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R41 TWIST

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The R41 TWIST is my favorite Mühle razor to date, and it’s among my all-time favorite razors, along with offerings from Above The Tie and Joris. The new R41 combines my most-desired features in a way that few other razors have done. It is capable of very close, comfortable and carefree shaves. It is easy to use and provides all the best attributes of R41 design with none of its downsides.

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Pros: Design, fit and finish
Cons: None
The R41 TWIST is my favorite Mühle razor to date, and it’s among my all-time favorite razors, along with offerings from Above The Tie and Joris. The new R41 combines my most-desired features in a way that few other razors have done. It is capable of very close, comfortable and carefree shaves. It is easy to use and provides all the best attributes of R41 design with none of its downsides.
The R41TWISTis a two-piece design with a larger and heavier handle than the original R41. It is easy to load and much easier to clean than many two-piece razors. It does not have the original R41’s tendency toward blade flex and bite. It is a well-mannered version of its older brother, while maintaining the original’s ability to provide exceptionally close and effective shaves.
The razor was announced recently, but a sneak preview of a prototype was available six months ago during an April trade show in Italy. Now that it is formally released, it will be available in Europe, and in the U.S. a short while later.
In the past, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I like two-piece razors. The R41 TWIST is an especially good example, in my opinion. Here is why:
Advantages of this two-piece razor
Easy to use
I prefer two-piece razors for their ease-of-use. I find them simpler, safer to load and pretty much foolproof. Mark H (mantic59) puts it this way: "Why must we fiddle with three small bits of metal every time we need to change blades (and who hasn’t accidentally mounted the bottom plate upside down every once in a while)?" For me. I manage to drop at least one part with annoying frequency.
Easy to load
The R89 TWISR is Mühle's own design. It offers an attractive alternative to traditional three-piece razors. The following video from Mühle explains why:
[video=youtube;a4P7IxK9wrI]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4P7IxK9wrI&list=UUsfNfdo0PI8muJVKIYmdcOA[/video]
Easy to clean
One criticism of two-piece razors is that they can be difficult to clean. For instance, the Merkur 38/39C and similar razors have a long bolt that holds the razor halves together. To accommodate the bolt, a hole extends all the way into the hollow handle. It is possible for dirty water to seep into that chamber, which is difficult if not impossible to clean. The TWIST solves this problem by using a shorter bolt and a solid metal barrier that prevents water from entering the handle—making it very simple to clean with a cotton swab.
Heavier
The TWIST, is heavier than both the standard R41 and the GRANDE versions of the razor. The TWIST is nicely balanced and has a solid and substantial feel to it.
o R41 TWIST: 85 grams
o R41 2013: 65 grams
o R41 2013 “Grande” 80 gram
Improved grip
The diameter of the handle is thicker (14.5 mm) than the standard R41 handle (12.5 mm). The larger diameter provides more grip surface, which makes the razor more stable and less likely to slip. I found the grip to be comfortable. The knurled knob at the razor's bottom provided a surprising bonus—a new grip surface that I find very useful.
More aggressive?
Is the TWIST more aggressive than an R41 2013? According to Christian Muller of Mühle, there have been no changes to the materials, geometry, blade gap or exposure with the R41 TWIST. I feel that the TWIST is more aggressive than the standard 2013 model, but not quite as much as the original 2011 model. None of my most careful measurements could detect an explanation for this, other than the weight. My findings are shared by about half of the other early-release testers. I cannot claim this to be anything other than my own subjective observation—but I am sticking with it.
Initial impressions
The R41 TWIST's design offers several advantages over the three-piece R41, in my opinion. I found the shave quality to be very much the same as the three-piece version, as well as slightly more aggressive than the 2013 model. I find that there are improvements to the design, grip, balance and weight as well. I am a fan of two-piece razors, and this is a good example of why.
There will be shavers who are disappointed with this offering, but not because of its performance. Some have hoped that the next release from Mühle would be a radically new razor. Those who were wishing for an all-stainless model, a TTO, slant or solid brass offering will have to wait for another day.
There will also be those who find that the price point for the new razor, at $98.00 direct from Mühle, makes it less attractive than other Mühle razors. However, careful shoppers are expected to find prices around $50 from Connaught Shaving and Shaving.ie.
Finally, users who are invested in adding custom handles to adjust the length and weight of their razor may find the inability to swap handles in this two-piece model to be a downside. I do not personally feel that the inability to change handles is a significant factor for me.
Shave quality: I was able to get excellent close, comfortable BBS shaves every time with three passes. For me, a sharp, smooth blades like a Russian Perma-Sharp, Personna Lab or Med Prep or Voskhod all worked very well. Blades like Red IPs, Astra SPs, Crystals and 7 o'clock also work well, but required a little more work.
Price: This razor is listed in Mühle’s catalog at $98.00. However, as stated above, it is expected to be available for around $50 from a number of sources.
Build quality: The R41 Twist has a brilliant, silver-white finish. Like other Mühle razors, it is made using the standards of the jewelry and pen industry—using the same machinery. Mühle craftsmen are skilled in the use of artisan hand production techniques. The TWIST is hand polished and electroplated with a heavy top coating chrome. One example of the build quality is the twist end-knob itself. On a Merkur 38C, the knob has obvious play and rattles during the loading process. The TWIST, on the other hand, is precision fit and operates as smoothly as a Swiss watch.
User friendliness: I find two-piece razors easier to use. They have fewer small parts to drop or that can lead to mounting the base plate upside down. They are easier to load, with a reduced amount of blade handling. The TWIST is easier to clean than other two-piece razors because of its innovative handle plug—so that a cotton swab is all that is needed to clean it. The knurled knob at the end adds significantly to handling by making the razor easier to hold using the pinky finger as a rest.
Grip: The large diameter handle provides additional grip surface for better handling and the fit and finish is second to none in the shaving industry. While it has not been my experience, some users would prefer greater texturing.
Ease of Blade Replacement: The attached video explains this better than I can.
Aggressiveness: This is an aggressive razor. I find it less aggressive than the R41 2011, but more aggressive than the R41 2013. Other razors I have used that are close in performance are the ATT Kronos with the H1 base plate or the Joris/Fatip.
Adjustability: This is not an adjustable razor.
Balance: I like the heft and balance of the TWIST very much. It has a solid feel and is comfortable to hold.
Conclusion
If Mühle were to make a custom razor to my own personal specifications, this would be it. Not only have they incorporated my favorite two-piece design, they have done it with an innovative twist that makes the razor simple to clean. It is a wonder that other manufacturers like Merkur have not done this before.
While I find this two-piece’s features appealing for a number of reasons, I know that others who will be disappointed in this evolutionary upgrade. They have been hoping for something entirely new—like the R41 2011 was when it was first introduced. For them, a note of hope. Mühle has been turning out new razor models at the impressive rate of about one new model per year and a new razor cannot be far behind.
Variations of their existing Mühle razor lines seem to be exhausted. What is next? A stainless steel model? A plated all-brass design? Something with an aggressiveness level between that of the R89 and R41? A slant? My bet is that we will see one of these, or a combination of them, in the not-too-distant future. Mühle’s new product releases are done on a May/October cycle. There is photographic evidence that the R41 TWIST was in prototype status as long ago as April of this year. Is this a delayed release, and can we expect another release around the time of the holiday season? We shall see…
Until then, the R41 TWIST is a fine addition to the Mühle razor line, and one of my all-time razor favorite DE razors.
Grip
4.00 star(s)
Price
4.00 star(s)
Balance
5.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Adjustability
0.00 star(s)
User Friendly
4.00 star(s)
Aggressiveness
4.00 star(s)
Ease of Blade Replacement
5.00 star(s)

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