Well, that didn’t take long. Only a couple months after acquiring the Reate Crossroads, another Reate has found it’s way into the collection. This time Reate has teamed up with knife designer Tashi Bharucha with a 4 knife series.
I’ve long been a fan of Tashi. His designs are super clean, yet they all have a dynamic look to them. I’m an admirer, but mostly at a distance as his stuff is usually released in expensive limited edition runs. I haven’t been able to summon the ~$400 from my bank account to acquire one of his designs.
This T2500 is interesting because it’s a sub $200 knife. That’s unique for both Tashi and Reate. So I had to snag one.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The T2500 has an overall length of 5.6″, a 2.5″ blade, weighs 1.76 ounces, and is made in China. This is the smallest knife in the series, and it’s pretty damn small. I can see why it retails for $190. It’s beautiful, but charging much more would be a little ridiculous. Here it is next to my Spyderco Dragonfly 2:
The blade is an elegant drop point. It’s mostly belly, terminating in a fine tip. This is the kind of simple blade shape that will take care of any small task. The blade has been given a high flat grind, and has been left with a satin finish and stonewashed flats. There is a small swedge and a harpoon tip. A tiny sharpening choil allows you to sharpen the edge all the way to the heel.
The blade stock is a hair over 3.3mm thick, so this is a relatively thick blade especially given the size of this knife. All the details have been considered. There are no sharp edges save the cutting edge. All the others have been gently chamferred for comfort.
Blade steel is tried and true M390. Reate always uses a premium steel and this knife is no exception. M390 has the covetable qualities of excellent edge retention, relatively easy sharpening, good rust and corrosion resistance, good toughness. It’s one of the best all round EDC knife steels.
I have to confess that initially I was a little reluctant to put this knife through its paces. It’s a beautiful piece, and the small size and exceptional fit and finish gives the knife something of a jewel like quality. But I quickly got over myself and went to work. Boxes were broken down, food was prepared, packages containing yet more knives were opened. I didn’t take this one salt water fishing (I’ll leave that for the $22 Cold Steel Pro Lite Sport), but I basically did everything else with it.
The T2500 is a phenomenal slicer. It came screaming sharp out of the box. The fully flat ground blade easily worked its way into boxes, got underneath the folds of envelopes, and could do a little food prep. The short blade doesn’t make it the most effective apple slicer, but you can get the job done with it. I didn’t have any issues with rust or corrosion. When it was time to touch up the edge, I was able to do that easily on my Spyderco Golden Stone. This reminds me, I still need to review my Spyderco Golden Stone.
No complaints with the blade or the blade steel.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
The handle of the T2500 is a miniature engineering marvel. It’s two pieces of bead blasted titanium with a carbon fiber insert. The way the handle pieces come together is super impressive. I’ve tried to capture it in a photograph:
It’s hard to tell, but there is a seam running down the spine of the handle where the two pieces meet.
I’m also impressed by how the show side doesn’t show any hardware except for the pivot. Oh, and the carbon fiber inlay. That is a work of art. Running my fingers across it you cannot feel where the titanium ends and the carbon fiber begins. It’s absolutely seamless and perfect. I don’t own any inlayed knives to compare it with, but this strikes me as a tough standard to beat. Reate offers this with regular woven carbon fiber or marbled carbon fiber. I chose marbled to match my Crossroads. That was a good choice.
There are a number of other interesting details with the handle. One is the lanyard hole, which has been integrated in a way to not spoil the beautiful lines of the knife. Another detail is the blue titanium hardware. All the machining is top notch. The handle has been exceptionally well considered. It’s an impressive job and one you need to hold to truly appreciate.
This is a small knife, so it’s not going to work in the hand like a larger folder. The Dragonfly 2 is the most impressive small handled knife I’ve reviewed, and the T2500 is serviceable, but it’s not a Dragonfly 2. If you just use the handle you can get a comfortable 3 finger grip. If you use the flipper tab as a finger choil, then I can get all 4 fingers onto the knife, but it’s a little tight for my larger hand. That’s a trade off you get with most small knives.
