Spyderco Siren Observations

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vivi
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Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby vivi » Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:12 pm

Spyderco Siren Observations
Image Overview
The Siren is a rust proof linerless lockback folder designed by forum regular Lance Clinton. It bears many similarities to the Waterway fixed blade, which you can see me use in this video.

While the knife is marketed as a salt folder, I find it to be an excellent general purpose design. The knife is very light and folds into a compact package. It's wonderfully balanced with a versatile sweeping belly blade shape.

My Endura 4 wharncliffe is 3.39 oz and the Siren is 3.46 oz, so you're looking at roughly the same weight as an Endura 4 despite the larger, more palm filling handle and longer cutting edge.

The overall quality is noticeably higher than my beloved Pacific Salts. Everything feels smoother and more refined, from the pivot action to how well all the parts fit together. It really feels like a one piece handle.



Blade
Image
The blade of the Siren is 3mm thick LC200N with a full flat grind.

Three features of this blade I immediately appreciated were the efficient use of space, the lack of a thumb ramp, and the narrow tip.

The Siren does a good job of packing a lot of cutting edge into the blade for a lockback. It has about half the wasted space as my Pacific Salt 2:
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With no thumb ramp to restrict my grip I really enjoy the ergonomics of this knife. Choking up or holding the knife in the regular grip, my thumb always has a comfortable place to rest.

The tip is more narrow than most Spydercos, piercing very effectively. Here it is compared to a stock Pacific Salt 1 and a Pacific Salt 2 with a straight spine mod. You can see its very close to the modded Pacific 2's tip:
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The spine of the Siren came with very crisp corners. So sharp I ran a ceramic rod over them for a couple passes to take the edge off. I like sharp spines because they're perfect for throwing sparks from a ferro rod.

The Siren does this job very well, as you can see here


The LC200N steel is excellent, one of my top 5 blade steels. To sum up its performance I'd describe it as a rust proof VG10. It has good edge holding, good toughness, sharpens very easily and takes a wonderful edge. I have never made this steel rust, and I have tried. It is on par with H1's corrosion resistance for me.

The knife came with a nice full flat grind and a thinner than average edge. I'd guess it was in the 14-16 degrees per side range. The factory edge felt more polished than I've typically seen, feeling smooth to the touch when I ran my nail along the blade. I've experienced better edge retention with the thinned out lower grit edge I've been using.

I sharpened the Siren with my standard process. I thinned out the edge on coarse diamond plates to roughly 10 degrees per side, then applied a roughly 15 degree microbevel on spyderco medium stones. This would give me a hair popping sharp edge that has some bite to it on a draw cut.

Here is the Siren sharpened on the medium sharpmaker rods popping hairs

I have always found LC200N takes a high degree of sharpness with minimal effort and the Siren is no exception. It's easy to grind but does not want to burr as much for me as other easy to grind steels like AUS8, PE H1 and 440 series steels.

Here it is slicing cardboard, and rope, and some bread.

One thing that can make sharpening tricky is the angled plunge line. I had to adjust the angle of my strokes when I reprofiled the knife so that they began like this:

Image

I'm not sure what a vertical plunge line would make worse about this knife, but I know what it would make better.


Handle

The Siren's handle is a nice general purpose shape. It fills my large hands well. I think it would fit my grip a little better if it were maybe 10% bigger overall, but the size used probably had wider market appeal. Here is how it looks in my XL-XXL hands in a variety of grips:

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The texture on the scales is extremely grippy. They surprisingly don't feel abrasive to my hand. The Waterway is a bit more abrasive feeling. I really like the feel of the texture while using the knife. Extremely grippy but never uncomfortable or sharp feeling. The scales are fully chamfered along the edge and there's no hotspots anywhere.

Though I enjoy the grippy texture when using the knife I don't like the extra difficulty it adds to clipping the knife to a pocket or waistband. I wear running shorts a lot this time of year, and trying to clip the Siren IWB takes a more concsious effort than my Pacific Salt or Police LW.

One nice side effect of these extra grippy scales is once you have the knife clipped, it clings there very securely. You can be confident it won't slide around at all.

The blue liners are a nice touch. They look good and it makes it quick to identify the Siren when you have a pile of similar sized black spydercos laying on top of your dresser. They give it some flair without being as bright and flashy as say, the yellow Salt folders. I'd like to see Spyderco do this to more knives.

Lock

The lock has been perfectly secure for me.

