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Gerber Center-Drive Review 1030

Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 56,885 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Gerber Center-Drive Review
« on: December 02, 2016, 06:09:26 PM »
Ok folks, here's the one you have been waiting for!  :D

Gerber Center-Drive

In November of 2016 Gerber introduced the Center-Drive in a major media storm.  Everyone was talking about it, wanting to try it for themselves, speculating on whether it was hype or whether it was the real deal.  I'm a bit late to the party for reviewing it, and you'll see hundreds of different reviews and unboxing videos already, but mine is going to be different, because there is a reason we are late to the party.  I have actually put mileage on the Center-Drive- I've carried and used it, and I don't think the value of a tool is in it's ability to be pulled out of a package.



So, to get on with it, the Center Drive is a fairly large, one could say bulky tool.  It is really on par with the Leatherman Surge or One Handed Tool (OHT) in terms of size.  That makes it one of the larger tools available and that's a good thing- which is why every company makes one.



Along with its large size, the Center-Drive also features a large, one handed opening, liner locking blade.  It's a drop point style that maximizes utility and isn't one of those silly tactical style knife blades found on some multitools.  I'm not sure how many people need to use a set of pliers to take out a sentry at a drug kingpin's complex, so I think a good utility oriented blade makes a lot more sense on a multitool.  The Center-Drive blade is large enough to be useful, but not unwieldly- perfect for a multitool blade.



Also outside is the large bit driver that gives the Center-Drive it's name- the bit driver is contoured so that the bit is actually centered on the handle, making it more comfortable to drive screws, at least in theory.  In fact, it is true, but the reality is, a multitool is all about convenience, and if you need to drive many, lengthy screws on a frequent basis, you should probably get some dedicated tools- like maybe a drill.  The increased ergonomic is nice, but I'm not sure how useful it would really be in the long run.  Still, an improvement is an improvement and that counts as a win.



The sliding head plier has been a Geber trademark ever since they got into the multitool market with the original Multiplier and this latest iteration of it is just as relevant as all of the others.  The head features replaceable carbide cutters which I think is a good thing, but others have found to be a bit on the brittle side.  I'd rather have something brittle and replaceable than the cast head that can be damaged and screw the whole thing up.  The down side of the head, at least in my opinion, is that it is sprung.  That's a personal thing, I prefer an unsprung head, but some people like it when the pliers open by themselves.  All in all, I consider it a good thing.

Inside the Center-Drive is a series of handy tools, and efficient use of space- for example, the stop that keeps the handles from coming together actually carries a second bit in addition to the one carried in the bit driver itself.



A couple of internal tools won't be new to any Gerber user- the double sided file and the serrated blade are identical to the ones used in the MP600 series, and are a bit small compared to the rest of the Center-Drive but are perfectly functional and exactly what you would want in either of them.  They seem a bit pedestrian compared to the flair of the rest of the Center-Drive, which has thus far lead a pretty flashy existence, but like the rest of the tool, they just work, so way mess with them?



But, the Center-Drive doesn't end there- there is also an awl, which doesn't have an edge or sewing eye, so it's basically just a pointy bit of steel, and a bottle opener/pry bar.  Given the success of various pry bar based tools on the market in recent years, it seems odd that no one has thought to put a pry bar in a plier based multitool until now- especially when you consider how many broken blades, bent screwdrivers and snapped files each of the manufacturers replace under warranty each year.



Oh yeah, and all of the inside tools lock open with Gerber's patented SA-T-LOK system, that has been proven effective on many of Gerber's line in the past, although this one benefits from having a lanyard ring built in that also acts like a thumb ramp in use.  Not slipping onto the blade and cutting my fingers in use makes me happy.

In short, the Center-Drive has proven to be a most capable tool in my testing.  While there are some things I don't like, all in all it is not an over-hyped tool- it's the real deal and I am confident in saying that the Center-Drive would handle any situation that you may encounter, at least as well as any other multitool.



That said, given that there is a spare bit in the handle, I probably wouldn't bother ordering it with the bit set- since the Center-Drive takes standard screwdriver bits, they can be sourced pretty much any time you need them.  Heck, I find them on the ground all the time, and the bit set makes the sheath pretty bulky.  Getting the version without the bit set addresses the only serious complaint I have with it, and that is the bulkiness of the sheath.  By itself it is a very good EDC tool for someone who just wants a tool that works- it may be flashy but it's no fluff piece.

