame of the vehicle.

Embodiment 14: The vehicle of Embodiment 13, wherein: said tubular structure and said interior wall are of a material selected from the group consisting of a carbon fiber material and aluminum.

Embodiment 15: The vehicle of Embodiment 13 or 14, wherein: said first tubular chamber has a length of at least 5 cm.

Embodiment 16: The vehicle of any one of Embodiments 13 to 15, wherein: said tubular structure is a tubular structure selected from the group consisting of a seat tube, a top tube and a down tube of a bicycle.

SECTION 2

ABSTRACT OF SECTION 2

A vehicle component that can include a suspension system for bicycles, electric bicycles, or electric scooters. The vehicle component can include a sliding four-bar system with a link pivotally connecting a swing arm to the front triangle and a sliding link slidably connecting the swing arm to a front triangle bottom portion. The resulting suspension system can be optimized to balance forces of generate a balance of forces between of drive and driven loads against the mass of the rider and inertia while still free for the rear wheel to trace the ground.

SUMMARY

The inventor set out to overcome the problems inherent in currently available bicycle suspension systems such as those described in the background section. The inventor developed a unique suspension system using a four-bar linkage. In one instance, the inventor used three pivoting joints and a sliding linkage. For example, the front frame of the vehicle, referred to here as a front triangle for convenience, can be coupled to the rear wheel via a swing arm through a sliding four-bar linkage. The sliding four-bar can include, a sliding tube forming the sliding joint and three pivoting joints. A first link can be formed by a link member that is pivotally connected on one end to the swing arm by a first pivoting joint. The opposing end of the link member can be coupled to the front triangle by a second pivoting joint. A second link can be formed between the area between the second pivoting joint and third pivoting joint along the front triangle. A third link can be formed between the third pivoting joint and the sliding juncture at a first swing arm end proximal to the front triangle. A fourth link can be formed between the first swing arm end and the pivoting joint.

While developing this system, the inventor found that he could arrange the angles and of the pivoting joints and slider, and the positions of the pivoting joint and slider in relation to the frame elements, within a range where the drive loads generate a counter balance to the inertia loading that results in very little movement between the frame elements under acceleration of the drive and driven loads and under braking. This equipoise state between of drive and driven loads against the mass of the rider and inertia, while still free for the rear wheel to trace the ground. Other systems, in contrast, damage the freedom of movement between the front and rear structure. This and other restrictions imposed by other systems severely damages the traction, safety, and suspension. For example, as previously discussed, in some systems, the dampener is activated during acceleration. This creates a loss of some of the acceleration of movement to friction in the dampener. In order to overcome this loss, systems allow the rider to manually "lock out" the movement of the dampener during acceleration. However, this defeats the purpose of suspension and can create a potentially dangerous situation when the rider hits a rock, pot hole or other obstacle.

In contrast, the inventor found that by creating an equipoise state of drive and driven loads against the mass of the rider and inertia, the position of his system could generate a sprung weight of the rider and inertia to move without restriction so that the rear wheel is free to trace the ground tracing while supporting the inertia. The acceleration of the drive and driven loads on the mass of the rider/payload do not have large effect on the compression of the frame movement while staying is a free state of movement of tire tracing the ground. The action of imputing a drive load from pedaling, a motor, or combination of pedaling and motor, for example, into driven loads of the drive terrain (pedal) creates a "chain reaction" of events that alternate drive and driven loads resulting in frame structure creating an equipoise for the frame to be stable in acceleration. The system remains in a free moving state while the rear wheel traces the terrain, without external restriction, such as hydraulic damping, allowing the contact path of the bicycle, or other vehicle with the ground to not have further resistance beyond a spring rate increase.

The arrangement of link member, sliding link, and associated pivoting joints, between the front triangle and the rear wheel connected swing arm remain in a state of free movement from terrain induced irregularities. While forces generated from acceleration are applied there is a counter balance of forces that resists a shift in movement between the front triangle and the rear wheel connected swing arm that is the result of the drive induced loads between member's forces being used to generate and offset of unwanted compression or elongation from the normal state or rest state of the bicycle.

This change in arrangement of pivot and sliding joint created dramatic and unexpected results, as compared with previous systems and the inventor's own sliding-four bar suspensions described in U.S Patent Publication No. 2016/0368559 Al . Typically, there is a compromise between suspension travel and acceleration. A bicycle using the inventor's new suspension system in confidential testing, has better performance acceleration performance than bicycles with half the suspension travel. For example, a bicycle using the inventor's new suspension with 200 mm of suspension travel had better acceleration characteristics (i.e. is fastener) than racing or performance bicycles with half the range of travel, while increasing the usable range of suspension travel over current systems.

The inventor also discovered that applying the principles used for obtaining the equipoise state in his sliding four-bar system can be applied to other four-bar systems. For example, a first rigid link with pivotally connected between the swing arm and a lower portion of the seat tube. A second rigid link can be pivotally connected between the bottom bracket the swing arm. The second link can be pivotally connected to the swing arm, proximate to the end of the swing arm, below the swing arm pivot of the first link. This arrangement can advantageously be used for motorized bicycles such as electric bicycles.

While many of the examples and embodiments given in the summary and through portions of the disclosure are applied to bicycles, the inventor envisions that these principles can be readily applied to other human powered or motorized vehicles. In addition, the inventor envisions that this can also be readily be applied to wheeled vehicles where the vehicle is lighter than the passenger although is not limited to such. This Summary introduces a selection of concepts, in simplified form for the convenience of the reader. Many of these concepts are described in more detail in the Description. The Summary is not intended to identify essential features or limit the scope of the claimed subject matter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 3 illustrates a top perspective view of a bicycle frame with a sliding four-bar suspension.

FIG. 4 illustrates an exploded perspective view of the frame with sliding four bar suspension of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 illustrates a side elevation view of the frame with the sliding four bar suspension of FIG 1.

FIG. 6 illustrates a side elevation view of the suspension, the rear wheel, and the frame, in the "show room" position with no weight on the bicycle.

FIG. 7 illustrates a side elevation view of the suspension, the rear wheel, and the frame, showing effect of the rider's weight on seat while the bicycle is at rest.

FIG. 8 illustrates a side elevation view of the suspension, the rear wheel, and the frame, showing effect of accelerating the bicycle.

FIG. 9 illustrates a side elevation view of the suspension, the rear wheel, and the frame, showing the effect of hitting a rock or bump while accelerating the bicycle. FIG. 10 illustrates a side elevation view of the suspension, the rear wheel and frame, a four-bar suspension utilizing the same principles of operation.

FIG. 11 illustrates a flow chart for setting parameters among four different design criteria for obtaining an equipoise balance of forces between the front and rear of the vehicle throughout the range of motion.

FIG. 12 illustrates a more detailed flow chart for setting parameters among four different design criteria for obtaining an equipoise balance of forces between the front and rear of the vehicle throughout the range of motion.

FIG. 13 illustrates optimizing for a parameter braking load paths between the front and rear portions of the vehicle of FIG. 10.

FIG. 14 illustrates optimizing for a parameter braking load paths between the front and rear portions of the vehicle of FIG. 7.

FIG. 15 illustrates optimizing for a parameter of drive and driven load paths between the front and rear portions of the vehicle of FIG. 10.

FIG. 16 illustrates optimizing for a parameter of drive and driven load paths between the front and rear portions of the vehicle of FIG. 7.

FIG. 17 illustrates optimizing for a parameter of the inertial forces between the front and rear of the vehicle of FIG. 10.

FIG. 18 illustrates optimizing for a parameter of the inertial forces between the front and rear of the vehicle of FIG. 7.

FIG. 19 illustrates optimizing for a parameter of downward and upward forces for ground tracing of the vehicle of FIG. 10.

FIG. 20 illustrates optimizing for a parameter of downward and upward forces for ground tracing of the vehicle of FIG. 7.

DESCRIPTION

The terms "left," "right," "top, "bottom," "upper," "lower," "front," "back," and "side," are relative terms used throughout the to help the reader understand the figures. Unless otherwise indicated, these do not denote absolute direction or orientation and do not imply a particular preference. When describing the figures, the terms "top," "bottom," "front," "rear," and "side," are from the perspective of an observer facing the bicycle or other vehicle. Specific dimensions are intended to help the reader understand the scale and advantage of the disclosed material. Dimensions given are typical and the claimed invention is not limited to the recited dimensions. The following description is made with reference to figures, where like numerals refer to like elements throughout the several views.

Normal practice in vehicle design including bicycle design is to use damping to control undesirable forces, for example, the force from bumps or depressions. This dampening is typically accomplished by a shock absorber with oil damping or air damping. Typical bicycle, motorized bicycle, or motorcycle suspensions isolate the wheels from the rider or driver. As described in the background, the rear wheel can be isolated from the forward portion of the frame which can carry the rider or driver by pivoting joints and dampeners. During acceleration, the forward portion of the frame carrying the rider resists movement while the rear wheel is being driven forward by either the driving force (i.e. pedaling or motor). On conventional suspension bicycles, motorcycles, motorized bicycles, and the like, this will tend to compress the dampener. Compressing the dampener will cause a loss of energy during acceleration because the dampening will convert the energy of forward motion into friction or heat. In order to prevent this, dampeners can include a restriction valve or some other mechanical or electrical locking mechanism. This approach focuses on the suspension aspect of the vehicle frame from the point of view of damping and as a consequence, acceleration damping is view as an undesirable "side effect" that can be remedied by adjusting or locking out damping. This "conventional wisdom" is so prevalent in the bicycle industry, that is nearly impossible to buy bicycle shock absorbers that do not have a mechanism for locking out damping, with the exception of shock absorbers designed for downhill racing.

The inventor has taken a different approach. The inventor has created a vehicle system where the forces during acceleration, braking, are counterbalanced or in an equipoise state. This has led to several benefits and unexpected results. The bicycle remains stable through states of rest, acceleration, and braking. The structure of the frame in combination with the arrangement and structure of linkage elements creates a balance between opposing forces. For example, during acceleration, the resistance to forward motion from the inertia of the rider in the forward portion of the vehicle is counterbalanced by the forces of acceleration through the link members. Similarly, the forces of inertia that tend to keep the front of the vehicle moving forward during braking are counterbalanced by the forces of deceleration during braking. During both states, the frame remains in relatively the same level of squat or sag (i.e. the amount the frame moves downward due to the mass of the rider). For example, during acceleration, the damper does not compress any more than in a rest state, therefore none of the energy of acceleration is lost to dampening. This is contrary to conventional bicycle, motorized bicycle and motorcycle designs. In fact, in so called damper, requires little damping and acts more like an undampened spring. For some designs, an undampened spring may be all that is required as a suspension element.

In FIGS. 3-10, the inventor uses a four-bar system to interface the front portion of the vehicle in this case, the front triangle of the bicycle frame to a rear portion of the vehicle. In this case, a swing arm 18 and rear wheel 35 (FIGS. 6-9). FIGS. 3-9 and FIG. 10 illustrate two examples of how the front and rear of the vehicle can be interfaced in order to maintain a balance of forces or equipoise during acceleration, braking, and ground tracing. The inventor discovered that he was able to find a range of values (i.e. angular relationships between the linkages and the frame elements as well as arrangement and location of linkages with respect to the frame elements) in the four-bar suspension where the equipoise state could be maintained during acceleration, braking, and ground tracing. In FIGS. 11 and 12, for a given vehicle, this range of values can be determined by optimizing the four parameters, drive driven loads with the structure, acceleration forces on the vehicle, deceleration loads on the vehicle, and ground irregularities. This is further examined in FIGS. 13-20 for both the vehicle component systems from FIGS. 3-9 and FIG. 10.

FIG. 3 illustrates a top perspective view of a portion of a bicycle frame 10 with a sliding four-bar suspension. FIG. 4 illustrates an exploded perspective view and FIG. 5 a side elevation view of the bicycle frame and sliding four bar suspension of FIG. 3 Referring to FIGS. 3-5, the bicycle frame can include a front triangle 11. Note that will this portion of the bicycle or vehicle is referred to as a front triangle 11, this term in general can include the front portion of the bicycle or vehicle that supports the mass of the rider. In addition, even though it is referred to as a "front triangle," this component is not limited to a triangular shape and can be a polygon. For example, the front triangle 11 depicted throughout this disclosure is shown as having five closed sides, a top tube 12, a down tube 13, a seat tube 14, and a head tube 15, and a front triangle bottom portion between the seat tube 14 and the down tube 13. The term "front triangle" is used for the convenience of the reader as this is an industry term. The front triangle can include three, four, five, six or more sides and fall within the meaning of front triangle.

The front triangle 11 can be fabricated from carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum, chrome molybdenum (chromoly) steel, high tensile steel, or other materials suitable for bicycle frames, electric bicycle frames, or other personal vehicles. The front triangle can include a top tube 12, a down tube 13, a seat tube 14, a head tube 15, and a bottom bracket 16. The top tube 12 and the down tube 13 can both project away from the head tube 15 at an acute angle with respect from each other. The seat tube 14 is illustrated projecting downward from the top tube 12 and joining the down tube 13 at an acute angle. The seat tube 14, the down tube 13, and the top tube 12 can be rigidly joined together to form a substantially triangular shape. Projecting from the juncture of the down tube 13 and the seat tube 14 is a front triangle bottom portion 17. A bottom bracket 16 can be located proximate to an end of the front triangle bottom portion 17 distal to juncture of the down tube 13 and the seat tube 14.

The front triangle 11 connects to a swing arm 18 via a sliding four-bar linkage. A four- bar linkage includes four members called "bars" or "links" connected together by pivoting joints or a combination of pivoting and sliding joints. In FIGS. 3-5 , the four-bar linkage includes a sliding tube 19 forming a sliding joint and three pivoting joints 20, 21, 22. The four bars or links of the four-bar linkage can be as follows. A first link as the link member 23. The link member 23, is pivotally connected on one end to the swing arm 18 by pivoting joint 20 and on the opposing end to seat tube 14 by pivoting joint 21. A second link formed by the area between the pivoting joint 21 and pivoting joint 22 along the front triangle 11. A third link formed between the pivoting joint 22 and the sliding juncture at a first swing arm end 18c proximal to the front triangle 11. A fourth link formed between the first swing arm end 18c and the pivoting j oint 20.

Each joint in the four-bar linkage can be restricted to one degree of freedom. For example, the pivoting joints 20, 21, 22 can be restricted to rotate around a single rotational axis and sliding link 19 can be restricted or constrained to slide along one linear axis. In addition, the range of rotation, in the case of a pivoting joints 20, 21, 22 can be restricted to a partial arc, or "pivot," to prevent the swing arm from rotating passed a certain range. Similarly, the sliding link 19 can be restricted to a move only within a linear range to also restrict the movement of the suspension. The sliding link 19 and the pivoting joints 20, 21, 22 can be low friction joints in order to prevent loss of energy during movement and wear. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 4 the sliding link 19 can include a sliding member 25 that is slidable within a hollow tube 26. In one embodiment, the sliding member 25 can slide within the hollow tube with a minimal amount of friction.

Continuing to refer to FIG. 4 the sliding member 25 includes a sliding member eyelet 27 at one end of the sliding member 25. The sliding member eyelet 27 pivotally joins the pivoting joint 22 that can be located in the front triangle bottom portion 17. The pivoting joint 22 can be pivotally connected to the front triangle bottom portion 17 with bolts 48, axle caps 50, and bearings 49 through aperture 51. The hollow tube 26 can be slidable within a hollow recess that is within the first swing arm end 18c. The end of the hollow tube 26 can include a fastener receiving portion such as the hollow tube eyelet 28 shown in FIG. 4 The hollow tube eyelet 28 can be fastened to the hollow recess of within the first swing arm end 18c by any fastener capable of withstanding the forces and torques applied to the swing arm 18. For example, a bolt, rivet, or screw. The hollow tube eyelet 28 can also be fastened to a shock absorber mounting point 29. The link member 23 can be divided into two members, one on either side of the seat tube 14 and swing arm 18. Pivoting joint 21 can mount through aperture 52 with bolts 45 and bearings 46 as illustrated. Similarly pivoting joint 20 can be mounted through aperture 53 located on the swing arm 18.

The swing arm can be forked around the rear wheel and include a first fork arm 18a and a second fork arm 18b. The ends of the first fork arm 18a and the second fork arm 18b located distal to the first swing arm end 18c can each include a rear wheel dropout 31. The rear wheel dropout 31 allows rotational coupling of a real wheel to the swing arm 18.

The swing arm 18 pivots on the pivoting joints 20, 21 shown at opposing ends of the link member 23. The rear wheel dropout 31 acts as the end of a moment arm that pivots around pivoting joints 20, 21.

Referring to FIGS. 3-5, the swing arm 18 can hang from a shock absorber 32. The shock absorber 32 can hang from a shock mounting point 34 located on a forward shock mount 33 mounted to or integral with the top tube 12. The shock absorber can alternatively hang from the down tube 13. The shock absorber 32 includes a shock shaft 32a and shock mounting arm 32b, and a shock body 32c. One end of the shock mounting arm 32b is connected to the shock shaft 32a by bolts 47 illustrated in proximity to the fork ends of the shock mounting arm 32b. The other end of the shock mounting arm 32b can be connected to the swing arm 18 through shock absorber mounting point 29. Referring to FIG. 4 the shock can be mounted to the forward shock mount 33 by bolts 47 illustrated in proximity to the forward shock mount 33.

Referring back to FIGS. 3-5, while this is a typical of a shock absorber 32 mounting configuration, other configurations can be utilized. The shock absorber 32 can be an air shock, spring damper, other shocks suitable for bicycles. One of the advantages of the vehicle suspension that is one of the subjects of this disclosure, the shock absorber 32 can require minimal damping throughout most of its travel. In some embodiments, the shock absorber can be a simple elastomer. In other embodiments, the shock absorber can be replaced with an undampened or minimally dampened spring.

FIG. 6 illustrates a side elevation view of the suspension, the rear wheel, and a portion of the bicycle frame 10, in rest position without a rider. This is known as "showroom position." In showroom position, the bottom bracket 16, front triangle bottom portion 17, the crankset 37, and the seat 30 are shown in a relaxed position without any downward forces from a rider. The shock absorber 32 is shown uncompressed with the shock shaft 32a fully extended from the shock body 32c. The sliding member 25 is shown minimally extended from the swing arm 18. The link member 23 is shown slightly downward from horizontal going from pivoting joint 21 toward pivoting joint 22.

FIG. 7 illustrates a side elevation view of the suspension, the rear wheel, and portion of the bicycle frame 10, showing effect of the rider's weight on seat 44 while the bicycle is at rest. As the rider puts his or her weight on the seat 30, the seat 30 can move down and the frame can push down or sag. Comparing FIG. 7 to the showroom position of FIG. 6, in FIG. 7, the front triangle bottom portion along with the bottom bracket 16 will move downward, the sliding member 25 extends, and the link member 23 pivots clockwise by rotating the pivoting joints 20, 21. The shock absorber 32 will compress slightly from the show room position.

FIG. 8 illustrates a side elevation view of the suspension, the rear wheel, and portion of the bicycle frame 10, showing effect of accelerating the bicycle. FIG. 8 illustrates the rear wheel 35 and cog set 36 coupled to the rear wheel dropout 31. A crankset 37 with a chain ring 38 and pedal arm 39 is coupled to the bottom bracket 16. Alternatively, an electric motor can be coupled to the chain ring 38 for power assist bicycles or motorized scooters. A chain 40 is coupled between the gears 41 on the chain ring 38 concentric to the bottom bracket 16 and the gears 42 on the cog set 36 concentric with the rear wheel 35. During acceleration, the drive load from pedaling will tension the chain 40 creating an upward force on bottom bracket 16 and a downward force on the rear axle 43 as the swing arm 18 pivots counterclockwise along the link member 23 about pivoting joints 20, 21. As a result, the front triangle bottom portion 17 pushes upward against inertial forces, the rear wheel 35 pushes downward toward the ground, and the shock absorber 32 extends. Some of the kinetic energy of forward motion is stored in the frame. This is the opposite of other typical bicycle suspension systems where a forward motion will tend to compress the shock absorber and loose energy due to the frictional forces of damping.

FIG. 9 illustrates a side elevation view of the suspension, the rear wheel 35, and a portion of the bicycle frame 10, showing the effect of hitting a rock or bump while accelerating the bicycle. As described in FIG. 6, under acceleration, the bottom bracket 16 experiences a force pushing upward and the rear axle 43 experiences a downward force pushing the rear wheel 35 into the ground as chain 40 shortens during acceleration. As the rear wheel hits a bump, rock, log, or other raised obstacle, the rear wheel 35 will left upward to trace the ground path, the swing arm 18 will pivot clockwise about the pivoting joints 20, 21 attached to opposing ends of the link members 23, the sliding member will not extend because the force from acceleration increase the drive load on the chain 40 and push the bottom bracket 16 upward countering any forces that would tend to sag the frame. As a result, this equipoise of force allows the wheel to ground trace, while the upper frame is isolated from movement. While the shock absorber 32 compresses to dampen some of the bump, much of the force is stored in the frame and then released when the frame returns to relaxed state.

The inventor found while building prototypes of his bicycle, the arrangement of link member, sliding link, and associated pivoting joints, between the front triangle and the rear wheel connected swing arm remain in a state of free movement from terrain induced

irregularities. He also recognized that he could create other configurations, for example the configuration of FIG. 10, using a four-bar with four pivoting links. While forces generated from acceleration are applied there is a counter balance of forces that resists a shift in movement between the front triangle and the rear wheel connected swing arm that is the result of the drive induced loads between member's forces being used to generate and offset of unwanted compression or elongation from the normal state or rest state of the bicycle.

FIG. 10 illustrates a portion of a bicycle frame 10 or vehicle frame connecting the front portion of the vehicle, in this case a front triangle 11, to the rear portion of the vehicle, of which a swing arm 18 is illustrated, via a four-bar linkage. The four-bar linkage includes a link member 23 pivotally connected to the seat tube 14 proximate to a region where the seat tube 14 intersects the down tube 13 by a pivoting joint 21 to the swing arm 18 by a pivoting joint 20 on a portion of the swing arm 18 distal to the rear wheel drop out 31. A second link member 54 pivotally connects the swing arm 18 by a pivoting joint 56 to a pivoting joint 57 surrounding the bottom bracket 16. The pivoting joint 56 is shown located on the swing arm 18 below the pivoting joint 20 (i.e. closer to the first swing arm end 18c than pivoting joint 20). The pivoting joint 56 can be located proximate to the first swing arm end 18c as illustrated. Illustrated in broken lines is a driving device 55. This driving device 55 can be a motor, an electric motor, gear box that is connected to a motor or electric motor, or a combination of these with pedal and pedal arm. The driving device 55 can drive a rear wheel (not shown) that rotates about a rear axle connected to the rear wheel dropout 31 by a belt or chain. Note that the shape and position of the driving device 55 can be changed as required for the particular vehicle design. Alternatively, the crankset 37 of FIGS. 3-9 can readily be used in place of the driving device 55.

While developing this system, the inventor found that he could arrange the angles and of the pivoting joints and slider, and the positions of the pivoting joint and slider in relation to the frame elements, within a range where the drive loads generate an equal counter balance to the inertia loading that results in very little movement between the frame elements under

acceleration of the drive and driven loads. This equipoise state between of drive and driven loads against the mass of the rider and inertia, while reaction against spring load of the rear wheel to trace the ground. Other systems, in contrast, require restriction of suspension movement during acceleration. This restriction in other systems severely damages the traction, safety, and suspension.

The inventor found that by these optimizations, the position the system could generate a sprung weight of the rider and inertia to move without restriction so that the rear wheel is free to move, tracing the ground tracing while supporting the inertia. The acceleration of the drive and driven loads on the mass of the rider/payload do not have large effect on the compression of the frame movement while staying is a free state of movement of tire tracing the ground. The action of imputing a drive load from pedaling or a motor, or electric motor, for example, into driven loads of the drive terrain (pedal) creates a "chain reaction" of events that alternate drive and driven loads resulting in frame structure creating an equipoise for the frame to be stable in acceleration. The system remains in a free moving state while the rear wheel traces the terrain, without hydraulic restriction, allowing the contact path of the bicycle, or other vehicle with the ground to not have further resistance beyond a spring rate increase. This also provides improved constant tire load between the ground and the vehicle.

The arrangement of link member(s) and sliding/pivoting joints (or only pivoting joints as in a pivoting four-bar), between the front portion of the vehicle, for example a bicycle front triangle, and the rear wheel connected swing arm remain in a state of free movement from terrain induced irregularities. While forces generated from acceleration are applied there is a counter balance of forces that resists a shift in movement between the front triangle and the rear wheel connected swing arm that is the result of the drive induced loads between member's forces being used to generate and offset of unwanted compression or elongation from the normal state or rest state of the bicycle.

This change in arrangement of pivot and sliding joint created dramatic and unexpected results. Typically, there is a compromise between suspension travel and acceleration. A bicycle using the inventor's new suspension system in confidential testing, has better performance acceleration performance than bicycles with half the suspension travel. For example, a bicycle using the inventor's suspension with 200 mm of suspension travel had better acceleration characteristics (i.e. is fastener) than racing or performance bicycles with 100 mm. The inventor was able to create counterbalance of forces looking at four load conditions, optimizing the counterbalance of forces for each load condition, and taking the intersection of optimized conditions to create a vehicle that operates in an equipoise state under all four load conditions. In FIGS. 11 and 12, in blocks 101, 102, 103, 104, the inventor looked at drive/driven loads, acceleration forces, deceleration loads, and ground irregularities. The drive/driven loads parameter analyzes the basic kinematics of driving the structure. Deceleration loads parameters analyzes forced generated under deceleration such as braking forces. Ground irregularities analysis includes raised irregularities such as bumps, rocks, and logs, and depressions such as pot holes and ditches. In block 105, the inventor optimized the counterbalance of forces for each load condition, by analyzing the range of conditions, for a given four-bar arrangement and a given vehicle. Note that acceptable range of parameters will vary depend on the type of vehicle. For example, a downhill bicycle, a commuter bicycle, or an electric bicycle may have a different set of operating conditions and acceptable range of parameters. In block 106 the inventor took the intersection of each optimized condition (i.e. drive/driven load within structure, acceleration forces, deceleration forces, and ground irregularities) to create an equipoise state between the forces from the front and rear structure of the vehicle during acceleration, braking, and ground irregularities. One aspect of this analysis is the analysis effect of inertia on the acceleration and deceleration.

In FIG. 12, the equipoise load balance of block 106 takes into account the following conditions illustrated in block 107: ground tracing (i.e. the vehicle remains in contact with the terrain), load control on the rider (or human), a free state of movement for structure where a free state of movement is desirable, resistant state of movement for structure where a resistant state of movement is desirable, load control on ground contact, load control on sprung forces, load control on dampened forces, load control on inertial forces, load control on deceleration forces, and control over the vehicle geometry. Combined, this results in block 108 with human energy output goes into forward propulsion with equipoise control over the inertial forces that resist forward propulsion and resist deceleration during braking.

In one embodiment, the inventor found that he could optimize the balance of forces by arranging the angle created by the line between pivoting joints 20, 21 and the line between pivoting joint 21, 22 at approximately 90-degrees when the system was in a fully accelerated state or a rest state with a rider sitting at rest on the bicycle. In another embodiment, the optimization could take place by aligning the angle of the line along the length of the swing arm 18 proximate to the front triangle bottom portion and the primary load force line between the bottom bracket 16 and rear axle 43 at approximately 45 degrees with a range of +/- 30 degrees. In addition, the angle of the link member 23 with the horizon could be 10 degrees +/- 30 degrees. The inventor found when the system was configured for an equipoise state, the link member 23 will rotate equal or greater angle as compared the rotation of sliding link 19 on pivoting joint over the range of motion of the suspension. The inventor also observed that when the system was configured for an equipoise state, the link member 23 will rotate equal or greater angle as compared with the second link member 54 of FIG. 10.

FIGS. 13-20, demonstrate how an equipoise state through braking, acceleration, and at rest with the rider on the vehicle could be created while the vehicle maintains ground tracing, by individually optimizing four parameters. FIGS. 13, 15, 17, and 19 show the relationship of forces for each of four parameters for the vehicle component system of FIG. 10. FIGS. 14, 16, 18, and 20 show the relationship of forces for each of four parameters for the vehicle component system of FIGS. 3-9. FIG. 13 illustrates optimizing for a parameter braking load paths between the front and rear portions of the vehicle of FIG. 10. FIG. 14 illustrates optimizing for a parameter braking load paths between the front and rear portions of the vehicle of FIG. 7. FIG. 15 illustrates optimizing for a parameter of drive and driven load paths between the front and rear portions of the vehicle of FIG. 10. FIG. 16 illustrates optimizing for a parameter of drive and driven load paths between the front and rear portions of the vehicle of FIG. 7. FIG. 17 illustrates optimizing for a parameter of the inertial forces between the front and rear of the vehicle of FIG. 10. FIG. 18 illustrates optimizing for a parameter of the inertial forces between the front and rear of the vehicle of FIG. 7. FIG. 19 illustrates optimizing for a parameter of downward and upward forces for ground tracing of the vehicle of FIG. 10. FIG. 20 illustrates optimizing for a parameter of downward and upward forces for ground tracing of the vehicle of FIG. 7.

FIG. l 1 and 12 show the four-bar structure of FIG. 10 and FIG. 7 respectively with forces from a braking device 61, such as a disc brake, being applying forces through link member 23 and second link member 54 to the front triangle 1 1 of the bicycle frame 10. Load path 62 depicts the load between the rear axle 43 and the link member 23. Load path 63 depicts the generated load resulting from tire contact to ground and the generated load on members of the bicycle frame 10. The reactionary loads overlap the instant center 90 and pivoting joint 21 of the link member 23. Angle 64 depicts the angle of incidence between load path 62 and the path 70 resulting from the braking load between tire and ground on the ground tracing coupled position, path 70 represent a line of a plane of side of the four-bar system. Angle 65 depicts the angle between load path 62 and load path 63. Angle 66 represents the angle between the braking force along load path 62 and the brake force load along path 70. Equipoise state reference line 68 represents a state of equipoised conditioning on the bicycle frame 10 under load.

Referring to FIGS. 15 and 16, the drive and driven loads that are part of the kinematics that make up the movements of the relationships of the main vehicle structure and the rear ground tracing frame member. The movement of the frame members are derived partly from the coupled location and coupling manner as the loads from the drive and driven elements are applied. The loads generated to vehicle from the drive and driven forces generate a driven forces 71 as the vehicle maintains, climbs, accelerates or has external resistance to forward propulsion. Load path 72 depicts the acceleration force between the swing arm 18 (i.e. the ground tracing element) through the pivoting joint 21 the pivotally couples the link member 23 into front triangle 11. The link member 23 generally takes the primary compression force of the drive and driven loads. Load force vector 73 depicts a load force direction resulting from the driven forces 71 onto the front frame member. Angle 74 depicts a changing angle based on a state of relationship between the front triangle 11 and swing arm 18. Angle 74 relates the pivoting joint 21 and the orientation in one state of freedom within the total movement based on relationship change to the drive and driven load of the driven forces 71. Angle 75 depicts the relationship between the instant center of rotation or equitant rotational point that the drive and driven loads act on from the driven forces 71. Angle 76 shows the relationship of the link member 23 and relational values of force and angle change to the vehicle. They depict a shift in load values as well as how it relates to generating a state of equipoise between the front triangle 11 and the swing arm 18. In this state of sag, the pivoting joint 57 of the second link member in FIG. 10 or the pivoting joint 22 in FIG. 7, provide the majority of the equipoise state of balance between front triangle 11 and the swing arm 18 as the driven loads react on the mass of bicycle.

Angle 77 represents the drive and driven loads on pivoting joint 21 and the link member 23. As depicted, the angle 77 is based on sag position between front triangle 11 and the swing arm 18. If pivoting joint 21 is not on the center line of the link member 23 that a point of instant force will translate a relative path of force to this shifting axis throughout the center line of axis as a relationship change of front triangle 11 and swing arm 18 takes place.

Angle 78 represents the relational angles between the compression force 71 and path 70 between the front triangle 11 and the swing arm 18. Angle 79 depicts the relative chain angle between the small gear and the largest rear gear. The drive and driven force on gearing angles will generate a force of incident based on loads that generate further influence of drive forces generally depicted on the compression forces 71. Shown as a range of drive and driven loads of Angle 79 will have an effect on compression forces 71 force values based and the influence of angle 80. Furthermore, the range of gear and force values of the drive and driven loads with have associated values of influence between the front triangle 11 and the swing arm 18 on various load force condition. Arrow 81 depicts the mass of vehicle as it related to the drive and driven forces of the vehicle. Referring to FIG. 15, reference line 69 depicts the contact between tire and ground with the braking force line of 63 in relationship to the braking force line of path 70.

