Benchmade 87 Balisong

Oct 30, 2015
My Background--avid collector of knives of all kinds. I have no brand loyalty or preferences and collect knives from less expensive to expensive. The only knives I dislike are crappy ones that fall apart or don't perform. Other than that, it's all good. My favorite knife style are autos and balisongs. I am not a hardcore flipper. I do enjoy flipping, flip almost every day and enjoy increasing my skill level. However, I also like balisongs equally for their aesthetic value and just enjoy them all-around, and that's what the knife collecting hobby is about.

My favorite EDC is the Benchmade 51 bali and I keep it in the rotation along with the usual folders. It is lightweight, strong, takes up very little space in the pocket, and tackles any EDC task you will typically encounter. It's also fun to play with and is a snappy flipper. I was eyeing the 87 ever since it came out and decided to give it a go. The blade shape and milled titanium is what caught my eye. After a while, the same weehawk or tanto blades found on most balisongs gets old and its nice to see a wharncliffe profile show up in a production model. You have to pay custom prices to get this type of blade profile on a balisong. My bali collection grows or shrinks with time based on occasional trades or sales with other owners. But this one is staying in the collection permanently.

First Impressions:

When taking the knife out of the box, the first thing I noticed was the presence this knife commands. It looks like a beast and feels like a beast. Total weight is similar to a BRS barebones but feels lighter in the hand due to the wider, thicker scales. Fit and finish are first-rate and overall, the knife represents the typical quality I always get from Benchmade.


The blade profile is pretty unique in the balisong world. The 4.5 inch S30V blade has a crowned spine and the profile increases in width towards the tip. The tip angles outward similar to a reverse tanto and is wicked sharp.


In person, this is a very aggressive and visually menacing blade profile. The blade came very sharp although I added my own bevel, as I always do with a new blade. The knife is now basically a straight razor that spins on ball bearings.


One of the unique features of this bali is the latch mechanism. The latch consists of magnets which surround the latch pivot and impede travel when open as well as serve as the latch spring mechanism. This is a unique design. I have read reviews where users complained about latch malfunctions early on but the sample I received works fine. I have had no issues. I also have read reviews where users remove the latch for flipping as they believe it results in the weight bias too far back for certain maneuvers. I do not personally have any dislike in this regards. The balance itself is fine for me but this is entirely subjective and based on preferences. One of the things I like about the latch is that it often gives off a resonant metallic ping when flipping, especially on rebounds. Reminds me of a tuning fork. To me, it is a very pleasing sound when flipping and I do really enjoy the sounds this bali makes.


Compared to most other popular balisongs many users might own, the BM87 is going to be thicker and wider. Below is the BM51, BM87, BRS Barebones, and Micortech Tachyon III I randomly pulled from my collection to compare. I would have put in the BRS Alpha Beast but I am still kicking myself for trading it to my brother-in-law this fall for a Chris Reeve Sebenza I wanted. I have since tried to get hold of another but they are very difficult to find and it will be a while before they produce a new batch.


More Random Comparisons: Beater Bear Ops Song IV, Microtech Tachyon II, BRS Barebones, BM87, BM51, Original Manila Folder.


Blade Profile Comparison: BM51, BM87, BRS



As far as flipping, the knife does rollovers, spins, fans, and chaplains without any bumps. Once I got used to the way the knife balances, it was a a breeze. Flipping is smooth and deliberate without any surprises. The knife feels well-balanced when doing chaplains and roll-overs. I have not tried aerials with this blade as my aerial skills are still subject to improvement and I do not want to risk damaging the tip on this blade from a drop or becoming impaled by a new balisong. I admit that so far I have taped the blade when flipping as the edge and tip are wicked sharp and this would do some serious damage.

Every balisong is different and has its own personality when flipping. No two are the same. Most flippers have their own likes and dislikes and favor certain attributes. Most of the things flippers would want are present--rounded edges, crowned spine, relatively even balance, titanium handles, quality latch that doesn't interfere with mechanics of flipping etc. Whether you will enjoy this bali as a flipper over something else in your collection is not something I can answer. It is entirely subjective. I don't see how anyone would be disappointment however, unless they just don't like the overall aesthetics of the knife.

BM87 as knife:

After a couple of weeks of owning the BM87, I have used the knife for many different tasks from outdoor to food prep. This is a knife that screams to be used and I think BM was just not going for flippers but also users. I guess I can summarize my thoughts by saying that if Chrise Reeve created a balisong, it would probably be something like this. The BM87 is one of the highest quality Benchmade Knives I have ever owned. The milled titanium is flawless. The details, down to the zen pins and latch covers, just screams quality. I can personally put the engineering and quality on par with a Chris Reeve Sebenza. Not only does the titanium have the same look and textures, the attention to detail are equal IMO. To me, the BM87 is just as much a work of simplicity and engineering art as is a Sebenza. The $520 price tag of the BM87 reflects this.


Most production balisong manufactures usually treat steel selection and heat treatments as if its an afterthought as the market is geared primarily towards the flipping community. The S30V on the BM87 is typical of the quality materials on benchmade knives. The blade profile also makes for a great general purpose user. If I could only take one folding knife with me in a zombie apocalypse, this would probably be it. I have no doubt this blade could baton wood without much issue. You get near fixed-blade security with no locking mechanism to fail. This is a beast of a folding knife.

I have used the blade quite a bit over the past couple of weeks--cutting up Christmas boxes left in the garage, whittling wood, slicing tomatoes and fruit, dicing chicken etc..The BM87 makes an excellent slicer and general utility blade. Made quick work of pineapple shells as I did some food prep today for my pre-workout fruit smoothies. Overall, the only thing that would prevent me from using this knife as an EDC is legality and size in pocket.


Which brings me to the only negative--the sheath. My only question for Benchmade is--WHY? Why even bother. The knife comes with a molle compatible sheath with flimsy velcro straps to secure to the back of the sheath so that you can theoretically attach it to you belt. Again, I say 'theoretically'. I wold have much preferred the standard closing pocket sheath that comes with the Benchmade 6x bali series knives over this. At least provide a clip to attach to the sheath. Nice concept. Poor execution. Like the sheath that came with my benchmade hunt, this one seemed like an afterthought. Why even waste the material?


Besides that, I cannot really think f anything negative to say about the knife itself. I would highly recommend it to bali collectors, flippers, or owners who want something high quality. I also would highly recommend this knife to those who have never previously owned a bali or have just outright written them off as novelties. There are some high quality balisongs out there on the market that make outstanding general use knives. This is a beast of a knife that would serve any knife owner well. The only thing negative is that it might result in a bali addiction.

Blade Play: I have not adjusted the tension since I received the knife and have noticed no significant change in play or any significant blade rub.

Price: Is it worth $520? I can only answer that for myself. The balisong market is small and the high-end production market even smaller. Manufacturers pop up then go out of business. Benchmade is the only manufacturer that consistently supplies high-end production balisongs. I would love to get hold of a new HOM Specter but can never get hold of one or always miss out in line after a production run. High end balis usually can be dang hard to get hold of. The result is a sellers market. Titanium is not cheap. Milled titanium is even less cheap. With the quality and materials that go into the BM87 and the Benchmade warranty, I feel I got my money's worth.
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Great review iv wanted one for a while

It was a good purchase for me. Most of the high-end balisongs out there are in the $300-$500 range but I usually always jump on a new balisong from a quality manufacturer as new releases are very rare. Most new balisongs are typically just a variation of an existing model(usually just a different blade or handle shape/material) . This is something completely new. Price didn't really deter me on this purchase as quality balisongs are few and far between.