Spyderco’s Sage 1 is both functional and timeless in design. It features a convenient liner lock and beautifully woven carbon fiber laminate scales, which set it apart from the other knives in the Sage series. This is one of those knives I’ll have very little to complain about (especially in comparison to the Sage 3, which rusted on the inside and was built in a way that makes it exceptionally difficult to take apart for cleaning). The way the Sage 1 looks, feels, and performs are all ideal for an everyday carry knife, which is just the type of knife it was made to be.
Ultimately, all the knives in the Sage series share nearly identical shape, and really differ only in terms of their scales and their lock types. Thus, as with all the knives in the Sage series, the Sage 1 has a wire clip. The Sage 1’s clip is anodized a dark shade of grey or blue, while the other knives in the Sage series have lighter clips, but the clips are otherwise identical. The size of the Sage 1 is also very similar to the Sage 2, the Sage 3, and the Sage 4, although of the four knives, the Sage 3 does come in a bit larger. Closed, the Sage 1 is around 4 inches long.
The folder has open frame construction with nice standoffs. It has minimal jimping for traction, which I am a personal fan of.
The liner lock is on the thin side, but it engages firmly and I have yet to feel any travel or blade play, even after years of carry. At the end of the day, lack of travel and blade play is all I really want from my folders – they don’t need to be overbuilt, they just need to work.
The sleek carbon fiber exterior and darkened wire clip make for a pretty nice stealth package. While its not a true deep carry, as part of the scales do show in pocket, it is very discreet.
Out of the box, the edge was ground adequately thin, but I did regrind it to suit my everyday carry needs, which often includes cutting cardboard.
The 3 inch blade length is the perfect size for an EDC knife in my opinion. That’s enough blade to get most jobs done without traumatizing the sheeple (also known as freaking out the general knife-fearing population). Depending on your locale, and maybe how threatening you look, this may be important to you.
There seems to be a controversy in regards to whether this knife is or is not truly a carbon fiber knife. To clear things up, the scales on the Sage 1 are made of black G-10, and have a thin upper layer of carbon fiber epoxied onto the top. You can see this if you look closely in the pictures below (we’ve zoomed in in the second picture so you can see it a bit better).
Technically, then the knife handles aren’t fully carbon fiber. To me, this is a non-issue. The carbon fiber has never once chipped or flaked in all the time I’ve had and carried it. Honestly, it looks as good as if I had bought it yesterday. So no, these handles are not completely carbon fiber, but in my opinion, that should in no way discourage you from trying out this knife as an EDC.
The carbon fiber laminate line is pretty heavily textured. It feels great to the touch and has a nice cool matte feel. The traction from the texture is very useful if your hands are ever wet.
I have to say that the fit and finish on all Taiwanese Spydercos has always been stellar, and the same is true of this one. Everything fits flush, and there is great attention to detail.
The skeletonized liners help to substantially reduce the weight of the knife overall. In the end, the Sage 1 weighs in at a lithe 91 g. Excellent job done here.
Deployment is super fast. Of course there are no assisted opening or ball bearings, it’s just well made standard bronze washers with tight tolerances. Shoots out like a rocket.
Of course if you don’t want to open it too quickly in front of your mother or kids, you can always smoothly open it traditionally with your thumb. The best thing about the Spyderco hole is how easy and versatile it makes deployment.
The choil will stop the blade from coming down on your fingers should the lock fail. This is extremely unlikely, but it’s nice to have the precaution taken on the choil just in case.
The handle can just about handle my hands without my needing to choke up on it.
The ergonomics on this knife, as with all the Sage knives, is absolutely wonderful. They honestly feel like they were made for my hands, though Elise also feels the same way about this knife, so it’s not just my hands that fit so well. It may be a little on the small end for extremely large hands, but for up to large hands, and maybe even for extra large ones, it will certainly feel wonderful to hold. Just very well built.
Because the choil is so generous, choking up for detailed work from both the front and the back is very comfortable.
Reverse grip is doable, but certainly not ideal. The leaf shaped blade was not designed to accommodate the fat of ones palm.
I wouldn’t consider the Sage 1 an outdoors folder or a camping knife at all, but the lean full flat ground blade is definitely versatile enough to do some outdoor work.
It performs very well at detail work. With the exception of chopping (obviously), and batoning, which is not a good idea to do with folding knives at all, I can’t think of much else it can’t handle.
For roughly $100, the Spyderco Sage 1 is a sleek, charming everyday carry knife that can take quite a beating. While the carbon fiber scales will look great with a suit, don’t hesitate to break this knife out for use in the workplace. It’s definitely not your ideal camp knife, but its versatility with regards to indoor use is limitless. The FFG S30V blade, reliable lock, and oh-so-comfortable ergonomics will be up for whatever life throws at you.