Saturday, March 2, 2013

Review: Spyderco Tenacious [Pocket Knife]

The Tenacious is one of those knives that are so well known and liked that I wanted to carry it a good long time before writing a review that would give it justice. I wanted to understand its strengths and weaknesses before unleashing my fanboy fury.


About Spyderco


Spyderco Tenacious in the great outdoorsSpyderco is an American cutlery company which is well regarded for their high quality and distinctive designs. Every knife they make has the distinctive hole in the blade. Different Spyderco models are made in different countries, but even their most budget Chinese models are superb. Higher end models like the Para Military 2 and the Manix are made in Golden, Colorado.



Product Description

Price: About $35 online

This is the most popular model of their line of Chinese made pocket knives. The lineup consists of the Tenacious, Persistence and Ambitious, which all feature 8Cr13MoV, leaf shaped, flat ground blade and G10 scales. Spyderco knives have a distinctive look, and the Tenacious looks like its more expensive brethren.

The Tenacious has a solid reputation among knife enthusiasts and is considered by many like me to be one of the best value pocket knives out there.

My review sample was purchased from Amazon.com over a year ago-before we even discovered Prime. I ordered it with a gift card and it took almost 2 weeks to arrive; yikes.

Official Specs 


- 7.75-inch total length
- 4.438-inch length when closed
- 3.375-inch blade length
- 8CR13MOV blade steel
- 0.125-inch blade thickness
- Four-ounce weight
- 0.5-inch hole diameter

NOTE: My scale shows 4.2 ounces with the clip.

Overall Design


This is a large, steel skeletonized, framelock knife, with G10 handles and a beefy, thick, flat ground blade. The handle has a finger groove but no real choil to choke up on it with. Like most Spyderco knives, the Tenacious is easy to open one handed.

Where their FRN (fiberglass reinforced nylon) knives feature minimalist designs, their line of Chinese folders spares no excuse to give you more steel. You might be paying less with this line of knives, but you wouldn't know it by how much knife you actually get.

Blade


The blade is the typical Spyderco leaf shaped blade, with a full flat grind and a more prominent than usual "spidey hole." It also has a larger than usual laser etched spider logo and fairly aggressive jimping on the back.

The Chinese 8Cr13MoV steel used is nothing to write home about, but you get a lot of it, and it holds a decent edge. There's no swedge on the back of the blade like other models. Probably an excuse to give you more steel.

Since the entire knife is a little fatter than some of their other models, the blade on the Tenacious has more belly than even most of their knives.

The blade on my review sample came with a good edge on it.

Handle


The handle is made of G10 scales clad to the steel liner. There's a recessed area near the thumb hole on each side of the handle, which serves as a finger groove with the knife opened. The recess isn't the same on both sides, though. I'm right handed but I couldn't imagine the ergonomics would be any different for a lefty.

The ergonomics of the handle are almost perfect for my medium size hands. It has a sure grip, which is helped by the jimping on the liner. The texturing on the G10 is just right: not too aggressive. The scales are a little on the thin side, but plenty sufficient.

I'm not sure if I completely like the feel of the handle with the clip on. It would probably have a better feel without the clip, but the knife is so large, it's one of the few I prefer to carry with a clip, so this is one of the few knives I use frequently that still has the clip attached.

The lanyard hole is steel lined, which also lends extra strength to the steel skeleton.

Clip


The clip is a solid steel 4 way clip. It can go tip up or tip down carry for a righty or a lefty. Even knife enthusiasts are divided over tip up and tip down carry, so this "have it your way" philosophy of the clip for this series is one of the main reasons they are so popular.

This line of knives has a solid clip, in contrast to most of their other lines like their Japanese FRN knives, which all feature wire clips. I'm not normally a big fan of clips, but this knife is a little bulky for pocket carry, and plus, it's a great clip. It seems like most of these types of EDC knives have too tight a clip, but this one is strong but easy to bend for putting on your belt.

This is one of the few knives in my collection that I've left the clip on.

Locking Mechanism


This line of knives uses a liner lock mechanism, as opposed to their FRN line which all use back locks. Having a steel frame gives the knife a more solid structure than a typical back lock knife, but it comes at the expense of weight. This thing weighs as much as 4 Dragonflies, for about double the blade surface.

