Saturday, November 7, 2015

Review: Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight [EDC Pocket Knife]

Spyderco is definitely my favorite brand of pocket knife. They've never given me any products to review or compensated me in any way, but I'm such a fanboy that sometimes it feels like I'm one of their employees, because I've been drinking the koolaid since I first held the Dragonfly.

This doesn't mean that I don't have any issues with any of their products or can't find any flaws; I'm turning into a grumpy old man, and I can find flaws with anything. It's just that I mostly buy into their design philosophy and they way they approach their engineering. They are have "functional aesthetics" which I like.

There are so many models, that it's hard to decide the next rung on my climb up the Spyderco food chain. Since I've had a Manix in my shopping cart the last two years or so, the temptation was too strong, and I finally bought a Manix 2 Lightweight from Amazon in black. I had looked at that translucencent blue one quite a bit, but in the end I went with just the plain black FRN version.

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - Product Link
Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - Product Link
Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - Product Link Extra


Product Description

Price: $70-$80 Online

This is a largish pocket knife with an axis style "ball bearing" lock and a flat ground blade made from CTS-BD1 carpentry grade steel. This version has the fiberglass reinforced nylon (FRN) handle that I love for most of my other Spydies. It's also made in Golden, Colorado, making this a "Golden" model. People make a big deal where something is made, but Spyderco makes such good knives that even their Chinese models are fantastic. Many hardcore Spyderco enthusiasts even prefer the Taiwan made models the best. Having said that, their USA made knives have a sterling reputation.

Official Specs (From Amazon)


  • Made using the highest quality materials
  • Tested for quality and durability
  • The most trusted name in you cutlery needs
  • Tip-Up/Ambidextrous Clip placement
  • Translucent FRCP injection molded lightweight scales
  • Flat-ground CTS BD1 stainless steel blade
(Note that mine is definitely not translucent)

Closed From Top, all Spyderco: Manix 2 LW, Tenacious, Delica 4, Native 5

Open From Top, all Spyderco: Manix 2 LW, Tenacious, Delica 4, Native 5
From Top, all Spyderco: Manix 2 LW, Tenacious, Delica 4, Native 5
Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - With Flashlight
Shown above with a random XM-L2 Flashlight

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - With Mora Companion
Shown above with Mora Companion

Initial Impressions


I was prepared for it being a little large, but it's a little large for being a little large. What I wasn't prepared for was feeling how light it is for how large it is--wow. One reviewer said 3 ounces even, but I tossed it on my recently calibrated scale, and it was 2.9 ounces.

Holding this rather large but miraculously lightweight knife, I flicked it open just like I can do with the Tenacious. Flick! Next, I tried to close it with both sides pressing on the lock with my thumb and forefinger. Wow, it's stiff!

I've seen stiff locks like this on other axis style knives, but this is stiff even by stiff standards. My brother the body builder said "I'm not strong enough to open or close this one-handed" but it's not quite as bad as that. After some practice, I could flick it open and closed with one hand. Maybe I just have strong fingers from all these knives with a lock like this.

The lock will loosen over time, so overall I had a good first impression of this knife. The fit and finish really pops, as you would expect from a pocket knife in this price range.

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - Product View 1

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - Product View 2

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - Product View 3

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - Product View 4

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - Product View 5

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - Product View 6

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - Product View 7


Build Quality


This is the newer version with a pivot screw instead of a rivet, which is a nice touch. Most products from most companies seem to get slightly worse over time, as the company shaves costs, and the tools use to build the product age. But not Spyderco. For the most part, they improve over time, which is why I got this newer version that also has a new steel I've never heard of before: CTS-BD1, when I could've gotten a version with the proven CPM S30V.

The clip does look a little cheap, and the rivets on all their riveted models have always looked a little cheap, but I know intellectually that the rivets are fine, and I tend to prefer the lighter versions of Spyderco's knives, and some of them are pinned construction. Spyderco is the only company I can think of that I would pay this much for a knife that I can't take apart.

Fit And Finish


Overall, good. The seam on the back of the handle, where it's sandwiched together, doesn't look, uh, seamless. And the rivets all have tool marks. An untrained eye might see these as signs that the Manix is anything less than awesome.

But my couple minor gripes in the fit and finish do not affect the functionality. The G10 versions of the Manix seem to have a better fit and finish, but I wouldn't carry those versions due to the weight. I probably will someday buy a higher end version of the Manix, though, just for my collection.