Referring to FIGS. 17 and 18, the acceleration loads on the bicycle frame 10 from the drive and driven loads are used to generate a proactive state of equipoise on acceleration of vehicle. Reference line 83 symbolizes the equipoise throughout a range of movement between front triangle 11 and the swing arm 18. There are inherent force values result from the state of relationship of the front triangle 11 and the swing arm 18 that amount to influencing

gravitational and inertia loads on the center of mass 82, the payload, and the vehicle, the force 94 from above the front triangle 11 have an effect of force on the center of mass 82 and as well as the other direction. The center of mass 82 represent a value of mass that should be further expressed in general conditioning that have relational shifts in position value between center of mass 82 and the vehicle based on the position of human/payload mass to vehicle structure as well the freedom of movements of the entire system. The influence of center of mass 82 on the kinematics and corresponding geometry of frame members within the system of 10 generate a wide range of shift to generate an equipoise state of balance on acceleration of the drive and driven loads of the forward propulsions. In the normal state of the art, the drive and driven forces on inertia of center of mass 82 have generally been misunderstood within the application of load path 72 on the vehicle and more focused towards the center of mass 82. Angle 84 depicts a relational value of leverage between the coupling between front triangle 11 and the swing arm 18 and force line 85 that can be altered in relational values based on the application of use. A shift in one of more of the primary applications of use will generate a shift in relationship needs to match the functional output. Reference line 86 represents a vertical relational position of the center of mass 82, driven load, and drive load (on the load path 72), as it reacts on general acceleration loads of the ground tracing and drive element of the system that extends from the instant center 90 of rotation to the region of mass. Reference line 87 represents the vertical relation of the drive and driven forces 71 as they act on front triangle 11 with a generated leverage on instant center 90. Reference line 88 represents the general vertical distance in one of the states of sitting or standing of center of mass 82 above the ground 67. Angle 89 represents the angle contact between the ground 67 and the rear wheel 35 and instant center of force on that resides between movement of link member 23 as it translates to path 70. Instant center 90 represents the instant center of rotation that is translated from the movement between front triangle and the swing arm 18 as the centerlines of the link member 23 and load path 63.

In FIG. 20 an instant center 90 between the center line of link member 23 a line through pivoting joint 22 at 90-degrees to the path 70 (i.e. sliding member center line in FIG. 20). In

FIGS. 19 and 20, angle 91 depicts the movement relation of path 70 and link member 23 in the current state of sag. Angle 91 represents a relational shift between the front triangle 11 and the swing arm 18. In FIG. 19 angle 92 depicts the value between load path 63 and path 70 as translated in the shift. The relational values of angle 91 and angle 92 depict the freedom to translate in one direction of desire while generating a restriction movement in another. The restriction of movement will support an equipoise state reference line 68 of sprung resistance while in another force will generate freedom of movement with ground tracing over verity forces derived from movement of vehicle and the obstruction as shown object 93 that are in the path of vehicle. As the movement increases between the front triangle 11 and swing arm 18 there will be a rate resistance from force of direction and rate of spring and rate of damping. The relational values of angle 91 and angle 92 move with one another to generate a force of value reflective. The relational value between path 70 and angle 97 will change in value with range of shift. The shift in value generate a force of influence that creates a freedom of movement over object 93 within a wide range of movement between front triangle 11 and the swing arm 18 that react against 94. 94 represent the mass value of the human/ payload and vehicle that are generally above the structure of vehicle. Force arrow 95 depicts the force of the ground upon the rear wheel 35 and the swing arm 18. Angle 96 represents the angle of influence of force arrow 95 upon path 70. Angle 97 depicts the force angle that results from the swing arm 18 being able to move freely over an object 93 translating into movement of the swing arm 18 in relationship to the front triangle 11. The object 93 can represent a typical obstacle, for example, a rock, log, or other obstacle.

The remainder of the specification may be viewed as being utterly distinct from or, alternatively, as complementary to the preceding disclosure.

The present disclosure relates to a vehicle component. The vehicle component may be a(n individual) component that transfers (at least part of) a gravitational force acting on a payload of a vehicle to at least one (propulsive) element that interacts with an ambient environment of the vehicle, e.g. for the sake of providing a propulsive force and/or for the sake of allowing the vehicle to glide / roll over an ambient surface. Similarly, the vehicle component may be a system (of interacting elements), which system transfers (at least part of) a gravitational force acting on a payload of a vehicle to at least one (propulsive) element that interacts with an ambient environment of the vehicle, e.g. for the sake of providing a propulsive force and/or for the sake of allowing the vehicle to glide / roll over an ambient surface. As such, the vehicle component may be termed a "vehicle frame" or a "vehicle frame component". The payload may include a driver, a rider and/or a passenger of the vehicle. The payload may include an inanimate payload. The ambient surface may be terrain. Similarly, the ambient surface may be a water surface, e.g. a surface of a body of water. The (propulsive) element may be a terrain-engaging element, e.g. a terrain-engaging element selected from the group consisting of a wheel, a skid, a ski and a (continuous) track. Similarly, the (propulsive) element may be a marine (propulsion) element, e.g. an element selected from the group consisting of a float, a hull, a water ski, a jet nozzle and a propeller. For the sake of conciseness, the term "terrain-engaging element" will be used hereinafter to designate any (propulsive) element as described hereinabove, regardless of whether such element is a marine element. (An elucidation of the term "any" is given in the closing paragraphs of this specification.)

The present disclosure likewise relates to a vehicle comprising the vehicle component. The vehicle may comprise at least one terrain-engaging element as described above. The vehicle may be a vehicle selected from the group consisting of a bicycle, an e-bike, a motorcycle, a moped, a (terrestrial) rover, a snowmobile, a snow scooter and a (personal) watercraft. As such, the vehicle may be a vehicle selected from the group consisting of a human-powered vehicle, a (gasoline and/or electric) motor-powered vehicle and a vehicle powered by both human and (gasoline and/or electric) motor power. In the context of the present disclosure, the term "e-bike" may be understood as a bicycle comprising an electrically powered motor that contributes a driving force to at least one wheel of the bicycle.

As evidenced by the remarks above, the specialized nomenclature typically associated with the various vehicles to which the inventive principles of the present disclosure are applicable impairs both the conciseness and overall readability of the present disclosure.

Accordingly, the remainder of this disclosure will, in general, use the nomenclature of a bicycle as a contextual basis for the disclosure. This use of bicycle nomenclature is not intended to exclude other types of vehicles from the scope of that disclosure. Instead, it is trusted that the reader can easily transfer the concepts disclosed herein in the context of a bicycle to other vehicles without inventive skills. Accordingly, the following disclosure will also include occasional references to other types of vehicles to aid the read in understanding how the disclosed teachings may be applied to vehicles other than bicycles.

The vehicle component may comprise a first frame portion and a second frame portion. The first frame portion may define a first rotational axis, e.g. a rotational axis of a driving sprocket (as opposed to a driven sprocket). For example, the first rotational axis may be a rotational axis of a bottom bracket.

The first rotational axis may be located in a lower portion of the first frame portion, e.g. in a lowermost 30%, a lowermost 20%, a lowermost 10% or a lowermost 5% of the first frame portion. (The terms "lower" and "lowermost" are described in further detail infra.) Similarly, the first rotational axis may be located in a rearward portion of the first frame portion, e.g. in a most rearward 30%, a most rearward 20%, a most rearward 10% or a most rearward 5% of (the aforementioned lower(most) portion of) the first frame portion. (The term "rearward" is described in further detail infra.) Similarly, the second frame portion may define a second rotational axis, e.g. a rotational axis of a driven sprocket. For example, the second rotational axis may be a rotational axis of a (second / rear) wheel. Similarly, the second rotational axis may be a (rearmost) rotational axis of a guide of a (continuous) track. The second rotational axis may be located in a rearward portion of the second frame portion, e.g. in a most rearward 30%, a most rearward 20%, a most rearward 10% or a most rearward 5% of the second frame portion.

Similarly, the second rotational axis may be located in a lower portion of the second frame portion, e.g. in a lowermost 30%, a lowermost 20%, a lowermost 10% or a lowermost 5% of (the aforementioned (most) rearward portion of) the second frame portion. The vehicle component may comprise at least one (steel, aluminum and/or carbon fiber) tube and/or at least one (steel, aluminum and/or carbon fiber) beam. As such, at least 80%, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the first / second frame portion (by volume and/or by weight) may be a material selected from the group consisting of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. For example, an entirety of the first / second frame portion may be of such a material except bushings and/or thread elements, e.g. for interconnecting the first / second frame portion with other structures of the vehicle. Such bushings and/or thread elements may demand wear characteristics and/or machining tolerances not achievable with aluminum or carbon fiber.

The first frame portion may constitute a more forward portion of the vehicle component than the second portion. In the present disclosure, "forward" and/or "rear" (as well as related terms such as fore, aft, front and back) may be defined, as known in the art, by an orientation and/or location of a steering wheel and/or handlebars and/or an orientation and/or location of seats (of the vehicle) relative to the vehicle component. Similarly, "forward" and/or "rear" (and related terms) may be defined, as known in the art, by (other) characteristics of the vehicle component and/or a vehicle comprising the vehicle component. Such characteristics may include a shape of a chassis, a configuration of a drivetrain, etc. For example, the seat may be "forward" of a propulsive terrain-engaging element. A (dominant) direction of propulsion and/or motion of the vehicle may be a "forward" direction. (For the sake of conciseness, the term "propulsion direction" will be used hereinafter to designate the (dominant) direction of the vehicle regardless of whether the vehicle comprises a motor or other means of propulsion). In the present disclosure, "forward" and/or "rear" (and related terms) may designate a (relative) location with respect a "horizontal" axis (when the vehicle is on level terrain). Such designation may be independent of a "vertical" location, i.e. is not to be invariably construed as implying a "vertical" location.

In the present disclosure, "upward" and/or "downward" (as well as related terms such as above, below, upper, higher and lower) may be defined, as known in the art, by an orientation and/or location of seats (of a vehicle) relative to the vehicle component and/or a location of a steering wheel and/or handlebars relative to a seat (of the vehicle). Similarly, "upward" and/or "downward" (and related terms) may be defined, as known in the art, by (other) characteristics of the vehicle component and/or a vehicle comprising the vehicle component. Such characteristics may include a shape of a chassis, a configuration of a drivetrain, a location of at least one terrain- engaging element as described above, etc. In the present disclosure, "upward" and/or

"downward" (and related terms) may designate a (relative) location with respect a "vertical" axis (when the vehicle is on level terrain). Such designation may be independent of a "horizontal" location, i.e. is not to be invariably construed as implying a "horizontal" location.

In the nomenclature of a bicycle, the first frame portion may comprise a seat tube, a top tube, a head tube and a down tube. The first frame portion may have the shape of a quadrilateral. The seat tube, top tube, head tube and down tube may constitute the four sides of the

quadrilateral. Similarly, the first frame portion may have the shape of a partial quadrilateral. The seat tube may rigidly connect the top tube and the down tube. The seat tube, top tube, head tube and down tube may constitute the four sides of the partial quadrilateral, the seat tube being (rigidly) connected to the top tube, but (a lower portion of the seat tube being) not (rigidly) connected to the down tube. In such a configuration, the top tube, head tube and down tube may (collectively) act as a spring. The first frame portion may furthermore comprise a front fork, a steering tube of the front fork being rotatably mounted in the head tube. The first frame portion may comprise a bottom bracket. The bottom bracket may be located proximate to and/or rearward of a(n imaginary) junction of the down tube and the seat tube. The first frame portion may comprise comprises a top tube, a bottom bracket region and a seat tube that rigidly connects the top tube and the bottom bracket region.

The second frame portion may comprise / consist (substantially) of a (rear) fork, e.g. a

(rear) fork that supports a (rear) wheel of the vehicle. The fork may comprise / consist

(substantially) of a first arm, a second arm and a yoke portion. Each of the first and second arms may comprise a dropout, opening or bore (in a rearmost 10% of the respective arm) that receives a (respective) end of an axle (of the wheel). The first and second arms, e.g. the dropouts, openings or bores thereof, may define (a position of) the second rotational axis. The yoke portion may interconnect the first and second arms (at a (respective) forward portion of each of the first and second arms). The fork may comprise a space between the first and second arms that accommodates a (forward) portion of the (rear) wheel (as known in the art). The fork may be a monolithic / unitary structure. The fork may be termed a "swingarm".

The vehicle may comprise at least one seat, e.g. for at least one user selected from the group consisting of a driver, a rider and a passenger of the vehicle. The seat may be mounted on / rigidly connected to the first frame portion. The seat may lack connection to the second frame portion except via the first frame portion. The seat may be connected to the first frame portion via the seat tube.

The vehicle may comprise a (power conversion) mechanism for converting (leg and/or arm) motion of a user / rider into mechanical power. The mechanism may comprise a (driving) sprocket. The mechanism may comprise a crankset (that comprises the sprocket) and/or

(pivotally mounted) levers (that drive the sprocket). The mechanism may be mounted on the first frame portion, e.g. via the bottom bracket.

The vehicle may comprise a drivetrain, e.g. for transmitting a driving force from the

(power conversion) mechanism / the (driving) sprocket to (a driven sprocket connected to) at least one terrain-engaging element (mounted on the second frame portion) of the vehicle. The drivetrain may comprise a chain and/or a belt.

The vehicle may comprise a (gasoline and/or electric) motor. The motor may be located in a lower and/or rearward portion of the first frame portion as described supra. The motor may contribute a driving force to at least one terrain-engaging element of the vehicle, e.g. via the drivetrain. The motor may be mounted on the first frame portion. The drivetrain may transmit a driving force from the motor (mounted on the first frame portion) to (a driven sprocket connected to) at least one terrain-engaging element (mounted on the second frame portion) of the vehicle. Similarly, the motor may be mounted on the second frame portion and provide a driving force to at least one terrain-engaging element mounted on the second frame portion.

The vehicle component may comprise a linkage, e.g. a linkage that movably connects the first frame portion and the second frame portion. As such, the linkage may connect the first frame portion and the second frame portion such that the first frame portion is movable (within a limited range of motion defined by the linkage) relative to the second frame portion (and vice versa). The linkage may connect to a lower and/or rearward portion of the first frame portion as described supra.

The linkage may be a four-bar linkage. Similarly, the linkage may form a four-bar linkage in conjunction with at least one element of the first and/or second frame portion.

(Hereinafter, the term "linkage" will often be used without distinguishing whether the linkage involves elements of the first / second frame portion. In cases where such ambiguity is inappropriate, it is trusted that such ambiguity will be dispelled by the context.)

In the present disclosure, (minimum) distances, (acute) angles, relative positions, etc. that may depend on a state of the linkage may be (narrowly) understood as being valid (i.e. measured / determined) when the vehicle is (in an unladen, neutral state) on a level surface (with the terrain-engaging elements of the vehicle contacting the level surface). Moreover, such distances, angles, relative positions, etc. may also be understood as being valid at a mid-range position of the linkage, e.g. rotationally halfway between a first end of range position and a second end of range position of the linkage. Furthermore, such distances, angles, relative locations, etc. may also be broadly understood as being valid throughout the entire operating range of the linkage.

The linkage may comprise a slide link. The slide link may comprise a barrel and a piston (that slides at least partially within the barrel). The barrel may comprise a (circular) cylindrical inner wall. The piston may slide within the barrel along a (linear) slide axis. The piston may comprise a (circular) cylindrical outer wall, e.g. a cylindrical outer wall that (within tolerances as known in the art) matches (the dimensions of) the cylindrical inner wall of the barrel. The cylindrical outer wall of the piston may have a length of at least 10%, at least 20% or at least 30%) of a length of the cylindrical inner wall of the barrel. The cylindrical outer wall of the piston may have a length of at most 40%, at most 30%> or at most 20% of a length of the cylindrical inner wall of the barrel. The cylindrical outer wall of the piston may have a length of at least 5 cm or of at least 10 cm. The cylindrical outer wall of the piston may have a length of at most 10 cm or at most 20 cm. The length of the cylindrical outer wall of the piston and/or cylindrical inner wall of the barrel may be measured parallel to the slide axis. The cylindrical inner wall of the barrel may have a minimum dimension of at least 5 cm, at least 8 or at least 10 cm, e.g. as measured perpendicular to the slide axis (at the respective location). The cylindrical inner wall of the barrel may have a maximum dimension of at most 15 cm, at most 12 cm or at most 10 cm, e.g. as measured perpendicular to the slide axis (at the respective location). At least 80%, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the slide link (by volume and/or by weight) may be a material selected from the group consisting of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. Similarly, at least 80%), at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the barrel (by volume and/or by weight) may be a material selected from the group consisting of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber and at least 80%>, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the piston (by volume and/or by weight) may be a material selected from the group consisting of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. The slide link may slidingly engage the second frame portion (along the slide axis). The barrel may be an element of the second frame portion. Similarly, the piston may be an element of the second frame portion. The slide link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion, e.g. at a pivot axis forward of the bottom bracket and/or at a pivot axis located in a lower and/or rearward portion of the first frame portion as described supra. For example, the slide link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a pivot axis proximate to and/or rearward of and/or below a(n imaginary) junction of the down tube and the seat tube. A (minimum) distance from the pivot axis (at which the slide link is pivotally connected to the first frame portion) to the head tube may be less than a (minimum) distance from the first rotational axis to the head tube. A length of the slide link, e.g. a distance between a first connection point (on / fixed relative to the barrel) and a second connection point (on / fixed relative to the piston) of the slide link, may be dependent on a state of the slide link, e.g. on a position of the piston relative to the barrel.

The vehicle component may be configured such that an acute angle between the slide axis of the slide link and an imaginary straight line coaxial with a driving segment of a chain / belt of the drivetrain is in the range of 10° to 60°, e.g. in the range of 20° to 50°. The vehicle component may be configured such that an acute angle between the slide axis of the slide link and an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes is in the range of 20° to 60°. The slide link may be configured such that the slide axis slopes downwardly to the front. In other words, a rearward portion of the slide link / slide axis is higher than a forward portion of the slide link / slide axis.

The linkage may comprise at least one rigid link. The rigid link may be "rigid" in the sense that the link does not (substantially) change its shape under compression and/or tension (under normal use, e.g. when the rigid link transfers (typical) forces between the first and second frame portions). The rigid link may exhibit a fixed length between a first connection point and a second connection point of the rigid link. The rigid link may be a (flat) bar. The rigid link may have a length, e.g. as measured between the first connection point and the second connection point, of at least 8 cm, at least 10 cm, at least 15 cm or at least 20 cm. Similarly, the rigid link may have a length of at most 30 cm, at most 25 cm, at most 20 cm or at most 15 cm. The rigid link may have a minimum dimension and/or a thickness of at least 2 mm, at least 4 mm or at least 6 mm. Similarly, the rigid link may have a minimum dimension and/or a thickness of at most 10 mm, at most 6 mm or at most 4 mm. The thickness may be measured in a direction perpendicular to a major surface of the rigid link. The rigid link may be a material selected from the group consisting of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. The rigid link may interconnect the first frame portion and the second frame portion, e.g. via respective pivotal connections at the first and second connection points. The rigid link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion, e.g. (exclusively) at the first connection point (that defines a first pivot point / a first pivot axis). The rigid link may be pivotally connected to the second frame portion, e.g.

(exclusively) at the second connection point (that defines a second pivot point / a second pivot axis). The rigid link may be pivotally connected to the second frame portion at a location on (a rearward / forward side of) the barrel of the slide link. The linkage may comprise a pair of (parallel and/or mirror image) rigid links. Each rigid link of the pair may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion, e.g. (exclusively) at a first pivot axis. Each rigid link of the pair may be pivotally connected to the second frame portion, e.g. (exclusively) at a second pivot axis. The rigid link may have an "X"-like or an "H"-like shape. Two arms of the ("X" / "H"-shaped) rigid link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a first pivot axis. Two other arms of the ("X" / "H"-shaped) rigid link may be pivotally connected to the second frame portion at a second pivot axis. At least one of the first pivot axis and the second pivot axis may be perpendicular to the propulsion direction. At least one of the first pivot axis and the second pivot axis may be parallel to the terrain when the vehicle is on level terrain.

The rigid link may be a rocker link, e.g. a rocker link having a first connection point, a second connection point and a third connection point. The first connection point may be located intermediate the second connection point and the third connection point. The rocker link may exhibit a fixed length between the first connection point and the second connection point.

Similarly, the rocker link may exhibit a fixed length between the first connection point and the third connection point. The rocker link may be configured such that an acute angle between an imaginary straight line through the first and second connection points and an imaginary straight line through the first and third connection points is in the range of 0° to 45°, e.g. in the range of 10° to 40°. The rocker link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion, e.g. at the first and third connection points. The rigid link may be pivotally connected to the second frame portion, e.g. at the second connection point. In the case of a bicycle, for example, the third connection point of the rocker link may pivotally connect to a downward end of the seat tube of the first frame portion and the first connection point of the rocker link may pivotally connect to (an upward side of) a bottom bracket region of the first frame portion. The linkage may comprise a pair of (parallel and/or identical) rocker links. Each rocker link of the pair may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion, e.g. at a first pivot axis and a third pivot axis. Each rocker link of the pair may be pivotally connected to the second frame portion, e.g. at a second pivot axis.

The first frame portion may comprise at least one (cylindrical) bushing. The rigid link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion by a pin, bolt or other fastener that extends through the bushing and through the rigid link at the first / third connection point, e.g. along the first / third pivot axis. Similarly, the second frame portion may comprise at least one (cylindrical) bushing. The rigid link may be pivotally connected to the second frame portion by a pin, bolt or other fastener that extends through the bushing and through the rigid link at the second connection point, e.g. along the second pivot axis

The vehicle component may be configured such that an acute angle between an imaginary straight line through the first and second connection points of the rigid link and an imaginary straight line coaxial with a driving segment of a chain / belt of the drivetrain is in the range of 0° to 30°, e.g. is less than 30°, is less than 20° or is less than 10°. The vehicle component may be configured such that an acute angle between an imaginary straight line through the first and second connection points of the rigid link and an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes is in the range of 0° to 30°, e.g. is less than 30°, is less than 20° or is less than 10°. The vehicle component may be configured such that a minimum distance between the rigid link and (an extension of) an imaginary straight line coaxial with a driving segment of a chain / belt of the drivetrain is no more than 5 cm, no more than 8 cm or no more than 10 cm.

The linkage may comprise a flexing element. The flexing element may be an element with a fixed length between a first connection region and a second connection region of the flexing element, yet that is capable of flexing in a manner that reduces a distance between the first connection region and the second connection region. The (first connection region of the) flexing element may be connected to the first frame portion, e.g. to the seat tube or the down tube. The (second connection region of the) flexing element may be connected to the second frame portion, e.g. to (a rearward / forward side of) the barrel of the slide link. The flexing element may (be configured to) absorb (and store) energy as a distance between the first connection region and the second connection region is reduced. For example, the flexing element may (be configured to) absorb (and store) energy as the flexing element transitions from a neutral state to a flexed state. Similarly, the flexing element may (be configured to) release (stored) energy as a distance between the first connection region and the second connection region increases. For example, the flexing element may (be configured to) release (stored) energy as the flexing element transitions from a flexed state to a neutral state. The flexing element may comprise a leaf spring. The flexing element may comprise (a sheet / plate of) carbon fiber. The flexing element may have a length, e.g. as measured between the first connection region and the second connection region, of at least 8 cm, at least 10 cm, at least 15 cm or at least 20 cm. Similarly, the flexing element may have a length of at most 30 cm, at most 25 cm, at most 20 cm or at most 15 cm. The flexing element may have a minimum dimension and/or a thickness of 2 mm, 3 mm or 4 mm. Similarly, the flexing element may have a minimum dimension and/or a thickness of at most 10 mm, at most 6 mm or at most 4 mm. The thickness may be measured in a direction perpendicular to a major surface of the flexing element.

The vehicle component may be configured such that an acute angle between an imaginary straight line through the first and second connection regions of the flexing element and an imaginary straight line coaxial with a driving segment of a chain / belt of the drivetrain is in the range of 0° to 30°, e.g. is less than 30°, is less than 20° or is less than 10°. The vehicle component may be configured such that an acute angle between an imaginary straight line through the first and second connection regions of the flexing element and an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes is in the range of 0° to 30°, e.g. is less than 30°, is less than 20° or is less than 10°. The vehicle component may be configured such that a minimum distance between the flexing element and (an extension of) an imaginary straight line coaxial with a driving segment of a chain / belt of the drivetrain is no more than 5 cm, no more than 8 cm or no more than 10 cm.

The linkage may comprise an eccentric. The eccentric may constitute an eccentrically rotatable connection between the first frame portion and to the second frame portion. The eccentric may be directly connected to both the first frame portion and the second frame portion. The eccentric may connect to the first frame portion at the seat tube or proximate to the first rotational axis / bottom bracket. The eccentric may connect to a rearward portion of the first frame portion, e.g. to a most rearward 30%, a most rearward 20%, a most rearward 10% or a most rearward 5% of (the aforementioned lower(most) portion of) the first frame portion. The eccentric may connect to a forward portion of the second frame portion, e.g. to a most forward 10%) or a most forward 5% of the second frame portion.

The yoke portion (of the second frame portion) may form the barrel of the slide link. Similarly, the yoke portion may form the piston of the slide link. The yoke portion may be asymmetric relative to a (first) plane orthogonal to the second rotational axis (and midway between the dropouts / openings / bores of the first and second arms). As touched upon supra, the barrel / piston may comprise a circular cylindrical inner / outer wall. An axis of symmetry of the barrel / piston may be parallel to the (aforementioned first) plane. The axis of symmetry of the barrel / piston may be offset by at least 5 mm, at least 10 mm, at least 15 mm or at least 20 mm from the (aforementioned first) plane (in a direction away from the drivetrain). The fork may constitute a chain stay, e.g. together with the remainder (e.g. barrel / piston) of the slide link not formed by the yoke portion. A chain stay may be understood as an element that supports the driving axis (e.g. the bottom bracket) relative to the driven axis (e.g. the second rotational axis), i.e. prevents the driven axis from being (unduly / catastrophically) pulled toward the driving axis as a result of a drivetrain force (e.g. the tension of a driven chain or belt). The chain stay may be an elevated chain stay. An elevated chain stay may be understood as a chain stay having a portion located higher (e.g. more distant from the terrain) than the drivetrain / chain. The chain stay may have the overall general shape of an arch and may comprise a central region. A bottom surface of (the central region of) the chain stay may be located at least 2 cm, at least 4 cm or at least 6 cm higher than the drivetrain. The central region may constitute at least 10%>, at least 20% or at least 30% of a length of the chain stay, e.g. as measured in a direction parallel to an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes. The central region may be distanced from at least one of the most forward end and the most rearward end of the chain stay by at least 10%, at least 20% or at least 30% of a length of the chain stay, e.g. as measured in a direction parallel to an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes. An acute angle between the axis of symmetry of the barrel / piston and a longitudinal axis of the central region may be in the range of 30° to 60°. Similarly, an acute angle between the axis of symmetry of the barrel / piston and (a major surface of) the bottom surface of the central region may be in the range of 30° to 60°. The yoke portion may constitute at least 20%, at least 25% or at least 30% of a length of the chain stay, e.g. as measured in a direction parallel to an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes. The yoke portion may constitute no more than 40%, no more than 35% or no more than 30% of a length of the chain stay, e.g. as measured in a direction parallel to an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes. The yoke portion may comprise at least one, at least two or at least four interior wall(s) that extends from an outer wall of the yoke portion to a wall forming the barrel. An angle between a respective major surface of any adjacent walls may be (substantially) equal to 360° divided by the total number of such walls (provided at a given cross-section (through the barrel and) orthogonal to at least one of a slide axis of the slide element and an axis of symmetry of the barrel). Any of the interior walls may have a length, e.g. as measured parallel to a slide axis of the slide element or an axis of symmetry of the barrel, of at least 50% or at least 80% of a length of the barrel, e.g. as measured parallel to a slide axis of the slide element or an axis of symmetry of the barrel.

A first inner wall of the first arm that faces the second arm may comprise a first bulging region. Similarly, a second inner wall of the second arm that faces the first arm may comprise a second bulging region. The first bulging portion may protrude further in a direction of the second arm than an intermediate region of the first inner wall intermediate the bulging region and the yoke portion. The second bulging portion may protrude further in a direction of the first arm than an intermediate region of the second inner wall intermediate the bulging region and the yoke portion. The protruding of the first / second bulging portion may be in a direction orthogonal to the aforementioned (first) plane. The bulging region may protrude at least 4 mm, at least 6 mm or at least 8 mm further than the (respective) intermediate region. The bulging region may constitute at least 5%, at least 10%, at least 15% or at least 20% of an area of the (respective) inner wall. The bulging region may have a (generally) V-shaped cross-section in a vertical plane orthogonal to the (aforementioned first) plane (through an apex of the bulging region). Similarly, the bulging region may have a (generally) V-shaped cross-section in a horizontal plane orthogonal to the (aforementioned first) plane (through an apex of the bulging region). At least one of the first and second arm may comprise an interior wall that extends from an outer wall of the respective arm that faces away from the other arm to the (respective) first / second inner wall. The interior wall may be substantially perpendicular to the outer wall. The interior wall may intersect the respective first / second inner wall at the apex of the (respective) first / second bulging region. The interior wall may extend over at least 60%, at least 80% or an entirety of a length of the bulging region, e.g. as measured in a longitudinal direction of the first / second arm and/or parallel to the interior wall. The apex of the bulging region may be located in a rearward half or rearward third of the central region. The bulging region may extend rearward of the central region.

The linkage may comprise / consist of a slide link (e.g. as described above) and a rigid link (e.g. as described above). The rigid link may constitute an upper link of the linkage. An imaginary straight line through the first and second connection points of the rigid link may define an imaginary straight line through the upper link. The rigid link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a location higher than a pivot axis at which the slide link pivotally connects to the first frame portion. The rigid link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a first pivot point, i.e. at a first pivot axis, and may be pivotally connected to the second frame portion at a second pivot point, i.e. at a second pivot axis. Similarly, the slide link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a third pivot point, i.e. at a third pivot axis. A (minimum) distance from a point at which the slide link is pivotally connected to the first frame portion (i.e. the third pivot point / axis) to an imaginary straight line through the first rotational axis and the second rotational axis may be less than a (minimum) distance from that imaginary straight line to a point at which the rigid link is pivotally connected to the first frame portion (i.e. the first pivot point / axis). An acute angle between the slide axis of the slide link and an imaginary straight line through the first and second connection points of the rigid link may be in the range of 15° to 85°, e.g. in the range of 20° to 70° or in the range of 30° to 60°.

The linkage may comprise / consist of a slide link (e.g. as described above) and a pair of parallel rigid links (e.g. as described above). The pair of rigid links may constitute an upper link of the linkage. Each rigid link of the pair of rigid links may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a first pivot axis and be pivotally connected to the second frame portion at a second pivot axis. An imaginary straight line through the first and second pivot axes may define an imaginary straight line through the upper link. The pair of rigid links may connect to the first frame portion at a location higher than a pivot axis at which the slide link pivotally connects to the first frame portion. The slide link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a third pivot point, i.e. at a third pivot axis. A (minimum) distance from a point at which the slide link is pivotally connected to the first frame portion (i.e. the third pivot point / axis) to an imaginary straight line through the first rotational axis and the second rotational axis may be less than a (minimum) distance from that imaginary straight line to the first pivot axis. An acute angle between the slide axis of the slide link and an imaginary straight line through the first and second connection points of either rigid link, i.e. through the first and second pivot axes, may be in the range of 15° to 85°, e.g. in the range of 20° to 70° or in the range of 30° to 60°.

The linkage may comprise / consist of a slide link (e.g. as described above) and a flexing element (e.g. as described above). The flexing element may constitute an upper link of the linkage. An imaginary straight line through the first and second connection regions of the flexing element may define an imaginary straight line through the upper link. The slide link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a third pivot point, i.e. at a third pivot axis. The flexing element may connect to the first frame portion at a location higher than a pivot axis at which the slide link pivotally connects to the first frame portion (i.e. the third pivot point / axis). A (minimum) distance from a point at which the slide link is pivotally connected to the first frame portion (i.e. the third pivot point / axis) to an imaginary straight line through the first rotational axis and the second rotational axis may be less than a (minimum) distance from that imaginary straight line to a region of the flexing element that connects to the first frame portion, i.e. the first connection region. In the present context, the term "higher" may also be understood as meaning "closer to the (driver / rider / passenger) seat". An acute angle between the slide axis of the slide link and an imaginary straight line through the first and second connection regions of the flexing element may be in the range of 15° to 85°, e.g. in the range of 20° to 70° or in the range of 30° to 60°.

The linkage may comprise / consist of a first rigid link (e.g. as described above) and a second rigid link (e.g. as described above). The first rigid link may constitute an upper link of the linkage. An imaginary straight line through the first and second connection points of the first rigid link may define an imaginary straight line through the upper link. The first rigid link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a location higher than a location at which the second rigid link pivotally connects to the first frame portion. The first rigid link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a first pivot point, i.e. at a first pivot axis, and may be pivotally connected to the second frame portion at a second pivot point, i.e. at a second pivot axis. Similarly, the second rigid link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a third pivot point, i.e. at a third pivot axis, and may be pivotally connected to the second frame portion at a fourth pivot point, i.e. at a fourth pivot axis. A (minimum) distance from a point at which the second rigid link is pivotally connected to the first frame portion (i.e. the second pivot point / axis) to an imaginary straight line through the first rotational axis and the second rotational axis may be less than a (minimum) distance from that imaginary straight line to a point at which the first rigid link is pivotally connected to the first frame portion (i.e. the first pivot point / axis). A distance between the first pivot point / axis and the third pivot point / axis may be less than a distance between the second pivot point / axis and the fourth pivot point / axis. A (minimum) distance between the third pivot point / axis and a (first) imaginary straight line through the first rotational axis and the second rotational axis may be less than a (minimum) distance between the first pivot point / axis and the (first) imaginary straight line. An acute angle between a first imaginary straight line through the first and second connection points of the first rigid link (i.e. through the first and second pivot points / axes) and a second imaginary straight line through the first and second connection points of the second rigid link (i.e. through the third and fourth pivot points / axes) may be in the range of 15° to 85°, e.g. in the range of 20° to 70° or in the range of 30° to 60° .

