Monday, April 30, 2012

Spyderco Orange Dodo (Sprint) ~ C80GOR - Review

Spyderco Orange Dodo (Sprint) ~ C80GOR
NOTE: Click any of the photos for an enlarged view

As many knife nuts know, the Spyderco Dodo was the first production knife designed by Eric Glesser son of Spyderco founder, owner and Guru Sal Glesser. The Dodo saw a relatively short production run from about 2003-2005. I never bought one of the originals because I just never saw the utility in it's blade shape for my uses. Recently however, Spyderco came out with a sprint run (of 1000 pieces) with Orange G-10 handles. According to Spyderco, they had received lots of emails requesting just such a knife. After seeing photos of it on the internet, I admittedly was a little intrigued due to the unique design, ball lock and of course the orange G-10 (Something about Orange G-10 just looks good on a knife). So after looking at photos for several days, I picked one up off of a bladeforums user.

My first impression when I opened the box and took it out was, "wow, what a cool looking knife". Even my nine year old daughter said, "wow, dad, that orange knife is awesome". I did the gratuitous Spyderco flicking immediately and was very happy with it's smoothness. The Fit and Finish felt very nice and it just felt like a good quality knife. My daughter also said, "dad, you gotta keep that one cause I want it someday". So I guess this one's a keep just for that reason :)


Spyderco calls the Dodo a "Little Big Knife" due to it's small size but being able to handle big tasks. The closed length of this knife is 4.375 inches and the opened length is  6.125 inches. The blade itself is just a hair over 2 inches long making it very sheeple friendly and also legal in some not-so-knife-friendly states or countries. Despite the length of the blade, it's substantially thick for such a short blade and feels as stout as any 2 inch blade I've ever handled. It weighs in at a very light 2.6 ounces. It clips in and out of the pocket with ease and has zero pocket hog issues. The photo below shows the size comparison to one of my favorite EDC knives, the Spyderco Dragonfly2 .
Spyderco Orange Dodo (Sprint) ~ C80GOR & Dragonfly2


The Orange Dodo uses Orange G-10 as it's scales or handle. The Orange that Spyderco uses on it's G-10 is for lack of a better term; very cool and has become very popular amongst collectors. The Orange G-10 feels nice and grippy but due to the lack of any liners, there is some slight flex if you squeeze it tight enough; no big deal. The Blade is made from CPMS30V, a powdered steel developed by CMC in conjunction with Chris Reeve . S30V is a highly corrosive resistant stainless steel reportedly a little better than 440C and 154CM. Edge retention is also a bit better than 154CM and 440C.  S30V's target hardness (depending on the heat treat) is a nice 58-61RC. This allows for very good edge retention but just soft enough that your average Joe can still sharpen it once it does dull. The only steel I like better is VG-10.

Spyderco chose to utilize torx screws to hold everything together rather than the pins they used to use. I think this just exudes more quality than pins and it also allows for repairs or cleaning.  Overall, the materials in this knife are very nice for it's price range.


Blade shape on this knife is one of the things that makes it unique and one of the reasons I never purchased the original. The upward arcing belly of this blade I think will make it a little difficult to sharpen and to be honest, limit it's utility. The downward curving "beak-like" tip however should provide some unique advantages in some situations, like woodworking , removing thorns, cutting open boxes, etc. My recent interest in woodworking is one of my main reasons for trying out this knife and after some carving today, I LIKE IT. The tip allows for some really good intricate detail work. For a defensive tool, while it would make a vicious "slasher” that would be the extent of its usefulness; I would look elsewhere.
Spyderco Orange Dodo - Blade


The locking mechanism is another aspect that sets this knife apart from others. Spyderco calls the lock a Ball Bearing LockM. It's basically a ball bearing with spring tension behind it that pushes it into a locked position when the blade is open and again into another blade recess when closed to keep it closed. To disengage the lock when open, I have to grasp both sides of the ball bearing and pull backwards on it until the blade falls free. While the lock works very well for this purpose, it can be difficult to operate from one side. To disengage the lock one handed I have to pull back on both sides of the ball, allowing the blade to fall freely. I think with sweaty or greasy hands the difficulty disengaging this lock might be problematic. Not as simple as most of Spyderco's other locks but very doable none-the-less. I think some of the difficulties may lie in the fact that I have gorilla hands. All this being said, I find myself constantly playing with the lock and have become much better at making it work.

