2016 has been an ambitious year for Kizer Cutlery. The Chinese company introduced more new models than any other production knife maker this year, possibly more than any maker in the history of the industry. But, according to Kizer’s David Sun, the company will be changing gears next year. Expect fewer new product releases, discontinuations of some in-house designs, and a more diverse line-up.
In 2016, the company’s new product development has been fueled by collaborations with established knife makers. “Our work with external design partners has really taken off,” says Sun. Knives like the Ray Laconico-designed Gemini have been best-sellers for the company.
These early successes were followed by many more collaborations. The company teamed up with more than a dozen makers in 2016 to offer a vast number of production versions of custom designs. But Kizer’s catalog swelled to over 100 models, with some saying that the volume of releases overwhelmed consumers’ ability to digest the new options.
Although releases will be scaled back in 2017, Kizer still plans on debuting more than 20 new products. But dealers visiting Kizer’s booth at SHOT Show in January will see fewer titanium frame lock flippers in S35VN. “Going forward there is going to be more variation in our lineup,” Sun confirms. Kizer’s new line-up will include front flippers and traditional, two-hand opening knives. It won’t be all folding knives either. Plans are in place to put out fixed blades and other pocket tools. The company is also working on sourcing a greater variety of super steels.
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Certain knives will be removed from circulation to offset the new arrivals. “We feel that some of our early internal designs aren’t a fit for the current market,” Sun says. The 4447 will be discontinued, and others could follow. Knives like the Zambi and the Zugang are being redesigned for wider appeal. Kizer’s flagship V3 series, which consists of over a dozen variations, will be culled so that only the best-selling versions stay in production. This will help shape a product line that is smaller, but more impactful.
To make it easier for knife buyers to chew on new offerings, Kizer will also be moving to a staggered product release schedule in 2017. The move should give each new knife a greater focus and keep the brand top of mind throughout the year.
Knife featured in image: Kizer Cutlery Vanguard Matt Degnan Roach