Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

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awa54
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Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby awa54 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:22 pm

I'm not trying to stir the pot here, just thinking aloud and intrigued by the choices that our favorite knife maker made with the Mantra.

First off, I just got a Mantra 2. I had avoided it for a long time, especially since flippers are my least favorite opening system and in light of the contentious "bearing issue". But now that they're $120 on closeout and I had some loyalty points to redeem it seemed like time to grab one!

Next, I *really* like the design, everything about it except that to get that great blade shape it had to be a dedicated flipper. The bearings in mine seem fair, but not amazing and as I'd expect from a brand-new bearing race they're just a hint tight, the flipping action is a bit stiff now, but I'm expecting it to wear in and be super smooth in a few weeks.

The musing part comes now... why did Spyderco decide to go with bearings in this design? It's slim enough that a shaped race system (like most good bearing flippers have) would have been pretty crowded in the pivot as designed, so why not go with PB washers? Is the market really so attached to the tech weenie appeal of bearings, that the knife wouldn't have sold with washers? And why is it that undistinguished Chinese makers can crank out $50 retail D2 bladed flippers all day long that have smooth, bomb-proof flipping action right out of the box? ...not that any of those knives is in the Mantra's league in any sense aside from the flipping action and bearing durability.

Also Sal, Eric and Co. are known to carry prototypes and use them extensively before going to market with a design, wouldn't you think that somone in the testing phase would have messed with the Mantra in an abusive way to see how well the knife held up as a system under the conditions that some users might put it through? Spyderco may not be a flipper one-trick like some makers, but this series certainly wasn't their first try at it.

Which brings me back around to the knife its self... I really like this design and I'm already plotting its eventual conversion to washers, though I'm glad to stick with the bearings if they never give me any trouble! I'm also looking forward to the factory edge getting dull enough for me to justify a full reprofile and polished edge sharpening, it already cuts well, but a few degree lower bevel is just going to make it that much better :D

I hope that this knife gets a re-issue with washers, or a sorted out bearing system some day, it really is a fantastic design. It dissapears in pocket even more so than a regular Delica LW, which is impresive when you take into account the longer edge and solid Ti scales. I think I can see a Mantra 3 in my future eventually... Thanks Eric!
-David

still more knives than sharpening stones...

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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby aaronkb » Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:35 pm

I also just picked one up and love almost everything about it... really dying for an updated version, I made a different post about it and Sal indicated that he didn’t think Eric currently has any plans to make it. Hopefully if we all make enough noise that might change? It’s an amazing knife in most ways and it’d be a shame for the design to just die.

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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby ABX2011 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:39 pm

The Mantra was fairly early on in Spyderco's foray into bearings. Apparently they're better now.
I just got one too. My expectations were low and for price paid I'm satisfied.
Mine had very rough action out of the box. I opened it up (with difficulty because of loctited pivot) and applied some oil. Much better now but still not up to modern standards.
My other complaint is the lockup. While solid it's very late and under harder cutting it moves over to about 100%. Reminds me of the Rat 2 I had and some Buck liner locks. It's clearly not ideal but not causing an issue right now so I'll just carry and use it.
Which brings me to what's good. The ergos are great for my medium hands. It's small in the pocket and slides in and out with ease.
I love M4 steel. The factory bevel is obtuse as Taiching is notorious for but I'll fix that.
So yeah, I have mixed feelings but at closeout pricing it's not a bad deal.
I agree that a reiteration that addresses the weaknesses would be a homerun.

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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby Evil D » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:48 pm

They're keeping up with the Joneses. All the cool kids have bearings in their pivots and even though Spyderco's washer pivots are more than adequate for a flipper (Military CQI for example) they still aren't fancy enough for some people. On one hand I have been a big supporter of bearing pivots and I think they have significant advantages, I also wouldn't be upset if they did away with them *as long as* they figured out how to make every washer pivot as good as the current Military.
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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby JuPaul » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:15 pm

Love the Mantra 1. Love the Mantra 2 at clearance prices. ;)
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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby abbazaba » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:34 pm

Like I said in another thread, the way spyderco has been doing bushing pivots lately, I really hope they buck the trend and start making smooth as glass flippers on PB washers. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think they could set a new standard if they worked out the detent ball/grind line drag (which is usually a bigger deployment issue).

