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Gerber Suspension 10382

Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,213
Gerber Suspension
« on: December 27, 2006, 12:20:22 AM »
Gerber Suspension

Have you guys seen the Suspension multi tool that Gerber is selling? I’ve noticed them for sale at a few of the big discount stores around town, like Wal-Mart and Target. The open-frame construction of the handles is the first thing that caught my eye. The lattice-work look really makes the tool stand out from the others hanging on the rack next to it.



However, upon handling the tool outside of the package, I’m left with the opinion that catching the consumer’s eye is the only real function of the open-frame handles. They look pretty, but don’t serve any real purpose.

To be honest, I wondered if the skeletonized handles would be too weak, and tend to break under high squeezing loads. I’m still not certain they won’t. A magnet sticks to the handles, meaning they are cast from some grade of steel, not aluminum or zinc. To compensate for the large cutout sections though, Gerber made the “web” sections thicker than normal. Bottom line, the Suspension doesn’t weigh any less than a similar sized multitool without windows in the handles.

A couple final points about the handles: they are plated with super-hard titanium nitride for scratch and wear resistance (a good thing) and they are marked with small blade icons of whichever tool lies directly beneath (another good thing.) If you need the serrated blade in a hurry, one quick glance at the tool icons shows where it is.



Unlike the standard 600 series Multi-Plier, the Suspension does not use the typical Gerber sliding jaw mechanism. Instead, the handles and blades fold in a more Leatherman-like fashion. All of the blades are accessible from the outside while the tool is folded up, and all of the blades lock. It is not the first Gerber tool to employ this method of folding; in this and other ways, the Suspension is very much like the Gerber 700 and 800 Legend tools of a few years ago.



I like the locking blades, I just don’t like how short they are. The primary blade for instance, a wharncliff profile with a cast thumbstud, is only about 2-1/8” long. That ain’t much to work with. Even less capable is the wood saw blade, also only about 2-1/8” long. By the time you allow for a reasonable amount of saw-cut stroke, the stubby length of this blade is pretty much limited to sawing items of about 5/8” diameter and smaller.



But there is plenty of positive news about the Suspension blades as well. I like the wharncliff blade shape (a lot!) and am happy to see it on this tool as well as several of the newest model 600-series multitools from Gerber. I also like the one-hand blade opening thumb studs, a feature NOT found on the higher grade Gerber tools. Both the thumbstuds and the blade lock mechanism appear to be inherited from the Urban Legend 700 tool.

Best of all, the Gerber system of anti-blade clumping is employed on this tool. Flying beneath the radar unnoticed, those little tabbed washers are pure genius. You will never have two blades pop out on a Gerber tool when you only wanted one. It’s impossible.



Rounding out the blade selection, we find a radical can opener/bottle opener tool, a sheepsfoot serrated blade (also somewhat short), a nicely made pair of Fiskars scissors, a lanyard ring, a Phillips screwdriver, and a couple of flat head screwdrivers. Ironically, even though I think the knife blades are too short, I’m very happy with the length of the screwdriver blades! Ordinarily Gerber equips their multitools with screwdrivers that are ridiculously stubby. Not so on the Suspension; all three will outreach many of the dedicated drivers on current Leatherman tools.



Have I already mentioned that the plier jaws are spring loaded? They are, and I kinda like that too. A clothespin-type spring is employed, hidden between the plier pivot halves, so it is concealed and out of the way. The jaws pop open pleasantly when you let off on the handles; no need to insert an index finger between the handles in order to get the jaws open like on other tools.

Last but certainly not least, the Suspension multitool is manufactured in China. It is of far better quality than the vast majority of tools to come from that country, but still not quite up to North American and European standards. It employs a number of innovative features, and no doubt sold like hotcakes during the recent holiday gift-giving season. I suspect the quality of Chinese tools will continue to improve during the coming years.


Good:
Spring loaded pliers
Long length of screwdrivers
All blades lock
Titanium nitride coating for wear resistance

Not so good:
Handle cut-outs serve no purpose, and do not make the tool any lighter
Knife blades are quite short
Tool handles are much too fat


Dimensions:
Length closed   3-7/8”
Width Closed      1-7/8”
Thickness      7/8”
Length open      6”
Weight      8.9 oz 

« Last Edit: June 20, 2007, 02:47:54 AM by J-sews »

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,448 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2006, 02:45:28 AM »
I've had my eye on one of those for a while.  Do the cutouts in the handles help any with grip?

It seems like they are really planning on a serious coup what with the advancements they are making lately.  Titanium on a multitool is pretty sweet!

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Sr. Member Posts: 422
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2006, 03:59:13 AM »
Looks simular to the tools they make for Winchester. The thumb stud on the Freeman is cast with paint on the surface on mine the back is just bare metal. Afraid it is not my cup of tea.

