I think this study is a lot like comparing a full suspensions climbing ability to a hard tail.
A car, truck, or motorcycle with suspension will outclimb a comparable vehicle with no suspension.
In theory at least, a full suspension MTB should out climb a hardtail.
Most cyclists will agree they would rather ride a hard tail, for its climbing ability over a full suspension. I agree with this.
For overall comfort and ride I chose a full suspension.
I also agree that my fat tires will out perform a skinny one over the terrain I like to ride.
I disagree that a fat tire will roll easier than a skinny one at the tire pressure they are intended to run at.
In theory yes, and in practice on rough terrain yes. first lets call it pedaling instead of climbing because how well a bike pedals doesnt matter what angle the terrain your on is.
Here is what we need to relize. the best propedal systems/VPP technolgy still dont climb smoother terrain as well as hardtail rider who has the ability to stand.
stand up on hardtail and pedal, its goes, its goes fast. There is no loss of power from suspension bound/rebound. though in a couple rough spots and even still the hardtail rider is acting like the rear suspension and can be more active than even the best rear suspension design. standing up is not effcient over the long haul though.
stand up on any FS bike even with a good design and propedal its going to bob there is going to be loss of power. some can pedal standing better than other but no matter what its not going to be as fast as standing hardtail rider.
no lets have both riders sit down, there is no reason given equal weight, tires, riders trail. that even on a smooth trail that either bike should 'pedal' better.
Now if you add some small obstacle, the FS ride can pedal though them where as the HT rider has to break stride to react. add in tons of roughness and the FS rider will have much easier time pedaling though and will be faster.
The reason why a gas powered dirt bike doesnt bob is because relative to a human body they dont produce as much low RPM torque, 150 rpm candence on the pedals is VERY fast for human to be pedaling, most will fall alot slower than that. slower RPM and bigger torque peaks over each revolution are the reason for suspension 'bob' take away the human and the FS bike is fast everytime. Obvisoually a pointless prospect. But comparing a low torque, high power 9,000 rpm dirt bike motor to high torque, low power 100 rpm human 'motor" is obvisoually not apples to apples, its not even apples to oranges.
so untill we figure out a away for a shock to 'know' whats a pedaling compression and whats a bump on the trail. this is how its going to be.
standing a HT will be faster on easy terrain.
sitting a FS will be faster on rougher terrrain.
both riders sitting on smoother terrain is nearly equal