Harley Davidson… they make bikes, right? Right. But believe it or not, there’s a whole lot more to this iconic brand than motorcycles. Over the past couple of decades, they’ve expanded their repertoire to include everything from luggage to jackets, t-shirts to wallets. And now knifes. As motorcyclecruiser.com notes, 2014 marked the year that Harley Davidson partnered with W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company to bring us a range of first-class knives called, simply enough, the Harley-Davidson Case knife collection. It’s not the first time Harley has dipped its toes into the knife business (as ultimatemotorcycling.com rightly notes), they’d already teamed up with Benchmade five years earlier) but the Case collection marks the first time it’s produced a traditional pocket knife line. And why not? After all, what open road trip doesn’t sometimes carry the need for something sharp and pointy? With a range that covers everything from the slickly elegant to the ruggedly masculine, and from the sub $30 category to the plus $400 category, the line carries something from everyone.
If you’re a hardcore biker, a would-be rider, or just someone who wants a shiny little tool for their next outdoor adventure, you’ll be hard pushed not to find something that takes your fancy in the collection. Some of the knives are limited edition and command a hefty price tag (the Harley-Davidson Limited Edition 100th Anniversary Founders Bowie made to commemorate Harley’s 100 years in business is a classic example – only 2003 were produced, and, thanks to the rarity, can now fetch up to around $1000 at auction). Others are mass-produced, with the price dictated more by the features and materials than the production run. So, what can you expect of a Harley Davidson knife? As with most things, it depends on how much you’re willing to pay.
The Budget-Friendly Options
One of the cheapest options in the current catalog is the Harley-Davidson TecX Polished Stainless Tags-S. Priced at just $22, it's not going to stretch the budget too much. Made from 440 stainless steel, it’s a small lock back knife with a drop point blade that’s said to be ideal for hunters. The blade measures a relatively diminutive 1.92 in, while its weight of 1.7 oz makes it a good choice for everyday carrying. The liner lock mechanism offers convenient one-hand opening and closing, while the use of carbon in its construction allows for excellent edge retention, good rust resistance, and ease of re-sharpening. For just $22, it’s hard to pick a fault.
In the mid-price range, you won’t find yourself short on options. The Harley-Davidson Gray Bone Sowbelly is a classic example of what can be found in the price range. Priced at $64.99, it’s from Harley’s family of bone-handled knives (although there’s also a synthetic handled version if you prefer) and named for its resemblance to the shape of a pig’s belly. The clip is versatile enough to suit a variety of different situations, from camping to everyday tasks around the home. Constructed from Case Tru-Sharp stainless steel, it offers excellent rust resistance and unsurpassed cutting ability. As CBS reports, Harley has drawn some criticism from its die-hard US fans in recent years for outsourcing production to all four corners of the globes. On this particular knife, they’ve appeased the critics by keeping production in the US.
Another attractive option in the mid-budget range is the Harley-Davidson Lava Kirinite Small Texas Toothpick. Priced at a reasonable $61, it’s an attractive little piece that’s a little more bling-tastic than your everyday, garden-variety knife. Fashioned from Kirinite, the handle has a rich finish with spots of red that’s designed to mimic a volcanic field. The blade itself is long, sharp, and narrow, and thanks to the anti-corrosion and rust resistant qualities of the Case Tru-Sharp stainless steel that’s gone into its construction, is designed to carry you through years of use.
The Deluxe Collection
And so we come to the higher-end models. The options here are a little more limited, but look hard enough and you’ll still find yourself confronted with a good choice. One of the most enduringly popular models in the range is the Harley-Davidson Black Smoke Kirinite Lockback. Singularly attractive in a classically elegant (but still determinedly masculine) way, it combines eye-catching aesthetics with excellent functionality. Combining the qualities of a fixed blade knife with a traditional pocket folder, it comes with a locking Drop Point blade (excellent for general tasks) made from Chrome Vanadium steel - which, as any knife enthusiast will know, is at the cutting edge (quite literally) of edge-holding and re-sharpening (although unlike stainless steel, it’s a tad vulnerable to rusting, pitting and discoloration, making a slick of oil vital to maintain the finish). At $99, it’s certainly not cheap, but for anyone looking for a knife that looks as good as it functions, it’s worth the expense.
Another high-end option worth a mention is the Harley-Davidson Lava Kirinite TrapperLock with Clip. Sporting the flaming red and black finish characteristic of the Lava Kirinite range, it’s a unique piece of kit that’s guaranteed to get your fellow bikers drooling. The Tru-Sharp surgical steel blade offers excellent longevity and rust resistance, while the control offered by the engraved thumb stud fixed by a torque screw is outstanding. If you want to add one of these beauties to your collection, expect to fork out around $122.99.
While we’re on the subject of expensive knives, it’d be remiss of us not to mention the Harley-Davidson Exotic Blue Coral Trapper. Priced at $416.99, it’s one of the most expensive knives in the current collection. Its also one of the prettiest (and no, ‘pretty’ is probably not a term you’re used to hearing in connection with either knives or Harley Davidson, but with its two-tone blue and coral handle and its mother of pearl and jet stone features, pretty is exactly what it is). Regardless of how big your budget, you’re likely to find a Harley Davidson knife to match. The only challenge lies in deciding which one to choose.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith