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2020 Paradigm Diamondback

Thank you @Elvis Outlander for your input. That helps alot as I also have the Nodachi. I’m happy to hear that it is smoother than the Nodachi from your experience. Is it as efficient as the Nodachi or more/less?
At least as efficient as Nadochi with my stubble (probably more so), but I could see that being reversed for someone with less coarse hair if my hunch on flex is correct. I really like the Diamondback a lot. It is along with a few others at the top of my heap. . . .where mood says which one I like better.

The Nodachi is not in this group. It isn't that it's a bad razor, the safety bar on the Nadochi feels crisp to me and the safety bar on the Diamandback has a duller feel. I guess I like the dull feel rather than crisp, perceiving the dullness as smoothness. I also think the dullness of the Diamondback safety bar lets me fine tune the shave with pressure, like the steering on a '70s Cadilac. The crispness of the Nadochi safety bar has more of a spirts car responsiveness to pressure that I don't like. It is almost like the comparison to iKon Standard (dull) vs iKon Tech (crisp).
 
I have both the Nodachi and the Masamune -- and find the smoothness with the Nodachi varies quite a bit depending on the blade choice. With a less sharp blade I find it surprisingly smooth (almost mild) and too much blade with the likes of a feather. So yes, YMMV is definitely in play here. I'm not a fan of blade feel generally and can feel the blade even with the Masamune. I don't have the Nodachi handle so that could be something else to factor in.

Back to the Diamondback. Guess I will have to try it to find out. I mean, smoother than Nodachi + feather is pretty different from smoother than Nodachi + astra...

Thanks for your thoughts.
Feather Blades for everything I have written. Feathers just agree with me and they are all I have used for some time. Even with pretty crazy exposure I find them comfortable (maybe due to less passes) as long as I don't have large exposure with a lot of flex. I might throw a Rapira in the Nodachi based on this though.
 
Charcoal Goods Lev 2 Version 2 vs Diamondback
Pre Shave Hot shower
Blade Gillette Platinum 3rd use
Soap Ethos Lavender
Brush DG B6
AS Ethos lavender skin food
1st pas WTG. Both razors are extremely smooth and there was a slight more blade feel with the CG Cold rinse and feel. Diamondback took just a little more whiskers off but excellent first pass from both.
2nd pass ATG No issues from either razor as both gave a very smooth shave audible feedback was about the same from both razors Cold rinse and the CG needed a little touchup under the jaw line and then both were BBS.
As many of you know I am a huge fan of CG both from an artistic standpoint and the quality of the shave. The Diamondback was a little more efficient than the CH Lev 2 but without doing a side by side the Level 3 would not be quite as smooth but is definitely more efficient putting the Diamondback right between the 2. Here are a few pics The level 2 is copper and level 3 is SS:
90E3A9E0-A770-45CD-8E78-4A93B8417767.jpeg 0C7AA0BB-1E57-4E5E-A164-109D6988F8AB.jpeg
 
Last comparison review
Diamondback vs H&S NO75
Both razors have outstanding fit and finish equal to the best I have used. I loaded up Persona Israeli Red 1st use and after a hot shower Face lathered using my Elite Razor HMW and Ethos Succes to a nice shiny creamy lather.
WTG Both razors were extremely smooth with minimal blade feel. Cold rinse and the DB took off a little more whiskers.
ATG Once again both razors gave a very smooth mindless pass with a little more audio feedback from the DB. Cold rinse and the DB side was BBS while the H&S required a little touchup on the jawline and under the nose.
These are both beautiful razors that give a very smooth shave while the Diamondback was the winner the H&S delivered a wonderful shave just needing a little touchup to equal the DB.
06155DBB-1118-4F92-BB8D-92984EABF108.jpeg 0928CC22-797D-4FBB-A5EE-ECF1105CFBF3.jpeg
 
