These knives are new so I have not had the chance to try one yet. I am not a big fan of AUS8 steel but at a list price of $89.95 this should be an excellent value. the assisted opening, and lock open features are something I plan to try out.
James - I've been using a plain edge version of this knife for a couple weeks now. It's got the same "bang for the buck" factor associated with the CRKT stuff. For $49.95 list, it's a great alternative to the Zytel handled lockbacks. The Vallotton Side Lock is a simple, straightforward and clean design. It's non-threatening in appearance. One of the things I really like about it is the contoured handle profile, makes the knife sit in the hand better and makes the Kraton inlays stick out more for a secure grip. Right out of the box the blade was hair shaving sharp (AUS-8 steel BTW). The lockup is perfect. The lockbar fully engages the lower half of the tang. After dealing the blade spine a series of impacts, the lock definitely holds well. Ball bearing detent is very positive, grabbing and pulling the blade shut on its own. Thumbstuds also serve as blade stops and are positioned as far back on the blade to get out of the way so it won't hang up on the material being cut (also has a more streamlined appearance when opened) Because the studs are placed as far back as possible, the radius your thumb arcs through when opening the blade is small, this knife opens quickly with minimal effort. In all, I really like this knife. Good looking and hard working, excellent fit and finish. Go ahead and get one, you won't be disappointed.