Dave
Jr. Member Posts: 52 I'm the one they call Dr FeelGood
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2006, 02:37:18 AM »
that looks pretty neat. I'v seen them in stores but never really paid much attention to them

Yabba dabba doo!
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,213
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2007, 09:54:23 PM »
The first thing I notice about any of these tools imported from Asia is how big and fat they are. For the same number of blades, this tool is nearly twice as thick as a Gerber 600 tool made in the USA. So are most other imports. Why so fat? The handle sections themselves are thicker, but there are also the too-thick spacer washers between each blade. It all adds up to a tool that is "fatter" than it needs to be.

I'm thinking that the quality controls and better engineering on American and European knives and tools allow them to be built leaner and meaner, while the cheap imports need to be built "thicker" to allow for more fluctuation in the manufacturing process.

~Bob

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,448 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2007, 10:35:17 PM »
Interesting theory... that would also explain silly things like the fancy rubber grips and so on from some of these manufacturers.

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,213
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2007, 11:34:07 PM »
......and the ridiculous wood inlays.   ::)

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
Hero Member Posts: 756
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2007, 02:45:35 AM »
Nice review, Bob.

In my tours of Lowe's stores, I have eyeballed a number of Suspensions.  I also noted the extra thickness.  It was that thickness that persuaded me not to buy one.

While the Suspension isn't my cup of tea, from your review it appears that it would be a decent 'entry level' multitool or for gift giving.
Sr. Member Posts: 422
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2007, 05:50:39 PM »
The first thing I notice about any of these tools imported from Asia is how big and fat they are. For the same number of blades, this tool is nearly twice as thick as a Gerber 600 tool made in the USA. So are most other imports. Why so fat? The handle sections themselves are thicker, but there are also the too-thick spacer washers between each blade. It all adds up to a tool that is "fatter" than it needs to be.

I'm thinking that the quality controls and better engineering on American and European knives and tools allow them to be built leaner and meaner, while the cheap imports need to be built "thicker" to allow for more fluctuation in the manufacturing process.

~Bob
If these are self opening jaws could the extra thickness not be to allow for the spring that opens the jaws? Are the jaws thicker than normal?
I would think the design is US and the manufacture will be by a company that Gerber felt could meet their standards after the tenders were  back in.
Self opening jaws on any tool makes me think they are made for first time users. What I want is a way to keep them closed (does not have to be as aggressive as the Crunch style), at the moment one of my pastimes seems to be picking up the elastic bands the postal workers chuck away on every street corner as they start to deliver  ;) because I use them to just hold the jaws closed lightly to act as a third hand. Something designed into the tool or a simple add on I would find to be very useful.
As an afterthought are the in handle tools the same fitting as other Gerbers. I see the tool has what seems to be the Gerbers Saf-T-Lock and the Philips screw driver looks like it would take the new bit set?

Dave
« Last Edit: January 02, 2007, 06:02:06 PM by damota »
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,213
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2007, 02:10:55 AM »
Actually Dave, it's not the pliers on the Suspension that I find to be too thick, it's the handle section. The plier jaws themselves, even with the spring mechanism, are no thicker than most multitool pliers.

But the handles are unnecessarily fat in my opinion. Pictured below is the Suspension next to an old PST. Both tools have four various blades in each handle. But the Suspension is much wider.

And look at all those spacer washers! (red arrows) Why so many? I think Gerber should either make the whole tool skinnier, or add a fifth blade to each handle instead of all those spacers.

~Bob
43.38 kB | 600x412

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,448 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2007, 02:51:47 AM »
Wow... that is a pretty fat tool...

Do you have any other comparison shots of it with other tools to get a better idea of length, size etc?  At almost 9 ounces (about 240g if my math is right) that's not exactly a lightweight...

Def


Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Sr. Member Posts: 422
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2007, 03:36:10 PM »
I hope it was well discounted Bob, I would not be a happy bunny if I had paid full price for that although it will be of interest for your collection.
Mind I wonder if that Wharncliff blade with a proper thumb stud would fit my Recoil. Is it the cutting edge that is 21/8" or the whole blade? Might make a future project if it is the cutting edge.

Dave
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,213
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2007, 03:12:02 AM »
As an afterthought are the in handle tools the same fitting as other Gerbers?

At first I didn't think so, but upon closer inspection, I think the Suspension blades would interchange with other Gerber tools,including those from the 600 series.
I'm 90% sure. Can't be 100% sure without actually tearing it apart and trying it though.


I hope it was well discounted Bob, I would not be a happy bunny if I had paid full price for that although it will be of interest for your collection.
Mind I wonder if that Wharncliff blade with a proper thumb stud would fit my Recoil. Is it the cutting edge that is 21/8" or the whole blade?

