Chris Reeve Knives: Small Inkosi - Left-Handed - Red Linen Micarta Inlay
So, I bit the bullet and bought my first Chris Reeve knife: a small Sebenza 21 (carbon fiber). My wallet was still recovering when two weeks later I came across this baby (and I do mean baby, more later) here at KSF.
If you're left-handed, you like CRKs, fancy a bit of micarta and definitely want to add an Inkosi to your collection...where else are you gonna go?
Ordewr and wait for a natural micarta from CRK or hand over a wedge of cash to for the KSF special edition. Now I’m currently living half way round the world in South Africa, so that means paying shipping and negotiating (and law unto themselves) customs fellas.
Remember Chris Reeve is South African and the country has a magnificient knife culture (one of the reasons I accepted my company transfer here). However, there aren't any left hand CRKs for sale here and the prices here would make you Americans weep. I love the chat websites where I see all you guys complaining about 90 dollar knives and why you’re not paying an extra $30 for S90 steel, or whatever.
Take a look at Europe, and here, where invariably we pay the equivalent of the manufacturer's dollar list price (not the discounted prices you pay) PLUS local VAT.
You are pretty lucky. For example, a Para 2 that'll cost you $99 there sets you back the equivalent of $225 here in South Africa, and that's if you shop around. Earlier this year, I paid more than $200 for a simple Manix2 XL in S30, and that was cheap here.
But what it does mean is that if people are prepared to deal with import duties, you can choose from the choice you guys have in the States and sometime. And that was why I ordered my second CRK in a month. The Inkosi arrived within a week (UPS shipping is not a patch on FedEx and it’s three times more expensive but that's just my experience).
The Inkosi is a great knife. But you knew that. It's a small knife, genuinely feels significantly smaller in the hand than the 21 and for me it's just a little more awkward to flick open that the Sebbie.
People have complained about the grip saying the cutouts force you to hold in a certain way. So, it suits some people and not others. I agree and if you can try before you buy, make sure you do. I have no problem, though for me the handle is too short, by quarter of an inch and I’ve kept the stubby supplied lanyard, which I dumped within minutes on my Seb.
But, as a design, the Inkosi’s superb, just take look at the length of the blade CRK fits within those titanium scales. Brilliant.
The micrata inlays are beautiful, they darken quite quickly from handling (the white kinda disappears) but quick wash with ordinary hand soap restores it immediately.
If you love the inlays, take a careful look at the clip side and see how the micarta is fitted around the offset clip. I think it’ll look a little odd if you prefer clipless.
Of course, the Inkosi was sharp, not laser but good enough. The grinds were perfect. Overall production is flawless. I can't say it feels better than the Seb on opening smoothness though it seems to be taking longer to wear in than the 21.
I carried nothing else for a week, even though you may legally carry any size blade here in South Africa, and to my eyes the Inkosi is one of the most attractive folders on the planet.
But for me, ultimately, it's too small for carrying every day as my only knife, so it'll become a backup - something I can fondle, admire, photograph for Instagram - @speedmasterpro - and look after.
And that's totally different to the way I feel about my CF Sebenza insingo, which I use as normal alongside my BMs, Spydies and CS.
Conclusion: If you want an Inkosi and you (like me) love the red linen micarta, then buy it.
If you're left handed and want a small Inkosi, this is a great choice. Buy it.
If you want a Chris Reeve knife to use, that will feel as comfortable as your Griptilian or Manix, get a Sebenza 21.