TL;DR: At $33 to $55, the CJRB Ria isn’t enough knife for the price. For such a thin, high grind, its sharpness is mediocre. Its edge dulls too quickly. The presentation is boring. The lock’s fitment is poor. Its construction shoots past minimalism and lands on inadequacy.
Table of Contents
- Blade Specs
- Additional Specs
- CJRB Ria Review
- Sharpness and Edge Retention Tests
- CJRB Ria: Final Thoughts
- Cutting Edge: 2.78″
- Blade Width: 0.74″
- Blade Length: 2.94″
- Edge Thickness: 0.016″
- Spine Thickness: 0.09″
- Blade Shape: Drop Point
- Blade Steel: Sandvik 12C27, Satin
- Edge Grind: Full Flat Grind
- Scales: G10/Micarta (reviewed), Carbon Fiber
- Handle Length: 3.80″
- Overall Length: 6.78″
- Overall Width, Folded: 0.86″
- Handle Width: 0.66″
- Handle Thickness: 0.44″
- Weight: 2.12 Oz.
- Lock: Liner
- Opener: Flipper w/ Thumb Stud
- Clip: Polished Stainless (Not Ambidextrous)
- Country of Origin: China
- Model: J1917
CJRB Ria Review
I’m going to come right out and say it: The Ria’s glowing reviews are not deserved. At least, not if those folks got a knife substantially similar to the example I’m reviewing.
What do I mean, exactly?
Machining a piece of flat-ground steel and Micarta isn’t hard to do, even if the manufacturer’s cheap. So it’s disappointing that with my expectations set low (we are talking about a knife that costs only $33) the Ria still manages to come up short.
Perhaps the folks buying this knife are casual blade owners. They don’t hold a keen interest in what makes a quality knife, and they’re happy with a basic piece of folding metal that’s kind of sharp.
But if this is the thought process that might lead you to buy the “cheap” CJRB, I encourage you consider other knives that are priced the same. They’re probably better investments.
The CJRB’s Micarta Handle
Pocket knives like this are meant to be thin, inconspicuous, and dainty. But this knife takes it too far. It’s wimpy. The handle feels flimsy, and it’s not very comfortable. Because of how thin each scale is, the knife wants to rotate in your hand if you put the blade under any kind of pressure.
There are no finger grooves or jimping to speak of. Coupled with how small the handle is, the grip is poor. CJRB could’ve done some simple machining to make the grip better: A subtle finger groove behind the bearing, or just some basic teeth cut into the back of the handle for your thumb.
This top-down shot of the frame gives a clearer picture of how inadequate the handle is. I’ve never seen Micarta or G10 scales this thin on any knife, even a penknife. The edges are at least machined well enough to prevent any hot spots, and the inner frame is ground smoothly and polished.
I give CJRB credit for at least getting creative with a small lanyard loop. Although it’s tiny, the frame stud at the rear doubles as an eyelet for a Paracord or string lanyard.
If you spy the inside of the frame, you’ll see it’s skeletonized with holes punched through each side. I’m not sure why CJRB did this; the added weight and strength would’ve been a benefit, and it’s one less step in the machining process.
The CJRB Ria’s Blade
The Ria’s blade isn’t anything special. It’s a painfully thin, full flat grind with a basic brushed finish. Its shape barely qualifies as a drop point. The spine measures less than 0.1″ thick, and the cutting edge is only 0.016″.
That’s about the bear minimum edge thickness you’d want on any EDC knife. In fact, an edge this thin is usually found on filet knifes.
Those knives’ alloys have lots of carbides and higher hardness, so their thin edges last longer. That’s not the case here, which we’ll see later in our sharpness and edge retention tests.
The 12C27 steel this blade’s made from can’t hold a fine edge with a thin grind like this, unless the heat treat is perfect. As shown in our knife steel comparisons, 12C27 is a soft, mild steel.
It has just 0.6″ Carbon, 13.5% Chromium (which barely qualifies it as stainless), and it has few other carbides to help with performance: Just a bit of Manganese and Silicon (0.4% each).
Basically, this steel is better suited when it’s used to forge a chopper or camp knife with a wide grind. It’s meant to take abuse when fashioned into a thick blade that’s less concerned with sharpness, and more concerned with resiliency and withstanding chipped edges. It isn’t intended to be ground with a fine, delicate edge. But that’s precisely what we find here.
The CJRB Ria’s Action
I have yet more qualms with this knife when it comes flipping, folding, and fidgeting. The blade opens and closes relatively smoothly, so props there. But the thumb stud is too close to the top of the handle.