My only other concern with the ball lock is it's openness. The open design looks to me like it might have a debris collecting issues. Could this present a problem? I doubt it, but time will tell. You can see from the photo below that debris has already started collecting (click on it to enlarge).
Spyderco Orange Dodo (Sprint) ~ C80GOR - Ball Lock

Fit and Finish was typical Spyderco, well done with no blade play in any direction. No complaints here at all. In my experience, Spyderco rarely has any problems in the fit and finish department.


I have to hand it to Spyderco and Eric, this knife just fits the hand, more so than any knife I own. After handling it, I wonder if Eric Glesser made a mold of the hand when he made this just fits! The unique shape and design just "look Spyderco". This being said, if you're looking for a car door stabbing knife, food prep knife, skinning knife or batoning knife, this ain't it.


One thing I like about this knife over some of my other spyderco's is it's clip. On the little Orange Dodo, Spyderco has utilized a tip up (right or left) recessed wire clip. I like this clip better that the standard non-recessed clip because it doesn't have the tendency to loosen and wiggle back and forth like some of the other clips. It clips very well into the pants or into a shirt pocket. It is held in place by a single screw and it holds it in place well.


I was pleasantly surprised when I received the Dodo. It has that patented Spyderco flickability smoothness and does so with a definitive "snap" I like to hear. I think that the ball bearing actually aids in the opening smoothness. Closing was initially a little difficult due to the lock but after playing with it for a while, it became second nature. While I'm not a big video guy, I was emailed and asked if I could do a short one showing how easily the Dodo opened and closed. Here is the attempt :)


The only limitations I see in the Dodo are due to its blade shape. That said, there are some uses that the blade shape (as mentioned earlier) actually excels at over traditional shaped knives. For law enforcement or in any tactical situation, the grip is excellent and the blade shape would make a vicious slasher (think mini-civilian). The blade shape also seems tailor made for cutting cordage, so climbers campers, ect. will find this shape very useful. So it all boils down to what you need the knife for.


As long as you consider Dodo within the scope of it's intended use, it's an excellent "little big knife". My initial reservations when the original Dodo came out due to the blade shape have dissipated after handling and using it. This knife fits my hand better than any knife I own and its fun to play with.  While initially I didn't think I would ever EDC this knife, it has won me over somewhat. Maybe it's the almost perfect hand fit or maybe it's the unique blade shape or MAYBE, it's because it's just a cool knife that everyone says, "ewww, how cool" or maybe it is all of the above. While the lock can be somewhat difficult to disengage, after "learning it" it becomes easier. It is very sheeple friendly and its orange color is going to garner lots of comments. If you are looking for a small bladed knife and think the blade shape is something that would work well for your purposes, or if your local laws prevent  "scary" knives, the Dodo (in Orange, Blue or Black) just may be your knife. It's built very well with Spyderco's typical great quality AND IT IS AMERICAN MADE in Golden, CO which in my book counts for allot. If you like the Dodo's shape, you'd better grab one quick, they're disappearing from shelves fast and there are only 1000 being made....and the one I have is staying right here :)
Spyderco Orange Dodo (Sprint) ~ C80GOR
Spyderco Orange Dodo Showing Wire Clip
Ergonomics: 10/10 (one of the best I've owned on a small knife)
Looks: 9/10 (love that Orange)
Materials: 8/10
Fit and Finish: 8/10 (for a production knife, very good)
Camp Use: 7/10 (great for a couple of things but not so good for others)
Hard Use: 3/10
Police Use: 7/10 (would make a good CQC slasher but it's size and reach limit's it usefulness as a self defense tool)
EDC Use: 8/10 (perfect size and weight but blade shape might be limiting)
Food Prep: 2/10 (blade shape limits it for this purpose)
Skinning/Game Prep: 2/10 (would probably make a good gut hook but that's about it)
Warranty: 8/10
Zombie Usefulness: 3/10 (I guess you could hand them the knife and run while they marvel over the orange colors)
Collectability: 8/10 (only 1000 pieces made)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Zero Tolerance 0200 Review

About four years ago, I started reading reviews on the various Zero Tolerance knives and the Zero Tolerance 0200 (Tactical Response Knife) caught my eye. At that point, I had never tried a Zero Tolerance and wanted to see if the hype about the quality was justified. So I bought a 0200 off the net and put it through it's paces.