Last comparison review
Diamondback vs H&S NO75
Both razors have outstanding fit and finish equal to the best I have used. I loaded up Persona Israeli Red 1st use and after a hot shower Face lathered using my Elite Razor HMW and Ethos Succes to a nice shiny creamy lather.
WTG Both razors were extremely smooth with minimal blade feel. Cold rinse and the DB took off a little more whiskers.
ATG Once again both razors gave a very smooth mindless pass with a little more audio feedback from the DB. Cold rinse and the DB side was BBS while the H&S required a little touchup on the jawline and under the nose.
These are both beautiful razors that give a very smooth shave while the Diamondback was the winner the H&S delivered a wonderful shave just needing a little touchup to equal the DB.
View attachment 1086973 View attachment 1086974
THANK YOU MARK!! @Shavemd This is the review I was waiting for. The DB sounds like a Winner to me. Both are beautiful stunning razors and by your review, both gave you a very smooth shave. Great pictures Mark, you really captured the mirror polished finish on both, GJ. I’m still waiting for mine to be delivered.! :rolleyes:
 
At least as efficient as Nadochi with my stubble (probably more so), but I could see that being reversed for someone with less coarse hair if my hunch on flex is correct. I really like the Diamondback a lot. It is along with a few others at the top of my heap. . . .where mood says which one I like better.

The Nodachi is not in this group. It isn't that it's a bad razor, the safety bar on the Nadochi feels crisp to me and the safety bar on the Diamandback has a duller feel. I guess I like the dull feel rather than crisp, perceiving the dullness as smoothness. I also think the dullness of the Diamondback safety bar lets me fine tune the shave with pressure, like the steering on a '70s Cadilac. The crispness of the Nadochi safety bar has more of a spirts car responsiveness to pressure that I don't like. It is almost like the comparison to iKon Standard (dull) vs iKon Tech (crisp).
Thank You @Elvis Outlander for the informative comparison between DB & Nodachi. I get the same feeling with the Nodachi safety bar as being crisp, very precise and have to use no pressure when shaving, at least from my own experience.
 
I recently obtained my 2020 Paradigm Diamondback and have used it with fantastic results. First off I am a big fan on Andy and his Paradigm Shaveware offerings over the years and have been fortunate to either buy or use all of his prior official releases. As a group they tend to be of exotic metals (all titanium and a 17-4 stainless steel), higher priced and of limited (50-200 units) production runs. They also cover the blade tabs, a personal preference of mine, and sport some sort of diamond pattern/knurling on the handle but without any engraving, logo or (gimmicky) serial number. This release is mirror polished to the degree that is comparable to a Wolfman (the unofficial “gold standard”) – see above pictures. They have been available off 3rd party websites and through his Paradigm website. He offers a generous return policy and provides excellent customer service and communicates with us wet shavers.

The Paradigm Diamondback is no exception in these traits with its prior releases siblings: the uber rare Titanium 1, the short handled heavy 17-4, the polished Titanium 2 and the polished (Artist Club) SE.

Whereas the Titanium 1 was considered too aggressive (at the time several years ago) the 17-4 and Ti2 were created for a less aggressive yet very efficient shave. Nevertheless Andy has produced exceptionally smooth razors that can hold their own with the smoothest of the smooths (search out the World's Smoothest Shave Off). The SE is a different razor entirely (accepting Artist Club blades with a creative slide off cap) and is very mild yet exceptionally smooth so I am not comparing it here to the other releases.

So how does this polished 303 stainless Diamondback work ? The short answer is that it is spectacular smooth, efficient and beautiful tool !

MANEUVERABILITY: This is a heavy three-piece 303 stainless razor at 114 gm but it is extremely well balanced making it very manageable and maneuverable feeling nimble like a sub 100 gm razor – I did not notice the heft while shaving. Furthermore the way the blade tabs are covered does not give the head that large bulky feeling like on a Tradere or Merkur Futur/Vision. One is able to easily get into those sharp “under the nose” corners. The characteristic triangular Paradigm patterns of the 90 mm (3.5“) handle allows for a secure grip even with wet hands.

SMOOTHNESS: A strength of Paradigm’s prior releases has been the smoothness of the shave and the Diamondback is no exception. Andy doesn’t publish much regarding the specs of his razors but the near “phantom” feel (even ATG) of the razor suggests a neutral blade or minimally positive exposure. It’s just smooth without the intrinsic smoothness of Titanium and this is in a Stainless Steel razor. It is just a super comfortable shave easily comparable to the now discontinued Raw Shaving RS10. It is as smooth as his prior Titanium releases with the differences between any of them in my opinion to be “a whisker” if at all.

