Finally, A Note On Super Low Leverage
Low leverage rates also get big play these days, and we've tried to figure out why. Our latest V10 uses 2.75" of stroke to get 10 inches of vertical wheel travel. Blind back to back testing with longer stroke shocks on prototypes wasn't enough to convince anyone it was worth the weight penalty. Shock durability hasn't been a problem for our bikes, even for Nathan Rennie (although, one potential problem with high leverage ratios is for riders that are up in the well over 200 lb. range, and can't get springs that are large enough weight to fit in there). Our latest Heckler redesign changed from a 200 i2i, 57mm stroke shock to a 216 i2i, 63.5mm stroke shock because it really made a substantial difference in bump feel. The additional half inch of shock length apparently lets the shock designers get stroke over two inches that feels better for a 145mm travel package. It can make tuning of damping characteristics more difficult for lightweight riders (under 140 lbs) however, as the spring rates drop very low, and the damping adjustment range available with the shock may not be sufficient.
We continue to try different shock lengths on different bikes, but won't use something just because it's the cool thing to do.