I personally don't think that the brand name is as important as the features of your replacement shock, and whether or not it's properly set up for you and your needs. Preload adjustment and easily accessible compression/rebound dampening are the two "must haves". (I can't speak for progressive rate springs on the rear, but I am very happy with the results I've had at the front so this might also be something to consider.) Any features beyond this might be useful, but given the limited travel of the suspension and the limited lean/sportiness of the bike it's probably not worth the extra cost except for a very limited percentage of riders.
Preload has one purpose only. It is to correct the loaded compression (rider sitting on bike) of the suspension. This puts the suspension at the best possible starting point, which allows the suspension to react properly to bumps AND depressions. This is the biggest problem with the stock suspension. Heavier riders use up most of the travel simply by sitting on it. I'm guessing that lighter riders don't compress it enough, which doesn't allow for enough travel in the opposite direction to drop into depressions. Too much preload is just as problematic as too little. To adjust preload, you can measure sag or you can measure the actual compression of the shock. I prefer the latter, with a target of approximately 30%. Preload does not change spring rate. If you cannot add/remove enough preload to get to the proper sag you have the wrong spring. Where you sit (forward or back), peg position, and how you sit (upright or leaning forward) can also all have effects on this adjustment so you should never just rely on factory presets.
Compression/rebound dampening (usually combined except for ultra high end units) will be what provides plushness or stiffness, and will effectively be what is used to minimize bottoming out. In simple terms, it "changes the spring rate". There is no perfect setting for this on the bike. It is more dependent on:
- the roads you are riding on and how rough or smooth they are.
- whether you ride it like a cruiser or a sport bike.
- due to the limited suspension travel, what you deem to be an acceptable balance between bottoming out vs a stiffer suspension.
Road conditions and riding styles can change from trip to trip, so this setting can be adjusted to accommodate the changes. On my bike with an M-shock I can add or remove enough dampening to achieve the extremes of feeling like a hardtail or being so soft it bottoms out on anything larger than a pebble. This adjustability along with a stiffer spring is probably why the Fox unit is an adequate fix for many despite not having preload. Where you sit (forward or back), peg position, and how you sit (upright or leaning forward) can also all have effects on this adjustment so you should never just rely on factory presets.
Having said this, the stock unit works well for some because they either fit into the workable range of the shock as is, or have made adjustments in body position or seat placement to put themselves into the range. e.g. A heavier rider could move the seat forward to reduce the foot pounds applied via the floating bracket, lean forward on the bars slightly, and have mid pegs to allow their legs to work as a secondary suspension.