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Real Steel E771 "Sea Eagle" Review

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by aliaspostmortem, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. aliaspostmortem

    aliaspostmortem Loaded Pockets

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    This my friends is my first attempt to write an review/overview in English, which by the way isn't my native tounge so bear with me please.

    Here we go, my take on:

    - A Rather elegant Sea Eagle of Eastern origin


    How to proceed as an established Chinese knifemanufacturer in the lower price segments if you want to aim at the European and foremost American market? One creates a sideline with more exclusive knives under a new brand of course. One makes a Lexus out of a Toyota to use a car analogy.

    Now, this isn't a unique procedure for SanRenMu who created "Real Steel" for this purpose. It's the same business model used by for instance the Japanese KAI-group where Kershaw produces the volumes and ZT represents the more exclusive knives.

    In this case it was a necessity since SRM made a name for themselves making relatively small and extremely cheap knives. They are certainly well built and priceworthy but not exactly high end by any stretch of the imagination. They really managed to nich themselves.

    They seem to be in the same situation as CRKT in a way. Their attempt to aim at the higher end or rather mid-end knife market with "Hi Jinx" was an interesting but not entirely succesful one. Not all of us knife knuts are willing to pay that amount of money for a knife with that logo on the blade no matter how good or bad it is.

    [​IMG]
    Real Steel"Sea Eagle"
    Another difficulty, closely related to Chinese law if I'm correctly informed, for SRM was size. The bladelength issue were already circumvented from time to time by making knives that were entirely sterile. As an exempel one can take a look at the small modell 763 that became the bigger 963. It was sold marked as "San Ren Mu" for export but also made in completely sterile versions for the Hong Kong market and then imported back to mainland China. I myself have one of those utterly discrete knives. Now the model are a part of the Real Steel line.

    Under the new name they are now producing both fixed blade and folders. Gone are the cheapest lines and the prices now stretches from the 35-40$ mark up to 400$+ MSRP. It remains to be seen how successful the more expensive folders are going to be. Not only do they have to compete with all the established brands in that category but also the other Chinese newcomers such as Reate, Kizer, Stedemon, CH and the like.

    But out of this project have come some rather interesting knives. SRM and now Real Steel have always had excellent fit and finish even though made with more basic materials.

    One model that already have earned good reputation for being well built is the "H6" that was followed up with "H6 Blue Sheep" and later the "H6 Plus" model with another type of lock and some other changes including grind, thickness and weight. This is a good example of how responsive this company are to customer input. Real Steel have made direct changes to their line-up after feedback from customers via their Facebookpage.

    Another change worth mentioning is that they now also tell us the names behind the designs.

    [​IMG]
    An elegant profile
    This particulary knife, the E771 Sea Eagle, is the largest in Real Steels "E-series" and my first contact with this new bloodline. The question that remains is if they raised their game enough to play with the big boys?

    But with clean design, resonable weight, and a flat ground blade in decent steel this knife has a few things going for it on paper.

    Blade

    The bladeshape is a distinct, pointy droppoint where the spine immediately sweeps down from the thumbramp to meet a competent tip. The blade is 2.74" (95 mm) long and about 1" (25 mm) wide. Thus being a rather substiantal blade.

    The blade is almost full flat ground from a thickness of 0.14" (3,5 mm) and is made of a steel well known to me since I'm from Sweden - Sandvik 14C28N. The finish of this "Explorer" version of the Steel Eagle is a fine stonewash. If you prefer more of a gentleman's look there is also a version with carbonfiber scales and a satin finished blade instead.

    This particular steel is the result of a collaboration between Sandvik and Kershaw and is basically a beefed up 12C27. It's a pretty allround steel that will take a very sharp edge, retain it resonable and is not too prone to rust. It's also very easy to resharpen. All and all not a bad midrange steel.

    [​IMG]
    An almost 3,75" long droppoint with a nice fine stonewash
    The finish on the blade is extraordinarily well executed with a homogenous tumble and even ground bevels. The knive came very sharp out of box which is a detail I always appreciate. It raises the overall impression. One detail worth mentioning is that the secondary bevel is ground all the way to the handle. No stupid plungelines that steals from the cutting length of the edge.

