re: chainstay/chainring clearance and chainsuck.
chainsuck is a symptom of worn out components, and a chain that's too slack. it's natures way of telling you to spend some time and money on bike maintenance you cheapskate. (guilty as charged)
i had a bit o chainsuck during my first ride (new chain, old granny ring), and i din't notice anything worse than any other bike would suffer. the chain wasn't trapped between anything, or owt like that.
it's not an issue as far as i'm concerned. you'll be missing out on a great bike if your main reason for not buying one is concern over chainsuck.
Re: captain bastard and climbing,
it climbs better than my old enduro, i know that. i suspect mainly because the cockpit is a bit shorter, i can get more weight over the front wheel to keep it down. it's very good for technical climbing. with the 120mm links and pro-pedal on, it really is like a hardtail. with the 150mm links and pro-pedal off/low and it's much more active, but that gives you more grip than a hardtail cos the wheel can track over stuff.
just to prove i'm not one of Cotic's minions, here to spread propaganda, i don't think it's perfect, i think the back end would look more elegant if the seatstays pointed at the axle not the pivot, and the bracing for the pivot under the top tube is a little 'functional', but it's mostly hidden, and it works.
has anyone ridden an Ellsworth Moment? - that was the other frame i was looking at, and i'd be interested to hear how they comare...