So I'm a big fan of the new Chinese knives, right? And by that I mean I'm a fan of their quality of manufacture. I've discovered a number of brands -- everyone by now has heard of WE Knife and Reate, a lot of folks know about Bestech and Kizer, some know about TwoSun and Ganzo - but I was very pleased to run across brands like San Ren Mu, and Real Steel, and Harnds that were making amazing knives at a decent price.
Well, as of late, my favorite knifemaker isn't any of these, or US stalwarts like Benchmade or Emerson or Spyderco. It's Rike Knife, which is a up and coming brand run by a designer named Richard Wu. Rike has a range of products and many of them have been sold on Drop, ranging from mini knives like the Hummingbird to huge honking knives like the Knight. I haven't found a bad one yet.
My favorites, though, hands down, have got to be the M series. I've got two of them so far -- the M1, at the bottom below, titanium, M390 and one hell of a wicked design, is a straight flipper knife. The M3 on top is more like Rike's take on an Emerson Wave knife -- like Emersons it has the metal and G10 scales, the blade is 154CM, it even has a serial number, and of course in addition to the flip tab you can open it by catching that lip on top of the blade on the edge of your pocket as you pull the knife from it. Basically you're letting the motion of your draw open your blade. It takes a little practice at first, but once you get used to it it's a more fast and reliable open than even a switchblade offers.
Drop is now offering the M2 for $200, which is a significant discount -- the cheapest I've seen them elsewhere is $250 at ketuousa.com. Based on my experience and having read a ton of reviews and discussion on Drop for past Rike Knife drops, there's a chance that Drop's M2s may have blemishes or other minor defects to them, and that's why they can be had for a discount. For example, the anodization on my M3, also purchased from Drop, ended up not being quite as stellar looking as it looked in the ads. If you're worried about that, save a little more dough up and buy it from an authorized reseller. Me, I tend to be forgiving of such things when the rest of the knife is so bomb diggity awesome. I care about looks but care much more about function. And the truth is, I think my M3 is currently my favorite knife, even though I have knives that cost much, much more. As a wave knife, it's superior to my Emerson -- and that's saying a whole lot.
Why? The flip on it, and on the M1, are mid-tech smooth, like someone who REALLY knows their stuff did the final tuning on the knife. This knife fits my hand like it was made for it, and when you deploy it using the wave it flips open like someone spent 20 years balancing it. It just works brilliantly. But more than that, you can see a lot of insane designs on Chinese knives these days and when you go to handle the knife it's more of a 'meh, what were they thinking?" But this design works with your hand. It's amazingly well executed.
If you like a bit of thumb ramp I'd suggest the M1 or the M3 over the M2 as it's the one of the three that lacks that feature. It's got jimping but the spine's straight, it doesn't raise to meet your thumb when you try gripping it that way. Me, I'm a fan of a little bit of thumb ramping.
If Rike isn't on your radar, it should be.