One to Watch: Spyderco Rubicon
Tony Sculimbrene 11.24.14
Over the years, Spyderco has done very well in the middle of the market. The Delica and Endura are annual best sellers, and rightfully so. In the past two years, however, the company has made a distinct move towards the upper end of the price range for production knives. This is, no doubt, in response to a market increasingly willing to spend lots of money on a knife. For years the Sebenza was the final outpost on the road to price insanity, and now it looks like a bargain compared to something like the Lionsteel TiDust with its $1,600 price tag (depending on the conversion rate). It would be silly for them not to move into this higher-end price range. After all, most of the increase in price comes from an increase in the profit margin.
Spyderco has also started to pick up on the trend towards the use of flippers as a deployment method. It’s understandably hard to break with tradition when that tradition is a rival deployment method, but the market wants flippers. Their first play was the Southard, which for all its great steel and name recognition, was, in my opinion, an undercooked design. The pocket clip was pokey, the chamfering on the edges was crude and uncomfortable, and the lock bar relief was an instant hotspot.
The fourth Spyderco flipper seems to change all of that. The Spyderco Rubicon, pictured at the top of this page, is a collaboration between Golden and custom maker Pete Carey.
Carey is one of the better known and in-demand custom makers, with his high end pieces regularly fetching many thousands of dollars and his books closed since time immemorial. The Rubicon is one of two Carey collabs released by Spyderco this year; the other is the orange and black Firefly. Both knives have orange and carbon fiber on the handles, both feature contoured handle scales, and both offer organic blade shapes, but the Rubicon is the only one of the pair that comes with a flipper. The Rubicon, like the Domino, Dice, and Southard, rides on a caged bearing system. The Rubicon was also a Blade Show award winner (something I predicted on the Gear Geeks Live podcast. Unfortunately for me, co-host Andrew of Edge Observer actually called the overall winner, so my guess is not quite as impressive).
The knife itself has some pretty incredible specs, running S30V in a 3 inch blade. It is also a Taichung Taiwan Spyderco, all but guaranteeing top shelf fit and finish. If you are looking for a piece that exudes quality and performance and you’re willing to tolerate the high-for-Spyderco price of around $300 street, the Rubicon has a lot going for it. Maybe third (or fourth) time is a charm for Spyderco.