C161GP Ulize - a review

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N. Brian Huegel
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C161GP Ulize - a review

Postby N. Brian Huegel » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:27 am

Arriving in yesterday’s UPS was another surprise from Sal, the C161GP Ulize, and a note from his secretary that said, “Sal says to ‘Enjoy’!” Although I had seen the Ulize prototype at several shows prior to receiving this production sample, I did not take the time to fully appreciate the long sleek lines of this latest addition to the Spyderco line. Designed by German knifemaker and bladesmith, Ulrich Hennicke, (http://www.messerunicum.de), this Euro-Tech design incorporates excellent ergonomics without sacrificing the elegance of beautiful curves and grace; a feature usually lost on many ‘tactical’ folders. The slender recurved drop point blade is enhanced by a deep hollow ground three-quarter saber grind which compliments the lines of the flat chamfered black G-10 handles. The G-10 used has a very fine mesh that is virtually smooth in the pocket requiring almost no break-in period. A subtle, but refined design feature is the thumb grooves that are finely machined into the ramp above the Spyderhole.

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This knife takes on a sports car like look and appeal, following one of Sal’s mentors, Lotus founder Colin Chapman mantra "simplicate and add lightness." The Ulize will surely find a welcome home for all those who like the iconic Police Model, Calypso, and other similar ClipIts, past and present. Thanks Sal I am really enjoying this one!

SPECIFICATIONS: Blade Length: 4-1/8" (105mm); Blade Thickness: 1/8” (3mm); Length Closed: 5-1/2" (140mm); Handle Thickness: 3/8” (10mm); Overall Length: 9-1/2" (240mm); Weight: 4.8 oz. (135g); Blade Style: Modified Recurved Drop Point; Blade Finish: Satin; Edge: Plain; Blade Steel: VG-10; Rockwell Hardness: 59-60; Locking Mechanism: Front Lock Lockback; Liners: Stainless Steel; Fittings: Stainless Steel; Pocket Clip: R/H or L/H, Tip Up or Tip Down; Country of Origin: Japan

(more pictures to follow)
Attachments
C161GP-5.JPG
C161GP-4.JPG
C161GP-3.JPG
C161GP-2.JPG
C161GP-1.JPG
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Postby N. Brian Huegel » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:29 am

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Attachments
C161GP-9.JPG
C161GP-8.JPG
C161GP-6.JPG
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Postby KardinalSyn » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:37 am

Wow, you're one lucky dude. Photos look great. Hope some of the other members chime in with their reviews on actual usage.
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Postby sharpguitarist » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:54 am

Hey Brian,
Thanks for the review and pics!
I've been waiting for this one.
After getting the Zulu, the idea of a larger recurve with the hollow grind has me wanting this knife badly!
Thanks again!
Later,
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Postby Knifewing » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:37 pm

Thanks, Brian, for the review. How would you compare this to the Schempp Khukuri? They seem to share similar blade angles although the Ulize is larger blade-wise and has thumb grooves.

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Postby osodavis » Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:22 am

I've been anxiously waiting for this one, I love the size, and the design. I'm a bit concerned about the G-10 being smooth, however. Hopefully, this example is just a prototype, and the production version will have high quality (meaning highly textured, high traction) G-10. This beautiful knife is a design that just screams for high traction G-10, please make it so, Spyderco! It's a tactical knife, designed for police/military use, right? Smooth handle scales simply do not make sense, or fit this awesome blade, it really needs high quality G-10!!! Let's not end up with another "Tuff" fiasco, please!

