Kershaw Reverb XL Folding Knife Review
Kershaw Reverb XL Increases Size, Shows Off Curves
The Kershaw Reverb XL folding knife is a followup to the original Reverb with some extra size. This update is more than just a simple upsized clone, though.
- Excellent value (~$30 online)
- Attractively subdued color combination
- Excellent slicing and piercing blade design
- Carabiner clip makes carrying on a bag more secure
- Titanium carbo-nitride coating improves hardness and abrasion resistance while lowering friction
- Weaker tip
- Single position pocket clip (right side, tip-up)
Buy the Reverb XL if you’re looking for a knife with excellent all-around cutting characteristics and high value. Pass if you’re looking for something that doubles as defensive carry or gets into the upper echelon of steel quality.
Reverb Vs Reverb XL
The Reverb had outdoorsmen at the heart of its design with a carabiner clip and a highly functional modified drop point blade. The Kershaw Reverb XL uses the same materials and keeps the carabiner while extending into a much curvier design.
While there are definitely some visual similarities between the two, the XL has a more elegant look. Hiding behind its sweeping curves is a blade design that you may find even more useful than the Reverb’s whether you’re on the trail or handling everyday tasks.
You’re looking at 8Cr13MoV blade steel with a titanium carbo-nitride coating. The steel is a solid mid-grade balance that’s easy to sharpen, holds an edge well, and has reasonable corrosion resistance. It’s no super-steel, but it’s a heck of a lot easier on your wallet.
The titanium carbo-nitride coating offers some additional hardness and resists abrasions well. It also has a low friction coefficient, making those slices feel easier than straight steel.
With a gunmetal gray color, the blade reaches out 3″ and features a sweeping trailing point style. It has outstanding slicing characteristics and its slight downturn near the tip gives it a fantastic piercing tip as well. The downside is that its tip is more vulnerable to breaking if you drop it on a hard surface.
In terms of its ability to excel in a wide range of tasks, it’s a really great design.
Like the smaller version, the Reverb XL is a manual opener. There’s no finger flipper, thumb studs, or bearing/spring assist. Instead of a classic nail notch, there’s a much more substantial cut in on both sides.
If you don’t have the world’s most perfect fingernails (guilty!), it’s a very easy design to open and close. You can even deploy the blade with one hand much easier than most manual opening folders.
The Kershaw Reverb XL has two different sides to its handle material choices. On the showy side, you have a blue-gray G10 handle offset with a carbon fiber overlay. The opposite side is stainless steel with a titanium nitro-carbide coating.
The combination of materials gives the knife an intriguing look and feel. It also brings down the weight from what you’d get here on a full steel handle knife. I’m pretty neutral as far as how I feel about the look. It doesn’t bother me, but it’s not going to make my top 10 list for straight visual appeal, either.
That said, I do like the color combination between the G10, carbon fiber, and coated steel. At the end of the day, this is a knife I’m carrying more for function than show.
Kershaw follows my preference of a frame lock with this model. Rather than cutting completely to the edge of the handle, it’s completely contained in the steel. The lock engages well for a manual opener and it’s easy to disengage to close it up. Like the blade deployment, it’s a design that’s pretty simple to close one-handed.
On the visual side, the coated steel matches the color of the blade, leaving the same color characteristics in both open and closed positions. There’s also a cleverly placed Kershaw logo on the inside of the lock that’s only visible when you have the knife open.
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The Kershaw Reverb XL comes with a deep carry clip and it has just one position—tip-up, right-side carry. However, the big draw is the carabiner clip on the back. You can secure it to your backpack, tool bag, or a belt loop easily.
I’m the kind of guy that likes to have a knife just about everywhere, including on bags I might only grab once in a while. I really like that I can clip this one to any bag and not worry about it slipping off like a standard pocket clip can.
For the way I use it, the ability to secure the knife with the carabiner clip far outweighs the limitations of its single-position pocket clip.
List price on the Kershaw Reverb XL is $49.49 and we’re seeing online prices closer to $30. That’s a pretty nice price for this one to settle into all things considered.
The Bottom Line
Kershaw’s Reverb XL starts with the same materials as the original Reverb and takes the design in a different enough direction to justify having both for your outdoor adventures or everyday tasks. The XL design is a better all-around slicing/piercing blade while the Reverb design when you’re going to introduce some prying into the mix. Its manual opening and single-position belt clip take it out of consideration for defensive carry.
Buy it if you’re looking for a knife with excellent all-around cutting characteristics and high value. Pass if you’re looking for something that doubles as defensive carry or gets into the upper echelon of steel quality.
Kershaw Reverb XL Specifications
- Model: Kershaw 1225
- Blade Steel: 8Cr13MoV with TiCN coating
- Blade Length: 3″
- Handle Materials: Stainless steel with TiCN coating, G10 with carbon fiber overlay
- Clip: Carabiner, single-position deep carry (right-side, tip-up)
- Closed Length: 4.25″
- Overall Length: 7.4″
- Deployment: Manual
- Lock: Frame lock
- Weight: 2.2 ounces