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Razor wars: Blackland Blackbird versus Lambda Athena

This thread has been a fantastic one. What a lovely comparison @Guido75, top notch and detailed. The Bird and The Athena are fabulous Razors, I haven't used an ARES on my face but if it was more efficient than the former two, I'd pick it up in a heartbeat.

The Bird has a mega fan following and I understand why, I have two mates who sold everything else and just kept their BB SS and Ti versions for good. These blokes are daily shavers and though one uses a Gillette Platinum and the other a Nacet, these guys won't touch another Razor. I envy them for saving their money but not for missing out on experiencing other exciting designs that have popped up since the Bird made an entry.

As for Lambda, Theo is a top bloke, got in touch with him when the new waiting list was already full up. I kind of understand the magic behind His Razors beside the design and performance. It is a bit like the former Karve mania, there was hype and demand for the CB and the waiting was a challenge often. A few years on and other retailers now stock it including Maggard Razors that gives you a choice of plates etc. Besides other Modern razors stepping in, the easy availability of the CB has killed the desire to own one for many, oh yeah blame the Overlander for that too.

I think If the Lambdas were easily available in bulk, the desire to own one and the joy of owning one finally would diminish to a great extent. Personally, I love the fact that one has to wait for a Lambada. I had to wait eons for a Wolf Whiskers and was thrilled to bits to finally get one, probably the real triumph was actually making the waiting list.🤣
🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
 
Thanks for this thread... I'm trying to decide between these two for my next razor. Opinions welcome.

I started w/ a Henson medium which I sold after getting a Game Changer with .68, .76, and .84. In general the .76 feel like the sweet spot on that one for me though sometimes I get great results from the .84 and it's generally easier to clean up tricky spots than with the .76 or Henson, though I can get an occasional weeper w/ the .84. .68 takes a lot of passes to get things smooth.

In search of the next better thing I got an Overlander. It does well for me, especially against the grain but I fine have to buff a lot to get thing really cleaned up, especially in tricky spots and it performs much better on the easy, flat parts vs the trickier spots, which can lead to an uneven shave if I don't work at it. It feels more solid and less "chattery" than the Game Changer, especially against the grain but the lack of blade fee can make it hard to know what's going on.

I can get a good shave with all of them but if I rub my hand against the grain, I wouldn't say it's completely smooth. I can also get irritation on two spots on my neck with all of them, though this is easiest to avoid with the Overlander.

Given all the above, I wonder if I should just keep working with these. I def feel like I can get better at using what I have. I haven't done much against the grain with the Game Changers, for example.

But of course it's also fun to think about the next thing.

I wonder if the titanium Blackbird would be a bit like the Game Changer .84 but even more so? IE, it works great but nicks me occasionally if I don't pay close attention but would give me the cleanest shave once I master it. But I find it hard to avoid all irritation w/ the Game Changer and worry the same might be true w/ the Blackbird. Overall, I'd rather have a less perfect shave with no irritation. And I wonder it the Athena would get closer than what I have but require a bit less vigilance and work and be less likely to cause irritation, which sounds like a good thing. I'm especially intrigued when I've read that the Athena gives great auditory feedback without actual blade feel, which sounds like a great feature.
 
And I wonder it the Athena would get closer than what I have but require a bit less vigilance and work and be less likely to cause irritation
Exactly what you wonder is what is going on. The Athena blows the Game Changer out of the park for me with less overall discomfort. But I get along fine with the Game Changer too just for clarification. The Athena is my number one razor in overall results.
I wonder if the titanium Blackbird would be a bit like the Game Changer .84 but even more so?
For what I can tell the Blackbird has significantly more blade feel for me compared to the Game Changer .84 - if the .76 is your sweet spot I would say the Blackbird is a bit too much. But that’s just my view of course.
 
Exactly what you wonder is what is going on. The Athena blows the Game Changer out of the park for me with less overall discomfort. But I get along fine with the Game Changer too just for clarification. The Athena is my number one razor in overall results.

For what I can tell the Blackbird has significantly more blade feel for me compared to the Game Changer .84 - if the .76 is your sweet spot I would say the Blackbird is a bit too much. But that’s just my view of course.
Though I suspect you are right, I guess my hope is that if I committed to the Blackbird I might benefit from the added feedback it gives and master it in the end. Or at least it would be fun to try. Appreciate the reply.
 
