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Review Shirogorov Neon Lite, Ultra-Lite and HatiOn Lite

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by CPP, Aug 12, 2018 at 11:16 AM.

  1. CPP

    CPP Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 8, 2014
    Shrirogorov Neon Lite, Ulra-Lite and HatiOn Lite Part 1

    After going through the escalating stages of the knife enthusiast–first breaking the one-hundred dollar barrier until accepting the hundreds-of-dollar knives as the new normal–I found myself considering the purchase of a Shirogorov. The first time I had heard of the brand the pictures alone were awe-inspiring. But price and availability were enough to dissuade me from doing so. Once the aforementioned price-barrier was transcended I had to contend with availability. With one authorized dealer, Recon 1, to deal with this matter was simplified although patience was necessary. I had my heart set on the Neon Lite in M390 simply due to the blade steel, but when an Ultra-Lite in S30V came up for sale I jumped at the chance. With a Shiro finally in hand the question of worth was answered and I purchased the Lite in M390 a short while later. Initially I intended to sell the Ultra-Lite, but held onto it after noticing a few subtle differences between the two models. Several months later I bought the HatiOn in Vanax 37 you see below.
    The obvious differences between the Lite and Ultra-Lite models are the blade steels used and the presence of a titanium back spacer or a single standoff: while my Lite is in M390 and my Ultra-Lite is in S30V, I have also seen the former offered in S90V and the letter in Elmax.
    The subtle differences that I noticed were:
    • the titanium used in the handle scales seemed softer on the Ultra-Lite most noticeably in the pocket clip and the lockbar
    • the heavier stonewash finish on the Lite
    • the dimple on the Lite's lockbar
    • and the bite of the jimping is more pronounced on the Lite.
    A close-up of the finish on the Neon Lite:
    I do not know whether these differences are deliberate distinctions between the Lite and Ultra-Lite versions and I do not mention them here as shortcomings. The first of these differences of course has the most practical impact. In an online review of the Neon, the author of Everyday Commentary, who otherwise described it as "superior," commented that the pocket clip "works, but barely." The rationale for this criticism was that he "found it to be a bit pokey and somewhat difficult to get over the lip of bulky materials." "Pokey" is subjective and I don't find it to be as such but "difficult to get over the lip of bulky materials" I half-agree with depending upon the model. I have noticed that Polo and J Crew pants and shorts double up the material at the lip of the pocket whereas other brands do not. The Ultra-Lite works perfectly with those pockets of a thicker material while the Lite requires two hands and some maneuvering to secure. The pocket clips of both the Lite and HatiOn Lite work perfectly with pants not using the "doubled-up" construction on the pockets that I mentioned above.

    The clip on all three models is sculpted titanium mounted from the inside of the handle by one proprietary screw and held in place by milling on the the exterior of the handle that the clip's base fits perfectly into.
    J D Wijbenga, brandoak and ChazzyP like this.
  2. ChazzyP

    ChazzyP Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    Great write-up, @CPP , and a great start to what I assume will be an ongoing commentary/review. :cool:

    I can only speak to the UltraLite as that's my only NeOn, not owning a veritable heap of them as you do. ;) Nick Shabazz made a couple vids on the NeOn, the first being generally favorable and the second more of a slam. I forget whether he was reviewing the Lite or the UL, but one of his stinging criticisms was the of the pocket clip, finding it difficult to insert and deploy the knife. For myself, I find the UL's clip to be excellent and perhaps the best of all my Shiros, easily insertable in all manner of pants pockets with the possible exclusion of the sleep-shorts that I find myself still wearing--a lazy Sunday for sure. (Actually, I just went and grabbed my knife and it pockets in these shorts just fine, my "mature" physique that makes keeping them up problematic notwithstanding.)

    I don't know that there are deliberate differences between the finishes and clips of the various incarnations of the NeOn or any model, or if those are simply the product of different runs by different hands of similar knives. It does give one reason to buy more Shiros solely for research purposes, though. :rolleyes:
  3. CPP

    CPP Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 8, 2014
    Yes, for research purposes!
    brandoak and ChazzyP like this.

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