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Postby Mr Blonde » Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:01 am

osodavis wrote:I've been anxiously waiting for this one, I love the size, and the design. I'm a bit concerned about the G-10 being smooth, however. Hopefully, this example is just a prototype, and the production version will have high quality (meaning highly textured, high traction) G-10. This beautiful knife is a design that just screams for high traction G-10, please make it so, Spyderco! It's a tactical knife, designed for police/military use, right? Smooth handle scales simply do not make sense, or fit this awesome blade, it really needs high quality G-10!!! Let's not end up with another "Tuff" fiasco, please!
Since I noticed a Seki-Japan blade marking, I suspect this type of G10 is regular production. I noticed that Japanese made G10 knives use 'regular G10', as opposed to the extra-glass-filled type that Spyderco uses in their Golden USA plant. I do think the handle profile will be more effective in maintaining a solid grip than any handle scale's surface though.
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Postby The Deacon » Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:57 am

osodavis wrote:I've been anxiously waiting for this one, I love the size, and the design. I'm a bit concerned about the G-10 being smooth, however. Hopefully, this example is just a prototype, and the production version will have high quality (meaning highly textured, high traction) G-10. This beautiful knife is a design that just screams for high traction G-10, please make it so, Spyderco! It's a tactical knife, designed for police/military use, right? Smooth handle scales simply do not make sense, or fit this awesome blade, it really needs high quality G-10!!! Let's not end up with another "Tuff" fiasco, please!
And yet, over its almost 30 year production life, the most popular configuration for the C07 Police has been a brushed stainless handle.
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Postby SpyderNut » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:44 am

Thanks for the great review, Brian. I've certainly had my eye on this model. :)
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Postby N. Brian Huegel » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:44 am

Knifewing wrote:Thanks, Brian, for the review. How would you compare this to the Schempp Khukuri? They seem to share similar blade angles although the Ulize is larger blade-wise and has thumb grooves.
Hi Knifewing

Although the overall angle is approximately the same, the Schempp Khurki angularity comes at the Spyderhole in the blade whereas the Ulize's is initially in the handle at the front lock rocker arm (Boye Indent) release coupled with a slight downward curve of the blade. I hope this answers your question. If you need a side-by-side phota, please let me know.
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Postby N. Brian Huegel » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:05 am

osodavis wrote:I've been anxiously waiting for this one, I love the size, and the design. I'm a bit concerned about the G-10 being smooth, however. Hopefully, this example is just a prototype, and the production version will have high quality (meaning highly textured, high traction) G-10. This beautiful knife is a design that just screams for high traction G-10, please make it so, Spyderco! It's a tactical knife, designed for police/military use, right? Smooth handle scales simply do not make sense, or fit this awesome blade, it really needs high quality G-10!!! Let's not end up with another "Tuff" fiasco, please!
osodavis, et.al;

Sorry to cause any confusion about the G-10. What I meant to say was that the Ulize's G-10 handle was noticeably finer in texture, i.e., less aggressive, than previous G-10 knives from Japan. And that this smoother texture negated the normal break in period that one usually needs to allow for easy pocket removal. There is still plenty of texture to maintain a secure grip. I am not sure if this is a specification change by G. Sakai, Spyderco, or just a variance from the G-10 supplier; my guess is that it is probably the latter. As to differences in Japanese G10 versus American, according to my last conversation with Sal regarding this subject, he said that all Spyderco suppliers had upgraded to their standard and that earlier variances no longer existed especially in regards to strength and durability testing. I am sure Sal will clarify if I have not recalled correctly.
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Postby Mr Blonde » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:56 am

Thanks for clarifying that, do you have any idea when this standard in G10 supply was upgraded? I still noticed the difference between the G10 on my Superleaf and my Para 2.
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Postby JudasD » Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:22 pm

I would be all over this knife if it wasn't a backlock :(

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Postby J32A2 » Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:31 pm

+1

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Postby sal » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:04 pm

thanx much Brian. Appreciate the review.
Mr Blonde wrote:Thanks for clarifying that, do you have any idea when this standard in G10 supply was upgraded? I still noticed the difference between the G10 on my Superleaf and my Para 2.
It was changed slowly over a number of years from different supliers. Now much of the Japanese G-10 comes from our supplier in the US and shipped to Seki.