The lock cut-out in the handle is also too small for your fingertip. The Micarta’s machined pretty poorly, too. You can see it for yourself in the photo above. One positive: The Torx bolt holding the bearings in place is fitted into the scales well.
The Ria’s Liner Lock
Look at the fitment on this lock when the blade’s opened. Disgusting. I don’t know why or how CJRB machined such wonky shapes into the tang and lock tip. But there is about 0.5mm (or less) of contact between the lock and blade.
This tiny point of contact’s bound to wear quickly, so you’ll wind up with lock wobble and a loose blade.
The Ria’s Belt Clip
The Ria’s belt clip is the only redeeming facet on this knife. It’s sturdy, with excellent retention and spring. Its polished and looks nice. The double Torx screws make sure it stays put and doesn’t come loose after many retrievals.
Ironically, the clip provides a bit of traction for your palm or fingers — depending on whether you’re left- or right-handed, since it’s not ambidextrous.
Normally I don’t like to feel the clip digging into my hand on any knife’s handle. But this handle’s so small and smooth, and the clip’s edges are relatively comfortable, so I welcome the extra purchase.
Sharpness and Edge Retention Tests
Spoilers: There is no redemption, here. I tested the Ria’s sharpness out of the box and expected it to do well since it’s ground so thin and flat. But that wasn’t the case.
It averaged 196g on my Edge-On-Up Sharpness Tester. Although this is considered sharp, it’s nowhere near what a thin grind like this can accomplish. Without hesitation, I threw the CJRB in my test rig and went to work dulling the blade on my trusty piece of expensive, exotic, ultra-hard ironwood.
I made 100 back-and-forth passes with 5 pounds of weight applied to the blade, just like how I test every other knife in our reviews. The edge started to gum up pretty quickly. It didn’t make much of a dent in the wood. So, I was expecting some pretty mediocre results.
I wasn’t wrong. After the test, the CJRB averaged 283g on the Sharpness Tester. That means it only retained 69% of its sharpness. Here’s how it stacks up against all the other tested knives:
|Knife / Model||Factory Sharpness||Sharpness After Test||Edge Retention|
|Spyderco Para 3||120||265||45%|
|Benchmade 940 EDC||175||290||60%|
|SOG TWI8-CP Twitch II||125||200||63%|
|S&W Extreme Ops SWA24S||165||260||63%|
|Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter||145||220||66%|
|Ontario Knife OKC Rat II SP||185||270||69%|
|Opinel No. 12||280||370||73%|
|Zero Tolerance 0450CF||240||290||83%|
|KA-BAR Dozier Folder||275||325||85%|
|Cold Steel AD-10||185||205||90%|
|Cold Steel Recon 1 Tanto||177||215||82%|
|Kershaw Link CPM 20CV||232||262||89%|
|CJRB Ria Folder (12C27)||196||283||69%|
|Gerber Paraframe 1 (ATS-314)||186||220||85%|
On out-of-the-box sharpness, the CJRB Ria ranks 11th out of 18 knives. On edge retention, it ranks 12th out of 18. It’s in the bottom half, but that’s not exactly terrible.
Even still, the Buck 110 (which is made from even softer steel and can be found for about $37), ranks far higher on factory sharpness. The CJRB Feldspar (which can also be found in the $30 range) blows the Ria out of the water on edge retention.
Knives with a full flat grind and an edge and spine this thin should be super sharp. Most sushi and filet knives are ground this thin, and they often have a sharpness rating of 125g to 150g. They’re also made from steel with higher hardness and more carbides. It just doesn’t make much sense to grind a soft blade this thin.
A knife typically doesn’t need to be sharpened until it hits 300 grams or more. Having finished at 283 grams, the CJRB Ria doesn’t fail the edge retention test. But it passes only by a small margin.
CJRB Ria: Final Thoughts
Is the CJRB Ria a bad knife? No. It’s just mediocre, and performs worse than it should. The Ria’s incredibly plain, small, and boring, and its liner lock’s fitment is inexcusably poor. I’d be more forgiving if it performed better on sharpness and edge retention.
You might think I’m being harsh on a knife that only costs $33. But the knife market’s gotten competitive. Other makers produce higher-quality blades and handles that cost nearly the same.
If I wanted another small pocket knife at this price, I’d go with the Cryo from Kershaw, the CJRB Feldspar, or the miniature version of the CIVIVI Praxis. I reviewed the full-size Praxis. It did well. The Cryo, Feldspar, and mini Praxis all fall in the $30 range. They have higher-quality steel, nicer handles, better grip and cleaner machining, and they just look better.