Chris Reeve Knives: Small Inkosi - Red Linen Micarta Inlay
Red micarta + the inkosi is a match made in heaven - easily the best looking micarta variant of the inkosi. Combine that with KSP's fast shipping, phenomenal customer service, and lovely newsletters, etc and you absolutely cannot go wrong. I feel quite strange leaving such an overwhelmingly positive review (let alone a review at all!), but this company is wonderful and I wish they got more business from the knife community. Cheers!
The small Inkosi with Red Micarta is another excellent knife by CRK. Cudos to KSF for the red micarta. It really is a nice complement to the stonewashed titanium handle. Now onto the observations. I don't want the observations to appear like I'm down on the knife, I'm not. I consider everything below to be very minor, and several are about how I use the knife, not how CRK designs the knife. Also, I'm a white collar desk jockey, so I modify the CRK configuration to make the knife more unobtrusive (remove lanyard, replace clip with 3rd party deep carry clip).
I debated for a long time whether to get this knife or the Sm Sebenza equivalent. I own Sm Sebenzas and I really like their feel in my hand. I was concerned with the size of the handle of the sm Inkosi in my medium sized hand. In the CRK base configuration, I thought the handle felt good in my hand even though my pinkie was basically off the knife. However, I thought the lanyard was annoying when I used the knife. On the Sm Sebenza, my full hand is (more or less) on the handle and the lanyard isn't in my hand. No problem, the lanyard was coming off anyway. I replaced the lanyard and spacer with a new lanyard-less spacer. Without the lanyard, the knife feels very good in the hand. Problem solved.
The second note is about the clip. The micarta is cut around the factory clip. If you install a 3rd party clip that is shorter, the cutout is exposed. This would also be true if you removed the clip and installed the insert. Honestly, I think it looks fine but others may not. Be aware of this if you go clipless or use a 3rd party clip.
Overall, it is an excellent knife. Now a couple of general notes about the sm Inkosi versus the sm Sebenza. First, they really are different beasts. I don't plan on retiring my sm Sebenzas and exclusively carrying the sm Inkosi. Physically the sm Sebenza is noticeably longer and thinner. The sm Inkosi is a bit shorter and stockier. I do like the larger pivot and stop on the sm Inkosi. After breaking in the sm Inkosi then re-lubricating the knife, it is smooth opening and closing. I really didn't think the sm Sebenza has a big advantage there. I have had minor issues opening the sm Sebenza. I imagine it is an operator error, and I haven't had that issue on the sm Inkosi. But, I don't think it is the angle of the clip. I have the same problem on the sm Sebenza without the clip. Both have beautiful blades. Yes they are a bit different and have different operating characteristics. Also, I agree that the sm Sebenza is a little more comfortable in the hand. Both knives are very solid but not excessively heavy.
Again, well done CRK & KSF and well worth the money. I'm likely to buy different configurations of both in the future.
I am not a knife expert, but I don't need to be to know this is one of my best knives. As soon as I got it, I ordered a Large to go with it almost immediately. All the awesome things you expect from CRK are there. I'm a sucker for red lined micarta, so this KSF exclusive was a no brainer for me. You know, in addition to CRK's awesome customer service, you've got Derrick and the crew backing up your purchase. The "thicker than Sebenza" blades are outstanding. I almost didn't get the Inkosi due to the pivot being different than the 21, but I'm sure glad I went ahead and did. A great pair of knives I'll keep for a lifetime.