Wenger Evo 16 first impressions.

Joined
Sep 5, 2005
Messages
273
I got a $30 Bass Pro Shops gift card for Christmas and like any forumite that frequents the multi forum would do, I decided to use the card to buy another SAK :) . This SAK purchase would be different, though. BPS only carries Wenger. I have only purchased Victorinox in the past. After some research online and some looking in the store, I settled on the EVO 16. It's a 3.25" 3 layer knife with a large blade, nail cleaner/file, cap lifter/locking screwdriver/wire stripper, can opener, scissors, reamer, phillips, tweezers, toothpick and a key ring. What makes it different from other SAKs is that it has contoured scales made to fit the user's hand, more about whitch later.

I almost didn't buy this knife. The back springs on the display models, both the Evo 16 and 18, seemed very weak. I wondered if the weak springs on the displays were due to sitting partially open in the SAK pose for months on end. After some thought, I decided to go ahead and give the knife a try knowing that I could return it if it were unsatisfactory. The first thing that I did with the knife once the package was open was cycle all the implements to check the back spring strenth. They were stronger than the displays but not as strong as my Vic SAKs. They'll do, but I certainly wouldn't mind them being stronger. I noticed on some SAK reviews on amazon.com that some people were complaining that Vic SAKs are too hard to open. I wonder if Wenger decided to weaken the back springs to make the knife more "user friendly." I would advise any forumite considering buying a SAK that has been on display, especially a Wenger, to check the back springs.

The next thing that I did was try to shave with the blade. It was shaving sharp right out of the package :thumbup: . I haven't had a Vic do that yet. After playing around with the knife quite a bit I must say that I like Wenger's scissors. Operating them off of the back spring is a great idea. I'll let you know how the self-sharpening feature works in a couple of years. The locking screwdriver is also a big plus. I would rather have a small blade than the nail cleaner/file. A small blade will clean finger nails just as well plus a whole lot more. The file part of the implement is too short to be of much use. I'm not sure why Wenger seems to favor the nail cleaner over small blades. Also, Wenger doesn't put a small flathead screwdriver on the can opener. That feature will be missed. As for the contoured handles, they are comfortable to grip but don't make conventional SAKs scales seem uncomfortable by comparison. They do, however, give the knife a more sleek look.

Overall, I like the knife a lot. It was a bit pricey at $35, though. I'm sure a little web shopping would yeild one for less, but a Vic Super Tinker for $20 at Wally World would probably be a better value. I was looking for something a little different. The Evo, with it's contoured scales, fit the bill.
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2005
Messages
857
Thanks for sharing your impressions. From reading others' experiences here on the forums, it seems that Wenger's relatively weak backsprings are a common issue relative to Vic backsprings.

I only own one Wenger model, purchased on clearance at K-Mart, and it's definitely got weaker backsprings than any of my several Vics, so, despite the fact it's got several useful tools, it's been relegated to 3rd tier backup in my truck survival kit. At least you can now say your preference for Victorinox seems to be justified, as least if backspring strength is important to you!
 
Joined
Dec 18, 2005
Messages
18
I will never buy a Wenger if they have weak backsprings. actually, I would not mind if Vic had harder backsprings!
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
429
One advantage of the weaker backspring Wenger is that the awl can be quietly opened one-handed while the knife is still in your pocket. Hard to do with a Victorinox. Reassuring in some situations where self-defence might be needed in a hurry.
 
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