Spyderco byte December 2021


MSRP: $200.00

The newly released Manix 2 Lightweight with CPM SPY27 blade is a supremely functional everyday carry knife. It is also the latest member of a proud family that traces its roots back over 15 years to the original Manix design.

Released in 2004, the first Manix was a hand-filling, seriously stout back lock folding knife. Purpose designed for extreme cutting performance and strength, it quickly gained favor with Spyderco customers, but also inspired requests for a smaller, more pocket-friendly version. In 2006, we responded to that calling, scaling the full-sized C95 Manix down by more than 10 percent to yield the C101 Manix. It retained all the key features of the original, but in a handier, more compact package.

Although the smaller envelope of the C101 Manix definitely made it more convenient for everyday carry, it still tipped the scales at a hefty 5.5 ounces (154g). To make it even more pocket friendly—and showcase Spyderco’s patented Ball Bearing Lock™—the C101 was redesigned in 2009 to create the Manix 2. Even with its peel-ply-textured G-10 scales, skeletonized stainless steel liners, and hollow-ground 154CM stainless steel blade, the Manix 2 managed to trim 10 percent off the weight of its back-lock predecessor. But its quest for “weight loss” didn’t stop there.

The G-10-handled Manix 2 quickly earned a respected place in Spyderco’s US-made product line. Its form also continued to evolve, ultimately transitioning to CPM S30V® blade steel and a full-flat grind. At the same time, our engineers were exploring strategies to significantly reduce the weight of the design while retaining the exceptional strength of its caged Ball Bearing Lock mechanism. In the process, we also hoped to create a transparent handle that would highlight the inner workings of the knife. After extensive research into high-tech materials, we discovered fiberglass-reinforced co-polymer (FRCP)—a lightweight polymer ideal for injection molding. Using a translucent version of this material as a base for the handle, we developed a special steel insert to support the lock mechanism and meticulously refined the structure of the knife to achieve our targeted strength criteria. The result was the Manix 2 Lightweight, a revolutionary folding knife that earned the “Most Innovative American Design” award at the prestigious Blade Show and International Cutlery Fair.

The Manix 2 Lightweight was originally offered with a full-flat-ground CTS® BD1 stainless steel blade. In 2019, the blade steel was upgraded to nitrogen-enriched CTS BD1N. The blade’s leaf-shaped profile flows seamlessly into the lines of the handle while providing both a forefinger choil and an understated thumb ramp. Both these areas have textured jimping and allow a “choked-up” grip that offers increased control during detailed cutting tasks. The blade also features a fully accessible 14mm Trademark Round Hole™ that makes one-handed deployment with either hand swift and positive.

Injection molded from FRCP, the Manix 2 Lightweight’s polymer handle reduces the overall weight of the knife to a mere 3.0 ounces—39 percent lighter than its G-10-handled counterpart. It includes Spyderco’s signature Bi-Directional Texture™ pattern to ensure a secure grip in all environmental conditions and a reversible wire clip for convenient left or right-side, tip-up carry.

Linking the blade and handle is Spyderco’s patented Ball Bearing Lock mechanism. This high-strength lock consists of a ball bearing nested within a durable textured polymer “cage.” When the blade is opened, a compression spring drives the cage forward to wedge the ball bearing between a ramp on the blade tang and the steel insert in the handle. This locks the blade securely open and its unique design naturally compensates for any wear that may occur over time. Drawing the caged ball bearing to the rear releases the lock and allows the blade to close smoothly while keeping your fingers safely away from the sharp edge. Smooth, strong, and easily operated, like the rest of the knife’s features, the Ball Bearing Lock is also completely ambidextrous.

Following the success of the original translucent blue Manix 2 Lightweight, the model quickly became a platform for a number of different variations. The first were a version with an opaque black FRCP handle and, for tactical environments where light reflection is a concern, a black-handled version with a black Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) blade coating. Both of these currently feature the standard CTS BD1N blade steel. For users looking for more advanced steels, we later added a dark-blue-handled Manix 2 Lightweight with a blade crafted from Crucible® CPM S110V® and a gray-handled version with Carpenter® steel's Micro-Melt® Maxamet® alloy.

Continuing this evolutionary path, the new Manix 2 Lightweight proudly features our proprietary CPM SPY27 blade steel. Starting with a tried-and-true Spyderco standard—Japanese VG-10 stainless steel—our goal was to enhance its alloy composition with the addition of nitrogen, niobium, and additional carbon and vanadium, and then produce the steel with the benefits of the particle metallurgy process. Working in close cooperation with Crucible Industries for more than a year of research and development, we were able to do exactly that.

Steel Chart
Carbon1,25 %
Chromium14,00 %
Cobalt1,50 %
Niobium1,00 %
Manganese0,50 %
Molybdenum2,00 %
Nitrogen0,10 %
Silicon0,50 %
Vanadium2,00 %



“SPY27” draws its name from “Spyderco” and the atomic number of cobalt—a key element in the steel’s formula. The addition of cobalt to a steel increases its strength and hardness and accentuates the positive properties of its other alloys. “CPM” stands for “Crucible Particle Metallurgy,” an advanced manufacturing process that uses a high-pressure gas to atomize the molten steel into a spray that rapidly cools it into a fine powder. This “freezes” the steel in its perfectly mixed state and prevents the alloys within it from segregating, or separating. It also ensures an exceptionally fine, uniform grain structure. The steel powder is then re-heated in high-pressure containers to create ingots that are rolled to toughen the steel and mill it into finished form.

SPY27 is a true stainless steel containing a finely tuned recipe of carbon, chromium, niobium, manganese, molybdenum, nitrogen, silicon, and vanadium. Its unique alloy mix, fortified by the intensifying effects of cobalt, offers an outstanding balance of edge holding, corrosion resistance, toughness, and ease of sharpening that easily rivals other premium blade steels. The broad, full-flat-ground PlainEdge blade of the Manix 2 Lightweight takes full advantage of these properties to deliver exceptional cutting performance.

Spyderco’s first CPM SPY27 knives—the Para™ 3 Lightweight and Native® 5 Lightweight—feature “cobalt blue” handles in honor of the steel’s cobalt content. Although we successfully achieved that specific color in their fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN) handles, replicating it in the FRCP material used in the Manix 2 Lightweight without duplicating the blue used in the CPM S110V version proved to be more challenging. Ultimately, we opted for a “mineral blue” hue, which is different than its peers, but no less distinctive.

A dynamic combination of rich history and Spyderco’s own exclusive blade steel, the Manix 2 Lightweight CPM SPY27 is a truly remarkable achievement in folding knives.

C101PCBL2_Both (Groß).png

  • Overall Length: 8.03" (204mm)
  • Blade Length: 3.37" (86mm)
  • Steel: CPM SPY27
  • Closed Length: 4.66" (118mm)
  • Edge Length: 2.88" (73mm)
  • Weight: 3.0oz (85g)
  • Blade Thickness: 0.125" (3.2mm)
  • Handle: FRCP
  • Clip Position: Ambi
  • Tip Carry Position: Tip-Up
  • Lock Type: Ball Bearing
  • Grind: Full-Flat
  • Origin: United States