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Author Topic: Gerber Balance Review  (Read 7200 times)

Offline 50ft-trad

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Gerber Balance Review
« on: October 24, 2012, 10:46:32 PM »
Not everyone can carry around a tool with a one hand opening locking blade all day, and people all round the world face various restrictions on what knives they can legally carry and when. It’s therefore a refreshing change to see a manufacturer bring a new product to market which can be appreciated and carried by a wider audience. Gerber’s new Balance multitool seems very much to have been built for the urban user.



Overall the Gerber Balance has a sense of civility about it. There’s just nothing “tactical” about this tool, even the flicky pliers ... don’t flick! Instead they slide out very smoothly with a central button.




The deployed pliers do look a little small when compared to the rest of the tool, and indeed they are lighter duty than what you might find on a similar sized tool such as a Leatherman Kick, MP400, or Victorinox Spirit, but in effect they are about the same size as the perfectly capable pliers on a Leatherman Juice. The more observant may have also noticed the closed position of the handles when the jaws are closed. This DOES have the potential to be a little pinchy at times if you have fleshy palms, but not on the same level as the vicious original Multipliers. So far it has not caused me a problem – but then I’ve not had the tool long. The head shape seems good for general utility, and the anvil style wire cutters seem well made and worked fine, leaving only a few fine strands unsnipped as anvil pliers often do.

All tools on the balance are non-locking, and although the backsprings do feel rather soft, I’ve had no issues as yet with inadvertent closure. One side houses a combo edged blade, the plain edged section of which has a fair bit of belly to make it a useful slicer.



The only real niggle being the fact that the nail nick is so close to the pivot making it harder to deploy than could be necessary. However, with the knife deployed, the scale cut-out to access the nail nick does make a comfortable place to rest your index finger to keep it away from the knife edge – so this may have actually been intentional



Alongside the knife blade is the first dedicated bit driver. Unfortunately both drivers take  proprietary 3/16" hex bits, and it appears compatible bits may not be commercially available at this time. The driver came armed with a double ended bit sporting a 4mm flat and what looks like a #1 Philips. Being non-locking I was wary of the potential for the driver closing under use, but both bits and the holder were secure enough for me to tighten the hinges, adjust the strike plate and remove the handle from the office door for no reason whatsoever. One day I’ll get to the bottom of why I keep getting funny looks at work!



The other side houses scissors, and in typical Gerber fashion these work perfectly fine on a range of materials. The small thumb pad makes the scissors easier to retrieve and more comfortable to use – a welcome step up from the normal multiplier scissors. Alongside these lies the second bit driver. This one comes preloaded with a small Philips bit suitable for opening up electronics, and a small flat driver on the other end which works excellently on spectacles. The base of the driver arm has a bottle opener, and it works – not the most efficient opener I’ve ever used, but effective enough. The final tool is a nice little pair of angled tweezers, tucked away in the scale at the pliers end.



Overall the tool feels ergonomic and reassuring. It doesn’t feel like a tool you can conquer the world with, but it does feel like it’s not going to let you down as a daily use urban pocket tool – and a pocket tool it is – no sheath or lanyard attachment came with the tool. I think it’s lovely coating isn’t going to be lovely for very long though. I threw mine in a pocket as soon as I received it, and within a few hours of sharing pocket space with car keys, coins and a pocket clipped knife the first few tiny flecks of metal beneath the coating were starting to show. Carried alone in a pocket it will probably last a long time, but rattled alongside keys and coins the scratches are liable to come thick and fast.

Initial impressions are that this tool could be a real winner for Gerber. The Balance is a good solid pocket tool for urban carry. A few years ago Gerber discontinued what they called their Urban Legend, the MP700. This tool is pretty much the same size in all directions, with all the same tool choices, but with a non-locking two handed blade to meet the urban restrictions that many people face today.



Has the Urban Legend been reborn? Will it acquire the “go to” pocket tool status that the MP700 strived for, but never achieved? Only time will tell.

Pros:
A very ergonomic tool to hold
High quality feel
Integrated bit drivers

Cons:
Soft back springs
Awkward nail nick on knife blade
Driver bits are non-standard
« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 07:00:11 PM by Gareth »



Offline kirk13

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2012, 10:50:43 PM »
Great review Al,it might make it to my Christmass list :tu:

 :twak:Now hurry up with the pix :twak:
I'm doomed! The Doctor told me I'm suffering pfrsantos Syndrome!

There is no beginning,or ending,and for this we are thankful,cos now is hard enough to understand!

