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What makes zero tolerance so tough?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by crimsonfalcon07, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. crimsonfalcon07


    Dec 27, 2010
    I hear a lot of people say that zero tolerance knives are incredibly strong. I guess I'm interested in a standard of comparison, and some detail in what makes them so good for tough use.

    I saw several posts indicating that ZT is better than the Spyderco Manix 2, which I find hard to believe, since the ball-bearing lock tested to support over 1000 pounds of pressure against it, and the Manix has a pretty hefty blade.

    What's your favorite hard-use ZT, and how does it compare to other hard-use knives, such as a Sebenza or Ritter Grip, or a comparable Spyderco or Benchmade model?
  2. Artfully Martial

    Artfully Martial

    Jun 8, 2005
    The Manix 2 is a great knife, but it simply isn't a competitor to the bigger, heavier (and more expensive) ZT options like the 0200. Everything is just beefed up--from my memory, maybe up to 50% thicker in some places.

    The axis lock copy is no doubt incredibly strong, and quite possibly stronger than any of ZT's locks, other than maybe the Mudd's, but since the blade will break before the lock does, it becomes somewhat irrelevant. That said, I'd rather have an axis lock (copy or not) in terms of reliability and strength.

    Hold a Manix 2, then hold an 0200 and...it will simply be no comparison.

    But the Manix 2 is a better value and much more EDCable.

    Both the sebenzas and griptilians are reasonably tough knives, but they too would be blown away. We're just talking about a whole different league of toughness here.
  3. neuron

    neuron Moderator Moderator

    Apr 18, 2010
    ^^^This. They're big/overbuilt (which I love) and, in combination with Kershaw/ZT's impeccable build quality, that makes for an extremely tough knife.
  4. Mephtyrm


    Jan 23, 2011
    I'm pretty sure you get for what you have. The Manix 2 is very noticeably lighter(200 is 7.7 ounces!

    IMO ZT went unbeaten for strength until the Tri-Ad lock knives came out.
    I don't know of any tests on ZT knives, Tri-Ad lock was proven by rigorous testing so much just so people could accept it was a CS.
    Again IMO the Tri-Ad lock knives had to suffer much more than any ZT.

    I'd actually like to see a Tri-Ad lock vs any ZT and see the results.

    Another thing is people saying the Sebenza is weak in other words, if you look at the thickness of the lock bar and CRK's extremely tight tolerances you wouldn't think Strider would beat it.

    I've had troubles with Axis locks having vertical play, and upon handling a Manix 2, I felt the Manix 2 would be much stronger than any Axis lock.
  5. crimsonfalcon07


    Dec 27, 2010
    Any measurements? Blade width, pivot screw diameter, frame width, etc? A lot of that seems to be missing from reviews.
  6. Noctis3880


    Jul 22, 2009

  7. Mephtyrm


    Jan 23, 2011
    That was a particularly bad one and before Spyderco stated they improved the lock.

    Anyways, when people break knives I'm not see the pivot area break. Maybe the screw made a new hole, I don't know.
    The ZT 200 has thick ass liners, strong enough for all but the hardest abuse, so It'd only fail if what above stated happens, very unlikely with steel liners and G10. From what I've read the bottom is 5/32 inch thick, with the locking liner being about half the thickness.

    If you ask me, the Axis style locks are sort of overrated.
  8. Überich


    Feb 20, 2011
    well i think those hard use test videos tell it all! (thanks noctis3880 for posting them) i can only confirm those findings from my own experience with the zt0302. not that i would use mine as hard on a regular basis - but it really is the first folder i absolutely trust in not screwing up. i simply stopped looking for any other folder at all since i got it!
    i can not say alot about spyderco though since i got rid of the two folders i had pretty fast after purchase since i generally didn't like em that much.

    @crimsonfalcon07: just try to get your hands on one of those knifes and you'll see and feel the difference - measurements don't tell the whole story...
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  9. Toyz


    Nov 2, 2006
    Just another opinion - I also agree that they are overbuilt knives.

    They have to be held to be appreciated.

    I was very underwhelmed before I actually purchased the 0200 - it was another story when it arrived.

    I still own a 0200 and 0500, and had a 0301. All very sturdy and capable knives.
  10. singularity35


    Mar 1, 2010
    I was really thinking that the chinook 3 was very overbuilt until I got my ZT's(200 and 301). I know, of course, that the chinook is quite strong enough for any normal tasks but it seems positively anemic when compared to the 301 or the 200.