I will say the T2500 does feel good in hand. No sharp corners or hot spots. You would think the angled pommel would be uncomfortable, but it hasn’t been an issue for me. It slides in between my fingers. There isn’t much in the way of texture on this knife, but I haven’t had issues with it slipping out of my hand either. Bead blasted titanium provides enough traction for my purposes.
The T2500 comes with a machined titanium clip. That’s a nice detail on a sub $200 folder. I know some folks aren’t fans of sculpted clips, but I think some companies have dialed them in. Reate is one of those companies, as the clip offers good looks and excellent spring retention. It works great as a pocket clip, holding the knife firmly in place. I haven’t had the knife slip down in my pocket or fall out.
At well under 2 ounces, this T2500 carries like a dream. It’s excellent and reminds me a lot of the way the Dragonfly 2 carries. You simply don’t feel it in the pocket. It disappears until you need it. I wear shorts and pants with triangular pockets (rather than the “U” shaped pockets found on blue jeans), and the knife stays high in my pocket. That keeps it out of the way and avoids contact with things like keys and my flash light.
Visually, the knife is relatively discreet in the pocket. The pokey looking handle and titanium clip with blue hardware will draw the eye more than something like a small Spyderco wire clip, but that’s the trade off you get when you opt for a fancier pocket knife like this.
Deployment and Lockup
This is a titanium framelock flipper. The action is dialed in thanks in part to ceramic bearings and a ceramic detent. The flipper tab is generous and easy to get at. The knife flips with the best of them. I’d rate the action at an 8 out of 1-10. This is a small knife, so it’s a little more fiddly then a full size folder, but it’s not bad and I haven’t had any issues flipping the blade open.
Here is a shot with my Crossroads. All my marble fiber clad pocket knives in one photo:
For lockup we have a titanium framelock with a stainless steel insert. Lockup is early on my knife, with the tang of the blade engaging with approximately 40% of the lock bar. Lockup is secure with zero blade play in any direction. Disengaging the lock is easy thanks to cutouts both on the lockbar and the non-locking side of the knife. There is zero lock stick. It’s a perfectly executed framelock.
Here is a parting size comparison with the CRKT Pilar (the carbon fiber BladeHQ exclusive). A couple nice smaller knives featuring carbon fiber:
Blade centering is perfect on my knife. No surprises there given the price point and how dialed in everything else is on this piece.
Reate T2500 Review – Final Thoughts
If you are looking for a small high end titanium framelock flipper, then look no further. This knife delivers. It is beautifully made from the finest materials, and Tashi’s design is as striking as ever. The T2500 is loaded with detail and the execution of every aspect of the knife is superb. This is a beautiful little knife.
The T2500 strikes me as a high end and slightly less practical version of the Dragonfly 2. It’s pretty much the same size and weight. It carries similarly. It’s not as utilitarian as the Dragonfly 2, but it gets the job done. The ergonomics of the DF2 with it’s curved handle and forward finger choil remain unmatched by the T2500, but that’s OK.
That said, not everyone is looking for a micro knife. And although I knew this one would be small, but it’s very small. There are some sacrifices with a smaller knife like this. Mostly in the ergonomics. I would not be opposed to picking up the T3000, although I’m not sure they are even available at this point.
Then again, I don’t have a lot of 2.5″ bladed knives in my collection. I expected the T2500 to be beautiful, but what surprised me was how much I ended up enjoying carrying and using it. It is lightweight and practical. I bought the T2500 as more of a collectible, but I will continue to carry and use the knife in my regular EDC rotation.
So I suppose I could sum up this review by saying the T2500 is “surprising”. It’s both surprisingly small, and a surprisingly practical EDC knife. I recommend the T2500 for fans of small flippers, and those like me that wanted to try out a Tashi Bharucha design at a price point under $200.
Reate T2500 – From $192.00
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