Vosteed Thunderbird Trek lock knife review – A slightly smaller version of an already great knife

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vosteed thunderbird elmax 4

REVIEW – Earlier this year I got to review the original Vosteed Thunderbird in S35VN steel and loved it. The only real issue I had with a knife that nice was the pocket clip. Well now, our good friends at Vosteed have released a new version of the Thunderbird with different options for knife scales and steels. I say our friends because we here at the Gadgeteer have had the pleasure of reviewing several of their knives and all have been very positive. Vosteed even has us featured on their homepage.

vosteed thunderbird elmax 3They offer great knives at a wide range of price points. They’ve pretty much got something for everyone. If you’ve got a little more coin in your pocket and want something on the higher end, the new Thunderbird Trek lock knife I have here comes with Titanium scales and Elmax steel. Is it worth the asking price? Check it out below and make up your own mind. Spoiler alert: it is!

What is it?

The Vosteed Thunderbird Trek lock knife comes with titanium frag patterned scales and the super steel, Elmax.

vosteed thunderbird elmax 2 1

What’s in the box?

  • Thunderbird Trek lock pocketknife
  • Vosteed branded rugged Pelican-type case
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Sticker
  • Patch
  • Warranty/care card

Hardware specs

Click to expand
  • Model Number: A0313
  • Blade Length: 3.25″ | 82.55 mm
  • Overall Length: 7.73″ | 196.34 mm
  • Blade Width: 1.10″ | 27.90 mm
  • Blade Thickness: 0.118″ | 3.00 mm
  • Blade Material: Elmax
  • Blade Grind: Compound
  • Blade Style: Tanto | Harpoon
  • Blade Finish: Black Stonewash
  • Hardness: HRC 60±2
  • Handle Length: 4.48″ | 113.79 mm
  • Handle Width: 1.17″ | 29.72 mm
  • Handle Thickness: 0.472″ | 12.00 mm
  • Handle Material: Titanium
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 4.20 oz | 119.00 g
  • Opener: Front Flipper | Back Flipper | Thumb Hole | Fuller
  • Lock Type: Trek Lock
  • Pivot Assembly: Caged Ceramic Ball Bearing
  • Pocket Clip: Reversible | Titanium
  • Carry Position: Tip-up
  • Knife Type: Manual Folding
  • Backspacer Material: Titanium
  • Backspacer Color: Black
  • Button Material: Stainless Steel
  • Button Color: Black
  • Designer: Yue

Design and features

Alright, let’s get to it. I’m not sure if I’ve said it enough yet, but this version of the Vosteed Thunderbird Trek lock has Titanium knife scales. Mmmm, titanium. Picture the Homer Simpson mmm, donut meme. Is there any pocketknife enthusiast not excited about titanium? I submit they are not. Even the backspacer is titanium. My only initial hesitation with the scales was the frag pattern. I’ve seen numerous knives with it and never really cared for it, but it works here. Vosteed used steel liners inside. As I understand it, the steel liners give a good foundation for pivots and lock pins, aid in smoother operation due to less friction, offset stress between scales and the liner, and more.

vosteed thunderbird elmax 8

The knife steel is Elmax. I’ve only seen and read reviews about knives with this steel and they have all been positive. To borrow from Google, “Elmax is a stainless steel that is produced by Uddeholm, now Bohler-Uddeholm. It is a powdered steel with a high chromium, vanadium, and molybdenum content.

vosteed thunderbird elmax 5

Elmax is considered a super steel and is known for its edge retention, wear resistance, toughness, and rust resistance.” Sounds like the perfect option for a knife blade to me. The blade shape is what I consider to be a traditional tanto with a compound grind, with several different deployment options. You can front flick, rear flick, and thumb flick it open as well as using the push button to just swing it open.

vosteed thunderbird elmax 9

The caged ceramic bearings are smooth as butter and the stonewashed black finish looks great on it too.

vosteed thunderbird elmax 14

Vosteed’s trek lock is just as good here as it was with the original Thunderbird. It’s easy to deploy and lock up is tight. There’s no lock rock or blade wiggle. The pocket clip is reversible, so only the push button may keep the Thunderbird from being completely ambidextrous.

vosteed thunderbird elmax 7

The only major difference between this Thunderbird and the previous version is the length. This one is slightly shorter making it a little pocket friendlier. I can, however, still get a full four-finger grip on it.

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I want to revisit the frag pattern here. As I said before, I’ve never cared for it when I saw it on other knives, but once I got the Vosteed Thunderbird Trek lock knife in my hand, I changed my mind. First of all, it looks better here. I can’t explain it other than when I’ve seen it on G-10 or Micarta, it looks unfinished.

vosteed thunderbird elmax 10

Secondly, the grip it adds is fantastic. It’s very grippy, so it’s secure in the hand.  I thought most designers just used to be tacticool, but it offers a lot of function over form. The Elmax steel is wonderful. I’ve used this knife pretty much every day since getting it and have only put it to a honing steel once to get it right back to razor sharp. I can’t speak to how hard it is to sharpen yet since I haven’t worn the edge down to the point of needing to, but so far, so good. The weight of the knife is a little heavy but not terrible. I don’t notice any difference when carrying it versus any other pocket knife I have. Normally, I wouldn’t carry a knife this nice as an EDC. I would protect it in the case and break it out every once in a while. But this Thunderbird begs to be carried and used. I think it’s only going to get better with use. The tumbled blade finish and titanium scales will look even more awesome with a little wear. This one will not be a safe queen. In fact, it’s replaced the other Vosteed knife I was carrying every day. It’s also so fidget-friendly that I can’t keep from playing with it while at my desk or in my recliner. I simply love it.

vosteed thunderbird elmax 6

What I like

  • Everything

What I’d change

  • Absolutely nothing

Final thoughts

I consider it an expensive knife at $200, but it is comparable to others, even cheaper than some when considering what it’s made of. I heard through 1 YouTuber I frequently watch that Vosteed had some trouble with their Trek lock some time ago, but I haven’t noticed any problems with it. On the Vosteed knives I have that use it, they always lock up perfectly fine with no slop or worry of letting go. If you’re looking for a premium knife, want to carry it every day, and get it for a good price, then do yourself a favor and go look at Vosteed knives.  Great knives are made from all over the world and Vosteed is only getting better at it with each new release.

Price: $199
Where to buy: Vosteed
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Vosteed.

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