Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kershaw Cryo Review

People always tell me that they learn more from reviews of bad products than reviews of good products. prepared to learn a lot.  The Kershaw Cryo is an unmitigated failure, one of the worst products I have ever reviewed.  This wouldn't be such a big deal if I, like the rest of the knife world, hadn't had such high expectations.  In the end the first cheap Hinderer-designed knife is more cheap than Hinderer-designed. In doing so it fails in almost every way.  I don't say this because I am Kershaw hater.  In fact I love many Kershaw designs--the Skyline and the OD-2 being two of my favorite blades.  I also don't say this because I hate cheap stuff--I have given good reviews to lots of stuff under $30.  I say this because it is true--the Kershaw Cryo is a complete and utter bust.

Here is the product page.  There are no written reviews as this is really new blade.  Here is a video review from Blade HQ.  Here is a link to purchase the knife through, though I would recommend you buy something else, like a Skyline, if you don't already have one or if you want a knife this size that can really perform well, why not opt for a Spyderco Techno? (remember, purchases help the Haiku giveaway):

Blade HQ

Blade HQ contacted me as soon as they got one in and sent it out to me for review.  I have had it for about three weeks including one week of hiking and general outdoors use in Acadia National Park (which is just an awesome place to hike, ride bikes, and kayak).  Here is the review sample:


Design: 0

This is a blade that illustrates a point and one that made me rethink my review system.  It is a 2.75 inch blade that weighs 5 ounces for a blade to weight ratio of .55.  Nothing I have reviewed is even close to that mark, nothing.  This is a fat knife.  And it didn't need to be.  I know titanium is probably out of the question, given the budget of the knife, but aluminum certainly isn't that would brought down the weight considerably.  There is absolutely no reason why a knife this size has to weigh that much.  It is just TOO heavy.

But the design flaws don't end there.  The knife is wide in the pocket, which is not a killer problem, but the addition of a flipper to a massively wide knife (given its blade length) and there is a mounting set of concerns.  The flipper has some serious snag potential.  But things don't end there.  The thumb studs, which are truly useless, vestigial remains of a different deployment method, snag quite a bit in the pocket.  I know they are used as stops for the blade, but why include them at all, especially if they are going to be little pocket grappling hooks?  Either make them less likely to snag or mount a stop pin on the interior of the blade and get rid of them entirely.  I'd prefer the internal stop pin, as it makes the knife cleaner looking and less likely to attract gunk (as thumb studs are want to do).

Still though, that is not enough to get a zero.  I reserve a zero, especially in the all important design category for real stinkers, and this is a real stinker.  The thing that pushes this knife down to the bottom of the barrel are the handle scales themselves.  They are super, super slick.  I like the jimping, but the handle scales themselves are just too slippery for any serious use.

Here is an example: I am, as you can probably tell by my last name, a sweaty Italian.  I sweat thinking about hot weather.  So when I was hiking in Acadia, I was sweating like a whore in church.  I also had my two year old son in a backpack kid carrier.  It was lot of extra weight and it kind of threw me off (I do use a hiking stick I made so it wasn't too bad).  I brushed past a bush of thorns and they got caught, pretty viciously, on my clothing.  Now I was on the edge of a 690 foot cliff so pulling and jerking around was not an option.  I took out the Cryo, cut the small limb of thorns, and made it to a flatter place and removed them.  This was not as easy as it sounds.  First, I snagged the knife on my pocket pulling out.  Then, when I was reaching around to make the cut I lost my grip.  I didn't drop the knife, but I had to steady myself and regrip the blade.  It has virtually no traction because of the slick steel handle slabs (which also add a good bit of weight).  

The design of this knife is fundamentally flawed.  It is heavy, snag prone, and slick.  That is a zero.

Fit and Finish: 0

Walk away from this knife right now.  The blade centering is atrocious, so bad in fact that opening and closing the knife sounds like you are opening and closing a pair of scissors.  I can tolerate a bit off center.  This is more than that:


The rest of the knife was fine, but a folding knife that damages the blade because of off centering is a fatal flaw.  It is kind of like a car that has a nice interior but the engine doesn't work.  It is hard to tell if this a problem with the whole line, because there are so few data points right now as the knife is still new, but it is not a problem you can fix at home.  I repositioned the pivot twice and within a day of exceedingly mild use, the blade was smacking into the side. 

Grip: 1

The jimping is actually nice jimping, not so fine as to shred your fingertips, but hard cut enough to grab them.  It is the handle scales that are the problem.  They are super, super slick, especially when wet.


There is nothing in the way of traction on the non-lock side and only the pocket clip on the lock side.

Carry: 0

The Paramilitary 2 has a blade that is 3/4 of an inch longer and a handle that is built for the gloved hand.  It is a big and beefy knife.  It weighs 3.75 ounces.  The Cryo weighs 5 ounces.  There is no reason whatsoever for that.  This knife is a steel turd in the pocket and I personally would prefer not carrying turds of any kind.  

Steel: 1

Kershaw's 8Cr13MoV is an adequate steel, nothing good or bad.  I found it to be razor sharp out of the box and very easy to sharpen (or strop, as I did not sharpen it on the Sharpmaker).  I am not sure why this knife has 8Cr when the similarly priced Skyline has the vastly superior 14c28n steel, other than the fact that this knife is built in China and shipping European steel across the globe would add a lot to this knife's price tag.  

Blade Shape: 2

Okay, finally, something from the Hinderer lineage that makes it into the blade.  The blade shape is superb.  In particular the tip strength is very, very good.  There is plenty of belly as well. 


Grind: 2

 The multi-faceted grinds, for the first time in my experience, do make this knife better.  They deliver so much of the steel's thickness right to the tip.  I also like the wider than average cutting edge grind (secondary bevel).    

Deployment Method: 1

I like the Speedsafe assist, but I am not sure why they need the thumbstuds.  Using an internal stop pin would make the knife cleaner and easier to retrieve.  The big issue I have though is the sinking feeling that the Speedsafe assist is actually completely unnecessary.  None of Hinderer's customs have it and they are bigger knives.  A good flipper, a nice pivot, and a hefty detent can make flippers without assists as fast as flippers with them.  I think the real reason for a flipper here is to cover up the inferior pivot, one of the places they can skimp to make the knife cheaper.  All of the things necessary to make a flipper work without an assist require time and labor.  A spring doesn't.  If the blade was so big the spring was necessary, that is one thing, but in a knife this small I think it is a way to get around a cheap pivot and not actually a feature.  

