Spyderco FFG CF C101CF90VP2 Manix 2
Folding Knife Review

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Spyderco FFG CF C101CF90VP2 Manix 2, CPM S90V steel, Anodized Aluminum handle by John Grimsomo


 - One of the special components of the Manix 2 CF S90V is the handle. Specifically, the carbon fiber handle slabs. I have had a few different knives with carbon fiber handles, and they all were more or less similar, since it's still carbon fiber. Manix 2 however, is different. CF slabs are textured, not smooth. To be honest, I am not so fond of that choice, and I did like smooth carbon fiber slabs on other folders, let's say like on the Benchmade 705CFHS Forum Knife. Can't say it's a simple handle, but all the curves and gimpings are in the right place, and as far as grip comfort and ergonomics go, I'd rate it very high. Like I said above, there is a lot of gimping in Manix 2. The handle has most of it. Gimping is on the front and back side, and it's on the top and the bottom. The backspacer is also present, but it doesn't go through the whole handle, it's located in the front, about 1.5" long, and I figure it's made out of steel. Looks like it's been sandblasted, or it might be anodized, in short it is nice, gray color. Fits quite well in the design. There are total of 4 points of connection between the liners. One being a pivot screw, two more screws in the front and the middle, and rather oversized lanyard hole in the back. Lanyard hole is considerably larger than that on the Spyderco Military Titanium C36Ti Folding Knife. And that difference is on the positive side, since the lanyard hole on the Military model is rather small, I've seen quite a few complaints and wishes about enlarging it. Liners are made out of stainless steel, and they're realy skeletonized, in that there's significant portions of metal removes from the liners. Definitely reduces the weight, and yet the handle strength and stiffness are not compromised. There is no flex in the handle whatsoever. Well, no wonder, especially given the very solid backspacer, even if it is not a full length. And to complete the handle description, let's mention the clip, highly polished, stainless steel clip, with Spyderco logo on it. The clip is two position, i.e. left or right side, tip up carry. The tension of the clip is just about right, in conjunction with the carbon fiber slabs, provides good security, keeping the knife in the pocket, and at the same time, the knife doesn't tend to grab the fabric, which is nice. That's it about the handle. Almost forgot, like I said I don't really like the textured carbon fiber handle, so I am exploring alternative variants. One possibility is to have smooth CF handle slabs custom made, another is to have stainless steel or titanium slabs. Haven't decided yet and I still need to find modder who will do all that for me, that is, right after I get to reharden it. I am sure, more than one Spyderco purists will condemn all that as blasphemy, for altering such a rare Spyderco specimen, but hey, this is a hobby, and altering knives to get them close to your ideals is what really counts and makes it fun ;)

Spyderco FFG CF C101CF90VP2 Manix 2 disassembled, CPM S90V steel, Anodized Aluminum handle by John Grimsomo

Caged Ball Lock

 - Since the Manix 2 CF CPM S90V is my first folding knife with this type of lock, let's discuss it in a little more detail. Caged ball lock is the Spyderco's locking mechanism. I don't know if it is trademarked or not, but it was invented by them(Spyderco) and so far has been used exclusively in Spyderco folding knives. From the outside, at a glance, it looks somewhat like Benchmade axis lock, and operates like one too, that is from the user perspective. There is a lock assembly in the handle(I guess that's the cage), accessible from either side, and the user(or the operator) pulls the bar back, in order to disengage the lock. That's where the similarities end. Internally, they are entirely different, and externally Axis Lock is made of steel, while the lock bar of the caged ball lock, at least external pars of it are made of plastic. I'd rather have metal instead. Clear plastic doesn't really work for me. The lock itself is spring loaded, and as you open the knife, the spring pushed the small steel ball forward, which when the blade is fully opened, slides into the special cutout of the blade and locks it in the open position. Pulling the lock bar or buttons back removes the ball from its position, thus releasing the blade. I'll add the images later, when I disassemble the knife. From what I know, it's not that simple to disassemble and put back together, but I have to do it anyway, if I am going to get the blade rehardened. Doesn't look all that difficult for now :) As for the Axis vs. Caged ball lock, well, I have mixed feelings. As things are for now, axis lock is easier to operate on any of the axis lock folders I have compared with the single caged ball lock folder in my possession, Manix 2. Hopefully it will get smoother, for now I can disengage axis lock using just my thumb, but for caged ball lock, I need thumb and index finger, pulling the lock from both sides. Come to think of it, I don't really think the lock on my Manix 2 will get easier, I don't have problems with lock getting stuck like some other users report, but the spring pushing the locking ball forward is really strong, and that's the force I have to overcome when operating the lock. Well, we'll see how it goes. One advantage the caged ball lock has, is the single, more conventional spring used in it. Benchmade axis lock uses two omega springs, and while I have not had any omega spring failure on any of my axis lock folders, I've seen plenty of reports about broken omega springs during last 12+ years I've had axis lock knives. Things wear and break, what can I say. Simpler things tend to be more reliable, that's also fact of life, most of the time ;) In the end, if I was building an ideal folder, I've pick Axis Lock for it, but on its own, caged ball lock is a very solid lock, and being a little more difficult to operate is not a real concern, lock stability and strength is. I'd pick caged ball lock over any other types of lock any time, I think it's better than liner lock, lockback, framelock, compression lock and whatever else, and I am anxious to see how it will turn out after some use. once I am done modding the knife, I plan to carry it daily and use it as much as I can. So, I'll find out soon enough.


