Multitools have been around long before the Swiss Army or even Leatherman started making them a household name. The Swiss Variant is among the most popular and copied design in the world today. There are a lot of newcomers to the multitool world; some are making waves and trying to get noticed. Ruike Knives (pronounced Rake) is one of those companies out there making a name for themselves. Producing amazing knives and tools with quality that will turn heads.
The multitool I am covering today, is chock full of utilities and it's called the L41. This tool is similar to the Swiss style in the sense that is features tools that ride off a back spring system like traditional pocket knives. All of your tools are folded down into the tool and are removed via nail nicks. Tools are held in the open position by the same spring that keeps them in the close position.
The L41 is much longer than a traditional Swiss pocket tools and featuring a hefty main blade made from 12C27 stainless steel. Snapping open this blade gives you a sense that you can put this blade to task and know it's going to perform well. The blade, made from a thicker stock than most knives of this style and helps add to that robust feeling.
Just behind the blade, we have the pliers and scissors. Pliers are similar to Swiss style and are good for smaller diameter items. Although small, I felt it worked well for most situations and the small bypass cutters worked well for non braided soft metal. The scissors are real precise, cutting paper and fabric such as denim quite well. Some thicker materials had to be places towards the rear of the scissors to effectively cut the material in one snip. Both tools ride off a lever that uses the tools spring to return the open position.
Next in line, we have the bottle opener and a rescue cutter. The bottle opener works well and is good for flat head screws as well as popping the top of a cold one. Tucked at the base of the tool, is a couple holes used for bending electrical wires. Electricians and DYI'ers could use this often and it's nice to see it done differently than the notch other companies use. The rescue cutter is a strange little tool, which features a cutting edge that is scalloped and it's quite sharp. I could see this coming in handy when you need to cut a strap like a seatbelt or maybe a fibrous material like rope. On the end of the cutter is a nub which to me looks like the end of a can opener on a Victorinox can opener. It does seem to work as an impromptu phillips but I don't recommend this. Due to the strange position that the tool locks in you would run a risk of losing a finger when trying to use it to drive a Phillips screw..
What I love most about this tool is what's hidden under all the other tools I've mentioned. Pull up the pliers and scissors and there are two more tools. They're hard to pull out because you have to remove other tools to get to them, but well worth the extra work. What we have is a dedicated inline phillips driver and reamer/awl. Tools similar to this style are often on the underside of the tool and seem like an afterthought. Putting both these tools into an inline position allow improved torque for driving screws and removing material with the awl. The phillips is a 3D style and provides plenty of grip for most #1 and #2 style phillips. Being inline allows the driver to be used similar to a standard screwdriver. The awl is among the most aggressive ones I've seen. It's point is enough to accidentally draw blood and is fine enough to pick out splinters. It bores holes in wood well and features an eye for working thread. Underneath the awl is a wire stripper and a spoke wrench.
There's only one tool on the underside of the L41 and that's a corkscrew. This tool would probably work well opening a bottle of wine but I don't drink wine and was unable to test it out. The corkscrew is a tighter coil than that of the competition and I was disappointed I couldn't stow a Victorinox eyeglass screwdriver in it for increased functionality.
Not considered tools, but nice to have in case of emergencies are two more items on the end of the L41. The tool features a carbide glass breaker that could come in handy if you find yourself a need for one. Carbide window breakers seems to be a common thing in the industry and they even add them to some pocket knives. I don't see most folks needing this but it's nice to go with the belt cutter on this tool. Next to the breaker is a pair of stainless tweezers. Most tweezers for tools of this style are short and not very good at their intended purpose. These are twice as long as the competition and the thicker steel allows for a stronger grip on small items.
Now all these features are quite useful and because of the length could make for what seems like a boat anchor in your pocket. Luckily the folks at Ruike saw fit to install a deep pocket clip on this tool. The clip works well, and keeps the tool accessible and ready for it to be put to work. My only complaint is not the clip itself but the material that the clip is attached to. This tool has a semi aggressive G10, coupled with clip causes some abrasion to my pocket. As time goes on I see it eating some pockets; this is however no different than some tactical knives on the market.
The Ruike L41 is an amazing piece of kit and could find a home in many folks emergency or everyday tool kits. They have done a great job taking a classic design and improving on it and I look forward to what else they have up their sleeve for future products.