First and foremost, this is a BIG knife for a pocket knife. The closed length of this knife is 5.25 inches. The opened length is  8.75 inches. It weighs in at a significant but manageable 7.7 ounces. I found it to be much more pocket-able than it larger and heavier cousin, the Zero Tolerance 0300 series . While I hate to start off any review with a negative, I have to admit that the 0200 is somewhat of a pocket hog. It doesn't achieve the pocket snob status of the ZT 0300 series but it definitely takes up some space and makes it uncomfortable to retrieve anything from the same pocket that it is clipped into.


The handle of the ZT0200 is made from 3-D machined G-10 and is very grippy. The clip is a standard Zero Tolerance clip; it's short, stiff and grips like a pit-bull against the machined G-10. It is so tight in fact, that in a very short time, it tends to wear on pocket material. The clip also makes it ride pretty high in the pocket, a pet peeve of mine. The clip can be moved to the right or left side and be configured for tip up or tip down carry on either side.

While the machining on the G-10 is pretty rough, in a less-than-ideal situation, it should provide an excellent grip. Under hard use the G-10 at least for me, felt nice and grippy with no hot spots even when I put the knife through some batoning exercises.
The pivot screw is unique amongst folders that I have owned and I actually like it. Like it's larger and heavier cousin, the 0300 series, the pivot uses an exposed 3/8" nut designed so that it can be disassembled in the field with common tools. The size of the protruding nut itself is not an issue as one might think; I found it's presence to be a non-issue in the pocket or in use.

Fit and Finish:

Right out of the box, the ZT0200 screams quality. In fact for a knife hovering at just over the $100 mark in some places, you would be hard pressed to find any better quality at that price point. After using and carrying this knife for several months, I can honestly say that in a production knife, ZT knocked this one out of the park in the Fit and Finish department. It becomes very apparent in use that ZT designed this knife to make a statement about their quality and the quality is GOOD. The screws holding the knife together are semi recessed torx screws; they were all tight with no play in the construction. When open, there was no up or down or side to side blade play. Blade centering was also very good even after some very hard use. The below photo was after months of use and at least two hard batoning sessions. ZT has built a very tough knife with the 0200.

Lock up:

I'm not usually a big fan of liner locks and was a bit apprehensive when I bought this knife. All of my reservations however were put to rest with repeated use of the 0200. I really learned to respect the lock on this knife as it proved very sturdy and reliable.


The 3 7/8" blade is made from 154CM, a common steel in mid to upper priced knives. It wasn't too long ago when 154CM was considered by many to be the "super steel". It's properties are very similar to 440 C in that it holds an edge very well, is fairly corrosion resistant and holds up to fairly heavy cutting (albeit not as good as higher carbon steels). 154CM has seen use in many higher end production and custom knives. Most all of my older Benchmades and many of the newer ones use 154CM. 154CM varies in quality from manufacturer to manufacturer depending on the heat treatment. Benchmade seems to have perfected the process as the knives I have used from them with this steel have performed very well. The same can be said for ZT as held it's edge nicely under heavy use and sharpened fairly easily. While 154CM is fairly corrosion resistant but ZT takes it a step further by protecting the blade with it's DLC (Diamond Like Coating or more recently referred to as Diamond Like Carbon). The coating protects the blade during use from abrasion and rust. All together, the blade on this knife is VERY tough and should last a lifetime under normal use.

The blade shape is a drop point recurved style blade. While it worked very well for most purposes, I would have preferred a plain Jane drop point. The shape makes it a little more difficult to sharpen but maybe I'm complaining a bit too much :).

The ZT0200 also has two types of opening options, a flipper and a standard thumbstud. I found the thumbstud to be well placed and I could flick it open with authority. The flipper is also very well done and I found myself constantly flipping this knife open with both methods. This is a fun knife to "flick" and if you get one, you'll be aquainting yourself with it for hours. :)


While Ergonomics is a personal preference, I found the ergos of the ZT0200 to be very well executed for a knife of this size. The knife has a very unique shape to it, a shape I found to work nicely. When open, this knife fits my big mits very well and the jimping is in all the right places. The knife feels very nice in the hand and comfortable in all grip configurations including reverse grip. Most reviewers (and I) agree, the ergonomics were well thought out on this knife. Under hard use, I found the ergos done very well and found no hot spots during extended use. In short, this knife just feels right in the hand.

