Looks good man--not that you can tell that much from that *ONE MEASLY PIC*!
Let's see if I can shine a little light on the subject:
Back in 2005 I asked Devin Lenz to create a 'long travel' 29"er. The 5" travel Behemoth is what came from that, and while forks, rims, and tires took a few years to 'catch up', it was (and is) still a very capable bike.
By late 2006 we'd realized the need for shorter chainstays and a titch more travel, so Devin debuted the LunchBox with 17.2" stays and 6" of squish. It was the longest travel production bike for years, and to this day there are few 29"ers with a rear end that approaches the short/sportiness of it.
I rode that original LunchBox *everywhere*. It is not a stretch to say that that bike taught me how to ride aggressive terrain with confidence.
And although it'd be better than 5 years until any other manufacturer came close to going this short out back, Devin and I kept wondering "What if?"
That is, what if we went even shorter?
The limiting factor was always the front derailleur--and until XX1 arrived we were unwilling to lose the friendly gears needed to crawl up the rockies. Once I had a bit of time on XX1 and saw the potential, I installed a writ-large bug in Devin's ear to go as short as he could go while still maintaining the geometry that makes this chassis so capable.
We put the first prototype under several pro racers--from enduro to DH to ultra-endurance. We took their feedback and added it to a growing pile. Then we unleashed our own non-professional selves on it. In testing we didn't limit it to 'one setup'--we used both coil forks and air, 6 different kinds (and tunes) of rear shock from the Monarch Plus to the Vivid Air, CCDB-A to DHX-A to the Vivid coil. We ran it with different combos of rim and tire, both tubed and tubeless, fiddled with the cockpit reach and rise, and used the "old" LunchBox leverage ratio and spring curve as mere springboards to suggest where we might start to seek perfection with the new one.
In short, we took our time and ticked every box until we were sure we had it right. And then Devin went into production.
It is not a stretch to say that this is *the* single most capable *and* fun bike I've ever ridden. It does everything I ask of it really, really well, from climbing steep chunkies to manualing at 20mph through Moab ledges, to dropping the occasional 10' huck that I've somehow become convinced is a good idea. I'm a long ways from able to be objective about it, obviously--because it's the bike I've always wanted and it's the bike I've been asking for.
We knew that going shorter out back was going to unleash a manualing machine on the descents--and it has. What is most surprising, still, on every ride, is how much better it climbs (both seated and standing) relative to, well, anything else we've tried. It is honestly the most adept climber I've ever swung a leg over.
Need to get back to work--will try to check in later to answer a few questions.