The linkage may comprise / consist of a first pair of parallel rigid links (e.g. as described above) and a second pair of parallel rigid links (e.g. as described above). The first pair of rigid links may constitute an upper link of the linkage. Each rigid link of the first pair of rigid links may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a first pivot axis and be pivotally connected to the second frame portion at a second pivot axis. An imaginary straight line through the first and second pivot axes may define an imaginary straight line through the upper link. Each rigid link of the second pair of rigid links may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a third pivot axis and be pivotally connected to the second frame portion at a fourth pivot axis. The first pair of rigid links may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a location higher than a location at which the second pair of rigid links pivotally connects to the first frame portion. A (minimum) distance from the third pivot axis to an imaginary straight line through the first rotational axis and the second rotational axis may be less than a (minimum) distance from that imaginary straight line to first pivot axis. An acute angle between a first imaginary straight line through the first and second connection points of either rigid link of the first pair, i.e. through the first and second pivot axes, and a second imaginary straight line through the first and second connection points of either rigid link of the second pair, i.e. through the third and fourth pivot axes, may be in the range of 15° to 85°, e.g. in the range of 20° to 70° or in the range of 30° to 60°. A distance between the first pivot axis and the third pivot axis may be less than a distance between the second pivot axis and the fourth pivot axis. A (minimum) distance between the third pivot axis and a (first) imaginary straight line through the first rotational axis and the second rotational axis may be less than a (minimum) distance between the first pivot axis and the (first) imaginary straight line. The linkage may comprise / consist of a slide link (e.g. as described above) and an eccentric (e.g. as described above). The eccentric may constitute an upper link of the linkage. The slide link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a third pivot point, i.e. at a third pivot axis. The eccentric may be connected to the first frame portion at a location higher than a pivot axis at which the slide link pivotally connects to the first frame portion (i.e. the third pivot point / axis). A (minimum) distance from a point at which the slide link is pivotally connected to the first frame portion (i.e. the third pivot point / axis) to an imaginary straight line through the first rotational axis and the second rotational axis may be less than a (minimum) distance from that imaginary straight line to the eccentric.

The vehicle component may be configured such that the upper link is proximate to (an extension of) an imaginary straight line coaxial with a driving segment of a chain / belt of the drivetrain. The vehicle component may be configured such that a minimum distance between the upper link and (an extension of) an imaginary straight line coaxial with a driving segment of a chain / belt of the drivetrain is no more than 5 cm, no more than 8 cm or no more than 10 cm. The vehicle component may be configured such that an acute angle between the imaginary straight line through the upper link and an imaginary straight line coaxial with a driving segment of a chain / belt of the drivetrain is in the range of 0° to 30°, e.g. is less than 30°, is less than 20° or is less than 10°. The vehicle component may be configured such that an acute angle between the imaginary straight line through the upper link and an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes is in the range of 0° to 40°, e.g. is less than 30°, is less than 20° or is less than 10°.

The linkage may exhibit an instantaneous center of rotation, e.g. as known in the art of mechanical engineering. For example, the instantaneous center of rotation may be at the intersection of a first imaginary line through two pivot points of a first rigid link and a second imaginary line through two pivot points of a second rigid link. Similarly, the instantaneous center of rotation may be at the intersection of a first imaginary line through two pivot points of a first rigid link and a second imaginary line through a pivot point of a slide link and perpendicular to the slide axis of the slide link. Similarly, the instantaneous center of rotation may be at the intersection of a first imaginary line through first and second connection regions of a flexing element and a second imaginary line through a pivot point of a slide link and perpendicular to the slide axis of the slide link.

The instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage may be located forward of the first rotational axis defined by the first frame portion, e.g. by at least 5 cm, at least 10 cm or at least 15 cm. The instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage may be located in (or at a vertical location corresponding to) a lower portion of the first frame portion, e.g. a lowermost 30%, a lowermost 20%, a lowermost 10% or a lowermost 5% of the first frame portion. The

instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage may be located forward of the seat tube. The vehicle component may be configured such that a minimum distance between the instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage and (an extension of) an imaginary straight line coaxial with a driving segment of a chain / belt of the drivetrain is no more than 5 cm, no more than 8 cm or no more than 10 cm. Similarly, the vehicle component may be configured such that a minimum distance between the instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage and (an extension of) an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes is no more than 8 cm, no more than 10 cm or no more than 15 cm.

The vehicle component may be configured such that the instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage is located above (an imaginary straight line through the second rotational axis and) the first rotational axis. The vehicle component may be configured such that a straight line through the instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage and perpendicular to a shortest imaginary straight line between the first rotational axis and the top tube intersects that shortest imaginary straight line at a location between the first rotational axis and the top tube. The vehicle component may be configured such that a first imaginary straight line through the instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage and perpendicular to a second imaginary straight line through the first rotational axis and perpendicular to a third imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes intersects that second imaginary straight line upward of the first rotational axis, e.g. at a location between the first rotational axis and the top tube / an uppermost intersection of that second imaginary straight line and the first frame portion.

The vehicle component may be configured such that at least one of the first rotational axis defined by the first frame portion and the second rotational axis defined by the second frame portion is located within an angle enclosed by a first ray through the first and second connection points of a first rigid link and a second ray through the first and second connection points of a second rigid link (not parallel to the first rigid link), which angle has the instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage as a vertex. Similarly, the vehicle component may be configured such that at least one of the first rotational axis defined by the first frame portion and the second rotational axis defined by the second frame portion is located within an angle enclosed by a first ray through the first and second connection points of the rigid link and a second ray through the pivot point of the slide link, which angle has the instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage as a vertex. Similarly, the vehicle component may be configured such that at least one of the first rotational axis defined by the first frame portion and the second rotational axis defined by the second frame portion is located within an angle enclosed by a first ray through the first and second connection regions of the flexing element and a second ray through the pivot point of the slide link, which angle has the instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage as a vertex.

The vehicle component may be configured such that a distance from the instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage to the first rotational axis is no more than 40%, no more than 30%, no more than 20% or no more than 10% of a distance from the instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage to the second rotational axis. The vehicle component may be configured such that a distance from the instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage to the first rotational axis is at least 5%, at least 10% or at least 15% of a distance from the instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage to the second rotational axis.

The linkage may be configured to induce a motion of the first rotational axis in a direction of a (first) imaginary straight line through an instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage and the second rotational axis in response to a force drawing the second rotational axis toward the first rotational axis. The force may be a tensioning force on a chain / belt of the drivetrain, e.g. a tensioning force on induced by the driving sprocket on a segment of the chain / belt connecting the driving sprocket and the driven sprocket. Similarly, the linkage may be configured to induce a motion of the first rotational axis in a direction of an imaginary straight line coaxial with a driving segment of a chain / belt of the drivetrain in response to a force drawing the second rotational axis toward the first rotational axis.

The linkage may be configured to restrict a range of motion of the second frame portion relative to the first frame portion. The linkage may restrict the second frame portion to motion in a plane (substantially) parallel to a plane defined by (the seat tube, top tube and down tube of) the first frame portion. The linkage may be configured to induce a torque on the second frame portion in a first rotational direction in response to a torque on the first frame portion in a second rotational direction opposite the first rotational direction. The torque on the first / second frame portion may induce rotational motion of the first / second frame portion relative to an axis of rotation (substantially) parallel to the first / second rotational axis. The torque on the first / second frame portion may induce rotational motion of the first / second frame portion in a plane (substantially) parallel to a plane defined by (the seat tube, top tube and down tube of) the first frame portion. The linkage may be configured such that the first frame portion, in a first end of range position of the linkage as induced by a rotation of the second frame portion in a (third) rotational direction relative to the first frame portion, is substantially as free to rotate in the (third) rotational direction as in a mid-range position of the linkage. The (third) rotational direction may be a direction of rotation that, in the case of the first frame portion, effects a reduction of an acute angle between a (first) imaginary straight line through an instantaneous center of rotation of the linkage and the second rotational axis and a (second) imaginary straight line through the instantaneous center of rotation and the first rotational axis. The mid-range position of the linkage may be rotationally halfway between the first end of range position and a second end of range position of the linkage as induced by a rotation of the second frame portion in a (fourth) rotational direction relative to the first frame portion, the fourth rotational direction being opposite to the (third) rotational direction.

A (minimum) distance between a pivot point / pivot axis at which a slide link of the linkage pivotally connects to the first frame portion and a (first) imaginary straight line through the first rotational axis and the second rotational axis may be less than a (minimum) distance between a pivot point / pivot axis at which a rigid link / the upper link of the linkage connects to the first frame portion and the (first) imaginary line.

The (four-bar) linkage and drivetrain may be the sole elements of the vehicle that transfer (substantial amounts of) kinetic energy from the first frame portion to the second frame portion (or vice versa). The (elements of the) (four-bar) linkage may be the sole elements structurally interconnecting the first frame portion and the second frame portion. In the present context, the interconnection of the first frame portion and the second frame portion provided by a drivetrain, e.g. a chain / belt thereof, is not considered to constitute a structural interconnection (since the drivetrain is typically is designed solely to transmit a propulsive forces from a power source (e.g. rider / motor) to a terrain-engaging element as opposed to being designed to transmit arbitrary forces from one structure to another structure). To the respect that the reader considers a drivetrain to constitute a structural interconnection, the present disclosure may be understood as teaching that the (four-bar) linkage and the drivetrain may be the sole elements structurally interconnecting the first frame portion and the second frame portion. The first frame portion may be structurally interconnected to the second frame portion exclusively via the (four-bar) linkage (and drivetrain). The vehicle may be devoid of elements other than the (four-bar) linkage (and drivetrain) structurally interconnecting the first frame portion and the second frame portion. The vehicle may be devoid of a shock-absorber assembly (interconnecting the first frame portion and the second frame portion) distinct from the (four-bar) linkage. In the present context, shift cables, brake cables, power cables, etc. are not considered to constitute elements that transfer

(substantial amounts of) kinetic energy from the first frame portion to the second frame portion (or vice versa).

The vehicle component may comprise an energy management system. The energy management system may be (at least partially) interposed between the first frame portion and the second frame portion. The energy management system may be (interposed between the first frame portion and the second frame portion by being) (pivotally) connected the first frame portion (at at least one connection point) and may be (pivotally) connected the second frame portion (at at least one connection point). The energy management system may influence an exchange of kinetic energy between the first and second frame portion. The energy management system may effect a time delay in a transfer of kinetic energy from the first frame portion to the second frame portion. Similarly, the energy management system may effect a time delay in a transfer of kinetic energy from the second frame portion to the first frame portion. The energy management system may receive a first amount of kinetic energy from the first frame portion and/or the second frame portion and output, in total in response to the receipt of the first amount of kinetic energy, a second amount of kinetic energy (with a time delay) to the first frame portion and/or the second frame portion, the second amount of kinetic energy being less than the first amount. The energy management system may dissipate an amount of energy equal to a difference between the first amount of kinetic energy and the second amount of kinetic energy as heat. The energy management system may be a (purely) mechanical system. The energy management system may be a (purely) passive system.

The energy management system may comprise a shock absorber. The shock absorber may interconnect the first and second frame portions. The shock absorber may be pivotally linked to the second frame portion, e.g. at a location intermediate the upper link (i.e. a location at which the upper link connects to the second frame portion) and the second rotational axis. The shock absorber may be pivotally linked to the first frame portion, e.g. to the top tube or the down tube. The shock absorber may be configured such that a shortening / lengthening of a distance between a pivot axis at which the shock absorber is linked to the second frame portion and a pivot axis at which the shock absorber is linked to the first frame portion induces (shock absorbing, linear) travel of the shock absorber.

An operating state exhibited by the energy management system when no external forces (that would induce a (substantial) change in operating state) are applied to the energy management system may be termed a "neutral state". Similarly, the neutral state may be an operating state in which the energy management system stores no potential energy (that can be converted by the energy management system into kinetic energy). The linkage and the energy management system may be configured such that (the (inherently) limited range of motion of) the linkage restricts motion of the energy management system to within the (designed / permissible) range of travel of the energy management system.

The energy management system may comprise at least one material and/or component that absorbs and stores energy, i.e. converts kinetic energy into potential energy, e.g. by elastic deformation, as the energy management system transitions to a first operating state different from the neutral state. The material may be an elastic material. The component may be a (steel / air) spring. The (at least one material and/or component of the) energy management system may be configured to convert the stored (potential) energy into kinetic energy as the energy management system transitions to the neutral state from the first operating state. More generally, the energy management system may comprise at least one material and/or component that converts kinetic energy into potential energy as the energy management system transitions to any operating state (within the range of travel of the energy management system) different from the neutral state, which at least one material and/or component converts said potential energy into kinetic energy as the energy management system transitions to the neutral state from said any operating state. The energy management system may comprise at least one material and/or component that converts kinetic energy into potential energy as the energy management system transitions "away from" the neutral state, i.e. from any operating state (within the range of travel of the energy management system) to any other (within the range of travel of the energy management system) more removed from the neutral state, which at least one material and/or component converts said potential energy into kinetic energy as the energy management system transitions "toward" the neutral state, i.e. to said any operating state from said any other operating state. For the sake of conciseness, such conversion of kinetic energy to potential energy and such conversion of potential energy into kinetic energy will be termed "lossless conversion" as a shorthand notation.

Similarly, the energy management system may comprise at least one material and/or component that converts kinetic energy into heat as the energy management system transitions to a first operating state different from the neutral state. The material may be a (viscous) oil. The component may be / comprise a friction surface. The component may be / comprise a nozzle. The (at least one material and/or component of the) energy management system may be configured to convert kinetic energy into heat as the energy management system transitions to the neutral state from the first operating state. More generally, the energy management system may comprise at least one material and/or component that converts kinetic energy into heat as the energy management system transitions to any operating state (within the range of travel of the energy management system) different from the neutral state, which at least one material and/or component may moreover convert kinetic energy into heat as the energy management system transitions to the neutral state from said any operating state. The energy management system may comprise at least one material and/or component that converts kinetic energy into heat as the energy management system transitions "away from" the neutral state, i.e. from any operating state (within the range of travel of the energy management system) to any other (within the range of travel of the energy management system) more removed from the neutral state, which at least one material and/or component may moreover convert kinetic energy into heat as the energy management system transitions "toward" the neutral state, i.e. to said any operating state from said any other operating state. For the sake of conciseness, such conversion of kinetic energy to heat will be termed "lossy conversion" as a shorthand notation.

At least a portion or an entirety of the energy management system may be located within the barrel of the slide link. Similarly, an entirety of the energy management system may be mounted on or located inside the second frame portion. The energy management system may be devoid of a heat sink (distinct from the at least one material and/or component that converts kinetic energy into heat).

A ratio of lossless conversion to overall (i.e. lossy plus lossless) conversion exhibited by the energy management system may depend, inter alia, on an operating state of the energy management system, e.g. on a "distance" of the instant operating state from the neutral state (in terms of travel) and/or on whether the energy management system is transitioning "away from" or "toward" the neutral state. The ratio of lossless conversion to overall (i.e. lossy plus lossless) conversion exhibited by the energy management system may user adjustable, e.g. by means of switches and/or dials (as known in the art). Accordingly, the ratio of lossless conversion to overall conversion exhibited by the energy management system may depend, inter alia, on a (user adjustable) mode of the energy management system.

The energy management system may be configured such that the vehicle, in a neutral (i.e. non-dynamic), payload-bearing state, exhibits squat (a.k.a. "sag") in the range of 15% to 35%. The payload-bearing state may be a state in which the vehicle is bearing a payload in the range of 50 kg to 100 kg. In the present disclosure, the term "squat" may be understood as designating an operating state in which the first rotational axis / bottom bracket is lower (i.e. closer to the terrain) than the first rotational axis / bottom bracket in an unladen, neutral state. Squat may be expressed as a percentage of travel between an unladen, neutral state and a (respective) end of range (e.g. as limited by the linkage). In the present disclosure, the term "anti-squat" (a.k.a. "jacking") may be understood as designating an operating state in which the first rotational axis / bottom bracket is higher (i.e. farther from the terrain) than the first rotational axis / bottom bracket in an unladen, neutral state. Anti-squat may be expressed as a percentage of travel between an unladen, neutral state and a (respective) end of range (e.g. as limited by the linkage).

The unladen, neutral state may correspond to a mid-range position of the linkage, e.g. as defined supra. Defining the unladen, neutral state on a linear scale representative of a percentage of the total amount of linear sliding motion permitted at the slide link by the operating range of the linkage or a percentage of a total amount of rotation permitted at any pivotal connection point of the linkage to the first / second frame portion by the operating range of the linkage, where a (full) anti-squat end of range of the linkage corresponds to 0%, the mid-range position corresponds to 50% and a (full) squat end of range of the linkage corresponds to 100%, the unladen, neutral state may be in the range of 30% to 50%, e.g. in the range of 30% to 40% or 40% to 50%, or in the range of 50% to 70%, e.g. in the range of 50% to 60% or 60% to 70%.

As touched upon above, the characteristics of the energy management system may be direction dependent. For example, the characteristics of the energy management system when transitioning "away from" the neutral state may differ from characteristics of the energy management system when transitioning "toward" the neutral state. Hereinbelow, an imparting of "kinetic energy of squat inducing motion" into the energy management system may be understood as kinetic energy imparted into the energy management system as a result of motion (of elements of the vehicle component) that yields further squat, i.e. an imparting of kinetic energy into the energy management system as the energy management system transitions in a squat direction, i.e. in a direction of a state of the energy management system corresponding to (full) squat. Similarly, an imparting of "kinetic energy of motion inducing less anti-squat" into the energy management system may be understood as kinetic energy imparted into the energy management system as a result of motion (of elements of the vehicle component) that yields less anti-squat, i.e. an imparting of kinetic energy into the energy management system as the energy management system transitions in a direction of a state of the energy management system corresponding to (full) squat. These remarks apply, mutatis mutandis, to similar expressions such as "kinetic energy of motion inducing less squat" and "kinetic energy of anti-squat inducing motion".

The vehicle component may be configured such that, at 25% squat, at least 60%>, at least 70%), at least 80%> or at least 90% of kinetic energy (of squat inducing motion) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into potential energy. The vehicle component may be configured such that, in a range of 0% to 60%> squat, at least 60%>, at least 70%, at least 80%> or at least 90% of kinetic energy (of squat inducing motion) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into potential energy. The vehicle component may be configured such that, in a range of 0% to 60% anti-squat, at least 60%, at least 70%, at least 80% or at least 90% of kinetic energy (of anti-squat inducing motion) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into potential energy. The vehicle component may be configured such that, in a range of 40% to 75% squat, at least 50%), at least 60%, at least 70% or at least 80% of kinetic energy (of squat inducing motion) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into potential energy. The vehicle component may be configured such that, in a range of 40%) to 75%) anti-squat, at least 60%, at least 70% or at least 80% of kinetic energy (of anti- squat inducing motion) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into potential energy. The vehicle component may be configured such that, in a range of 70% to 90% squat, at least 30%, at least 40%, at least 50% or at least 60% of kinetic energy (of squat inducing motion) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into potential energy. The vehicle component may be configured such that, in a range of 70% to 90% anti-squat, at least 30%), at least 40%, at least 50% or at least 60% of kinetic energy (of anti-squat inducing motion) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into potential energy. The vehicle component may be configured such that, in a range of 90% to 0% anti-squat, e.g. a range of 70% to 0% anti-squat, not more than 15%, not more than 10% or not more than 5% of kinetic energy (of motion inducing less anti-squat) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into heat. The vehicle component may be configured such that, in a range of 90% to 0%) squat, e.g. a range of 70% to 0% squat, not more than 15%, not more than 10% or not more than 5%) of kinetic energy (of motion inducing less squat) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into heat. The energy management system, at 25% squat, e.g. relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), may convert at least 60%>, at least 70%, at least 80%> or at least 90%) of kinetic energy (of squat inducing motion) imparted into the energy management system into potential energy. The energy management system may, in a range of 0% to 60%> squat, e.g. relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), convert at least 60%>, at least 70%), at least 80%> or at least 90% of kinetic energy (of squat inducing motion) imparted into the energy management system into potential energy. The energy management system, in a range of 0% to 60% anti-squat, e.g. relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), may convert at least 60%, at least 70%, at least 80% or at least 90% of kinetic energy (of anti-squat inducing motion) imparted into the energy management system into potential energy. The energy management system, in a range of 40% to 75% squat, e.g. relative to a mid- range position (of the energy management system), may convert at least 50%, at least 60%, at least 70%) or at least 80% of kinetic energy (of squat inducing motion) imparted into the energy management system into potential energy. The energy management system, in a range of 40% to 75%) anti-squat, e.g. relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), may convert at least 60%, at least 70% or at least 80% of kinetic energy (of anti-squat inducing motion) imparted into the energy management system into potential energy. The energy management system, in a range of 70% to 90% squat, e.g. relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), may convert at least 30%, at least 40%, at least 50% or at least 60%) of kinetic energy (of squat inducing motion) imparted into the energy management system into potential energy. The energy management system, in a range of 70% to 90% anti-squat, e.g. relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), may convert at least 30%, at least 40%), at least 50% or at least 60% of kinetic energy (of anti-squat inducing motion) imparted into the energy management system into potential energy. The energy management system may be configured such that, in a range of 90% to 0% anti-squat, e.g. relative to a mid- range position (of the energy management system), e.g. a range of 70% to 0% anti-squat, not more than 15%, not more than 10% or not more than 5% of kinetic energy (of motion inducing less anti-squat) imparted into the energy management system is converted into heat. The energy management system may be configured such that, in a range of 90% to 0% squat, e.g. relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), e.g. a range of 70% to 0% squat, not more than 15%, not more than 10% or not more than 5% of kinetic energy (of motion inducing less squat) imparted into the energy management system is converted into heat. The mid-range position (of the energy management system) may correspond to a position halfway between the respective ends of the range of travel of the energy management system. Defining the mid-range position (of the energy management system) on a linear scale representative of a percentage of the total range of travel of the energy management system, where a (full) anti-squat end of range of the travel corresponds to 0%, the mid-range position corresponds to 50% and a (full) squat end of range of the travel corresponds to 100%, the mid- range position may be in the range of 30% to 50%, e.g. in the range of 30% to 40% or 40% to 50%, or in the range of 50% to 70%, e.g. in the range of 50% to 60% or 60% to 70%. The range of travel of the energy management system may be limited by the linkage. Defining the mid- range position (of the energy management system) on a linear scale representative of a percentage of the total amount of linear sliding motion permitted at the slide link by the operating range of the linkage or a percentage of a total amount of rotation permitted at any pivotal connection point of the linkage to the first / second frame portion by the operating range of the linkage, where a (full) anti-squat end of range of the linkage corresponds to 0%, the mid- range position corresponds to 50% and a (full) squat end of range of the linkage corresponds to 100%), the mid-range position may be in the range of 30% to 50%, e.g. in the range of 30% to 40% or 40% to 50%, or in the range of 50% to 70%, e.g. in the range of 50% to 60% or 60% to 70%.

A ratio of lossless conversion to overall (i.e. lossy plus lossless) conversion exhibited by the combination of vehicle and payload may be characterized / defined by a "damping ratio" (as known in the art). The damping ratio may be measured / determined without regard for a damping effect of the terrain-engaging elements and/or without regard for a damping effect of a front suspension. The damping ratio may be measured / determined (exclusively) in terms of an oscillatory response of the second frame portion relative to the payload-bearing front frame portion, e.g. in response to forces induced at the second rotational axis (by traveling over terrain). The payload may be a payload in the range of 50 kg to 100 kg. The damping ratio may be a damping ratio of less than 0.3, less than 0.2 or less than 0.1.

In the present disclosure, the verb "may" is used to designate optionality/non- compulsoriness. In other words, something that "may" can, but need not. In the present disclosure, the verb "comprise" may be understood in the sense of including. Accordingly, the verb "comprise" does not exclude the presence of other elements / actions. In the present disclosure, relational terms such as "first," "second," "top," "bottom" and the like may be used solely to distinguish one entity or action from another entity or action without necessarily requiring or implying any actual such relationship or order between such entities or actions.

In the present disclosure, the term "any" may be understood as designating any number of the respective elements, e.g. as designating one, at least one, at least two, each or all of the respective elements. Similarly, the term "any" may be understood as designating any

collection(s) of the respective elements, e.g. as designating one or more collections of the respective elements, wherein a (respective) collection may comprise one, at least one, at least two, each or all of the respective elements. The respective collections need not comprise the same number of elements.

In the present disclosure, the expression "at least one" is used to designate any (integer) number or range of (integer) numbers (that is technically reasonable in the given context). As such, the expression "at least one" may, inter alia, be understood as one, two, three, four, five, ten, fifteen, twenty or one hundred. Similarly, the expression "at least one" may, inter alia, be understood as "one or more," "two or more" or "five or more."

In the present disclosure, expressions in parentheses may be understood as being optional. As used in the present disclosure, quotation marks may emphasize that the expression in quotation marks may also be understood in a figurative sense. As used in the present disclosure, quotation marks may identify a particular expression under discussion.

In the present disclosure, many features are described as being optional, e.g. through the use of the verb "may" or the use of parentheses. For the sake of brevity and legibility, the present disclosure does not explicitly recite each and every combination and/or permutation that may be obtained by choosing from the set of optional features. However, the present disclosure is to be interpreted as explicitly disclosing all such combinations / permutations. For example, a system described as having three optional features may be embodied in seven different ways, namely with just one of the three possible features, with any two of the three possible features or with all three of the three possible features.

While various embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed and described in detail herein, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes may be made to the configuration, operation and form of the invention without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. In particular, it is noted that the respective features of the invention, even those disclosed solely in combination with other features of the invention, may be combined in any configuration excepting those readily apparent to the person skilled in the art as nonsensical. Likewise, use of the singular and plural is solely for the sake of illustration and is not to be interpreted as limiting. Except where the contrary is explicitly noted, the plural may be replaced by the singular and vice-versa.

The above disclosure may be summarized as comprising the following embodiments. Embodiment 1 : A vehicle component, comprising: a first frame portion that defines a first rotational axis; a second frame portion that defines a second rotational axis; a linkage that movably connects said first frame portion and said second frame portion; and an energy management system interposed between the first frame portion and the second frame portion, wherein said linkage is configured to induce a motion of said first rotational axis in a direction of a first imaginary straight line through an instantaneous center of rotation of said linkage and said second rotational axis in response to a force drawing said second rotational axis toward said first rotational axis, and said vehicle component, in a range of 0% to 60% squat, converts at least 60% of kinetic energy of squat inducing motion imparted into said energy management system into potential energy.

Embodiment 2: The vehicle component of Embodiment 1, wherein: said first frame portion, in a first end of range position of said linkage as induced by a rotation of said second frame portion in a first rotational direction relative to said first frame portion, is substantially as free to rotate in said first rotational direction as in a mid-range position of said linkage, said first rotational direction being a direction of rotation that, in the case of said first frame portion, effects a reduction of an acute angle between said first imaginary straight line and a second imaginary straight line through said instantaneous center of rotation and said first rotational axis.

Embodiment 3 : The vehicle component of Embodiment 2, wherein said mid-range position of said linkage is rotationally halfway between said first end of range position and a second end of range position of said linkage as induced by a rotation of said second frame portion in a second rotational direction relative to said first frame portion, said second rotational direction being opposite to said first rotational direction.

Embodiment 4: A vehicle component, comprising: a first frame portion that defines a first rotational axis; a second frame portion that defines a second rotational axis; a rigid link pivotally connected to said first frame portion at a first pivot point and pivotally connected to said second frame portion at a second pivot point; a slide link pivotally connected to said first frame portion at a third pivot point and slidingly engaging said second frame portion along a sliding axis; and an energy management system at least partially interposed between the first frame portion and the second frame portion, wherein a distance of said third pivot point to a first imaginary line through said first rotational axis and said second rotational axis is less than a distance of said first pivot point to said first imaginary line, and said vehicle component, in a range of 0% to 60% squat, converts at least 60% of kinetic energy of squat inducing motion imparted into said energy management system into potential energy.

Embodiment 5: The vehicle component of Embodiment 4, wherein: a third imaginary line through said first pivot point and said second pivot point is within 40° of parallel to said first imaginary line, and an acute angle between said sliding axis and said third imaginary line is at least 15° and no more than 85°.

Embodiment 6: A vehicle component, comprising: a first frame portion that defines a first rotational axis; a second frame portion that defines a second rotational axis; a first rigid link pivotally connected to said first frame portion at a first pivot point and pivotally connected to said second frame portion at a second pivot point; and a second rigid link pivotally connected to said first frame portion at a third pivot point and pivotally connected to said second frame portion at a fourth pivot point; and an energy management system at least partially interposed between the first frame portion and the second frame portion, wherein a distance between said third pivot point and said first pivot point is less than a distance between said fourth pivot point and said second pivot point, a distance of said third pivot point to a first imaginary line through said first rotational axis and said second rotational axis is less than a distance of said first pivot point to said first imaginary line, and said vehicle component, in a range of 0% to 60% squat, converts at least 60% of kinetic energy of squat inducing motion imparted into said energy management system into potential energy.

Embodiment 7: The vehicle component of Embodiment 6, wherein: a third imaginary line through said first pivot point and said second pivot point is within 40° of parallel to said first imaginary line, an acute angle between said third imaginary line and a fourth imaginary line through said third pivot point and said fourth pivot point is at least 20° and no more than 70°.

Embodiment 8: A vehicle component, comprising: a first frame portion that defines a rotational axis of a driving sprocket as a first rotational axis; a second frame portion that defines a rotational axis of a driven sprocket as a second rotational axis; a first rigid link pivotally connected to said first frame portion at a first pivot point and pivotally connected to said second frame portion at a second pivot point; a slide link pivotally connected to said first frame portion at a third pivot point and slidingly engaging said second frame portion along a sliding axis; and an energy management system at least partially interposed between the first frame portion and the second frame portion, wherein said first rigid link is proximate to a second imaginary line coaxial with a driving segment of a chain that links said driving sprocket and said driven sprocket, said first rigid link and said slide link being configured to induce a motion of said first rotational axis in a direction of said second imaginary line in response to a force drawing said second rotational axis toward said first rotational axis, and said vehicle component, in a range of 0% to 60% squat, converts at least 60% of kinetic energy of squat inducing motion imparted into said energy management system into potential energy.

Embodiment 9: The vehicle component of Embodiment 8, wherein: a distance between said third pivot point and a first imaginary line through said first rotational axis and said second rotational axis is less than a distance between said first pivot point and said first imaginary line.

Embodiment 10: The vehicle component of Embodiment 8 or 9, wherein: a third imaginary line through said first pivot point and said second pivot point is within 40° of parallel to said first imaginary line.

Embodiment 11 : The vehicle component structure of any one of Embodiments 8-10, wherein: an acute angle between said sliding axis and said third imaginary line is at least 15° and no more than 85°.

Embodiment 12: A vehicle component, comprising: a first frame portion that defines a rotational axis of a driving sprocket as a first rotational axis; a second frame portion that defines a rotational axis of a driven sprocket as a second rotational axis; a first rigid link pivotally connected to said first frame portion at a first pivot point and pivotally connected to said second frame portion at a second pivot point; a second rigid link interconnecting said first frame portion and said second frame portion; and an energy management system at least partially interposed between the first frame portion and the second frame portion, wherein said first rigid link is proximate to a second imaginary line coaxial with a driving segment of a chain that links said driving sprocket and said driven sprocket, said first and second rigid link being configured to induce a motion of said first rotational axis in a direction of said second imaginary line in response to a force drawing said second rotational axis toward said first rotational axis, and said vehicle component, in a range of 0% to 60% squat, converts at least 60% of kinetic energy of squat inducing motion imparted into said energy management system into potential energy.

Embodiment 13 : The vehicle component of Embodiment 10, wherein: a distance between said third pivot point and said first pivot point is less than a distance between said fourth pivot point and said second pivot point,

Embodiment 14: The vehicle component of Embodiment 12 or 13, wherein: a distance between said third pivot point and a first imaginary line through said first rotational axis and said second rotational axis is less than a distance between said first pivot point to said first imaginary line.

Embodiment 15: The vehicle component of any one of Embodiments 12-14, wherein: a third imaginary line through said first pivot point and said second pivot point is within 40° of parallel to said first imaginary line.

Embodiment 16: The vehicle component of any one of Embodiments 12-15, wherein: an acute angle between said third imaginary line and a fourth imaginary line through said third pivot point and said fourth pivot point is at least 20° and no more than 70°.

Embodiment 17: A vehicle component, comprising: a first frame portion that defines a first rotational axis; a second frame portion that defines a second rotational axis; a first rigid link pivotally connected to said first frame portion exclusively at a first pivot point and pivotally connected to said second frame portion at a second pivot point; and a second rigid link pivotally connected to said first frame portion at a third pivot point and pivotally connected to said second frame portion at a fourth pivot point, wherein a distance between said third pivot point and said first pivot point is less than a distance between said fourth pivot point and said second pivot point, and a distance between said third pivot point and a first imaginary line through said first rotational axis and said second rotational axis is less than a distance of said first pivot point to said first imaginary line.

