Pros: Blade Material, Handle Feel, Handle Material, Overall Quality, Weight, Ease of Opening, Blade Sharpness
Cons: Lock Ease of Use, None
I took a leap of faith on this knife. There is almost zero info on forums, YouTube, reddit etc. Looking at Zeiba folders, I really felt confident the balisong would be sweet but still, the price had me concerned. Balisong knives are $10-$150 for junk to mediocre knives, with not the best materials and usually cheaper blade steel. There just isn't a whole lot to choose from in the $150- $300 range that is compelling either. Base models of really good knives in that range mostly with not great blade steel. This knife rings all the bells for a folder in the $250 price range, so if you add on balisong tax, this is a fantastic price. Initially I was intrigued with the design. I absolutely love the blade shape. It's gorgeous and probably my new favorite blade shape ever. The simple, classy looking titanium slabs are also very appealing. Visually, this is a piece of art. It's just really pretty. M390 blade steel, bearings, full titanium. Nothing at all wrong with this combo and I don't think there is any balisongs in this price range that have this level of premium materials. Functionality? There are only two things I have found bothersome. The latch and the tail end of the handles. The latch is actually very appropriate with the design flow, simple and small. The problem is it's very tight, I worry I might damage the knife keeping it locked. It also flops around very freely while manipulating, I wish it would stick centered. The tail edges of the handles are chamfered but the corners can dig in while doing some flipping. Not a major thing but it's annoying. Other than that, it's fantastic. Details, the zen pins are screwless, they are basically invisible, same with the latch. So you only have 4 screws visible and they are fancy attractive screw heads. The spacers are anodized in "copper". They appear blackish brown with slivers of copper color peeping though at the edges. It's subdued but beautiful. Everything is flush, clean and precise looking. The tang, when the knife is closed, is also great looking. It's like the maker checked this design from every possible angle and made sure it was always aesthetically pleasing. There is a cool, damascus sort of, smoke design laser cut along the top of the blade. It's cool but kind of camouflages the beautiful swedge and chamfered spine of such a incredible looking blade. Extras, this knife came in a freaking pelican style case! Not only that, it came with a couple stickers, a cleaning cloth, a certificate of authenticity with born on date and Mike's signature. I've never gotten anything with a knife other than a cardboard box and maybe a sticker. Summery, I wish I had enough experience to compare this knife to other balis but I just don't. I'm learning to use it and it manipulates very easily. It's smooth and snappy. The handles are more square than some others, I'm not sure if that's good or bad, they feel great to me but I'm not competent enough to fan yet. The handle play is very minimal, from what I've seen on YouTube videos of high end balis, it's got less play than all that I've seen demonstrated. The blade spine is chamfered but not exactly crowned where it bangs against your hand. I don't have a crowned one to try to see if it matters or not. Mr. Zieba has earned a new fan. To be honest I had not heard of him before seeing this knife. I seriously want to pick up a bacon and joker version, as well as several of his folders now after experiencing this knife. He obviously takes a great deal of pride in his craftsmanship and I really dig his artistic style. P.S. Knife center, thank you for hand writing my delivery instructions on the box. I really appreciate that because I know someone had to take the extra time to do so. Unfortunately, the USPS sucks and they delivered to my mailbox despite the package being clearly marked the mailbox was insecure. Luckily I got to it before someone could swipe it.