Though I suspect you are right, I guess my hope is that if I committed to the Blackbird I might benefit from the added feedback it gives and master it in the end. Or at least it would be fun to try. Appreciate the reply.
Most welcome. If you can you should definitely at least try the Blackbird. Blackland has a 30 day return policy to accomodate that. The exposure on the Blackbird is .10 according some sources and .22 according to our own B&B sources. I think that that's more than the Game Changer, however on balance I think the Game Changer can be harsher on my skin, because it has a different angle of attack compared to the Blackbird.

In my statistics the Blackbird definitely ranks higher than the Game Changer (OC or SB for that matter).

Do keep us posted of your decision / progress.

Cheers,

Guido.
 
Exactly what you wonder is what is going on. The Athena blows the Game Changer out of the park for me with less overall discomfort. But I get along fine with the Game Changer too just for clarification. The Athena is my number one razor in overall results.

For what I can tell the Blackbird has significantly more blade feel for me compared to the Game Changer .84 - if the .76 is your sweet spot I would say the Blackbird is a bit too much. But that’s just my view of course.
Everyone is different of course but I don’t get it when people say the blackbird has a lot of blade feel. I have both the TI and SS versions and I honestly don’t feel a thing🤷. They are both outstanding razors for their smoothness and efficiency. No need to over shave with either so no irritation at all.
 
Everyone is different of course but I don’t get it when people say the blackbird has a lot of blade feel.
Well blade feel for me isn’t necessarily a bad thing - I might even prefer it. I just notice the blade is there compared to other razors where I have that sensation less. But I am still learning with the Blackbird. So far it is wonderful and very effective, but also like other razors needing three passes to get to my desired smoothness.
 
Thanks for this thread... I'm trying to decide between these two for my next razor. Opinions welcome.

I started w/ a Henson medium which I sold after getting a Game Changer with .68, .76, and .84. In general the .76 feel like the sweet spot on that one for me though sometimes I get great results from the .84 and it's generally easier to clean up tricky spots than with the .76 or Henson, though I can get an occasional weeper w/ the .84. .68 takes a lot of passes to get things smooth.

In search of the next better thing I got an Overlander. It does well for me, especially against the grain but I fine have to buff a lot to get thing really cleaned up, especially in tricky spots and it performs much better on the easy, flat parts vs the trickier spots, which can lead to an uneven shave if I don't work at it. It feels more solid and less "chattery" than the Game Changer, especially against the grain but the lack of blade fee can make it hard to know what's going on.

I can get a good shave with all of them but if I rub my hand against the grain, I wouldn't say it's completely smooth. I can also get irritation on two spots on my neck with all of them, though this is easiest to avoid with the Overlander.

Given all the above, I wonder if I should just keep working with these. I def feel like I can get better at using what I have. I haven't done much against the grain with the Game Changers, for example.

But of course it's also fun to think about the next thing.

I wonder if the titanium Blackbird would be a bit like the Game Changer .84 but even more so? IE, it works great but nicks me occasionally if I don't pay close attention but would give me the cleanest shave once I master it. But I find it hard to avoid all irritation w/ the Game Changer and worry the same might be true w/ the Blackbird. Overall, I'd rather have a less perfect shave with no irritation. And I wonder it the Athena would get closer than what I have but require a bit less vigilance and work and be less likely to cause irritation, which sounds like a good thing. I'm especially intrigued when I've read that the Athena gives great auditory feedback without actual blade feel, which sounds like a great feature.
Of the razors mentioned in your comment, I have the Blackbird, Game Changer .84, and Athena.
Definitely in this group, the roughest feel is the Blackbird, then the Game Changer, but despite the blade feel, less effective and as the smoothest, user-friendly but still very effective Athena. With the latter, I can get the same depth of shave as the first two, but with a significantly more comfortable feel.
If I have to choose between the three, I definitely choose Athena. With the other two, I would part with no particular sentiments, but since I know that an eventual sale will mean a price significantly lower than that at which I bought them, better to keep them. Would I part with Athena? NO! What's more, I ordered a second one in titanium and am looking forward to it.
 
Thanks for this thread... I'm trying to decide between these two for my next razor. Opinions welcome.