The lockup is smooth as silk on my sample. I seemed to be cursed lately with the lockups on some of these budget knives I'm buying, but the lockup on my Tenacious compares well to any knife in my collection.

Fit and Finish


The fit and finish would be excellent if this were a $100 knife. But considering the fact that this is a $35 knife, it's all the more impressive. Blade: perfectly centered with a good edge. Machining: perfect. Clip: perfect. G10: Above average.

It's really hard to find anything to nitpick with my sample as far as fit and finish goes. The body screws look a little cheap, though I tested them and they are functional. This kind of fit and finish isn't accidental, and shows what the better Chinese companies like Sanrenmu are capable of producing when they really try.

Usability


It's a little big for me personally for every day carry, but if I'm doing serious work, or I'm camping or in the woods, the Tenacious is usually clipped to my belt alongside my Leatherman Wingman.

The good thing about a larger knife is that it does anything an EDC knife can can do, but lots of things it can't do or isn't ideal for, like food prep, or carving your wife's name onto a tree with a heart.

I'm not into knives as self defense weapons, but if you are, this is probably a decent knife for self defense.

Disassembly


This knife seems to have an identity crises when it comes to the hardware holding it together. Even though it's made in China, the clip and pivot screw both use standard, inch-based hex screws. But keep your toolbox open, because you'll need a Torx head screwdriver to take the body screws off.

Clip screws: 5/64 Standard Hex
Pivot screw: 1/16 Stanard Hex
Body screws: T7 Torx

Conclusions


There's a reason this knife is so popular, and why reviews like this one drone on about how awesome it is. That's because not only is it seriously awesome, it's also 35 bucks. The Tenacious, along with their two brothers, are probably the best dollar for dollar value you can get with a pocket knife.

I like having a larger pocket knife like this one in my collection, even if it's a tank. It's a little big for EDC for me personally, but I know people who love to EDC larger knives. But when I head out camping, I throw the Dragonfly in a drawer and clip this one on my belt. It's served me well as a utility / camp knife for over a year, and it's still as good as the day I bought it.

Gallery

From top: Spyderco Tenacious, Navy K-628, Spyderco Dragonfly
From top: Spyderco Tenacious, Navy K-628, Spyderco Dragonfly

Spyderco Tenacious and Navy K-628, folded
I wonder if the Tenacious is made in the same factory as the Navy K-628?

Spyderco Tenacious shown with Spyderco Ladybug
Shown with its much smaller sibling, the Ladybug

Spyderco Tenacious on Scale
Here is the real cost of all that steel

Spyderco Tenacious stuck in tree
I thought about trying to throw it...

Spyderco Tenacious showing pocket clip closeup
Closeup of the Tenacious, folded. Notice the beefy clip


Spyderco Tenacious China stamp
One of the better Chinese made knives


Spyderco Tenacious closeup spidey hole
Hopefully this picture gives you an idea for how solid this knife looks and feels

Spyderco Tenacious closeup back of knife
It's got a nice, robust (and heavy) frame

Spyderco Tenacious closeup of spider logo
As if anyone who sees it has to ask..

Spyderco Tenacious another closeup of clip
Another closeup of clip, which also has the laser etched spider logo

Spyderco Tenacious shown with Leatherman Wingman multi-tool
Shown with the Leatherman Wingman. Both around $30, and both amazing values!

My review sample had an excellent fit and finish
Spyderco Tenacious disassembly with tools
Disassembly tools - clip and pivot are standard inches!

Spyderco Tenacious shown Ka-Bar Becker BK14 Fixed Blade and Sunwayman M20C Flashlight
Shown with my Ka-Bar Becker BK14. Both have similar sized blades






2 comments:

  1. There's a fourth knife in this series....the Resilience....which is the largest of the four.

    Also, don't forget to heat up those clip screws with a soldering iron before trying to turn them with an Allen wrench. The screws are tipped with Loctite, and you'll probably strip the heads if you don't heat them first. I wanted tip up carry when I bought my first Tenacious, so I had to change the clip. I stripped out 2 of the 3 screws, and ended up having to cut slots in them with a Dremel so I could get them out with a flat screwdriver. Spyderco sent me free replacements, but I learned a lesson when I later purchased the Persistence and Resilience.

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