This is a knife I shouldn’t like very much. I prefer to carry something smaller, lightweight, more pocketable. I tend to like a slim, no-frills drop point blade. My EDC needs don’t usually extend much beyond opening a cardboard box with a grin printed on it or maybe slicing through the packaging on a new piece of gear to review. And yet . . .
Despite myself, I really love this knife. The SOG Kiku XR flipper is a beefy, solid, substantial folding knife that’s beautifully sculpted to fill the hand.
No, it isn’t a drop point. SOG calls the Kiku XR’s blade shape a “modified tanto.” OK then.
I’m not big on recurved blades. They tend to complicate sharpening. But I haven’t had a problem putting an edge back on the Kiku.
That blade is made of CTS-XHP steel which is like a much more corrosion-resistant D2. That means it takes an edge easily and holds it well without D2’s tendency to rust.
The XR in Kiku XR means the knife locks up with SOG’s now-standard XR locking system (think Benchmade Axis). It’s about as convenient and easy-to-use for simple one-handed operation as it gets. The knife flips open effortlessly and sliding the XR lock lever rearward closes the blade using only gravity.
And then there are those scales. The Kiku sports sculpted linen micarta scales. G10 can be nice, but every knife should have micarta scales…as far as I’m concerned.
The smoothly contoured scales make this knife more comfortable in the hand than any other folding knife of its size and weight I’ve tried. It’s just a joy to hold and use in any position.
Size wise, the Kiku XR may look bigger than it is. Folded, it’s about the same size as a Spyderco Delica (4.3 inches vs 4.25). But open it up . . .
…and you see how substantial a knife this really is. The Kiku is no lightweight. Either. It weighs a full 5.6 oz (exactly twice that of the Delica) and that’s with the Kiku’s liners partially drilled to save some mass.
That blade is 3.8mm thick. That means it will stand up to a lot of abuse (and I’ve abused it fairly well in the last six months).
In short, the Kiku XR has become one of my favorite knives in spite of what I usually like in an EDC blade. I carry it much more often that I expected to. It’s so well designed and performs so smoothly, I just can’t help but like virtually everything about it.
You will, of course, pay for all the Kiku’s features, intelligent design, and materials. It retails for about $189. That’s not inexpensive. But if you need a tough, do-just-about-anything folder that you’ll love to use and won’t mind slipping in your pocket every day, it’s well worth it.