I started w/ a Henson medium which I sold after getting a Game Changer with .68, .76, and .84. In general the .76 feel like the sweet spot on that one for me though sometimes I get great results from the .84 and it's generally easier to clean up tricky spots than with the .76 or Henson, though I can get an occasional weeper w/ the .84. .68 takes a lot of passes to get things smooth.

In search of the next better thing I got an Overlander. It does well for me, especially against the grain but I fine have to buff a lot to get thing really cleaned up, especially in tricky spots and it performs much better on the easy, flat parts vs the trickier spots, which can lead to an uneven shave if I don't work at it. It feels more solid and less "chattery" than the Game Changer, especially against the grain but the lack of blade fee can make it hard to know what's going on.

I can get a good shave with all of them but if I rub my hand against the grain, I wouldn't say it's completely smooth. I can also get irritation on two spots on my neck with all of them, though this is easiest to avoid with the Overlander.

Given all the above, I wonder if I should just keep working with these. I def feel like I can get better at using what I have. I haven't done much against the grain with the Game Changers, for example.

But of course it's also fun to think about the next thing.

I wonder if the titanium Blackbird would be a bit like the Game Changer .84 but even more so? IE, it works great but nicks me occasionally if I don't pay close attention but would give me the cleanest shave once I master it. But I find it hard to avoid all irritation w/ the Game Changer and worry the same might be true w/ the Blackbird. Overall, I'd rather have a less perfect shave with no irritation. And I wonder it the Athena would get closer than what I have but require a bit less vigilance and work and be less likely to cause irritation, which sounds like a good thing. I'm especially intrigued when I've read that the Athena gives great auditory feedback without actual blade feel, which sounds like a great feature.
Both razors will out shine the Game Changer .84. You can’t go wrong with either choice. The BB and Athena are both absolutely great performers. Ask yourself if you prefer low blade exposure, high efficiency or high blade exposure, high efficiency then you’ll have your answer.

I prefer the Ti Blackbird over the Athena by a hair. I enjoy the blade feel and coolness factor of the design as well as the lighter weight. The Athena is a stellar performer with its own world class design but I tend to reach for the Bird more often. I will admit I wouldn’t want to be without either of them.
 
Both razors will out shine the Game Changer .84. You can’t go wrong with either choice. The BB and Athena are both absolutely great performers. Ask yourself if you prefer low blade exposure, high efficiency or high blade exposure, high efficiency then you’ll have your answer.

I prefer the Ti Blackbird over the Athena by a hair. I enjoy the blade feel and coolness factor of the design as well as the lighter weight. The Athena is a stellar performer with its own world class design but I tend to reach for the Bird more often. I will admit I wouldn’t want to be without either of them.
Thanks… good way to think about it. I’m not sure. I have enough experience with high blade feel to know the answer. Seems like I am likely to buy both eventually.
 
Next up in my razor comparison series I have again set two giants in the arena: The Blackbird against the Athena. What will the verdict be?

Blackland Blackbird

The Blackbird I have weighs 90 grams (compared to the 94 grams listed on Blackland's website) with (according to Kickstarter) a blade gap of .58mm and blade exposure of .101mm. The Blackbird is a true masterpiece in terms of design and design features. During the shaves I had so far no clogging at all, blade alignment is always spot on and the fit of head and handle is amazing. Its head design leads to an intuitive finding of the right angle and the Blackbird literally guides me across my face and neck letting me know if my angle is off or not. Nice level of audio feedback as well - although I definitely have razors that produce much more audio than this Blackbird. The 90 grams steel doesn't feel as such when shaving. It is very nimble and easy to manouvre around. I am getting better and better in obtaining stellar results.


Lambda Athena

The Athena hit the streets somewhere in 2022 and was/is an instant hit with wet shavers across the globe. It's design is one of the most gorgeous I have every seen. It is made of a nickel aluminium bronze alloy and therefore not just plain brass. I noticed some patina this morning on mine, but it is very slight and barely noticable. Theo has managed to be a staple in wet shaving and is on his way to becoming a household name similar to Blackland before him. It weighs 105 grams with a blade gap of .34mm and neutral blade exposure. On paper this might sound very mild. Even a Tech razor has some positive blade exposure. Looks can be deceiving as we by now know. Audio feedback is very present. No clogging at all thanks to the lather channels and Athena's special way of rinsing (which the Mühle Rocca also has to some extent). As with the Blackbird the Athena doesn't feel heavy during shaving. For this comparison they are in each other's ball park.


