Sunday, January 1, 2017

Review: Y-Start JIN02 folder with ball bearings and axis-lock

Happy New Year! :)
Slightly inspired by the Shirogorov F3 :)
- excellent fit and finish 
- pocket/EDC friendly size with very good ergonomics
- solid lock-up without any blade play
- smooth opening and closing thanks to the ball bearings
- dead centered blade with a nice satin finish
- chamfered and skeletonized steel liners for weight reduction

- the edge of the holes in the G10 around the axis-lock and the lanyard hole should have been rounded a bit (nothing serious, 5 minute work with a piece of sand paper)
- they could have used the thumb studs as stop pins (it doesn't hurt either)

Blade length: 3.35" (85 mm)
Blade thickness: 0.118" (3 mm)
Blade steel: D2 (59-60 HRC)
Open length: 7.87" (200 mm)
Closed length: 4.53" (115 mm)
Handle thickness: 0.65" (16.6 mm)
Weight: 4.48 oz (127 g) 
Handle: G10 with skeletonized steel liners 
Lock: axis-lock 
Carry: right hand tip up

 You can buy the Y-Start JIN02 folder in 4 colors at GearBest: ***HERE***
and at Fasttech:
***HERE*** (tan)
***HERE*** (black)
***HERE*** (orange)
***HERE*** (green) 

Probably it's the cheapest decent quality folder with
 ball bearings on the market at the moment:
Decent pocket clip and chamfered liners:
Perfectly centered blade:
Compared to the Spyderco Tenacious, the Ontario RAT2
 and the Spyderco Ambitious:
You can buy these folders on Aliexpress: 
Spyderco Tenacious OEM/copy: ***HERE***
Ontario RAT2 copy: ***HERE***
Spyderco Ambitious OEM/copy: ***HERE*** or ***HERE***

More pics:


  1. I love this knife - so far I've only been purchasing Ganzos and sanrenmu, but this blows all of them away.

    I found the steel used for the screws to be super soft, and it looks like I need to take apart the whole knife to remove the standoffs for the pocket clip.

    Has anyone taken theirs fully apart yet?

    1. Have a look at my post. I've attached a new pic for you! :)

      You should try to heat up the screws for the pocket clip standoffs a bit first. I couldn't remove them on mine because they were so tight and the soft screw heads didn't help either.
      Fortunately I had no problems with the rest of the screws.

    2. What's the problem with those standoffs, does it feel bulky with them?
      And if you remove them, don't you have to shorten the screws?

    3. I like design of the pocket clip, it's convenient to use.
      I've just finished fine tuning mine:
      - smoothing / rounding the G10 scales with sand paper especially around the axis-lock and the lanyard hole;
      - polishing / oiling the pivot area on the blade and the bearings;
      - giving a pocket clip a slight mat hand rubbed satin finish.

      Now it's absolutely stunning! The blade freely falls back after releasing the lock.

    4. I also don't really like those polished clips, they tend to look like chromed and rather cheap. When they are sanded and mirror polished to an absolute flat surface with perfect angles that's better but still a fingerprint magnet.
      I like to sand and polish blades and give it a quick etch (10 mins) in ferric chloride before stonewashing it. This way you can get the frosted look that you know from stonewashing (I don't really like the very dark etching, there's always black residue when you clean the knife).
      A nice satin finish with a 1500 grit scotchpad is very nice, too, I prefer to clamp the item to get straight lines.
      On ball bearings I like to use grease when it's a rather closed system like on the TiLock, otherwise oil is better as it doesn't collect so much dust.
      My favourite bearings are the needle bearings on the Real Steel Griffin, so smooth and I don't have to worry about race tracks...

  2. I bought a couple Y-Start JIN01 liner lock knives on FastTech. The blade is D2, the ergonomics are excellent, the price is under $20 delivered. There no pocket clip. I have taken both of mine apart and there was no issue with screw quality. I polished the pivots and bushings to save time on break in and I used blue medium thread locker on the screws. My Y-Start JIN02 is on the way and it looks good in the pictures.

    1. I also have the JIN01 in blue/black. That's an excellent folder for sure! I usually take apart every new folder for fine tuning but not the JIN01. It was very smooth out of the box. Its liner lock is so solid you could call it as a frame-lock without the G10 scales. :)

  3. Excellent knife.
    Very similar to the Jiaheng JH04 (Shark).
    Great fit and finish and bearings combined with axis lock is a dream combo.

    1. I like the blade shape and the deep carry pocket clip of the JH04 too.
      I saw the JIN02 branded as Jiaheng on Ali for ~$25.

  4. I bought one myself a couple of weeks ago, very elegant, superbly smooth knife, but I share some of your cons, namely the sharp edges of the G10 scales and the smoothness of the screws - actually, one of the clip screw heads stripped on me during disassembly and I was just happy to be able to put everything back together nicely after polishing and and lubricating the pivot area.

    Highly recommended knife, superb value for the price.

    Just an aside, Isti, any ideas about when chinese clones might surface of the new Spyderco Para 3 and/or the Efficient? And is it worth buying from the first batches of new clones?

    1. Smoothing the G10 scales and lubricating the pivot make a difference for sure!

      I haven't seen the new Para 3 and Efficient on Ali yet. If I stumble upon them I'll make a post with links.

  5. What do you guys think about this?

    The LAND 910 (plus) was a big thing some years ago. $22 is a big number in today's PRC knife market. I must admit I like a the mirror polish and I generally like 12C27 and I imagine to make some cf scales for it to bring down the weight of the already skeletonized construction.
    Just as if I wouldn't have enough projects laying around, maybe better just ignore this post :P

    1. If it's the same as the SRM 9010LUC-GH then it comes with bearings so the price isn't that bad! :)
      You should have a look at the following videos. I'm sure your German is better than mine! :))

    2. I'd like to see it on gearbest of fasttech :)
      Nice video, thank you, I especially like the guy always saying Sanremnu (sic!) ;)

    3. Got a $10 coupon at dhgate so I couldn't say no to the SRM Land 910+ for $11.smth
      Now have to wait and see ;)

  6. "Details:

    D2 stainless steel blade..."
    They joke, don't they???;-)))

    1. Probably, if you mean that D2 is a semi stainless steel. :)
      Without a metal analyser it'd be quite difficult to figure out what steel it is. It might be the usual 9Cr18MoV.

    2. I somehow like it more when it's branded as Jiaheng.
      Y-Start always makes me think, Why not? Or is that knife so bad that I shouldn't even try? :P
      The reviews seem to be very good about the steel though and D2 is not such an expensive super steel when it's not a powder steel.

    3. Agree. I.wonder why they don't mention the true type of the steel they use. And I ask myself whether or not it's a.wise decision to buy sth of questionable quality.

    4. The steel has been tested in the JIN-02 and has been shown to be 8CR13MOV or an analog

  7. I have had this knife for a while now, and it works great.
    The steel is NOT D2, but thats 'better' since it's stainless, probably 8cr19mov.
    Seems softer then Ganzo 440C but not by much (so probably better then 8cr13 or 7cr17)
    Easy to sharpen and strop (so again - not D2)

  8. Thank you so much for such a well-written article. It’s full of insightful information. Your point of view is the best among many without fail.For certain, It is one of the best blogs in my opinion. precision bearings