The Spyderco Manix 2 was one of my first knives, at least the first one that cost me a bit of change. It’s a great knife that has been with me for years and still finds its way into my EDC rotation more often than any other knife I own. It also happens to be one of the most popular models released by Spyderco. That popularity has led to Spyderco offering the Manix 2 in several variations such as the XL and lightweight models. The Manix 2 is also available in a large variety of high-quality steels such as S30V, CTS-XHP, M4, and the “super steels” like S110V or Maxamet. The Manix 2 that I will be reviewing is the modest CPM S30V model.

Specifications

  • Overall Length: 8.03″ (204 mm)
  • Closed Length: 4.66″ (118 mm)
  • Blade Length: 3.37″ (86 mm)
  • Edge Length: 2.88” (73 mm)
  • Blade Thickness: 0.125″ (3.0 mm)
  • Weight: 4.9 oz (139 g)
  • Steel: CPM S30V
  • Handle: G-10
  • Clip Position: AmbiTip
  • Carry Position: Tip-Up
  • Lock Type: Ball Bearing Lock Mechanism
  • Grind: Full-Flat
  • Origin: United States

My thoughts and review

If you visit The Loadout Room frequently, you probably have an EDC collection. And unless you live in a locality that restricts knives, your EDC almost always consists of a knife or two. My point is knives are extremely popular, and like all “tactical” gear, there is a diverse opinion over which one is “the best.” Aside from the quality of materials used, your “best knife” is going to be the one with the features you find most complimentary. Some people prefer a knife with a choil, while others find it to be a waste of precious space on a blade. Some emphasize a lightweight package, some stress blade length, and others highlight something else. The following are from my experience, the most noteworthy features I like or dislike about the Manix 2, and why it’s an ideal folder.

CPM S30V knife steel

CPM S30V is considered a premium quality stainless steel. S30V holds its edge better than most, it’s highly corrosion-resistant, and it sharpens fairly easily. Thanks to all of its perks, S30V is one of the most common and popular steels in the knife industry. However, it is not without its drawbacks. The first is obvious, it’s expensive. Secondly, S30V has a bad tendency to chip at its edge. It isn’t a deal-breaker since you can just resharpen the edge, but for a premium steel, it isn’t desirable and it’s a nuisance. The good news is that if you love the design of Manix 2, you can find plenty of other steels available for the same knife.

Spyderco Manix 2 | The best of Spyderco's classics
The Manix 2 before and after sharpening. Unfortunately, CPM S30V is prone to chipping, but fairly easy to sharpen.

A tip that I learned from a friend who professionally sharpens knives, is that you can hand sharpen a convex or rounded-out secondary bevel to mitigate chipping of the edge. A rounded secondary bevel makes a stronger edge than what you get with the Manix 2‘s full-flat grind.

Jimping and choil

Throughout the many times I took my Manix 2 out to the field or carried it as my EDC, I discovered a few subtle features that I grew to be fond of. One of these is the choil on the blade. Having a choil on a knife is great because you can “choke up” as close as possible to the edge of the knife. What I like specifically about the choil on the Manix 2 is the jimping on it. The also Manix 2 features jimping along the base of the spine, something that not all knives have. Both features are there to help control your knife better, though the naysayers are convinced that they are incorporated solely for aesthetics. Experiment with some knives, and come up with the verdict for yourself. I find these features to be preferable on a knife.

Spyderco Manix 2 | The best of Spyderco's classics
The jimping on the base of the spine of the Manix 2.
Spyderco Manix 2 | The best of Spyderco's classics
The jimping on the choil of the Manix 2.
G10 handle, steel-liners, and overall weight

Similar to the Spyderco Tenacious, the Manix 2 utilizes steel-liners within its G10 handles. G10 alone is a high-quality composite material; its toughness and durability compared to its alternatives are why it’s my preferred handle material. The texture of the G10 combined with the ergonomics of the Manix 2 makes it an exceptional handle that lacks nothing else. The steel-liners are merely there to reinforce the G10 handle. Some might call it overkill, and I might feel inclined to agree, but only because I try to keep all my gear lightweight. However, you can rest assured that this handle is as sturdy as it gets, and it won’t break unless you’re actually attempting to break it. Despite a hefty overall weight at 4.9 oz, I don’t mind it as my EDC knife, but I might opt for a lighter knife when I’m doing some extensive hiking or backpacking since those ounces add up very quickly.

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Ball bearing lock mechanism

The ball bearing lock on the Manix 2 is similar to Benchmade’s Axis lock. As Spyderco illustrates, it “consists of a ball bearing nested within a durable textured polymer ‘cage.’ When the blade is opened, a spring-loaded steel plunger drives the ball bearing forward to wedge between a ramp on the blade and an ‘anvil’ in the handle’s steel insert. Drawing the caged ball bearing to the rear releases the lock and allows the blade to close smoothly while keeping your fingers safely away from the sharp edge.” The ball bearing lock is one of the most reliable locking mechanisms available on a folder and is easy to manipulate.

Spyderco Manix 2 | The best of Spyderco's classics
The Manix 2 Lightweight CPM S110V , one of the many Manix 2 variations available. Photo courtesy of Spyderco.
Lanyard hole

Some knives have lanyard holes, some don’t. When afforded the choice, I opt to have one. After all, having one and not using it is better than not having one at all. I can’t recall a single field exercise when somebody didn’t end up losing their knife during training. Tie-downs work, and they work better when you have a lanyard hole on your handle.

The Spyderco Round Hole

In case you happen to be unfamiliar, the Round Hole is Spyderco’s trademark feature. The Round Hole was designed to help facilitate swift and easy opening of folders with just one hand because of its wide surface area. Though it may feel unusual for new Spyderco owners, after a short time it will start to feel more natural. I wouldn’t say it works any better than a thumb stub like it was designed to, but there are some knife models out there with poor placement of the stub (IE being too close to the handle). With the Round Hole design, you are able to open a folder with consistent action.

The verdict

The good
-Quality material and construction
-Variety of high-quality steel choices available
-Excellent ergonomics
-One of the most sturdy knives available

The bad
-Heavy compared to other EDC folders, but Spyderco offers lightweight versions
-For a high-quality steel, S30V chips easily

The Manix 2 is the knife that I compare all other knives too. It is arguably the best knife that Spyderco has produced, and hardly any other knife rivals it. My CPM S30V model has its shortcomings, but as I mentioned earlier, Spyderco offers the Manix 2 in different variations with a wide selection of high-quality steels. Its combination of features leaves nothing else to be desired, so much so that I have my eyes set on another Manix 2 to eventually add to my collection. Though I was critical of the S30V steel, it isn’t a poor grade steel by any means, there are just better options that are being offered. At the time of writing this review, the Manix 2 in CPM S30V has an MSRP of $169.95. Though it’s a steep price, you can find a myriad of online retailers who sell it for significantly less. If you could only buy one Spyderco knife, the Manix 2 confidently gets my vote.

As always, if you have comments about this review of the Manix 2 or any experience with Spyderco products, let us know what you think!