Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley: the Beauty + the Beast

The Beauty:
“The “hump” in the blade is there to house the opening hole. If Gayle submerged the hole, you couldn’t access it without a large cut-out and Gayle designed it with no cut-out.” (Sal Glesser)
Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley
I have ordered last week to a Canadian seller on Ebay (great service from The Great Knife Shop BTW, 7 days door to door from Canada to France!) the C134 which I was inamored with since I ever saw it on the Spyderco catalog.
It was love at first sight.

Three Amigos:
AFCK M2 STARMATE GAYLE BRADLEY
Top is a BM800HS the infamous AFCK in M2. The first “tactical knife” with non stainless steel blade to caught my eye 12 years ago… It was like a space age design with grand dad blade knife !
And also my good old Starmate (#776) which has been in Hell and back and is still as solid as ever (thanks to his eccentric pivot adjustment)…

The GB is simply the smoothest out of the box. The other experience of Spydersmoothness was from my C123 Captain followed by my Paramilitary…
The fit and finish are top notch. This is a custom knife experience: elegant and hightech. Really the Taiwanese craftmen behind such a jewel are true gems and they honor Spyderco by their attention to details and their quality of production. They are jewellers !
Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley
Sal stated that this liner lock would be as solid as a Reeve Integral Lock. (quote: “The lock is .072 thick at the interface. I would guess it’s at least as strong as any Reeve Intergral Lock (frame-lock)we’ve tested, and probably stronger. “) I believe him ! The thin blade, the gentle belly, and the deep hollow ground give a unique “pocket lightsaber” experience. You can whittle some hairs !!! And that incredible CPM M4 High Speed Steel at a RC of 65 ! This is going to be fun !!!
Gayle Bradley is to the knifemaking what Ferrari is to Formula One: performance oriented. The very nice and grippy CF handle give a real motorsport feeling. Mr Bradley is really welcom in Sal Escuderia, as we know how much Mr Glesser is in love with high performance cars ! (Eeven the “Spyder” from Spyderco comes from that love of racing and performances!)

The handle is square and heavy but I love heavy butt knives and square handles. My everlasting love for the Sharpfinger pattern always reflected that.
The balance is perfectly centered under the middle finger. The knife feel very alive and agile in the hands. It screams to be used hard !
Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley
I also love how the choil is integrated to the handle. It’s almost invisible. The grip is really secure and I don’t have any concern about the blade to close on my finger or to have my hand slip on the edge even with wet hands.

Sukhoi27 comparaison
Mostly Spydies got a an angle at the pivot which creates an arc like in the Millie, the UKPK…or the Benchmade AFCK…
Or are more straight like the Starmate, the Police…
The heart of the Gayle Bradley (where you hold it between the thumb and the index)got a very pronounced changing of direction which breaks the general line of the knife. (The Marlin, the Harpy got that too but it’s an angle necessary to start the sickle blade shape.) The GB is the first Spyderco which got that “crank” line which can be also seen in the beautiful Sukhoi 27 profile.
This could explain the fantastic ergos of that knife.

Also as in the Starmate concept, the straight design of Gayle Bradley’s knife offers you a very confortable reverse grip or “edge up” grip. I’m also a big fan of drop point blade on a folder. This one would a great hunter knife.
Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley
The Ti Millie may be my Spydergrail but the Gayle Bradley is my Dream EDC !
The C134 is a beast of a workhorse dress like a gentleman slipjoint. Another little big knife by Spyderco with elegance and reliability.
Oh, and I can open and close that knife with my right and my left hand with ease: there is areason why you can change the clip position after all !

cheers
Nemo

Now a quote for the designer:

First of all, thank you for your interest in my Spyderco collaboration. I thought I would address some questions I have read on the forums.

I chose a hollow grind because it gives you a thinner edge with less resistance to the material being cut.
The blade material (CPM M4) is so tough and strong it will allow for a very thin edge and still have ample strength for a rough use knife. (My competition knives have an edge thickness of about .014 before the sharpening bevel is ground.)
The blade has belly from tip to ricasso for better cutting ability in most cases.
The tip is slightly thicker for additional strength.
The handle is large enough to accomodate any hand size and most types of grips.
Some dimensions not covered in the spec sheet are: liners are .068; blade is .120; thickness is .517.
Because of the size of the knife and thickness of the liner material, I chose carbon fiber to reduce weight and add furher strength.
One last thing about CMP M4, it is not stainless, but I have found that applying silicone to the blade will prevent most corrosion and stains.