Retention Method: 1

Oh how tempting.  The pocket clip is great looking, but in practice it is a little too tight and small for such a wide knife.  I would have preferred the ZT/Strider wide flat clip here, but this is okay.  Not my favorite but not terrible either.


A clip this thin on a knife this fat can allow the knife to roll in the pocket a little which makes the knife harder to retrieve.  Add this to the already substantial obstacles to retrieval caused by the silly thumbstuds, wide body, and flipper and this knife is very hard to get out of your pocket.

Lock/Blade Safety: 1

Oh, but it has a framelock with a Hinderer stop.  Yes it does.  And the lock produces no blade play and locks up early.  So what's the problem?  This:


The real estate on the frame lock designed to catch your thumb is vanishingly small.  Disengaging the frame lock is actually quite a challenge and with the slick handle scales it is harder still.  This is a big problem and had me debating a 0 score here instead of a 1, but in the end the wiggle free frame lock is worth something.  

Overall Score: 9 out of 20

What a punch in the nuts this knife was.  I am so disappointed.  I wanted this knife to be awesome and it just sucked.  As I wrote on the Twitter feed: the Cryo makes me cryo.  This knife had so much promise and it failed to deliver on almost every level.

But we are not without hope.  The bones of a great knife are here.  Kershaw, here is how you fix it:

1.  Bring production to the US

This allows for better steel, like the 14c28n on the Skyline, or even better S30V.  It also allows for an upgrade in the fit and finish, which will get rid of the centering issues.

2.  Make the frame lock easier to disengage

3.  Get rid of or slim down the thumbstuds

4.  Use titanium or Ti/G10 on the handle scales with matte finish on the Ti.

This is will make the knife lighter and grippier.

This new blade would be much more expensive, probably around $100, but it would be a great knife and fill a hole in the Kershaw line up.  They have very few mid priced knives, going from the $30 blade to the $300 Tilt with little in between.  

UPDATE: The thumb studs, of course, are not stops.  They are, in fact, completely useless.  Additionally, the knife is not 5.0 ounces, but 4.2 ounces.  Still too heavy.  Neither of these oversights on my part changes the score.  If anything, the weight thing is balanced out but the purely vestigial thumb studs.  This knife still stinks, a lot, even with Nutnfancy's review.


  1. Disappointing! The initial impressions I heard about were mixed so this doesn't come as a huge surprise. Your review pretty much sealed it for me - cancelled my order. Life is too short. I'll put the money towards an XM-18 or something.

    I agree wholeheartedly that this would be a great USA made knife around $100 with some of the tweaks you suggested. It would compliment the 0550 and 0560 nicely.


    Seriously, great review. Convincing.

    The updated Cryo wouldn't even have to be $100. Rough Al scales like Leatherman Squirt PS4 + 14c28n blade would = more like $60 and would be the shizzle.

    Omg at the blade centering pic.

  3. what a crazy disappointment. The lack of discipline in knife design here is alarming. They must have put all their design time on the blade and had an intern design the rest. So much for it being an everyman's XM-18.

  4. Well, Sweaty Tony, you have mercifully destroyed my intentions for this knife. And I like my other three Kershaws! I will definitely wait to hear about the other new Kershaw with the "snot green" scales. I hope it is better. What were they thinking? Or not thinking, maybe. David Kraus singles out the best feature, as you mentioned, which I hope the SanRenMu people get hold of. They might make something out of it, if Kershaw can't.

    I don't need another knife, but I would enjoy having something specially good to play with in casual use. No anchors, no slippery eels, no klutzy ergos. If the knife is this bad, what profit is there in it at a low price point? It won't be popular, and it is not cheap enough to sell millions. If it were a winner at $45, a price point they don't hit well, Kershaw would be doing well with it. Furniture is coming back to the US from China, and maybe knives will too if value is considered.

  5. As a woodworker I can tell you that I closely follow the return of furniture making from China.

    I truly killed me to write this review. I was so excited for this knife, I sold off a few other knives, thinking this would be their replacement.

    I have always fashioned myself as something of a Kershaw fan, but they just can't seem to hit that low-mid price point all that well. They do listen to feedback quite well and have done tons of special editions of popular knives, like the Leek and the Skyline. Hopefully they will improve this little sucker a little.

  6. I've had my Cryo for a few days now. I'm not feeling quite as disappointed and betrayed as you seem to do, but I believe that's from not having quite as high expectations.

    What I was after was a smaller knife with a Hinderer like blade and ergonomics. My ZT0561 has been a perfect knife for me except for the size which is my only problem with that knife.

    I didn't except them to pull it off at that price point and I suppose they kind of didn't. But the general shape and feel of the knife is really what I expected and was after.

    I think you nailed the problems of the design with them making the whole knife in thick stainless it weighs to much, and the already slick scales are coated to make them slicker than teflon. Especially the coating seem like the big failure for me. It doesn't look good, and really hurts the grip. I'm guessing it will be enough to remove that to actually make disengaging the lock easer too.

    As soon as I get the chance I'll take it to the workshop and beadblast the whole thing, and duracoat the scales with the extra matt tactical duracoat. If I can make some knurling on the slabs without hurting them I might do that too.

  7. And by the way. The thumb studs are just plain stupid. They aren't even used as stops for the blade. They are just there for an extra option in deployment. A method I really struggle with on a speedsafe knife. I usually end up slowing down the blade enough that it won't deploy correctly. Just remove them.

  8. I usually stay away from Kershaws all steel knives (I have only a Leek and it's more to just have a classic design than to use, I gave mine a real cool ghost polish).

    I agree that if they made this knife about the size of the Blur and with the materials of the Blur it would be vastly better.

    Basically a smaller 056X is what I'm waiting for and hoping ZT will make.

