Spyderco byte October 2023 - TENACIOUS CPM M4

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Spyderco byte October 2023 - C122GBNM4P / GBNM4PS TENACIOUS® - CPM® M4​

  • MSRP: $190.00
  • ORIGIN: China

Since its introduction in 2008, the Tenacious has earned an enviable place as the flagship of Spyderco’s Value Folder family of knives. Purposely designed to provide all the key features of our groundbreaking CLIPIT® folding knife platform in a budget-friendly format, Spyderco Value Folders are still some of the best bargains on the knife market.


If you examine the Tenacious closely, you will find its design, engineering, fit, and finish are excellent, easily rivaling Spyderco’s other user-oriented knives. It features full, skeletonized stainless steel liners that are a stout 0.062-inches (1.6mm) thick. Separated by stainless steel standoffs to reduce weight and allow easy cleaning, the liners form the foundation of the knife’s sturdy LinerLock mechanism that locks the blade securely open during use. They also provide a solid anchor for its broad-based pocket clip, which is fully configurable for left or right-side, tip-up or tip-down carry.

In its original form, the Tenacious features precision-machined peel-ply-textured G-10 handle scales. More recently, the Tenacious Lightweight replaced the G-10 with tough, injection-molded, fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN). The FRN scales added the enhanced grip security of Spyderco’s signature Bi-Directional Texture™ pattern while trimming the knife’s weight by almost 10 percent.


On the “business end,” standard versions of the Tenacious feature a beautifully full-flat-ground stainless steel blade with a textured thumb ramp and a fully accessible Trademark Round Hole™ for swift, positive, one-handed opening with either hand. The blade’s minimal ricasso also allows the edge to extend all the way to the handle for maximum edge length and extreme control when cutting with the “heel” of the blade.

With all this going for it, you may be wondering how we are able to make the Tenacious so affordable. The answer to that question is that we made a calculated compromise in our choice of blade steel—8Cr13MoV. By maintaining the highest standards of fit, finish, and handle materials, but using a more economical steel, we created a superior quality working knife that won’t break your wallet.


The “Gateway” Knife​

For people new to knives and even many seasoned knife users, the standard Tenacious is the perfect cutting tool. Its 8Cr13MoV blade provides a good balance of edge retention, toughness, and corrosion resistance. Although the steel is roughly equivalent to AUS-8, the blade’s beautifully executed full-flat grind and long cutting edge give it exceptional edge geometry that allows it to cut well beyond its chemistry. When it does become dull, restoring its edge is a quick and painless process, as 8Cr13MoV is very easy to sharpen. In many ways, this makes the Tenacious the perfect “gateway” knife for novices, those who use their knives for dirty or demanding cutting chores, and those fearful of losing a more expensive knife. With that said, the next logical question is “Gateway to what?”


As knife users gain experience, it’s natural for them to wonder about the performance differences of higher-grade steels. For Tenacious fans, the next step up would be the Tenacious Lightweight featuring CPM® S35VN® stainless steel. Manufactured in America by Crucible® Industries, CPM S35VN is a particle metallurgy steel developed to offer improved toughness over CPM S30V®. By carefully reducing its vanadium content and adding niobium, CPM S35VN forms some niobium carbides along with vanadium and chromium carbides. Substituting niobium carbides for some of the vanadium carbides makes CPM S35VN about 15-20% tougher than CPM S30V without any loss of wear resistance. This gives it better resistance to edge chipping without compromising its edge-retention properties.


As a blade steel, CPM S35VN is a significant step up from 8Cr13MoV. As an upgrade investment for Tenacious users, it allows them to experience the benefits of a higher quality blade material while maintaining the same design platform as their original knife. For aspiring knife enthusiasts, this process is difficult to beat. That’s exactly why we decided to take it a step further by supercharging the Tenacious with an even more elite blade steel—CPM M4.


The Tenacious CPM M4​

CPM M4 is a special purpose high speed tool steel produced by the particle metallurgy process. Manufactured in America by Crucible Industries, its sophisticated alloy composition, high vanadium content, and extremely fine grain structure give it exceptional wear resistance and toughness—properties that translate to outstanding edge retention and impact resistance in knife blades. For all these reasons, CPM M4 is a popular material for high-performance custom blades and the specialized knives used in competitive cutting.


Unlike 8Cr13MoV and CPM S35VN, which are both stainless steels, CPM M4 is a tool steel. Its extreme edge retention and toughness come at the price of reduced resistance to corrosion. As such, blades crafted from this steel must be maintained more carefully to protect them from moisture and staining. The benefits of this elite steel, however, far outweigh the minor investment of time needed to care for it.


The Tenacious CPM M4 faithfully maintains all the proven features and benefits of the original model, including full, skeletonized stainless steel liners, a stout LinerLock mechanism, and a versatile four-position pocket clip. To distinguish it from its brethren, its handle scales are precision machined from brown G-10 with a peel-ply texture for a non-slip grip. Its defining feature, however, is its blade, which is expertly crafted from CPM M4. The blade’s full-flat grind gives it outstanding cross-sectional geometry and an incredibly keen edge. These qualities are further enhanced by its satin finish, which is not only attractive, but reduces friction during use.


The CPM M4 version of the Tenacious elevates this workhorse design to extreme levels of cutting performance and edge retention. In the process, it—together with the other versions of this design—parallels Spyderco’s unique Mule Team™ project, allowing end users to experience and appreciate the performance of different blade steels in the same knife format.

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