What's new


Pros: Two-piece design, ease of use, quality of finish
Cons: None
Mühle's latest addition to the shaving world is the R89 TWIST, a two-piece variation of the R89's original three-piece design.
Nearly every wet shaver is familiar with the R89—a modern day classic. The razor was originally developed by Andreas Müller of Mühle, Neil Jagger of Edwin Jagger and a small team of select craftsmen from both houses. The head they designed is common to all Mühle R89 and Edwin Jagger DE89xx razors. The head is the common component paired with over three dozen custom handles from at least three manufacturers.
Modern razors using the R89 head are among the best known and most widely used razors in the world. They find especially strong acceptance in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Europe, South America, Australia and Japan.
This review is part of a rare experiment. It is one or several developed by a small team of shaving enthusiasts who were given the opportunity to review a major razor release prior to the manufacturer's own press announcements. The opinions expressed here are mine. I have never received any compensation for this, nor will I in the future None of our opinions were monitored in any way, and they were not seen by anyone else. We did not see each other's work prior to publication.
Advantages of a two-piece razor
Easy to use
Readers familiar with my reviews know that 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:
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 adding a solid metal barrier that prevents water from entering the handle—making it very simple to clean with a cotton swab.
The TWIST, is heavier than both the standard R89 handle and the GRANDE model. The TWIST is nicely balanced and has a solid and more substantial feel to it.
--R89 TWIST: 85 grams
--R89 “Original” 65 grams
--R89 “Grande” 80 gram
Improved grip
The diameter of the handle is thicker (14.5 mm) than the standard R89 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 very comfortable. The knurled knob at the razor's bottom provided a surprising bonus—a new grip surface not found on other models.
Unlike the original R89 however, the TWIST cannot be customized with Mühle, EJ or other handles from third party vendors. This may be an issue for some shavers, who value the option to customize their razors.
Shave quality unchanged
You know that you are using an R88—a mild razor. There have been no changes to the materials, geometry, blade gap or exposure. Mühle has stated that the only change to the original R89 is the two-piece mount. I felt that the optimal blade angle might be a little narrower than the original R89, and that a shallow blade angle worked best. All of the blades I prefer in the original model also work well in the TWIST.
Initial impressions
The R89 TWIST's design offers several advantages over the three-piece R89. I found the shave quality to be identical. There are improvements to the design, grip, balance, weight, safety and ease of use in the new model
Those features make the R89 TWIST hard to ignore. Shavers looking for a classic razor with impressive finish and build quality are assured that this new version of the R89 is a sound choice. Mühle's worldwide customer base will likely find the TWIST an intriguing concept and attractive alternative.
There will also be shavers who are disappointed with this offering. Some have hoped that the next release from Muhle would be a radically new razor, like the R41 was when it was introduced. Those who were wishing for an all-stainless model, a TTO, slant or similar offering will have to wait for another day.
What follows is my review of the Muhle R89 TWIST:
Shave quality: I have an unusually wiry beard, so my results may differ from the norm. I was able to get close, comfortable BBS shaves every time with three passes. For me, a sharp, smooth blade like a Russian Perma-Sharp, Personna Lab or Med Prep or Feather worked best. Mid-grade blades like Red IPs, Astra SPs, Crystals and 7 o'clock required more work. The TWIST was a breeze to use. It was almost impossible to draw blood or make a mistake with it.
Price: As of the day of this writing, pricing information is not published. It will be provided as it becomes available.
Build quality: Like its sister the R89, the Twist has a brilliant, silver-white finish. Andreas Müller has explained that: "In fact, we submit to standards of the jewelry and pen industry. We are using the same machinery in order to achieve the same or even a better quality level than the leading manufacturers in those industries". Mühle craftsmen are skilled in the use of artisan hand production techniques. The TWIST is hand polished, then copper electroplated followed by nickel plating and finally a heavy top coating of gleaming chrome. One example of the build quality is the twist 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 so smoothly it reminds one of a Swiss watch.
User friendliness: With a degree of stiffness due to arthritis, 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; easier to clean than other two-piece razor designs because of its innovative handle plug; heavier than the standard R89 and GRANDE models and with an improved grip that has a knurled knob that significantly adds to handling.
Grip: The large diameter handle provides additional grip surface for better handling. The fit and finish is second to none in the shaving industry. While this has not been my experience, some users would prefer greater texturing.
Ease of Blade Replacement: The enclosed video explains this better than I can.
Aggressiveness: I do no normally use mild razors. My beard type isn't well-suited to them. I was not able to detect any significant differences in aggressiveness between the original R89 and the TWIST model.
Adjustability: This is not an adjustable razor.
Balance: I like the heft and balance of the TWIST very much. I was surprised at the solid feel and how good it felt to hold.
Overall: The R89 family is known and loved worldwide. Its head is one of the industry's most iconic razor components. Very few manufacturers can match Mühle's overall build quality, or match the value for money spent for its razors.The R89 TWIST will present an attractive alternate choice, and in many markets, shavers will want to own both versions.
The R89 TWIST was announced at the COSMOPROF trade show in Bologna on April 4[SUP]th[/SUP], 2014. The razor is slated for release in Europe on the 8th of April and in North America about a week later.
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