Pros:
Ergonomic bit driver that takes standard bits
All locking tools
Proven design, yet brand new

Cons:
Sprung plier head
Bulky sheath when bit set is present
Hype may turn people off

Def



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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,705 Tactical Desk Jockey
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2016, 06:22:49 PM »
Thanks for the review boss.
How does it compare against OHT?

EDC: Espada, Spirit, LD02
Global Moderator Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 30,606
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2016, 08:33:28 PM »
Great to see a review after someone has used the tool :cheers: I like unboxing reviews to a point but that is all it is :D They show the tool but not if it is actually useful :tu:

Great review Boss :cheers: :like:

OCD Squad Member Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 9,979
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2016, 10:17:43 PM »
Thanks for the review...

Can we get a measure how thick/long that pry-bar is?
And if I see this correctly the awl is underneath it (in your last picture on top, as we see the pry bar from the underside). Would it be possible to change the order of those two tools?

Emergency Kit: Ovo Sport, chocolate, cheese, crispbread and a coin
Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 56,885 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2016, 11:06:18 PM »
Thanks for the review boss.
How does it compare against OHT?

I may be biased because i really think the OHT is a waste of halfways decent metal, but I would take the Center-Drive over the OHT any day of the week.

Def

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Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 56,885 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2016, 11:08:24 PM »
Great to see a review after someone has used the tool :cheers: I like unboxing reviews to a point but that is all it is :D They show the tool but not if it is actually useful :tu:

Great review Boss :cheers: :like:

If it's a collectable then packaging is important, but if you are a collector then you don't need a review, you buy it to complete the collection.

If it is a user, the box doesn't matter because it doesn't affect the use of the tool.

So, when it comes to unboxing videos I'd rather use my home circumcision kit than waste time on them.

Def

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Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 56,885 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2016, 11:12:06 PM »
Thanks for the review...

Can we get a measure how thick/long that pry-bar is?
And if I see this correctly the awl is underneath it (in your last picture on top, as we see the pry bar from the underside). Would it be possible to change the order of those two tools?

I'll measure it out for you tomorrow and get some more pics when the light is better.  Remember, it isn't as thick as it looks, because it is hollow.



But, the thickness of the hollowed out part is still around as thick as a Shard, and seems plenty strong enough for whatever job you may want to use it for.  Honestly I would be more concerned about pivots and handles, as they are traditionally weaker than a solid hunk of metal.  That having been said, I haven't felt the slightest weakness so far in the pivots or handles.

Def

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OCD Squad Member Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 9,979
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2016, 11:33:36 PM »
[...]it seems odd that no one has thought to put a pry bar in a plier based multitool until now- especially when you consider how many broken blades, bent screwdrivers and snapped files each of the manufacturers replace under warranty each year.[...]

Honestly I would be more concerned about pivots and handles, as they are traditionally weaker than a solid hunk of metal.

Maybe that is why. I'm curious to see how that prybar holds up, this looks like a really useful new tool.

Emergency Kit: Ovo Sport, chocolate, cheese, crispbread and a coin
Full Member Posts: 198
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2016, 11:40:52 PM »
Thanks so much for the review! So if you don't mind me putting you on a spot. Would this replace your current MT carry?
Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 56,885 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2016, 12:00:52 AM »
Thanks so much for the review! So if you don't mind me putting you on a spot. Would this replace your current MT carry?

As my multitool carry is rather fluid, there isn't really any reigning King of the Castle to dethrone.  Will it make it into my usual pool of tools I draw from to carry?  Yes, it certainly will, but it won't replace the one thing I always carry, and that is my yellow scaled Compact.  It will however supplement the Compact nicely, as the Compact has scissors, which s something the Center-Drive lacks.

Def

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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 13,732 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2016, 12:06:02 AM »
Thanks for the review Grant. There are a few things I really like about this tool.

This is the first pry tool with nail notch since the Grappler, and a very welcome addition to prevent people wrecking their screwdrivers. I'm not so keen on the fact it is cast though, a wrought steel construction would have given me more confidence, and given room to get another tool in.

