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CRKT Ken Onion Eros

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by UnknownVT, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. UnknownVT


    Feb 15, 2003

    One of the knives I was really taken with at this year's Blade Show was the CRKT (Columbia River Knife and Tool) Ken Onion designed Eros.

    The Eros is according to Ken a gentleman's tactical knife (aka "Genticals" - watch the spelling!)
    - he said years ago all gentlemen carried knives so that they could sharpen their writing instrument - the quill.

    My understanding is that's where the name penknife comes from.

    The CRKT Eros has titanium handles, is a frame-lock and a flipper.

    Size comparison -


    Compared to more traditional penknife and gentleman's knife:

    The most impressive thing about the CRKT Ken Onion Eros (and Ripple) is the flipper - it is smooth and positive almost no chance of not flipping them open fully - with only finger pressure and almost no perceptible wrist movement.

    The reason why the flipper is so good and smooth is a circle of ball bearings on both sides of the blade to reduce friction.

    The system used is the IKBS ball bearing system -

    The ball bearings are loose in the circular groove - but I have been told are held pretty well in place by the grease used, suggest that care still needs to be taken in any disassembly.

    The IKBS distributes an even tension/pressure over a wide area around the pivot, and I believe is the reason why my samples of the Eros and Ripple 2 have blades that are very well centered in the handles.

    Even though the flipper is easy and smooth I found I was wearing a dent in my finger tip from playing/opening the knife.

    The flipper is pointy - and I learnt that it's better to try to lay the finger tip along the grooves/ribs rather than on the tip of the flipper, then pull back as if rubbing across the ribs - but either way - on the tip or laying across the grooves/ribs the blade opens positively.


    The blade is of Japanese Acuto+ steel - which Ken has said is modified 440C - according to the CRKT page:

    ACUTO + HRC=59-60 C=0.90-0.95 CR=17-18 MN=0.50 MO=1.30 to 1.50 NI=-- PH =0.04 SI=0.50 V=.10 to .25 CO=--

    440C has been a long time "premium" steel - at one time very much favored by custom knifemakers because it can be polished to a very high quality mirror finish - it is also very stain-resistant.

    One of my favorite steels is BDS (Boye Dendritic Steel) used by legendary knife maker David Boye author of the classic book "Step by Step Knife Making" - BDS is basically cast 440C.

    The blade stock is quite thin -
    resulting in thin blades - which enhances the cutting (through) ability as thinner blades means lower resistance.

    According to my electronic calipers at the thickest part it is 0.0875" (or 2.22mm).

    Compared to the Victorinox Bantam Alox - 0.0795" at the tang, all steel Leek - 0.0885", JYD - 0.121"

    Because of the thin blade stock and the very good grind including the distal taper - this knife is one of the sharpest knives I have had the pleasure to get from a factory - the edge is acute and very well finished/polished.

    It rivals my long time "cutting-est" knife - the Boye BDS Eagle Wing folder -

    The Eros blade is very pointy - so I would avoid prying (a real no-no) or heavy twisting of the blade - otherwise one may snap the pointy tip - it is afterall supposed to be a gentleman's knife - but I can see it as much more than that....

    The Eros has titanium scales along with the thin and slim blade it is pretty light -
    weighing at 1.54oz
    compared to the all steel Leek @ 3.05oz, JYD @ 3.77oz and even the CRKT Ripple 2 (smaller but with all steel scales) @ 2.24oz

    So it is noticeably lighter than the other knives shown -
    but in turn heavier than both the Victorinoxes - Bantam Alox @ 1.03oz and Popular @ 0.76oz.

    The Eros is a frame-lock - one of the most secure, strong and reliable lock types -


    The lock is almost ideally set and positioned on the blade tang -
    I am very impressed with, not only the materials used, but the build quality of this knife.

    After handling and trying it out for a few days - the CRKT Ken Onion Eros has become my at home EDC - I don't think I can give it a better testimonial than that.


    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
  2. mlanghornes

    mlanghornes Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 24, 2009
    Great review! I really like the look of that knife, now I may need to pick one up. Love the KO design, and if the execution is that good, it may be moving to the top of my list
  3. JTR357


    Sep 10, 2007
    Good Review,Thanks:thumbup:

    The Ripple & Eros are the first CRKT's in awhile to strike my interest.
  4. UnknownVT


    Feb 15, 2003
    Thank you both for your kind comments.

    Yes, the CRKT Eros (and Ripple 2) really did pleasantly surprise me with great quality - especially this sample of the Eros - it just extrudes excellence.

    We have all heard "handmade at factory prices" - the Eros definitely fits this description - more so than almost any other factory knife I have.

    It may seem that I am bubbling or giddy over this knife -
    - but how did I get myself into this state?
    perhaps it's got something to do with the knife?
    .... like that? how I can rationalize the irrational? :p

    Anyway - Ken Onion and CRKT? -
    does that mean Ken has jumped ship from his most well known collaboration with Kershaw, to work with CRKT?

    Well no, Ken has said he is continuing with Kershaw - witness the brand new Kerhsaw Ken Onion knives such as the Clash and the Random Task II.

    The reason why Ken is also designing for CRKT - has a sort of Kershaw connection - when Ken first worked with Kershaw - Doug Flagg was the Marketing Director of Kershaw back then.

    Ken credits Doug for giving him his start at Kershaw.

    Doug is now the Marketing Director for CRKT - so Ken and Doug have had a long and fruitful relationship, so this collaboration is kind of a natural.