High end flippers aside, it seems like many manufacturers benefitted from the cool factor, and many more benefitted from lower tolerances that a good set of bearings can hide (kind of like assisted opening can). I would think that Spyderco could set themselves apart with bushings and washers, making for new possibilities in width and complexity.

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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby knivesandbooks » Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:39 pm

I'm also in support of bearings. Bearings, good detente, and rigid/stabile lockups in all directions are what I prefer.

Lol with Evil's post about the Military in the same breath as flippers, I'm now imagining a military with a flipper instead of choil.
I own an assisted knife and am embarrassed to admit I enjoy it.

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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby T_MAC686 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:27 pm

I bought one recently too because of the price and I LOVE the design on this one. The action on my example is mediocre, the detent is on the weak side and it is easy to fail when flipping. I can get it to fire hard if I load up the flipper tab though. Do other people have this issue? If I could make the detent more stiff, this would be a home run.

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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby 013 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:33 pm

T_MAC686 wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:27 pm
I bought one recently too because of the price and I LOVE the design on this one. The action on my example is mediocre, the detent is on the weak side and it is easy to fail when flipping. I can get it to fire hard if I load up the flipper tab though. Do other people have this issue? If I could make the detent more stiff, this would be a home run.
I read somewhere around here that you can improve the detent by using a diamond dremel bit & enlarging the detent hole slightly.
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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby Sharp Guy » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:39 pm

013 wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:33 pm
T_MAC686 wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:27 pm
I bought one recently too because of the price and I LOVE the design on this one. The action on my example is mediocre, the detent is on the weak side and it is easy to fail when flipping. I can get it to fire hard if I load up the flipper tab though. Do other people have this issue? If I could make the detent more stiff, this would be a home run.
I read somewhere around here that you can improve the detent by using a diamond dremel bit & enlarging the detent hole slightly.
Yep, after fixing my Sliverax I took my Mantra apart with the intent to open the detent hole a little on that one. Turns out the detent ball was just really flat. I flipped it around and it much improved. I ended up putting it back together without opening the hole. No need for it at this point.

Thread on detent tuning....
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=82412&p=1310864&hil ... t#p1310864

Thread about the detent ball on my Mantra....
viewtopic.php?p=1303973#p1303973
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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby 013 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:16 pm

Sharp Guy wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:39 pm
013 wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:33 pm
T_MAC686 wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:27 pm
I bought one recently too because of the price and I LOVE the design on this one. The action on my example is mediocre, the detent is on the weak side and it is easy to fail when flipping. I can get it to fire hard if I load up the flipper tab though. Do other people have this issue? If I could make the detent more stiff, this would be a home run.
I read somewhere around here that you can improve the detent by using a diamond dremel bit & enlarging the detent hole slightly.
Yep, after fixing my Sliverax I took my Mantra apart with the intent to open the detent hole a little on that one. Turns out the detent ball was just really flat. I flipped it around and it much improved. I ended up putting it back together without opening the hole. No need for it at this point.

Thread on detent tuning....
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=82412&p=1310864&hil ... t#p1310864

Thread about the detent ball on my Mantra....
viewtopic.php?p=1303973#p1303973
It's interesting how some detents wear flat. Before i knew any better & saw for myself, I thought the ball kind of rolled on the blade tang like a bearing.
The sword the body wounds, sharp words the mind.
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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby Vivi » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:24 pm

Evil D wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:48 pm
They're keeping up with the Joneses. All the cool kids have bearings in their pivots and even though Spyderco's washer pivots are more than adequate for a flipper (Military CQI for example) they still aren't fancy enough for some people. On one hand I have been a big supporter of bearing pivots and I think they have significant advantages, I also wouldn't be upset if they did away with them *as long as* they figured out how to make every washer pivot as good as the current Military.
What do you feel those advantages are?

I've handled a lot of flippers in the past, including bearing based ones and washer based. As well as regular knives utilizing either system.

I've come to the conclusion that bearings add unnecessary complexity to a simple tool, and that the benefits they offer are minimal to the point I don't think it's worth it. I think washers are smooth enough, are simpler, and less prone to failure.

I'd enjoy hearing a different perspective, maybe there's something I'm missing.

