Stock shocks will give you the best ride. I did a coffee test with my new truck with 5,000 miles - coffee in the holder with no lid for 3 straight days ( of coarse a towel under it)- coffee spilled out in the exact same spot each day. I replaced stock with bilsteins and did the same test and coffee spilled more than 3 times. I posted the results here and people replyed the bilsteins will be a stiffer ride.....so if you want smoother ....stick with stock....if you want stiffer .. bilsteins. I thought i was going to get a great ride with bilsteins....i put my stock ones back on and will save the new ones until the stock ones wear out. Just my opinion.
I have a 2002 F-250 CC V10 4X4. I replaced the shocks about a year ago because I thought they were warn out. I put Bilsteins on and it did nothing to improve the ride. Maybe a little stiffer, but barely enough to notice.
Hind sight 20/20, waste of money. There was nothing wrong with the factory shocks.
I'm please with the ride my Reflex shocks have. I have stiffer springs in the front, and the old ride was very bouncy. Granted whatever shocks were on there were probably stock with 160k on it.
That is where shock comparison is a tough battle. If you took a new truck, you probably wouldn't find much difference in shocks. The real difference comes in when you replace worn shocks. In that case, even a cheap generic shock will seem like it it worlds better than the "stock" shock.
That being said, on many vehicles that typically are "Bouncy" i've installed the reflexes and they seem to do a nice job of reducing the bounciness without making it overly stiff.
Many people have noted that the bilsteins are stiffer but offer much improved control over stock, even in a good apples to apples comparison. Even the reflexes are supposed to be a "stiffer" shock, that is direct from Tenneco (the manufacturers of Monroe, rancho and some other brands). I still think it has a really good ride on all the vehicles I've put them on recently and the customer feedback is great.
I replaced stock shocks with Bilsteins on my 02 supercab 7.3 4x4. I agree with the other posts...Bilsteins are stiffer and stock shocks are smoother. Borderline waste of money, but hey...they have lifetime warranty.