    Where are the knives made?
    the box labels indicate that the Eros and Ripple are products of Taiwan - and I also included the label from the Centofante Tribute to show that CRKT does clearly distinguish those from product of China.

    The pdf brochure page from CRKT of the Eros -


    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  5. Morales


    Apr 27, 2007
    Thanks for this great review, especially the great comparison shot.
  6. UnknownVT


    Feb 15, 2003
  7. Vasya156


    Apr 21, 2008
    Thanks a lot, now I think of buying it too.
  8. UnknownVT


    Feb 15, 2003
    ha-ha! as long as you're not infected by my enthusiasm
    (I have tried to curb it, to be a little more "objective")
    and the looks and description seems good to you -
    then I would say you will be very pleased with the CRKT Ken Onion Eros.

    I found a couple of images of the real Ken Onion produced Eros on the web -
    I've rescaled them so that they show life size on my PC monitor (96dpi) -
    as one can see the CRKT version is pretty close -




  9. John Smith V

    John Smith V

    Jun 22, 2010
    Thanks for a very comprehensive overview and comparison.

    I think the open handle construction of the the CRKT version is more appealing than the custom one with the backspacer.
  10. UnknownVT


    Feb 15, 2003
  11. DennisStrickland

    DennisStrickland Banned BANNED

    Jun 24, 2009
    hello thanks for a fantastic profile. i realize it takes considerable time & effort to do such a good job. thanks again
  12. dalee100


    Mar 15, 2008

    I've felt that the Leek was the best take on a modern Gentleman's folder. But the Eros looks to be a great refinement of todays Gentleman's knife. Mr. Onion never ceases to amaze me.

    Thanks for a great review of this new offering!

  13. Tostig


    Jun 16, 2009
    Really ? I'm surprised so many folks like open frames as opposed to a solid backspacer. I wish my open frame builds had backspacers ! :)

    That is a good looking knife though.

    I am wondering how CRKT did on the grind ?? My girl bought me a Ti M16 , the smaller version for Christmas , I love the knife but if CRKT thinks these sort of knives represent their 'higher end' line they need to make sure details like that are consistent, IMO.

    I may have to score an Eros afterall.... :)
  14. eyeeatingfish


    Dec 9, 2003
    Is it made in Taiwan?

    Do you think teh IKBS is prone to getting ditry if you are using as say a steak or food knife?
    It would be hard to clean and re oil all those small bearings...
  15. UnknownVT


    Feb 15, 2003
    1) I was told explicitly by CRKT that both the Eros and Ripple are made in Taiwan.

    2) The box labels are marked as such (and I even included another knife box that they do differentiate ones made in China).

    3) In the long thread about Ken Onion and CRKT - Ken said they were made in Taiwan - please see post #235 in Ken Onion joined forces with CRKT

    I think that is pretty reasonable and conclusive confirmation?

    This, I do not know,
    and an entirely reasonable question -
    that is something I'd worry about too -
    getting gunk especially meat drippings into the IKBS area -
    however having said that -
    although it may seem cool to pull one's knife out to cut steak etc
    (and this is one of those classic true stories advocating carrying a knife)
    I'd try to avoid doing that on any real crockery plate,
    as the plate would easily dull the knife's edge -
    paper or plastic plates are fine, like at a cookout - and anyway at a picnic environment there'd probably be fewer raised eyebrows.

    But I agree it is something to think about before using any folder (not just IKBS) for juicy meats etc. - for cleaning out the pivot area.

    Thanks for the thought.


  16. Phade


    Dec 29, 2009
    Genticals. Hehe.
  17. antonio_luiz


    Jul 23, 2008
    Excellent review - thank you

    I have to admit that these new KO's have got me interested in CRKT again - I have found that the blade steel used on most of my knives to be very disappointing. Onya Ken for putting some quality back into CRKT
  18. eyeeatingfish


    Dec 9, 2003
    I took my seki rainbow gentlemans knife to a nice hotel restaurant recently. THe knife was the usual shaving sharp and I found that it glided through steak so easily that once it came to the bottom I really wasnt putting any pressure so the edge, while touching the plate, really wasnt putting any force on the plate so I was not worried about the knife dulling.

    It was quite amazing. Even with the best restaurant steak knife I usually ended up having to saw and push to cut the steak, but with a well sharpened knife it was like nothing was there, it was beautiful.
  19. UnknownVT


    Feb 15, 2003
    That's very cool...
    but the problem is that no matter how hard the steel - I find that putting the edge straight on ceramic - sometimes even with a light touch - it's almost impossible not to result in a shiny flat on the edge - no, I'm not talking about dulling the blade so much that it might not cut paper - but after spending a lot of time on putting on a fine edge - I really don't think many would want to put the edge straight onto ceramic etc.

    But then why carry a knife, if one's not going to use it?
    I just accept that I have to retouch the edge after using it on crockery.


  20. KenOnion

    KenOnion KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 21, 1999
    Thanks Vincent , What a great review !! I'm glad you like this knife so much ! While so many are focusing on big beefy tactical I thought it a good idea to try to design a line of knives for every day carry that would be gentlemanly enough for gentlemen and yet tactical enough for the tactical crowd when we just need a minimalistic every day knife. Hence .......Genticals !
    I am happy these knives (Ripple , Eros ) have been so well received. CRKT really stepped it up on these knives and are doing a great job. They built these knives using my CAD drawings. Thanks for the props !!! Aloha!! Ken

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