Benchmade 790 Lerch Subrosa Nitrous Folder

Reviewed by corwin99 on July 6th, 2012

Benchmade does another great job with their first Titanium Nitrous Assisted Monolocking folder. the Benchmade Subrosa designed by Matthew Lerch. This is a hefty knife, with a 3.76″ CPM-S30V Stainless Steel recurved blade and looks good.

This one was acquired on trade and I am the second owner. The blade was new and unused when I acquired it, and so the review should reflect the same as a new one would. I inspected the blade to make sure that it was unsharpened and it appears to be unused. It is typical Benchmade sharp out of the box, which isn’t super sharp, but very acceptable.

The Stonewashed S30V blade as mentioned above is decently sharp, and slices paper just fine. This particlar specimen is one of the First Production Run pieces, numbered 737 of 1000. The blade profile is a modified droppoint with a slight recurve. The blade measures 3 3/4″, which is a fair size. It is a sleeker shape of blade and because of that rides fairly light in the hand. I really would have liked this blade to have a trigger on it to activate the Nitrous assisted opener, as I’ve always been a firm believer that assisted openers should have a trigger.

Handle and Lock
The titanium monolock handle is bead-blasted, with some drilled out circles and machined accent lines. It reminds me a bit of the Benchmade Skirmish in the way the handle is decorated. I found the handle a bit blah on this one, not really exciting, but not terrible. I’m almost feeling like they should have either got more creative with it or just left it plain. It almost has this in-between unfinished look to it like someone started to design it and never finished, but to each his own. Many people love this knife and that’s good for them.

The monolock is basically Benchmade’s version of the framelock. Its locks well, but there is an odd thing about this one in that the lock face engages very high up near the pivot on this model and actually interferes with how I hold the knife. I actually would worry about hard-using this knife since the lock bar face is very exposed due to the location.

Fit and Finish
Very good fit and finish, as most Benchmades are. The Nitrous system is done really well and activates smoothly and predictably and aside from the lack of a trigger mentioned above, its really nicely done. The bead blast handle finish is as good as any other out there, and the combination Stonewash/Satin finish that Benchmade does for most of their blade is as good as always. I must say I love how the stonewashed blades from Benchmade have that smooth touch to them.

Overall the Lerch Subrosa is a good knife, but with the odd location of the monolock frame lock it really puts me off wanting to use it. The lack of a trigger makes it a subpar assisted folder also. These two major flaws are a deal breaker for me and this one is going back out on the trading block. If the lock position could be improved along with a trigger added to the blade, I think this one could be a totally different knife with a lot of potential.

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