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The Optic is an aggressive trail bike and this link leans into that hard. Pinkbike has said "Geometry can let you go fast, but don't forget that you only have 125mm..." This lets you forget about that last little bit.
The Cascade Components link for the Optic increases progression from 17% to 23% while bumping rear wheel travel up to 130mm. The increase in progression and slight bump in wheel travel lets this thing smooth the little stuff out like never before but without losing its efficiency. On big impacts it resists bottoming even more.
More progression allows a spring to feel softer at the beginning of travel and stiffer as it is compressed. On the trail, this increase in progression provides better traction and small bump compliance while simultaneously making the bike harder to bottom out. As a result, riders no longer have to compromise by running their rear suspension too soft for better traction or too stiff to avoid bottoming out.
Although we tend to focus more on descending, we recognize that the Optic is still a trail bike. Because a trail bike needs to be able to climb well, we made sure to maintain the excellent pedaling characteristics of the Optic so you can still take the bike on the longest rides imaginable.
While shocks are getting increasingly tunable, there are still some limitations with volume reducers, progressive springs and compression tuning - none of which can recreate the feel and performance of the linkage. Because the link is designed around the Optic's stock shock, there is no need to purchase a different shock or have a custom shock tune done to experience the benefits of a linkage. The link can be installed at home with basic bike maintenance tools in about 20 minutes.