The Wharncliff is my favorite blade shape too. On the Suspension, the blade protrudes 2-1/8" from the tool body, while the sharp cutting edge itself measures a bit over 1-3/4"

~Bob
57.99 kB | 550x368

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
Sr. Member Posts: 422
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2007, 06:05:27 PM »

And look at all those spacer washers! (red arrows) Why so many? I think Gerber should either make the whole tool skinnier, or add a fifth blade to each handle instead of all those spacers.

~Bob
Found this on a picture search on Google, Bob. Although it is the scissor side of the tool, it looks as if they may have reduced the blades and put in thicker washers. The opposite to your wish's.

Dave
27.04 kB | 360x360
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,213
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2007, 03:18:44 AM »
Yes I agree. That photo looks exactly like the tool I have in my hand. Actually, in a way, this side is even more insightful of the manufacturing techniques. You see, on this side of the tool, instead of thick spacers, they have piled a bunch of spring "wave washers" between each blade. That tells me they are trying to fill up some slop in their assembly.

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
No Life Club Posts: 1,384
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2007, 01:39:44 AM »
I wanted a new toy today & stopped by Target to see if they had settled out their tool selection since re-doing it recently.  So I bought a Suspension for the heck of it.  (The Crux was $40 & the Suspension was $30 even thought they're basically the same too.)  There isn't much to add to what Bob said above. 

My only comment would be that it's hard to get your fingernail in to the slot to open the implements without breaking a nail (I'm a guitarist, for Pete's sake), & that the slotted screwdriver is too small for real work.  Oh, & there's no file.  Otherwise it was okay for a new toy at $30.

Here's a (bad) cellphone photo of the selection at my current Target now.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2007, 02:29:48 AM by Tom Munch »
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,448 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2007, 02:12:57 AM »
I am always tempted by the Suspension when I go to Canadian Tire, but it's around $50 and that seems a little much.  $30 sounds abotu right to me too!

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Sr. Member Posts: 291
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2007, 06:35:24 AM »
Looks simular to the tools they make for Winchester. The thumb stud on the Freeman is cast with paint on the surface on mine the back is just bare metal. Afraid it is not my cup of tea.

Dave

Dave, you are right the Gerber Suspension and the Winchester Winframe look very similar, interesting  :D












<
No Life Club Posts: 1,798 Spawn of Cthulhu
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2007, 07:38:19 AM »
Good:
Spring loaded pliers
Long length of screwdrivers
All blades lock
Titanium nitride coating for wear resistance

Not so good:
Handle cut-outs serve no purpose, and do not make the tool any lighter
Knife blades are quite short
Tool handles are much too fat

Thanks for an excellent review and pics, J-sews.

Earlier this week I was at Lowes getting supplies for yardwork and impulsively grabbed a Gerber Suspension.

After playing around with it for a few days, I thought I'd add my observations to this thread.

First off, I think it's a decent value for 30 bucks, offering lots of capability in a medium-sized, highly ergonomic package.  Time will tell how durable the Suspension is or isn't, but Gerber is pretty good at dealing with warranty issues.

I want to address each of J-sews negative points:

"Handle cut-outs serve no purpose, and do not make the tool any lighter"

- Cut outs enable the handles to be wider without increasing the weight and the wider handles are a good thing.

- Cut outs enable operator to see the four outside edge tools at a glance (Wharncliff, serrated blade, saw, and scissors) which speeds up opening the tool you want out of those four commonly used tools.

-Cut outs facilitate handling by improving my grip on this tool, resulting in much better grippiness than my smooth Leatherman tools.

"Knife blades are quite short"

-The blades and saw could be longer, however I do like the blades on this tool.

The thumbstuds are great, making quick access to the Wharncliff and serrated blades a snap.  The Wharncliff is much more suitable for precision work than the longer spear-point blades of my Leatherman tools.  The serrated sheepsfoot may be short, but it cuts great, easily slicing through thick cardboard, power cable insulation, and rope in my tests so far.

"Tool handles are much too fat"

-Here I have to disagree completely.

I love the fat handles of the Suspension, because they improve the ergonomics of the pliers.  The pliers feel about as good to me as any regular pliers and the spring function is great.

Immensely better ergonomics than my Leatherman tools. I can concentrate on using the pliers, rather than fighting with the pliers as I do on my Leatherman tools.  Unlike my Leatherman tools, I can squeeze down hard without discomfort because of the fat, curved handles.  (I do have fairly large hands - if you have smaller hands the Suspension's ergonomics might not work as well for you.)

Wrapping up, I think the Suspension is a solid value.  Performance wise the Suspension stands head and shoulders above my old Leatherman tools.

Finally, it comes with a great sheath.  Shaped to fit the varying width of the Suspension, made of lined and padded black cordura with a flap which seals with velcro, it is capable of riding vertically or horizontally on a belt.  With the sheath riding horizontally, the extra width of the Suspension is no bother to me at all.