EFFICIENCY: This 2020 polished Diamondback can cut your beard with efficiency and a 2 pass shave works well for me yielding an extended (8 hour) BBS/DFS quality result. Andy states the blade gap of 0.8 mm but we all know the exposure, angle, guard thickness and user skill all factor in. Although others have commented on the blade angle needing some dialing in for the optimal result I had no difficulty finding a good plane of attack and, as noted above, the weight is so well balanced that I did not find the razor “heavy”. I was able to easily get efficient shaves (using Personna Red, Polsilver and GSB blades) with nearly no blade feel yielding smooth results with only 2 passes.

PROS: 1. A great combination of smoothness and efficiency with long lasting results.

2. Although weighty at 114 gm it is so well balanced it handles like a much lighter razor.

3. The blade tabs are covered (I prefer) without the head being too large or bulky.

4. A true mirror polish.

5. Excellent customer service with a generous return policy.

CONS: 1. Some may not be able to justify the $240 price.

2. Unfortunately another Paradigm limited run – he needs to have a steady run available.

3. Still no engraving/branding of the Paradigm razors or complementary accessories.

OVERALL this is a great razor because of its extreme smoothness and efficiency. After the first pass I was unsure if I cut very much of my beard as it was that smooth. Other than the additional weight compared to the Titanium (Ti2) razor (70 gm) this Stainless Diamondback “felt” like his prior Titanium releases. It does not feel aggressive or harsh but provides a very smooth yet efficient shave. Like others I am enjoying this 2020 Diamondback and can’t wait for a Titanium (Javelin) version or Paradigm’s next release – maybe an even more aggressive tool beyond what was provided with the original Ti1 as we can handle it.
 
I recently obtained my 2020 Paradigm Diamondback and have used it with fantastic results. First off I am a big fan on Andy and his Paradigm Shaveware offerings over the years and have been fortunate to either buy or use all of his prior official releases. As a group they tend to be of exotic metals (all titanium and a 17-4 stainless steel), higher priced and of limited (50-200 units) production runs. They also cover the blade tabs, a personal preference of mine, and sport some sort of diamond pattern/knurling on the handle but without any engraving, logo or (gimmicky) serial number. This release is mirror polished to the degree that is comparable to a Wolfman (the unofficial “gold standard”) – see above pictures. They have been available off 3rd party websites and through his Paradigm website. He offers a generous return policy and provides excellent customer service and communicates with us wet shavers.

The Paradigm Diamondback is no exception in these traits with its prior releases siblings: the uber rare Titanium 1, the short handled heavy 17-4, the polished Titanium 2 and the polished (Artist Club) SE.

Whereas the Titanium 1 was considered too aggressive (at the time several years ago) the 17-4 and Ti2 were created for a less aggressive yet very efficient shave. Nevertheless Andy has produced exceptionally smooth razors that can hold their own with the smoothest of the smooths (search out the World's Smoothest Shave Off). The SE is a different razor entirely (accepting Artist Club blades with a creative slide off cap) and is very mild yet exceptionally smooth so I am not comparing it here to the other releases.

So how does this polished 303 stainless Diamondback work ? The short answer is that it is spectacular smooth, efficient and beautiful tool !

MANEUVERABILITY: This is a heavy three-piece 303 stainless razor at 114 gm but it is extremely well balanced making it very manageable and maneuverable feeling nimble like a sub 100 gm razor – I did not notice the heft while shaving. Furthermore the way the blade tabs are covered does not give the head that large bulky feeling like on a Tradere or Merkur Futur/Vision. One is able to easily get into those sharp “under the nose” corners. The characteristic triangular Paradigm patterns of the 90 mm (3.5“) handle allows for a secure grip even with wet hands.

SMOOTHNESS: A strength of Paradigm’s prior releases has been the smoothness of the shave and the Diamondback is no exception. Andy doesn’t publish much regarding the specs of his razors but the near “phantom” feel (even ATG) of the razor suggests a neutral blade or minimally positive exposure. It’s just smooth without the intrinsic smoothness of Titanium and this is in a Stainless Steel razor. It is just a super comfortable shave easily comparable to the now discontinued Raw Shaving RS10. It is as smooth as his prior Titanium releases with the differences between any of them in my opinion to be “a whisker” if at all.