Summary of results

DateRazorBladeQualityComfortEffectiveness
04.05.2024BlackbirdRubie Plus9.509.009.25
05.05.2024AthenaRubie Plus9.759.009.25
15.05.2024BlackbirdMinora9.757.509.00
19.05.2024AthenaMinora10.09.009.00
20.05.2024BlackbirdNacet10.09.009.25
21.05.2024AthenaNacet10.09.008.75






Average Blackbird SS
9.758.509.17

Average Lambda Athena
9.929.009.00

Notes

Both razors are daily drivers for me. I am in love with both their designs and the way their designers have managed to find their take on the perfect shave. The Blackbird has definitely grown on me with just 14 shaves to date compared to the 33 shaves I have had with the Athena. For both razors to come this close to each other says something about the Blackbird. I have had more consistent results with the Blackbird.

The Athena scores a weighted average of overall of 9.31 whereas the Blackbird scores 9.21. The difference is mainly due to a cleaner shave with the Athena in terms of weepers, nicks and the like during the shave. So overall the Athena wins this round, but the differences are very slim to say the least. When purely looking at the end result of the shave the Blackbird wins. In fact, based on my shave statistics the Blackbird is my most effective razor to date. There are a couple that score better, but that's based on too few observations. The Athena gets me almost the same great shave results with more comfort - although I do not mind a little blade feel (which by the way the Athena provides even though it has neutral blade exposure!).

Superb results with both razors and you cannot go wrong with either. I at least absolutely love both of them.
I am currently alternating my Athena with my BrassBird (I've pulled out all my brass and bronze razors to organize a brass band competition to escape my work on a shared diary system for a while). I find the BrassBird more comfortable than either the SS or Ti Birds. I find the Athena and Brassbird almost identical in results except the Athena is pretty much blade agnostic while a Kai in the BrassBird is "Warning, Danger Will Robinson". Sometimes a little more touch up is needed with the Athena.
 
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Thanks… good way to think about it. I’m not sure. I have enough experience with high blade feel to know the answer. Seems like I am likely to buy both eventually.
I've been thinking a lot about the ways we measure the performance of a razor. The two measures most mentioned are "efficiency" and "comfort/aggressiveness". Two other measures which I think are worth considering are "consistency" and "ease of use". The Athena is a marvel in that based solely on the two metrics of efficiency and aggressiveness its weighted score is very likely higher than the Blackbird, given the efficiency is almost at parity but the comfort is higher. That said, the I find the results of the Athena to be a little more variable than the Blackbird. Part of this is because its efficiency is more influenced by blade choice, and part because, in my opinion, the head shape and blade angle leave more room room for results to vary depending on how it's used. Of course, with practice the variance in outcomes will go down. That said, the Blackbird delivers an amazingly consistent result right out of the gate, more consistent in my opinion than the Athena. This may have to do with the design of the head, the angle of the blade, or even the combination of blade gap/blade exposure. Whatever the reason, I feel more confident when using the Blackbird that I know what the outcome will be, which is a guaranteed BBS. Lastly, because there is less variability in performance in some ways the Blackbird is simply easier to use once the shaver learns to respect its aggressiveness. Therefore, when I take into consideration the two additional metrics of "consistency" and "ease of use" I might actually give the Blackbird a slightly higher composite performance score than the Athena. But alas, even these expanded scores don't tell the whole story, because a fifth metric, one which is much more subjective and therefore impossible to empirically measure is "enjoyment". And of course here, it's completely in the eye of the beholder. To me the Athena is a work of art and engineering masterpiece, and therefore a must have for any DE shaving enthusiast. As cliche as it sounds, my answer is to own both.
 
There is another factor that determines the degree of comfort. I mean, the way the blade is gripped. With the Blackbird, it is definitely not the most stable grip, there is a "chatter" especially when doing the ATG. With Athena, the blade is clamped, extremely stable, very close to the edge, it does not allow any wiggle, it feels stable as if it is part of the razor, not an additional element.
If the way it's made matters to you, there are differences there too. The Athena is perfectly crafted and mirror polished, while the Blackbird has some imperfections.
Still, the Blackbird is a high-end razor and, until just a few months ago, was my first choice.
 
