Re my friend with the Talon X, he has done nothing yet. He is pretty much locked in on the Bandit Tender Springs, in spite of what I think are pretty neutral reviews on the forum. I indicated adding the 4-5" long Bandit Tender springs still left him with a really stiff lower spring which occupies about 15" of the total shock length of 23" with the wheels hanging. Given how stiff the lowers are, I'm guessing a large part of the preload compression will be on the Bandit springs, leaving little "soft" travel range.
I spent a day last week with another friend who also has a Talon X. He got the $1600 treatment from Shock Therapy with all new springs and valve rework. He said he bottomed out on things that no one else did. When he wrote the check, Shock Therapy asked him to describe his riding style, passenger weight, and cargo weight (which should have been enough). However, the location of the preload and crossover rings exactly matched what ST has on their YouTube video. Do they really tune the spring length and rates plus the shock valving to each machine? Also, ST makes a great claim that their springs don't sag like OEM. Then in the next breath, they say you MAY (must?) adjust the preload after riding 150 miles or so. Why doesn't ST take that into account on the initial adjustments?
Many people talk about ride height. I can't measure that very precisely, so I use how much the shock rod protrudes out of the body with the vehicle sitting, and with wheels off the ground. Anyway, when I looked at my friend's X, it was about 2" low in the rear. Measured my way, there was about 3" from the bottom of the shock body to the end of the spring. That translates into about 6" wheel travel out of a stated 15". With the shocks hanging, there is 8" from shock body to spring end. This says there was 5" of shock rod inside the body unable to be used when you hit a rock ledge, log, etc. So I added another 2" of preload. Then we went on a ride and he didn't bottom out once (nor did I in my 1000R).
Re some guidance on springs for your parents, I'm going to guess they've somewhat conservative (I'm, 75, but have no problem pinning the throttle now and then). So I'm thinking a relatively soft setup. Shock setting can make up somewhat.
I've never done this from scratch. I've replaced some springs from a starting baseline. Perhaps someone who has done this can weigh in. There are some really smart people on this forum!
First, get crossover rings so you can adjust the combined spring rate. Without them, you have a constant spring rate through the whole range of shock travel, even with two springs. ST added them to my friend's shocks. I've seen insane prices from ST and others up to $50. Come on, they're threaded aluminum rings that are made by the thousand! I've seen them for $7. Confirm they fit your shocks.
With dual springs, when they initially compress, the combined rate is half of the individual rate (if the two springs are the same rate). When the spring compression goes far enough that the spring divider (between the two springs) hits the crossover ring, the upper spring cannot compress anymore. From this point on, the spring rate is that of the lower spring by itself. Fox says my upper and lower spring rates are the same, 250 lbs/inch. And I'm happy with that, running on the softest shock setting (#1). I've put grease on the piston rod to see how far the shock travels. With the preload I have, it wipes off most, but not all of the grease, with the crossover rings set to limit about the last 1" of travel.
A number of places say that the top spring is normally about 20% shorter than the lower. That matches the ST setup almost exactly. With the shocks hanging free, my friend's springs are 8" on top and 11 1/4" on bottom.
The best deal on springs I've found is LandrumSprings. Their Gold springs for your 2.5" diameter shocks are $39 for an assortment of spring rates and lengths. There may be better deals around. Barring further discovery, you could do a 10" and 8", or two 10" with 250 lb/inch.
I don't have a spring compressor so used two ratchet straps as shown on YouTube. This worked great with my wife while doing our own springs. Doing this with my friend showed you need to be careful not to let the straps slip and overlap. When you try to release, they don't! I bought straps from Harbor Freight that have a two finger type end, rather than a hook. This lets you get into the space between the upper coils and the shock body.
In a perfect case, you might find someone on the forum that has already experimented and might have some springs you could try. If you'd like to chat, PM me.