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BM 750 Pinnacle refinements, WHAT the Hell.

Mar 19, 1999
hello people, go look at the thread 750 Refinements on knife reviews on this forum, why the hell would Benchmade make the lock bar/liner so thin, i have an older pinnacle with the thicker bar, but i wanted to get a newer one in the future, i dont want a pinnacle with that small liner lock, its because of those A**HOLE knife collectors that are pusses and can't disengage the locks on the pinnacles, aw, to bad, don't make a fuss about it, use a damn quarter to disengage it, the harder a knife is to close the better, i always complained about my socom, that it would always fail the spine whack test, what i did is took the whole knife apart and took out the stainless lock bar and bent it more to give more tension to unlock, know the knife don't fail, it is way hard to unlock it but i trust it 100% now. I guess i'll save me gold and get me a Sebenza.
Have you played with a new Pinnacle yet? I haven't. Seems to me if the new ones fail more often (i.e. at all), you have a substantial complaint. But I'm betting they won't. 10X as strong as it needs to be is no better than 5x as strong as it needs to be.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
Agree with Cordoruy. For me, by far the biggest advantage of the integral lock is the *reliability*. As far as strength goes, looking at the picture my gut feeling is that it'll be plenty strong for anything I throw at it (hell, even the S-2's tiny lock surface is way stronger than most people would ever need). If the lock really has been weakened so much that it fails, then I'll agree the new format is a bad one. But until I see and handle one, I won't panic yet.

Does anyone know exactly why Benchmade made this change at all? I dont see a reason for it besides maybe the fact that it's easier to disengage.
In a parallel thread in the Reviews area, James Mattis says he's going to try to get some answers from Benchmade folks about why the change was made. I think if it's solely for disengagement purposes, that's reason enough - as long as strength isn't compromised in any significant fashion. I've spent a lot of time in a knife store, and from what I saw, knives that require a pocket tool or other device to close are knives that get sent back to the dealer. Dealers don't like getting their knives back. Also, with so many good folders that are VERY secure and open and close easily, there is no excuse for one that requires you to dig out pocket change just to close it. Others clearly may feel differently.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
I got an e-mail from Les DeAsis which I won't attempt to summarise, since I don't speak engineering all that well, to the effect that the change makes the lockup stronger, not weaker, as well as generally easier to use. It's evolution in progress.

And I see, in that narrower locking finger, still more metal than there is in a lot of conventional liner locks that are generally well-regarded.

I believe that the new design might be easier to build, as the contact area with the blade is smaller. The engagement of the lock and blade must be very precise, one of the reasons you can’t just swap blades on different Sebenzas, and the smaller engagement area is just less surface area that has to have such a precise fitting.

I might just be a simple skilled laborer, but I cannot se how less material will increase the strength of the lock. I agree with Mr. Mattis that there is enough materiel remaining to make the lock much stronger that a conventional liner lock, but I just don’t see how this change could improve the locks strength. If it was done to make the lock easier to disengage, fine, if that was a complaint from the consumer that they were compensating for, that is all that needs to be said. But don’t make things easier for yourself and then claim you are doing so to improve a product.

Benchmade set out to make a Sebenza and sell it at less than half the cost. They have failed, and the continuing “evolution” of the Pinnacle is their attempt to cut their losses and save face. Notice that there are no plans for the further use of the integral style lock in any of Benchmades products except the Pinnacle (not even the much requested “mini-Pini”), and now Benchmade has moved to simplify production on that. If it is not phased out completely by next year, I would be surprised.

Evolution happens, but it does not always mean improvement. The Ford Mustang evolved dramatically from 1965 to 1985, but did it improve? No. Was it easier to build and more profitable for the Ford Motor Corporation? Most likely it was. Which car would you rather own?

I now feel doubly fortunate to have a pre-production Pinnacle model. I have a feeling that it will be as good as they get.

Have you noticed if the nylatron washer on the lock side is larger on the newer model?
It looks like there should be more surface for a larger washer, thus more blade support which in turn should give a more consistent lockup.

In what way do you feel Benchmade failed? I don't think anyone would argue that a Pinnacle was "as good as" a Sebenza, but they sound like they're a decent integral lock at a fair price, and do 90% of what a Sebenza will at 30% of the cost. I won't argue that doing that makes them a better knife - otherwise I'd buy 15 Bushmen over one CRK knife, as Cold Steel suggests. But they do seem to be pretty good knives, at any rate.

