The Maxpedition Excelsa is the second knife from the company, the first being the Ferrox. The design closely resembles their previous offering but sees a significant upgrade in materials and construction. While considerably more expensive, the Excelsa is still aggressively competitive for a titanium frame-lock. Coming in below $130, it has features found on knives over double the price, including an over-travel stop and tool-steel blade. The Excelsa comes in two sizes. The small version is 6.7” in total length with a 2.9” blade and weighing 2.9 oz while the larger is 8.3” in with a 3.6” blade and weight of 5.1 oz.
The pattern is a straight forward drop point. This is commonly used on sport and utility knives for its well rounded performance in both slicing and penetrating cuts. It is also easy to maintain with a bellied profile which lacks any kind of re-curve or otherwise unusual geometry. A full flat grind with a secondary bevel produces a keen working edge. A choil will make sharpening to the end of the edge possible. The spine is capped adding nice detailing and there is a jimped thumb ramp for added control. The jimping here isn’t overly aggressive which should support extended use with some additional feedback. The steel used is D2, hardened between 58-60 Rockwell.
Unusually, there are no markings on the blade denoting the materials or manufacturer. While I like this clean aesthetic, it would be helpful to have the steel type embossed on the ricasso to let the user know how to care for the blade. This is especially true since the steel used is a semi-stainless that will require some maintenance. If you were the second owner of the knife and didn’t have or read the documentation it may be neglected.
For deployment there is a tiered thumb-stud with an angled face. Set a good distance away from the scale’s inner edge, producing the blade is easy with one hand. This is helped along by good tolerances and phosphor bronze washers. On opening the tang meets a solid, titanium frame-lock. On the review samples provided, both were play free in any direction and easily disengaged. In order to protect the spring integrity Maxpedition has added a small tab on the inner surface to prevent over-travel when unlocking. While there are several variations of this type of mechanism, Maxpedition is in the process of patenting theirs, asserting differences in the implementation.
The handle of the Excelsa has a simple two slab open build with a minimal amount of fasteners: three including the pivot. The inner edge has a first finger groove and another convex sweep that helps to lock the hand in place. The back edge is primarily straight with a slight turn down at the pommel that nests in the hand or serves as a thumb rest in a reverse grip. The titanium and hardware have been given a matching matte, bead blast finish. The ergonomics are simple but comfortable. Unlike the blade without any markings, the locking leaf has Maxpedition laser etched on the surface. The branding here is a little too bold for my taste and I feel the logo could definitely be dialed back a bit to uphold the sober aesthetic.
For carry there is a lanyard hole and right handed, tip up or down pocket clip. Including the single thumb-stud and frame-lock this adds up to be a right handed knife only.
Over all the Excelsa is an interesting design. While I understand and very much appreciate minimal design this may border on sterile which isn’t for everyone. It could have been nice to add a little something to make it more personable – that wasn’t a large Maxpedition logo. Maybe some added texture or subtle anodized details? Possibly a greater departure from the Ferrox design could have expanded the design vocabulary of the line-up? Outside of design taste my only real issue with this knife is the lack of marking for the steel type.
Criticisms aside Maxpedition has done an excellent job with the utility as well as the pricing. You would be hard pressed to find another folder that can boast the features, materials, fit and finish at this price point.
Overall Length: 6.7″
Weight: 2.7 oz
Steel : D2
Hardness : 58-60 HRC
Slab and lock thickness: 0.12″
Overall Length: 8.3″
Weight: 5.1 oz
Steel : D2
Hardness : 58-60 HRC
Slab and lock thickness: 0.15″
Made In Taiwan