The lanyard point not taking up more valuable tool space is great.

I like the shape of the blade, and the fact they give you the sheepsfoot blade too.

The pliers ruin it for me. A MP600 style plier head would have been great, but these have got too much metal missing, both around the exterior, and internally with the cavities for the opening spring and replacable crumblers..... I mean cutters  :whistle: As highlighted in a separate thread, I I found this type of plier head to be effective, but not have the longevity that I would expect for a tool of this price.

I think it is a more appealing tool than the Shift, but it's not winning me over. A more solid construction in the pliers and a wrought pry tool would have made it more convincing as a serious hard use tool.

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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,519
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2016, 04:29:47 AM »
Is the hex bit standard 1/4"?
Hero Member Posts: 592
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2016, 11:01:34 AM »
Is the hex bit standard 1/4"?

Yes. It is.

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Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 56,885 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2016, 03:15:15 PM »
Is the hex bit standard 1/4"?

It is indeed, or I would have marked that against the Center-Drive as I do with every other tool.  As far as I'm concerned, if it isn't a standard sized bit driver then it is worthless.

Def

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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 9,406 You're amongst friends.
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2016, 04:52:49 PM »
Hard core Gerber fan here so I'm doing back flips over this offering. Still holding off as I have plenty of other tools to keep me busy until all the bugs can be worked out.

Just from what I've read and seen I believe this will light a blazing fire under certain other competitors arses.

Thanks for a thorough review Boss.

SAW

Weilder of the MP600 and many other neat gadgets :tu:
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,519
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2016, 11:59:57 PM »
Is the hex bit standard 1/4"?

It is indeed, or I would have marked that against the Center-Drive as I do with every other tool.  As far as I'm concerned, if it isn't a standard sized bit driver then it is worthless.

Def

Good to see, although I would've liked to see Gerber include two double end bits while still accept regular bit. PH1 and PH2 aren't really interchangeable.
Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 56,885 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2016, 04:48:40 PM »
Is the hex bit standard 1/4"?

It is indeed, or I would have marked that against the Center-Drive as I do with every other tool.  As far as I'm concerned, if it isn't a standard sized bit driver then it is worthless.

Def

Good to see, although I would've liked to see Gerber include two double end bits while still accept regular bit. PH1 and PH2 aren't really interchangeable.

That was my initial thought as well.  I have seen some very stubby double ended bits in the past that might fit, and I am hoping to find more to see if they will work.

Def

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Hero Member Posts: 638
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2017, 11:56:32 PM »
And if I see this correctly the awl is underneath it (in your last picture on top, as we see the pry bar from the underside). Would it be possible to change the order of those two tools?

No, you can not change the order as it would not let the pliers retract fully.  :(
Using my Centre Drive since January. Actually used the pry bar to reposition a stop on a mic stand the other day. It worked well.

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Multitool Enthusiast Admin Team No Life Club Posts: 2,407 Staff Writer
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2017, 12:59:53 AM »
Love the Gerber Center-Drive, I don't own a whole lot of Gerber tools but it's my favorite.

Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk

No Life Club Posts: 1,863 Born to multitask.
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2017, 06:41:16 AM »
Great review.  :tu:
It does seem like a nice design just by the look of it, but that's not enough for me. Even if the cutters are replaceable, I'd rather not have them chipped the first time I use them. The handle stop has been reported as easy to break too, and the pry bar does not look very impressive. It's still mounted on the handle, and that's a weak point. I would order one, but I will wait until the quality is proven to be there.
Global Moderator Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 30,136
Re: Gerber Center-Drive Review
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2017, 08:52:54 AM »
Great review.  :tu:
It does seem like a nice design just by the look of it, but that's not enough for me. Even if the cutters are replaceable, I'd rather not have them chipped the first time I use them. The handle stop has been reported as easy to break too, and the pry bar does not look very impressive. It's still mounted on the handle, and that's a weak point. I would order one, but I will wait until the quality is proven to be there.

I've heard (and seen pics) of the cutters breaking but in my own testing (up to high tensile fencing wire) their down side is fine wire cutting.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 08:54:03 AM by zoidberg »

 

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