EFFICIENCY: This 2020 polished Diamondback can cut your beard with efficiency and a 2 pass shave works well for me yielding an extended (8 hour) BBS/DFS quality result. Andy states the blade gap of 0.8 mm but we all know the exposure, angle, guard thickness and user skill all factor in. Although others have commented on the blade angle needing some dialing in for the optimal result I had no difficulty finding a good plane of attack and, as noted above, the weight is so well balanced that I did not find the razor “heavy”. I was able to easily get efficient shaves (using Personna Red, Polsilver and GSB blades) with nearly no blade feel yielding smooth results with only 2 passes.

PROS: 1. A great combination of smoothness and efficiency with long lasting results.

2. Although weighty at 114 gm it is so well balanced it handles like a much lighter razor.

3. The blade tabs are covered (I prefer) without the head being too large or bulky.

4. A true mirror polish.

5. Excellent customer service with a generous return policy.

CONS: 1. Some may not be able to justify the $240 price.

2. Unfortunately another Paradigm limited run – he needs to have a steady run available.

3. Still no engraving/branding of the Paradigm razors or complementary accessories.

OVERALL this is a great razor because of its extreme smoothness and efficiency. After the first pass I was unsure if I cut very much of my beard as it was that smooth. Other than the additional weight compared to the Titanium (Ti2) razor (70 gm) this Stainless Diamondback “felt” like his prior Titanium releases. It does not feel aggressive or harsh but provides a very smooth yet efficient shave. Like others I am enjoying this 2020 Diamondback and can’t wait for a Titanium (Javelin) version or Paradigm’s next release – maybe an even more aggressive tool beyond what was provided with the original Ti1 as we can handle it.
Wonderful review @AJSharp . Your impressions and detailed review on the Diamondback are spot on. It is definitely in the Wolfman class imo, in both performance and looks. Andy is a very inspired and ambitious razor artisan who is always looking to improve on his razor designs. I am not surprised that as of this morning, the Diamondback 2020 has Sold Out. I am sure the Diamondback won’t disappoint and it is worth it if it shaves as smooth as RS-10 or Wolfman. Thanks for the time you put into this review and also comparing past iterations of Paradigm razors @AJSharp
 
I don't know what else I can say that hasn't been said already. I think the reviews here have been spot on. I think this is one of the best razors out there. I judge razors by their smoothness/efficiency ratio. The smoothest razor I've ever used is the RS-10 and the most efficient is the 1.55 WR2. The DB is a nice hybrid of the two. Smoothness comes close to the RS-10 and efficiency comes close to the 1.55, therefore making it one of the best overall razors I've used. Add to that beautiful aesthetics, reasonable price, great customer service and this razor is seriously a no-brainer. I can see the 2020 DB reaching legendary status in the future, maybe even more so than Andy's past offerings. I also agree with Mark in that a Ti version of this doesn't really interest me as this one is already perfect. And while it's heavy on paper, it really doesn't feel heavy when you're using it. Thanks to Mark for taking one for the team as usual by buying a new (newish in this case) razor.

Looking forward to the Javelin!
 
A couple friends took pictures of the blade exposure so I could do a comparison with mine. The picture below is from one of theirs, but both are similar. You can see from this angle, with the safety bar lined up with the top of the cap beside the blade (the camera lens is on the shave plane), there is some very definite blade exposure sticking up past the shave plane (red arrow). The second picture is mine after applying the mirror finish with a little intentional backlight. In my opinion, this is the best angle to judge blade exposure.

There is a chance that I removed enough metal while polishing mine to increase exposure, but it looks approximately the same as the other two. It did not change the shave on mine (at least not after the first shave where I used a different technique than before). I do really like this razor.

1587085001790.png

1587085312986.png
 
Whoa. What is this...magic? I’m new to the game, just started in December. First was 6C. Then went right to CG Brass Lvl 2. Splurged on this bad boy right before it sold out. Love everyone’s pictures and reviews.

First shave...Silver Blue, Grooming Dept pre-shave and Angel soap, Declaration Grooming AS, Nivea balm. No shower before *gasp*.

