I’m pretty content with my slipjoint EDC rotation these days, but I was just too intrigued by this little guy not to take a look. As this was designed along pretty tight lines for the proposed TSA regulations back in 2013, it’s obviously geared for a very specific niche, so I wasn’t expecting it to take over EDC duty and knock the Urban out of my pocket, but I did really like the look of it’s shape.
In fact, the design struck me as being everything I wished the Pingo had been (ignoring the size of course)! Don’t get me wrong, I love my Pingo and carry it a lot, but I do wish it had more classic Spyderco slipit ergos (e.g, handle shape and a finger choil). The Roadie looked super sheeple friendly (where the Pingo is strong) but with what looked like a grip position that would have me feeling more at home (slipping my finger into a Spyderco choil feels like putting on a favourite old pair of slippers ) There was also the potential for it to be a good non-locking alternative to fill the shoes of a Ladybug / Manbug, for those of us living in countries limiting the use of lockers. Well, that’s what peaked my interest anyway so here we are…
Specs from Spyderco:
length overall – 5.08″ (129 mm)
blade length – 2.09″ (53 mm)
blade thickness – 0.112″ (2.9 mm)
cutting edge – 1.72″ (44 mm)
length closed – 2.99″ (76 mm)
blade steel – N690Co
handle material – FRN
weight – 1 oz (28 g)
As you can see from the specs, this thing is tiny and with the FRN scales is super light weight. It really does just disappear into the pocket and is certainly very convenient to carry. Fits in the palm of your hand you might say!
In fact, size and shape are probably going to be the main focus of what I have to say here, and well, a picture is worth a thousand words so here is the Roadie next to two of it’s Maniago made slipit siblings, the Pingo above and the Squeak below…
It makes these two small slipits look positively chunky! And here is what I kept thinking every time I picked the Roadie up…what if the Roadie was as tall as the Pingo…what a fantastic two-hand-opening slipit option that would make! A big brother of the Roadie would take over duties from my Pingo in a heartbeat. As she stands, the Roadie is much more dainty in use than the Squeak or the Pingo, and I think a better comparison would be with the Ladybug…
Ladybug and Roadie open:
Ladybug and Roadie closed:
Now this made me want a choiled Ladybug even more! As much as I wanted to see it I never really knew if a choil on a knife this small would still feel functional…well it really really does! I know, I know, the Ladybug is more of a mini Delica but it still doesn’t stop me wanting something along the lines of a Ladybug sized Caly or Para!
Here are some in-hand grip comparisons, clockwise from top left Roadie, Squeak, Ladybug & Pingo:
Despite its narrow frame and diminutive stature, the Roadie melts into the hand in exactly the way you’d expect from anything with Sal’s makers mark on the blade. Again, I understand that the original intention was to fit TSA specifications, but this really would be a fantastic EDC two-handed option if the handle and blade were as deep/tall as the Pingo.
Just as the Ladybug punches well above it’s weight in cutting, slicing and chopping the Roadie does too with similar results, albeit it lacks the sharp point of the Ladybug. That’s the price you pay for the sheeple friendly look, though, and to be honest, when I carry a Pingo instead of my UKPK / Urban / Squeak, I miss the point far less than I originally thought I would. It’s amazing how much you can get done with the tip of that sheepsfoot curve! The full flat grind of the Roadie really helps it tackle its lack of blade depth, and despite being quite thick at the spine, it really tapers nicely down to a good fine edge. Here are some comparative shots of the blade shapes up close…
Pingo, Roadie & Squeak:
Ladybug and Roadie:
The Roadie’s blade is N690Co, just like its other slipit buddies from Maniago. I’ve got nothing but good stuff to say about this steel and in my use I’ve found it performs as well as (and I actually often think better than) the fantastic S30V & VG10 we’ve seen on UKPKs and Urbans over the years. It’s got great edge retention, is a doddle to sharpen and gets super slicey.
The double dent is the best solution for two-hand opening I’ve seen on a Spyderco yet. Not only does it work really well (much smoother than a nail-nick) but it feels very ‘Spyderco’ and lets you keep a much more classic handle that covers most of the blade when closed. Again, it’s the direction in which I wish the Pingo would have gone.
The handle is pinned construction, but the pivot is screwed…
The fit and finish out of Maniago on this is excellent, and the blade is well centered and the jimping spot on. The scales are particularly nice and in this case they are smooth as opposed to the usual textured FRN we’ve seen on other slipits…
The slip joint is particularly strong, and there are no worries of accidentally closing this one! It has a very smooth folding action and the half-stop on the way back into the handle is also nice and secure…
There is no pocket clip as the Roadie is intended for traditional pocket carry, but there is a lanyard hole of a similar size to the Ladybug, just right for a single pass of 550…
All in all, it’s a great little knife that fits the strict criteria it was designed for very well, whilst never losing that magic something that makes it a Spyderco. I’ve already said several times above that I think some sort of a Pingo sized Roadie would make a fantastic two-handed EDC in its own right, but there is one little niggle that I would want to change. Now, this may just be my ignorance as I have never had the difficult task of engineering a knife before, but I’d like to see the handle scales nestle the tip of the blade a bit deeper than they do here…
This is a shot of the tip of the blade when the Roadie is in the fully closed position:
…the tip is a millimeter or so from being exposed. Now I know that this is a small knife and is unlikely to see heavy use and extreme amounts of sharpening, but still, it wouldn’t take to much sharpening to leave the tip exposed…not what you want in a folder carried loose in the pocket. Just the slightest extension of the FRN scales here would solve this problem without negatively effecting the ergos at all. A small tweak but one that would dramatically improve the Roadie’s usability for me.
Well I think I’ve remembered everything I wanted to mention. Thankfully we can still carry one-handed openers here in the UK so I won’t be hanging up my Urbans and UKPKs any time soon, but if we were ever limited to two-handed openers after I’d grabbed a nice pointy Spy-DK the first thing on my wish list would be a sheeple friendly Pingo-proportioned Roadie!
I hope someone finds my photos and ramblings useful anyway,
Cheers for now!
Thanks to ©BritishBlades for allowing us to use this article
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