Lock-backs are very evolved, by virtue of many years of refinement. They have an excellent self close. They are ambi. They are strong and reliable. What is it you don't like about them.

sal

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Postby kbuzbee » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:30 pm

sal wrote:Lock-backs are very evolved, by virtue of many years of refinement. They have an excellent self close. They are ambi. They are strong and reliable. What is it you don't like about them.
Hi Sal,

I find lock backs (front, mid... Whatever) put more friction on the blade while opening making it tougher (or less smooth?)

Frame, liner, comp or ball all have better feel, for me anyway.

Nothing wrong with them, just my least favorite (by a good margin)

Ken
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Postby JudasD » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:43 pm

kbuzbee wrote:Hi Sal,

I find lock backs (front, mid... Whatever) put more friction on the blade while opening making it tougher (or less smooth?)

Frame, liner, comp or ball all have better feel, for me anyway.

Nothing wrong with them, just my least favorite (by a good margin)

Ken

I agree 100%. I own quite a few lockbacks, but i have always preferred liner lock. The first time i tried ball/axis and compression locks my preference changed to that and i vowed to only purchase those. Since then i have allowed liner locks back into my collection. I still haven't warmed up 100% to frame locks yet, but i still shy away from lockbacks with ferocity. I would say it has been somewhere between 6-7 years since i have purchased a lockback knife. This is a shame too because there are some very nice knives that i would purchase if only the lock style was different. :(

I'm sure there is a very large portion of the knife community that loves lockback knives. The beauty of knives is that for every one knife you don't like, there will always be one that you will like :D

JD

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Postby Onionman » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:09 pm

osodavis wrote:I've been anxiously waiting for this one, I love the size, and the design. I'm a bit concerned about the G-10 being smooth, however. Hopefully, this example is just a prototype, and the production version will have high quality (meaning highly textured, high traction) G-10. This beautiful knife is a design that just screams for high traction G-10, please make it so, Spyderco! It's a tactical knife, designed for police/military use, right? Smooth handle scales simply do not make sense, or fit this awesome blade, it really needs high quality G-10!!! Let's not end up with another "Tuff" fiasco, please!
I realize that you are disappointed with the Tuff redesign, but the grip on the Tuff is not a "fiasco." The G-10 on the Tuff provides a great grip. And believe it or not, the dimples only add to the grip, so don't knock it 'till you try it.
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Postby Donut » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:37 pm

I'm interested in trying this model.

Back at the Amsterdam meet, people, were saying something about this knife feeling light weight or balanced or something. When I asked them what they meant, I could never get an answer.

I was hoping the review was a little more in depth than just how it looks.
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Postby The Deacon » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:57 pm

JudasD wrote:I agree 100%. I own quite a few lockbacks, but i have always preferred liner lock. The first time i tried ball/axis and compression locks my preference changed to that and i vowed to only purchase those. Since then i have allowed liner locks back into my collection. I still haven't warmed up 100% to frame locks yet, but i still shy away from lockbacks with ferocity. I would say it has been somewhere between 6-7 years since i have purchased a lockback knife. This is a shame too because there are some very nice knives that i would purchase if only the lock style was different. :(

I'm sure there is a very large portion of the knife community that loves lockback knives. The beauty of knives is that for every one knife you don't like, there will always be one that you will like :D

JD
Works both ways. I'm the opposite, and perhaps a bit of a control freak, but I strongly prefer midlock knives as it's the one lock I have total confidence will not open unless I open it. Even ignoring that most of the others are wrong handed, blades that swing open like the proverbial garden gate if you shake the knife a bit do not inspire my confidence. Sure, blade retention can be taken to extremes, but there's a world of difference between the nice smooth opening of a Spyderco midlock and the "two hands and maybe a pair of pliers" opening of a Buck 110. I could name a dozen models I wish had midlocks, or at least a midlock version available.

Which is not to say the Ulize is on my "must have" list. Between its being too long to fit in my back pocket, lacking a 50/50 choil, and having the recurve blade, it's pretty far down my "maybe" list.
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