This is armchair speculation, but I think BM may have no more integral locks planned because they have the fantastic Axis-lock that can be "dropped" into nearly any design. An integral lock is arguably less strong (moot point, IMO) and less convenient, and certainly makes more demands on the design.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
I have also received an email from Les, and will attempt to explain his reason for the lock change in laymen’s terms.

He states that the basis for most lock strengths is the three points of the triangle formed by the pivot, the stop pin, and the contact point where the lock engages the blade. By moving the contact point further from the pivot point, they have increased the size of the triangle, and thus the stability of the lockup. Les also stated that the position of the stop pin has been moved further back from the pivot, for the same reason.

He also stated
Much of the additional material did not contribute to the stability of the lock but actually caused the locks in some units to be prone to wobble because the actual point of contact was too close to the pivot pin.

I took the liberty of disassembling one of my Sebenzas, and found that the contact “point” extends the entire length of the cutout, and not on any one point along that expanse. The same holds true of the Darrel Ralph Apogee that I own. I have not done this to my pre-production Pinnacle, as it would void the warranty, but from Les’ statement it appears that this would not be the case on the Benchmade “Mono-lock”. If such were the case, there would be no reason to move the contact point further out, as it would extend all the way to the edge of the handle, as far from the pivot as is possible.

I sent a reply to Les thanking him for the clarification and for explaining the reasons behind the design change. I also asked if he could clarify his companies future plans for the Pinnacle and the “Mono-lock”, as this part of my post was not addressed in his email. I hope to hear back from him in this regards, and will let you know what, if any, plans exist.

And ‘Roy, I agree that the lack of continual use of the “mono-lock” is a business decision, based on the practicality and popularity of the Axis Lock. But with less than a year in the field, the Axis is certainly not a proven design. The recent threads regarding the increased play in the blade of the Axis might be a portent of things to come. I was perhaps harsh in my assessment that BM “failed” in their attempts to produce an Integral Lock design, but I will stick to the caveat that any good experiment can be repeated. If they drop the use of this style of lock because it is not a practical or economical design for them to use, then the Pinnacle “experiment” has, indeed, failed.

Okay, so BM is "improving" their product, as they have done with much of their line at one point or another. The Pinnacle may not be as good a knife as the Sebenza, but to say that it is a failure is incorrect. After all, weren't the original Sebenzas made with ATS-34 blades? The handles were redesigned not long ago too from what I understand. How many people asked CRK to make this change?
The main problem is that the Pinnacle is being outsold by the Axis lock knives (from what I underestand). BM is probably looking for areas to cut costs and still offer a good product for a reasonable price.
Wht the HELL are you so PISSED OFF about BM's latest improvments on the 750??? Why would they degrade an awesome, selling knife and compermise it's lock strength just because some "pu$$y" can't open or close it very well??? They wouldn't. It's obviously an upgrade. Have you even owned a 750??? They used to exhibit "alien-like" properties with the locking / unlocking Ti. mono-lock. That's why I traded mine off. Now, however, I'll be getting another one very soon. -AR

- Intelligent men, unfortunately, learn from fools, more often than fools learn from intelligent men.

[This message has been edited by Jackyl (edited 07 June 1999).]
What I find most interesting is that Benchmade is figuring out during production what Columbia River Knife and Tool apparently already knew. Take a look at the S-2 sometime. That's one point for the CRK&T folks and their Taiwanese manufacturers.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
stjames, is there any way to provide a link to Les DeAsis' email? I am sure there are quite a few people who would be interested in seeing the engineering analysis.