    The initial sharpness made it pass my "I got a new knife and must cut stuff immediately test" with ease. It shaved hair without problems and slid through paper with only a faint sound.

    The flat ground blade also make it decent for kitchen duties. Normally I don't use my folders for preparing food except outdoors. At home I have a array of kitchen knives for that. But it's always a good performance tester for blades. It handled fruit like apples better than expected and the same goes for root vegetables and onions. Both are excellent testers to find out if a knifeblade actually is a concealed wedge or not.

    [​IMG]
    The 0.14" blade is made out of 14C28N from Sandvik
    Then I did as I always do. Test the bladeperformance, sharpness and endurance on the most common materials around the house and yard such as: paper, cardboard, tape, nylon- and hemprope, soft- and hard plastic, wood - both dried and fresh. And a very important test for me - fabric! As it happens I'm a cycleenthusiast and mountainbiking requires tons of rags for cleaning. So processing worn out clothes to rags is not an unusual task for my pocketknives.

    The bladeshape and geometry worked fine on most materials. It's not exactly a dedicated whittler though. But I attacked a 2x2" anyways just to do some prolonged cutting and the handle worked fine without hotspots.

    But I think that the blade could have been a tad thinner behind the edge for optimal performance according to me.

    The Sandviksteel isn't up to par with the supersteels when it comes to edge retention and you have to take a few strokes on the strop or sharpening rod every now and then. But the steel in this configuration takes an edge with ease.

    Handle

    The handleshape is a simpel one but well functioning. It measures around 4.5" in length with sides made out of black G10 mountad on a stainless steel frame. At the back you find a simple backspacer also made out of G10. Nothing extraordinary so far. But there are some details that make it stand out a bit. There is only two screws including the pivot holding the construction together for instance.

    [​IMG]
    This version features scales in G10
    The screws are a special but nice chapter. The sturdy oversized heads give extra strength to the construction while being decorative. They look proprietary but are however equipped with hidden standard allen key heads for easy maintenance. I haven't dissambled the knife so I can't speak for the quality of the hardware.

    [​IMG]
    The steel liners are heavily milled out
    The frame is the most drilled piece of steel I encountered for a knife handle. In fact so much that the expression "frame" on a knife has seldom seen more apropriate. In this case it makes for a knive that feels very light considering size and materials used. I mean it isn't exactly titanium we are talking about.

    The sides is made of a rather slick G10 wich incidentally is something I appreciate and my jeans even more so. They are not pocketshredders. But I think they will become rather slippery as they wear. Something you should be aware of and take into consideration. The frame is standing proud of the sides which makes for a more rounded feeling in hand. It also makes the handle look a bit more processed and therefore a tad bit more luxurious.

    Every detail on the handle is well rounded and polished and that goes for the inside of the lockbar and frame as well. Another detail that elevates the overall impression is the recess in the frame that makes for a soft landing for the fingertips when using the flippertab. Not often seen on a knife in this price range.

    [​IMG]
    A cutout makes for a nice landing for your fingertip
    The handleshape is obviously inspired by Shirogorov even though it's certainly not a blatant copy. This heritage is a good thing since it makes for excellent ergonomics. The knife handles beautifully and works in every grip. A proper hammergrip works as well as saber, fillipino, pinch, icepick and reverse grips. The flow between grips is also good which makes the knife easier to work with and a good balance contributes to make the knife feel lively in hand.

    There is some well executed "jimpings" on the thumbramp. They give some bite without shredding your skin. Other than that the handle lacks grip improving details. Something that I appreciate since I'm not a fan of elaborate traction plans. I prefer if it is the handle shape itself that provides grip.

    I might add that there is no dedicated laynyard hole. If one feels very optimistic there is a possibility to put a lanyard through the hollow screw at the back of the handle. But it has to be thin, so all you loyal 550-fans beware.

    Deployment and Lockup

    The flipper of this knife is rather small and unobtrusive. To speed up the Eagle the blade is running on bearings. The feeling is a soft one but not entirely without friction. It isn't as smooth as say my Kizers but the good thing is that it tend to save your fingertips. It doesn't transform into a guillotine when the lockbar is released. Despite the bearings this is not the fastest flipper I encountered. Mainly due to two things. One is the rather large blade and the mass that brings. And the other is detent related.

