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Thread: Knife Review: Chris Reeve Knives Large Inkosi

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Knife Review: Chris Reeve Knives Large Inkosi



    The original Inkosi was launched at Blade Show 2016, and was designed to include improvements to Chris Reeve's already tried and tested (and industry changing) Sebenza models. Never one to stand still, Chris knew he could improve on his original design with certain key changes to the pivot, bearing, frame and lock. Rather than apply all these changes to the established formula of the Sebenza models, a new line was created to allow these features to be incorporated into the most advanced Chris Reeve folding knife yet. With a trend to smaller more pocketable models, the first Inkosi was created as a compact folding knife, but demand has been strong for a larger version of this knife, and here it is. The Large Inkosi now replaces the Sebenza 25.



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    Author's Statement for Transparency and Disclosure
    The test sample/s featured in this article have been provided for technical testing and review by the manufacturer. Test samples are retained by the reviewer following publication of the completed review for the purposes of long term testing and product comparisons.

    All output figures and test results published in this review are the sole work of the reviewer, and are carried out independently and without bias. Test results are reported as found, with no embellishments or alteration. Though best endeavours are made to maintain the accuracy of test equipment, the accuracy of these results is not guaranteed and is subject to the test equipment functioning correctly.
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    The Blade and Handle Geometry:

    Most knife specifications have a basic description of the blade geometry, but in this section I will be taking a more detailed look at geometry and balance.


    Using a set of gauges and precision measuring equipment including a Vernier protractor, callipers, fixed radius gauges and the unique Arc Master adjustable radius gauge (the one that looks like a crossbow).


    These measurements have been tabulated and are presented along with a few reference blades (8" Chef's Knife, 5.5" Santoku and the popular Fällkniven F1).

    Key aspects such as the primary bevel angle, grind type, blade depth, blade thickness, length, weight are detailed, along with balance information.



    The 'Balance relative to the front of the handle' tells you if the knife will feel front heavy, or if the weight is in your hand (a positive value means the weight is forward of the front of the handle). The 'Balance relative to the centre of the handle' indicates how close to a 'neutral balance' the knife has in the hand.



    In the case of full convex grinds the approximate centre of the grind is used for the primary bevel angle estimate.


    The blade is made from S35VN steel at 59-60RC.




    Explained by the Maker:
    The reasons for certain design choices may not be clear when simply looking at an object, so this section is intended to give an insight into the thinking behind a design by speaking to the designer themselves.

    Unfortunately I can’t always get time with the designer so will use this section to include relevant information about the knife and its designer.

    The history of this review goes back to before the release of the Large Inkosi and to IWA 2016 where I was fortunate to be able to speak to Tim Reeve about the Inkosi. It was during this discussion that Tim told me the Large Inkosi was in development. My own preference is for a larger lock knife, so I couldn't wait for the Large Inkosi to be released.

    Tim talked me through the design improvements introduced with the Inkosi which actually include...

    For this section, please go to the Exclusive Content at Tactical Reviews , but remember to return to this forum to discuss the review.



    A few more details:

    Amazing how this box generates a real sense of anticipation and excitement. (NOTE: CRK have subsequently updated the packaging.)



    Personally, I'm not sure a knife should come with a warning it is sharp, but there it is.



    The birth certificate of one of the first Large Inkosi knives.



    Nestled into a foam liner is the Large Inkosi and some accessories.



    Along with the Large Inkosi you get a CRK cleaning cloth, two Allen keys for the pivot and one for the spacer and stop-pin bolts. there is also a tube of grease and thread-lock, giving you a full service kit.




    Not to skip over this too soon, please note that these are not unbranded tools, you get WIHA Allen keys.



    The grease is a fluorinated grease and thread-lock is Loctite 222.



    There is something special about that box-fresh CRK knife.




    The Large Inkosi arrives with a knotted cord lanyard already fitted to the knife.




    As with the Sebenza 25, the Inkosi has finger grooves in the handle.




    Fit, and finish is flawless, just as you would expect with CRK.




    The understated logo sits next to the large pivot bolt.




    Switching to the back of the frame and you can see the left-hander's thumb stud, but there is less space between it and the lock bar than for the right-handed thumb stud.




    On the back, the pivot bolt looks identical. You can also see the stop-pin bolt as the stop-pin is only fixed to the back of the frame.




    Start casting your eyes towards that pocket clip.




    Another part of the CRK folder design that has changed is the movement of the clip so that it sits directly onto the frame instead of onto the lock bar. This ensures no additional pressure on the lack bar which might make opening the knife more difficult.




    Giving excellent grip, there is a section of asymmetrical pattern jimping on the thumb ramp.




    A single bolt holds the clip in place and can easily be removed if you prefer not to have a clip.




    To create the lock bar spring, two large radius scallops are cut out of the bar.



    Providing the spot of colour, the ambidextrous thumb stud is blue PVD finish.



    With the blade partway open, here you can see the ceramic ball is out of the detent hole and sitting on the side of the blade tang. Like this the lock bar now stands slightly proud of the frame.



    When the lock engages, the lock bar has clearly moved into the frame. Also note here how the washer is actually larger than the blade tang.




    The blade has a beautifully even stonewash finish.




    Zooming in to the blade tip.




    With the blade now open, both sides of the finger grooves can be seen. The first finger groove is deeper on the front of the frame giving right-handers easier access to the thumb stud.




    In the assembled knife you can see how the over-sized washers are fitted to the lock bar cutout in the frame.