There is mild vertical play similar to my Seki City lockbacks. Having heard much praise for the newer Golden lockbacks and multiple reports of zero blade play I was a little let down. The knife works fine and I don't have any issues with any of my Spyderco lockbacks, but I had hoped to experience a zero blade play lockback.

There has been some discussion on being able to accidentally release the lock. I am happy to report I had no issues with this.

I did notice when I use a side grip and cut things on a cutting board there is significantly increased blade play. The base joint of my index finger partially depresses the lock release in this grip. I've never unlocked the knife by accident this way though.

Here's a video showing the extra blade play in side grip

I considered adding a boye dent with my dremel, but you must press the lock release nearly all the way into the handle to unlock the knife, so there is little clearance for one.

I noticed the tension on the lock spring is much lower than my Pacific Salts or Police folders. I've posted a few videos where I close lockbacks by pressing the lock release with my index finger and swing the blade shut. With most lockbacks that's just something I do for fun. With this knife its my preferred way to close it.

Here's a video showing my three different closing methods and why I like this one the best

You have to be careful using that second method. I know many people like to close lockbacks this way, but if your finger isn't pressed right up against the guard your index finger will get bit:

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This experience has got me thinking about lockbacks in general, especially with the rockjumper discussions going on. It seems one handed lockback designs may have been held back in a sense by prioritizing being able to close them a specific way.

It also makes me think of the complaints people have of tabs hitting their index finger when they swing a comp lock shut. One can avoid that issue too by using a different closing method, like this.

Being able to adapt to different closing methods for different designs may become a necessity as we see the cutting edge move closer to the handle on Spydercos lockbacks.

The compromise required to make a lockback with an edge going all the way to the handle and enough kick to facilitate the drop down closing method is you have to move the cutting edge further from the pivot.

The future of lockbacks will be interesting to watch.



Clip

The Siren is the first wire clip equipped knife I've owned in a long time. I used to EDC a G10 UKPK and always appreciated how they interfered with ergonomics less than standard clips.

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It has worked perfectly. In my head I feel the hourglass clips have got to be stronger, but I've never bent or broken either type of clip so I can't say for sure.

I think the clip location is a good compromise between ease of draw and deep carry. It rides deeper than a lot of my knives, but has a bit of handle sticking out to make drawing easier than full deep carry.

The wire clip can shift around a touch if you grip the knife hard, something I don't experience with the hourglass clips.


The Guts
I attempted to break down the Siren so I could photograph the insides, but the only screws I could get to release with my torx driver were the pivot screws. Neither the clip screw or body screws would budge with hand strength alone. They may require heating up whenever I have to clean the knife.

Here you can see the thread locker residue on the pivot:

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If you want to see the insides search youtube, there's videos up there.


Final Thoughts
The Siren is one of the best folding knives I've tried. I think its a great general purpose design.

It ticks a lot of boxes I look for but have trouble finding in a single design - rust proof, easy to sharpen, no thumb ramp, narrow tip, tip up carry, full flat grind, little wasted space between the edge and handle, and a palm filling grip.

Give the Siren a look if you haven't, it's a very nice design. In a lot of ways it feels like a 21st century buck 110. It's a knife that when you pick it up and feel the ergonomics and the balance, you can tell it was meant to be put to work.


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Carry rotation:

Pacific Salt 2 SE | Siren | Police 4 LW | Police 4 K390 | C95 Manix foliage green | Manix XL M4 DLC | Street Beat LW | Aqua Salt

skeeg11
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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby skeeg11 » Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:45 pm

Thanks for the review, Vivi. Looking for future thoughts after you've really put it through its paces.

Your forefinger nail is your friend. Instead of jamming the meaty portion of your forefinger up against the guard, I put the side of my finger tip/nail up against the guard so that the blade or ricasso is the first thing that it comes into contact with. A long time second nature habit I acquired many moons ago. No more problem.

Although a direct comparison between a serrated H1 Pac Salt and a serratd FFG LC200N Siren cannot be made at this time, what is your subjective projected opinion on such an animal if it were to be made?

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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby Cambertree » Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:49 pm

Outstanding review, Vivi - comprehensive, clearly written, and you answered all the questions I would have about this model.

Thanks for taking the time to put it all together.

I like the fixed blade sibling of the Siren, the Waterway a lot.

I guess there might be a serrated version in future, if this version sells well, which it really deserves.

vivi
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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby vivi » Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:56 pm

skeeg11 wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:45 pm
Thanks for the review, Vivi. Looking for future thoughts after you've really put it through its paces.