Below is the text, verbatim, from the email I received from Les de Asis, President and CEO of Benchmade, on Sun 6/6/99 9:45 PM
Hi James!
Thanks for your comments. We improved the engineered geometry of the lock for the Pinnacle. Basically, even though the former lock "finger" was wider, the actual part of the lock contacting the ramp of the blade was closer to the pivot pin. Much of the additional material did not contribute to the stability of the lock but actually caused the locks in some units to be prone to wobble because the actual point of contact was too close to the pivot pin.
What I'm saying is that I asked engineering to modify the original design because I felt that it was not as good as it could be. Most locks have a three point locking system. It is the relationship geometry and the fit and finish of these contact points that provide for a substantial and reliable "rock solid" lock-up.
What we did was increase the distance between these points by: 1) moving the stop pin further back from the pivot; and 2) moving the point of contact between the locking "finger" and the bottom most portion of the blade ramp further away from the pivot.
By moving these points further away from the pivot (center of rotation/fulcrum) we substantially increased the leverage these points contribute to a secure and reliable lock up.
Do not be confused or mislead by the appearance of a thinner locking "finger." In a liner lock, geometry of the lock is more important than the appearance of "brute" strength.
Even though the original lock geometry appeared larger and more substantial, it actually is not as refined as the "improved" geometry revision of our Mono-Lock (TM).
I would compare this type of structural engineering to what is routinely found in aerospace, aviation, and auto racing where maximum strength AND low weight are required to contribute to a successful design.
What we are striving for is this: A tremendously strong, simple and reliable lock that is convenient to open and close.
There is no difference in the difficulty of manufacturability for this modification. I asked for the improvement because I wish for Benchmade to make the best products possible. Innovation without continuous improvement is only flash in my mind.
I hope this answers some of your questions. Thanks for your support!
Benchmade Knife Co., Inc.
Les de Asis
President and CEO
Here is the partial text from an email I received from Les on Mon 6/7/99 7:51 AM
Yes, We are planning more models using this system. We have reorganized our manufacturing/engineering priorities and will most likely be introducing these mid next year.

Now you know what I know. Hope it helps.

"I would compare this type of structural engineering to what is routinely found in aerospace, aviation, and auto racing where maximum strength AND low weight are required to contribute to a successful design."

Hmmm... the new design may be as strong, but how does it weigh less?

Seriously, I understand Benchmade's trimming the lock down to the minimum necessary to achieve a sufficient lockup, but I am concerned that they were having trouble making the wider lock meet along its entire face, which it ideally would, and which would prevent the problem described. ALL linerlocks, if well made, meet along their entire wide face - and what is a Mono-Lock (TM) but a thick linerlock? How could Benchmade make so many fine linerlocks and then fail to get the same precision on this piece?

I don't think that there is anything fishy going on, just that Benchmade has opted for the minimum amount of precision and fitting necessary for a secure lock. So be it, no problem. That's why it isn't a Sebenza. I still think it seems like a decent knife for the money, but I can see more clearly now how they failed to meet the bar the Sebenza had set.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)

I just have to jump in at this point
First off I don't think that Benchmade set out to make a Sebenza, more likely just an excellent quality product that will serve everyone that can not afford a Sebenza. That goal they did accomplish with high quality and success.

As far as the new refinements, there is only one thing that needs to be said in respone to everyones fears and the companies response......They know what they are doing and I trust whatever decision they make as far as strength and safety. Benchmade makes great knives that will take severe abuse even from the most demanding user. With stepping into the integral lock arena I highly doubt (no, I know they would not) give up quality and pride to cut cost.

Don't write off the pinnacle until you have had experience with this new design, I am willing to bet you will come to trust it as much as the old style

Just so everyone knows there is no frustration, or "idea PUSHING" in this posting
This is how much I trust Benchmade knives and will stand behind what they produce. I have never had a Benchmade dissapoint or fail me, "from experience" I can't say that about some of the other manufacturers.

Good luck

All of God's Critters may have knives, but most of them are stamped with the name BENCHMADE
Oh I forgot,

Rage: have you ran into a Pinnacle where the lock is extremely tight ? Just wondering ? I have had 8 go through my hands and various times and none of them have had too loose or too tight locks. If you have had ones that lock extremely tight what do you think is causing it ?

Corduroy: Hello my friend, I am curious as well as to it weighs less ? I would not think there would be such a big difference. Let me know if you find out anything more.

All of God's Critters may have knives, but most of them are stamped with the name BENCHMADE

[This message has been edited by Dark Nemesis (edited 07 June 1999).]
'Roy, it seems that we are now seeing eye-to-eye on this issue. I do hope that BM continues to employ the integral style lock, even if we have to wait until next summer to see another model. The pre-production Pinnacle I own was definitely worth the money I spent on it (I got a great deal, thanks again, Mike).

I just hope that they don’t have to make too many compromises to keep the design profitable.

stjames: Hello how have you been ? I have to agree with you that I would like to see this design later in the future on other models. However I also agree that compromising can ony go so far especially when it comes to folding knife safety

All of God's Critters may have knives, but most of them are stamped with the name BENCHMADE