Third times a charm is a common phrase we all seem to be familiar with. At Knife Informer we’ve previously reviewed the Rike Knife Thor 2 Integral (one piece handle) flipper, and really enjoyed it. It was with bated breath and a lot of patience that we waited for Rike to produce the 3rd in a line of high-end production knives dubbed by the ‘Thor’ name.
Key Specs: Rike Thor 3
Rike Knife Co. has successfully managed to grab hold of the American folding knife market over the last few years. What appeared as a new company from China only a couple of years ago, has turned legit. Rike is now a relatively well known and established company that U.S. buyers are getting increasingly comfortable with. The combination of great design, product execution, fit/finish, and reliability seem to have propelled Rike knife Co. very effectively (just as we suspected they would).
The Thor line for Rike represents one of the premium models that they offer, and is available as a limited-edition numbered release. The Thor 1 was an integral folder that pushed the boundary of what production knives are capable of producing. This was only about 2 years ago. Fast forward about 1 year from that point, and the Thor 2 emerged. Again amazingly well produced like the Thor 1 ,model that came before it, but with perhaps a bit more EDC appeal and usability.
The Thor 3 now seems poised to continue the EDC friendly aspect of the Thor 2, making it lighter, less “beautiful”, and more tactical and industrial for a user who wants to love the Thor 3 for both its looks and raw tool usability prowess and protection. It is unclear if a Thor 4 may make it to market in the future for Rike, but for certain this Rike Thor 3 is the current mantle holder for Rike Integral production knives.
Rike knife has never had insanely flashy or particularly unique packaging. What they do have is simple, and gets the job done. We received the Rike Knife Thor 3 and unwrapped the outer packaging to reveal a simple rectangular white box. Inside the box a black semi-soft zippered pouch case entombed the knife. We unzipped the black case and caught our first glimpse of the Thor 3. Immediately we noticed the size of the knife. It is certainly a larger sized integral folder. This knife does not look demure in any way.
The next thing we noticed was the attractive cutouts on the sides and back spine of the integral titanium handle. This gives the knife a fresh and uber-modern look that can only be described as futuristic-industrial. In contrast, the color of our Thor 3 was rather traditional and looked like raw yet finished titanium grey in appearance throughout the entire knife handle scales and pocket clip. We did notice some other Thor 3 variants online that do add a splash of color if that’s your thing.
The looks alone of this knife are extremely eye catching. It looks very different from the previous Thor models with that slight over-the-top industrial feel. Though the integral knife is generally all about the single piece handle, the Thor 3 really made its mark for us because of its blade. Looking at the blade we instantly get drawn to the partial cutout finger groove that appears to be mostly decorative and not all that functional. We could wrestle the blade out of the handle using it, but since the detent is somewhat strong, it was not an easy or even necessary task.
Once the knife opened the full unique shape and style of the 3.75-inch M390 blade steel was apparent. The look of this bead blast and partially satin finish on the flats of the blade seemed almost Russian-futuristic style flare inspired. Regardless of how you define the blade, it is cool for sure. The Rike Knife has the looks, but we were intrigued as to how the unique blade would perform in the real world.
Not all cool looking blades such as the Rike Thor 3 feel well placed in the hand. However, the Thor 3 did not have this problem. It feels comfortable and secure in the hand. The flipper tab sticks out a bit more compared to some, but as a result is extremely easy to open. The Thor 3 also has some very well executed jimping on the flipper tab.
The action on the knife is excellent. The blade whips right out with authority and locks-up at about 30 percent. No blade play of any kind can be seen and the frame lock is executed well. The ceramic ball bearing pivot allows the action to glide smoothly and quickly. With the blade in the open position, the knife looks tactical, and feels it as well.
Real World Testing
Like most of our other knife tests, we carried the Thor 3 for over a week. In this case, the Thor 3 was used as the primary carry and was responsible for all cutting duties during that timeframe. We wanted to exercise several aspects of cutting scenarios in addition to our everyday carry chores to make sure we can really get a feel for the utility of the knife. Given the style of the blade we were unsure as to whether this knife would translate to an all-around type knife or something more specific. The simple answer to that is it is sort of all-purpose and sort of not. We will expand on that shortly.
Let us first discuss general carry comfort. The Rike Thor 3 is comfortable despite the size, as it is reasonably light, and certainly a tolerable weight for an integral at about 5.45 oz. The pocket clip is not deep carry, but it does sit rather low in the pocket with only about a quarter inch sticking out the pocket. The clip also works well and slides in and out well but has plenty of retention from the 3D sculpted titanium pocket clip which happens to work very well with the knife.
Coincidentally we had a trip to the local Ikea for some bedroom furniture updating and we had tons of boxes that needed breaking down. Enter the Rike Thor 3. Yes folks, we used a 550 buck knife to cut the boxes made of corrugated board. Well, knives are meant to cut aren’t they? We put on some work gloves and got to cutting. Well, to be honest, the knife was not the best performer in this category though we are not sure why. The knife was sharp out of the box, and had minimal use prior to the box cutting. As we cut we felt a lot of resistance against the blade. The blade was not insanely thick, but as it did have some compound grind elements it is possible that the knife got choked up as it approached the transition of the blade. We tried our best and after about 6 boxes we switched back to our fixed blade knife to finish the remaining 3 boxes.