Smoothness of opening:

I don't often see this mentioned in reviews but to me it's an important factor. In a life or death situation, being able to snap your knife open with authority via muscle memory is a must. Despite the large size of this knife, it opens extremely smooth with the flipper or thumb stud. With the flipper, it flips open nicely and locks up very well. If you add some wrist flick, it snaps open even faster. Using the thumb stud allows for one to flick it open with a bit more authority and (like the ZT0301 I owned) I found myself using this method more often than the flipper. Lastly, this knife is so smooth with the installed phosphor bronze washers that simple wrist flicking from the closed position from most angles is easily accomplished. All in all, I'd give the "flickability" rating a 10 on this knife. This knife is really that smooth and "flickable". Lock up with the liner lock was VERY tight with no blade play in any direction. You'll have fun breaking this one in.


If you are in the military or Law Enforcement and if you don't mind a big knife with a little bit of pocket hog issues, look no further. This knife was obviously built to be abused and used in the harshest environments. Its size may limit its use as an EDC knife for some. As a last resort self defense tool for a law enforcement officer or military personnel, this knife would fit this bill well. Opening this knife in a sheeple environment might cause some anonymous phone calls to DHS amongst the weak minded. In a knife friendly environment, EVERYONE is going to want to hold it, flip it, ask questions and drool over it. Two of my friends purchased this knife after they saw and played with mine. The recurve of the blade would probably work fairly well for game prep but a plain old drop point would work better for food prep.

Customer Service / Warranty:

One of the best things about this knife is the company that makes it; Zero Tolerance. ZT is the sister (or brother) company to Kershaw and as any knife nut will tell you, in the customer service department, they have few rivals. While I never used their customer service for any of the ZT's I've owned, I have used them for a speedsafe issue on my Kershaw Boa and even a broken tip on a leek that was my fault. In both cases, I was amazed at how well they took care of my issues. These guys score a solid 10 on the customer service scale! It should also be noted that the ZT0200 is 100% American made; that should count for allot in my book. KUDO's to Kershaw / ZT for well made homegrown products!

The Zero Tolerance 0200 (Tactical Response Knife) is one heck of a solid, well built knife. I really think one would be hard pressed to buy a better built knife for the 0200's selling price. The fit and finish, innovative design and a company that stands behind its products all make for a great combination. I was hoping the ZT 0200 would make it into my EDC rotation, alas it was just not meant to be. While I loved 95% of the aspects of this knife, the pocket hog issue, riding high in the pocket and the havoc it wreaked on my pockets caused it to sit in my drawer a bit too long for my tastes. These issues are personal preferences however and should not detract from the fact that this is one SOLID knife; one of the best built (if not the best) in its price range. I would have liked a longer pocket clip that allows for some flex and lower ride or maybe smoothing out the G-10 in the area next to the clip. All this being said, if you are looking for a big, well constructed, built like a tank knife in a hard use folder that will last you a lifetime, this may just be your knife. While it's a beast of a knife, it opens extremely smoothly, and proves itself as a well refined tool that has to be used to be appreciated. While I ended up selling this knife, I sold my Strider and the ZT0301 for pocket hog issues as well. Since I did the review on the ZT0301, I've received emails asking which I would choose between the ZT0200 and the ZT0301. While both are EXCELLENT knives, it all boils down to personal preference and what you can afford (the ZT0301 is around double the price). For me personally, I would probably choose the ZT0200. Both are fine examples of great American craftsmanship and are knives that any self respecting knife nut would be proud to own.

Ergonomics: 8/10 (Great in the hand, not so much in the pocket)
Looks: 9/10
Materials: 8/10
Fit and Finish: 10/10 (for a production knife, I've not seen better)
Camp Use: 10/10
Hard/Military/Police Use: 9/10
EDC Use: 6/10 (a big knife and it stands out; might scare sheeple)
Food Prep: 7/10 (a little big for delicate tasks)
Skinning/Game Prep: 8/10 (excellent for this purpose, belly good for skinning)
Warranty: 10/10 (as good as it gets)
Zombie Usefulness: 8/10 (Zombie's will fear this knife)