Embodiment 18: The vehicle component structure of Embodiment 17, wherein: said first frame portion comprises a top tube, a bottom bracket region and a seat tube that rigidly connects said top tube and said bottom bracket region.

Embodiment 19: The vehicle component of Embodiment 17 or 18, wherein: a third imaginary line through said first pivot point and said second pivot point is within 40° of parallel to said first imaginary line, an acute angle between said third imaginary line and a fourth imaginary line through said third pivot point and said fourth pivot point is at least 20° and no more than 70°.

Embodiment 20: A vehicle, comprising: a drivetrain; a first frame portion that defines a first rotational axis; a second frame portion that defines a second rotational axis; a rigid link pivotally connected to said first frame portion at a first pivot point and pivotally connected to said second frame portion at a second pivot point; and a slide link pivotally connected to said first frame portion at a third pivot point and slidingly engaging said second frame portion along a sliding axis, wherein said first frame portion is structurally interconnected to said second frame portion exclusively via said drivetrain, said rigid link and said slide link. Embodiment 21 : A vehicle component, comprising: a first frame portion; a second frame portion; a rigid link pivotally connected to said first frame portion and pivotally connected to said second frame portion; a slide link pivotally connected to said first frame portion and slidingly engaging said second frame portion; and an energy management system, wherein an entirety of said energy management system is located within at least one of said second frame portion and a barrel of said slide link.

Embodiment 22: The vehicle component of Embodiment 21, wherein: said first frame portion that defines a first rotational axis, said second frame portion that defines a second rotational axis, said rigid link is pivotally connected to said first frame portion at a first pivot point and is pivotally connected to said second frame portion at a second pivot point; said slide link is pivotally connected to said first frame portion at a third pivot point; and a distance of said third pivot point to a first imaginary line through said first rotational axis and said second rotational axis is less than a distance of said first pivot point to said first imaginary line.

Embodiment 23 : The vehicle component of Embodiment 21 or 22, wherein: said vehicle component, in a range of 0% to 60% squat, converts at least 60% of kinetic energy of squat inducing motion imparted into said energy management system into potential energy.

A vehicle component has been described. It is not the intent of this disclosure to limit the claimed invention to the examples, variations, and exemplary embodiments described in the specification. Those skilled in the art will recognize that variations will occur when embodying the claimed invention in specific implementations and environments.

It is possible to implement certain features described in separate embodiments in combination within a single embodiment. Similarly, it is possible to implement certain features described in single embodiments either separately or in combination in multiple embodiments. The inventor envisions that these variations fall within the scope of the claimed invention.

While the examples, exemplary embodiments, and variations are helpful to those skilled in the art in understanding the claimed invention, it should be understood that, the scope of the claimed invention is defined solely by the following claims and their equivalents. SECTION 3

ABSTRACT OF SECTION 3

A vehicle, comprising: a forward frame portion comprising a seat support portion; a motion control system; and a rear frame portion movably interconnected to the forward frame portion by the motion control system, wherein the motion control system, in response to a forward acceleration of the rear frame portion resulting from a driving force imparted by a wheel supported by the rear frame portion, imparts a force onto the forward frame portion that immediately accelerates the seat support portion in a forward direction.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT DISCLOSURE

The aim of the present summary is to facilitate understanding of the present disclosure. The summary thus presents concepts and features of the present disclosure in a more simplified form and in looser terms than the detailed description below and should not be taken as limiting other portions of the present disclosure.

Loosely speaking, the present disclosure relates, inter alia, to a bike or e-bike that comprises a forward frame portion and a rear frame portion that are movably interconnected by a motion control system. The motion control system is configured such that, when the rear frame portion is accelerated, e.g. by a driving force of a rear wheel supported by the rear frame portion against the ambient terrain, the motion control system imparts a force onto the forward frame portion that immediately accelerates the seat support portion in the forward direction. By virtue of the movable interconnection of the forward and rear frame portions, the vehicle is able to adequately react to obstacles in the terrain, while the motion control system ensures that a forward acceleration of the rear frame portion invokes an immediate, forward acceleration of the seat support portion, thus allowing the mass of a rider to be appropriately accelerated. The vehicle is thus perceived by the rider as being both supple and responsive.

More specifically, the present disclosure teaches, inter alia, a two-wheeled vehicle, comprising: a forward frame portion comprising a seat support portion; a motion control system; and a rear frame portion movably interconnected to the forward frame portion by said motion control system, wherein the motion control system, in response to a forward acceleration of the rear frame portion resulting from a driving force imparted by a wheel supported by the rear frame portion, imparts a force onto the forward frame portion that immediately accelerates the seat support portion in a forward direction. Other objects, advantages and embodiments of the present disclosure will become apparent from the detailed description below, especially when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The Figures show:

FIG. 21 : a schematic depiction of a first exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 22: a schematic depiction of a second exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 23 : a schematic depiction of a third exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 24: a schematic depiction of a fourth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 25: a schematic depiction of a fifth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 26: a schematic depiction of a sixth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 27: a schematic depiction of a seventh exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 28: a schematic depiction of an eighth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 29A: a schematic, cross-sectional depiction of a first exemplary embodiment of a motion control system in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 29B: a schematic, cross-sectional depiction of a second exemplary embodiment of a motion control system in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 29C: a schematic, cross-sectional depiction of a third exemplary embodiment of a motion control system in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 29D: a schematic, cross-sectional depiction of a fourth exemplary embodiment of a motion control system in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 30: a schematic depiction of a ninth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure; FIG. 31 : a schematic depiction of a tenth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 32A: a schematic depiction of an eleventh exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 32B: a schematic, cross-sectional depiction of the motion control system of FIG. 32A;

FIG. 33 A: a schematic depiction of a twelfth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure; and

FIG. 33B: a schematic, cross-sectional depiction of the motion control system of FIG. 33A.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The various embodiments of the present disclosure and of the claimed invention, in terms of both structure and operation, will be best understood from the following detailed description, especially when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

Before elucidating the embodiments shown in the Figures, the various embodiments of the present disclosure will first be described in general terms.

The present disclosure relates to a vehicle. In the context of the present disclosure, a vehicle may be understood as a system (of interacting elements), which system transfers (at least part of) a gravitational force acting on a payload of a vehicle to at least one (propulsive) element that interacts with an ambient environment of the vehicle, e.g. for the sake of providing a propulsive force and/or for the sake of allowing the vehicle to glide / roll over an ambient surface. The payload may include a driver, a rider and/or a passenger of the vehicle. The payload may include an inanimate payload. The ambient surface may be terrain. Similarly, the ambient surface may be a water surface, e.g. a surface of a body of water. The (propulsive) element may be a terrain-engaging element, e.g. a terrain-engaging element selected from the group consisting of a wheel, a skid, a ski and a (continuous) track. Similarly, the (propulsive) element may be a marine (propulsion) element, e.g. an element selected from the group consisting of a float, a hull, a water ski, a jet nozzle and a propeller. For the sake of conciseness, the term "terrain-engaging element" will be used hereinafter to designate any (propulsive) element as described

hereinabove, regardless of whether such element is a marine element. (An elucidation of the term "any" is given in the closing paragraphs of this specification.) The vehicle may comprise at least one terrain-engaging element as described above. The vehicle may be a vehicle selected from the group consisting of a bicycle, an e-bike, a motorcycle, a moped, a (terrestrial) rover, a snowmobile, a snow scooter and a (personal) watercraft. As such, the vehicle may be a vehicle selected from the group consisting of a human-powered vehicle, a (gasoline and/or electric) motor-powered vehicle and a vehicle powered by both human and

(gasoline and/or electric) motor power. In the context of the present disclosure, the term "e-bike" may be understood as a bicycle comprising an electrically powered motor that contributes a driving force to at least one wheel of the bicycle.

As evidenced by the remarks above, the specialized nomenclature typically associated with the various vehicles to which the inventive principles of the present disclosure are applicable impairs both the conciseness and overall readability of the present disclosure.

Accordingly, the remainder of this disclosure will, in general, use the nomenclature of a bicycle as a contextual basis for the disclosure. This use of bicycle nomenclature is not intended to exclude other types of vehicles from the scope of that disclosure. Instead, it is trusted that the reader can easily transfer the concepts disclosed herein in the context of a bicycle to other vehicles without inventive skills. Accordingly, the following disclosure will also include occasional references to other types of vehicles to aid the read in understanding how the disclosed teachings may be applied to vehicles other than bicycles.

The vehicle may comprise a first frame portion and a second frame portion. The first frame portion may define a first rotational axis, e.g. a rotational axis of a driving sprocket (as opposed to a driven sprocket). For example, the first rotational axis may be a rotational axis of a bottom bracket. Similarly, the first frame portion may comprise a drive train axle support (that defines the first rotational axis). For example, the first frame portion may comprise a bottom bracket and/or a bottom bracket shell (that constitutes the drive train axle support). The first rotational axis / drive train axle support may be located in a lower portion of the first frame portion, e.g. in a lowermost 30%, a lowermost 20%, a lowermost 10% or a lowermost 5% of the first frame portion. (The terms "lower" and "lowermost" are described in further detail infra.) Similarly, the first rotational axis / drive train axle support may be located in a rearward region of the first frame portion, e.g. in a most rearward 30%, a most rearward 20%, a most rearward 10%) or a most rearward 5% of (the aforementioned lower(most) portion of) the first frame portion. (The term "rearward" is described in further detail infra.) Such a lower portion and/or rearward region may constitute a bottom bracket region. Similarly, the second frame portion may define a second rotational axis, e.g. a rotational axis of a driven sprocket. For example, the second rotational axis may be a rotational axis of a (second / rear) wheel. Similarly, the second rotational axis may be a (rearmost) rotational axis of a guide of a (continuous) track. The second rotational axis may be located in a rearward region of the second frame portion, e.g. in a most rearward 30%, a most rearward 20%, a most rearward 10% or a most rearward 5% of the second frame portion. Similarly, the second rotational axis may be located in a lower region of the second frame portion, e.g. in a lowermost 30%, a lowermost 20%, a lowermost 10% or a lowermost 5% of (the aforementioned (most) rearward region of) the second frame portion. The first frame portion and/or the second frame portion may comprise at least one (steel, aluminum and/or carbon fiber) tube and/or at least one (steel, aluminum and/or carbon fiber) beam. As such, at least 80%, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the first / second frame portion (by volume and/or by weight) may be a material selected from the group consisting of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. For example, an entirety of the first / second frame portion may be of such a material except bushings and/or thread elements, e.g. for interconnecting the first / second frame portion with other structures of the vehicle. Such bushings and/or thread elements may demand wear characteristics and/or machining tolerances not achievable with aluminum or carbon fiber.

The first frame portion may constitute a more forward portion of the vehicle component than the second portion. As such, the first frame portion may be termed a "forward frame portion". Similarly, the second frame portion may be termed a "rear frame portion" or a

"rearward frame portion". In the present disclosure, "forward" and/or "rear" (as well as related terms such as fore, aft, front and back) may be defined, as known in the art, by an orientation and/or location of a steering wheel and/or handlebars and/or an orientation and/or location of seats (of the vehicle) relative to the vehicle (as a whole). Similarly, "forward" and/or "rear" (and related terms) may be defined, as known in the art, by (other) characteristics of the vehicle. Such characteristics may include a shape of a chassis, a configuration of a drivetrain, etc. For example, the seat may be "forward" of a propulsive terrain-engaging element. A (dominant) direction of propulsion and/or motion of the vehicle may be a "forward" direction. (For the sake of conciseness, the term "propulsion direction" will be used hereinafter to designate the (dominant) direction of the vehicle regardless of whether the vehicle comprises a motor or other means of propulsion). In the present disclosure, "forward" and/or "rear" (and related terms) may designate a (relative) location with respect a "horizontal" axis (when the vehicle is on level terrain). Such designation may be independent of a "vertical" location, i.e. is not to be invariably construed as implying a "vertical" location. In the present disclosure, "upward" and/or "downward" (as well as related terms such as above, below, upper, higher and lower) may be defined, as known in the art, by an orientation and/or location of seats (of the vehicle) relative to the vehicle (as a whole) and/or a location of a steering wheel and/or handlebars relative to a seat (of the vehicle). Similarly, "upward" and/or "downward" (and related terms) may be defined, as known in the art, by (other) characteristics of the vehicle. Such characteristics may include a shape of a chassis, a configuration of a drivetrain, a location of at least one terrain-engaging element as described above, etc. In the present disclosure, "upward" and/or "downward" (and related terms) may designate a (relative) location with respect a "vertical" axis (when the vehicle is on level terrain). Such designation may be independent of a "horizontal" location, i.e. is not to be invariably construed as implying a "horizontal" location.

In the nomenclature of a bicycle, the first frame portion may comprise a seat tube, a top tube, a head tube and a down tube. The first frame portion may have the shape of a quadrilateral. The seat tube, top tube, head tube and down tube may constitute the four sides of the

quadrilateral. The seat tube may rigidly connect the top tube and the down tube. Similarly, the seat tube need not rigidly connect the top tube and the down tube. For example, the seat tube may comprise at least one of an upper seat tube portion and a lower seat tube portion. The upper seat tube portion may be (rigidly) connected to the top tube. The lower seat tube portion may be (rigidly) connected to at least one of (a lower region of) the down tube and the drive train axle support. In the case of both an upper seat tube portion and a lower seat tube portion, the upper seat tube portion may lack a direct connection to the lower seat tube portion. As such, the first frame portion may have the shape of a partial quadrilateral. The top tube, head tube and down tube may constitute three sides of the partial quadrilateral and at least one of the upper / lower seat tube portion may constitute a fourth side of the partial quadrilateral. In such a configuration, the top tube, head tube and down tube may (collectively) act as a spring. (For the sake of readability, the term "seat tube" will be used to designate any of the seat tube, the upper seat tube portion and the lower seat tube portion.)

The first frame portion may furthermore comprise a front fork, a steering tube of the front fork being rotatably mounted in the head tube. The first frame portion may comprise a bottom bracket and/or a bottom bracket shell. The bottom bracket (shell) may be located in and/or supported by the bottom bracket region (e.g. as defined supra). The bottom bracket (shell) may be located proximate to and/or rearward of a(n imaginary) junction of the down tube and the seat tube. The first frame portion may comprise comprises a top tube, a bottom bracket region (e.g. as defined supra) and a seat tube that rigidly connects the top tube and the bottom bracket region.

The vehicle may comprise at least one seat, e.g. for at least one user selected from the group consisting of a driver, a rider and a passenger of the vehicle. The seat may be mounted on / rigidly connected to the first frame portion. The seat may lack connection to the second frame portion except via the first frame portion. The seat may be connected to the first frame portion via the seat tube. For example, the seat may be fastened to a seat post. A portion of the seat post may extend inside (and be clamped by) the seat tube.

The first frame portion may comprise a seat support portion. The seat support portion may be located in an upper region of the first frame portion, e.g. in an uppermost 30%, an uppermost 20% or an uppermost 10%> of the first frame portion. The seat support portion may be located in rearward region of the first frame portion, e.g. in a most rearward 30%>, a most rearward 20%, a most rearward 10% or a most rearward 5% of the first frame portion. The seat support portion may be located at / proximate to an intersection of the seat tube and the top tube. Similarly, the seat support portion may be located at / proximate to an intersection of the upper seat tube portion and the top tube. The seat support portion may support the seat directly. As such, the seat may be mounted on / rigidly connected to the seat support portion. Similarly, the seat support portion may support the seat indirectly. For example, the seat may be mounted on / rigidly connected to a seat post that is mounted / rigidly connected to the seat support portion. A portion of the seat tube, e.g. the upper seat tube portion, may constitute the seat support portion.

The lower seat tube portion may extend from a lower and/or rearward region of the first frame portion in a (general) direction of the seat support portion. For example, the lower seat tube may extend from a lowermost and/or most rearward 30%, a lowermost and/or most rearward 20%, a lowermost and/or most rearward 10% or a lowermost and/or most rearward 5% of the first frame portion. Similarly, the upper seat tube portion may extend from an upper and/or rearward region of the first frame portion in a (general) direction (of a lower region) of the down tube and/or the drive train axle support. For example, the upper seat tube may extend from an uppermost and/or most rearward 30%, an uppermost and/or most rearward 20%, an uppermost and/or most rearward 10% or an uppermost and/or most rearward 5% of the first frame portion. The upper seat tube may extend in a direction of a lowermost 30%, a lowermost 20%, a lowermost 10%, or a lowermost 5% of the down tube.

The second frame portion may comprise / consist (substantially) of a (rear) fork, e.g. a (rear) fork that supports a (rear) wheel of the vehicle. The fork may comprise / consist (substantially) of a first arm, a second arm and a yoke portion. Each of the first and second arms may comprise a dropout, opening or bore (in a rearmost 10% of the respective arm) that receives a (respective) end of an axle (of the wheel). The first and second arms, e.g. the dropouts, openings or bores thereof, may define (a position of) the second rotational axis. The yoke portion may interconnect the first and second arms (at a (respective) forward portion of each of the first and second arms). The fork may comprise a space between the first and second arms that accommodates a (forward) portion of the (rear) wheel (as known in the art). The fork may be a monolithic / unitary structure. The fork may be termed a "swingarm". The fork may constitute an elevated chain stay.

The vehicle may comprise a (power conversion) mechanism for converting (leg and/or arm) motion of a user / rider into mechanical power. The mechanism may comprise a (driving) sprocket. The mechanism may comprise a crankset (that comprises the sprocket) and/or

(pivotally mounted) levers (that drive the sprocket). The mechanism may be mounted on the first frame portion, e.g. via the bottom bracket.

The vehicle may comprise a drivetrain, e.g. for transmitting a driving force from the

(power conversion) mechanism / the (driving) sprocket to (a driven sprocket connected to) at least one terrain-engaging element (mounted on the second frame portion) of the vehicle. The drivetrain may comprise a chain and/or a belt.

The vehicle may comprise a (gasoline and/or electric) motor. The motor may be located in a lower and/or rearward portion of the first frame portion as described supra. The motor may contribute a driving force to at least one terrain-engaging element of the vehicle, e.g. via the drivetrain. The motor may be mounted on the first frame portion. The drivetrain may transmit a driving force from the motor (mounted on the first frame portion) to (a driven sprocket connected to) at least one terrain-engaging element (mounted on the second frame portion) of the vehicle. Similarly, the motor may be mounted on the second frame portion and provide a driving force to at least one terrain-engaging element mounted on the second frame portion.

The vehicle component may comprise a motion control system, e.g. a motion control system that movably interconnects the first frame portion and the second frame portion. As such, the motion control system may connect the first frame portion and the second frame portion such that the first frame portion is movable (within a limited range of motion defined by the motion control system) relative to the second frame portion (and vice versa).

The motion control system may (be configured and arranged to) impart, in response to a forward acceleration of the second frame portion, a force onto the first frame portion that (immediately) accelerates the seat support portion in a forward direction. Moreover, the motion control system may (be configured and arranged to) impart, in response to a forward acceleration of the second frame portion, a force onto the first frame portion that (immediately) accelerates the seat support portion in a forward direction at an acceleration no less than an acceleration of a drive train axle support (of the first frame portion) in the forward direction. As such, the motion control system may impart the force such that acceleration of the seat support portion does not lag behind / is not less than acceleration of the drive train axle support, e.g. the bottom bracket (shell). The motion control system may (be configured and arranged to) impart, in response to a forward acceleration of the second frame portion, a force onto the first frame portion that (immediately) accelerates the seat support portion in (both a forward and) an upward direction. The forward acceleration of the second frame portion may be a forward acceleration resulting from a (terrain-engaging) driving force imparted by a wheel supported by the second frame portion. The acceleration of the seat support portion may be "immediate" in the sense that the forward acceleration of the second frame portion and the acceleration of the seat support portion commence (essentially) simultaneously (aside from a time lag attributable to machining tolerances / (designed) fitting tolerances of components that (must) interact to impart the force onto the first frame portion and/or to convert forces of the forward acceleration of the second frame portion into the force onto the first frame portion). The acceleration of the seat support portion may be "immediate" in the sense that the motion control system, in response to the forward acceleration of the second frame portion, need not move (relative to the first / second frame portion) to impart the force onto the first frame portion that accelerates the seat support portion (in the forward / upward direction). Moreover, the acceleration of the seat support portion may be "immediate" in the sense that the forward acceleration of the second frame portion will induce a motion (of components) of the motion control system (relative to the first / second frame portion), which motion imparts the force onto the first frame portion, the forward acceleration of the second frame portion, the motion (of components) of the motion control system and the acceleration of the seat support portion commencing (essentially) simultaneously (aside from a time lag attributable to machining tolerances / (designed) fitting tolerances of components that (must) interact to impart the force onto the first frame portion and/or to convert forces of the forward acceleration of the second frame portion into the force onto the first frame portion).

The motion control system may impart the force (onto the first frame portion) in a plurality of operating states of the motion control system. In other words, the motion control system may be capable of imparting the force (onto the first frame portion) in each of a plurality of operating states. The plurality of operating states may include a mid-range position of the motion control system, e.g. a mid-range position as described infra. Similarly, the motion control system may impart the force irrespective of an operating state of said motion control system. In other words, the motion control system may be capable of imparting the force (onto the first frame portion) in any / every operating state (of the motion control system).

Motion of the motion control system may be constrained to a limited range, e.g. by virtue of the construction of the motion control system and/or interaction of the motion control system with at least one of the first frame portion and the second frame portion. Motion of the motion control system may be constrained such that at least one component of the motion control system moves (along a linear or arcuate path) between a (respective) first end-of-range position and a (respective) second end-of-range position. An operating state in which at least one component of the motion control system is halfway between a (respective) first end-of-range position and a (respective) second end-of-range position may constitute / be designated as a mid-range position (of the motion control system), where "halfway" may be determined e.g. as a function of an angle between any two components of the motion control system, as a function of an angle between any component of the motion control system and a portion of the first / second frame portion, and/or as a function of a distance along a (linear / arcuate) path of motion of (the) at least one component of the motion control system. For example, an operating state in which at least one component of the motion control system is (linearly / angularly) halfway along a linear / arcuate path between a (respective) first end-of-range position and a (respective) second end-of- range position may constitute / be designated as a mid-range position (of the motion control system).

In the present disclosure, (minimum) distances, (acute) angles, relative positions, etc. that may depend on a state of the motion control system may be (narrowly) understood as being valid (i.e. measured / determined) when the vehicle is (in an unladen, neutral state) on a level surface (with the terrain-engaging elements of the vehicle contacting the level surface). Moreover, such distances, angles, relative positions, etc. may also be understood as being valid at a mid-range position of the motion control system, e.g. as described supra. Furthermore, such distances, angles, relative locations, etc. may also be broadly understood as being valid throughout the entire operating range of the motion control system.

The motion control system may comprise at least one sliding element, e.g. a component configured to slidingly engage another component (of at least one of the motion control system, the first frame portion and the second frame portion). For example, the sliding element may slidingly engage the seat tube. (As noted above, the term "seat tube" is used to designate any of the seat tube, the upper seat tube portion and the lower seat tube portion for the sake of readability.) In the case of a plurality of sliding elements, the motion control system may comprise at least one intermediate element that (rigidly) connects at least two of the plurality of sliding elements.

The sliding element may be / comprise a tubular structure. The tubular structure may be termed a "sleeve". The sliding element may define a lumen having a constant cross-section relative to a linear / arcuate axis (of the sliding element). The cross-section may be a circular, oval or (rounded) polygonal, e.g. (rounded) rectangular or (rounded) triangular, cross-section. Similarly, the sliding element may be / comprise a cylindrical structure / a structure having a shape of a (partial) cylinder. As such, the sliding element may comprise at least one of an inner wall and an outer wall, the inner / outer wall having a shape of a (partial) cylinder. Moreover, the sliding element may comprise an opening and/or slit. The sliding element may have the shape of a partial cylinder (rather than a cylinder) by virtue of the opening / slit. The (partial) cylinder may have a (partially) circular, oval or (rounded) polygonal, e.g. (rounded) rectangular or (rounded) triangular, cross-section. The sliding element may comprise an outer wall, a surface of the outer wall defining a constant cross-section relative to a linear / arcuate axis (of the sliding element). The cross-section may be a (partially) circular, oval or (rounded) polygonal, e.g.

(rounded) rectangular or (rounded) triangular, cross-section.

As stated above, the motion control system may comprise at least one sliding element configured to slidingly engage another component of at least one of the motion control system, the first frame portion and the second frame portion. As such, at least one of the motion control system, the first frame portion and the second frame portion may comprise at least one such another component, e.g. a(n additional) tubular component. The other component may be rigidly connected to the motion control system / first frame portion / second frame portion. For example, the other component may be rigidly connected at least one of a down tube, a seat tube and a bottom bracket region of the first frame portion. Similarly, the other component may be rigidly connected to a rear axle support of the second frame portion.

The sliding element may slidingly engage the aforementioned other component (of at least one of the motion control system, the first frame portion and the second frame portion), e.g. the seat tube, such that the sliding element slides parallel to a linear / arcuate (longitudinal) axis of the other component. For example, the sliding element may comprise a (tubular / generally tubular) structure that (at least partially) encircles / surrounds an outer circumference of the other component. As such, the other component may extend into / through a lumen of the sliding element, e.g. along a longitudinal axis of the sliding element. Moreover, the other component may be (rigidly) connected to (another component of) one of the first frame portion and the second frame portion via an opening / slit (e.g. as described above) in the sliding element.

Similarly, the other component may comprise / be a (tubular / generally tubular) structure that (at least partially) encircles / surrounds an outer circumference of the sliding element, e.g. such that the sliding element is free to slide parallel to a linear / arcuate (longitudinal) axis of the other component. The other component may comprise an opening and/or slit. The other component may have the shape of a partial cylinder (rather than a cylinder) by virtue of the opening / slit. The sliding element may be (rigidly) connected to (yet another component of) one of the first frame portion and the second frame portion via the opening / slit (in the other component).

By virtue of the interrelationship of the sliding element and the other component, what is regarded as constituting the sliding element and what is regarded as constituting the other component may be interchangeable. Presuming that such interchangeability will be readily apparent to the skilled reader without explicit mention, this interchangeability will not be consistently highlighted hereinbelow and will instead only find occasional mention for the mere sake of example.

The sliding element may be shaped to slidingly engage the other component in a manner that inhibits rotation of the sliding element in a circumferential direction relative to (a longitudinal axis of) the other component. Similarly, the other component may be shaped to slidingly engage the sliding element in a manner that inhibits rotation of the sliding element in a circumferential direction relative to (a longitudinal axis of) the other component. The sliding element may have an inner shape that, e.g. aside from fitting tolerances, matches an outer shape of the other component. Similarly, the other component may have an inner shape that, e.g. aside from fitting tolerances, matches an outer shape of the sliding element. The motion control system may comprise a plurality of sliding elements, the arrangement and/or interconnection of the plurality of sliding elements inhibiting rotation of the respective sliding element in a

circumferential direction relative to (a longitudinal axis of) the respective other component.

The motion control system may be configured such that a forward acceleration of the rear frame portion, e.g. a forward acceleration resulting from a driving force imparted by a wheel supported by the rear frame portion, does not reduce an obstacle-avoiding range of motion of the motion control system. In the present disclosure, the obstacle-avoiding range of motion of the motion control system may be understood as a range of motion available to the motion control system between the (respective, current) operational state (at the time of (initially) encountering a respective obstacle) and a respective end-of-range position (to which the motion control system is constrained as discussed supra), e.g. as the motion control system transitions from the

(respective, current) operational state toward the respective end-of-range position in response to a rear wheel of the vehicle encountering the respective obstacle. Similarly, the obstacle-avoiding range of motion of the motion control system may be understood as a distance between the (respective, current) position (of (at least one component) of the motion control system (at the time of (initially) encountering a respective obstacle) and the respective end-of-range position (of (the at least one component of) the motion control system). The encountering of a respective obstacle may impart a force (on the rear wheel that, in turn, imparts a force) on (the rear frame portion at) the second rotational axis in an upward and rearward direction. An acute angle between the force on (the rear frame portion at) the second rotational axis and an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes may be in the range of 20° to 70°, e.g. in the range of 30° to 60° or in the range of 40° to 50°. Moreover, the motion control system may be configured such that (such) a forward acceleration of the rear frame portion increases an obstacle-avoiding range of motion of the motion control system. As such, the motion control system may be configured such that a forward acceleration of the rear frame portion induces a movement of the motion control system toward an end-of-range position opposite the

(aforementioned) end-of-range position (toward which the motion control system moves in response to a rear wheel of the vehicle encountering a respective obstacle).

The seat tube and/or the aforementioned other component, which may be the seat tube, may be configured such that an acute angle between a linear / arcuate (longitudinal) axis of the other component and an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes is in the range of 30° to 60°, e.g. in the range of 40° to 50°. More specifically, the seat tube and/or the other component may be configured such that any of a minimum acute angle, an average acute angle and a maximum acute angle between a linear / arcuate (longitudinal) axis of the seat tube / other component and an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes is in the range of 30° to 60°, e.g. in the range of 40° to 50°. In the case of an arcuate (longitudinal) axis, such angles may be measured with respect to a tangent to the arcuate (longitudinal) axis. The seat tube and/or the other component may be configured such that the seat tube / other component slopes downwardly to the front. As such, the seat tube / other component may be configured such that a rearward portion (of a longitudinal axis / tangent to an arcuate axis) of the seat tube / other component is higher than a forward portion of (of the longitudinal axis / tangent to an arcuate axis) the seat tube / other component.

A portion of the sliding element that slidingly engages the aforementioned other component, e.g. the seat tube, may have a length of at least 8 cm, at least 12 cm or at least 16 cm. The length may be measured in a direction / along a path parallel to a linear / arcuate

(longitudinal) axis of the other component. The portion of the sliding element that slidingly engages the other component may have a (minimum) diameter of at least 3 cm, at least 6 cm, at least 9 cm or at least 12 cm. The diameter may be measured from a first location on a wall / surface of the sliding element that slidingly engages the other component to a second location on the wall / surface of the sliding element that slidingly engages the other component. The first location may be opposite the second location. For example, the second location may be located at an intersection of the wall / surface and a line that passes through the first location and is perpendicular to a plane tangent to the wall / surface at the first location.

The sliding element may comprise at least one rolling element, e.g. a roller bearing and/or a ball bearing. The rolling element may contact a surface of the aforementioned other component (of at least one of the motion control system, the first frame portion and the second frame portion) slidingly engaged by the sliding element. For example, the rolling element may contact a surface of the seat tube. Similarly, the other component slidingly engaged by the sliding element may comprise at least one rolling element, e.g. a roller bearing and/or a ball bearing. For example, the seat tube may comprise at least one rolling element. The rolling element may contact a surface of the sliding element.

At least 80%, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the sliding element (by volume and/or by weight) may be a material selected from the group consisting of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. Similarly, at least 80%, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the

aforementioned other component (of at least one of the motion control system, the first frame portion and the second frame portion) slidingly engaged by the sliding element (by volume and/or by weight) may be a material selected from the group consisting of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber.

The sliding element may be rigidly connected to a rear axle support of the second frame portion. For example, the sliding element may comprise a tubular structure rigidly connected to the second frame structure, e.g. a(n elevated) chain stay, that comprises the rear axle support. The tubular structure and the rear frame structure may be formed as, i.e. constitute elements of, a unitary (swingarm / chain stay) structure. Similarly, the sliding element may be rigidly connected to at least one of a down tube, a seat tube and a bottom bracket region of the first frame portion.

The motion control system may movably interconnect the first frame portion and the second frame portion such that motion of the second frame portion relative to the first frame portion is restricted to one of a linear and an arcuate path. More specifically, the first frame portion, second frame portion and motion control system may (be configured and arranged to) restrict motion of the second rotational axis to one of a linear and an arcuate path relative to the first frame portion. The linear / arcuate path may be parallel to a linear / arcuate (longitudinal) axis of the sliding element.

The motion control system may movably interconnect the first frame portion and the second frame portion such that motion of the second frame portion relative to the first frame portion is restricted to substantially in-plane motion. For example, motion of the second frame portion relative to the first frame portion may be restricted to a plane orthogonal to the first rotational axis and/or to a plane defined by the top tube and down tube.

Motion of the second frame portion relative to the first frame portion may be restricted

(by the motion control system) to such in-plane motion by virtue of a relative shape of the sliding element to the aforementioned other component (of at least one of the motion control system, the first frame portion and the second frame portion) slidingly engaged by the sliding element. As touched upon above, the sliding element may have a (partially) oval or (rounded) polygonal cross-section (that slidingly engages the other component). Similarly, motion of the second frame portion relative to the first frame portion may be restricted (by the motion control system) to such in-plane motion by virtue of (an arrangement of) a plurality of sliding elements (of the motion control system).

The motion control system may comprise at least one linkage that restricts motion of the second frame portion relative to the first frame portion to in-plane motion, e.g. to in-plane motion as described above. The linkage may comprise a plurality of rigid links. A first end portion of a first rigid link of the linkage may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion, and a first end portion of a second rigid link of the linkage may be pivotally connected to the second frame portion. A second end portion of the first rigid link may be pivotally connected to a second end portion of the second rigid link. The motion control system may comprise a plurality of (such) linkages that articulate in parallel.