  9. Just a thought on Chinese/American manufacture: The quality problems of this knife are not because of where it is made, but how it is made/accepted/QC'd by the company. Perfectly good knives come out of many countries. I support American manufacture, but I own some very nice things made in other countries. This MacBook Pro, for example. I'd like to see more American manufacturing, but I won't accuse the Chinese of contract manufacturing that does not meet the standards of those who contract with them. I really am interested in an Echelon, and I hope Kershaw does it justice. I have a spare NIB Skyline in the bottom of my sock drawer. I'd like the Echelon to inspire me to do the same.

    1. Not all Chinese products are junk. That is for sure. It has nothing to do, per se, where they are produced. Instead it is more a commentary on cheap manufacturing, which, coincidentally, is done primarily in China right now. Cheap manufacturing is the problem, not, necessarily, the country of origin.

    2. stupid review. this knife is crazy good for the money.

  10. Something dawned on me during that Cryo video: Nutnfancy is not much interested in fine points of fit & finish. E.g., did he ever mention blade centering?

    This explains a lot about his Sebenza review. Which I think you effectively critiqued, with an assist from Dan.

  11. I like this folding kershaw-knives it is perfect cutting tool that can be carried anywhere inside pocket.

  12. Too heavy: Full metal liner, metal handle design with fat blade. I don't see any way for it not to be heavy. The blade of the Cryo could be a hair thinner to save weight, but you say later in the review that you love the meaty blade, so not sure where you want to compromise?

    Too fat: Designed with opened position in mind first and foremost. Closed shape is a compromise. Only way I can see this length to width ratio changing would be to stretch the whole knife longer. More metal, more knife, more money.

    Snaggy: Opened profile took priority when designing. Flipper/choil is a key element that cannot be changed. The thumbstuds or stops or whatever they are seem frivolous. They could go. Agree 100%. (Slight weight savings.)

    Slippery: G10 would be nice but this would surely increase price significantly. Unlined G10 requires tight tolerances and centered blade which we will get to... Your story is good for perspective. This would not be *my* first choice for hiking duties. Seems like more of a cheap, pretty, light-duty EDC for around town.

    FnF sucks: Wow! Blade centering is unacceptable. How they let that through QC is beyond me. Even at this price point there is no excuse for that.

    Grip OK - jimping is good, handles suck: Covered this. Glad the jimping is good.

    Too heavy for comfortable carry: This is a cheap looker of a knife. I am not shocked it is not great to carry. They designed around the look.

    Steel is OK: Should be expected in a knife that currently sells for $25-30 dollars online. I agree it would be nice to have sandvik like the Skyline, but the Skyline is an anomaly... Kershaw sold a jillion so they've gotten super affordable. It's a steal of a bargain of a knife... hard to compare to.

    Great blade shape: Agree.

    Good grind: Concur.

    Deployment subpar, chinsy design: Concur. Disappointing. They could make a proper flipper for about the same money. (Maybe $5 more to the buyer?) It's like they expect shoddy work and QC. Ugh.

    Retention so-so: I actually like how deep-carry this clip appears to be. I understand your desire for something fatter. You are probably right there. Should be proportional to width of the knife.

    Lock sturdy but hard to close: Think you are picking nits given the price point and intent of this knife. Sturdy first and foremost! I will put up with a little difficulty closing. I think for the cost this is an acceptable flaw.

    Basically, my long-winded point is this... it's a cheap "everyman's Hinderer". It was made purely to allow folks with less money to obtain a design style they aspire too. I don’t expect it to be much of a user, which is a shame given the blade design.

    You recommend fixes and turning it into a $100 knife. That's not it's intent. It's all about price point. It's designed around that. Making it a real $100 Hinderer would make it a baby-Hinderer. This Cryo is a wannabe-Hinderer, let's be honest.

    You probably know, and I’ll likely get flamed, but there’s another cheapo Chinese Hinderer copy around. The Inron MY803 is bigger and has G10 on one side. Problem? Lock-up sucks! Look it up on youtube. It's a $15 knife so it should be expected it's not for heavy use. If you just want the look it’s an option.

    If you want a heavy use Hinderer you gotta pay to play.

    Keep up the good work mate.

  13. A blade with centering so bad is due for warranty repair/replacement. This is a pain in the ass, admittedly, but a blade so bad shouldn't be reviewed at all until they get you a good one.

    (I agree that you should mention that you had to have the knife repaired or replaced, though. It _is_ important to know that Kershaw's Chinese Division has QC issues.)

    But like TDB said, gotta pay to play. Saving up for a ZT 0560.

  14. I got out my kitchen scale and weighed some knives today. Ain't retirement grand! I have nothing expensive or fancy, but these are some weights I have encountered:

    Spyderco Dragonfly 2, ZDP/ G10 dark green: 34 grams, or 1.2 oz. So light I'm afraid I'll lose it, even though the clip is fine. Have not taken it out much, but very satisfactory on those few occasions of use for envelopes, threads, packages. I don't kill much anymore.

    SanRenMu small red#605, I think, 40 grams, 1.4 oz. probably my most frequent carry for going to town: small, red, harmless-loking decent clip, short but bellied blade not all "stabby" looking. It does not feel so light as the Dragonfly, maybe because it is narrower/more compact.

    Now the surprises (to me at least):

    HK 14412 bought on spur of moment cheap: 73 grams, or 2.6 ounces. Noticeably heavier than the two above, fits my hand well, gets carried if I have twine/fiberglass bundling/zip ties to cut. feels proportionately right for its size. Blade is 2 and 15/16 long from scales to tip. Probably my longest blade.

    Buck Vantage Select Pro S30V BOS: 75 grams, or 2.6 ounces. Very nice in hand, bulkiest next to a Kershaw OSO Sweet, I think. I never carry The Kershaw because it seems so big. Just a sec and I'll go weigh it.

    Kershaw OSO Sweet: 86 grams or 3.05 ounces. feels no heavier than the HK, a surprise, and it is a full 3" long blade, but maybe could use a bit of gimping on the thumbrest. Nice and grippy. I need to give this some pocket time. It seemed so big when I got it that I just wrote it off. Not smart now that I have a little more perspective.