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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby Evil D » Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:18 am

Vivi wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:24 pm
Evil D wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:48 pm
They're keeping up with the Joneses. All the cool kids have bearings in their pivots and even though Spyderco's washer pivots are more than adequate for a flipper (Military CQI for example) they still aren't fancy enough for some people. On one hand I have been a big supporter of bearing pivots and I think they have significant advantages, I also wouldn't be upset if they did away with them *as long as* they figured out how to make every washer pivot as good as the current Military.
What do you feel those advantages are?

I've handled a lot of flippers in the past, including bearing based ones and washer based. As well as regular knives utilizing either system.

I've come to the conclusion that bearings add unnecessary complexity to a simple tool, and that the benefits they offer are minimal to the point I don't think it's worth it. I think washers are smooth enough, are simpler, and less prone to failure.

I'd enjoy hearing a different perspective, maybe there's something I'm missing.

Basically absolute zero blade play while still having a super smooth and free swinging blade. On my Mantra and Sliverax I've got them dialed in to where you can wiggle the blade as much and as hard as you want and it feels like you're trying to find the pivot on a fixed blade.

I am usually all for the K.I.S.S. method, I like things that are simple and effective but I give credit where it's due, and I simply don't own and have never handled a pivot that is smoother and silkier than my Mantra (even with it's dreaded cupped washers). It is possibly overkill for what is needed for a pocket knife but I definitely get the appeal. I have polished the tang and washers and such on some other knives and I've gotten them very smooth but my Mantra feels like a washer pivot that has been loosened up...if that makes sense.

Since you seem to strongly prefer back locks I can see how this stuff may not matter at all to you since you aren't fiddling with locks that benefit from this sort of action. Bearings on a back lock definitely sound like a waste.
SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby Sumdumguy » Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:35 am

Evil D wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:18 am
Vivi wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:24 pm
Evil D wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:48 pm
They're keeping up with the Joneses. All the cool kids have bearings in their pivots and even though Spyderco's washer pivots are more than adequate for a flipper (Military CQI for example) they still aren't fancy enough for some people. On one hand I have been a big supporter of bearing pivots and I think they have significant advantages, I also wouldn't be upset if they did away with them *as long as* they figured out how to make every washer pivot as good as the current Military.
What do you feel those advantages are?

I've handled a lot of flippers in the past, including bearing based ones and washer based. As well as regular knives utilizing either system.

I've come to the conclusion that bearings add unnecessary complexity to a simple tool, and that the benefits they offer are minimal to the point I don't think it's worth it. I think washers are smooth enough, are simpler, and less prone to failure.

I'd enjoy hearing a different perspective, maybe there's something I'm missing.

Basically absolute zero blade play while still having a super smooth and free swinging blade. On my Mantra and Sliverax I've got them dialed in to where you can wiggle the blade as much and as hard as you want and it feels like you're trying to find the pivot on a fixed blade.

I am usually all for the K.I.S.S. method, I like things that are simple and effective but I give credit where it's due, and I simply don't own and have never handled a pivot that is smoother and silkier than my Mantra (even with it's dreaded cupped washers). It is possibly overkill for what is needed for a pocket knife but I definitely get the appeal. I have polished the tang and washers and such on some other knives and I've gotten them very smooth but my Mantra feels like a washer pivot that has been loosened up...if that makes sense.

Since you seem to strongly prefer back locks I can see how this stuff may not matter at all to you since you aren't fiddling with locks that benefit from this sort of action. Bearings on a back lock definitely sound like a waste.
I feel similarly about my Mantra(1). I have it dialed in perfectly and it locks up like a bank vault.

I don't understand the problem.

Also, the design is incredibly simple when it comes to dis/reassembly. It required no guesswork to reassemble and the proper action was achieved on the first attempt.

Is it more complex than PB? Absolutely!

Does that complexity decrease the simplicity? Not at all.


I generally dislike flippers, but the Mantra is a special knife.

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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby dj moonbat » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:33 am

Sumdumguy wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:35 am

Does that complexity decrease the simplicity? Not at all.
Mind. Blown.

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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby Ez556 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:48 am

Sumdumguy wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:35 am
Does that complexity decrease the simplicity? Not at all.
That's a chin scratcher haha, I might just add that quote to my signature.
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But in reality, there is nothing quite like a gun. And it has been said, "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun".
Sumdumguy wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:35 am
Does that complexity decrease the simplicity? Not at all.

