I didn't like the M-21. It's a sweet knife, but bigger and heavier than I need for a daily driver. So I sent it back and they suggested the Ripple, which is lighter and slender-er. And blue.
It was still slightly bigger and heavier than I was looking for, but after 4 months of using it daily (check out the Gerber review for more details on how I use my knives), it's heftiness feels right to me. It's like riding a bike with a different geometry than you're used to: weird for a few feet, then you settle into it.
Here's what I like:
- Bearings. In a knife! I'm a sucker for bearings, so easy points there. The bearings are embedded into a little machined race in the blade. I've never felt such smooth action on a pocket knife. I'm no expert and I've only flicked open a couple dozen pocket knives, but this one beats them all in terms of smooth and fast action. I guess there's a technical advantage to quick flipping in say, street fighting or something, but generally, it's just rad. It's well-made and it's nice to use a well-made tool as often as I use my knife.
- It's solid -- I like to throw my knife to stick into poles/trees etc. I open beers with the non-business side. I'm not gentle with knives. It's not really fair to compare the $125 Ripple to the $20 Gerber, but I'm gonna: 4 months was the end of life for most of my Gerbers. After 4 months, the CRKT shows almost no sign of wear and nothing is wiggly or loosey-goosey.
- Sharp. The blade is hard. There's some serious high-zoot steel going on with the blade. Another unfair comparison to $20 Gerber: there is nothing to compare in this department. I cut food, tubes, wood. I use the little saw bit of the blade to hack through all sorts of stuff. There are no dents or chips in the blade. It's still actually sharp.
- I like the size. Having a bit more blade and a handle that fills the palm of your hand really makes the knife more useful in that "tool" way.
The lesson here is that I'm thinking that $125 knife that you use every day is worth spending $125 on if it's solid. Note how many times I used the word "tool" here.
I run across my old busted Gerbers all the time. When I pick them up now, they feel toy-ish. I don't think I would've spent $125 on this knife if the folks at CRKT didn't send it to me. I would've kept buying $20 shit knives forever. And that's stupid.
So, call me a shill if you will, but if you use a knife daily, and it's a shit knife, my advice is to go and spend the money on a nice knife.