Only oil company representatives would deny that crude-oil producers have intentionally gouged consumers to line their own pockets in recent years. The flaw in that shortsighted strategy of licentious avarice is that it has driven Americans to buy less fuel (and state and federal governments to raise fuel taxes) just as we did in response to the gas “shortages” of the early 1970s and that, in turn, has created millions of buyers for high-mileage motorcycles. To Americans, the motorcycle represents freedom and independence, as well as a thumb in the eye of those who would restrict those rights. So the countries of OPEC shouldn’t be too surprised at the multitude of Yankees who’ve left the motorhome in storage and opted to take their vacations on two wheels in recent years.
Benchmade’s new Harley-Davidson-licensed Mini-Hardtail folder embodies the fierce love of liberty and work-hardened muscle that has always been symbolized by that company’s powerful all-American road hawgs. Made in the USA by one of this nation’s premier knifemakers, the classic bearclaw-style Mini-Hardtail is an attractive blend of toughness, strength, and good looks at a price that every road warrior can afford.
Because the Mini-Hardtail has to live up to the reputation and standards of two highly respected American companies, this knife is as functional as it is handsome. Its satin-finish, 3.25-inch blade of D2 Premium tool steel is air-hardened to a razor-edged 59-61 HRc, and is shaving sharp right out of the box. Renowned for keeping its edge, D2 stays sharp through tough chores that would dull most steels, and this .113-inch thick modified clip-point profile is well suited to everything from cutting steak and whittling to drilling a hole in your leather belt and trimming your chaps. An etched bar-and-shield Harley logo on one side, with Benchmade’s logo on the opposite, marks this knife as not only a quality working blade, but a collectible as well.
The action of the Mini-Hardtail has Benchmade’s trademark silky smoothness. The blade snaps closed securely with a pleasant, positive “click,” and it takes only a gentle push against its ambidextrous thumb stud to quickly snap the blade into battery. Opened, the blade is held in that position by the brute strength of Benchmade’s patented AXIS locking system and the rigidity of a pair of 420J stainless steel liners. A pull rearward on the ambidextrous lock release, a flick of the wrist, and the blade returns to its closed position.
Adding to the strength and ruggedness of the Mini-Har