.
 


 

N
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,448 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2007, 12:39:15 PM »
You know what they say about one man's treasure!  It's always great to hear differing opinions on various tools.  I have a very different opinion on tools than another prominent member and it's neat to read our reviews of the same tools because he'll love it and I'll hate it!  Reading the two reviews together, you have to check to make certain that it is the same tool we are both writing about. 

Multitools are like pizzas- very few people like exactly the same thing!

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Sr. Member Posts: 422
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2007, 03:22:38 PM »
I would love to hear ringzero's opinions on the Gerber Radius, you don't fancy getting yourself one, do you?  ???

Dave
30.07 kB | 741x600
« Last Edit: July 04, 2007, 03:31:15 PM by damota »
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,213
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2007, 05:41:32 PM »
You make some valid counterpoints ringzero, and I appreciate hearing them. I will concede that the handle cutouts on the Suspension allow quick blade identification, (although the small picture icons etched on each handle do the same thing.) As regards the overall thickness of the handles, my perspective is biased because of my small hands. I can appreciate your preference for a larger tool with more to grab onto.

And I wholeheartedly agree with your opinion that the Suspension is a good value for the money. The only remaining unknown in my mind is in regards to durability. I don't use mine often enough to judge how well it will hold up. Are those cast aluminum handles with all the cutouts strong enough to withstand heavy usage?


In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,448 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2007, 05:46:59 PM »
No Bob!  Don't ban him!  He didn't mean to disagree with you!  Really!  :grin:

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,213
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2007, 05:51:13 PM »
Hehe...there's only one person in my house who is ALWAYS right.....and it sure as heck isn't me!  :P

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,448 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2007, 05:52:28 PM »
Well with that many women in the house it's a wonder if you could ever be right on anything! :P

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Formerly known as 665ae No Life Club Posts: 3,370 blah blah blah
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2007, 07:35:59 PM »
I'm still in shock that someone would disagree with Bob's expert opinion  :o

Seriously though, now I want to pick up a Gerber suspension to see who I agree with.  Ugh, being a member of this forum costs me too much money :)   :multi:

If you took all the intestines out of your body and stretched them end to end... you would die.
No Life Club Posts: 1,798 Spawn of Cthulhu
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #26 on: July 04, 2007, 10:27:44 PM »
I would love to hear ringzero's opinions on the Gerber Radius, you don't fancy getting yourself one, do you?  ???


Well damota, I've never examined a Radius.  But, judging from the pic you provided, it looks like it doesn't offer much in the way of tools given its size.  So, it doesn't really appeal to me.

I'm not a multitool collector like some of you guys.

I'm merely a user, who is often frustrated by bad ergonomics on some of the multitools I try to use to accomplish various tasks.

.

N
No Life Club Posts: 1,798 Spawn of Cthulhu
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #27 on: July 04, 2007, 10:40:22 PM »
As regards the overall thickness of the handles, my perspective is biased because of my small hands. I can appreciate your preference for a larger tool with more to grab onto.



Your perspective is completely valid.  Just as I was about to post, I realized that people with smaller hands might have an entirely different perspective on the Suspension's ergonomics.  So I added a disclaimer to that effect.


The only remaining unknown in my mind is in regards to durability....Are those cast aluminum handles with all the cutouts strong enough to withstand heavy usage?


Perhaps you have a different version of the Suspension than mine?

A magnet will stick to my Suspension's handles no matter where I apply it, so they appear to be entirely made of some ferrous metal.

I'm guessing the handles are some type of steel, under a Titanium Nitride coat.

.
 

N
Sr. Member Posts: 422
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #28 on: July 05, 2007, 12:49:33 AM »
ringzero
I too am a user not a collector but I like the sliding action especially the MP600 setup. As you liked the Suspension I was just wondering how you would find the Radius's thick grip but I agree it is a bit short on it's usefulness.
Two different internet dealers I have talked to over the phone have said they sell more of the Suspension than any other multi tool so Gerber have got an appealing design in that tool that is selling (at least in those 2 stores in the UK). Mind 1 of them does not carry any Leatherman stuff and haven't for over a year or so.

Dave
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,448 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Gerber Suspension
« Reply #29 on: July 05, 2007, 01:09:54 AM »
At the prices the UK dealers are asking I am not surprised!  I visited a UK dealer (won't say who) last week and was astounded!  They are offering MSRP in pounds as a discount price.  A multi that is listed here for $100 usually sells on websites for $70, but over there they are listed at 100 pounds!  And given the difference between the value of the pound and the US dollar right now I am amazed!

It might be cheaper for you to get a standby flight to New York or Toronto, pick a few up, and fly home!

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.

 

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