We still had plenty of hope for the Thor 3 in the cutting department. As we moved from the garage to the backyard area, we found several more tasks for our integral folding knife. Spring cleanup meant that we needed to de-winterize and get our furniture ready for warm times in the sun. We used the Thor 3 to cut all of the twine we had used to tie down all the furniture. It made easy work of this task, cutting through with single sweeps as if the rope was swiss cheese. Clearly the knife was sharp, and could cut.
As we tried our Thor 3 knife in the kitchen we quickly realized that this knife was surprisingly well suited for light mess duty. Cuts of vegetables and even onions and tomatoes proved no match for the knife. We spared the knife from butcher tasks, but believe it would have performed very well in that role as well. Either way, the blade held up well with no signs of rust or discoloration. This is M390 after all, so we should expect solid performance and good edge retention.
What we felt the knife might be best suited for was something we did not have the ability to test. That is self-defense. The blade may be a bit short at 3.75 inches but given the shape and style of the blade, along with the handle ergonomics the Thor 3 may be a very competent defense weapon should someone have the misfortune of having to use it as such. If you are in the group of people who EDC medium-large overbuilt folding knives for self-defense then we would certainly recommend you put this knife on your comparison list.
Overall the Thor 3 performed reasonably well and was not hard to carry at all. Add to that the beauty and sheer uniqueness of the Thor 3 as a usable integral and it gets the thumbs up as a performer… just try not to cut too many boxes with it if you don’t have to.
All these knives available at BladeHQ.The Thor 3 is certainly not a cheap, impulse buy kind of knife. At around $550 it’s certainly in the high-end production category and faces some stiff competition.
WE Knife Co. 702 Integral – Slated for a future review here at Knife Informer, the WE Knife 702 represents a formidable cross-shopping comparison to the Rike Thor 3. At about 300 dollars, it represents excellent value for money as we have not seen an integral with a 3.75-inch blade at under 300 bucks. Add to that M390 stainless steel and the WE 702 instantly becomes the value champion of the large integral knife world. Looks however may be a bit polarizing, but it seems like a very good package. One snag though… to keep the cost down the titanium used is TC4 titanium just like we see with the Thor 3. More expensive titanium such as 6AL4V would come at a premium.
Reate Future – Another knife on deck for review, the Future is a bold effort by Reate in collaboration of design by Tashi Bharucha. This integral flipper also boasts M390 steel and a 3.75-inch blade. This is a gentlemen style carry tactical folder. Offered in several different decorative combinations, the future is a limited run production knife that is both very beautiful and rather pricey. Cost of the Future ranges from about $480 for the standard models to about $800 plus dollars for the full dress Damasteel version with Mokuti Inlays. It is a collectible integral that is as beautiful as it is functional. For the money though, the Thor 3 offers similar entry pricing, and additional hard and tactical usage applications.
Spyderco Nirvana (C199TIP) – It’s hard to compare production integrals without discussing the Nirvana, a collaboration between Spyderco and Peter Rassenti. Unlike the other competitive offerings, the Nirvana is not a flipper, but it brings to the table S90V steel that some might consider one of the top attainable super steels. At about 450 bucks, this knife has been considered by some as a must buy, and others as a must pass. However you look at it, it is indeed a competitor to the Rike Thor 3, and an imposing knife in terms of its size of blade and shape. We personally like the Nirvana, but might consider the Thor 3 a more usable knife for EDC.
Custom Knife Factory Tegral – Those late the production integral knife game might have already missed this run of knives from CKF. They were one of the first out of the gate to get the integral flipper production knife out to the public. The Tegral is no longer available for direct sale, however this may be a secondary market sleeper where about 300 bucks can bring you home 3.6 inches of pure M390 steel covered in a very cool looking titanium integral handle package. At about 4.9 oz. this knife was a very light option as integrals go. If you are into a unique style aesthetic and a lighter carry this knife might be something to consider. When we reviewed this knife some time back we rated it very well, though we found the handle a bit slippery in some conditions.
Competition has become fierce in the large folding Integral knife arena. It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago we were unable to find affordable flipper integrals. Not only do we now have a bunch of choices, they are almost all great options that are reasonably affordable (sort of). The Rike Thor 3 is the third generation of integral for the Thor line, and it shows as it is the most machined and heavily milled with contours and sweeping lines that are extremely well executed. They have refined the Thor integral design and it really shows with great effect.
One thing can be said for Rike is that they are consistent. Rike has figured out a repeatable way to make integral flippers that challenge any other large integral folder on the market. As we continue to enjoy the Rike Thor 3 we are left wondering whether a fourth iteration of the Thor model will be made. Either way, the Thor 3 is a unique and yet familiar integral worthy of the Thor name. We really enjoyed this knife, and have a feeling if you can get your hands on one that you would as well.
- Unique eye-catching design, quality construction and materials, nice ergos
- Not the best cutter, a little pricey versus competition