I ran my Stumpjumper with 160 Lyriks and 150 Revs - both of which were good. Lyriks add a certain unburstable nature to descending and the Revs were very light. 160mm is also not the best for steep technical climbing unless they can be dropped with dual position of u-turn - but thats just me and perhaps what I like to ride.
However, 140mm Marzocchi 44 RC3 Ti were much much better in everyway. Bigger is not always better.
One other mod is to buy an Evo shock as these have shorter length and longer stroke - we are talking a couple of mm - but it makes a difference to travel and geometry with more bounce and slackness. You also get an RP23 instead of a Triad or whatever.
Not sure how strong you mean by strong but Mavic 521s, 10mm bolt up rear, SLX double and dual ply tyres was good for smashing Lakeland terrain. But it is more flexible than bigger bikes like a Pitch.
Oh and it wasn't really that light at 32-33lbs
I wouldn't of had a reason to change bikes if it hadn't been nicked...