A top-end offering, the Vosteed Mayhem takes a run at proven, yet challenging locking mechanism.
Prolific in its offerings, they must not sleep much over at Vosteed Knives. Yet, the company’s productivity has generally been knife buyer’s gain—at least those attracted to mid-priced fidgety options that by and large have fairly decent lines. Though, one of its latest releases should turn heads if only to see if Vosteed indeed has been able to pull off what few other companies have dared.
Christened the Mayhem (a prototype was showcased at their table at the 2023 BLADE Show), the collaboration with Rob Saniscalchi of R.S. Knifeworks boasts what the firm defines as a hybrid frame/compression lock. Some might recognize the latter aspect of the system as the same mechanism developed and used to great effect by Spyderco. The Colorado company’s patent on the mechanism ran out a few years ago, making it fair game and clone fodder. But given the tight tolerance required for the lock to operate properly, few companies have given it a run.
The Sypderco system is operated by a leaf spring wedging laterally between a ramp on the tang and a stop pin. The system was smooth and easy to operate, as well as strong as the dickens—given pressure is exerted directly down on the spring’s vertical surface, preventing potential bowing. Vosteed appears to operate almost identically, though a bit of the geometry on the blade’s lock elements differ. At arm’s length, Vosteed’s attempt appears on track, but only time and plenty of fiddling by owners will prove if the company truly got it right.
As to its operation, the lock is actuated by a push button on the spine. The system allows for wrist opening, but as has been Vosteed’s OM for some time, it outfitted the Mayhem with multiple deployment options. In this case, both a thumb hole and a kicker; a pair of caged ceramic ball bearings aid in a smooth and fast deployment.
Vosteed offers the Mayhem with a couple of different options. Perhaps the imperative one is the choice between a Wharncliff or sheepsfoot blade, each coming in a 3.3-inch in length and constructed from the highly desirable M390 steel. Each blade has a compound grind, but this appears a play at aesthetics, given the thicker rear grind seems too small for practicality. The blades also feature a choil, so you can choke up, even though the titanium scale is ample enough to land all five fingers of a large hand. The scale itself is clean, with a closed rear and texturing across its back, not to mention a nice taper up to the blade to allow for a firm grip.
The other choice buyers have to make on the Mayhem is finish, with a stonewashed black PVD coating and gray satin options on the menu. The gray version is gray from top to bottom—outside a gold pivot collar—accentuating the knife’s tidy design, while the black iteration is a bit more boisterous boasting gold hardware. Note, the knife offers tip-up carry with a non-reversible titanium clip.
The Vosteed Mayhem is a break from what most have come to expect from the company, which has made its bones at the affordable end of the market. The new knife—no matter options—runs $250. However, if it proves well executed, most likely will find this money well spent.
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