Shave = A bit of a narrow window. Plenty of audible. 3 pass, could have been happy at 2. ATG was effortless, maybe because other passes so efficient. Minor blade feel.

Results = Smoothest/closest shave ever. No nicks (I was pretty careful). I’m floored. So happy.

Time to settle down with this little lady (Are razors female? Do people name them?).
 
Whoa. What is this...magic? I’m new to the game, just started in December. First was 6C. Then went right to CG Brass Lvl 2. Splurged on this bad boy right before it sold out. Love everyone’s pictures and reviews.

First shave...Silver Blue, Grooming Dept pre-shave and Angel soap, Declaration Grooming AS, Nivea balm. No shower before *gasp*.

Shave = A bit of a narrow window. Plenty of audible. 3 pass, could have been happy at 2. ATG was effortless, maybe because other passes so efficient. Minor blade feel.

Results = Smoothest/closest shave ever. No nicks (I was pretty careful). I’m floored. So happy.

Time to settle down with this little lady (Are razors female? Do people name them?).
What's bad is that I read this, and all I can think is "Man, I gotta get me some of that Nivea Balm!!"

Seriously, congrats!
 
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In my recent comparisons with similar configured and readily available stainless razors I found the Diamondback a smoother and more efficient tool. It was at least as smooth and efficient if not slightly more so in comparison to a (polished) Timeless 95. The Diamondback was much better balanced to make it a more nimble tool. The (matt as the polished version is not readily available) Karve was not as smooth nor as efficient as the Diamondback. The (stonewashed as the polished is out of stock) Yates Precision (outfitted with the optional more aggressive H plate) was nimble but neither as smooth or efficient but it yeilded a comparable yet shorter duration "stubble free" shave. The Gamechanger 84 was smooth but it could not keep up with the Diamondback in smoothness nor efficiency. Also this polished Diamondback's mirror finish is second to none and comparable to that of other legendary artisans. At its price this 2020 Diamondback may represent the best for the artisan Paradigm line to date.
 
In my recent comparisons with similar configured and readily available stainless razors I found the Diamondback a smoother and more efficient tool. It was at least as smooth and efficient if not slightly more so in comparison to a (polished) Timeless 95. The Diamondback was much better balanced to make it a more nimble tool. The (matt as the polished version is not readily available) Karve was not as smooth nor as efficient as the Diamondback. The (stonewashed as the polished is out of stock) Yates Precision (outfitted with the optional more aggressive H plate) was nimble but neither as smooth or efficient but it yeilded a comparable yet shorter duration "stubble free" shave. The Gamechanger 84 was smooth but it could not keep up with the Diamondback in smoothness nor efficiency. Also this polished Diamondback's mirror finish is second to none and comparable to that of other legendary artisans. At its price this 2020 Diamondback may represent the best for the artisan Paradigm line to date.
Which Karve plate?
 
@Leverspro I had the Karve D plate which is higher gapped at 0.98 mm vs Diamondback's reported 0.80 mm gap. I know the C plate (0.84 mm) is more comparable in spec but I do not have that. Neither did I (or mostly everybody) have a polished stainless Karve to use. Nevertheless the Diamondback outperformed it easily in both smoothness and efficiency. The above comparisons represents just a brief summary of a much more detailed report posted elsewhere.
 
Dang it @Shavemd. I knew I should have stayed off of here. You’ve done it again. I have the 2019 Diamondback. It was really smooth but I wish it was just more efficient. Reminds me a lot of the Colonial Razors Silversmith that came out around the same time. However, I now have a 2020 Diamondback on the way. You are good at spending my money for me.

All joking aside, @Shavemd I hope you are doing well.
 
Dang it @Shavemd. I knew I should have stayed off of here. You’ve done it again. I have the 2019 Diamondback. It was really smooth but I wish it was just more efficient. Reminds me a lot of the Colonial Razors Silversmith that came out around the same time. However, I now have a 2020 Diamondback on the way. You are good at spending my money for me.

All joking aside, @Shavemd I hope you are doing well.
I try my best to be a good enabler. Doing well, Thank you. I hope you enjoy your new toy!
 
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