How Good is CTS BD1 Steel? [Steel Knife Review]

CTS-BD1 is an entry-level, vacuum-melted variety of steel, gaining a lot of momentum as of late. It seems to be the top dog in today’s cheap steel market.

Thanks to its appealing finish and balanced composition, this variety of steel is significantly utilized in a range of applications, from cutlery and ball bearings to small machinery.

If you’ve been in the market for a quality CTS-BD1 steel knife, you probably know of the Spyderco Manix 2 C101PBL2, also known as the Manix 2 Lightweight. It’s currently one of the best-selling CTS-BD1 steel knives on the market.

Is the Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight as reliable as users claim, or is it just hype? Stick around to find out!

Spyderco Manix 2 C101PBL2 Review: Short Answer

The Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight, with its fiberglass-reinforced co-polymer handle and exceptional cutting power, is most definitely one of the best CTS-BD1 steel knives on the market.

Other features that set this folding knife apart include a high-strength compressive lock that ensures maximum security, a PlainEdge grind for smooth, precise cuts, and high resistance to heat and chemicals.


  • Outstanding cutting power
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Flat bevels for reduced drag
  • Great control and precision
  • Patented compressive lock
  • Budget-friendly knife


  • Not built for intensive use
  • The handle has a few hot spots

Dimensions and Build Quality

Made in the USA, the Spyderco Manix 2 C101PBL2 is a sturdy yet super-lightweight CTS-BD1 steel knife that weighs around 2.9 ounces. Overall, the knife measures slightly over 8 inches, with a 4.6-inch handle and 3.3-inch blade.

The Manix 2 Lightweight is equipped with a 50/50 finger choil, which helps boost its ergonomics. It’s also why the knife’s cutting edge measures around 2.8 inches.

Seeing as it features Carpenter’s CTS-BD1 steel, the Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight is relatively easy to sharpen. Additionally, it boasts excellent corrosion resistance and edge retention.

We’re quite fond of the knife’s smokey mirror finish. Not only does it look appealing, but it’s also easy to clean and doesn’t retain fingerprints.

When it comes to toughness, CTS-BD1 steel knives are a bit questionable, and the Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight is no different. Nonetheless, this is a minor nitpick considering it’s one of the most cost-effective EDC knives on the market.

See also: 1095 steel

Control and Precision

In terms of control and precision, the Spyderco Manix 2 C101PBL2 is second to none in its price point, thanks to the combination of the thin stock, flat grind, and leaf-shaped blade.

The knife’s broad blade provides great cutting power, whereas the thumb ramp and index-finger choil help keep your hand steady with a forward grip. Couple that with the PlainEdge grind, and you get smooth, laser-sharp cuts.

According to most users, the Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight performs very well in the kitchen. While, in the outdoors, it performs just as well, it’s not to be used intensively.

Handle and Ergonomics

There’s a lot to like about the Manix 2 Lightweight’s handle. First of all, it’s made of fiberglass-reinforced co-polymer (FRCP), which is both durable and firm.

FRCP is very similar to the fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN) material that Spyderco uses for their Endura and Delica lines. The main difference is that FRCP offers less give than FRN. This can be viewed as a pro or a con, depending on preference.

Seeing as it features a plastic handle, the Manix 2 Lightweight may not appeal to certain knife enthusiasts who are into bone, wood, aluminum, and G-10 handles. Regardless, the handle leaves little to be desired.

The handle is bright blue and translucent, making it pretty easy for you to pinpoint the knife among foliage in the event it falls off your pocket or backpack.

As far as the knife’s ergonomics, we don’t really have any complaints. The rear grip allows easy draw cuts and slices, whereas the 50/50 finger choil allows effective push cuts.

The handle’s bi-directional grip pattern allows a great deal of non-abrasive grip. It feels as if the knife is glued to the palm of your hand (in a good way).

Locking Mechanism

One of the most vital selling points of the Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight is its high-strength compressive lock. The lock’s mechanism is simple yet highly effective, ensuring maximum blade security.

The mechanism is composed of a wedging ball bearing placed between the blade’s tang and a fixed anvil. It serves as a means of keeping the blade in a closed position while it’s sheathed.

In addition to the compressive lock, the Manix 2 Lightweight features Spyderco’s wire clip, which seems to garner both positive and negative opinions.

On the one hand, you have users who are pretty pleased with the clip, saying that it doesn’t cause any shredding or generate any hot spots. On the other hand, some users complain that the clip lacks tension and tends to wiggle around. Luckily, the former opinion seems to be the dominant one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is CTS-BD1 Steel Good for Knives?

Yes, CTS-BD1 is a great steel variety for knives, especially if you’re on a tight budget. CTS-BD1 is an improved version of same-class varieties, such as 8Cr13MoV and AUS-8. Its strongest selling point is its edge retention.

Where Was CTS-BD1 Steel Made?

CTS-BD1 is an American steel variety that Carpenter made based on the popular Gingami steel, also known as GIN 1, produced by Hitachi.

What Is CTS-BD1 Steel’s Composition?

CTS-BD1 steel’s composition is as follows:

  • Chromium: 15.75%
  • Carbon: 0.9%
  •  Molybdenum: 0.3%
  • Silicon: 0.37%
  • Manganese: 0.6%
  • Vanadium: 0.1%


Despite being a low-end steel variety, CTS-BD1 has gained a lot of momentum in the manufacture of cutlery. The Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight is an excellent representation of a high-quality CTS-BD1 knife.

There’s a lot to like and little to dislike about the Manix 2 Lightweight. Even though it’s super lightweight, it manages to maintain sturdiness and offers significant cutting power. Just be sure not to use it intensively.

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