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - Blade Centered


Handle


Fiberglass reinforced nylon (FRN) is my favorite material for a knife handle, with G10 coming in a close second place. Knives with this type of handle are some of the lightest you will find, while still being just as capable as heavier knives. The bi-directional texturing is awesome, and supremely grippy.

It's true, they aren't quite as rigid as a metal-lined knife. But if you find yourself prying with a pocket knife, it's probably time to step back and take a look at your life. Or at least grab something with Becker in its name.

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Handle And Clip


Blade


The Manix features a Spyderco-classic leaf shaped, full flat ground (FFG) blade, made from Carpentry grade CTS-BD1 steel. I'm not an expert on steel, but this is supposed to be a little softer than higher end harder steels like S30V or D2. Whether it's "downgraded" or "higher tech" from previous versions of the Manix seem to be up for debate.

Mine came scary sharp and is still scary sharp after two weeks of heavy use, which I would normally be sharpening softer steels, but again, I'm no expert. So far, so good, and it's a Golden knife, so I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt for now. It certainly has one of the best edges I've ever received out of the box.

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - CTS-BD1 Blade 1
Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - CTS-BD1 Blade 2

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - CTS-BD1 Blade 3Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - CTS-BD1 Blade 4


Locking Mechanism


The ball bearing lock resembles and is similar to Benchmade's axis locks. The lock on mine is really, really stiff, which is supposed to be normal. It's a heavy duty lock that's supposed to last a lifetime. The lock is so stiff that it might be a short lifetime. I absolutely love carrying this knife because it is so much knife for the weight, but the lock could turn out to be a deal breaker if it doesn't break in soon.

The blade deploys smoothly, however, and locks up solid. I tend to flick it open with the spydie hole, and close it by hurting my fingers on the lock. But other than my gripe about it being so stiff, the lock itself is perfect, and I have a high confidence in it.

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - Bearing Lock Closeup 1


Clip


Wire clips aren't really my thing. I get that their really light weight, and I appreciate that, but the clip on mine is a tinier bit cheaper than I would like. It's already warped a little from being in my pocket.

Tip up clips, however are my thing, and this one comes tip-up, right-handed carry out of the box. It can be switched left or right, but not to tip-down, which is fine by me. The position of the lock would make it awkward if you prefer tip-down carry.

Other than my minor gripes, the clip is well done, and this "deep carry" clip carries deep like it's supposed to. It rides well in jeans, and even in sweats, which is good because it's a little bulky. If it didn't sit perfectly in my pocket, a knife this big would be a deal breaker.

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Wire Clip


Usability


I always carry a knife I am reviewing for at least a week, usually two or three before doing the review. For larger knives, I have to force myself to carry them because subconsciously I really want to carry something light.

It's funny, because I will reach into my pocket to grab most review knives, and there will be a Spyderco Dragonfly or Native there, and I won't remember switching them. But for this larger knife, I still didn't hardly notice it in my pocket. My Native is only 2.6 ounces, and I don't really notice that extra third of an ounce day to day. When I reach for the Manix, it is there.

So, normally I would automatically discount a knife this big for my own EDC. I understand that many people prefer larger knives, but for the most part, I want something light. This Manix is the best of both worlds! It's as big as the Tenacious but almost as light as the Native.

The extra blade surface of a larger knife obviously comes in handy, making this a very usable knife in general, and a superb EDC for me personally. Note that some people think knives like this are too light and hand it right back to me saying "It doesn't feel right" because they don't understand that it's just as functional as something much heavier.

Weights & Measures


This is a larger knife than I would normally carry, but at 2.9 ounces, it's a no-brainer!

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - On Scale

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Pocket Knife - Next To Ruler


Conclusions


This knife was purchased more for my collection than to carry. But a funny thing happened on the way to being put back into the box: it never left my pocket. It still hasn't left my pocket. I will say to myself "I am going to carry the Delica today" but when I take it out of my pocket, it's the Manix.

Spyderco really has my number, and I am continuing to collect. Just last night I scored a numbered blue Spyderco Stretch, which should be here this week! I also have a super blue Stretch, two super blue Manbugs (one numbered!) and a numbered, orange Delica on the way.

My only real complaints with the Manix are that my fingers hurt from working the lock, and I'm not a huge fan of the wire clip. Everyone says the lock will break in. If it doesn't, then it just might go back into the box. Assuming the lock breaks in OK, and assuming I still feel the same way about the Manix in a month or two when the honeymoon is over, I may just buy a nice aftermarket clip for it.

Overall, though, this is a fantastic knife, and I don't see myself parting with it.


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