Your forefinger nail is your friend. Instead of jamming the meaty portion of your forefinger up against the guard, I put the side of my finger tip/nail up against the guard so that the blade or ricasso is the first thing that it comes into contact with. A long time second nature habit I acquired many moons ago. No more problem.
That certainly sounds like a smarter way of using that method.

I don't mind unlocking it the way I do. I'm usually more consistent than 75%.....I can sit here and swing it shut 20 times in a row without the camera rolling. Kind of fun having a lockback with that level of fidget factor. :cool:
Although a direct comparison between a serrated H1 Pac Salt and a serratd FFG LC200N Siren cannot be made at this time, what is your subjective projected opinion on such an animal if it were to be made?
If they offered these in SE, and toughness was on par with SE H1, I could see myself no longer carrying Pacific Salts. I have yet to try serrated LC200N so I can't make any concrete claims either way. I appreciate the Pacific Salt 2 for being a little lighter and easier to clip back to my pocket / waistband, but otherwise I prefer the Siren.
Carry rotation:

Pacific Salt 2 SE | Siren | Police 4 LW | Police 4 K390 | C95 Manix foliage green | Manix XL M4 DLC | Street Beat LW | Aqua Salt

skeeg11
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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby skeeg11 » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:05 am

The back lock is pretty durn smooth and I also some times find myself fidgeting with it. Something I don't normally do with back locks.

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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby Doc Dan » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:22 am

Thanks for a great review, Vivi. I especially appreciated your knife in hand pictures and comments. I’ve wondered how it would fit in my xxl hands.
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Wartstein
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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby Wartstein » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:34 am

Vivi, that´s perhaps the best and most usefull review I´ve read here so far! Thanks for it!

I will touch on some points later, just a remark on the closing thing right now: You are so right when saying (quote): "Being able to adapt to different closing methods for different designs may become a necessity as we see the cutting edge move closer to the handle on Spydercos lockbacks."
It would be a sad thing if people miss out on the Siren just cause with ONE single of several methods there might be a bit more risk of nicking the finger...

Another way of closing a backlock that keeps your fingers safe and might be usefull in case of the Siren is this one: https://streamable.com/bhhzs (shown one time really slow, two times regular speed)
May look a bit "fancy", but it actually works really quick and well. Additionall, when having finished the closing the knife in this way, it sits perfectly in your hand already to be put back in the pocket.
Top three going by pocket-time: Endura 4 in VG 10/Micarta-scales; Stretch 1 in VG 10; Endura 4 in HAP 40

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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby VooDooChild » Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:08 am

I really do like the siren.

I think it has the minimal kick required to do the drop close. That is my prefered method for closing spyderco mid backlocks. At the end of the day, given that is my preferred method, I like for my non-choil mid backlock knives to have a large kick so that I can close that way without putting much thought into it. Like I said the siren has the minimum amout to pull it off. With that said, it still works and as long as your finger is all the way forward it wont bite you. Basically it just takes some time to adjust to it.

As far as the future of backlock design. As long as I still have easy one hand closing, Im good to go.
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sal wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 8:14 pm
... "The edge is a ghost"...

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Pancake
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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby Pancake » Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:10 am

Nice review Vivi!

I like the Siren, but the wire clip....is ok, but nothing spectacular. Maybe sometime in the future I will get it, just to have both Waterway and Siren.
I still thought that Siren is smaller, but the edge is comparable to Endura, interesting.
In the pocket: Chaparral FRN, Native Chief, Police 4 K390, Pacific Salt SE, Manix 2 G10 REX45
On belt: Waterway

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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby blueblur » Sun Aug 30, 2020 5:59 am

Great write up. I came to many of the same conclusions.

I need to play around with the edge angle and edge finish more but I’ve found this steel to not hold an edge for long at all. It certainly hasn’t lived up to the hype I’ve heard anyway. Everything else about the knife is a huge win for me though.

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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby benben » Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:27 am

SOLD! Great write up vivi, covered all the bases! When I got to check out your Siren the other day, it took about 30 seconds to realize it would be my next purchase! Extremely light, extremely balanced, and the fit & finish were Golden perfect!

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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby bearfacedkiller » Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:19 am

Thanks for taking the time to put that together and I am sure I speak for many of us when I say that it is nice to have you back around.
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sal wrote:Knife afi's are pretty far out, steel junky's more so, but "edge junky's" are just nuts. :p
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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby nerdlock » Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:49 am

Very well written review vivi 👏the effort, images and video are very much appreciated.

Looks like with the new wave of choil-less backlock designs, we would have to adapt to new methods of one-handed closing or risk being always spyder-bitten.

