- Parent Company: Rike Knife Co. Ltd.
- Headquarters: Guangdong, China
- Product Focus: EDC, Mid-Tech, Collector
- Target Markets: High End ($200-$400), Ultra High End ($400+)
- Production Facilities: China
- Website: http://www.rikeknife.com/
Rike Knife was founded in 2008 by Richard Wu, who took the first two letters of his name, RI, threw on a couple more and settled on ‘Rike’. Claiming to represent Chinese characteristics, Rike began their journey as professional knife makers after a humble beginning bringing other designer’s creations to life in the OEM/ODM market. In due time, Rike hired their own team of top designers, and pivoted to producing their own line of branded knives. In the words of Richard himself, “Rike dares to be an innovative brand, challenging the knife making practice. We strive to use the very best materials to produce excellent knife products for customers from all over the world.” He went on to compare their methods and ideologies to respected names like Zero Tolerance, Shirogorov, and Microtech.
Rike’s been hard at work since those early days, and it’s been nearly a decade now. Today, they offer a fantastic line of about a dozen knives (each with many variations), as well as some other EDC products, such as pens. They produce out of a facility packed to the brim with CNC machines, tools, and everything else required for high-end manufacture. They don’t state how many employees they have, but with pictures that frame a location with an office space, front desk, rows of machines, and more, it’s fair to suspect they’re quite the operation.
Their flippers are well received for their dazzling looks and unique auras. Rike is clearly working hard to gain equal footing with their highly reputable competition in WE Knife Co. and Reate Knives. It will be worth keeping a close eye on the company as we head to events like Blade 2017, to see what they have in store to compete with WE Knife’s latest concepts and Reate’s growing business as a producer for household names like Todd Begg. Rike seems to have some special versions of their best pieces in the pipeline, so stay tuned.
There’s no denying that Rike stands among the proud, burgeoning Chinese crafters such as its counterparts WE, Reate, Stedemon and Kizer. Each has their own flavor, bringing something slightly different to the market. Anecdotally speaking, Rike’s claims to fame include their world-class anodization and their mechanistic sci-fi profiles. I’ve got to hand it to them, their knives are stunning. Just take a look at this Thor 2. Not only do you get aesthetics that could easily be mistaken for a full custom, but you get Bohler M390 blade steel, TC4 Titanium everything else, ceramic ball bearings, all in an 8.75” package.
The Thor 2 without the pattern is $500 retail, so I imagine that this version would be around $600-ish. That’s a lot for a pocket knife, but Rike has cheaper offerings as low as $275, and $500-$600 for a package that mimics what you find in some knives as expensive as $1,000 is worthy of a second glance.
It has to be said that aesthetics, machining, and materials are what hold Rike up as a player in the production knife game. While they maintained some diversity in the early days with the 1503, and the Thor models are a slight detour, Rike seems to be on a path of consistency. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that on the face of it, except, it doesn’t really fit their business model. If you’re Greg Medford, you can get along fine with some Praetorian variations and then just a couple other models for those who maybe can’t carry a forty pound slab of murder to the office every day. That said, Rike isn’t Greg Medford, and they seem to want to compete with WE in the major production market for high end knives in America. If they want to do that, I’d like to see some more variety from them in 2017. WE Knives already has twice as many models available in the US and each one is a spectacular exercise in unique design. Of course, if you haven’t already had one or two of Rike’s knives, then this is lost on you, as there’s still plenty of glory to be had with what they already make.
I’ve done a lot of talking about how similar Rike’s models are, but you do get some variety with the 1503 and the Thor models. Still, variety is key, so while the choices listed below reflect some of Rike’s most recognizable presentations, I wait with baited breath to see what else they provide. It is worth noting, again, that Rike offers an absolute ton of variations to each model, so there’s a little something for everyone, which I like!
The 1503 is perhaps the most off-the-beaten-path option from Rike. It trades the hard lines and crisp angles of their other options for a more curved and organic vibe. Being the only major departure from their design language, however, this knife sticks out like a sore thumb on their website because it’s the only one they offer in this vein. It would fit better in their lineup if they gave it some curved buddies to hang with.
In early 2016 we saw the introduction of the 1504 flipper models. Two primary variants, A and B with sheepsfoot and spearpoint blades sporting CPM-S35VN steel. The 1504 is beefy at about 5.5 oz, but operates as smoothly as it’s slender cousins thanks to the ball bearing pivot. Rike initially put out a run of about 200 or so 1504 models.
This is the Rike knife. I’ve seen way more people online owning this knife than Rike’s other knives. I don’t think this is a reflection on the 1507 being ‘better’ as much as I think it’s due to well-stocked inventory and a uniquely recognizable profile. I own a 1507 myself and it’s sort of the essential entry knife of Rike’s product line. Starting at only $285 for a non-anodized version, this is Rike’s cheapest knife (as far as I can tell), and is easily the namesake that has propelled them into knife enthusiast conversations all over North America. Here’s our review of the 1507.
The 1508 takes all of the design queues from the 1507, and pumps some air into them like a balloon to beef up the size and thickness. If you liked the 1507 but have big hands or the need for a larger blade, the 1508 is definitely worth a look.
Thor 1 and 2
The Thor 1 and 2 models are entirely distinct from one another, so don’t let my combining of the two throw you off. They have markedly different designs, but I’m roping them together here because they represent what Rike has to offer on the higher end. These are the halo-knives of the brand, and come in variations that offer the most noteworthy and flashy design aesthetics, including patterned anodization, funky colors, and finishes that seem to be reserved for the Thor lines. I have to tell you, these things are gorgeous, and I’m a fan of the name as well. Here’s our recent review of the Thor2.
Other than WE Knife and Reate, Richard Wu said it himself when outlining who they’re competing against. From what he listed, Zero Tolerance jumps out at me first, although, if Rike starts slapping more Damascus blades on their fanciest offerings, the prices will be in line with mid-level Shiro’s really fast. Unlike WE, however, Rike’s prices don’t stop at the $300 mark, and instead climb higher, poking at the likes of Chris Reeves, Olamic 247’s, Custom Knife Factory, and basically any Mid-Tech that isn’t a Bodega. At the $300 mark, I’m happy to take the risk of having warranty work be on the other side of the world, behind doors that are muddied with online translators. At $600? I’m not so sure. If Rike can keep up with the pack, though, and make 2017 a year full of amazing releases and stocked shelves, I’m confident they have the design language and motivation to push well into the western mainstream.
Rike’s future isn’t as clear to me as WE’s or Reate’s. It’s possible that they’re producing a lot more non-branded stuff for other designers that they don’t advertise, but as for their own brand, I’m really wanting for more choices. Some of the Thor 1 and Thor 2 variants are the most breathtaking pieces I’ve ever seen, which is great news. It proves that Rike’s team has what it takes to shine above the field, and push their way into the pockets of enthusiasts everywhere. The hobby is growing, and demand for more knives grows exponentially with each passing day, which calls for production companies to bring up the choice count and keep up with demand. Rike will need to play that game, and play it well, if they intend to run the race with WE and Reate. The next few years will prove critical for the brand, and I hope to see amazing stuff.
I look forward to reviewing what Rike brings to Blade 2017, and where they’re able to capitalize on what they bring to the table when up against so many other great options. Stay tuned…