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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby T_MAC686 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:02 am

Sharp Guy wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:39 pm
Yep, after fixing my Sliverax I took my Mantra apart with the intent to open the detent hole a little on that one. Turns out the detent ball was just really flat. I flipped it around and it much improved. I ended up putting it back together without opening the hole. No need for it at this point.

I’m not sure I have the resources or skill to perform these modifications.. I feel like it would be very easy to mess up the knife?..

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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby Sharp Guy » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:45 pm

T_MAC686 wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:02 am
Sharp Guy wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:39 pm
Yep, after fixing my Sliverax I took my Mantra apart with the intent to open the detent hole a little on that one. Turns out the detent ball was just really flat. I flipped it around and it much improved. I ended up putting it back together without opening the hole. No need for it at this point.

I’m not sure I have the resources or skill to perform these modifications.. I feel like it would be very easy to mess up the knife?..
I would've thought so too...until I tried it. I did it by hand and only removed a little material at a time. It was actually very easy to do. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. In fact I received a Hanan recently that's going to get the improved detent at some point in the near future.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=82412&p=1310864&hil ... t#p1310864
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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby Vivi » Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:42 pm

Evil D wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:18 am
Vivi wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:24 pm
Evil D wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:48 pm
They're keeping up with the Joneses. All the cool kids have bearings in their pivots and even though Spyderco's washer pivots are more than adequate for a flipper (Military CQI for example) they still aren't fancy enough for some people. On one hand I have been a big supporter of bearing pivots and I think they have significant advantages, I also wouldn't be upset if they did away with them *as long as* they figured out how to make every washer pivot as good as the current Military.
What do you feel those advantages are?

I've handled a lot of flippers in the past, including bearing based ones and washer based. As well as regular knives utilizing either system.

I've come to the conclusion that bearings add unnecessary complexity to a simple tool, and that the benefits they offer are minimal to the point I don't think it's worth it. I think washers are smooth enough, are simpler, and less prone to failure.

I'd enjoy hearing a different perspective, maybe there's something I'm missing.

Basically absolute zero blade play while still having a super smooth and free swinging blade. On my Mantra and Sliverax I've got them dialed in to where you can wiggle the blade as much and as hard as you want and it feels like you're trying to find the pivot on a fixed blade.

I am usually all for the K.I.S.S. method, I like things that are simple and effective but I give credit where it's due, and I simply don't own and have never handled a pivot that is smoother and silkier than my Mantra (even with it's dreaded cupped washers). It is possibly overkill for what is needed for a pocket knife but I definitely get the appeal. I have polished the tang and washers and such on some other knives and I've gotten them very smooth but my Mantra feels like a washer pivot that has been loosened up...if that makes sense.

Since you seem to strongly prefer back locks I can see how this stuff may not matter at all to you since you aren't fiddling with locks that benefit from this sort of action. Bearings on a back lock definitely sound like a waste.
I've had tons of folders with washers, free swinging blades and zero play. Para 2, Millies, Police 4 before it developed typical vertical rock, my Manix XL, etc.

So from my perspective it seems unnecessary, because my experience tells me a simpler, cheaper method can provide the same results.

Maybe the bearing based knives are a little smoother, but the knives I listed are all butter smooth, so the difference must be pretty small.

I'll rock bearings on my skateboards and bicycles, but they strike me as overkill for a pocket knife.

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Re: Flipper musings (Mantra 2)

Postby Evil D » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:00 pm

Vivi wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:42 pm


I've had tons of folders with washers, free swinging blades and zero play. Para 2, Millies, Police 4 before it developed typical vertical rock, my Manix XL, etc.

So from my perspective it seems unnecessary, because my experience tells me a simpler, cheaper method can provide the same results.

Maybe the bearing based knives are a little smoother, but the knives I listed are all butter smooth, so the difference must be pretty small.

I'll rock bearings on my skateboards and bicycles, but they strike me as overkill for a pocket knife.

There's a difference between no play and smooth and no play and smooth with zero friction in the pivot. It may be overkill and may not be necessary but the difference is day and night. I'm not so much debating their worth, that's just a to each his own thing, but if you handled my Mantra you'd get what I mean, it's just next level. There is no washer pivot out there by any brand that compares.
SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
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