The motion control system may comprise at least one sheet-shaped component, e.g. a leaf spring, that restricts motion of the second frame portion relative to the first frame portion to in- plane motion, e.g. to in-plane motion as described above. A first edge portion of the sheet-shaped component may be (pivotally) connected to the first frame portion, and a second edge portion of the sheet-shaped component may be (pivotally) connected to (a component of the motion control system rigidly connected to) the second frame portion. The sheet-shaped component may be (substantially) of a material selected from the group consisting of steel and carbon fiber. The sheet-shaped component may resist torsion applied to the sheet-shaped component via the first and second edge portions with a force at least five, at least ten or at least twenty times larger than a force with which the sheet-shaped component resists a bending applied to the sheet-shaped component via the first and second edge portions. In the present context, bending may be understood as a motion of the first edge portion toward the second edge portion (in a direction not coplanar with the sheet-shaped component) without altering an orientation of the first edge portion relative to the second edge portion. In the present context, torsion may be understood as a motion of the first edge portion toward the second edge portion (in a direction not coplanar with the sheet-shaped component) that alters an orientation of the first edge portion relative to the second edge portion.

The motion control system may comprise at least one guide structure, e.g. a rod, that restricts motion of the second frame portion relative to the first frame portion to in-plane motion, e.g. to in-plane motion as described above. The guide structure may guide motion of the sliding element relative to at least one of the first frame portion and the second frame portion. The guide structure may have a longitudinal axis parallel to a longitudinal axis of the sliding element.

Similarly, the guide structure may have a longitudinal axis parallel to a longitudinal axis of the other component. The guide structure may constitute (part of) the other component. The motion control system may comprise a plurality of guide structures, a plane through the longitudinal axes of the sliding elements being perpendicular to a plane orthogonal to the first rotational axis. The guide structure may be located inside the other component, e.g. inside the seat tube.

Similarly, the guide structure may be located on / fastened to an outer wall of the other component, e.g. to an outer wall of the seat tube. The guide structure may pass through (at least one opening in) the slide element. As such, the guide element may have a length (as measured e.g. along a longitudinal axis of the sliding element) that is at least 100%, at least 150% or at least 200% the length of the sliding element (as measured e.g. along a longitudinal axis of the sliding element).

The opening may be provided in a structure located in a lumen of the slide element. Similarly, the opening may be provided in a structure located on an outer wall of the slide element. The size and/or shape of the opening may correspond (within tolerances) to the size and/or shape of the guide structure, e.g. for the sake of restricting motion of the sliding element to directions parallel to the longitudinal axis of the guide structure. The guide structure may be (substantially) of a material selected from the group consisting of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber.

The various embodiments of the present disclosure having been described above in general terms, the embodiments shown in the Figures will now be elucidated.

FIG. 21 schematically depicts a first exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 100 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 100 comprises a first frame portion 110, a second frame portion 120, a motion control system 130, a front fork 140, a front wheel 150 and a rear wheel 160. First frame portion 110 comprises a top tube 112, a head tube 114, a down tube 116 and a seat tube 118 in addition to a seat support portion 115, a bottom bracket region 117 and a bottom bracket shell 119 located in and supported by bottom bracket region 117. Second frame portion 120 comprises an elevated chain stay 124 that supports a rear axle 162 of rear wheel 160. Similarly, front fork 140 supports a front axle 152 of front wheel 150. Motion control system 130 comprises a sliding element 132 that encircles an outer circumference of seat tube 118, sliding element 132 thus slidingly engaging seat tube 118 such that sliding element 132 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of seat tube 118. Motion control system 130 may exhibit a cross-section as shown in FIG. 29 A or 29B .

As touched upon above, what is regarded as constituting the sliding element and what is regarded as constituting the other component may be interchangeable. Accordingly, in the illustrated embodiment seat tube 118 may be regarded as constituting a sliding element and sliding element 132 may be regarded as constituting the other component.

FIG. 22 schematically depicts a second exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 200 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 200 comprises a first frame portion 210, a second frame portion 220, a motion control system 230, a front fork 240, a front wheel 250 and a rear wheel 260. First frame portion 210 comprises a top tube 212, a head tube 214, a down tube 216 and a lower seat tube portion 218' in addition to a seat support portion 215, a bottom bracket region 217 and a bottom bracket shell

219 located in and supported by bottom bracket region 217. Second frame portion 220 comprises an elevated chain stay 224 that supports a rear axle 262 of rear wheel 260. Similarly, front fork 240 supports a front axle 252 of front wheel 250. Motion control system 230 comprises a sliding element 232 that encircles an outer circumference of lower seat tube portion 218', sliding element 232 thus slidingly engaging lower seat tube portion 218' such that sliding element 232 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of lower seat tube portion 218' . Motion control system 230 may exhibit a cross-section as shown in FIG. 29 A or 29B.

FIG. 23 schematically depicts a third exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 300 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 300 comprises a first frame portion 310, a second frame portion 320, a motion control system 330, a front fork 340, a front wheel 350 and a rear wheel 360. First frame portion 310 comprises a top tube 312, a head tube 314, a down tube 316 and an upper seat tube portion 318" in addition to a seat support portion 315, a bottom bracket region 317 and a bottom bracket shell 319 located in and supported by bottom bracket region 317. Second frame portion 320 comprises an elevated chain stay 324 that supports a rear axle 362 of rear wheel 360. Similarly, front fork 340 supports a front axle 352 of front wheel 350. Motion control system 330 comprises a sliding element 332 that encircles an outer circumference of upper seat tube portion 318", sliding element 332 thus slidingly engaging upper seat tube portion 318" such that sliding element 332 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of upper seat tube portion 318" . Motion control system 330 may exhibit a cross-section as shown in FIG. 29 A or 29B.

FIG. 24 schematically depicts a fourth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 400 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 400 comprises a first frame portion 410, a second frame portion 420, a motion control system 430, a front fork 440, a front wheel 450 and a rear wheel 460. First frame portion 410 comprises a top tube 412, a head tube 414, a down tube 416 and a seat tube 418 in addition to a seat support portion 415, a bottom bracket region 417, a bottom bracket shell 419 and an additional tubular component 413. Second frame portion 420 comprises an elevated chain stay 424 that supports a rear axle 462 of rear wheel 460. Similarly, front fork 440 supports a front axle 452 of front wheel 450. Motion control system 430 comprises a first sliding element 432, a second sliding element 434 as well as an intermediate element 433 that rigidly connects first sliding element 432 and second sliding element 434. First sliding element 432 encircles an outer circumference of seat tube 418, first sliding element 432 thus slidingly engaging seat tube 418 such that first sliding element 432 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of seat tube 418. Second sliding element 434 encircles an outer circumference of additional tubular component 413, second sliding element 434 thus slidingly engaging additional tubular component 413 such that second sliding element 434 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of additional tubular component 413. By virtue of (the interconnection provided by) intermediate element 433, a sliding of first sliding element 432 results in a (parallel) sliding of second sliding element 434 (and vice versa).

FIG. 25 schematically depicts a fifth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 500 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 500 comprises a first frame portion 510, a second frame portion 520, a motion control system 530, a front fork 540, a front wheel 550 and a rear wheel 560. First frame portion 510 comprises a top tube 512, a head tube 514, a down tube 516 and a seat tube 518 in addition to a seat support portion 515, a bottom bracket region 517 and a bottom bracket shell 519 located in and supported by bottom bracket region 517. Second frame portion 520 comprises an elevated chain stay 524 that supports a rear axle 562 of rear wheel 560. Similarly, front fork 540 supports a front axle 552 of front wheel 550. Motion control system 530 comprises a sliding element 532 that is rigidly connected to elevated chain stay 524. As reflected by the dashed representation of sliding element 532 (that indicates sliding element 532 is hidden from view), seat tube 518 partially encircles and slidingly engages sliding element 532 such that sliding element 532 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of seat tube 518. Motion control system 530 may exhibit a cross-section as shown in FIG. 29C or 29D.

FIG. 26 schematically depicts a sixth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 600 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 600 comprises a first frame portion 610, a second frame portion 620, a motion control system 630, a front fork 640, a front wheel 650 and a rear wheel 660. First frame portion 610 comprises a top tube 612, a head tube 614 and a down tube 616 in addition to a seat support portion 615, a bottom bracket region 617 and a bottom bracket shell 619 located in and supported by bottom bracket region 617. Second frame portion 620 comprises a tubular structure 626 and an elevated chain stay 624 rigidly connected to tubular structure 626, elevated chain stay 624 supporting a rear axle 662 of rear wheel 660. Similarly, front fork 640 supports a front axle 652 of front wheel 650. Motion control system 630 comprises a tubular sliding element 632 that, as reflected by the dashed representation of an inner surface of the tubular sliding element 632 (that indicates the inner surface of the tubular sliding element 632 is hidden from view), extends through and is rigidly connected to first frame portion 610 at a junction of down tube 616 and bottom bracket region 617. Tubular structure 626 of second frame portion 620 extends into tubular sliding element 632, tubular sliding element 632 encircling a portion of tubular structure 626 such that tubular sliding element 632 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of tubular structure 626.

As touched upon above, what is regarded as constituting the sliding element and what is regarded as constituting the other component may be interchangeable. Accordingly, in the illustrated embodiment tubular structure 626 may be regarded as constituting a sliding element and tubular sliding element 632 may be regarded as constituting the other component.

FIG. 27 schematically depicts a seventh exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 700 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 700 comprises a first frame portion 710, a second frame portion 720, a motion control system 730, a front fork 740, a front wheel 750 and a rear wheel 760. First frame portion 710 comprises a top tube 712, a head tube 714, a down tube 716 and an arcuate seat tube 718 in addition to a seat support portion 715, a bottom bracket region 717 and a bottom bracket shell 719 located in and supported by bottom bracket region 717. Second frame portion 720 comprises an elevated chain stay 724 that supports a rear axle 762 of rear wheel 760. Similarly, front fork 740 supports a front axle 752 of front wheel 750. Motion control system 730 comprises an arcuate sliding element 732 that encircles an outer circumference of arcuate seat tube 718, arcuate sliding element 732 thus slidingly engaging arcuate seat tube 718 such that arcuate sliding element 732 is free to slide parallel to an arcuate longitudinal axis of arcuate seat tube 718. Motion control system 730 may exhibit a cross-section as shown in FIG. 29 A or 29B.

FIG. 28 schematically depicts an eighth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 800 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 800 comprises a first frame portion 810, a second frame portion 820, a motion control system 830, a front fork 840, a front wheel 850 and a rear wheel 860. First frame portion 810 comprises a top tube 812, a head tube 814 and a down tube 816 in addition to a seat support portion 815, a bottom bracket region 817 and a bottom bracket shell 819 located in and supported by bottom bracket region 817. Second frame portion 820 comprises an elevated chain stay 824 that supports a rear axle 862 of rear wheel 860. Similarly, front fork 840 supports a front axle 852 of front wheel 850.

Motion control system 830 comprises a first sliding element 832, a second sliding element 834 and a third sliding element 836. As reflected by the dashed representation of an inner surface of the first sliding element 832 (that indicates the inner surface of the first sliding element 832 is hidden from view), first sliding element 832 extends through and is rigidly connected to first frame portion 810 at a junction of down tube 816 and bottom bracket region 817. In turn, third sliding element 836 is rigidly connected to elevated chain stay 824. Second sliding element 834 extends into first sliding element 832, first sliding element 832 encircling a segment of second sliding element 834 such that second sliding element 834 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of first sliding element 832. Similarly, third sliding element 836 extends into second sliding element 834, second sliding element 834 partially encircling a segment of third sliding element 836 such that third sliding element 836 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of second sliding element 834. At the interface of second sliding element 834 and third sliding element 836, motion control system 830 may exhibit a cross- section as shown in FIG. 29C or 29D.

FIG. 29 A schematically depicts, in cross-section, a first exemplary embodiment of a motion control system 930A in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, motion control system 930A comprises a sliding element 932 in the form of a triangular tubular structure that is rigidly connected to a component 924, e.g. an elevated chain stay, of a second frame portion of a vehicle. Sliding element 932 is shaped to closely encircle an outer circumference of a triangular component 918, e.g. a seat tube, of a first frame portion of the vehicle, a narrow gap between an inner wall of sliding element 932 and an outer circumference of component 918 inhibiting rotation of sliding element 932 in a

circumferential direction relative to a longitudinal axis of component 918, e.g. inhibiting rotation of sliding element 932 in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction in the plane of the drawing sheet around component 918, while permitting a sliding motion of sliding element 932 relative to component 918 parallel to a longitudinal axis of component 918, e.g. permitting a sliding motion of sliding element 932 relative to component 918 in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the drawing sheet.

FIG. 29B schematically depicts, in cross-section, a second exemplary embodiment of a motion control system 930B in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, motion control system 930B comprises a sliding element 932' in the form of a triangular tubular structure that is rigidly connected to a component 924, e.g. an elevated chain stay, of a second frame portion of a vehicle. Sliding element 932' comprises a plurality of roller bearings 936 that rotatably contact an outer wall of a triangular component 918, e.g. a seat tube, of a first frame portion of the vehicle. The interaction of the roller bearings 936 and component 918 inhibits rotation of sliding element 932' in a circumferential direction relative to a longitudinal axis of component 918, e.g. inhibiting rotation of sliding element 932' in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction in the plane of the drawing sheet around component 918, while permitting a sliding motion of sliding element 932' relative to component 918 parallel to a longitudinal axis of component 918, e.g. permitting a sliding motion of sliding element 932' relative to component 918 in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the drawing sheet.

FIG. 29C schematically depicts, in cross-section, a third exemplary embodiment of a motion control system 930C in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, motion control system 930C comprises a sliding element 932" in the form of a triangular tube. An outer circumference of sliding element 932" is closely, albeit only partially, encircled by the (generally triangular) inner wall of (another) component 918, e.g. a seat tube, of a first frame portion of the vehicle. Sliding element 932" is rigidly connected to a component 924, e.g. an elevated chain stay, of a second frame portion of a vehicle, via an opening 935 in (other) component 918. A narrow gap between the outer circumference of sliding element 932" and the inner wall of (other) component 918 inhibits rotation of sliding element 932" in a circumferential direction relative to a longitudinal axis of component 918, e.g.

inhibiting rotation of sliding element 932" in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction in the plane of the drawing sheet inside component 918, while permitting a sliding motion of sliding element 932" relative to component 918 parallel to a longitudinal axis of component 918, e.g. permitting a sliding motion of sliding element 932" relative to component 918 in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the drawing sheet.

FIG. 29D schematically depicts, in cross-section, a fourth exemplary embodiment of a motion control system 930D in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above.

In the illustrated embodiment, motion control system 930D comprises a sliding element 932"' in the form of an oval structure. An outer circumference of sliding element 932"' is closely, albeit only partially, encircled by an inner wall of a partially oval component 918', e.g. a seat tube, of a first frame portion of the vehicle. Sliding element 932" ' is rigidly connected to a component 924, e.g. an elevated chain stay, of a second frame portion of a vehicle, via an opening 935 in oval component 918' . A narrow gap between an inner wall of oval component 918' and an outer circumference of sliding element 932' " inhibits rotation of sliding element 932' " in a circumferential direction relative to a longitudinal axis of component 918', e.g. inhibiting rotation of sliding element 932"' in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction in the plane of the drawing sheet within component 918', while permitting a sliding motion of sliding element 932"' relative to component 918' parallel to a longitudinal axis of component 918', e.g.

permitting a sliding motion of sliding element 932" ' relative to component 918' in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the drawing sheet. FIG. 30 schematically depicts an ninth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 1000 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 1000 comprises, inter alia, a first frame portion 1010, a second frame portion 1020, a motion control system 1030 and a rear wheel 1060. First frame portion 1010 comprises, inter alia, a seat tube 1018. Second frame portion 1020 comprises an elevated chain stay 1024 that supports a rear axle 1062 of rear wheel 1060.

Motion control system 1030 comprises a sliding element 1032 that encircles an outer circumference of seat tube 1018, sliding element 1032 thus slidingly engaging seat tube 1018 such that sliding element 1032 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of seat tube 1018. Sliding element 1032 is rigidly connected to elevated chain stay 1024. Motion control system 1030 moreover comprises a linkage 1070 that restricts motion of second frame portion 1020 relative to first frame portion 1010 to in-plane motion. The linkage 1070 may be referred to as an anti -rotational structure. In the illustrated embodiment, linkage 1070 comprises a first rigid link 1072 and a second rigid link 1074. A first end portion of first rigid link 1072 is pivotally connected to first frame portion 1010, viz. to seat tube 1018, by means of a first pivotal connection 1073. A second end portion of first rigid link 1072 is pivotally connected to a first end portion of second rigid link 1074 by means of a second pivotal connection 1075. A second end portion of second rigid link 1074 is pivotally connected to sliding element 1032 by means of a third pivotal connection 1077.

Vehicle 1000 is shown as having linkage 1070 on the right-hand side of vehicle 1000.

Linkage 1070 may be provided on the left-hand side of vehicle 1000. Similarly, vehicle 1000 may comprise such a linkage on each of the right- and left-hand sides of vehicle 1000. The two linkages may articulate in parallel.

FIG. 31 schematically depicts a tenth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 1100 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 1100 comprises, inter alia, a first frame portion 1110, a second frame portion 1120, a motion control system 1130 and a rear wheel 1160. First frame portion 1110 comprises, inter alia, a seat tube 1118. Second frame portion 1120 comprises an elevated chain stay 1124 that supports a rear axle 1162 of rear wheel 1160.

Motion control system 1130 comprises a sliding element 1132 that encircles an outer circumference of seat tube 1118, sliding element 1132 thus slidingly engaging seat tube 1118 such that sliding element 1132 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of seat tube 1118. Motion control system 1130 moreover comprises sheet-shaped component 1180 that restricts motion of second frame portion 1120 relative to first frame portion 1110 to in-plane motion. The sheet-shaped component 1180 may be referred to as an anti -rotational structure. A first edge portion of sheet-shaped component 1180 is pivotally connected to the first frame portion 1110 by means of a first pivotal connection 1183, and a second edge portion of sheet- shaped component 1180 is pivotally connected to sliding element 1132 by means of a second pivotal connection 1085. Sliding element 1132 is rigidly connected to second frame portion 1120, viz. to elevated chain stay 1124.

FIG. 32A schematically depicts an eleventh exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 1200 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 1200 comprises, inter alia, a first frame portion 1210, a second frame portion 1220, a motion control system 1230 and a rear wheel 1260. First frame portion 1210 comprises, inter alia, a down tube 1216 and a seat tube 1218 in addition to a bottom bracket region 1217. Second frame portion 1220 comprises an elevated chain stay 1224 that supports a rear axle 1262 of rear wheel 1260.

Motion control system 1230 comprises a sliding element 1232 that is rigidly connected to elevated chain stay 1224. As reflected by the dashed representation of sliding element 1232 (that indicates sliding element 1232 is hidden from view), seat tube 1218 partially encircles and slidingly engages sliding element 1232 such that sliding element 1232 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of seat tube 1218.

Motion control system 1230 moreover comprises a rod-shaped guide structure 1294 that restricts motion of second frame portion 1220 relative to first frame portion 1210 to in-plane motion. The rod-shaped guide structure 1294 may be referred to as an anti -rotational structure. Although not depicted in dashed lines for the sake of better visibility, guide structure 1294 is located inside seat tube 1218, a first end of guide structure 1294 being supported by a first support structure 1293 inside an upper region of seat tube 1218 and a second end of guide structure 1294 being supported by a second support structure 1295 inside first frame portion 1210, roughly at a junction of seat tube 1218, down tube 1216 and bottom bracket region 1217. Guide structure 1294 passes through a lumen of sliding element 1232. More specifically, guide structure 1294 passes through a respective opening in each of structures 1237, one such structure 1237 being provided in an upper region of the lumen of sliding element 1232, another such structure 1237 being provided in a lower region of the lumen of sliding element 1232.

FIG. 32B schematically depicts a cross-section of motion control system 1230 of FIG. 32A. As shown in the Figure, sliding element 1232 has an oval shaped cross-section. An outer circumference of sliding element 1232 is closely, albeit only partially, encircled by an inner wall of seat tube 1218 that has a partially oval shaped cross-section. Sliding element 1232 is rigidly connected to elevated chain stay 1234 via an opening 1235 in seat tube 1218. A narrow gap between an inner wall of seat tube 1218 and an outer circumference of sliding element 1232 inhibits rotation of sliding element 1232 in a circumferential direction relative to a longitudinal axis of seat tube 1218. Rotation of sliding element 1232 in a circumferential direction relative to a longitudinal axis of seat tube 1218 is moreover inhibited by the two rod-shaped guide structures 1294 that pass through respective openings 1239 in structure 1237 located in a lumen of sliding element 1232.

FIG. 33A schematically depicts a twelfth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 1300 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 1300 comprises, inter alia, a first frame portion 1310, a second frame portion 1320, a motion control system 1330 and a rear wheel 1360. First frame portion 1310 comprises, inter alia, a seat tube 1318. Second frame portion 1320 comprises an elevated chain stay 1324 that supports a rear axle 1362 of rear wheel 1360.

Motion control system 1330 comprises a sliding element 1332 that is rigidly connected to elevated chain stay 1324. Sliding element 1332 encircles an outer circumference of seat tube 1318, sliding element 1332 thus slidingly engaging seat tube 1318 such that sliding element 1332 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of seat tube 1318.

Motion control system 1330 moreover comprises a rod-shaped guide structure 1394 that restricts motion of second frame portion 1320 relative to first frame portion 1310 to in-plane motion. The rod-shaped guide structure 1394 may be referred to as an anti -rotational structure. Guide structure 1394 is fastened to an outer wall of seat tube 1318, a first end of guide structure 1394 being fastened to the outer wall of seat tube 1318 by a first support structure 1393 at an upper region of seat tube 1318 and a second end of guide structure 1394 being fastened to the outer wall of seat tube 1318 by a second support structure 1395 at an lower region of seat tube 1318. Guide structure 1394 passes through a respective opening in each of structures 1337, one such structure 1337 being located in an upper region on an outer wall of sliding element 1332, another such structure 1337 located in a lower region on an outer wall of sliding element 1332.

FIG. 33B schematically depicts a cross-section of motion control system 1330 of FIG.

33A. As shown in the Figure, both sliding element 1332 and seat tube 1318 have a circular cross- section. An outer circumference of seat tube 1318 is closely encircled by an inner wall of sliding element 1332 that is rigidly connected to elevated chain stay 1334. Rotation of sliding element 1332 in a circumferential direction relative to a longitudinal axis of seat tube 1318 is inhibited by the two rod-shaped guide structures 1394 that pass through respective openings 1394 in structures 1337 located on opposite sides of an outer wall of sliding element 1332.

Examples of various embodiments are described in the following paragraphs.

Embodiment 1. A two-wheeled vehicle (100), comprising: a forward frame portion

(110) comprising a seat support portion (115); a motion control system (130); and a rear frame portion (120) movably interconnected to said forward frame portion by said motion control system, wherein said motion control system, in response to a forward acceleration of said rear frame portion resulting from a driving force imparted by a wheel supported by said rear frame portion, imparts a force onto said forward frame portion that immediately accelerates said seat support portion in a forward direction.

Embodiment 2. The vehicle of Embodiment 1, wherein: said motion control system imparts said force in a plurality of operating states of said motion control system, said plurality of operating states including a mid-range of a range of motion of said motion control system.

Embodiment 3. The vehicle of any one of the preceding embodiments, wherein: said motion control system imparts said force irrespective of an operating state of said motion control system.

Embodiment 4. The vehicle of any one of the preceding embodiments, wherein: said forward frame portion comprises said seat support portion in an upper region of said forward frame portion and a drive train axle support (119) in a lower region of said forward frame portion, and said motion control system, in response to said forward acceleration of said rear frame portion, imparts a force onto said forward frame portion that accelerates said seat support portion in said forward direction at an acceleration no less than an acceleration of said drive train axle support in said forward direction.

Embodiment 5. The vehicle of any one of the preceding embodiments, wherein: said motion control system is configured such that said forward acceleration of said rear frame portion does not reduce an obstacle-avoiding range of motion of said motion control system.

Embodiment 6. The vehicle of any one of the preceding embodiments, wherein: said motion control system comprises a sliding element (132).

Embodiment 7. The vehicle of embodiment 6, wherein: said front frame portion comprises a tubular structure that extends from a lower region of said forward frame portion in a direction of said seat support portion, and said sliding element slides along said tubular structure. Embodiment 8. The vehicle of embodiment 6 or 7, wherein: said tubular structure is a seat tube (118).

Embodiment 9. The vehicle of any one of embodiments 6 to 8, wherein: said sliding element is rigidly connected to a rear axle support of said rear frame portion.

Embodiment 10. The vehicle of any one of embodiments 6 to 9, wherein: said sliding element is a sleeve, and said rear axle support and said sleeve are elements of a unitary chain stay structure (124).

Embodiment 11. The vehicle of any one of the preceding embodiments, wherein: said motion control system movably interconnects said rear frame portion and said forward frame portion such that motion of said rear frame portion relative to said forward frame portion is restricted to substantially in-plane motion.

Embodiment 12. The vehicle of embodiment 6, wherein: said front frame portion comprises a tubular structure (632) in a bottom bracket region (617) of said front frame portion, and said tubular structure slidingly engages said sliding element (626).

Embodiment 13. The vehicle of embodiment 12, wherein: said sliding element is rigidly connected to a rear axle support of said rear frame portion.

Embodiment 14. The vehicle of embodiment 13, wherein: said rear axle support and said sleeve are elements of a unitary chain stay structure (624).

Embodiment 15. The vehicle of any one of the preceding embodiments, wherein: said force onto said forward frame portion immediately accelerates said seat support portion in an upward direction.

In the present disclosure, the verb "may" is used to designate optionality /

noncompulsoriness. In other words, something that "may" can, but need not. In the present disclosure, the verb "comprise" may be understood in the sense of including. Accordingly, the verb "comprise" does not exclude the presence of other elements / actions. In the present disclosure, relational terms such as "first," "second," "top," "bottom" and the like may be used solely to distinguish one entity or action from another entity or action without necessarily requiring or implying any actual such relationship or order between such entities or actions.

In the present disclosure, the term "any" may be understood as designating any number of the respective elements, e.g. as designating one, at least one, at least two, each or all of the respective elements. Similarly, the term "any" may be understood as designating any

collection(s) of the respective elements, e.g. as designating one or more collections of the respective elements, wherein a (respective) collection may comprise one, at least one, at least two, each or all of the respective elements. The respective collections need not comprise the same number of elements.

In the present disclosure, the expression "at least one" is used to designate any (integer) number or range of (integer) numbers (that is technically reasonable in the given context). As such, the expression "at least one" may, inter alia, be understood as one, two, three, four, five, ten, fifteen, twenty or one hundred. Similarly, the expression "at least one" may, inter alia, be understood as "one or more," "two or more" or "five or more."

In the present disclosure, expressions in parentheses may be understood as being optional. As used in the present disclosure, quotation marks may emphasize that the expression in quotation marks may also be understood in a figurative sense. As used in the present disclosure, quotation marks may identify a particular expression under discussion.

In the present disclosure, many features are described as being optional, e.g. through the use of the verb "may" or the use of parentheses. For the sake of brevity and legibility, the present disclosure does not explicitly recite each and every combination and/or permutation that may be obtained by choosing from the set of optional features. However, the present disclosure is to be interpreted as explicitly disclosing all such combinations / permutations. For example, a system described as having three optional features may be embodied in seven different ways, namely with just one of the three possible features, with any two of the three possible features or with all three of the three possible features.

While various embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed and described in detail herein, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes may be made to the configuration, operation and form of the invention without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. In particular, it is noted that the respective features of the invention, even those disclosed solely in combination with other features of the invention, may be combined in any configuration excepting those readily apparent to the person skilled in the art as nonsensical. Likewise, use of the singular and plural is solely for the sake of illustration and is not to be interpreted as limiting. Except where the contrary is explicitly noted, the plural may be replaced by the singular and vice-versa. SECTION 4

ABSTRACT OF SECTION 4

A vehicle, comprising: a forward frame portion; a rear frame portion; and a motion control system comprising a first motion control device that movably interconnects the forward frame portion and the rear frame portion and a second motion control device that movably interconnects the forward frame portion and the rear frame portion, wherein the first motion control device connects to the rear frame portion at a first location, and the second motion control device connects to the rear frame portion at a second location that is a fixed distance from the first location, and the motion control system, by virtue of a geometric arrangement of the motion control system relative to the forward frame portion and the rear frame portion, adopts, in response to a forward acceleration of the rear frame portion resulting from a driving force imparted by a wheel supported by the rear frame portion, an operating state in which forces imparted onto the motion control system by a tensioning of a drivetrain element that transfers driving energy from a driving axle supported by the forward frame portion to a driven axle supported by the rear frame portion, the forward acceleration of the rear frame portion, and an acceleration of a user mass supported by the forward frame portion are in equilibrium.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT DISCLOSURE

The aim of the present summary is to facilitate understanding of the present disclosure. The summary thus presents concepts and features of the present disclosure in a more simplified form and in looser terms than the detailed description below and should not be taken as limiting other portions of the present disclosure.

Loosely speaking, the present disclosure relates, inter alia, to a bike or e-bike that comprises a forward frame portion and a rear frame portion that are movably interconnected by a motion control system. The motion control system is configured such that, when the rear frame portion is accelerated, e.g. by a driving force of a rear wheel supported by the rear frame portion against the ambient terrain, the motion control system adopts a state of equilibrium by virtue of a geometric arrangement of the motion control system. In other words, the elements constituting the motion control system may be geometrically arranged such that the elements, in response to a forward acceleration of the rear frame portion, inherently move to an operating state in which forces imparted onto the motion control system by a tensioning of a drivetrain element that transfers driving energy from a driving axle supported by the forward frame portion to a driven axle supported by the rear frame portion, the forward acceleration of the rear frame portion, and an acceleration of a user mass supported by the forward frame portion are in equilibrium.

More specifically, the present disclosure teaches, inter alia, a vehicle, comprising: a forward frame portion; a rear frame portion; and a motion control system comprising a first motion control device that movably interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion and a second motion control device that movably interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion, wherein said first motion control device connects to said rear frame portion at a first location, and said second motion control device connects to said rear frame portion at a second location that is a fixed distance from said first location, and said motion control system, by virtue of a geometric arrangement of said motion control system relative to said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion, adopts, in response to a forward acceleration of said rear frame portion resulting from a driving force imparted by a wheel supported by said rear frame portion, an operating state in which forces imparted onto said motion control system by a tensioning of a drivetrain element that transfers driving energy from a driving axle supported by said forward frame portion to a driven axle supported by said rear frame portion, said forward acceleration of said rear frame portion, and an acceleration of a user mass supported by said forward frame portion are in equilibrium.

Other objects, advantages and embodiments of the present disclosure will become apparent from the detailed description below, especially when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The Figures show:

FIG. 34A: a schematic depiction of a first exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 34B: a schematic depiction of additional elements of the embodiment of FIG.

34A;

FIG. 35: a schematic depiction of a second exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 36: a schematic depiction of a third exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure; FIG. 37: a schematic depiction of a fourth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 38: a schematic depiction of a fifth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 39 A: a schematic depiction of a sixth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 39B: a schematic depiction of additional elements of the embodiment of FIG.

39 A;

FIG. 40A: a schematic depiction of a seventh exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 40B: a schematic depiction of details of the embodiment of FIG. 40A;

FIG. 40C: a schematic depiction of anti-squat curves of the embodiment of FIG.

40A;

FIG. 41 : a schematic depiction of an eighth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure; and

FIGS. 42A to 42J: a schematic depiction of the behavior of an exemplary embodiment of a vehicle in accordance with the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The various embodiments of the present disclosure and of the claimed invention, in terms of both structure and operation, will be best understood from the following detailed description, especially when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

Before elucidating the embodiments shown in the Figures, the various embodiments of the present disclosure will first be described in general terms.

The present disclosure relates to a vehicle. In the context of the present disclosure, a vehicle may be understood as a system (of interacting elements), which system transfers (at least part of) a gravitational force acting on a payload of a vehicle to at least one (propulsive) element that interacts with an ambient environment of the vehicle, e.g. for the sake of providing a propulsive force and/or for the sake of allowing the vehicle to glide / roll over an ambient surface. The payload may include a driver, a rider and/or a passenger of the vehicle. The payload may include an inanimate payload. The ambient surface may be terrain. Similarly, the ambient surface may be a water surface, e.g. a surface of a body of water. The (propulsive) element may be a terrain-engaging element, e.g. a terrain-engaging element selected from the group consisting of a wheel, a skid, a ski and a (continuous) track. Similarly, the (propulsive) element may be a marine (propulsion) element, e.g. an element selected from the group consisting of a float, a hull, a water ski, a jet nozzle and a propeller. For the sake of conciseness, the term "terrain-engaging element" will be used hereinafter to designate any (propulsive) element as described

hereinabove, regardless of whether such element is a marine element. (An elucidation of the term "any" is given in the closing paragraphs of this specification.)

