Durability Of Ball Bearing Lock?

Discussion in 'Spyderco' started by vorpalblade, Dec 21, 2019.

  1. vorpalblade

    vorpalblade

    123
    Jan 13, 2014
    I've had a Manix 2 as my edc, for about a year. Very happy with it. But I'm wondering about the long term durability of the ball bearing lock.

    Has anyone here ever had a failure?

    I'm thinking of getting a couple of Manix 2 XL's, for a long trip, off the grid.
     
  2. Burke

    Burke Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 25, 1999
    Should be pretty reliable as far as folding knives go. The ball itself is self-adjusting and generally has room to go deeper in the tang if the slot wears and the coil spring is a more reliable shape than say an omega spring. The only issue I’ve heard (and not sure if this is the case with the manix) is the cage that holds the ball breaking.
     
    Quapukulu likes this.
  3. Burke

    Burke Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 25, 1999
    Although if I was really going “off grid” I’d rather have a small fixed blade instead of or in addition to a folder.
     
    es335, Quapukulu, BD_01 and 2 others like this.
  4. marthinus

    marthinus KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 10, 2006
    There have been cases of the cage failing. However, for me, the knife in the below video is still going on strong 7 years later. Have broken the tip, reground the blade since then but the lock continues.

    Where "off the grid" are you going to be? Desert, sea, jungle? That could influence the knife to take, but a good fixed blade is always a better long term option.

     
  5. vorpalblade

    vorpalblade

    123
    Jan 13, 2014
    Thanks Burke and Marthinus - We are going to Ecuador and will be equipped with fixed blades including machetes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2019
  6. marthinus

    marthinus KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 10, 2006
    Sounds exiting! When I was doing exploration work a Machete and Victorinox Huntsman was my go to. Machete does the majority of work and the Huntsman was more for personal grooming to keep moral up. Those tweezers were handy and the scissors. At the end. You will most likely learn to make due with what you have so take what you feel you want.
     
  7. vorpalblade

    vorpalblade

    123
    Jan 13, 2014
    Very impressive. That knife proved itself a keeper:thumbsup:
     
  8. vorpalblade

    vorpalblade

    123
    Jan 13, 2014
    I'm guessing the ball bearing lock is probably more durable than the axis.
     
  9. vorpalblade

    vorpalblade

    123
    Jan 13, 2014
    Good point about the versatility of the Victorinox. I prefer one of the Leatherman multi-tools with a scissors, despite the added weight.
     
  10. blame it on god

    blame it on god

    Feb 21, 2013
    I have 8 manix2's and one XL. Would I take one in the Bush? Yeah I would. They aren't more or less prone to failure than most good locks.

    But as a fine use tool only. Machete/Axe and a fixed blade camp knife are a must for primitive/off grid camping.
     
  11. MICHKATBY

    MICHKATBY

    2
    Dec 22, 2019
    Where "off the grid" are you going to usa today protonmail be? Desert, sea, jungle? That could influence the knife to take, but a good fixed blade is always a better long term option.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2019
  12. ferider

    ferider Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 20, 2018
    I've only heard of the old white cages failing, not of the newer black ones. In any case, you can put in a Ti cage and ceramic ball these days. Easy upgrade. Probably the most durable lock that Spyderco uses otherwise. Only downside is that it can catch dirt.
     
  13. M. Johnwell

    M. Johnwell

    315
    Jan 8, 2015
    They’re pretty tough locks—ball bearings are exceptionally hard to break and I wouldn’t expect you to ever wear one out.

    If you wanted to upgrade it, the titanium cage would be a nice ‘just to be careful’ kind of upgrade. The ceramic ball probably wouldn’t be necessary unless stain resistance was a huge concern. I’d personally rather the steel ball as it should be more impact resistant.

    This is a video from BladeHQ where they tested different Spydercos for lock strength. The ball bearing lock is around 6 minutes 49 seconds.
     
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  14. vorpalblade

    vorpalblade

    123
    Jan 13, 2014
    Thanks for the great video, M. Johnwell. It was extremely helpful. It looks like the ball bearing lock, even without a titanium cage, is third strongest, next to the bolt lock and lockback. I'm guessing pure strength probably isn't an absolute indicator of reliability or longevity. Still, the vid was very interesting.


    Thanks ferider. I'm ordering titanium cages from Flytanium. Didn't know they existed, up to now.
     
  15. GatorFlash1

    GatorFlash1 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 28, 2012
    I'd like to see that test with the knife reversed in the holder. He breaking the locks from the pressure on the top of the blade instead of the bottom of the blade which is how we hold it when cutting stuff.
     
  16. M. Johnwell

    M. Johnwell

    315
    Jan 8, 2015
    It’d be unlikely that you’d be able to break a folder while pushing the cutting edge against a surface. Even a slip joint would survive that. The lock tests, as shown, don’t really provide much useful information, as putting that much force on a blade is actually pretty hard to do, and putting that much force on the locking mechanism is not advisable.

    Most modern knives would be similar in strength with the pressure on the edge test, as the blades almost always use a stop pin to prevent motion in that direction. It’s almost as if the designers want us to use the sharp edge...
     

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