    Sanrenmu738: 76 grams, or 2.7 oz. This is the one I had always thought of as just proportionally too heavy, maybe because it is relatively compact for the weight. The knife is half an inch or more shorter than the OSO Sweet and an inch shorter than the HK. I got it because it was handsome, frankly, and I was just picking up some Sanrenmu stuff for curiosity. The liners and lock are a beautiful medium blue, and the imitation carbon fiber inserts on the scales are nice, too. It is not as heavy as I remember it being, but I was used to a SAK on a keychain, so what did I know? I have never carried or used it yet.

    These weights are really all acceptable, but unless I were doing the App Trail, I would not concern myself at these numbers. I could carry any of them exclusively and get along. I don't know what weight point it would take to make me uncomfortable, at my current use level. I can't see a 5-ounce knife being necessary at my level, but I might not notice it too much. I just got a Kersahw Zing SS on your recommendation. I have no experience with it yet, either. It seems quite robust. A knife over 3 oz. should offer something more than these do to make up for the heft unless you just want lots and lots of capability or decoration. Some people need more. I hope they're getting it. I think I'm OK.

  15. I own the CRYO, leek and skyline. Your review on CRYO is exactly what my thoughts were the day I received the knife. I love the blade shape and overall look. Other than that, there is not much to like. Blade centering issue really a turn off. Personally, I would like to pay more for better quality CRYO - this knife has so much potential. I hope Kershaw listen and improve on this.

  16. Tony it is really obvious that you have a bias against Kershaw and this knife in particular. Your recommendations to make it "better" misses the point of this value knife. Try to be a little less upset when you review. You come off as angry, and it's really hard to get past that. You're in the minority when it comes to the Cryo. I suppose you know more than the majority though, despite coming off as slightly uninformed.

    1. No Kershaw bias here. They are one of my favorite companies. I gave the Skyline a very good score and review as well as the Zing (a budget blade), the ZT350, and the OD-2 (another budget blade).

      As far as angry, I wanted to convey the sense of disappointment I had over the knife. I had literally marked my calendar for its release and had a preorder for it. I wanted this knife to succeed. It is also a matter of just how bad this knife is. It got a very, very low score, one of the worst I have given out, so that had to be put in to words too. It was a matter of really bad product coupled with really high expectations.

      Whether I am right or wrong I can and have defended my position on this blade, majority or not. The majority is usually, but not always right in any endeavour. I think there is an argument that they are wrong if they believe this is a good knife or a good value. I hope I made that argument.

      My issue is that there are undeniable, objective problems with the knife. It is too heavy for its blade side. The thumb studs are worse than useless. The assist only covers up a poorly made pivot. I am not sure how more information would make those things less true.

      Finally, as far as missing the point of a budget knife, I think in the Zing review, I showed that not to be true. First, the suggestions I made aren't that expensive. I'd rather have a good $50 knife than a bad $20 one. Second, as the Zing proves you CAN do better with a budget blade. Its not a matter of the poor fit and finish either, which I can excuse as a lemon for review sample, but again the objective problems it has.

      I have a budget knife shootout coming, knives at or below $18. Many of them were better than the Cryo.

  17. Hmmm my 2 cents...I got one and liked the look and feel of it. I've cooked and eaten meat chicken and fish with it and it was fine. I've whittled with and opened boxes cut string para cord paper and blister packs and it worked fine. It's small enough I carry it in my pocket. When I use the clip it has never become dislodged. The edge holds well and it easily sharpens in my strop. I also PRACTICE deploying it and it has saved my bacon (no pun) exactly three separate times since I've owned it.
    First time in a park I was threatened by some punks who wanted my money because they needed to "score some booze". The leader was a muscular sort about six foot plus and I'm just a little guy. I drew the knife and did not deploy the blade but held it with the a closed fist and I struck him on the top of his foot and then his ankle with the rear part of the handle. I don't care how "buffed" anyone is but you just can't build muscle around joints. He went down yelling and clutching his foot and as his buddies,looked on in horror I ran away.
    Second time was in a grocery store and a punk meth head kid suddenly grabbed my wrist and tried to take my watch. I pulled him off balance as I again used my cryo this time as a compliance tool and used it on a pressure point on his arm causing him to let go. But I didn't and took him to the ground using pain compliance while yelling for help. A bunch of people saw all this and helped me hold him down till authorities came and arrested the idiot.
    Third time i was overseas and two idiots threatened me for my sunglasses. I took them off and pretended to hand it to the leader as I reached for my cryo (me and my oakleys have been through too much for me to give them up without a fight) I pretended to drop my oakleys and as idiot stooped to pick them up I struck him on his tricep (he wasn't buffed) again with the rear of the handle and as expected his buddy ran while he curled up and started howling like a little b&@h . I picked up my glasses and just before I ran off I flicked the blade open inches from his face and told him today was his lucky day
    So the moral is when shit goes down it goes down fast and if I had used the blade against unarmed muggers I'd still need a lawyer. As an impact weapon and self defense tool the cryo worked perfect no problem with grip etc and I guess the yaks didn't know i had it since I was carrying it deep in my pocket. Would the results have been the same using any of the other knives in my collection? Probably

    1. Holy shit! It's Gecko45's unemployed cousin!

  18. It's a stainless framelock, what did you expect with the weight? Thumbstuds work well for me. Poorly made pivot...whatever. Your expectation were the problem here IMO.

    The Cryo doesn't suck, and to say otherwise is well, not true.

    You can't compare US value knives vs China value knives, and complain about the steel differences, fit and finish,etc.. There just isn't a comparison. 8CR with volume and price is about all you can really get over there, and you should know that. You sound like a newb to say otherwise. Plus the now disco'd Zing is like 40% more than the Cryo. PROVES nothing...

    You need to reach out to others and learn rather than just post here like a know-it-all. You can have your opinion, but to anyone that knows anything, well they probably don't frequent this site after reading a few reviews. Try to sound like a grown up in the future as well, it helps with credibility.

