Got mine today and agree almost 100%. The handles are what they should have been for the 2nd gen Byrds- more contoured, more refined and just plain great. Thank you Sal for listening, I hope square, slab sided FRN handles are on the way out. Viva la contour! I bought an Endela at the seconds sale and found the handle just wasn't right for me, the Harrier 2 is a much better fit.ASmitty wrote: ↑Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:40 pmLast week, I received a byrd Harrier 2 lightweight in the mail. When I took the knife in hand, I was floored by the quality of it. I have other FRN byrds. I currently own a Cara Cara 2 and Meadowlark 2, and I've previously owned the first generation Robin, Meadowlark, and Cara Cara. The Harrier 2 leaves them all in the dust. Years ago, I watched a Youtube review where the reviewer expressed the opinion that the Cara Cara 2 and Meadowlark 2 served as replacements for the Endura and Delica for him. I remember thinking at the time that even though the CC2 and M2 were great blades, they just couldn't compete with the quality of the E4 and D4.
I'm saying now, the FRN Harrier 2 can compete for the E4 and D4 in quality. There are multiple things that makes this true.
1. The quality of the FRN feels noticeably better. I've had my CC2 and M2 for years, so this might be true of the whole line at present. I may have to buy a newer M2 to see if it is better than my old one. The FRN on the Harrier 2 feels less rough and more polished to the touch. I know Sal has spoken at length in the past about the amount of testing Spyderco has done to get the optimum amount of fiberglass in the overall composition. Not sure if the maker in China is using Spyderco's formula or has just upgraded the material in general. Either way, I'm pleased.
2. The bi-directional texturing on the Harrier is an improvement over the CC2 and M2. This is, in part, due to the improved FRN, but it's also due to the pattern of the texturing being made up of smaller "ramps" that are placed closer together. The reduced "dead" space between the texture ramps combined with the improved FRN allows the texture to provide the same level of grip with increased comfort and less "hot spotting."
3. The overall handle ergonomics are better. The edges of the handle are less "blocky" and have greater contouring, allowing for the handle to fit more comfortably in the hand. I know molds for FRN knives are expensive, but I would love to see the CC2 and M2 incorporate through CQI some of the changes to the handle the Harrier 2 has. Particularly, the contouring just behind the finger choil that makes the knife so much more comfortable to grip in that spot.
4. The fit/finish is better. On my Harrier 2, the overall fit of the parts is better. The backspacer, in particular, on both my CC2 and M2 has uneven fit. On my M2, it rises above the handle scales for its entire length. On my CC2, it's raised by the lockbar and recessed at the butt of the knife. The Harrier 2 is much less uneven and is equally smooth to the handle scales as my D4 and E4.
5. The design is exceptional. I've seen talk out there saying that the Harrier 2 is a byrd equivalent to the Endela. While I understand that comparison, I tend to disagree. The Harrier 2 has a much smaller overall profile than the Endela. To me, the Harrier 2 has more in common with the Caly 3.5 than the Endela. Someone on this forum once said the Caly 3.5 was "almost a Delica in handle length and almost an Endura in blade length." I feel that description is fairly apt for the Harrier 2 as well.
6. The blade steel isn't the con youtube would have you believe. I'm not referring to reviews of the Harrier 2 specifically. But I've seen a lot of knife reviews and comments on review videos in the last year or two that just trash 8Cr13MoV back to the stone age. Every China made knife in 8Cr13 gets the same comments: "I would paid more for D2", "Come on 'maker' put D2 in this for $5-10 more", "I would've bought this if it was D2, but with 8Cr, no thanks", etc. Listen, I'm glad the market has embraced D2, and I don't dislike it. But can we pretend for a second that not every maker making knives overseas needs to use it. I like 8Cr13MoV. It sharpens easily and can take a razor edge. My Ontario Rat folders are all AUS-8. I don't own any Rat folders in D2. I do own D2 knives (Steel Wills mostly) and I like them well enough. However, given the same knife in either AUS-8/8Cr and D2, I'll probably opt for the AUS-8/8Cr. It just a more manageable choice in my mind, and I like it better.
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