Thank you for your interest in my work-horse design and your trust in Spyderco knives.

Stay sharp,
Gayle Bradley

Here are all the information about C134 on the Spyderco catalog
Gayle designed it to be a monster cutter but it has some subtle refinement that appeals to everyone. (Joyce Laituri – Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Spyderco Inc.)
For Gayle Bradley’s Bladesports site it’s here
Quote:
Speaking of Gayle Bradley, Congratulations on his new collaboration with Spyderco. We’ve been using CPM M4 for our cutting competition knifes, and here is a chance to have a taste of that steel for everyday use. We’d like to Thank Spyderco for their generous support of our organization.

UPDATE 18 months later:
the GB is one of those knives which never left my EDC rotation.
After one year I can state that:

– this is one of the easiest knife to close and to open fast. the access to the lock has never been an issue to me and really I close it fast with confidence.

– I was not able to have rust or a real patina despite using it in the kitchen on near the see. I got some sort of grey patina but nor more no less.

-The not so pronounced choil has never been and issue and never my hand was not at least “anchored” to the handle even when wet. The hump of the spyderhole prevented any slippery.

-CPM M4 is a wonderful steel, I was even able to eliminated a nasty edge burr on a bidet !!! 🙂 (an italian bathroom is plenty of ceramic !!!!)

– My first batch GB is heavier than the new but this heft was usefull when I was probing a wall.

– I was not able to scratch anything on the handle, but the blade while cleaning it with some dry scotchbrit. No big deal.

– CPM M4 is really strobing friendly. Some compound can make magic. Mine is kept razor…

The GB goes in my pocket when I need a hardchore workhorse I can trust for any chores. The thin hollow ground blade has proven to be really usefull even for some bushcraft duty where FFG are queen.
Really this one of the fastest folder to open (spyderdrop in my case, smooth and controled) and close even with gloves. (I really still do not understand the rent and rave about the recess liner accessibility…).

Those were my two eurocents. Your mileage may vary but this is mine.

Cheers
Nemo

Pictures taken in june 2011:
Gayle Bradley, Shabaria, Le Pointu, carbon fiber
Gayle Bradley, Shabaria, Le Pointu, carbon fiber
Gayle Bradley, Shabaria, Le Pointu, carbon fiber
Gayle Bradley, Shabaria, Le Pointu, carbon fiber
Cpm M4 blade and sausage

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11 Comments on “Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley: the Beauty + the Beast

  1. Nice review Nemo, beautifull knife, really helpfull thoughts – keep it up. Just curious if you are going to publish your older reviews (like from geocities or from spyderco forums – for example lil´temp, demistification of balisongs etc. with pictures – there are no pictures on the forums unfortunately). And have you ever handled spyderco salsa? What is your opinion on that knife? Hope you´ll answer at least one of those questions after you´ll return from one of your journeys with your sharp friends :-). Have a nice day.

    Like

    • Hello Pavel ! 🙂
      thank you for the nice words !
      About the old Geocities reviews ? Yes I was thinking to bring them back on this little blog with the old pictures.
      I got them all backed up. Since geocities was bought by yahoo, none of my passwords were working anymore and they were not able to send them back to me.
      Yes, I have handled a Spyderco blue Salsa. Long time ago… Great cutter, beefy full flat ground blade, Cobra hood, nice ergos another little big knife with the first wire clip ever ! They are collectors now.

      cheers
      Nemo

      Like

      • Thanks for such a fast reply :-O … well I have opportunity to buy cranberry PE salsa – new and I´m thinking if it´s worthy – something around 60 euros – I´m not collector I´m user 😀

        Please don´t hesitate and put old reviews back 😀

        take care, Pavel

        Like

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  6. I like your website and your description, your reviews and your tests, i wanted to let you know i appreciate that! Oh i noticed you put beadblasted instead of stonewashed on the techno. Small detail but bead blasting is cheap, stonewashing is labor intensive and expensive 😀

    Like

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