Rike doesn’t enjoy the same name recognition that Reate, Kizer, or WE Knives does. While those companies are easily recognizable as the leading names in the renaissance of Chinese knife manufacturing, Rike is often left out of the conversation. On one hand, that’s perfectly understandable: unlike Kizer, WE, or Reate, Rike hasn’t cultivated much cachet with trendy designers, relying instead on in-house designs. At the same time, they have the same reputation for quality as the others, and an aesthetic all their own besides.
To be perfectly honest, I never thought that Rike would produce a knife that’d suit my tastes. Most of their offerings have blades nearly four inches long, which is utterly out of bounds for my line of work. When I saw the specs for the Thor4s, I nearly spit out my coffee. A reasonably sized integral? From Rike, no less? I was intrigued, and luckily, my girlfriend noticed and passed that information along to my family.
It should be noted that this was a Christmas present from my folks, and if ever there was a cause for bias, it’s the knowledge that your family might read every criticism you level at an earnestly given gift. I don’t think this has affected my judgment, but all the same, it’s something you should know.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Rike Thor4s is among the smallest knives in my collection, with a blade length of 2.375”, a handle length of 3.125”, an overall length of 5.5”, and a weight of 2.08 oz. To be perfectly honest, I was caught off guard by just how small this knife is; to give you a sense a scale, the box is so small I mistook it for jewelry. The blade is short enough that it’s less than ideal on a picnic, but it’s more than long enough for standard office chores. It also bears mentioning that with a blade length less than 2.5”, it’s unlikely to spook any coworkers.
Despite Rike’s fascination with angles, they chose a simple drop point for the blade’s profile. Were it not for a few issues I’ll bring up momentarily, this would be the utilitarian ideal. Most of the spine’s thickness is brought to the tip, so there’s little concern of snapping the tip off, whether in a fall or a bit of prying. The belly is just wide enough to feed, say, the edge of an envelope into, but not so wide that it’ll slip out of a cardboard box you’re breaking down.
The grind on the Thor4s is immaculate. All the details are perfectly executed: the plunge lines are crisp, the swedge is even, and both the primary grind and cutting bevel are consistent and well finished. Unfortunately, the blade stock is thick enough that all that work at a grinder is functionally irrelevant. It cuts fine, don’t get me wrong, but it’s no slicer. That would normally be a deal breaker, but as mentioned above, it’s too short for most food prep anyway.
This is the first knife I’ve reviewed that has M390 steel, and truth be told I haven’t really put it through its paces. A knife this size is meant for intermittent office use, not breaking down a pallet of boxes. It’s held its edge without chipping or rolling, hasn’t rusted, and responds reasonably well to a loaded leather strop. The high satin polish has a remarkable rainbow sheen that undoubtedly helps with rust resistance.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Carry
Of course, the prime selling point of the Rike Thor4s is its integral handle. For the uninitiated, that means that the handle is milled from a single block of material, which in this case is titanium. It’s an expensive process with few (if any) practical upsides, and most of an integral’s appeal lies in its status as a feat of engineering. Rike’s design language carries this theme to its logical endpoint, as the over-machined aesthetic pushes the Thor4s into “pocketable sculpture” territory.
Overall, the ergonomics of the Thor4s are fine, with the exception of two distinct flaws. The first of those is the butt of the handle, which, as you can see, tapers down to a wide, flaired end that leaves a rather sharp point on either side of the handle. In turn, this generates a slight hotspot when the knife is opened, though not when it’s held normally during use. The second issue is the pocket clip. For what I can only guess are aesthetic reasons, the tip of the clip isn’t rounded, or even squared: instead, it ends in an angular point. Most of the time this isn’t a problem, but every so often it catches on the meat of my palm in an altogether unpleasant way.
Normally knives with questionable ergonomics are also unpleasant to carry, but such isn’t the case here. It’s lightweight, compact, and its ergonomic flaws are only noticeable in the hand. As much as I want to rail against milled pocket clips in general, the spring tension on the Thor4s is quite nice, neither fraying the lip of my pocket nor acting like a hook instead of a clip.
Deployment and Lock Up
The blade is deployed by a well-executed flipper. It’s definitely of the ‘pull’ variety: trying to push on the tab will only leave you with a bruised finger. Instead of washers, the pivot runs on caged bearings, which is to be expected at this price point. The detent is crisp, the action is smooth, and as far as deployment is concerned, there’s not a fault to be found.
Once deployed, the blade is held open by a titanium frame lock that features a stainless steel lock insert. There is no horizontal or vertical blade play, and the lock consistently engages around 30% of the blade tang. The decorative pivot collar also functions as an overtravel stop. This is exactly the list of features I want in an integral frame lock. By contrast, when I was working on the DPx Aculus review, I was always aware that if something happened to the lock, I’d be up a certain creek without a paddle.
Rike Thor 4 Review – Final Thoughts
Overall, the Thor4s is an intriguing – if imperfect – addition to the market. The blade stock is a bit chunky, and the ergonomics a bit pokey, but at heart the Thor4s is an office knife, and as such those two flaws are tolerable. Between the top notch manufacturing, high end materials, and the novelty of a sub-3” integral, there’s more than enough to redeem the design.
It’s difficult to find comparisons to the Thor4s. There are plenty of production integrals, but few at this price point, and none at this size. The Lionsteel SR-22 (when it debuts) will be the next smallest integral that I’m aware of, but even then it will be substantially larger than the Thor4s. If you’re in the market for reasonably sized integral, this is likely your only option.
Next up: the Steel Will Modus.
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