Ascent -vs- Endura -vs- Voyager?

Ascent -vs- Endura -vs- Voyager?

All are about the same price and I need a good second knife and a couple to give as gifts. What would you get and why?


Scuba Doo
I've got a serrated Endura with the plastic clip. It's lightweight, fits my hand well and holds a fairly decent edge. I guess the new model is even better. I haven't handled an Ascent but I like knives with opening holes better than studs like the Voyager.
Oct 13, 1998
I would go for the ascent over the endura for 2 reasons: sleaker profile, no hump over the opening hole & proven steel, ats-34 vs ats-55
If they are non-knife people, a plain edged Endura. That way they can switch it left or right hand, and sharpen it no problem. If they are somewhat knife people, then probably the Ascent. They are both excellent knives. You might want to look at CRK&T's Apaches also. For the price they are nice.
I am a fan of the Endura. My principal daily carry knife is the '98 Endura with plain edge. Although the Ascent is a good knife, I found that the handle tapers at the rear just a little too much for a secure grip. I have no direct experience with the Voyager.
Go with the Endura...a proven design, excellent steel (ATS55 is ATS34 without the Moly) and can be found deeply discounted around the 'net...

I wouldn't consider the Voyager due to the somewhat weak pocket clip, AUS-8 blade steel, halfway-open-blade-stop (maybe the Endura has this too??), and serrations that are nearly impossible to sharpen. It's almost a toss up between the Endura98 and the Ascent. The BM's ATS-34 blade and BT2 option, compared to the Spydie's ATS-55 blade would push me towards the Ascent. BUT, if you required a fully-serrated blade, I'd go with the Endura98. I almost gave a good friend an Ascent or Endura, but decided they were worth a black combo-edge mini AFCK

If you decide to go for the ascent, try Pioneer Valley Knife and Tool, In their last catalogue it was noly $34.
ps I'm in no way affiliated, just like knife catalogues
I also quickly rule out the Voyager on this one, and look at the AScent or the Endura. Between those two, Endura easily wins. Why? Because the incredible ergonomics of the AFCK did not translate well to zytel. As you go up in blade size in the Ascent series, ergonomics gets increasingly worse. The 4" Ascent is an abomination, ergonomics-wise. Plus in the 4" Ascent you're looking at a much bigger clunkier handle for the same blade size as the Endura. I assume you're looking at the 4" version of all 3 knives. The new Endura 98 is great, ergonomics-wise. It's also got great steel, and a reversible metal clip.

Why do I rule out the Voyager so quickly? Because AUS-8 just doesn't hold an edge anything like ATS-*, and the Voyager's rounded slippery thumb stud does not work well for me.


[This message has been edited by Joe Talmadge (edited 11-06-98).]

[This message has been edited by Joe Talmadge (edited 11-06-98).]
I like the Ascent - the medium or small one (830sbt or 820sbt).

The Endura 98 and the Ascent are very comparable but two large things and two small things settle it for me.
The two small things are that I do like the ergonomics of the Ascent over the Endura design, and I do know that Benchmade heat treats their steel *extremely* well (Don't know about Spydee's methods).

The two large things are:

1) The company behind the Ascent. Benchmade is American made, which means they can back up their LIFETIME WARRANTY with full repairs, even if you want a new blade. Spydees are pinned together overseas. Not only can the pins become loose (and they do sometimes!) and there is nothing you can do about it, but according to their own customer service, if you damage the blade or any other part of the knife they can do nothing more than, at best, offer you another knife at cost *if they determine that you deserve it*, or if you break the blade they can regrind what is left. Otherwise, good luck...go buy another one.

2) The Ascent comes with BT2 coating! This is a must-have for me here on the coast and with my toxic sweat. Yes, my sweat has even rusted the HANDLE on a Spyderco SS Pro Venator in the time span of one afternoon of walking through the mall.

Ps- Dont even bring up Cold Steel folders, they just don't hang with the big boys (trying to be a little humorous here). IMO, Cold Steel should stick to fixed blades. The only possible advantage to the Voyager is that the cheesy pocket clip on them looks a lot like a pager clip and can fool people as "open concealment" ("obvuscation"). On the down side of the clip: it is plastic and can break, it is not relocatable, and it doesn't grip thin synthetic fabrics at all. The blade steel (AUS-8) doesn't rust as easily as others, seems to flex better, takes a good edge easily, but it also looses that edge easier.

Hide in plain sight.

I have been at my current job for 17 months. I have carried my 4" Voyager every day, and I believe 4 people have asked me what it was. (There are hundreds of people in my very "PC" office.) While I practice presenting the Voyager daily, I use my Ready Edge for cutting tasks. For me, it works. YMMV, etc.
Well I think I will get the Benchmade. I will let you know what I think.

Scuba Doo
I hope it is not too late to weigh in on this one...

The Voyager has OK ergonomics and the spring is far too strong, you can hardly open the thing one handed, and part of the problem is the thumb stud, as JT mentioned.

The Voyager does come in BT but they are using the same high temp heat cycles in there heat-treating as Spyderco does, and I think the ergonomics are abominable.

The Spyderco is is in my opinion the best, fantastic ergonomics, a reversible clip, a cutlery only steel, a pretty good handle pattern.

If you are thing of going with the Ascent, I would suggest you pony up a few more dollars and get the AFCK, which just about everyone will agree, is one of the best production knives of all time....

We are talking about the same 4" Voyager? I find mine extremely fast to open, and always opened with a single hand.
Well I just ordered the Benchmade. Got the medium size one. Should get it Friday.

Scuba Doo