    1. The Zing I reviewed and I am referring to is the new SS model. It has not been discontinued as it is brand new. It uses the same materials, was made in the same country, and sells for the same amount. It weighs at least an ounce less and has a longer blade. It is just a better design than the Cryo. Go look at the review, honestly, and I think you'll see the Cryo could have been way better. I'll freely admit that the expectations were high. Kershaw makes some truly great blades, like the Skyline, and that is the primary reason my expectations were so high. Once I got my handles on the SS Zing, I realized that they could have made the Cryo better.

      Sorry you don't like my opinions and I do try to sound like a grown up, but I think it is unfair for you to call me a newb for comparing the Cryo to the Zing when you seem to not know which Zing model I was talking about. The SS model is not discontinued at least as of 1/10/13.

      I'll make a deal with you. You write a good review of the Cryo, using the scale and I'll post it. I am more than willing to admit I am wrong here, so I'd be happy to have another perspective. Also point out where I made mistakes in my review in yours.

  19. Ahh, my bad on confusing the Zings.
    Look, the Zing is an RJ Martin design, if you like it better than the Cryo, well ok, but that doesn't make the Cryo a bad design. I don't care who you are.
    Weight does not always have to be a negative. To an entry level buyer, I would argue that weight equates to added value. If you have specific carry requirements that excess weight doesn't fit into, ok, but let's not give out demerits and label any knife the biggest loser because it exceeds your everyday limits.

    If the Cryo is so bad, why would Rick like it, and approve it? Has he lost a sense of what a good knife is? Has Kershaw lost their ability to determine if a knife sucks or not? Has the entire knife industry lost their ability to judge a knife on it's own merits? I mean the Cryo was voted by the industry as the "Best Buy" of all new knives in 2012. Do you really feel Kershaw, Rick, and the knife industry got this wrong, and you, Tony, know better than them?

  20. I don't know if Rick likes it. He approved it because he has a licensing deal with Kershaw. Blade Magazine gave it an award for Best Buy, but I disagree. I don't think it is fair to say "the knife industry" likes it. I am fairly certain competitors losing out on sales don't like it at all. Kershaw likes it because they sell it, Rick likes it (if he does) because he designed it and they pay him. Blade genuinely liked it, and I don't know why. Blade also has done ZERO coverage of the Dauntless production models, which, to me, is inexplicable. So they aren't infallible, though they know a whole lot more than I do. They know more, but got this one wrong.

    I am not the only one though. Nutnfancy's review brought out many of the same points I did. He criticized it for being too heavy. People should realize that it is not value added, merely weight added. I am trying to make that point in my reviews, including this one.

    Its not that I know better. It is not that they are wrong and I am right. I have an opinion, which is all any of this is, and I can defend my opinion, pointing to real, indisputable facts. Sometimes consensus can be wrong. Everyone thought that Telemann was the genius and Bach was a hack. It wasn't until the 19th Century that we realized that was wrong.

    As for Rick himself, look at his two higher end knives--his own and the 56X series. Both are very light with good weight to blade length ratios. Here, in the budget line, that goes out the window. Also, none of his other knives are assisted opening. They all have wonderful pivots. Here we have an assisted opener to cover up for a crappy pivot. The Cryo is designed by him, but the problems arise from manufacturing decisions, such as not skeletonized or lightening the SS hand or using SS in the first place.

    The comparison between the Zing SS is also telling. All of the things that make the Cryo different from Rick's higher end knives--weight, thumb studs that work--were done on the Zing SS, which, again, is the same price, with the same material, from the same country of origin. The pivot is the same on both knives, but that is Kershaw knowing that assisted knives sell very well.

    Write your review or even a response to my review and I will publish it. The more opinions the better. This discussion deserves a higher profile than the comments section of the Cryo review. You have a lot of excellent points and I'd like others to hear them.

    Send me a text document at anthonysculimbrene at comcast dot net in the normal format and I will post it with my feedback (I will send you the edited version with my feedback for your rebuttals as well).

    1. Tony, you lost me on Nutnfancy. In the future I think it's important you know that referencing him as a "source" is...well, as you may say, a punch in the tenders to anyone that knows anything about knives.

      BTW, if he is your source of inspiration, I would politely suggest you get out more.

    2. Not an inspiration but another point of view. EDCF has a good thread with others making similar points

  21. So your opinions are as follows:

    You don't know if Rick likes his own design, and the final execution, but he signed off on it whether he liked it or not.

    You disagree with the Best Buy Blade Award. Now you do understand that the awards are voted on by the manufacturers (and you can't vote for your own brand), and not Blade Magazine. So you're disagreeing with the industry as a whole. I mean what do they know...

    Kershaw likes it because it sells. For whatever reason, the Cryo sells even though it sucks, because everyone knows that suck products are always successful.

    Blade sucks because they gave no coverage to your personal favorite knife.

    Blade knows more, but got this one wrong IYO of course. Which is right.

    Your opinion has fact attached to it, the industries opinion is wrong because they don't know knife facts? Think I got that one right.

    You hate AO, and compare the flagship ZT's to prove the Cryo sucks...

    Kershaw's manufacturing decisions with the Cryo suck...

    Nutin agrees with you.

    Again you are entitled to you opinion, but it's a sad day when a site , and camera gives you platform to become a knife expert that exceeds the industry that you review.

    I've always found it comical that YT reviewers and forumites know more than the experts that produce the product.

    1. Okay, let's cut out the personal attacks and focus on the facts.

      First, I do know how the Blade Awards are chosen. I do admit that they know more than I do. Two things: the award was best value and second, even panels of experts make mistakes (see: Zolio Versallies for MVP in 1965). We don't know what other blades they considered, so it is hard to say what the Blade award is worth.

      Second, lots of bad products sell well. Selling well is a sign of good marketing not necessarily a good product.

      Third, I am not sure what you mean about coverage of a personal favorite. If you could explain that more I could respond.

      I did not compare it to the high end ZTs, except briefly. I did compare it explicitly to the Zing SS.

      Lets talk about FACTS. Not what Blade said or what Rick Hinderer signed off on. Talk to be about FACTS.

      Can you dispute the Zing comparison instead of making pot shots at me? Can you dispute any of the criticisms I rendered in the review?