    I like overbuilt knives and for me the manix 2 just does not make the grade as a hard use knife capable of being abused. I bought a manix 2 on it's hard use reputation planning to make it my main SD knife. When I got it it felt absolutely solid and smooth and indeed felt like a small tank in my hands, no blade play at all in any direction.

    After I gave it a work out in my cutting dummy, a few slamming cuts and chops, I was surprised to find that it had developed side to side play which could not be adjusted away by tightening the pivot. The chinook 3 handles this workout regularly with no hiccups. The ZT's? They shrug it off.
  11. dsmegst


    Jul 21, 2009
    The Manix 2 is a larger knife that still excels at slicing. The hollow grind and the flat grinds on the Sprints are not going to hold up to abusive prying.

    A typical ZT blade stays thick close to the tip and the edge. The edge angle is more obtuse.

    My thought is that the design philosophies behind ZT and Spyderco are too different for a good comparison. So which is more important to you, slicing or prying?
  12. 00ChevyScott


    Dec 3, 2010
    I'll say this, my ZT0551 has too thick of a blade to slice through plastic packaging. The blade is very sharp, but it is just way to wide and I find myself carrying a different knife when I go to work. But like what was said above, two entirely different kinds of knives.

    I own a ZT and a Manix 2. I would be happy with either one, but the manix 2 has a better blade for slicing, but might not be as tough as the blade on the ZT. It's a tradeoff.
  13. Ankerson

    Ankerson Knife and Computer Geek Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    Just different designs for different uses, one you can take a hammer (ZT) to and the other is more of a general use all around design (Spyderco).

    There isn't any free lunch in knife designs, to get one thing we give up something else.
  14. BEknives


    Oct 25, 2010
    While both companies make great knives and I've enjoyed owning knives of both I have to say I just like the ZT's better. Whether tougher or not I think I just like their designs better.

    I will say though there was one time when my ZT 200 lock failed on me. A small piece of bark/dirt/woods crap had gotten in between the back stop and the blade and it did not lock on up for me. Tough as hell.... but keep her clean!
  15. knivesandguns


    Mar 6, 2008
    Liner/frame locks will do that to you if you aren't careful.
  16. Artfully Martial

    Artfully Martial

    Jun 8, 2005
    saw this photo in another thread...illustrates my point
  17. crimsonfalcon07


    Dec 27, 2010
    Thanks for the information, good videos. I think I will have to give the 0550 a try when it comes out and see for myself, as you all say. Kinda sad for me that they are marketed as combat knives, however, since that means that in Arizona, they could technically be illegal, regardless of size, based on the way the law is written, and it's looking like I might have to move there...

    For reference if anyone else had the same questions, I did manage to find the average blade thickness, which is .156", compared to only .125" for the Manix, and many models use a 3/16" torx screw for the blade pivot. So quite beefy, although nearly half a pound on the 0200 seems like a bit much for an urban EDC.
  18. philwar


    Mar 27, 2009
    This is exactly the point. If you want a knife that slices like a razor and can dig a splinter out of your finger, get a Manix 2.
    If you want a knife that can dig a bullet out of a tree and that you can baton with, get a ZT0300.
    As far as I am aware, there are no folders that excel at all four tasks.
  19. thegeek574


    Sep 3, 2010
    I think that the fundamental difference between the ZT and other knife companies is that ZT has no qualms about adding weight to get the thickest blade, the thickest liners, bolts for the pivots, and all the stuff you could possibly want to make it as heavy duty as possible. this all results in very heavy, and sometimes not very attractive, knives that cost a lot. if that is what you want, go for it. if not, look elsewhere.

    as for lock strength, the axis lock may be stronger, but the blade of a griptilian will break long before the blade on an 0200 will, and so the lock does not matter. as to cold steel, the designs are completely different. the 2 knives most like the ZTs with triad locks are the rajah 3 and the spartan, based on size, and those have, i think most of us can agree, inferior steel, different designs, and much lower price tags. if a monstrous knife that looks like it got made for the "300" set and can hack tree branches is what you want, go for it. if not, then start looking around for other options.

    i will probably get flamed for this, but it is my opinion that cold steel is, as a rule, less practical than other companies in the area of design, and i would rather have the basic design, indestructible folder with excellent F&F and an no-questions asked warranty that the ZT gives me with better steel than the cold steel offering, regardless of price. just my personal opinion, YMMV. Just as a side note, i am annoyed by cold steel's marketing. i do not want you to chop meat unless it is frozen solid, i want the cardboard to be replaced with plywood, and the bottles to be replaced with iceblocks. then i would be more inclined to take them seriously.
  20. knivesandguns


    Mar 6, 2008
    Somebody's on fire today! :thumbup:

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