The vehicle may comprise at least one terrain-engaging element as described above. The vehicle may be a vehicle selected from the group consisting of a bicycle, an e-bike, a motorcycle, a moped, a (terrestrial) rover, a snowmobile, a snow scooter and a (personal) watercraft. As such, the vehicle may be a vehicle selected from the group consisting of a human-powered vehicle, a (gasoline and/or electric) motor-powered vehicle and a vehicle powered by both human and (gasoline and/or electric) motor power. Moreover, the vehicle may be a two-wheeled vehicle, e.g. a two-wheeled bike, a two-wheeled e-bike or a two-wheeled motorcycle. Similarly, the vehicle may be a three-wheeled vehicle, e.g. a tricycle, a three-wheeled e-bike or a three-wheeled motorcycle. In the context of the present disclosure, the term "e-bike" may be understood as a bicycle / tricycle comprising an electrically powered motor that contributes a driving force to at least one wheel of the bicycle. As touched upon above, the term "driving force" may be understood in the present disclosure as a propulsive force, e.g. a propulsive force that propels the vehicle relative to the ambient terrain.

As evidenced by the remarks above, the specialized nomenclature typically associated with the various vehicles to which the inventive principles of the present disclosure are applicable impairs both the conciseness and overall readability of the present disclosure.

Accordingly, the remainder of this disclosure will, in general, use the nomenclature of a bicycle as a contextual basis for the disclosure. This use of bicycle nomenclature is not intended to exclude other types of vehicles from the scope of that disclosure. Instead, it is trusted that the reader can easily transfer the concepts disclosed herein in the context of a bicycle to other vehicles without inventive skills. Accordingly, the following disclosure will also include occasional references to other types of vehicles to aid the read in understanding how the disclosed teachings may be applied to vehicles other than bicycles.

The vehicle may comprise a first frame portion and a second frame portion. The first frame portion may define a first rotational axis, e.g. a rotational axis of a driving sprocket (as opposed to a driven sprocket). For example, the first rotational axis may be a rotational axis of a bottom bracket. Similarly, the first frame portion may comprise a drivetrain axle support (that defines the first rotational axis). For example, the first frame portion may comprise a bottom bracket and/or a bottom bracket shell (that constitutes the drivetrain axle support). Similarly, the vehicle may comprise a driving axle, e.g. an axle of a bottom bracket. The driving axle may constitute a rotational axle of a driving sprocket and may be supported by the drivetrain axle support. A rotational axis of the driving axle may coincide with the first rotational axis. The first rotational axis / drivetrain axle support may be located in a lower portion of the first frame portion, e.g. in a lowermost 30%, a lowermost 20%, a lowermost 10% or a lowermost 5% of the first frame portion. (The terms "lower" and "lowermost" are described in further detail infra.) Similarly, the first rotational axis / drivetrain axle support may be located in a rearward region of the first frame portion, e.g. in a most rearward 30%, a most rearward 20%, a most rearward 10% or a most rearward 5% of (the aforementioned lower(most) portion of) the first frame portion. (The term "rearward" is described in further detail infra.) Such a lower portion and/or rearward region may constitute a bottom bracket region. Similarly, the second frame portion may define a second rotational axis, e.g. a rotational axis of a driven sprocket. For example, the second rotational axis may be a rotational axis of a (second / rear) wheel. Similarly, the second rotational axis may be a (rearmost) rotational axis of a guide of a (continuous) track. The vehicle may comprise a driven axle, e.g. an axle of a driven sprocket and/or an axle of a (second / rear) wheel. A rotational axis of the driven axle may coincide with the second rotational axis. The second rotational axis may be located in a rearward region of the second frame portion, e.g. in a most rearward 30%, a most rearward 20%, a most rearward 10% or a most rearward 5% of the second frame portion. Similarly, the second rotational axis may be located in a lower region of the second frame portion, e.g. in a lowermost 30%, a lowermost 20%, a lowermost 10% or a lowermost 5% of (the aforementioned (most) rearward region of) the second frame portion. The first frame portion and/or the second frame portion may comprise at least one (steel, aluminum and/or carbon fiber) tube and/or at least one (steel, aluminum and/or carbon fiber) beam. As such, at least 80%, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the first / second frame portion (by volume and/or by weight) may be a material selected from the group consisting of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. For example, an entirety of the first / second frame portion may be of such a material except bushings and/or thread elements, e.g. for interconnecting the first / second frame portion with other structures of the vehicle. Such bushings and/or thread elements may demand wear characteristics and/or machining tolerances not achievable with aluminum or carbon fiber. The first frame portion may constitute a more forward portion of the vehicle than the second frame portion. As such, the first frame portion may be termed a "forward frame portion". Similarly, the second frame portion may be termed a "rear frame portion" or a "rearward frame portion". In the present disclosure, "forward" and/or "rear" (as well as related terms such as fore, aft, front and back) may be defined, as known in the art, by an orientation and/or location of a steering wheel and/or handlebars and/or an orientation and/or location of seats (of the vehicle) relative to the vehicle (as a whole). Similarly, "forward" and/or "rear" (and related terms) may be defined, as known in the art, by (other) characteristics of the vehicle. Such characteristics may include a shape of a chassis, a configuration of a drivetrain, etc. For example, the seat may be "forward" of a propulsive terrain-engaging element. A (dominant) direction of propulsion and/or motion of the vehicle may be a "forward" direction. (For the sake of conciseness, the term "propulsion direction" will be used hereinafter to designate the (dominant) direction of the vehicle regardless of whether the vehicle comprises a motor or other means of propulsion). In the present disclosure, "forward" and/or "rear" (and related terms) may designate a (relative) location with respect a "horizontal" axis (when the vehicle is on level terrain). Such designation may be independent of a "vertical" location, i.e. is not to be invariably construed as implying a "vertical" location.

In the present disclosure, "upward" and/or "downward" (as well as related terms such as above, below, upper, higher and lower) may be defined, as known in the art, by an orientation and/or location of seats (of the vehicle) relative to the vehicle (as a whole) and/or a location of a steering wheel and/or handlebars relative to a seat (of the vehicle). Similarly, "upward" and/or "downward" (and related terms) may be defined, as known in the art, by (other) characteristics of the vehicle. Such characteristics may include a shape of a chassis, a configuration of a drivetrain, a location of at least one terrain-engaging element as described above, etc. In the present disclosure, "upward" and/or "downward" (and related terms) may designate a (relative) location with respect a "vertical" axis (when the vehicle is on level terrain). Such designation may be independent of a "horizontal" location, i.e. is not to be invariably construed as implying a "horizontal" location.

In the nomenclature of a bicycle, the first frame portion may comprise a seat tube, a top tube, a head tube and a down tube. The first frame portion may have the shape of a quadrilateral. The seat tube, top tube, head tube and down tube may constitute the four sides of the

quadrilateral. The seat tube may rigidly connect the top tube and the down tube. Similarly, the seat tube need not rigidly connect the top tube and the down tube. For example, the seat tube may comprise at least one of an upper seat tube portion and a lower seat tube portion. The upper seat tube portion may be (rigidly) connected to the top tube. The lower seat tube portion may be (rigidly) connected to at least one of (a lower region of) the down tube and the drivetrain axle support. In the case of both an upper seat tube portion and a lower seat tube portion, the upper seat tube portion may lack a direct connection to the lower seat tube portion. As such, the first frame portion may have the shape of a partial quadrilateral. The top tube, head tube and down tube may constitute three sides of the partial quadrilateral and at least one of the upper / lower seat tube portion may constitute a fourth side of the partial quadrilateral. In such a configuration, the top tube, head tube and down tube may (collectively) act as a spring. (For the sake of readability, the term "seat tube" will be used to designate any of the seat tube, the upper seat tube portion and the lower seat tube portion.)

The first frame portion may furthermore comprise a front fork, a steering tube of the front fork being rotatably mounted in the head tube. The first frame portion may comprise a bottom bracket and/or a bottom bracket shell. The bottom bracket (shell) may be located in and/or supported by the bottom bracket region (e.g. as defined supra). The bottom bracket (shell) may be located proximate to and/or rearward of a(n imaginary) junction of the down tube and the seat tube. The first frame portion may comprise comprises a top tube, a bottom bracket region (e.g. as defined supra) and a seat tube that rigidly connects the top tube and the bottom bracket region.

The vehicle may comprise at least one seat, e.g. for at least one user selected from the group consisting of a driver, a rider and a passenger of the vehicle. The seat may be mounted on / rigidly connected to the first frame portion. The seat may lack connection to the second frame portion except via the first frame portion. The seat may be connected to the first frame portion via the seat tube. For example, the seat may be fastened to a seat post. A portion of the seat post may extend inside (and be clamped by) the seat tube.

The first frame portion may comprise a seat support portion. The seat support portion may be located in an upper region of the first frame portion, e.g. in an uppermost 30%, an uppermost 20% or an uppermost 10% of the first frame portion. The seat support portion may be located in rearward region of the first frame portion, e.g. in a most rearward 30%, a most rearward 20%, a most rearward 10% or a most rearward 5% of the first frame portion. The seat support portion may be located at / proximate to an intersection of the seat tube and the top tube. Similarly, the seat support portion may be located at / proximate to an intersection of the upper seat tube portion and the top tube. The seat support portion may support the seat directly. As such, the seat may be mounted on / rigidly connected to the seat support portion. Similarly, the seat support portion may support the seat indirectly. For example, the seat may be mounted on / rigidly connected to a seat post that is mounted / rigidly connected to the seat support portion. A portion of the seat tube, e.g. the upper seat tube portion, may constitute the seat support portion.

The lower seat tube portion may extend from a lower and/or rearward region of the first frame portion in a (general) direction of the seat support portion. For example, the lower seat tube may extend from a lowermost and/or most rearward 30%, a lowermost and/or most rearward 20%, a lowermost and/or most rearward 10% or a lowermost and/or most rearward 5% of the first frame portion. Similarly, the upper seat tube portion may extend from an upper and/or rearward region of the first frame portion in a (general) direction (of a lower region) of the down tube and/or the drivetrain axle support. For example, the upper seat tube may extend from an uppermost and/or most rearward 30%, an uppermost and/or most rearward 20%, an uppermost and/or most rearward 10% or an uppermost and/or most rearward 5% of the first frame portion. The upper seat tube may extend in a direction of a lowermost 30%, a lowermost 20%, a lowermost 10%, or a lowermost 5% of the down tube.

The second frame portion may comprise / consist (substantially) of a (rear) fork, e.g. a

(rear) fork that supports a (rear) wheel of the vehicle. The fork may comprise / consist

(substantially) of a first arm, a second arm and a yoke portion. Each of the first and second arms may comprise a dropout, opening or bore (in a rearmost 10% of the respective arm) that receives a (respective) end of an axle (of the wheel). The first and second arms, e.g. the dropouts, openings or bores thereof, may define (a position of) the second rotational axis. The yoke portion may interconnect the first and second arms (at a (respective) forward portion of each of the first and second arms). The fork may comprise a space between the first and second arms that accommodates a (forward) portion of the (rear) wheel (as known in the art). The fork may be a monolithic / unitary structure. The fork may be termed a "swingarm". The fork may constitute an elevated chain stay.

The vehicle may comprise a (power conversion) mechanism for converting (leg and/or arm) motion of a user / rider into mechanical power. The mechanism may comprise a (driving) sprocket. The mechanism may comprise a crankset (that comprises the sprocket) and/or

(pivotally mounted) levers (that drive the sprocket). The mechanism may be mounted on the first frame portion, e.g. via the bottom bracket.

The vehicle may comprise a drivetrain, e.g. for transmitting a driving force from the (power conversion) mechanism / the (driving) sprocket to (a driven sprocket connected to) at least one terrain-engaging element (mounted on the second frame portion) of the vehicle. For example, the drivetrain may transfer driving energy from a driving axle supported by the first frame portion to a driven axle supported by the second frame portion. The drivetrain may comprise a chain and/or a belt. The drivetrain may transfer driving energy from the driving axle to the driven axle by a tensioning of a drivetrain element, e.g. a tensioning of the chain / belt.

The vehicle may comprise a (gasoline and/or electric) motor. The motor may be located in a lower and/or rearward portion of the first frame portion as described supra. The motor may contribute a driving force to at least one terrain-engaging element of the vehicle, e.g. via the drivetrain. The motor may be mounted on the first frame portion. The drivetrain may transmit a driving force from the motor (mounted on the first frame portion) to (a driven sprocket connected to) at least one terrain-engaging element (mounted on the second frame portion) of the vehicle. Similarly, the motor may be mounted on the second frame portion and provide a driving force to at least one terrain-engaging element mounted on the second frame portion.

The vehicle may comprise a motion control system, e.g. a motion control system that movably interconnects the first frame portion and the second frame portion. As such, the motion control system may connect the first frame portion and the second frame portion such that the first frame portion is movable (within a limited range of motion defined by the motion control system) relative to the second frame portion (and vice versa).

Motion of the motion control system may be constrained to a limited range, e.g. by virtue of the construction of the motion control system and/or interaction of the motion control system with at least one of the first frame portion and the second frame portion. For example, the motion control system may be movable between a first end-of-range position / operating state and a second end-of-range position / operating state. More specifically, motion of the motion control system may be constrained between a first end-of-range position / operating state and a second end-of-range position / operating state. As such, the motion control system may be constrained to (a plurality of) operating states intermediate a first end-of-range operating state and a second end-of-range operating state. (Although the present specification often uses the term "operating state" to emphasize that the motion control system is a dynamic system, the term "state" may be used in lieu of the term "operating state".)

More specifically, motion of the motion control system may be constrained such that (at least one portion of) at least one component of the motion control system moves (along a linear or curved path) between a (respective) first end-of-range position (when the motion control system is in the first end-of-range position / operating state) and a (respective) second end-of- range position (when the motion control system is in the second end-of-range position / operating state). Moreover, motion of the motion control system may be constrained such that (at least one portion of) at least one component of the motion control system moves (exclusively) along a (respective) path relative to at least one of the first frame portion and the second frame portion. For example, a connection point of the motion control system to the second frame portion may (be constrained to) move (exclusively) along a linear or curved path relative to the first frame portion. Similarly, a connection point of the motion control system to the first frame portion may (be constrained to) move (exclusively) along a linear or curved path relative to the second frame portion. The path traveled by the (at least one portion of) at least one component of the motion control system (relative to at least one of the first frame portion and the second frame portion) as the (at least one portion of) at least one component of the motion control system transitions from the (respective) first end-of-range position to the (respective) second end-of-range position may be identical to the path traveled by the (at least one portion of) at least one component of the motion control system (relative to at least one of the first frame portion and the second frame portion) as the (at least one portion of) at least one component of the motion control system transitions from the (respective) second end-of-range position to the (respective) first end-of- range position.

The second end-of-range position / operating state may be a position / operating state in which a rear wheel of the vehicle is closest to a seat support portion of the first frame portion. The second end-of-range position / operating state may be a position / operating state achieved, starting from a non-dynamic unladen state with the terrain-engaging elements of the vehicle contacting a level surface, by moving solely the second frame portion until the motion control system reaches an end-of-range (and the rear wheel is a maximum distance from the level surface).

In the present disclosure, a position / operating state of the motion control system may be designated by a fraction / percentage of the total range of travel of the motion control system from the first end-of-range position / operating state in the direction of the second end-of-range position / operating state. The fraction / percentage of travel may be determined e.g. as a function of an angle between any two components of the motion control system, as a function of an angle between any component of the motion control system and a portion of the first / second frame portion, and/or as a function of a distance along a (linear / curved) path of motion of (the) (at least one portion of) at least one component of the motion control system.

An operating state of the motion control system when the vehicle is in a non-dynamic, payload-bearing state on a level surface (with the terrain-engaging elements of the vehicle contacting the level surface) may be termed a "neutral, payload-bearing state". The payload- bearing state may be a state in which the vehicle is bearing a payload in the range of 50 kg to 150 kg, e.g. the range of 50 kg to 100 kg. Similarly, a position / operating state that differs from the neutral, payload-bearing state by less than 25%, less than 20%, or less than 10% of the total range of travel of the motion control system, may be termed a "near neutral, payload-bearing state". The neutral, payload-bearing state may be a position / operating state in the range of 15% to 35% from the first end-of-range position / operating state.

In the present disclosure, the term "rise" (a.k.a. "jacking" or "anti-squat") may be understood as designating an operating state in which the first rotational axis / bottom bracket is higher (i.e. farther from the terrain) than the first rotational axis / bottom bracket in the neutral, payload-bearing state. Similarly, the term "sag" (a.k.a. "squat") may be understood as designating an operating state in which the first rotational axis / bottom bracket is lower (i.e. closer to the terrain) than the first rotational axis / bottom bracket the neutral, payload-bearing state. Nonetheless, the term "sag" may likewise designate a position / operating state relative to the first end-of-range position / operating state, whence the neutral, payload-bearing state may be designated as being in the range of 15% to 35% sag.

The motion control system may (be configured and arranged to) adopt an equilibrium state, i.e. an operating state in which (at least two / all) forces acting on / imparted onto the motion control system are in equilibrium, e.g. the forces imparted onto the motion control system (exclusively) by

(optionally, dependent e.g. on whether the vehicle comprises such a tensioned drivetrain element) a tensioning of a drivetrain element (e.g. a chain or belt) that transfers driving energy from (a driving axle supported by) the first frame portion to

(a driven axle supported by) the second frame portion,

a forward acceleration of the second frame portion, and

an acceleration of a payload supported by (the seat support portion of) the first frame portion.

The motion control system may adopt the equilibrium state in response to the forward acceleration of the second frame portion, e.g. in response to the forces effecting and resulting from such acceleration. For example, (the motion control system may be configured and arranged such that) the forces imparted onto the motion control system (may) act on (at least one component of) the motion control system in a manner that moves the motion control system into the equilibrium state (if not already in the equilibrium state). The forward acceleration of the second frame portion may be a (smooth, substantially neutral / smooth neutral) forward acceleration (e.g. as described infra) resulting from a driving force imparted by the terrain- engaging element, e.g. a wheel, supported by the second frame portion.

The adopting of the equilibrium state in response to a forward acceleration of the second frame portion may depend on the instantaneous position / operating state of the motion control system at the onset of the forward acceleration. The motion control system may adopt the equilibrium state in response to the forward acceleration of the second frame portion if the motion control system, at the onset of the forward acceleration, is in the neutral, payload-bearing state or the near neutral, payload-bearing state, which (driven) acceleration imparts a force onto the second frame portion (at the second rotational axis) in a purely forward direction. Similarly, the motion control system may adopt the equilibrium state in response to a forward acceleration of the second frame portion regardless of the instantaneous position / operating state of the motion control system at the onset of the forward acceleration.

The motion control system may adopt the equilibrium state by virtue of a geometric arrangement of (the components constituting the) the motion control system relative to the forward frame portion and the rear frame portion. For example, the motion control system may be geometrically configured and arranged (relative to the forward frame portion and the rear frame portion) such that the forces imparted onto the motion control system act on (at least one component of) the motion control system in a manner that moves the motion control system into the equilibrium state (if not already in the equilibrium state).

The (components constituting the) motion control system may be (geometrically) configured and arranged (relative to the forward frame portion and the rear frame portion) such that a range of motion of the motion control system is constrained in such a fashion that the motion control system, in response to the (driven) forward acceleration of the second frame portion (e.g. in response to the forces effecting and resulting from such acceleration), will move toward the equilibrium state (until in the equilibrium state).

The tensioning of a drivetrain element may (in the (near) neutral, payload-bearing state or in any position / operating state of the motion control system) impart a force onto the motion control system (that urges / moves the motion control system) in a direction of a third position / operating state. The drivetrain element may be a drivetrain element (e.g. a chain or belt) that transfers driving energy from (a driving axle supported by) the first frame portion to (a driven axle supported by) the second frame portion. The third position / operating state may be the first end-of-range position / operating state. Similarly, the third position / operating state may differ from both the first end-of-range position / operating state and the second end-of-range position / operating state. The third position / operating state may be less than 10% or less than 5% of the total range of travel of the motion control system away from the first end-of-range position / operating state. The percentage of travel may be determined e.g. as a function of an angle between any two components of the motion control system, as a function of an angle between any component of the motion control system and a portion of the first / second frame portion, and/or as a function of a distance along a (linear / curved) path of motion of (the) (at least one portion of) at least one component of the motion control system. The (instantaneous) magnitude of the force imparted onto the motion control system (in a direction of the third position / operating state) by the tensioning of the drivetrain element may depend on the (instantaneous) magnitude of the tensioning force effecting the tensioning of the drivetrain element. Similarly, the (instantaneous) magnitude of the force imparted onto the motion control system (in a direction of the third position / operating state) by the tensioning of the drivetrain element may depend on the (instantaneous) operating state of the motion control system. The (instantaneous) magnitude of the force imparted onto the motion control system (in a direction of the third position / operating state) by the tensioning of the drivetrain element as a function of the

(instantaneous) operating state of the motion control system may exhibit a minimum, e.g. zero, at the third position / operating state. More specifically, the (components constituting the) motion control system may be (geometrically) configured and arranged such that the (instantaneous) magnitude of the force imparted onto the motion control system (in a direction of the third position / operating state) by the tensioning of the drivetrain element as a function of the

(instantaneous) operating state of the motion control system exhibits a minimum, e.g. zero, at the third position / operating state (that is different from at least one of the first end-of-range position / operating state and the second end-of-range position / operating state). In an operating state of the motion control system between the second end-of-range position / operating state and the third position / operating state, a tensioning of the drivetrain element may impart a force onto the motion control system that urges the motion control system toward the first end-of-range position / operating state. In an operating state of the motion control system between the first end-of-range position / operating state and the third position / operating state, a tensioning of the drivetrain element may impart a force onto the motion control system that urges the motion control system toward the second end-of-range position / operating state. The instantaneous position / operating state of the third position / operating state may be variable. The

instantaneous position / operating state of the third position / operating state may depend on the instantaneous angle of the force imparted onto the motion control system by the tensioning of the drivetrain element. The instantaneous direction of the force imparted onto the motion control system by the tensioning of the drivetrain element may depend on a size of a front and/or rear sprocket of the drivetrain evoking the tensioning. The tensioning of the drivetrain element may induce a first force at the first rotational axis in a direction parallel to the (tensioned) drivetrain element (and having a rearward component). As such, the first force may induce a force on the first frame portion that, in turn, may impart a force onto the motion control system (that urges / moves the motion control system) in a direction of the third position / operating state. Moreover, the tensioning of the drivetrain element / the first force may induce a torque on the first frame portion relative to an instantaneous center (e.g. as described in further detail infra) of the motion control system. Similarly, the tensioning of the drivetrain element may induce a second force at the second rotational axis in a direction parallel to the (tensioned) drivetrain element (and having a forward component). As such, the second force may induce a force on the second frame portion that, in turn, may impart a force onto the motion control system (that urges / moves the motion control system) in a direction of the third position / operating state. Moreover, the tensioning of the drivetrain element / the second force may induce a torque on the second frame portion relative to the instantaneous center of the motion control system. For a given tensioning of the drivetrain element, the motion control system may impart a first force onto the motion control system in the direction of the third position / operating state. At the same time, an acceleration of the payload by virtue of a driving force associated with the tensioning of the drivetrain element may a second force onto the motion control system in a direction of the second end-of-range position / operating state. The relationship between the driving force and the tensioning of the drivetrain element may depend on a current combination of driving sprocket and driven sprocket. In the present disclosure, as in the art, the ratio of first force to the second force may be designated as the "anti-squat value".

The motion control system may be configured such that (for a given combination of driving sprocket and driven sprocket) the anti-squat value varies by no more than 20%, no more than 15% or no more than 10% in the range of operating states ranging from 0% to 70% sag, e.g. in the range of 30% to 70%, or 20% to 60% sag (as compared to a minimum value of the anti- squat value in said range). The motion control system may be configured such that (for a given combination of driving sprocket and driven sprocket) the anti-squat value is no more than 120% and no less than 100% in the range of operating states ranging from 0% to 70% sag, e.g. in the range of 30% to 70%, or 20% to 60% sag. The motion control system may be configured such that (for a given combination of driving sprocket and driven sprocket) the anti-squat value is no more than 100% and no less than 60%, e.g. in the range of 60% to 100% or in the range of 80% to 100%), in the range of operating states ranging from 0% to 20% sag or the range of 0% to 30%>.

The acceleration of the payload supported by (the seat support portion of) the first frame portion may (in the (near) neutral, payload-bearing state or in any position / operating state of the motion control system) impart a force onto the motion control system (that urges / moves the motion control system) in a direction of the second end-of-range position / operating state. The (instantaneous) magnitude of the force imparted onto the motion control system (in a direction of the second end-of-range position / operating state) by the acceleration of the payload may depend on the (instantaneous) magnitude of the acceleration of the payload. Similarly, the

(instantaneous) magnitude of the force imparted onto the motion control system (in a direction of the second end-of-range position / operating state) by the acceleration of the payload may depend on the (instantaneous) operating state of the motion control system.

The acceleration of the second frame portion resulting from a driving force imparted by the terrain-engaging element supported by the second frame portion may impart a force onto the second frame portion (at the second rotational axis) in a direction (opposite to the driving force imparted by the terrain-engaging element onto the ambient terrain and) perpendicular to an imaginary line connecting the second rotational axis and an (instantaneous) contact point of the terrain-engaging element with the ambient terrain. As such, the (instantaneous) direction of a force imparted onto the second frame portion as a result of a driven acceleration of the second frame portion may depend on the contour of the ambient terrain and/or the position / operating state of the motion control system and may have a forward / horizontal component. In the present disclosure, the term "forward acceleration" may be understood as a (driven) acceleration of the second frame portion that imparts a force onto the second frame portion (at the second rotational axis), the magnitude of the vertical component of said force being less than 20%, less than 10%, or less then 5% of the magnitude of the forward / horizontal component of said force. In the present disclosure, the term "smooth, substantially neutral forward acceleration" may be understood as a (driven) acceleration of the second frame portion when the vehicle is on a (substantially) smooth surface and when the motion control system is in the (near) neutral, payload-bearing state (e.g. as defined supra, albeit with the distinction that the second frame portion, in the present context, is experiencing acceleration, whereas the above definition of the neutral, payload-bearing state defines a "location" of the neutral, payload-bearing state in the context of a non-dynamic environment. As such, the term "neutral" in contexts involving acceleration may be understand as expressing that the motion control system is in a "location" corresponding to a (non-dynamic) neutral position / operation state.), which (driven) acceleration imparts a force onto the second frame portion (at the second rotational axis) in a purely forward direction. In the present disclosure, the term "smooth neutral forward acceleration" may be understood as a (driven) acceleration of the second frame portion when the vehicle is on a (substantially) smooth level surface and when the motion control system is in the neutral, payload-bearing state (e.g. as defined supra), which (driven) acceleration imparts a force onto the second frame portion (at the second rotational axis) in a purely forward / horizontal direction.

A forward acceleration of the second frame portion may impart a force onto the motion control system (that urges / moves the motion control system) in a direction of a fourth position / operating state (when the motion control system is in the (near) neutral, payload-bearing state). More specifically, a smooth neutral forward acceleration of the second frame portion may impart a force onto the motion control system (that urges / moves the motion control system) in a direction of a fourth position / operating state. The fourth position / operating state may be the first end-of-range position / operating state. Similarly, the fourth position / operating state may differ from both the first end-of-range position / operating state and the second end-of-range position / operating state. The fourth position / operating state may be less than 10% or less than 5% of the total range of travel of the motion control system away from the first end-of-range position / operating state. The percentage of travel may be determined e.g. as a function of an angle between any two components of the motion control system, as a function of an angle between any component of the motion control system and a portion of the first / second frame portion, and/or as a function of a distance along a (linear / curved) path of motion of (the) (at least one portion of) at least one component of the motion control system. The instantaneous position / operating state of the fourth position / operating state may be variable. The

instantaneous position / operating state of the fourth position / operating state may depend on at least one of the instantaneous direction and the instantaneous magnitude of the forward acceleration of the second frame portion. The (instantaneous) magnitude of the force imparted onto the motion control system (in a direction of the fourth position / operating state) by the forward acceleration may depend on the (instantaneous) magnitude and/or direction of the forward acceleration. Similarly, the (instantaneous) magnitude and/or direction of the force imparted onto the motion control system (in a direction of the fourth position / operating state) by the forward acceleration may depend on the (instantaneous) operating state of the motion control system. The (instantaneous) magnitude of the force imparted onto the motion control system (in a direction of the fourth position / operating state) by the forward acceleration as a function of the (instantaneous) operating state of the motion control system may exhibit a minimum, e.g. zero, at the fourth position / operating state. More specifically, the (components constituting the) motion control system may be (geometrically) configured and arranged such that the (instantaneous) magnitude of the force imparted onto the motion control system (in a direction of the fourth position / operating state) by the forward acceleration as a function of the (instantaneous) operating state of the motion control system exhibits a minimum, e.g. zero, at the fourth position / operating state. In the fourth position / operating state, the vector of the forward acceleration may point at the instantaneous center of the motion control system (e.g. as described infra). In an operating state of the motion control system between the second end-of-range position / operating state and the fourth position / operating state, a (smooth, substantially neutral) forward acceleration may impart a force onto the motion control system that urges the motion control system toward the first end-of-range position / operating state.

The forward acceleration of the second frame portion (e.g. resulting from a driving force imparted by terrain-engaging element supported by the second frame portion) may likewise impart a force onto the motion control system (that urges / moves the motion control system) in a direction of the second end-of-range position / operating state. The (instantaneous) magnitude of the force imparted onto the motion control system (in a direction of the second end-of-range position / operating state) by the forward acceleration of the second frame portion may depend on the (instantaneous) magnitude of the acceleration of the user mass. Similarly, the

(instantaneous) magnitude of the force imparted onto the motion control system (in a direction of the second end-of-range position / operating state) by the forward acceleration of the second frame portion may depend on the (instantaneous) operating state of the motion control system.

The (components constituting the) motion control system may be (geometrically) configured and arranged (relative to the first frame portion and the second frame portion) such that, in an equilibrium position / operating state (that differs from at least one of the first end-of- range position / operating state and the second end-of-range position / operating state), the sum of the (aforementioned) forces urging / moving the motion control system in a direction of the first end-of-range position / operating state (e.g. as a result of the tensioning of the drivetrain element and/or the forward acceleration of the second frame portion) and the (aforementioned) forces urging / moving the motion control system in a direction of the second end-of-range position / operating state (e.g. as a result of the payload acceleration) are in equilibrium. The motion control system may be (mechanically) self-stabilizing, e.g. when the vehicle is on a smooth, level surface and a driving acceleration force is imparted onto the second frame portion. The motion control system may be self-stabilizing in the sense that the motion control system, in response to (a respective totality of) forces (momentarily) exerted onto the motion control system (via the first and/or second frame portions) e.g. by a user, the ambient terrain of the vehicle and/or gravity, is capable of adopting / adopts a respective (stable) operating state (without the aid of (any) other systems / without the aid of an energy management device such as a spring and/or fluid-based shock absorber). The statement that the motion control system is capable of adopting / adopts a respective (stable) operating state without the aid of (any) other systems does not preclude the presence of any such other system. Instead, that statement simply emphasizes the ability of the motion control system to adopt such a respective (stable) operating state without the aid of (any) other systems, regardless of whether such other system is present / such aid occurs. The respective (stable) operating state may differ from at least one of the first end-of-range operating state and the second end-of-range operating state. The respective (stable) operating state may be stable in the sense that the forces imparted onto the motion control system by 1) a (smooth, substantially neutral) forward acceleration of the second frame portion, and 2) an acceleration of a payload supported by the first frame portion are in equilibrium. Similarly, the respective (stable) operating state may be stable in the sense that the forces imparted onto the motion control system by 1) a tensioning of a drivetrain element (that transfers driving energy from a driving axle supported by the first frame portion to a driven axle supported by the second frame portion), 2) a (smooth, substantially neutral) forward acceleration of the second frame portion, and 3) an acceleration of a payload supported by the first frame portion are in equilibrium. The self-stabilization of the motion control system may be mechanical in the sense that the motion control system (passively) adopts the respective (stable) operating state by virtue of the mechanical kinematics of the motion control system.

The motion control system may (be configured and arranged to) impart, in response to a (smooth, substantially neutral) forward acceleration of the second frame portion, a force onto the first frame portion that (immediately) accelerates the seat support portion in a forward direction. Moreover, the motion control system may (be configured and arranged to) impart, in response to a (smooth, substantially neutral) forward acceleration of the second frame portion, a force onto the first frame portion that (immediately) accelerates the seat support portion in a forward direction at an acceleration no less than an acceleration of a drivetrain axle support (of the first frame portion) in the forward direction. As such, the motion control system may impart the force such that acceleration of the seat support portion does not lag behind / is not less than acceleration of the drivetrain axle support, e.g. the bottom bracket (shell). The motion control system may (be configured and arranged to) impart, in response to a (smooth, substantially neutral) forward acceleration of the second frame portion, a force onto the first frame portion that (immediately) accelerates the seat support portion in (both a forward and) an upward direction. The forward acceleration of the second frame portion may be a forward acceleration resulting from a (terrain-engaging) driving force imparted by a wheel supported by the second frame portion. The acceleration of the seat support portion may be "immediate" in the sense that the forward acceleration of the second frame portion and the acceleration of the seat support portion commence (essentially) simultaneously (aside from a time lag attributable to machining tolerances / (designed) fitting tolerances of components that (must) interact to impart the force onto the first frame portion and/or to convert forces of the forward acceleration of the second frame portion into the force onto the first frame portion). The acceleration of the seat support portion may be "immediate" in the sense that the motion control system, in response to the forward acceleration of the second frame portion, need not move (relative to the first / second frame portion) to impart the force onto the first frame portion that accelerates the seat support portion (in the forward / upward direction). Moreover, the acceleration of the seat support portion may be "immediate" in the sense that the forward acceleration of the second frame portion will induce a motion (of components) of the motion control system (relative to the first / second frame portion), which motion imparts the force onto the first frame portion, the forward acceleration of the second frame portion, the motion (of components) of the motion control system and the acceleration of the seat support portion commencing (essentially) simultaneously (aside from a time lag attributable to machining tolerances / (designed) fitting tolerances of components that (must) interact to impart the force onto the first frame portion and/or to convert forces of the forward acceleration of the second frame portion into the force onto the first frame portion).