      Again, I am giving you a platform to do some substantive discussion. Let's do that.

      I have never said I am an expert. I do have a systematic way of evaluating things and I do a lot of work to make sure I am fair and consistent.

      I could have got this wrong. I don't think so, but I could have. So lay it out for me and everyone else and again I will publish it.

  22. Have you ever been to the Blade Show?

    Panels can get it wrong, but when it's competitors voting on competitors products. I feel the getting it wrong percentages drop significantly.

    Fair and consistent is important. Bias does exist in every review I'm afraid. Did you get another sample to review? Perhaps yours was not as the majority received.

    Again the majority is ruling against you here. The majority in the forums, retailer reviews...It seems it is just you and your expectations waaaay exceeded what you reviewed. When that happens it can be disappointing. You review was just waaay over the negative side.

    At some point don't you ask yourself how come I'm in the minority with my review of this piece, and why would Kershaw follow up with secondary, larger/heavier version of the same knife if the original didn't satisfy the masses, and wasn't a success? Obviously the consumers overwhelmingly like the original Cryo.

    Something seems off here, and I just don't feel it's the majority.

    1. I have never been to Blade Show, but I understand how the awards are handed out.

      You are absolutely right that every review contains bias. A review is a person's perspective and that is, by definition, touched with bias. I admit that.

      The thing is that I want my critical position to be absolutely crystal clear so that you know where I am coming from. Even if you don't like small EDC knives like I do you can read my reviews and filter them through that stated-up-front-preference. That way if you agree with my preferences the reviews are helpful and even if you don't they are still helpful. You know I will ding a blade with unnecessarily bad ratios (such as the Cryo) so if that doesn't bother you can easily adjust the score or ignore the entire review completely. The worst sort of reviewers, in my opinion, are those that have some sort of vague nebulous position that you can't figure out so your not sure how to discount or account for their biases and preferences.

      I am simply unswayed by the fact that the majority disagrees with me. I say this for two reasons. First, there is no way to know for certain (that is, X number agree and Y number disagree) if this statement is true even if it seems like the most vocal people in forums disagree with me. Second, even if it were true, I cannot understand why popularity equals quality or superior design.

      None of the major makers release sales data to the public so we don't know how successful it is, but you are right to say that an iteration shows some success.

      However, you also have to realize that a second, larger design is also a way to amortize the original investment costs of making the Cryo over more products. Suppose all of the new machining and templates for the Cryo cost $100,000. The larger Cryo needs some new machining, but certainly not all new machining. So they can double dip, spreading the cost of that initial investment over multiple products. It is a smart business move more than anything else.

      Give me another argument other than consensus (which we cannot prove or disprove either way). Give me a counter argument to my points about the knife itself, again without simply pointing to its popularity. Go check the EDC 100 tab. There are a lot of really popular and top selling blades that are JUNK.

    2. Tony, your bias ruined this for a lot of possible could have been cryo fans that took your review as reliable. The cryo is not junk sir........your reviews are!

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. I wrote my opinion above involving actual self defense use X3 and I tell you the heft and feel of the cryo helped my confidence in using it as an impact tool. I don't take my knives out into the real world without practicing enough that I can deploy them smoothly without worrying about bumbling and fumbling with it that I might drop it. In an emergency situation that would be NO BUENO!
    As far as grip I really like the ridges or jumping on the under side of the grip towards the rear. Personally my main concern when gripping is that I have a good enough surface area for pushing and pulling or slashing and cutting. The cryo handle is very sufficient for these in the handle SHAPE JIMPING AND FINGER CHOIL OF THE FLIPPER MECHANISM.
    As one saying goes : the best cigar is the one your smoking right now mine is : the best knife is the one your carrying when the proverbial shit hits the proverbial fan
    I've seen and handled prototypes of the cryo a couple of shot shows back and the final version is like a Sherman tank on steroids - overbuilt aesthetically appealing and functional
    And best of all affordable that I won't weep if I break it due to abuse or fumbling and dropping it and losing it not because of smooth handle slabs but carelessnes

  24. Hi Tony

    This is Thomas from Kai USA. Sorry to hear of your disappointment with the Cryo.

    I'm not really looking to argue with you about your review, although it seems exaggerated.

    Just wanted to drop in to let you know that the Cryo is the most popular new item our company has seen in a long time. It's numbers have shown it to be our biggest volume sku in our current line-up. I'm not sure how that could happen if the Cryo is as bad as you advertise. There have been multiple requests for variations of the Cryo (black and bead blast), and the pre-orders on the larger Cryo have been very, very, solid.

    Suffice to say, calling the Cryo junk is just not accurate, not even as an opinion. We know knives. We know execution. I own a Cryo. It's far from junk, and I find your claim distasteful and disrespectful.

    I'll assume you are here as an advocate of the knife community. Please remember as good as it felt to write this, you have a responsibility to the community, not just your viewers here.

    Throwing out the word junk in the easy fashion as you have here is just not responsible. I'm unsure why Blade HQ would utilize you for reviews when you self admit bias, and there is an obvious lack of industry experience/understanding, but little surprises me anymore.

    I appreciate the ability to respond here, and would like to shout out to the readers that the overwhelming percentage of Cryo owners are very much satisfied with the knife, as are we.

    1. Thomas, thanks for responding. I don't mean to offend only inform. I do like and love other Kai USA products. I am going to post this as an article AND I am going to get another Cryo and do another eval. I also covered this topic in a podcast, but since you took the time to respond, I'll take another look.

  25. So it took someone from kershaw to reviel their sales and stats and their popularity to finally shut your biased mouth, took long enough....

    1. Not shutting me up. I am going to review it again. Might be good, might be bad. I don't know.

  26. My score for this Kai Cryo would be slightly higher.Im 5-11, 185lb with average build working man hands.I can use thumb stud with flick of wrist,no problem at all.I put knife on box knot lanyard,tip up with clip on opposite end from stock.Knife comes right out of jean pocket every time.My cryo had quality control sticker on bag and is alligned perfectly to center.I also have no problem at all closing knife,frame lock has plenty of real estate to unlock.The pocket clip keeps it secure in place even after running around like a crazy man playing with the kids!The blade grind and shape are Hinderer design,A1 man.Its clearly and affordable knife designed after a Hinderer knife,not a Hinderer.Its only fault is the frame sides or lack of scales make it slippery.With that said,when knife is open and your finger is against flipper and your thumb is on the jibbing you could be sweatin in a rain storm,i have im also Itailan and it didnt matter.Like i said its a China Kai,not a Rick Hinderer,not a U.S.A Kershaw.Its an affordable knife with some good design.Treat it that way and dont expect it to be somthing else,or go buy that somthing else.

