The Spyderco Manix, then and now
Note: I'll get some pictures added later...
A year later, Iím still loving the Manix.
About a year ago I acquired a Spyderco Manix. I went without for a couple of months after losing my first one (grrrrr) but I quickly recovered another one. Itís my favorite single bladed folding knife ever. The new has worn off, but I am still appreciating this knife.
My old comments from about a year ago:
A year later Iíd say my observations were all accurate. Other than the waved Endura I carried while Manixless, I havenít been able to beat the Manix. No gadget, no wicked looking blade design, nothing has torn me away from it.
Well I've had it for 2 days now so here's my initial reaction:
It sure ain't delicate.
I could tell immediately the Manix was an Eric Glesser design. Well let's get to it, shall we?
Let's start with the handle. Its scales are black G10, and it's thicker than an Endura but thinner than a Buck 110. The design of the handle is as brilliant as I thought it would be. Much like the Dodo, this knife has a place for every single one of your fingers to go. There is a pronounced choil and two curved places in the knife that provide a solid purchase.
The Persian does this too but I always felt like my hand was compressed a little bit when I held it. I always wished the handle was just 1/4" longer. Not so with the Manix. It fit my catcher's mitt like it was made for it. This is a good knife for people with good sized hands.
It fits very comfortably in forward or reverse grip. It feels like your hand and the knife lock together. Some people may not like the texture of G10 and it does make a noticeable scrape noise when you pull it out of your pocket but that's minor in my book.
A nice feature is that the clip is a subdued black and not a glossy black like I see on some other knives. It's a very discreet low carry for the size it is. The only folders that I think are more discreet are the SOG models with the bayonet mounted clip, something I wish Spyderco would catch onto. The clip goes 4 positions, and works very well in either tip down or up.
My Manix I reconfigured for tip up carry. My father's I left tip down, and they're both very natural draws. It's also fully ambidextrous, so the tip up people and tip down people and lefties can all be happy.
The lock itself is a rocker bar lockback and what a lockback it is! With thick dual steel liners and a wide spine, this thing locks up like a bank vault. No play whatsoever, and it is glassy smooth. I can wrist flick the big knife open effortlessly so fast it's a good reminder why I think an automatic knife is a waste of time. I can't say the same for the Endura, which can be wrist flicked but it takes a lot of practice.
The fit and finish are on par with the Persian model, and when closed the knife does not have a single sharp corner. The butt of the handle facilitates comfortable and effective thumb capping.
The blade I think is a lot better than the Chinook's chopped off Bowie blade. It is what I call a leaf blade (I think that's what Spyderco calls it too). Basically a refinement on the highly useful drop point is what it would probably look like to most people. It is flat ground and slices very easily, and it has a very sharp but reinforced tip. I passed mine over my white Sharpmaker rods briefly just because I could and it slices and dices very nicely. It's also made of S30V, a steel I've had very good luck with.
I like it a lot; this knife would be hard to top.
The best thing about it, hands down, is the retention of this knife. It locks into your hand, or at least mine does.
There is a slightly smaller version which some have been highly critical of saying itís not small enough, but I feel this design calls for a big knife. Personally, Iíve always liked the bigger knives anyway. Sure they take up more real estate, but trying to hold onto a tiny folder is no fun. I donít plan on trying the smaller one just yet. It does look like itíd be easier to carry while providing the same kind of experience, but I just like the one I already have. As I mentioned a year ago, it has no sharp corners, which makes it easy to carry. The G10 scales where you carry and draw it wear down a little with time such that it no longer drags when itís drawn.
The Manix is not so much anything new, itís just about time someone put such a knife together. You get the best possible blade geometry Iíve ever experienced with materials and workmanship that only expensive custom knives can realistically match or narrowly exceed. Not that the Manix is cheap at the $100ish mark, but if youíre one of those people who needs him a tough knife, brother this knife is tough.
Really itís a drop point blade in a lockback folder, updated for the year 2004. The Manix doesnít try to reinvent the wheel, and it does everything that new, less conventional designs do for the most part. Honestly, I use my knife to slice and cut far more often than I resort to using it for defense, and I like a knife that can handle it all well. I have, however, had occasion to kill a rat with it.
It might be somewhat interesting to entertain a lightweight Manix with skeletonized liners, as this knifeís lock is ridiculously strong. However, I feel the heavy full liners are what takes all of the play out of the knife. Iíve never experience vertical, horizontal, or lateral play for the record.
The only two ways the Manix fails me is that I feel like the placement of the lock is such that I would depress it in the reverse edge in grip, and it takes practice to get it where it can be ďpoppedĒ open in the conventional reverse grip. The perfect knife however, much like the perfect pistol, is always just out of reach.
It works for me and I look forward to another year with it. Iím happy with it and havenít seen anything in the last 12 months to convince me I can do better.