The motion control system may impart the force (onto the first frame portion) in a plurality of operating states of the motion control system. In other words, the motion control system may be capable of imparting the force (onto the first frame portion) in each of a plurality of operating states. The plurality of operating states may include a mid-range position of the motion control system, e.g. a position halfway between the first end-of-range position and the second end-of-range position. The plurality of operating states may include the neutral, payload- bearing state and/or a (near) neutral, payload-bearing state (e.g. as described supra). Similarly, the motion control system may impart the force irrespective of an operating state of said motion control system. In other words, the motion control system may be capable of imparting the force (onto the first frame portion) in any / every operating state (of the motion control system).

In the present disclosure, (minimum) distances, (acute) angles, relative positions, etc. that may depend on a state of the motion control system may be (narrowly) understood as being valid (i.e. measured / determined) when the vehicle is (in an unladen, neutral state) on a level surface (with the terrain-engaging elements of the vehicle contacting the level surface). Similarly, such distances, angles, relative positions, etc. may also be understood as being valid in a neutral, payload-bearing state of the motion control system (e.g. as defined supra). Moreover, such distances, angles, relative positions, etc. may also be understood as being valid at a mid-range position of the motion control system, e.g. as described supra. Furthermore, such distances, angles, relative locations, etc. may also be broadly understood as being valid throughout the entire operating range of the motion control system.

The motion control system may comprise a first motion control device. The first motion control device may movably interconnect the first frame portion and the second frame portion.

Similarly, the motion control system may comprise a second motion control device. The second motion control device may movably interconnect the first frame portion and the second frame portion. At least one of the first motion control device and the second motion control device may constitute a component of the motion control system. The motion control system may consist (exclusively) of the first motion control device and the second motion control device. The first motion control device may be located above the second motion control device. As such, a location of (at least one of an uppermost portion and a lowermost portion of) the first motion control device may be higher than a location of (an uppermost portion of) the second motion control device as measured in a vertical direction. The first motion control device may (pivotally / rigidly) connect to the second frame portion at a first location. The second motion control device may (pivotally / rigidly) connect to the second frame portion at a second location that is a fixed distance from the first location.

The motion control system may be configured such that (regardless of a position / operating state of the motion control system) at least one of the first motion control device and the second motion control device is under tension whenever a forward acceleration is imparted onto the second frame portion (at the second rotational axis). Similarly, the motion control system may be configured such that (regardless of a position / operating state of the motion control system) at least one of the first motion control device and the second motion control device is under compression whenever a forward acceleration is imparted onto the second frame portion (at the second rotational axis).

The motion control system may be a 4-bar linkage. A portion of the forward frame portion may constitute a first bar of the 4-bar linkage, the first motion control device may constitute a second bar of the 4-bar linkage, a portion of the rear frame portion may constitute a third bar of the 4-bar linkage, and the second motion control device may constitute a fourth bar of said 4-bar linkage.

The first motion control device may comprise a sliding element, e.g. a component configured to slidingly engage another component (of at least one of the motion control system, the first frame portion and the second frame portion). For example, the sliding element may slidingly engage the seat tube. (As noted above, the term "seat tube" is used to designate any of the seat tube, the upper seat tube portion and the lower seat tube portion for the sake of readability.) The second frame portion may be (pivotally) connected to the sliding element. The sliding element may comprise a first (circular) protrusion and a second (circular) protrusion (diametrically opposite the first protrusion). The second frame portion may (pivotally) connect to at least one of the first and second protrusions. For example, the second frame portion may comprise at least one (circular) opening / at least one tubular structure configured to (rotatably) engage the first / second protrusion.

The sliding element may be / comprise a tubular structure. The tubular structure may be termed a "sleeve". The sliding element may define a lumen having a constant cross-section relative to a longitudinal / sliding axis (of the sliding element). The cross-section may be a circular, oval or (rounded) polygonal, e.g. (rounded) rectangular or (rounded) triangular, cross- section.

The sliding element may slidingly engage the aforementioned other component (of at least one of the motion control system, the first frame portion and the second frame portion), e.g. the seat tube, such that the sliding element slides parallel to a longitudinal axis of the other component. For example, the sliding element may comprise a (tubular / generally tubular) structure that (at least partially) encircles / surrounds an outer circumference of the other component. As such, the other component may extend into / through a lumen of the sliding element, e.g. along a longitudinal axis of the sliding element. The sliding element may comprise an inner wall that engages an outer wall of the other component. Similarly, the other component may comprise a (tubular / generally tubular) structure that (at least partially) encircles / surrounds an outer circumference of the sliding element. As such, the sliding element may extend into / through a lumen of the other component, e.g. along a longitudinal axis of the other component. The sliding element may comprise an outer wall that engages an inner wall of the other component. The sliding element may be shaped to slidingly engage the other component in a manner that inhibits rotation of the sliding element in a circumferential direction relative to (a

longitudinal axis of) the other component. Similarly, the other component may be shaped to slidingly engage the sliding element in a manner that inhibits rotation of the sliding element in a circumferential direction relative to (a longitudinal axis of) the other component. The sliding element may have an inner shape that, e.g. aside from fitting tolerances, matches an outer shape of the other component.

The seat tube and/or the aforementioned other component, which may be the seat tube, may be configured such that an acute angle between a longitudinal axis of the seat tube / other component and an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes is in the range of 30° to 60°, e.g. in the range of 40° to 50°. More specifically, the seat tube and/or the other component may be configured such that any of a minimum acute angle, an average acute angle and a maximum acute angle between a longitudinal axis of the seat tube / other component and an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes is in the range of 30° to 60°, e.g. in the range of 40° to 50°. The seat tube and/or the other component may be configured such that the seat tube / other component slopes downwardly to the front. As such, the seat tube / other component may be configured such that a rearward portion (of a longitudinal axis) of the seat tube / other component is higher than a forward portion of (of the longitudinal axis) the seat tube / other component.

A portion of the sliding element that slidingly engages the aforementioned other component, e.g. the seat tube, may have a length of at least 8 cm, at least 12 cm or at least 16 cm. The length may be measured in a direction / along a path parallel to a longitudinal axis of the other component. The portion of the sliding element that slidingly engages the other component may have a (minimum) diameter of at least 3 cm, at least 6 cm, at least 9 cm or at least 12 cm. The diameter may be measured from a first location on a wall / surface of the sliding element that slidingly engages the other component to a second location on the wall / surface of the sliding element that slidingly engages the other component. The first location may be opposite the second location. For example, the second location may be located at an intersection of the wall / surface and a line that passes through the first location and is perpendicular to a plane tangent to the wall / surface at the first location.

The sliding element may comprise at least one rolling element, e.g. a roller bearing and/or a ball bearing. The rolling element may contact a surface of the aforementioned other component (of at least one of the motion control system, the first frame portion and the second frame portion) slidingly engaged by the sliding element. For example, the rolling element may contact a surface of the seat tube. Similarly, the other component slidingly engaged by the sliding element may comprise at least one rolling element, e.g. a roller bearing and/or a ball bearing. For example, the seat tube may comprise at least one rolling element. The rolling element may contact a surface of the sliding element.

The first motion control device may comprise a sheet-shaped component, e.g. a leaf spring. The sheet-shaped component may constitute a flexing element. A first edge portion of the sheet-shaped component may be (pivotally) connected to the first frame portion, e.g. to the seat tube, and a second edge portion of the sheet-shaped component may be (pivotally) connected to the second frame portion. The sheet-shaped component may be (substantially) of a material selected from the group consisting of steel and carbon fiber. The sheet-shaped component may resist torsion applied to the sheet-shaped component via the first and second edge portions with a force at least five, at least ten or at least twenty times larger than a force with which the sheet- shaped component resists a bending applied to the sheet-shaped component via the first and second edge portions. In the present context, bending may be understood as a motion of the first edge portion toward the second edge portion (in a direction not coplanar with the sheet-shaped component) without altering an orientation of the first edge portion relative to the second edge portion. In the present context, torsion may be understood as a motion of the first edge portion toward the second edge portion (in a direction not coplanar with the sheet-shaped component) that alters an orientation of the first edge portion relative to the second edge portion.

The first motion control device may comprise an eccentric. The eccentric may comprise / define a first axis of rotation and a second axis of rotation, the second axis of rotation being parallel to and offset from the first axis of rotation. The second axis of rotation may be offset from the first axis of rotation by at least 1 cm and/or by no more than 8 cm. The eccentric (or a portion of the eccentric) may be rotatably mounted in / rotatably connected to the first frame portion, e.g. such that a location of the first axis of rotation is fixed relative to at least one component of the first frame portion. Similarly, (a portion of) the eccentric may be rotatably mounted in / rotatably connected to the second frame portion, e.g. such that a location of the second axis of rotation is fixed relative to at least one component of the second frame portion.

The second motion control device may comprise a rigid link. The rigid link may be pivotally connected to the second frame portion, e.g. at a location that is more distal to the second rotational axis than a location at which the first motion control device is connected to the second frame portion. For example, the rigid link may be pivotally connected to an end region of the second frame portion most distal from the second rotational axis. The end region may be rearward of a forward-most region / edge of the second frame portion. The end region may constitute no more than 20%, no more than 10% or no more than 5% of a (total) volume of the second frame portion. The rigid link may be pivotally connected to the second frame portion at a location in a forward-most 30%, a forward-most 20% or a forward-most 10% of the second frame portion and/or in a lowermost 30%, a lowermost 20%, a lowermost 10% or a lowermost 5% (of the aforementioned forward-most 30% / 20% / 10%) of the second frame portion. The rigid link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion, e.g. at a location in a lowermost 30%), a lowermost 20%, a lowermost 10% or a lowermost 5% of the first frame portion and/or in a most rearward 30%, a most rearward 20%, a most rearward 10% or a most rearward 5% of (the aforementioned lower(most) portion of) the first frame portion. A pivot axis of a pivotal connection of the rigid link to the first frame portion may be coaxial to the first rotational axis. The rigid link may be pivotally connected to the first frame portion at a location that is upward and/or forward of a location at which the rigid link is pivotally connected to the second frame portion. The rigid link may be "rigid" in the sense that a distance between a connection of the rigid link to the first frame portion and a connection of the rigid link to the second frame portion is invariable, does not vary by more than 5%, or does not vary by more than 1% (when the vehicle is subject to (typical) use).

At least 80%, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of the motion control system, e.g. of at least one of the first motion control device and the second control device, (by volume and/or by weight) may be a material selected from the group consisting of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. Similarly, at least 80%, at least 90% or (substantially) an entirety of at least one of the first motion control device and the second control device (by volume and/or by weight) may be a material selected from the group consisting of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. For example, an entirety of the motion control system / first motion control device / second motion control device may be of such a material except bushings and/or thread elements, e.g. for interconnecting the first / second frame portion with other structures of the vehicle. Such bushings and/or thread elements may demand wear characteristics and/or machining tolerances not achievable with aluminum or carbon fiber.

The motion control system may movably interconnect the first frame portion and the second frame portion such that motion of the second frame portion relative to the first frame portion is restricted to substantially in-plane motion. For example, motion of the second frame portion relative to the first frame portion may be restricted to a plane orthogonal to the first rotational axis and/or to a plane defined by the top tube and down tube.

Motion of the second frame portion relative to the first frame portion may be restricted (by the motion control system) to such in-plane motion by at least one of the sliding element, the sheet-shaped component, the eccentric and the rigid link. For example, motion of the second frame portion relative to the first frame portion may be restricted (by the motion control system) to such in-plane motion by virtue of a relative shape of the sliding element to the aforementioned other component (of at least one of the motion control system, the first frame portion and the second frame portion) slidingly engaged by the sliding element. As touched upon above, the sliding element may have a (partially) oval or (rounded) polygonal cross-section (that slidingly engages the other component).

The (aforementioned) tensioning of the drivetrain element may impart a first force onto the second motion control device. The drivetrain element may be a drivetrain element (e.g. a chain or belt) that transfers driving energy from (a driving axle supported by) the first frame portion to (a driven axle supported by) the second frame portion.

(The motion control system may be configured and arranged such that) a force imparted onto the motion control system by an obstacle-avoiding motion of the second frame portion may impart a second force onto the second motion control device that is no more than 45°, no more than 30°, no more than 20° or no more than 15° from perpendicular to the first force. The first force may be a tensioning force that tensions the second motion control device (between a first connection point to the first frame portion and a second connection point to the second frame portion). Similarly, the first force may be a compressing force that compresses the second motion control device (between a first connection point to the first frame portion and a second connection point to the second frame portion). The second force may be a pivoting force that pivots the second motion control device relative to at least one of the first connection point and the second connection point.

The vehicle may comprise an energy management system. The energy management system may be (at least partially) interposed between the first frame portion and the second frame portion. The energy management system may be (interposed between the first frame portion and the second frame portion by being) (pivotally) connected to the first frame portion (at at least one connection point) and may be (pivotally) connected to the second frame portion (at at least one connection point). The energy management system may impart forces (of user- adjustable magnitude) on the first frame portion and the second frame portion that define, inter alia, the neutral, payload-bearing state. The energy management system may be configured such that the vehicle, in the neutral, payload-bearing state, exhibits in the range of 15% to 35% sag. The energy management system may be configured such that, when the vehicle is in a neutral (i.e. non-dynamic), unladen state, the motion control system adopts the first end-of-range position / operating state. In other words, the first end-of-range position / operating state may correspond to the neutral, unladen state of the vehicle.

The energy management system may influence an exchange of kinetic energy between the first and second frame portion. The energy management system may effect a time delay in a transfer of kinetic energy from the first frame portion to the second frame portion. Similarly, the energy management system may effect a time delay in a transfer of kinetic energy from the second frame portion to the first frame portion. The energy management system may receive a first amount of kinetic energy from the first frame portion and/or the second frame portion and output, in total in response to the receipt of the first amount of kinetic energy, a second amount of kinetic energy (with a time delay) to the first frame portion and/or the second frame portion, the second amount of kinetic energy being less than the first amount. The energy management system may dissipate an amount of energy equal to a difference between the first amount of kinetic energy and the second amount of kinetic energy as heat. The energy management system may be a (purely) mechanical system. The energy management system may be a (purely) passive system.

The energy management system may comprise a shock absorber. The shock absorber may interconnect the first and second frame portions. The shock absorber may be pivotally linked to the second frame portion. The shock absorber may be pivotally linked to the first frame portion, e.g. to the top tube or the down tube. The shock absorber may be configured such that a shortening / lengthening of a distance between a pivot axis at which the shock absorber is linked to the second frame portion and a pivot axis at which the shock absorber is linked to the first frame portion induces (shock absorbing, linear) travel of the shock absorber.

An operating state exhibited by the energy management system when no external forces (that would induce a (substantial) change in operating state) are applied to the energy management system may be termed a "neutral state". Similarly, the neutral state may be an operating state in which the energy management system stores no potential energy (that can be converted by the energy management system into kinetic energy). In the present disclosure, the "neutral state" of the energy management system may likewise be understood as the non- dynamic operating state adopted by the energy management system when the vehicle is in the neutral, payload-bearing state. As such, the energy management system, in the neutral, payload- bearing state, may store (substantially) no potential energy other than the energy imparted by the payload as the vehicle transitions from the first end-of-range position / operating state to the neutral, payload-bearing state, which potential energy is not lastingly released until the payload is removed / the user dismounts.

The motion control system and the energy management system may be configured such that (the (inherently) limited range of motion of) the motion control system restricts motion of the energy management system to within the (designed / permissible) range of travel of the energy management system.

The energy management system may comprise at least one material and/or component that absorbs and stores energy, i.e. converts kinetic energy into potential energy, e.g. by elastic deformation, as the energy management system transitions to a first operating state different from the neutral state. The material may be an elastic material. The component may be a (steel / air) spring. The (at least one material and/or component of the) energy management system may be configured to convert the stored (potential) energy into kinetic energy as the energy management system transitions to the neutral state from the first operating state. More generally, the energy management system may comprise at least one material and/or component that converts kinetic energy into potential energy as the energy management system transitions to any operating state (within the range of travel of the energy management system) different from the neutral state, which at least one material and/or component converts said potential energy into kinetic energy as the energy management system transitions to the neutral state from said any operating state. The energy management system may comprise at least one material and/or component that converts kinetic energy into potential energy as the energy management system transitions "away from" the neutral state, i.e. from any operating state (within the range of travel of the energy management system) to any other (within the range of travel of the energy management system) more removed from the neutral state, which at least one material and/or component converts said potential energy into kinetic energy as the energy management system transitions "toward" the neutral state, i.e. to said any operating state from said any other operating state. For the sake of conciseness, such conversion of kinetic energy to potential energy and such conversion of potential energy into kinetic energy will be termed "lossless conversion" as a shorthand notation.

Similarly, the energy management system may comprise at least one material and/or component that converts kinetic energy into heat as the energy management system transitions to a first operating state different from the neutral state. The material may be a (viscous) oil. The component may be / comprise a friction surface. The component may be / comprise a nozzle. The (at least one material and/or component of the) energy management system may be configured to convert kinetic energy into heat as the energy management system transitions to the neutral state from the first operating state. More generally, the energy management system may comprise at least one material and/or component that converts kinetic energy into heat as the energy management system transitions to any operating state (within the range of travel of the energy management system) different from the neutral state, which at least one material and/or component may moreover convert kinetic energy into heat as the energy management system transitions to the neutral state from said any operating state. The energy management system may comprise at least one material and/or component that converts kinetic energy into heat as the energy management system transitions "away from" the neutral state, i.e. from any operating state (within the range of travel of the energy management system) to any other (within the range of travel of the energy management system) more removed from the neutral state, which at least one material and/or component may moreover convert kinetic energy into heat as the energy management system transitions "toward" the neutral state, i.e. to said any operating state from said any other operating state. For the sake of conciseness, such conversion of kinetic energy to heat will be termed "lossy conversion" as a shorthand notation.

A ratio of lossless conversion to overall (i.e. lossy plus lossless) conversion exhibited by the energy management system may depend, inter alia, on an operating state of the energy management system, e.g. on a "distance" of the instant operating state from the neutral state (in terms of travel) and/or on whether the energy management system is transitioning "away from" or "toward" the neutral state. The ratio of lossless conversion to overall (i.e. lossy plus lossless) conversion exhibited by the energy management system may be user adjustable, e.g. by means of switches and/or dials (as known in the art). Accordingly, the ratio of lossless conversion to overall conversion exhibited by the energy management system may depend, inter alia, on a (user adjustable) mode of the energy management system. The following two paragraphs have been retained solely for the sake of retaining the disclosure of the priority application and are superseded by any contrary definitions in the present disclosure.

The energy management system may be configured such that the vehicle, in a neutral (i.e. non-dynamic), payload-bearing state, exhibits sag (a.k.a. "squat") in the range of 15% to 35%.

The payload-bearing state may be a state in which the vehicle is bearing a payload in the range of 50 kg to 100 kg. In the present disclosure, the term "sag" (a.k.a. "squat") may be understood as designating an operating state in which the first rotational axis / bottom bracket is lower (i.e. closer to the terrain) than the first rotational axis / bottom bracket in an unladen, neutral state. Sag may be expressed as a percentage of travel between an unladen, neutral state and a

(respective) end of range (e.g. as limited by the motion control system). In the present disclosure, the term "rise" (a.k.a. "jacking" or "anti-squat") may be understood as designating an operating state in which the first rotational axis / bottom bracket is higher (i.e. farther from the terrain) than the first rotational axis / bottom bracket in an unladen, neutral state. Rise may be expressed as a percentage of travel between an unladen, neutral state and a (respective) end of range (e.g. as limited by the motion control system).

The unladen, neutral state may correspond to a mid-range position of the motion control system, e.g. as defined supra. Defining the unladen, neutral state on a linear scale representative of a percentage of the total amount of linear sliding motion permitted at the sliding element by the operating range of the motion control system or a percentage of a total amount of rotation permitted at any pivotal connection point of the motion control system to the first / second frame portion by the operating range of the motion control system, where a (full) rise end of range of the motion control system corresponds to 0%, the mid-range position corresponds to 50% and a (full) sag end of range of the motion control system corresponds to 100%, the unladen, neutral state may be in the range of 30% to 50%, e.g. in the range of 30% to 40% or 40% to 50%, or in the range of 50% to 70%, e.g. in the range of 50% to 60% or 60% to 70%.

As touched upon above, the characteristics of the energy management system may be direction dependent. For example, the characteristics of the energy management system when transitioning "away from" the neutral state may differ from characteristics of the energy management system when transitioning "toward" the neutral state. Hereinbelow, an imparting of "kinetic energy of sag-inducing motion" into the energy management system may be understood as kinetic energy imparted into the energy management system as a result of motion (of elements of the vehicle) that yields further sag, i.e. an imparting of kinetic energy into the energy management system as the energy management system transitions in a sag direction, i.e. in a direction of a state of the energy management system corresponding to (full) sag. Similarly, an imparting of "kinetic energy of motion inducing less rise" into the energy management system may be understood as kinetic energy imparted into the energy management system as a result of motion (of elements of the vehicle) that yields less rise, i.e. an imparting of kinetic energy into the energy management system as the energy management system transitions in a direction of a state of the energy management system corresponding to (full) sag. These remarks apply, mutatis mutandis, to similar expressions such as "kinetic energy of motion inducing less sag" and "kinetic energy of rise-inducing motion".

The vehicle may be configured such that, at 25% sag, at least 60%, at least 70%, at least

80%) or at least 90% of kinetic energy (of sag-inducing motion) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into potential energy. The vehicle may be configured such that, in a range of 0% to 60%> sag, at least 60%>, at least 70%), at least 80%> or at least 90% of kinetic energy (of sag-inducing motion) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into potential energy. The vehicle may be configured such that, in a range of 40% to 75% sag, at least 50%), at least 60%, at least 70% or at least 80% of kinetic energy (of sag-inducing motion) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into potential energy. The vehicle may be configured such that, in a range of 70% to 90% sag, at least 30%, at least 40%, at least 50% or at least 60% of kinetic energy (of sag- inducing motion) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into potential energy. The vehicle may be configured such that, in a range of 90% to 0% sag, e.g. a range of 70% to 0% sag, not more than 15%, not more than 10%) or not more than 5% of kinetic energy (of motion inducing less sag) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into heat.

The following three paragraphs have been retained solely for the sake of retaining the disclosure of the priority application and are superseded by any contrary definitions in the present disclosure.

The vehicle may be configured such that, in a range of 0% to 60% rise, at least 60%, at least 70%, at least 80% or at least 90% of kinetic energy (of rise-inducing motion) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into potential energy. The vehicle may be configured such that, in a range of 40% to 75% rise, at least 60%), at least 70% or at least 80% of kinetic energy (of rise-inducing motion) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into potential energy. The vehicle may be configured such that, in a range of 70% to 90% rise, at least 30%), at least 40%, at least 50% or at least 60% of kinetic energy (of rise-inducing motion) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into potential energy. The vehicle may be configured such that, in a range of 90% to 0% rise, e.g. a range of 70% to 0% rise, not more than 15%, not more than 10% or not more than 5% of kinetic energy (of motion inducing less rise) imparted, e.g. via the first and/or second rotational axis, into the energy management system is converted into heat.

The energy management system, at 25% sag, e.g. relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), may convert at least 60%, at least 70%, at least 80% or at least 90% of kinetic energy (of sag-inducing motion) imparted into the energy management system into potential energy. The energy management system may, in a range of 0% to 60% sag, e.g. relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), convert at least 60%, at least 70%), at least 80% or at least 90% of kinetic energy (of sag-inducing motion) imparted into the energy management system into potential energy. The energy management system, in a range of 0%) to 60%) rise, e.g. relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), may convert at least 60%, at least 70%, at least 80% or at least 90% of kinetic energy (of rise- inducing motion) imparted into the energy management system into potential energy. The energy management system, in a range of 40% to 75% sag, e.g. relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), may convert at least 50%, at least 60%, at least 70% or at least 80%) of kinetic energy (of sag inducing motion) imparted into the energy management system into potential energy. The energy management system, in a range of 40% to 75% rise, e.g.

relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), may convert at least 60%, at least 70%) or at least 80% of kinetic energy (of rise-inducing motion) imparted into the energy management system into potential energy. The energy management system, in a range of 70% to 90%) sag, e.g. relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), may convert at least 30%, at least 40%, at least 50% or at least 60% of kinetic energy (of sag-inducing motion) imparted into the energy management system into potential energy. The energy management system, in a range of 70% to 90% rise, e.g. relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), may convert at least 30%, at least 40%, at least 50% or at least 60%) of kinetic energy (of rise-inducing motion) imparted into the energy management system into potential energy. The energy management system may be configured such that, in a range of 90%) to 0%) rise, e.g. relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), e.g. a range of 70% to 0% rise, not more than 15%, not more than 10% or not more than 5% of kinetic energy (of motion inducing less rise) imparted into the energy management system is converted into heat. The energy management system may be configured such that, in a range of 90% to 0% sag, e.g. relative to a mid-range position (of the energy management system), e.g. a range of 70% to 0% sag, not more than 15%, not more than 10% or not more than 5% of kinetic energy (of motion inducing less sag) imparted into the energy management system is converted into heat.

The mid-range position (of the energy management system) may correspond to a position halfway between the respective ends of the range of travel of the energy management system. Defining the mid-range position (of the energy management system) on a linear scale representative of a percentage of the total range of travel of the energy management system, where a (full) rise end of range of the travel corresponds to 0%, the mid-range position corresponds to 50% and a (full) sag end of range of the travel corresponds to 100%, the mid- range position may be in the range of 30% to 50%, e.g. in the range of 30% to 40% or 40% to 50%, or in the range of 50% to 70%, e.g. in the range of 50% to 60% or 60% to 70%. The range of travel of the energy management system may be limited by the motion control system.

Defining the mid-range position (of the energy management system) on a linear scale representative of a percentage of the total amount of linear sliding motion permitted at the sliding element by the operating range of the motion control system or a percentage of a total amount of rotation permitted at any pivotal connection point of the motion control system to the first / second frame portion by the operating range of the motion control system, where a (full) rise end of range of the motion control system corresponds to 0%, the mid-range position corresponds to 50% and a (full) sag end of range of the motion control system corresponds to 100%, the mid- range position may be in the range of 30% to 50%, e.g. in the range of 30% to 40% or 40% to 50%, or in the range of 50% to 70%, e.g. in the range of 50% to 60% or 60% to 70%.

A ratio of lossless conversion to overall (i.e. lossy plus lossless) conversion exhibited by the combination of vehicle and payload may be characterized / defined by a "damping ratio" (as known in the art). The damping ratio may be measured / determined without regard for a damping effect of the terrain-engaging elements and/or without regard for a damping effect of a front suspension. The damping ratio may be measured / determined (exclusively) in terms of an oscillatory response of the second frame portion relative to the payload -bearing front frame portion, e.g. in response to forces induced at the second rotational axis (by traveling over terrain). The payload may be a payload in the range of 50 kg to 100 kg. The damping ratio may be a damping ratio of less than 0.3, less than 0.2 or less than 0.1. The motion control system may be configured such that a forward acceleration of the rear frame portion, e.g. a forward acceleration resulting from a driving force imparted by a wheel supported by the rear frame portion, does not reduce an obstacle-avoiding range of motion of the motion control system. In the present disclosure, the obstacle-avoiding range of motion of the motion control system may be understood as a range of motion available to the motion control system between the (respective, current) operational state (at the time of (initially) encountering a respective obstacle, e.g. a rock, log or bump) and a respective end-of-range position (to which the motion control system is constrained as discussed supra), e.g. as the motion control system transitions from the (respective, current) operational state toward the respective end-of-range position in response to a rear wheel of the vehicle encountering the respective obstacle.

Similarly, the obstacle-avoiding range of motion of the motion control system may be understood as a distance between the (respective, current) position (of at least one component) of the motion control system (at the time of (initially) encountering a respective obstacle) and the respective end-of-range position (of the at least one component) of the motion control system). The encountering of a respective obstacle may impart a force (on the rear wheel that, in turn, imparts a force) on (the rear frame portion at) the second rotational axis in an upward and rearward direction. An acute angle between the force on (the rear frame portion at) the second rotational axis and an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes may be in the range of 20° to 70°, e.g. in the range of 30° to 60° or in the range of 40° to 50°. Moreover, the motion control system may be configured such that (such) a forward acceleration of the rear frame portion, e.g. when traveling on a (substantially) smooth surface, increases an obstacle- avoiding range of motion of the motion control system. As such, the motion control system may be configured such that a forward acceleration of the rear frame portion, e.g. when traveling on a (substantially) smooth surface, induces a movement of the motion control system toward an end- of-range position opposite the (aforementioned) end-of-range position (toward which the motion control system moves in response to a rear wheel of the vehicle encountering a respective obstacle).

The motion control system may exhibit an instantaneous center of rotation, e.g. as known in the art of mechanical engineering. For example, the instantaneous center of rotation may be at the intersection of a first imaginary line through points at which the first motion control device (pivotally / rigidly) connects to the first and second frame portions, respectively, and a second imaginary line through points at which the second motion control device (pivotally / rigidly) connects to the first and second frame portions, respectively. Similarly, the instantaneous center of rotation may be at the intersection of the slide axis of the sliding element of the first motion control device and an imaginary line through points at which the second motion control device (pivotally / rigidly) connects to the first and second frame portions, respectively.

In the neutral, payload-bearing state, the instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system may be located forward of and above the second rotational axis, e.g. less than 15 cm, less than 10 cm, or less than 5 cm above an imaginary horizontal line through the second rotational axis. As such, the instantaneous center, in the neutral, payload-bearing state, may be located such that a purely forward / horizontal force on the second frame portion at the second rotational axis induces a torque, relative to the instantaneous center, that urges the second rotational axis in a direction that comprises a downward component.

In the neutral, payload-bearing state, a horizontal location of the instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system may be rearward of a (forward-most) connection point of the motion control system and the first frame portion. In the neutral, payload-bearing state, the instantaneous center may be rearward of a forward-most portion of the rear wheel, e.g. less than 10 cm or less than 5 cm of a forward -most portion of the rear wheel. With the instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system in a rearward position, it is closer to a point-of- contact of the rear wheel with the ground. This creates a lower moment of inertia for movement of the rear frame portion and rear wheel about the instantaneous center of rotation meaning less energy is required for equivalent movement as compared to a system with the instantaneous center of rotation farther forward. This allows the rear wheel to trace the ground with less force applied to the rear wheel and to move at a higher frequency to allow the vehicle to travel over an obstacle with less energy loss. This also means that there is less rebound damping required from a shock.

A horizontal location of the instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system may move (continuously) forward as the motion control system transitions from the neutral, payload-bearing state to the second end-of-range position / operating state. A horizontal location of the instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system may remain rearward of a (forward-most) connection point of the motion control system and the first frame portion as the motion control system transitions from the neutral, payload-bearing state to the second end-of- range position / operating state. A horizontal location of the instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system may change by a maximum of less than 20 cm, less than 15 cm or less than 10 cm as the motion control system transitions from the neutral, payload-bearing state to the second end-of-range position / operating state. A vertical location of the instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system may change by a maximum of less than 10 cm, less than 8 cm or less than 5 cm as the motion control system transitions from the neutral, payload-bearing state to the second end-of-range position / operating state.

A horizontal location of the instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system in the neutral, payload-bearing state may likewise be forward of a (forward-most) connection point of the motion control system and the first frame portion. The instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system may be located forward of the first rotational axis defined by the first frame portion, e.g. by at least 5 cm, at least 10 cm or at least 15 cm. The

instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system may be located in (or at a vertical location corresponding to) a lower portion of the first frame portion, e.g. a lowermost 30%, a lowermost 20%, a lowermost 10% or a lowermost 5% of the first frame portion. The

instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system may be located forward of the seat tube. The vehicle component may be configured such that a minimum distance between the instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system and (an extension of) an imaginary straight line coaxial with a driving segment of a chain / belt of the drivetrain is no more than 5 cm, no more than 8 cm or no more than 10 cm. Similarly, the vehicle component may be configured such that a minimum distance between the instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system and (an extension of) an imaginary straight line through the first and second rotational axes is no more than 8 cm, no more than 10 cm or no more than 15 cm.