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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby wrdwrght » Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:31 am

As I imagined, you regard thIs knife as superior, and you put together a superior review of it. Things are making sense in my world. Thanks.

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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby zuludelta » Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:12 am

Great review Vivi! I've been on the fence between getting a Siren or a Pac Salt 2 SE, and I think your review has finally had me settling on the former (although who am I kidding, I'll probably end up getting a Pac Salt 2 SE eventually, anyway :D).

Oh, just one question: Outside of the obvious tasks where SE outperforms PE (i e., cutting rope & other similar materials), is there any situation where you would prefer using the serrated Pac Salt 2 over the Siren?

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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby Wartstein » Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:32 am

zuludelta wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:12 am
Great review Vivi! I've been on the fence between getting a Siren or a Pac Salt 2 SE, and I think your review has finally had me settling on the former (although who am I kidding, I'll probably end up getting a Pac Salt 2 SE eventually, anyway :D).

Oh, just one question: Outside of the obvious tasks where SE outperforms PE (i e., cutting rope & other similar materials), is there any situation where you would prefer using the serrated Pac Salt 2 over the Siren?

That´s a question I´d be interested in too, though put a bit differently: Since I personally find at least ffg SE (and of course the Pac Salt SE is NOT ffg) superior to PE in practically any task: How much do you actually miss SE on the Siren?
In any case: If the Siren came in SE I would not hesitate a second to get one right now! Hope they´ll soon make a serrated version, this model really deserves this and the "SE performance boost".. :)
Top three going by pocket-time: Endura 4 in VG 10/Micarta-scales; Stretch 1 in VG 10; Endura 4 in HAP 40

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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby Wartstein » Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:37 am

nerdlock wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:49 am
...

Looks like with the new wave of choil-less backlock designs, we would have to adapt to new methods of one-handed closing or risk being always spyder-bitten.
Hi Nerdlock, just as a quick sidenote: Actually there is no real ""new wave of [Spyderco] choil-less backlock designs" (which is sad), "just" the Siren and the RockJumper: And the Rockjumper was specifically designed so that the edge goes almost all the way back to the handle, but one can still safely drop the (hidden) unsharpened blade part on the indexfinger (Sal calls that "handle forward design")

Anyway, alternative backlock closing methods are really quite easy to learn, and imho even quicker and more convinient than the "drop on your finger" method...
Top three going by pocket-time: Endura 4 in VG 10/Micarta-scales; Stretch 1 in VG 10; Endura 4 in HAP 40

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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby Wartstein » Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:46 am

Two more questions, Vivi:

1.) As you might know, I personally choke up comfortably on the Ricasso of Endura /Pac Salt (and sometimes even on the very edge) all the time, it is probably my most used grip.

Now I see you do so with the Siren too (while I think you rarely choke up on the Pac Salt Ricasso?) - so I assume this grip option is actually rather comfortable, safe and useful?

2.) When holding the knife with all fingers on the actual handle, your pinky obviously sits in the area where the back end of the handle starts to bend upwards again (and not in the space behind the front guard that seems to be dedicated for the fingers to go) - does this cause any issues, discomfort, less control? (Though I don´t think so, cause if you would have mentioned it)
Top three going by pocket-time: Endura 4 in VG 10/Micarta-scales; Stretch 1 in VG 10; Endura 4 in HAP 40

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nerdlock
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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby nerdlock » Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:59 am

Wartstein wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:37 am
nerdlock wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:49 am
...

Looks like with the new wave of choil-less backlock designs, we would have to adapt to new methods of one-handed closing or risk being always spyder-bitten.
Hi Nerdlock, just as a quick sidenote: Actually there is no real ""new wave of [Spyderco] choil-less backlock designs" (which is sad), "just" the Siren and the RockJumper: And the Rockjumper was specifically designed so that the edge goes almost all the way back to the handle, but one can still safely drop the (hidden) unsharpened blade part on the indexfinger (Sal calls that "handle forward design")

Anyway, alternative backlock closing methods are really quite easy to learn, and imho even quicker and more convinient than the "drop on your finger" method...

There's also the newly released Spyopera... :)

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Re: Spyderco Siren Observations

Postby ladybug93 » Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:03 am

great write-up as always, vivi. i'll also echo the sentiment of being glad you're back again. i always find your reviews quite useful.

the siren doesn't call to me personally, but i've said the same about the caribbean for two years and one is in the mail as we speak. i may end up with one of these someday.


how do you feel about the large finger guard? do you fin it gets in your way at all? that's my primary concern with this design, even though it's not something i'm really all that worried about.


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