Ball Bearing Lock - Locking Systems

Ball Bearing Lock Info


The Ball Bearing® lock is a Spyderco Patented lock which was released around 2002, and introduced on the Spyderco Dodo knife which was designed by Eric Glesser. The Ball Bearing lock was one of the many locks that were released based on the funtionality of the Benchmade Axis lock.

Like the Axis lock, the ball bearing lock wedges itself between the tang of the knife and part of the knife handle, the difference being that the ball bearing lock requires a partial backspacer to hold the lock whereas the Axis Lock is a bar that requires liners.

In use, the Ball Bearing lock is not as slick and smoooth as the Axis lock. It is even more difficult to close one-handed and to me does not feel as strong, though this is not necessarily the case. The ball is sometimes too slick to move with your fingers as it is pretty deep, while the Pikal-style Ball Bearing lock is not as smooth and still difficult to move even with the textured plastic grip.

Two Types of Ball Bearing Lock

I mentioned that there were two types of Ball Bearing lock from Spyderco. They are essentially the same, but with slightly different implementation.

The original ball bearing lock, which was introduced on the Dodo is the most common. It's appearance is that of a pea-sized ball within the handle that moves as you open and close the knife. The second kind, is used on the Pikal. It still uses a ball bearing, but smaller in diameter, and has a plastic textured grip that surrounds the ball and protrudes from the side of the handle to allow easier disengaging of the lock. My only guess as to why this second type of lock was used is because the design of the Pikal does not allow for a large enough ball bearing that you can disengage without the textured plastic addition. The spring loaded pusher of the lock on the Pikal is also plastic, which may make the lock slightly less reliable.

Ball Bearing Lock Examples