Photo credit: SOG Knives

Carbon Fiber Folder: The Skinny on the SOG Kiku XR LTE Knife

S0G cut weight on one of its most popular knives, the Kiku, to create a new model in its new LTE line.

SOG engineers used carbon fiber in the middle of the Kiku XR LTE folding knife to cut weight while keeping it strong. Replacing the steel liners and spacers from its predecessors with carbon fiber parts shed 1.5 ounces from the outdoorsy Kiku XR LTE.

The innovative use of carbon fiber stands out from the rest of the market, and according to SOG, it will continue to develop the tech in more models and use cases. Joining the Kiku in the LTE lineup is the 2.2-ounce Terminus, which dropped an ounce from the previous version.

“We knew we had an opportunity to push the designs on both of these knives,” said Jonathan Wegner, SOG’s VP of brand. “Having gathered feedback from our users, we explored engineering solutions to make them as light as possible.”

Shop SOG Kiku XR LTE Folding Knives

Kiku XR LTE construction

Why the Kiku XR LTE?

SOG designed the Kiku blade in collaboration with Kiku Matsuda, a prominent custom knifemaker, to maintain elements of Japanese sword styles — even as the model expanded to folding knives, a first for Matsuda. In fact, Japanese influence has been ingrained in SOG designs since it began more than 35 years ago.

A popular choice among hikers, campers, and hunters, the Kiku XR maintains the chunky grip of its predecessor. The scalloped ridges along the edges provide grippy purchase for fingertips to hold.

The Kiku XR LTE blade is made from steel known to hold its edge and resist wear. The “XR” refers to SOG’s fully ambidextrous locking mechanism, which the brand says regularly tests above 1,000 pounds of lockup strength — even in the lighter Kiku LTE model. (That’s a performance metric you’re unlikely to challenge in the field).

It comes with a handle in blaze-orange G10 or blackout Micarta.

SOG Kiku XR LTE Specs

  • Blade length: 3.02″
  • Closed length: 4.29″
  • Weight: 4.1 oz.
  • Steel: CRYO CTS XHP
  • Blade: Drop point
  • Reversible pocket clip
  • Price: $250

Ounce-counters who value the shape and strength of the Kiku should look into this new model. In addition to the grip, this knife keeps the tanto shape that made it a bestseller in the first place. Now, it’s just lighter.

These new LTE models mark the culmination of a carefully thought-out product overhaul that began in 2019. SOG says the Kiku and Terminus models will be just the first to receive carbon fiber liners, so you can expect to see this innovation expand to other models in the future.

Shop SOG Kiku XR LTE Folding Knives

About SOG

More formally known as the Studies and Observations Group, SOG is a Seattle-based brand named after a Special Forces group from the Vietnam War era.

In 2020, it began refreshing its product selection based on feedback from customers and experts in the field. The product line includes knives, multitools, illumination, packs, and other gear solutions.

Kiku XR LTE lifestyle

This article is sponsored by SOG. Find out more about the brand’s LTE knives and other gear here.