 - Not so much for now, primarily because I am planning to reharden the blade like I said above. So, simply put, once it's done, the performance will improve. Meanwhile, I did preliminary testing, to assess the abilities of Manix to, at least those that will not be affected by rehardening process. That pretty much leaves handle ergonomics and comfortability during various types of cutting and using different grips. Inevitably, I had to cut something, because commenting on the knife handle without actually cutting something wouldn't exactly be fair. Cutting ability was pretty good, especially considering that it was a factory edge, which I have not altered in any way. Thanks to the sharp edge and flat ground blade. However, main focus was the handle. In short, even though more often than not I prefer simple handle geometry, and Manix 2 handle is nothing simple, I liked the handle a lot. In a straight grip, it is super friendly, the knife just feels like a hand extension. It was equally comfortable for delicate, fine works and for much harsher cutting, when I really had to lean on the knife. The extra groove in the front of the handle, which has gimping, plus gimping on the choil makes choke grip both, safe/secure and truly functional. As in, when the knife is held in a choke grip, (of which you can have two variations, placing index finger either on the choil, or in the front groove of the handle, depends on the task and your preferences), you are not worried about your finger slipping down on the edge, and the grip itself is comfortable. For testing, I worked using choke grip around 30 minutes, and I didn't notice any particular sore spots or cramps in my fingers. Obviously, having finger grooves and being curved the handle isn't equally comfortable in a reverse(hammer) grip, but still, it is quite usable and during stabbing tests I didn't experience any problems with the grip security. One concern, or potential issue is the width of the folded knife. As you can see on this Endura 4 with Manix 2 photo, Manix 2 is quite wider than Endura 4, which in turn is still wider than Benchmade McHenry & Williams 710HSSR. Depending on the size of your pocket and other items in it, that might become a problem, or not. Well, not exactly a problem, but when I first put the knife in my jeans pocket, I kept noticing it, although in a day or two, I forgot it was there.


 - Well, let's split conclusion into two parts. Part one will be about this particular Sprint run, Carbon Fiber handled, CPM S90V steel Manix 2. For it is a really good knife and to me it was worth it. Even though I have considerable modifications planned for it, the base is very solid, i.e. the overall design and the alloy used in the knife are top notch. The modifications planned are simply to bring the knife as close to its maximum potential as it can get, and also to make it more to my liking. Replacing handle slabs is hardly a performance improvement, but I like metal handles better. So, if you are contemplating buying S90V Manix 2, you have few things to consider, the price is obviously number one, since I can't in good conscience call 360$ price on a production knife good deal or even sensible. You have to be a collection or Spyderco fan to consider that. As far as its build and knife qualities are concerned, they're very high. Collectible value is obviously high, so if that's your only concern, then why not. Thus, if the price is ok, or you somehow got the S90V Manix 2 from someone's bargain bin, go for it. Whether to not to do the modifications it's absolutely up to you. Handle modifications are totally up to you, can't advise there. Rehardening the blade is a difficult matter, and you need ot decide for yourself, if extra 1-2 points of HRC is worth the hassle for you. If you keep 20° per side edge on the knife, then I'd say no, not worth bothering, if you want thinner, high performance edge, then sure, but you need to find knowledgeable master to do that. So, there you go, you have the options to ponder about ;)
Part II will be about standard issue Manix 2. Not that I have it, but based on the design, which is the same, and specs, standard issue Manix 2 is far more attractive to average knife buyers. The price is very reasonable, between 60$-70$, 154CM steel is also good, design is very good and user friendly, tough user knife, and overall, it's one of the better knife for the price. So, if you want a practical, tough use folder, then standard issue Manix would definitely be the way to go.


  • Blade - 76.20mm(3")
  • Thickness - 3.15mm
  • Width - 34.91mm
  • OAL - 222.00mm(8.74")
  • Steel - CPM S90V steel at 58-60HRC
  • Handle - Carbon Fiber
  • Weight - 114.80g(3.88oz)
  • Acquired - 07/2011 Price - 360.00$

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Last updated - 05/19/19