Offline 50ft-trad

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2012, 10:55:00 PM »
Cheers John,

Pics will probably be next week mate. I've a busy schedule in front of me at the me  :salute:

Offline kirk13

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2012, 11:54:57 PM »
Cheers John,

Pics will probably be next week mate. I've a busy schedule in front of me at the me  :salute:

Always the tease,arn't you
I'm doomed! The Doctor told me I'm suffering pfrsantos Syndrome!

There is no beginning,or ending,and for this we are thankful,cos now is hard enough to understand!

Offline 50ft-trad

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 12:08:59 AM »
Cheers John,

Pics will probably be next week mate. I've a busy schedule in front of me at the me  :salute:

Always the tease,arn't you

You've got me feeling guilty now yer bugger!!! :twak: :twak:  :P

OK, hang on a bit ...... quick phone pics coming so Kirky can sleep tonight ...  :whistle:

EDIT: Quick pics up John - hope to get some prettier ones later  :tu:
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 12:28:45 AM by 50ft-trad »

Online jerseydevil

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 12:53:01 AM »
Nice review, Al!  :salute:  A quick  :twak: to you though - reading one of your reviews resulted in my getting a Deluxe Tinker, and a Balance is all but assured of joining the family now.....   ;)
There's no such thing as "Too pretty to carry".  There's only "Too pretty NOT to carry"...... >:D

Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 01:13:26 AM »
Great review!  I liked the Balance when I saw it- it's different but it's not.  Different enough that it stands out but not so different (like the Fit for example) that no one knows what to do with it.

In my mind its the modern embodiment of the Juice series- or at least what they were intended to be.

Def

Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk 2


Offline 50ft-trad

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 01:22:48 AM »
Great review!  I liked the Balance when I saw it- it's different but it's not.  Different enough that it stands out but not so different (like the Fit for example) that no one knows what to do with it.

In my mind its the modern embodiment of the Juice series- or at least what they were intended to be.

Def

Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk 2

Funny you should mention the Fit - I actually cut a chunk out of the review as it was getting a little overburdoned, and it was all about the Fit. Take the pliers away from the Balance and replace it with a flashlight, and that's exactly what you've got ... in short ...

Combo edged blade with the nail nick too high up, hex bit driver with cap lifter on the arm (the Balance's driver arms are far superior due to their one piece construction - but the Fit's bottle opener is better). One large philips for general screws plus a smaller one for electronics. One medium flat for general, and one smaller one which also fits spectacles. Scissors with the little thumb tab and the same spring arrangement, and even a pair of tweezers tucked inside too. The designs on all the components on the Balance are better, and all the tools lock on the Fit barring the two smaller drivers.

I quite like the Fit not just for the tool array, but it's also a very nice floody light and a very useful glove compartment item
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 01:32:12 AM by 50ft-trad »

Offline Gareth

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2012, 01:23:20 AM »
great review mate.  :cheers:

Offline 50ft-trad

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2012, 01:29:49 AM »
Nice review, Al!  :salute:  A quick  :twak: to you though - reading one of your reviews resulted in my getting a Deluxe Tinker, and a Balance is all but assured of joining the family now.....   ;)

I'm pretty sure you'd like this little feller, Tom. In fact I think there's a few here that would  :)

Offline dks

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2012, 09:25:54 AM »
 :tu:
Kelly: "Daddy, what makes men cheat on women?
Al : "Women!"

Offline 50ft-trad

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2012, 10:26:21 AM »
great review mate.  :cheers:

Thanks Gareth,

So what colour are you getting?  :whistle:


 >:D

Offline Gareth

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2012, 06:28:18 PM »
great review mate.  :cheers:

Thanks Gareth,

So what colour are you getting?  :whistle:


 >:D
none yet, I'm totally brassic right now. :D

Offline 50ft-trad

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2012, 06:48:59 PM »
great review mate.  :cheers:

Thanks Gareth,

So what colour are you getting?  :whistle:


 >:D
none yet, I'm totally brassic right now. :D

.. or simply not inebriated enough last time you went online browsing   >:D When you have trouble holding your head up and start inadvertently typing with your face, that's a good time to keep away from Amazon etc ... or at least that's the conclusion I came to after buying another CS4  :rofl:

I'm very glad I took the plunge on the Balance though. It's one I had been talking myself out of for a while. Getting this and selling some other stuff was for sure the right move - though I didn't necessarily do those two in the right order  :whistle:

Offline Gareth

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2012, 08:50:59 PM »
great review mate.  :cheers:


Thanks Gareth,

So what colour are you getting?  :whistle:


 >:D

none yet, I'm totally brassic right now. :D


.. or simply not inebriated enough last time you went online browsing   >:D When you have trouble holding your head up and start inadvertently typing with your face, that's a good time to keep away from Amazon etc ... or at least that's the conclusion I came to after buying another CS4  :rofl:

I'm very glad I took the plunge on the Balance though. It's one I had been talking myself out of for a while. Getting this and selling some other stuff was for sure the right move - though I didn't necessarily do those two in the right order  :whistle:
:rofl:

I absolutely cannot go spending anything right now, this little toy has taking all of my "me" money for quite a while to come. :)


« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 08:54:07 PM by Gareth »

Offline 50ft-trad

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2012, 09:00:28 PM »
That's a beauty  :tu: My BSA Lightening has been quite active lately on pest control at work after everyone has gone home. Not as sleek as that one of yours mate, but does the job nicely  :)

Offline Gareth

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2012, 10:27:34 PM »
Looks like we might need to get a pellet trap for the next meet-up and do some shooting. ;)

Offline 50ft-trad

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2012, 10:39:04 PM »
If Kirky's available I'm sure he'd be up for that too  :tu:

You'll have to stop me getting too zoned in though, mate. I wouldn't want to get into that pest control state of mind. You'll all laugh at me when I run up to the pellet trap swear loudly and give it a couple of whacks with the fat end after every shot  :whistle:

Offline kirk13

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2012, 10:44:12 PM »
If Kirky's available I'm sure he'd be up for that too  :tu:

You'll have to stop me getting too zoned in though, mate. I wouldn't want to get into that pest control state of mind. You'll all laugh at me when I run up to the pellet trap swear loudly and give it a couple of whacks with the fat end after every shot  :whistle:

You mean your not supposed to do that? :think:

That explains a lot!
I'm doomed! The Doctor told me I'm suffering pfrsantos Syndrome!

There is no beginning,or ending,and for this we are thankful,cos now is hard enough to understand!

Offline sawman

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2012, 11:08:03 PM »
Nice thorough review!  One positive is there appears to be quite a bit of reach with the 2 bit drivers  :tu:
SAW

Offline Gareth

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2012, 11:11:55 PM »
If Kirky's available I'm sure he'd be up for that too  :tu:

You'll have to stop me getting too zoned in though, mate. I wouldn't want to get into that pest control state of mind. You'll all laugh at me when I run up to the pellet trap swear loudly and give it a couple of whacks with the fat end after every shot  :whistle:

You mean your not supposed to do that? :think:

That explains a lot!

No wonder I've been getting some funny looks at the club. :-[

Offline 50ft-trad

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2012, 11:33:28 PM »
Nice thorough review!  One positive is there appears to be quite a bit of reach with the 2 bit drivers  :tu:

Thanks sawman ... yes and no ... great for getting at some screws that are hard to reach, but with some smaller screws I've found they can often be recessed in a hole not much bigger than the screw head, which means the bit will fit but the driver won't. In those instances the Fit is the better tool as it's small drivers are slender enough to reach - unless you have some extra long bits handy. That's one benefit a lanyard attachment would have been - you could have attached a pill fob with additional bits in. For most applications though you're absolutely right  :tu:

I think I maybe need to keep my eyes open for a Cybertool 29 now. Minimal redundancy between the two, but complimentary drivers, an awl, corkscrew, can opener ... a modded CT41 with scissors and pliers removed adds a saw and file to the mix ... hmmmm ... what to pair it with :think: 

Offline Max Archer

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2012, 11:38:02 AM »
Wait, your Balance has different sized drivers? Both of mine are the same size! The bits themselves are different but either bit will fit in either driver. Only one of my driver arms has a bottle opener so they haven't somehow started using two of the same arm, either.

Offline 50ft-trad

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2012, 02:41:49 PM »
Wait, your Balance has different sized drivers? Both of mine are the same size! The bits themselves are different but either bit will fit in either driver. Only one of my driver arms has a bottle opener so they haven't somehow started using two of the same arm, either.

 :ahhh :ahhh :ahhh You're RIGHT!!!  :ahhh :ahhh :ahhh

How on earth did I miss THAT!?!?  :facepalm:
I'll tweak the review ASAP and ask a Mod to amend the OP  :salute:
Thank you for pointing out that faux pas - I can't believe I didn't spot it :doh:

Offline 50ft-trad

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Re: Gerber Balance Review
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2012, 03:20:49 PM »
I've not forgotten ... I just need to find my measuring tackle  :-\
The bits are smaller than a standard bit, but larger than those in a cybertool. I'll confirm exactly when I dig out my 0-25 micrometer

 

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