    1. Darn cant believe i spelled Italian bass ackwards.and yes i see its jimping on the frame not jibbing.even looked it over.hope you all understand my opinion though.thanks

  27. tony, You should find a new hobby. I have been making custom titanium frame locks for 7 years. I've also handled thousands of custom, production and midtech knives. The centering and grind of the cryo is flawless. The handle to blade weight is also very well designed, and if you add a micarta scale, the balance is perfect. I believe every "man" should carry a knife. Although the knife is some what slick, Most men dont loose grip of their knives. Not to mention most men wouldnt be with their child on top of 690' cliff. That alone should take your right to speak. Idiot

  28. ^ me again. Ive read a little more. You have never been to a show? If you are local to arcadia ,theres only one decent shop in the area. Still only 30 or so ok knives. So how do you go about your systematic evaluating? Your facts are ignorant, and you are not qualified to give an educated evaluation of any knife. The worst part about all this, when cryo kershaw is googled. This is one of the first links.. Nice guy. Your uneducated opinions do not make google search any easier. Thats to everyone who likes to share... Late

    1. I am re-reviewing the Cryo. Also, I have been to many shows. Sorry you don't like the review. Your opinions are always welcome, even if you make no fact-based counterarguments and instead personally attack me. I want to leave up what you said so people can evaluate your opinion and mine side by side. Facts vs. personal insults. I have written this before, but if you want to do a review yourself, I'd be happy to publish it. I figure you won't because clearly this is you just trolling, but the offer is out there.

  29. Wow, people are still going off on this one. I read a lot of good and bad reviews on this knife, so when I bought it, I also bought a Zing SS and a Skyline to compare.
    Personally, I'd say the Cryo is the middle ground. I don't mind the weight and size, especially since of the three, it carries the lowest in my coin pocket while the other two pop up a bit.
    Mine came nicely centered, as did the Skyline, while my Zing was as poorly centered as the Cryo shown here.
    I also think the thumbstuds on this are more useful and grippy than either the Zing or the Skyline.
    For my money, though, the Skyline is the clear winner - the superior steel and the great scales seal the deal. I'd place the Cryo second, while unfortunately, my Zing seems to be poorly centered, loose and it has a very uneven grind.

    My opinions only!

  30. I guess this shows any fool can call themselves an authority and write reviews on the Internet. The author of this review is seeking his fame by railing against popular opinion because he is either a moron or simply trying to get a rise out of people. Excellent review too bad you have zero credibility.

    1. I did a re-review of this knife, if you are interested. Also, as I have offered many, many times before, if you think I am wrong, right your own review, send it to me, and I will post it. Use the twenty point scale and do a decent job with flow and grammar and it will go up.

  31. No one should trust your review of anything after reading this. You clearly didn't even know how the knife worked when writing this review. You did edit it later and fix it, but to ramble on about how terrible a product is without even knowing what your talking about, makes your opinion worthless.

  32. Wow...10 minutes of my life wasted on reading this.I like the Cryo but also agree the weight to size ratio is a little much.Some people like heavy knives some don't.For my personal taste it is too heavy for such a small knife.But it is a well made,well thought out design.I carry the Piston(1880) as my EDC,so I guess I too am weight biased.

  33. Wow... agreed with above... what a pessimistically jaded and horrible review - the Cryo is actually a decent knife for the price - it's still "Hinderer Designed" and the man did put his name on it... That having been said, YES, it is on the heavy side, but get over it! It's called "robust"!!! You need to stop being so fixated on this weight ratio. You published unfounded and unwarranted facts about the thumbstuds (which are as useless as you say they are), but they most certainly do not act as stops - I am dumbfounded as to why you would ever even remotely think this as anybody who knows two ishts about knives can blatantly see that they serve no purpose. For one to be confused with this matter, to me, shows a lack of knowledge in knives in general... proof your stuff before you publish!

    1. Robust does not equal heavy. The PM2 is bigger and at least equally robust and weighs less. The Emerson I just reviewed is definitely as robust and weighs roughly the same.

      As for the mistake, oh well. When I have figured out the secret of being perfect I will let you know.

  34. I can't believe the ire this review still draws from so many anonymous commenters. It seems like they're trying to bully you to change your review but I'm glad you're standing your ground. Changing it would, in my mind, discredit you. I personally found the review very helpful and I appreciate that you can explain exactly what you like/don't like and why. It makes it easy to, as you said, ignore your opinion in areas where my opinion differs and help me know if I might like the product. I always appreciate your insights- so thanks.

  35. I know its been a while since you wrote this, and I know you have a second review (so don't try brushing this off with that excuse) but it seems to me that you were expecting the quality of a Hinderer custom from a sub $40 knife. This is not supposed to be a ZT. Its not supposed to be the greatest production folder to have ever existed. Its a value folder, so you should have reviewed it like one.

    1. See the Zing SS review. I know that it was a $40 blade, but comparatively speaking, the Zing blows it out of the water. The G10 version was just announced (on my podcast!) and I am eagerly awaiting its arrival.

    2. Also,I just got in the Cryo G10 and it blew away both of the original models.

  36. Thanks for this great review, I have been trying to decide between the cryo and the spyderco persistence for a couple weeks now, and was really on the fence. I was concerned about how grippy the cryo woud be, being smooth metal. Ok spyderco here we go.

  37. After reading this review....I'm buying the Cryo and Cryo II. Thanks for the help!

  38. Damn....hope the local dump will accept the new G10, tanto, tanto blackwash,DLC, and all the models of the above in the cryo2 versions also......oh wait they will sell like crazy as per the usual. QUALITY SELLS you biased Pud, the reason people read reviews is because they trust a "reviewer" to be open minded and unbiased, and to also be well informed beforehand on what they are reviewing. Reader see a product and a rating and the hype and want know more info.