    [​IMG]
    A unobtrusive flipper that works fine but could need some traction
    The detent on this knife is rather weak for being a flipper. You can shake the blade out in open position with a wristflick if you want to. So far I haven't noticed any unintentional openings. But the detent could definitely be a little stronger.

    The knife makes a very special and most satisfying sound when opened. Since the frame is heavily drilled out and the sides are rather thin the handle acts a bit like an integral knife and forms a sound box. It enhances the sound from the lockbar and makes for a large "klack" with a faint echo effect when opening.

    [​IMG]
    The lockup is a bit late but solid
    In the deployed position the blade is held firmly by a rather thick linerlock. The lock is well made and there is no vertical or horisontal play detectable even when provoked rather harsh.

    The lockbar is not very stiff and it's therefore pleasantly nice to close the knife. Maybe a bit too easy even. If I were to suggest improvements a bit sturdier feeling in the lockbar would be one. I'm considering to take the knife apart and fix that part myself.

    The steel framelock means that there is no need for an insert and that the life expectancy should be good.

    To Carry

    First of all I would like to stress that this is one of the best non-custom steelclip I tested. It's good looking, small and discrete and mounted on the back screw of the handle. The seat of the clip is inlayed into the handlescale which means that it's fixed and doesn't move sideways at all. That solution also means that there is no screws for your pocket to get caught on.

    One small detail is less good. For the lefthanded should be noted that the clip can't be moved at all. If it's going to be used the knife is carried right side, tip up only, whether you like it or not.

    Otherwise the positioning, low profile and thin material makes it very comfortable when working with the knife. No risk for hotspots even during longer periods of cutting. The tip of the clip is also exemplary since it's not pointing outwards risking to scratch everything around you.

    [​IMG]
    One of my favourite clip as of now
    In pocket the knife is rather unobtrusive considering it's size. It is well retained due to good tension in the clip and the friction from the G10 scales. The knife also rides fairly low when carried. The knife is easy to access and put away. All and all not too bad in pocket which for me is a rather important property in a pocketknife since it's there they spend most of their time after all.

    For a knife with a steel frame and a blade of 3 3/4" the weight isn't a deterrent either. The Eagle weighs in at a bit over 4 oz.


    Final Thoughts

    My absolute first impression of this knife right out of the box was that it was lighter than expected. Sea Eagle is after all a rather big knife. The second impression was also positive - it felt very well balanced in hand.

    Upon closer examination it was obious that this is a very well built knife. Both fit and finish are splendid, especially price considered. So all in all Real Steel manage to live up to my expectations with this model.

    [​IMG]
    E771 paired with Endura 4 for size comparison
    Sea Eagle is according to me priceworthy and you get a lot for your hard earned money. A big knife with good F&F and decent materials such as a Sandvik steel. You also get a blade on bearings and your choice of G10 or Carbon Fiber for the scales.

    What you don't get with a knife from a relatively new Chinese brand is of course a feeling of exclusivity. If that's important to you. Sometimes these Chinese knives lacks a bit of "it" in absence of better words. They can simply put be a bit boring. But here you find at least an embryo of "personality" of sorts which I found refreshing.

    [​IMG]
    A solid buy for the money
    This is definitely a knife for the one who is searching for a rather large and sturdy flipperknife that doesn't cost you an arm or a leg equipped with a sound bladeshape and a decent steel. A worker that cuts well and that you don't have to baby.

    It's not a knife for the prestige seeking individual in search for new pocket jewelry. Or the one looking for a small descreet and :censored:friendly EDC to be used in office environments.

    But that aside it's a good knife - try it!


    Specifikation:

    Overall Length: 8.46", 213 mm
    Handle Length: mm
    Weight: 4.21 oz, 121 g
    Blade Length: 3.74", 95 mm
    Blade Thickness: 0.14 ", 3,5 mm
    Blade Steel: Sandvik 14C28N, 58-60HRC
    Handle Material: G10 on steel frame
    Lock: Linerlock, steel

    Produced by: Real Steel (SRM), made in China


    PS.
    I do have opinions about how the Chinese name their brands and what kind of fonts and logos they use in general but that is the subject of another text :)


    / John
     
    Last edited by aliaspostmortem, Nov 21, 2015
  2. james.lee

    james.lee Loaded Pockets

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    your reviews are the best
     
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  3. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

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    What is your compensation for providing this review?
     
