Review: CRKT Eros SS

by Anthony Sculimbrene

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CRKT Eros SS Review

Ken Onion, one of the most famous knife designers in the world, helped put Kershaw on the map in the mid-90s thanks to his highly-praised knife designs. A few years ago, Onion left Kershaw to design for CRKT, resulting in a series of quality knives. While most of Onion’s CRKT knives were well-designed, the Eros in particular seemed a bit busy for a gentleman’s folder. Onion responded with a more finessed update to the Eros in the Eros SS.


The Eros SS comes in two sizes: small and large (pictured). Both run AUS-8 steel and have stainless steel handles (hence the “SS” designation). Both, like the original Eros, also have a bearing pivot—the IKBS system. This pivot design uses a track and small ball bearings to both improve the smooth action when opening the knife and to help with centering and stability. The knife deploys via a flipper mechanism, and locks with a framelock. There is a non-moveable pocket clip for right hand, tip-up carry. The handle itself has an attractive bead blasted finish. The blade is full of nice touches: dished out grind lines, with a hollow grind, and a nice rounded spine. The entire package is very, very slim and sleek. It easily slips into your pocket and virtually disappears.

Very few knives on the market are as clean-looking as the Eros SS. Its wonderfully slim profile makes it one of the finer choices for a gentleman’s blade out there. It also marks an interesting milestone in Ken Onion’s design journey. Very little separates the appearance of the Eros from Onion’s earlier effort, the Kershaw Leek, but handling the Eros, even for a moment, communicates a more refined, mature design. For example, both have a thin, precise needle tip in their blade. However, the Leek’s lack of a belly directs much of applied cutting force straight to the tip, whereas in the Eros, a distinct belly helps distribute wear across the entire cutting edge more evenly. Additionally, even though both knives lie in the same price point, the Eros SS sports a much cleaner design, foregoing the row of fasteners found in the Leek for only two in the Eros. The Eros’s clip is more refined, much less like a wide paint scraper than the Leek’s clip. Lastly, for a gentleman’s knife, the lack of an assisted opening is ideal – speed is not at a premium in this type of knife, so a smooth manual open in the Eros SS is much preferred. The overall design is clean, albeit not the most secure form factor to accommodate an assist. In keeping with a sleek design, the Eros lacks any form of jimping – although not an issue, given its intended use. The Eros SS design is an improvement over one of the industry’s best-sellers, and a clear, though modest step forward for one of the knife business’s greats.

I carried the Eros with me at work in slacks and suits for about two weeks. It performed perfectly as a gentleman’s knife. The flipper was smooth and elegant in every addictive deployment. It was never threatening or aggressive, but it handled a surprising number of tasks. Of course, it handled basic tasks like package opening and food prep well. However, it was the Eros’s ability to handle things like heavy-duty plastic packing straps that really got my attention. The tip is thin and allows for very precise control. You’ll have no problem cutting out newspaper articles or other precision tasks. The tip and the blade’s thin dimensions bar any sort of prying, but I think the form factor alone tells you this is not a knife cut out for that. The AUS-8 steel, as usual, gets sharp, holds an edge for only a little bit, and sharpens easily. No other steel is more “par” for modern knives than AUS-8 and it is, in all honesty, a perfectly workable steel.

Everyday Carry Score:★★★★½

Pros:

  • Solid, elegant Ken Onion design language
  • Smooth IKBS flipper deployment
  • Slim, attractive profile
  • Excellent lockup

Cons:

  • Could benefit from better steel than AUS-8
  • Very thin, pointed blade shape
  • Lack of grip and jimping

I have few complaints about the Eros SS. It hits the mark perfectly as a gentleman’s knife: its IKBS-based flipper works flawlessly and its framelock is excellent. While a similar knife in the Kershaw Leek exists, the Eros SS outclasses it overall with its classy finish, satin blade, and real, legitimate belly. As a dressy, urban EDC blade, the CRKT Eros SS translates to something like a cleaner Leek, a budget flipper Sebenza, or an updated CRKT S2. Given that lineage and its designer, it’s easy to see why the Eros SS is as good as it gets.

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