    1. I am not sure how you explain the crazy box office performance of dreadful movies like anything in the Twilight series. Clearly quality does not sell. Hyundai and Kai have perennially sell well but no one thinks they are the same quality as a Honda. Price, as opposed to quality, is more closely correlated to sales.

  39. Hey b dc, If you want to read a glowing, gushing, positively biased review, go read the Sebenza review. Sweaty Tony loooooooooooooooooooooooooooves it and the internet can hardly contain his hard on for it.

    1. I do like the Sebenza, but I am not so sure I would say I love it. Its a good knife, but I think people sometimes get blinded to its issues and limitations. I did not give it a 20/20 Perfect, merely a 20/20. Also here is some of my criticism of the knife:

    2. You do hold up anything Chris Reeve as the apogee of fit-and-finish in the gear world and work his name into almost every conversation possible. By your own review you say that "Its not a question--the Sebenza is, was, and always will be a benchmark blade."

      But this isn't about how horny Chris Reeve makes you, it's about how I think the Cryo is a fine knife IMO. I disagree with the stance you took on the GGL podcast saying that you don't understand how people can get this upset about a $40 knife. It's the $40 knives that should be the most beloved as they're the knives really being used everyday, by real people doing real knife-y things. I doubt most Hinderer, Chris Reeve, Quartermaster (I don't care how many thumb studs you put on there), Todd Begg, Todd Rexford or other "custom" knife maker knives are actually being used to chop up boxes, eat lunch with, open envelopes, open paint cans, or have ever seen the underside of a car hood. They're safe queens that get lusted over by forumites arguing about esoteric minutia that don't truly matter to an end user.

    3. Here is the quote I wrote about the Sebenza:
      The Sebenza's mythical perfect fit and finish is just that--a myth. My sub-$100 Spyderco Zulu had better fit and finish than all three of these knives. Its pivot has remained in place the entire time I have owned it. There are quite a few knives in the production world that are consistently as good or better. Virtually all of Taichung, Taiwan Spydercos can be superior (excepting the CF versions of the Cat and the Chicago). Every Al Mar product I have handled, including my Hawk, was better finished. The TAD Dauntless I handled was much better. Brous's fit and finish on the model I handled was also better--tighter and more precise. All three knives are very good, but not the best production knives I have seen in terms of fit and finish. Hate to burst folks bubble, but I feel confident in this assessment given the number of blades I have reviewed and my long term use of all three of these knives.

      I like the Sebenza. It is an excellent knife and a true benchmark, but it is not the best knife out there or the best value.

      For what its worth, I like the G10 Cryo, much, much better.

    4. For what's it worth, I use my three customs--a Dauntless, a Karroll SES, and a Gedraitis Small Pathfinder for all sorts of tasks. Today I made feather sticks with my Dauntless. If people choose not use their customs that's their issue and I do agree that lot of the features of custom knives are USELESS, but the regular Sebenza does not have any of those features. Hell, it doesn't even have a dual thumbstud.

  40. I take offense to your comment on how "quality does not sell" by making a comparison to the Twilight series movies. I am offended because I believe this is a harsh comparison. The reason why Twilight movies are so popular is because they are banking off the vampire fad, furthermore they are marketed toward tweens who are easily influenced. The last time I checked our Knife community was full of very knowledgeable members.We belong to forums, podcasts, mailing lists, and blogs. Our forums are so influentual, professional, and respected that some ( have been used for years by companies like Hinderer, benchmade, kershaw, and Zt for years as a valuable place to gain feedback for products, gain knowledge on what users are looking for in knifes, and even fix what people didnt like. I've met members who can rattle off every element used in a blade steel and why and how that effects its performance. Ive met online avid knife makers, sellers, and collectors. I HIGHLY doubt we are anything at all in any form similar to fans of Twilight in how we purchase products. The comparison about kia and hundai is irrelevant because it is a very far fetched comparison if any. Cars are damn near essential in todays day and age and for many people a pretty important purchase. Most folks are not weathy and cannot buy a top of the line car and must buy a "kia" or Hyundai" but we are not talking about this. We are talking hobbies, which are more of "pleasure" purchases. Most people are not buying a "kia" or "hundai" because its their dream car and they MUST have top of the line performance and pushing it to its maximum performance. They need it for transportation on paved roads for work and leasure. Our members useknives to accomplish many tasks and know what to expect, but praise when the "standards" are exceeded. The cryo is a $40 dollar knife, but is a DAMN good one. I will not go into detail because the evidence is all over this thread. In a recent 2014 shot show interview with Rick Hinderer he boasted the new cryos will have his hellfireblade in blackwash, he also said he is loving doing all the variations because people back this knife so much. I highly dought highly respected knife maker rick Hinderer would be STILL doing any sort of business with the cryo if it was as crappy as u say. I hope this reply helps bring to light the bias of your reviews.

    1. The Cryo is a damn good $40 knife, just not this version. Here is my review of the G10 version:

  41. Knife newbie here. I picked up a Cryo as my first EDC knife that wasn't an ancient SAK or whatever. So take my comment with a grain of salt, given that I don't know a whole lot about the topics.

    You call the thumb studs "unusable." I found that to be true in my initial attempts to use them. But in practicing with one hand opening, I discovered that not only are they eminently usable, but that I find them more satisfying to use than the flipper. I feel like I get a better handle on the knife when using the studs. Further, I found that when I use them in what I consider to be the "right way," they're very, very easy to use.

    Maybe I use the thumb studs in a way that a "knife knut" would sneer at or something? But on the Cryo, they work just fine for me.

  42. Been sitting here in my recliner playing with my brand new cryo just purchased at walmart. A lot of disdain for other folks opinions. I find the thumb studs useless for me but the flipper works great so I don't worry about them. Blade appears well centered and I like the way it sits low in the pocket. Takes some effort to free it from the pocket since it fits extremely tight. I like its looks and feels well in my hand. I think it's a great $40.00 knife.