The motion control system may be configured to induce a motion of the first rotational axis in a direction of a (first) imaginary straight line through an instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system and the second rotational axis in response to a force drawing the second rotational axis toward the first rotational axis. The force may be a tensioning force on a chain / belt of the drivetrain, e.g. a tensioning force on induced by the driving sprocket on a segment of the chain / belt connecting the driving sprocket and the driven sprocket. Similarly, the motion control system may be configured to induce a motion of the first rotational axis in a direction of an imaginary straight line coaxial with a driving segment of a chain / belt of the drivetrain in response to a force drawing the second rotational axis toward the first rotational axis.

As touched upon above, the motion control system may be configured such that, when the rear frame portion is accelerated, e.g. by a driving force of a rear wheel supported by the rear frame portion against the ambient terrain, the motion control system adopts a state of equilibrium by virtue of a geometric arrangement of the motion control system. Moreover, the elements constituting the motion control system may be geometrically arranged such that the elements, in response to a (smooth, substantially neutral / smooth neutral) forward acceleration of the rear frame portion, inherently move to an operating state in which forces imparted onto the motion control system by

· a tensioning of a drivetrain element that transfers driving energy from a driving axle supported by the forward frame portion to a driven axle supported by the rear frame portion,

the forward acceleration of the rear frame portion, and

an acceleration of a payload supported by (a seat support portion of) the forward frame portion

are in equilibrium. Such an operating state may likewise be termed a "state of equilibrium". The motion control system may be configured to adopt / move to the state of equilibrium (by virtue of a geometric arrangement and) with the aid of the energy management device. Similarly, the motion control system may be configured to adopt / move to the state of equilibrium without the aid of the energy management device. The motion control system may be configured to adopt / move to the state of equilibrium without any elements of the vehicle (per se) providing (non- negligible) energy storage and/or (non-negligible) energy damping. The motion control system may be configured to adopt / move to the state of equilibrium without any elements of the motion control system (per se) providing (non-negligible) energy storage and/or (non-negligible) energy damping. In the present context, (non-negligible) energy storage / damping may be understood as a storage / damping of more than 1%, more than 2% or more than 5% of a kinetic energy transferred into the motion control system from the rear frame portion. The motion control system may be configured to adopt / move to the state of equilibrium without any elements of the vehicle (per se), with the exception of the flexing element, providing (non- negligible) energy storage and/or (non-negligible) energy damping. The motion control system may be configured to adopt / move to the state of equilibrium without any elements of the motion control system (per se), with the exception of the flexing element, providing (non- negligible) energy storage and/or (non-negligible) energy damping.

The motion control system may be distinct from and/or devoid of an energy management device (as described supra) such as a spring and/or fluid-based shock absorber. As such, the motion control system may be devoid of an energy storage device.

The motion control system may convert a portion of a propulsive force emanating from at least one of a user and a motor that effects an acceleration of the vehicle into a force sufficient to prevent at least one of a downward motion and a rearward motion of a payload-supporting payload support portion of the forward frame portion as a result of the acceleration. For example, the motion control system, e.g. in the (near) neutral, payload-bearing state, may convert a forward component of a force imparted into the second frame portion at the second rotational axis in reaction to an accelerating driving force of a wheel supported by the second frame portion against the ambient terrain, which driving force emanates from a user / a motor, into a torque that, relative to the instantaneous center of the motion control system, urges the second rotational axis in a direction that comprises a downward component, thus preventing both a downward and a rearward motion of a user-supporting seat support portion of the forward frame portion as a result of the acceleration resulting from the accelerating driving force.

The motion control system may be configured (relative to the first and/or second frame portions) such that, in the (near) neutral, payload-bearing state and/or the state of equilibrium, at least 80%, at least 90% or at least 95% of a forward component of a force imparted (at the second rotational axis) into the second frame portion, e.g. in reaction to a driving force of a wheel supported by the second frame portion against the ambient terrain, is imparted into the first frame portion via the motion control system.

The motion control system may be configured (relative to the first and/or second frame portions) such that, in the (near) neutral, payload-bearing state and/or the state of equilibrium, at least 80%), at least 90% or at least 95% of a kinetic energy imparted into the second frame portion by a forward component of an acceleration force imparted (at the second rotational axis) into the second frame portion, e.g. in reaction to a driving force of a wheel supported by the second frame portion against the ambient terrain, is transmitted (without delay) to the first frame portion (via the motion control system).

The vehicle may be configured such that, in the (near) neutral, payload-bearing state and/or the state of equilibrium, at least 70%, at least 80% or at least 90% of an upward component of a force imparted (at the second rotational axis) into the second frame portion, e.g. in reaction to a driving force of a wheel supported by the second frame portion against the ambient terrain, is imparted (by virtue of the motion control system) into an energy management system, e.g. in a direction that effects compression of a spring of the energy management system.

The various embodiments of the present disclosure having been described above in general terms, the embodiments shown in the Figures will now be elucidated.

FIG. 34A schematically depicts a first exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 100 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 100 comprises a first frame portion 110, a second frame portion 120, a motion control system 130, a front fork 140, a front wheel 150 and a rear wheel 160. First frame portion 110 comprises a top tube 112, a head tube 1 14, a down tube 116 and a seat tube 118 in addition to a seat support portion 115, a bottom bracket region 117 and a bottom bracket shell 119 located in and supported by bottom bracket region 117. Second frame portion 120 comprises an elevated chain stay 124 that supports a rear axle 162 of rear wheel 160. Similarly, front fork 140 supports a front axle 152 of front wheel 150. Motion control system 130 comprises a sliding element 132 and a rigid link 134, rigid link 134 being pivotally connected to first frame portion 110 and second frame portion 120. In the illustrated embodiment, rigid link 134 is pivotally connected to (a forward, lower portion of) second frame portion 120 by means of a pivotal connection 135, and a pivot axis of a pivotal connection of rigid link 134 to first frame portion 110 is coaxial to a rotational axis defined by bottom bracket shell 119. Sliding element 132 encircles an outer circumference of seat tube 118, sliding element 132 thus slidingly engaging seat tube 118 such that sliding element 132 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of seat tube 118. In the illustrated embodiment, sliding element 132 is pivotally connected to (a forward portion of) second frame portion 120 by means of a pivotal connection 133.

FIG. 34B shows a schematic depiction of additional elements of the embodiment of FIG.

34A.

In addition to elements already discussed in the context of FIG. 34A supra, FIG. 34B shows a driving sprocket 182, a driven sprocket 184 and a chain 186 that wraps around two tensioning sprockets 183 as known in the art. FIG. 34B furthermore shows an arrow A representing a direction of a force imparted onto rigid link 134 (constituting a second motion control device of the vehicle) by a tensioning of a drivetrain element in the form of chain 186. FIG. 34B moreover shows an arrow B representing a direction of a force imparted onto rigid link 134 (constituting a second motion control device of the vehicle) by an obstacle-avoiding motion of the second frame portion 120.

FIG. 35 schematically depicts a second exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 200 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above.

In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 200 comprises a first frame portion 210, a second frame portion 220, a motion control system 230, a front fork 240, a front wheel 250 and a rear wheel 260. First frame portion 210 comprises a top tube 212, a head tube 214, a down tube 216 and a lower seat tube portion 218' in addition to a seat support portion 215, a bottom bracket region 217 and a bottom bracket shell 219 located in and supported by bottom bracket region 217. Second frame portion 220 comprises an elevated chain stay 224 that supports a rear axle 262 of rear wheel 260. Similarly, front fork 240 supports a front axle 252 of front wheel 250. Motion control system 130 comprises a sliding element 232 and a rigid link 234, rigid link 234 being pivotally connected to first frame portion 210 and second frame portion 220. In the illustrated embodiment, rigid link 234 is pivotally connected to (a forward, lower portion of) second frame portion 220 by means of a pivotal connection 235, and a pivot axis of a pivotal connection of rigid link 234 to first frame portion 210 is coaxial to a rotational axis defined by bottom bracket shell 219. Sliding element 232 encircles an outer circumference of lower seat tube portion 218', sliding element 232 thus slidingly engaging lower seat tube portion 218' such that sliding element 232 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of lower seat tube portion 218' . In the illustrated embodiment, sliding element 232 is pivotally connected to (a forward portion of) second frame portion 220 by means of a pivotal connection 233.

FIG. 36 schematically depicts a third exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 300 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above.

In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 300 comprises a first frame portion 310, a second frame portion 320, a motion control system 330, a front fork 340, a front wheel 350 and a rear wheel 360. First frame portion 310 comprises a top tube 312, a head tube 314, a down tube 316 and a seat tube 318 in addition to a seat support portion 315, a bottom bracket region 317 and a bottom bracket shell 319 located in and supported by bottom bracket region 317. Second frame portion 320 comprises an elevated chain stay 324 that supports a rear axle 362 of rear wheel 360. Similarly, front fork 340 supports a front axle 352 of front wheel 350. Motion control system 330 comprises a flexing element 336 and a rigid link 334, rigid link 334 being pivotally connected to first frame portion 310 and second frame portion 320. In the illustrated embodiment, rigid link 334 is pivotally connected to (a forward, lower portion of) second frame portion 320 by means of a pivotal connection 335, and a pivot axis of a pivotal connection of rigid link 334 to first frame portion 310 is coaxial to a rotational axis defined by bottom bracket shell 319. A first end of flexing element 336 is pivotally connected to first frame portion 310 by means of a pivotal connection 337 and a second end of flexing element 336 is rigidly connected to second frame portion 320.

FIG. 37 schematically depicts a fourth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 400 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 400 comprises a first frame portion 410, a second frame portion 420, a motion control system 430, a front fork 440, a front wheel 450 and a rear wheel 460. First frame portion 410 comprises a top tube 412, a head tube 414, a down tube 416 and a seat tube 418 in addition to a seat support portion 415, a bottom bracket region 417 and a bottom bracket shell 419 located in and supported by bottom bracket region 417. Second frame portion 420 comprises an elevated chain stay 424 that supports a rear axle 462 of rear wheel 460. Similarly, front fork 440 supports a front axle 452 of front wheel 450. Motion control system 430 comprises an eccentric 438 and a rigid link 434, rigid link 434 being pivotally connected to first frame portion 410 and second frame portion 420. In the illustrated embodiment, rigid link 434 is pivotally connected to (a forward, lower portion of) second frame portion 420 by means of a pivotal connection 435, and a pivot axis of a pivotal connection of rigid link 434 to first frame portion 410 is coaxial to a rotational axis defined by bottom bracket shell 419. Eccentric 438 is rotatably connected to first frame portion 410 via a first rotational axis 439'. Similarly, eccentric 438 is rotatably connected to second frame portion 420 via a second rotational axis 439" (that is offset from first rotational axis 439').

FIG. 38 schematically depicts a fifth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 500 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above.

In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 500 comprises a first frame portion 510, a second frame portion 520, a motion control system 530, a front fork 540, a front wheel 550, a rear wheel 560 and an electric motor 570. First frame portion 510 comprises a top tube 512, a head tube 514, a down tube 516 and a seat tube 518 in addition to a seat support portion 515, a bottom bracket region 517 and a bottom bracket shell 519 located in and supported by bottom bracket region 517. Second frame portion 520 comprises an elevated chain stay 524 that supports a rear axle 562 of rear wheel 560. Similarly, front fork 540 supports a front axle 552 of front wheel 550. Motion control system 530 comprises a sliding element 532 and a rigid link 534, rigid link 534 being pivotally connected to first frame portion 510 and second frame portion 520. In the illustrated embodiment, rigid link 534 is pivotally connected to (a forward, lower portion of) second frame portion 520 by means of a pivotal connection 535, and a pivot axis of a pivotal connection of rigid link 534 to first frame portion 510 is coaxial to a rotational axis defined by bottom bracket shell 519. Sliding element 532 encircles an outer circumference of seat tube 518, sliding element 532 thus slidingly engaging seat tube 518 such that sliding element 532 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of seat tube 518. In the illustrated embodiment, sliding element 532 is pivotally connected to (a forward portion of) second frame portion 520 by means of a pivotal connection 533.

FIG. 39A and 39B schematically depict a sixth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 600 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above. For the sake of better depiction, FIG. 39 A shows vehicle 600 without certain features shown in FIG. 39B that would otherwise obscure certain features of vehicle 600.

In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 600 comprises a first frame portion 610, a second frame portion 620 (not shown in FIG. 39 A), a motion control system 690, a front fork 640, a front wheel 650, a rear wheel 660 and an electric motor 670. First frame portion 610 comprises a top tube 612, a head tube 614, a down tube 616 and a seat tube 618 in addition to a seat support portion 615, a bottom bracket region 617 and a bottom bracket shell 619 located in and supported by bottom bracket region 617. Second frame portion 620 comprises an elevated chain stay 624 that supports a rear axle 662 of rear wheel 660. Similarly, front fork 640 supports a front axle 652 of front wheel 650. In the illustrated embodiment, motion control system 690 comprises a sliding element 692 and a rigid link 694 (likewise not shown in FIG. 39 A), sliding element 692 being slidingly arranged in a lower portion of first frame portion 610, namely in (a lower portion of) seat tube 618 such that sliding element 692 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of seat tube 618. A first end of rigid link 694 is pivotally connected to (a rearward portion of) first frame portion 610 at a pivotal connection 695, and a second end of rigid link 694 is pivotally connected to (a forward portion of) second frame portion 620 at a pivotal connection 697. Sliding element 692 is pivotally connected to (a forward, lower portion of) second frame portion 620 at a pivotal connection 693.

FIG. 40 schematically depicts a seventh exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 700 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above.

In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 700 is depicted in the neutral, payload-bearing state, i.e. in a non-dynamic state bearing payload 750, and comprises a first frame portion 710, a second frame portion 720, a motion control system 790, a front fork 740, a front wheel 750, a rear wheel 760 and an energy management system 780. First frame portion 710 comprises a top tube 712, a head tube 714, a down tube 716 and a seat tube 718 in addition to a seat support portion 715, a bottom bracket region 717 and a bottom bracket shell 719 located in and supported by bottom bracket region 717. Bottom bracket region 717 may house a motor (not shown). Second frame portion 720 comprises an elevated chain stay 724 that supports a rear axle 762 of rear wheel 760. Similarly, front fork 740 supports a front axle 752 of front wheel 750. In the illustrated embodiment, motion control system 790 comprises a sliding element 792 and a rigid link 794, sliding element 792 surrounding and slidingly engaging seat tube 718 such that sliding element 792 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of seat tube 718. A first end of rigid link 794 is pivotally connected to (an upper portion of) bottom bracket region 717 at a pivotal connection 795, and a second end of rigid link 794 is pivotally connected to (a forward, lower portion of) second frame portion 720 at a pivotal connection 797. Sliding element 792 is pivotally connected to (a forward, upper portion of) second frame portion 720 at a pivotal connection 793 external of seat tube 718. Energy management system 780 is pivotally connected to each of first frame portion 710 and second frame portion 720.

FIG. 40B schematically depicts details of the seventh exemplary embodiment of FIG.

40A, in particular a path 799 of the instantaneous center of motion control system 790 as the motion control system transitions from an unladen, neutral state, through the depicted neutral, payload-bearing state, to the second end-of-range state. In the figure, a first position of the instantaneous center of motion control system 790, relative to the first frame portion 710 as a frame of reference, in the unladen, neutral state is designated by reference sign 796. Similarly, a second position of the instantaneous center of motion control system 790, relative to the first frame portion 710 as a frame of reference, in the second end-of-range state is designated by reference sign 798.

Note that the first position 796 of the instantaneous center of motion control system 790 in the unladen, neutral state is rearward of the forward-most connection point of the motion control system 790, that being pivotal connection 793. As the motion control system 790 allows the second frame portion 720 and rear wheel 760 to move with respect to the first frame portion 710, the instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system 790 moves forward, eventually stopping at the second position 798 of the instantaneous center of motion control system 790 in the second end-of-range position. So as the rear wheel 760 of the vehicle 700 traces a path over an obstacle, the instantaneous center of rotation of the motion control system 790 moves along path 799 between the first instantaneous center of rotation 796 and the second instantaneous center of rotation 798, moving continuously forward as the rear wheel 760 moves up and the continuously rearward as the rear when 760 moves back down.

FIG. 40C schematically depicts anti-squat curves of the seventh exemplary embodiment of FIG. 40 A.

In the figure, the horizontal axis represents a percentage of travel, where 0% represents a (full) rise end-of-range position / operating state of the motion control system and 100% represents a (full) sag end-of-range position / operating state of the motion control system. The vertical axis represents the so-called "anti-squat value" indicative of the ability of the chain tension, as a function of the position / operating state of the motion control system, to

compensate sag of the vehicle resulting from acceleration of a payload. The figure depicts three exemplary anti-squat curves, namely a curve A representing the anti-squat values for a 34-tooth (front sprocket) to 12-tooth (rear sprocket) gear ratio, a curve B representing the anti-squat values for a 34-tooth (front sprocket) to 18-tooth (rear sprocket) gear ratio, and a curve C representing the anti-squat values for a 34-tooth (front sprocket) to 42-tooth (rear sprocket) gear ratio. As shown in the figure, the exemplary anti-squat curves exhibit very little deviation, namely on the order of less than 10%, in the range of 10% to 40% travel.

FIG. 41 schematically depicts an eighth exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 800 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above.

In the illustrated embodiment, vehicle 800 comprises a first frame portion 810, a second frame portion 820, a motion control system 890, a front fork 840, a front wheel 850, a rear wheel 860 and an energy management system 880. First frame portion 810 comprises a top tube 812, a head tube 814, a down tube 816 and a seat tube 818 in addition to a seat support portion 815, a bottom bracket region 817 and a bottom bracket shell 819 located in and supported by bottom bracket region 817. Bottom bracket region 817 may house a motor (not shown). Second frame portion 820 comprises an elevated chain stay 824 that supports a rear axle 862 of rear wheel 860. Similarly, front fork 840 supports a front axle 852 of front wheel 850. In the illustrated embodiment, motion control system 890 comprises a sliding element 892 and a rigid link 894, sliding element 892 being partially surrounded by and slidingly arranged inside seat tube 818 such that sliding element 892 is free to slide parallel to a linear longitudinal axis of seat tube 818. A first end of rigid link 894 is pivotally connected to (an upper portion of) bottom bracket region 817 at a pivotal connection 895, and a second end of rigid link 894 is pivotally connected to (a forward, lower portion of) second frame portion 820 at a pivotal connection 897. Sliding element 892 is pivotally connected to (a forward, upper portion of) second frame portion 820 at a pivotal connection 893 external of seat tube 818. Energy management system 880 is pivotally connected to each of first frame portion 810 and second frame portion 820.

FIGS. 42 A to 42 J schematically depict the behavior of an exemplary embodiment of a vehicle 900 in accordance with the present disclosure, e.g. as described above, in particular when encountering an obstacle 972. In the embodiments depicted in FIGS. 42A to 42J, vehicle 900 comprises, inter alia, a first frame portion 910 that supports a payload 950, a second frame portion 920, a motion control system that movably interconnects first and second frame portions 910, 920, and an energy management system 940. The motion control system comprises a flexing element 930' and a rigid link 930", flexing element 930' and rigid link 930" defining an instantaneous center 930" ' of the motion control system as known in the art and discussed supra.

As shown in FIGS. 42A to 42J, a driving force 964 on second frame portion 920 resulting from a driving force of a wheel supported by second frame portion 920 against the ambient terrain 970 acts at a rotational axle of the wheel in a direction perpendicular to an imaginary line 966 interconnecting the rotational axle and the point of contact of the wheel to the ambient terrain 970.

For the sake of simplicity, the following discussion presumes steady state operation aside from the encounter with obstacle 972. Such steady state operation may occur, for example, when cruising on level ground at a steady speed against a significant wind, when evenly climbing a steady incline, or when evenly accelerating on level ground.

In the obstacle-free steady state depicted in FIG. 42A, the motion control system is in the (near) neutral, payload-bearing state and driving force 964 acts in a forward direction that, relative to the instantaneous center 930" ' of the motion control system, acts to rotate the second frame portion 920 in a direction that increases the contact pressure of the wheel to the ambient terrain 970 (i.e. counterclockwise in the figure). (For the sake of simplicity, the remainder of this discussion will only use the terms "clockwise" and "counterclockwise", these terms referring to the corresponding directions in the figures.) Specifically, forward driving force 964 will effect a counterclockwise rotation of second frame portion 920 that, in the illustrated embodiment, tensions both flexing element 930' and rigid link 930". In the case of a chain-driven vehicle, the chain tension, by virtue of the motion control system, will likewise act to rotate the second frame portion 920 in a counterclockwise direction. These forces acting to rotate the second frame portion 920 in a counterclockwise direction will be counteracted by a rearward force acting on the user, e.g. air resistance against the user and/or inertia of the payload, i.e. acceleration of the payload, which rearward force acts to rotate the first frame portion 910 in a counterclockwise direction, which, by virtue of the motion control system, acts to rotate the second frame portion 920 in a clockwise direction. In other words, the motion control system establishes equilibrium between the chain tension force, the acceleration of the payload and driving force 964. Since these forces are in equilibrium via the motion control system, energy management system 940 can remain (substantially) in its neutral state, shifting only to the slight degree necessary for the motion control system to move from the (near) neutral, payload-bearing state to the equilibrium state for the particular forward drive force, chain tension and user acceleration, which, by design, is inevitably close to or within the (near) neutral, payload-bearing state, e.g. within 5% of the total range of travel. As such, forward drive force 964 is energy-efficiently transmitted to first frame portion 910 with minimal motion of energy management system 940, i.e. nearly exclusively through the motion control system, thus obviating the need for either damping or significant (i.e. stiff) elastic energy absorption in the mid-range of travel of energy management system 940. Specifically, in the illustrated embodiment, forward drive force 964 is transmitted to first frame portion 910 via flexing element 930' and rigid link 930" that, in such an operating state, both respond to forward drive force 964 as rigid, tensioned links. Moreover, since the motion control system leverages forward drive force 964 to help counteract the rearward force from the acceleration of payload, the motion control system is less reliant on leveraging the chain tension to support the payload, i.e. to avoid sag and provide so-called "pedal platform", during acceleration.

Upon first encountering obstacle 972, i.e. as soon as the wheel disengages from the ambient terrain 970 of obstacle 972 and solely contacts obstacle 972 as depicted in FIG. 42B, the direction of drive force 964 will shift significantly upward. Relative to the instantaneous center 930"' of the motion control system, this upward drive force 964 will act to rotate second frame portion 920 in a clockwise direction. Since the motion control system is designed to rotate easily in the clockwise direction (in the illustrated embodiment by virtue of a flexing of flexing element 930' in conjunction with a pivoting of rigid link 930"), upward drive force 964 will assist in lifting the wheel to overcome obstacle 972. Since energy management system 940 does not need to bear forward driving forces in the mid-range of travel, i.e. requires neither damping nor significant (i.e. stiff) elastic energy absorption in the mid-range of travel, energy management system 940 does not significantly resist the upward motion of the wheel to overcome obstacle 972. Specifically, the tuning of energy management system 940 can focus substantially on the speed / energy with which energy management system 940 should return the second frame portion 920 and the motion control system to their neutral state after overcoming an obstacle. Moreover, the upward and rearward impulse (along imaginary line 966; not shown) resulting from impact with obstacle 972 will combine with drive force 964 to yield a more upward- pointing force. As such, the impulse of impact with obstacle 972 will likewise contribute to the clockwise rotation of second frame portion 920. As the wheel approaches the zenith of obstacle 972 as depicted in FIGS. 42C and 42D by a clockwise rotation of second frame portion 920 easily permitted by the design of the motion control system and energy management system 940, the direction of driving force 964 will return to a forward direction. Yet due to the change in position of the instantaneous center 930"' resulting from the change in state of the motion control system as second frame portion 920 rotates clockwise to overcome obstacle 972, even a driving force in a forward direction would continue to act to rotate the second frame portion 920 in a clockwise direction. Nonetheless, the wheel retains contact with obstacle 972 since an incipient loss of contact immediately yields a loss of the driving force acting to separate the wheel from obstacle 972, the chain tension (if present) and energy management system 940 providing sufficient counterclockwise rotational force on second frame portion 920 to ensure contact throughout.

As the wheel descends from obstacle 972 as depicted in FIGS. 42E and 42F, driving force 964 adopts a downward slant that, together with (the chain tension and) the restoring force of energy management system 940, acts to rotate the second frame portion 920 in a

counterclockwise direction, thus ensuring that the wheel "hugs" the terrain and actively returning the motion control system to the initial, (near) neutral, payload-bearing state shown in FIG. 42A. Thus, the vehicle quickly returns to the steady state shown in FIG. 42A once the wheel returns to the ambient terrain 970, returning drive force 964 to a forward direction, the motion control system quickly returning to the energy-efficient, equilibrium state.

As schematically illustrated in FIGS. 42G to 42 J, the principles of FIGS. 42 A to 42F work in such a fashion that the forces that act to assist the wheel in overcoming an obstacle 972 increase with the size of the obstacle 972. Specifically, as shown in FIG. 42G and 42H, a larger obstacle 972' will cause driving force 964 to tilt farther upward as the wheel ascends the larger obstacle 972', thus providing a larger rotational force on second frame portion 920 in a clockwise direction. Similarly, as shown in FIGS. 421 and 42J, a larger obstacle 972' will cause driving force 964 to tilt farther downward as the wheel descends the larger obstacle 972', thus providing a larger rotational force on second frame portion 920 in a counterclockwise direction.

In the present disclosure, the verb "may" is used to designate optionality /

noncompulsoriness. In other words, something that "may" can, but need not. In the present disclosure, the verb "comprise" may be understood in the sense of including. Accordingly, the verb "comprise" does not exclude the presence of other elements / actions. In the present disclosure, relational terms such as "first," "second," "top," "bottom" and the like may be used solely to distinguish one entity or action from another entity or action without necessarily requiring or implying any actual such relationship or order between such entities or actions.

In the present disclosure, the term "any" may be understood as designating any number of the respective elements, e.g. as designating one, at least one, at least two, each or all of the respective elements. Similarly, the term "any" may be understood as designating any

collection(s) of the respective elements, e.g. as designating one or more collections of the respective elements, wherein a (respective) collection may comprise one, at least one, at least two, each or all of the respective elements. The respective collections need not comprise the same number of elements.

In the present disclosure, the expression "at least one" is used to designate any (integer) number or range of (integer) numbers (that is technically reasonable in the given context). As such, the expression "at least one" may, inter alia, be understood as one, two, three, four, five, ten, fifteen, twenty or one hundred. Similarly, the expression "at least one" may, inter alia, be understood as "one or more," "two or more" or "five or more."

In the present disclosure, expressions in parentheses may be understood as being optional. As used in the present disclosure, quotation marks may emphasize that the expression in quotation marks may also be understood in a figurative sense. As used in the present disclosure, quotation marks may identify a particular expression under discussion.

In the present disclosure, many features are described as being optional, e.g. through the use of the verb "may" or the use of parentheses. For the sake of brevity and legibility, the present disclosure does not explicitly recite each and every combination and/or permutation that may be obtained by choosing from the set of optional features. However, the present disclosure is to be interpreted as explicitly disclosing all such combinations / permutations. For example, a system described as having three optional features may be embodied in seven different ways, namely with just one of the three possible features, with any two of the three possible features or with all three of the three possible features.

While various embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed and described in detail herein, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes may be made to the configuration, operation and form of the invention without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. In particular, it is noted that the respective features of the invention, even those disclosed solely in combination with other features of the invention, may be combined in any configuration excepting those readily apparent to the person skilled in the art as nonsensical. Likewise, use of the singular and plural is solely for the sake of illustration and is not to be interpreted as limiting. Except where the contrary is explicitly noted, the plural may be replaced by the singular and vice-versa.

The above disclosure may be summarized as comprising the following embodiments. Embodiment 1 : A vehicle, comprising: a forward frame portion; a rear frame portion; and a motion control system that movably interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion, wherein a forward acceleration of said rear frame portion resulting from a driving force imparted by a wheel supported by said rear frame portion imparts a first force onto said motion control system that counters a second force imparted on said motion control system by an acceleration of a payload supported by said forward frame portion as a result of said forward acceleration.

Embodiment 2: The vehicle of Embodiment 1, wherein: said motion control system is movable between a first end-of-range state and a second end-of-range state, said first force urges said motion control system toward a fourth state that differs from said second end-of-range state, and said second force urges said motion control system toward said second end-of-range state.

Embodiment 3 : The vehicle of Embodiment 2, comprising: a drivetrain comprising a drivetrain element, wherein a tensioning of said drivetrain element, regardless of an operating state of said motion control system, imparts a force onto said motion control system that urges said motion control system toward a third state that differs from said second end-of-range state.

Embodiment 4: The vehicle of any one of Embodiments 1-3, wherein: said forward acceleration is a forward acceleration on a smooth level surface.

Embodiment 5: The vehicle of any one of Embodiments 1-5, wherein: said motion control system comprises a first motion control device that movably interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion and a second motion control device that movably interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion.

Embodiment 6: A vehicle, comprising: a forward frame portion; a rear frame portion; a motion control system comprising a first motion control device that movably interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion and a second motion control device that movably interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion; and a drivetrain comprising a drivetrain element, wherein a tensioning of said drivetrain element imparts a first force onto said second motion control device, and a force imparted onto said motion control system by an obstacle-avoiding motion of said rear frame portion imparts a second force onto said second motion control device that is no more than 45° from perpendicular to said first force.

Embodiment 7: The vehicle of Embodiment 6, wherein: said second force is no more than 30° from perpendicular to said first force.

Embodiment 8: The vehicle of Embodiment 6 or 7, wherein: said first force is a tensioning force that tensions said second motion control device between a first connection point to said first frame portion and a second connection point to said second frame portion, and said second force is a pivoting force that pivots said second motion control device relative to at least one of said first connection point and said second connection point.

Embodiment 9: A vehicle, comprising: a forward frame portion; a rear frame portion; and a mechanically self-stabilizing motion control system that movably interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion.

Embodiment 10: The vehicle of Embodiment 9, wherein: said motion control system, by virtue of a geometric arrangement of said motion control system relative to said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion, adopts, in response to a forward acceleration of said rear frame portion resulting from a driving force imparted by a wheel supported by said rear frame portion, a self-stabilized operating state in which forces imparted onto said motion control system by a tensioning of a drivetrain element that transfers driving energy from a driving axle supported by said forward frame portion to a driven axle supported by said rear frame portion, said forward acceleration of said rear frame portion, and an acceleration of a payload supported by said forward frame portion are in equilibrium.

Embodiment 11 : The vehicle of Embodiment 9 or 10, wherein: said motion control system comprises a first motion control device that movably interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion and a second motion control device that movably

interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion, said motion control system is a 4-bar linkage, a portion of said forward frame portion constituting a first bar of said 4-bar linkage, said first motion control device constituting a second bar of said 4-bar linkage, a portion of said rear frame portion constituting a third bar of said 4-bar linkage, and said second motion control device constituting a fourth bar of said 4-bar linkage.

Embodiment 12: The vehicle of Embodiment 11, wherein: a first end of said first motion control device is pivotally connected to said forward frame portion, a second end of said first motion control device is pivotally connected to said rear frame portion, a first end of said second motion control device is pivotally connected to said forward frame portion, and a second end of said second motion control device is pivotally connected to said rear frame portion.

Embodiment 13 : The vehicle of any one of Embodiments 5-8, 11 and 12, wherein: said first motion control device connects to said rear frame portion at a first location, and said second motion control device connects to said rear frame portion at a second location that is a fixed distance from said first location.

Embodiment 14: The vehicle of Embodiment 3 or 11, wherein: said drivetrain element transfers driving energy from a driving axle supported by said forward frame portion to a driven axle supported by said rear frame portion.

Embodiment 15: A vehicle, comprising: a forward frame portion; a rear frame portion; and a motion control system that movably interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion, wherein said motion control system converts a portion of a propulsive force emanating from at least one of a user and a motor that effects an acceleration of said vehicle into a force sufficient to prevent at least one of a downward motion and a rearward motion of a payload-supporting payload support portion of said forward frame portion as a result of said acceleration.

Embodiment 16: A vehicle, comprising: a forward frame portion; a rear frame portion defining a second rotational axis; and a motion control system that movably

interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion, wherein in a neutral, payload-bearing state, at least 90% of a forward component of a driven acceleration force imparted at said second rotational axis into said second frame portion is imparted into said first frame portion via said motion control system.

Embodiment 17: A vehicle, comprising: a forward frame portion; a rear frame portion defining a second rotational axis; and a motion control system that movably

interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion, wherein on a smooth level surface, at least 90% of a forward component of a driven acceleration force imparted at said second rotational axis into said second frame portion is imparted into said first frame portion via said motion control system.

Embodiment 18: The vehicle of any one of Embodiments 15 to 17, wherein: said motion control system is devoid of an energy storage device.

Embodiment 19: A vehicle, comprising: a forward frame portion that supports s driving sprocket; a rear frame portion that supports a driven sprocket; and a motion control system that movably interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion, wherein an anti-squat value of said motion control system for said driving sprocket and said driven sprocket is no more than 120% and no less than 100% in the range of operating states ranging from 10% to 40% sag.

Embodiment 20: A vehicle, comprising: a forward frame portion that supports s driving sprocket; a rear frame portion that supports a driven sprocket; and a motion control system that movably interconnects said forward frame portion and said rear frame portion, wherein an anti-squat value of said motion control system for said driving sprocket and said driven sprocket varies by no more than 10% in the range of operating states ranging from 10% to 40% sag.