  4. Pima Pants

    Pima Pants Loaded Pockets

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    Personally, I don't think it sounds like a compensated review. He was critical in enough areas that it doesn't sound like any sort of "sales pitch".
     
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  5. aliaspostmortem

    aliaspostmortem Loaded Pockets

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    Second time I got that question. Makes me think of course. Too positive I guess? Well, I can only review knifes that I own and most of them I bougt because I like them in one way or another. But, I can assure you that I have som pretty bad ones as well! :) My collection contains some "rotten eggs". I keep even bad knives since they often reminds me of periods in my life. I have written some 80 reviews in Swedish and not all of them are this positive I can assure you.

    I guess I choose some knives that are interesting to read about for my first reviews in English, "Sea Eagle", "Ultimate Hunter" and "Birk 75" - all knives that I like. But for fun I can review some of my really bad knives such as CRKT "Mirage" and "Ryan", Linton "Tigershark", Boker "Nano" or any other knife I regret buying! ;) Anyway more reviews are coming!

    / John - unfortenately not sponsored
     
  6. aliaspostmortem

    aliaspostmortem Loaded Pockets

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    Very kind words indeed! Thank you. More are coming!

    / John
     
  7. Adahn

    Adahn Loaded Pockets

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    Well, it's a nice review and I don't really know why someone would think it's contract work.
    So yeah, I like the knife and I guess there would be a chance I'd get on with carbon fiber, if they'd make it in a for me more edc friendly size, like a Mini Sea Eagle with a 3-3.25" blade. But maybe that's just me as I see that most nice knives are this size, maybe my glove size 8.5 tells something about it, too ;)
     
  8. dbkfrog

    dbkfrog Empty Pockets

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    Now that review was done very well. Thanks for the extensive information. I have the knife and really enjoy it. Just yesterday on the REAL STEEL facebook page, they indicated that they will have new scales available for the knife. They have new bright colors as well as carbon fiber. I wanted to buy the original knife with the carbon fiber scales but it was not available so I got the G10 version. Looks like now there is a chance to get what I original wanted.
     
  9. dischu

    dischu Loaded Pockets

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    Very nice review. I just found it. Thanks for posting!

    It took a very long time for me to decide between the elegant E771 "Sea Eagle" in satin and carbon fiber handles and the T101 "Thor" with stonewashed blade and black G10 handles which has a more tactical look. Finally I have chosen the "Thor". As I know the handles of the "Thor" are a more thick than the handles of the "Sea Eagle".

    [​IMG]

    The blade is almost identical. I love playing with the flipper. It´s my only knife with ball bearing.
    But I know ... somedays I need to have the "Sea Eagle" anyway ;)

    What I really like at the "Sea Eagle" is the screw on the back which holds the pocekt clip and is the lanyard hole. No additional holes or threads needed. Looks very elegant.
    But I´m surprised ... It´s not possible to change the pocket clip to the other side? I thought the clip was like a washer at the screw and it would be easy to change the side. It´s not? But because I´m a right hander this should not be my problem.

    Edit:
    I have just seen a YouTube review. The handle seens to be recessed for the pocket clip but only on one side, correct? So it´s true, not possible to change the sides.
     
    Last edited by dischu, Jun 1, 2016
  10. Arthur Leyenberger

    Arthur Leyenberger Empty Pockets

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    First of all, your English is fine. No one would ever know from reading your post that you wre not a native English speaker.

    re: the E771 - excellent review and I agree. The action is extremely smooth and the flipper opens very smartly. IT looks nice with the CF and has a nice design. Fairly sharp out of the box but not wickedly sharp. The only negative things I would add are it is relatively heavy and it looks a little bit cheap when compared to CF knives from the major brands like Zero Tolerance or Spyderco. Overall, however, I think it is an excellent value for the price - I think I paid about $58.00.
     
  11. Nick4305
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Nick4305 EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Great review !
     
  12. Arthur Leyenberger

    Arthur Leyenberger Empty Pockets

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    I just bought another E771 Sea Eagle as a backup and it has the same smooth action (opening and closing) as the first one I bought. Good to see that the first one wasn't a fluke.