Donnerstag, 16. Oktober 2014

Brief Review of an Elite Force folder-my new Mountainbike riding folder

First and foremostly let me say this: I cannot understand why customers dig knives that are called "Elite Force", "Spec Ops", "Extrema Ratio" (as if ultima ratio weren´t enough), "Taliban takedown" or whatnot. Those names are often associated with "romantic" (even though this kind of romanticism completely eludes me) associations of sneaking up on sentinels or what everyday people regard as a typical foot soldier´s everyday routine. The term "tactical" also demands more explanation for me. While I see that intercontinental assault missiles might have a tactical application in modern warfare, I somehow fail to see why knives are considered as "tactical" weapons. Of course, a back-up application might be the background for this naming, but then, if you have to use a knife as a weapon, you are in a situation where most everything has gone so seriously awry that you might instead also use it to kill yourself. And, talking to many soldiers, and even having made some knives for operators, you learn soon they have used it mostly for bragging, opening boxes, tin cans and persenning, cutting rope and wood and eating.

No sneaking up on sentinels, see? No felony stop, see? (Why the way, what kind of felony? Simulating masturbation in public;-)?)

But then I ride my mountainbike quite often. In the mud, and the rain, and snow and hailstorm and summer and winter. In the cold and the heat and in the woods, across sticks and stones. The conditions make bait out of natural materials in no time. Also, while wearing a fixed-blade-knife can be done, it´s not comfortable, and in case you slam head first down a drop and land on your hip, there are many things I´d prefer to having a fixed blade in your thigh. So, a folder it is. A long time now I have carried a trusty EKA Swede 90, and there´s no harm with that, but, wooden scales, chain grit, mud, sweat and the like don´t go well together, and I have to make a new handle for it.

So I considered a new folder. It should have a stainless steel blade of a good but bargain steel, a good length, a nail nick to make it legal, synthetic scales and a clip to keep it where I put it and not puncture my groins in case of a fall. I came across this heebie-jeebie-tactical-elite-force-goobalabaa did I already mention tactical?... knife. I utterly detest its appearance and its name, but there´s no denying the fact that it´s a good and bargain knife. It is of Chinese provenience, of course. The blade´s 95 mm long and 4 mm thick with a slight hollow grind that locks by a liner. In the spine of the handle there´s a gut hook (It is tauted as a rescue knife). First thing I did was removing the thumb opener and adjusting the bearing so that you cannot open it with just one hand anymore. I am a good Mammonist, and I have learned my sermons well: Thou shalt not use one-hand-opening knives, for they are the essence of Evil...;-). Can´t say I am too fond of the gut hook, I have never needed one, and the glass breaker at the handle´s end´s also a bit of a mystery to me, but, hey, every social group needs its mythology, and rescueing people out of burning cars is not a bad dream to have.

The knife normally costs 39,90€. The blade came out of the box hair-splittingly sharp. The liner´s adjustment leaved something to be desired, but this was cured with a turn of the bearing adjustment screw and a bit of oil. After this, the liner locked the blade just as it should, with enough room for wear. The blade was so sharp it cuts curves into free-hanging newspaper. Cutting through was a compromise of course, with a spine thickness of 4mm, and a hollow grind that is set at one half of the blade, but, hey, this is what you expect from a heavy duty folder. And it can take a beating. In the pocket it rides tip-down, which is reassuring if you ride hard. It is not really light, but gives a very sturdy feel in the hand. The bearing adjustment screw is a big bonus, in that it can be adjusted with either Torx or flat screwdriver (even with a coin!). It has neither lateral nor axial play, and the beefy liners (on both sides) make for a stiff construction even when prying. After chopping dried ivy in the garden, the edge needed ten strokes with the strop to be hair-splittingly sharp again, but still shaved.

Do I like it? I do, with the noted limitations. I would suggest changing the gut hook for a Philipps head screwdriver or a bit holding device (or a corkscrew;-) ). I would add a  stonewash finish to the blade to keep it attractive for a longer period of time.

It´s an ugly knife with a ridiculous name, but it gets the job done, and that´s more than anyone could wish for in a knife for abusing. If you need a knife like this, buy it.

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