Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Review: SanRenMu ZB-681 [Pocket Knife]

These SanRenMu pocket knives are like crack to me. They are well designed, well built, and (most
SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Product View
importantly) dirt cheap, making them a great value. All the models that I know of are under $20. Sure, they take 20-45 days to arrive, but it's not like I'm desperate for another knife, so the wait is no problem. My review sample was purchased from Fasttech and took about 30 days from the time I ordered until the time I held it my hand. They shipped it Singapore post supposedly due to new shipping restrictions on knives.


Product Description

Price: Around $7

This is a small-ish EDC type pocket knife which features a drop point blade likely made of 8Cr13MoV Chinese steel with a G10 handle and a right-handed, tip-up carry clip. It utilizes a typical back lock mechanism with steel liners on each side. The blade features some jimping on the spine. This model is definitely on the smaller side of EDC knives I own, which is fine because there are times I can't or don't want to carry a bigger blade.

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Multi-View Open
SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Multi-View Closed

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Facing Blade
SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Facing Handle




Official Specs (From Fasttech)


  • Blade length: 5.92cm
  • Blade width: 1.43cm
  • Blade thickness: 0.2mm
  • Folding total length: 7.44cm
  • Unfolding total length: 13.3cm
  • Handgrip width: 1.42cm
  • Handgrip is made from aluminium alloy with clip
  • Great portable knife for outdoor or daily use


Initial Impressions


It's hard to believe how nice this knife looks for the $7 I paid for it. With a good edge and a tip-up carry configuration right out the box, it's pretty obvious that SRM is in tune with its customer base. Lately there has been a concern for all the fake SRM products flooding the market, but as far as I can tell, this is the real deal. 

Blade


Fasttech does not specify the blade steel, but it's very likely to be made of the standard 8Cr13MoV. The blade features the typical hollow ground, drop point style you'd expect on a small pocket knife. There are thumb studs on both sides and jimping on the spine. The blade on mine came with a very good edge and perfect centering.

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Blade 1

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Blade 2

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Blade 3

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Blade 4

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Blade 5

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Blade 6

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Blade Centered


Handle


The 681 features G10 scales sandwiching a steel liner on both sides. The scales feature a textured, grippy area with a smooth area running about 50/50 on both sides. I would've preferred texturing over the entire handle, but it's sufficient and looks nice.

Ergonomically the handle is a little small for my medium sized hands. It reminds me a little bit of the Spyderco Dragonfly: lots of knife for the size, but a little awkward to hold.

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Handle 1

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Handle 2

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Handle 3

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Handle 4

Clip


The clip comes configured for right-handed tip-up carry and can be removed but not configured. You get the clip one way or take it off; those are your two options. Since this is how I prefer it configured, it works out very well for me. 

Clipped to my pocket, this thing is light; I barely notice it in my pocket. 


SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Clip

Lock


The back lock is solid--probably more solid than it needs to be. Mine opens one handed with the thumb studs and has a good lockup. I don't often see a lockback type knife with full steel liners, and I like it. The full liners would probably be too heavy on something like the Dragonfly, but the 681 is light enough to where it doesn't seem to be an issue.

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Back Lock

Usability


This is a little on the small side for me to EDC most of the time. I really like this model, but it's not that easy to open one handed and the blade is a little small for common tasks I use a knife for. But the main reason I bought it was to take it on road trips to places where larger knives aren't appreciated or even legal. But as far as opening packages and other basic cutting/slicing tasks, it's a lot of knife for its diminutive size.

video

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - One Handed Opening 1

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - One Handed Opening 2

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - One Handed Opening 3

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - One Handed Opening 4



Conclusions


This is a great little pocket knife that I plan on carrying with me when it's not possible or advisable to carry a larger knife. I would have no problem busting this one out in the grocery store to cut a loose thread off a sweater, or open my mail in the office. I believe in using the right tool for the right job, and there are many jobs that a larger knife is ill suited for. The size is perfect for that niche between tiny slip jointed pocket knife and a large flipper like the Kershaw Skyline. I continue to be impressed by SanRenMu.

Gallery


SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Package: Front

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Package: Back

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - On Scale
It's light!
SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - Next To Ruler

SanRenMu ZB-681 Pocket Knife - With Pelican 1910 1xAAA flashlight and Leatherman Squirt PS4
Shown with Pelican 1910 1xAAA flashlight and Leatherman Squirt PS4

From Top: SanRenMu ZB-681, Spyderco Dragonfly 2, SanRenMu GB-763, Kershaw Skyline, Spyderco Delica 4
From Top: SanRenMu ZB-681, Spyderco Dragonfly 2, SanRenMu GB-763, Kershaw Skyline, Spyderco Delica 4



4 comments:

  1. Very nice review and line up of knives. Delica and Skyline are my favorite when hiking and EDC but they just look...too "stabby" for EDC/office display. Even the shape of Manbug freaks people out with its half leaf-drop spear point shape :)

    Ordered a few of 681s as xmass gifts and to try for office carry, it reminds me of Buck 283BK Nano Bantam though Nano has terrible 420 steel and loose pin construction.

    Thanks for review and awesome photos, nice work.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the kind words! I have found that for an office environment it's hard to beat some of the Victorinox models. Nobody blinks at seeing a classic Swiss army knife.

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  2. Hi Mark,
    Thanks for writing back, I got the 681 and wow I am even more impressed with the value. You were right on the steel, it is 8Cr13MoV (as seen on Spyderco Tenacious) they started to print stickers on the boxes rather than on packaging or on the steel itself. Nice steel and it sharpened to a razor edge.

    Good point on Victorinox line, I guess I always thought of them as something I had camping as a kid and more of a all-in-one tool.


    OT, nice blog now you got me turned onto ThruNite Ti3 :)

    All the best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These days I usually have the Victorinox Executive or Rambler in my pocket even if I'm also carrying a larger knife. I had them as a kid as well, and only recently started collecting them again. I carried the Explorer through most of my childhood. Wish I would have kept it since the magnifying glass on the newer ones are made of plastic.

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