    A nicely radiused plunge line takes you from the blade grind to the full thickness of the blade tang.




    Though it looks almost like a flat grind, the large hollow grind is noticeable as the light plays on the blade. (Of course it would help if this image was animated, but it is not.)




    There is a gentle curve to the blade spine which is very comfortable to press on. It does mean you won't be striking sparks of a ferro-rod with it.




    A close-up look at the thumb stud.




    On the first run of Large Inkosi knives the washer perforations were a little too large and could be seen when the blade is closed. Not a functional issue, but a potential point for dirt to collect. This washer design has been updated now.




    CRK have really got it spot on with the pocket clip. I generally don't like them because they are never quite right, mainly too aggressive. In this case the tension is soft enough to be easy to use, but strong enough to hold. The bead blasted surface finish of the frame and clip give plenty of hold without being too abrasive.





    What it is like to use?

    Ok, so this is the Large Inkosi, but how big is 'Large'? I'll start with my standard comparison, so here it is next to the Fällkniven F1 and a Spyderco UK Pen Knife.



    Then just for gratuitous CRK viewing, here it is with a Pacific.



    And in the hand. (I take XL size gloves). So it is not really all that large, it is just the larger size of CRK folder. While we are looking at it in the hand, I'm going to mention those finger grooves. It often seems that the Sebenza 21 vs 25 debate has been very polarising with owners being adamant that the they love or hate the 25's finger grooves. I was concerned they might be problematic, but for my XL size hands, I can happily say that in all the time I've been using this knife I have actually not noticed the finger grooves. Clearly this is a good sign as the knife was secure in my hand but without anything digging in.




    Lanyards, hmmm. Not my thing. So this was to come off, but I thought I would just note down how it was tied so I could put it back.



    Loosening the first knot shows it is tied like this.



    And repeated all the way back to the first knot round the frame spacer. And with that removed I started putting the knife to work.




    Although serviceable, I'm afraid the factory edge didn't have quite enough bite for my liking, so it had a session on the Wicked Edge. Much better!




    Recycling day was much more interesting now. Here was a large heavy duty box needing to be broken down. Made from 'BC'-Flute double-wall heavy duty shipping cardboard, this was a bigger job than the average box.



    Done....

    For the rest of this section, please go to the Exclusive Content at Tactical Reviews , but remember to return to this forum to discuss the review.

    ...

    CRK have taken their already time-tested design and made several improvements to it, improvements you might never actually notice in real world use, unless you push the knife to its absolute limits. I suspect many CRK owners appreciate knowing that the knife is as good as it can be and that if they really did need to push it further than normal, it won't let them down.

    The Large Inkosi is the next generation of a classic folding knife from CRK, and has been designed with such a thorough and thoughtful attention to function and detail that it is more than just a knife; it is a highly desirable object and a pleasure to use.



    Review Summary

    The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.

    Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.


    _______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
    Things I like What doesn't work so well for me
    _______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
    CRK Build Quality. Slim metal handle not ideal for extended use.
    Ceramic ball lock interface. Thumb stud access poor for left-handers.
    Large pivot. Exposed washer perforations can accumulate dirt.
    Oversized phosphor-bronze washers provide enhanced blade support.
    Slip-Through Stop-Pin ensures perfect frame/washer/tang alignment.
    Large Hollow Grind gives a blend of flat-grind and hollow-grind benefits.
    Only two bolts need to be undone to service the knife.
    Finger grooves and thumb-ramp jimping give excellent grip.



    Tactical Reviews by Subwoofer
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  2. #2

    Default Knife Review: Chris Reeve Knives Large Inkosi

    Nice review. My I've carried a large BG42 Sebenza since the late 1990s and have considered retiring it for the large Inkosi.

    I'd be interested to see how much debris collects in the perforated washer after the update. Looks to be another winner from CRK.


  3. #3
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Review: Chris Reeve Knives Large Inkosi

    Quote Originally Posted by U2v5 View Post
    Nice review. My I've carried a large BG42 Sebenza since the late 1990s and have considered retiring it for the large Inkosi.

    I'd be interested to see how much debris collects in the perforated washer after the update. Looks to be another winner from CRK.

    Thanks

    I may not be the best person for the verdict on debris build up as I keep a very clean pocket (I always have a 'lint-free' pocket which I don't keep any fluffy stuff in). If anything significant happens I'll post an update.

    If you follow the blade tang lock surface round as you open it, you do get to see the outer edges of some of the perforations (just), but only while it is being moved. The chances of debris making its way in at that point is quite low, unless you are in a dust storm. I'm loving that fully supported tang with the oversized washers - it just feels rock-solid.
    Tactical Reviews by Subwoofer
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  4. #4

    Wink2 Re: Knife Review: Chris Reeve Knives Large Inkosi

    Quote Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
    Thanks

    I may not be the best person for the verdict on debris build up as I keep a very clean pocket (I always have a 'lint-free' pocket which I don't keep any fluffy stuff in). If anything significant happens I'll post an update.

    If you follow the blade tang lock surface round as you open it, you do get to see the outer edges of some of the perforations (just), but only while it is being moved. The chances of debris making its way in at that point is quite low, unless you are in a dust storm. I'm loving that fully supported tang with the oversized washers - it just feels rock-solid.
    Thanks for great review. I'm carrying a small 21 Insingo.

    Do you know if they still use the grove in the tang for the ceramic ball on the lockbaren to rest in when opened?

    Thanks

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