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The ShapeShifter doesn't change any shock settings, the air pressure and damper settings remain the same, so yes the shock is exactly as active in either mode. What the ShapeShifter does is move the upper eyelet position relative to the rocker. This raises the bottom bracket by 15 mm, which steepens the head angle by 1.5° to 64.5°. This also changes the leverage ratio to reduce travel to 140 mm, which due to the change in leverage ratio also feels much firmer. In my opinion, all of those changes are exactly what you'd want. Some may still want a Climb Switch to make the Strive even more efficient on smooth climbs, but I didn't find myself wishing for a Climb Switch, the Strive in Pedal Mode was plenty efficient for me.
For additional amount of service work, I'm not sure it's that much extra effort. Pull the ShapeShifter shock once year and send it in to Fox at the same time as the rear shock.
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