Thanks for this thread... I'm trying to decide between these two for my next razor. Opinions welcome.

I started w/ a Henson medium which I sold after getting a Game Changer with .68, .76, and .84. In general the .76 feel like the sweet spot on that one for me though sometimes I get great results from the .84 and it's generally easier to clean up tricky spots than with the .76 or Henson, though I can get an occasional weeper w/ the .84. .68 takes a lot of passes to get things smooth.

In search of the next better thing I got an Overlander. It does well for me, especially against the grain but I fine have to buff a lot to get thing really cleaned up, especially in tricky spots and it performs much better on the easy, flat parts vs the trickier spots, which can lead to an uneven shave if I don't work at it. It feels more solid and less "chattery" than the Game Changer, especially against the grain but the lack of blade fee can make it hard to know what's going on.

I can get a good shave with all of them but if I rub my hand against the grain, I wouldn't say it's completely smooth. I can also get irritation on two spots on my neck with all of them, though this is easiest to avoid with the Overlander.

Given all the above, I wonder if I should just keep working with these. I def feel like I can get better at using what I have. I haven't done much against the grain with the Game Changers, for example.

But of course it's also fun to think about the next thing.

I wonder if the titanium Blackbird would be a bit like the Game Changer .84 but even more so? IE, it works great but nicks me occasionally if I don't pay close attention but would give me the cleanest shave once I master it. But I find it hard to avoid all irritation w/ the Game Changer and worry the same might be true w/ the Blackbird. Overall, I'd rather have a less perfect shave with no irritation. And I wonder it the Athena would get closer than what I have but require a bit less vigilance and work and be less likely to cause irritation, which sounds like a good thing. I'm especially intrigued when I've read that the Athena gives great auditory feedback without actual blade feel, which sounds like a great feature.
Mate, I think keeping in mind that the GC .76 is the sweet spot for you, the Athena would be perfect. I found it to be mild but very efficient. The Blackbird definitely has a learning curve but once you've figured that out, there is no turning back.

The Information from all our Lads here is Gold and that's cause they are seasoned Bird or Athena Users. I think @gdawg55 nailed it perfectly when he said this , "Ask yourself if you prefer low blade exposure, high efficiency or high blade exposure, high efficiency then you’ll have your answer. " and this is coming from a lad who is very passionate about both Razors. I think @Guido75 too laid it out beautifully on page one, teh comparison was spot on.

I find the GC.84 very mild and love the 1.05 better but for me the Sweet Spot would be the Lupo 127. Having said that, I still find the Athena a Stellar and extremely enjoyable Shaver. I'll be blunt and say this If you find the GC .84 even a little aggressive, then go for the Athena blindly. If you can get to a point where you can use the GC.84 comfortably as a daily shaver, get the Blackbird.

Or better still, get both and then you can pick the Razor for the cause on a given day depending on growth or mood etc.
 
@4starbar, if the GC 76p is your sweet spot and the GC 84p might be too much, I'd highly recommend getting the Athena over the Blackbird, if those are the two you're looking at. Both are efficient, but the BBird is way more aggressive than the 84p. But that is just my opinion, having had all of those razors, your might find different.
 
Of the razors mentioned in your comment, I have the Blackbird, Game Changer .84, and Athena.
Definitely in this group, the roughest feel is the Blackbird, then the Game Changer, but despite the blade feel, less effective and as the smoothest, user-friendly but still very effective Athena. With the latter, I can get the same depth of shave as the first two, but with a significantly more comfortable feel.
If I have to choose between the three, I definitely choose Athena. With the other two, I would part with no particular sentiments, but since I know that an eventual sale will mean a price significantly lower than that at which I bought them, better to keep them. Would I part with Athena? NO! What's more, I ordered a second one in titanium and am looking forward to it.

Mate, I think keeping in mind that the GC .76 is the sweet spot for you, the Athena would be perfect. I found it to be mild but very efficient. The Blackbird definitely has a learning curve but once you've figured that out, there is no turning back.

The Information from all our Lads here is Gold and that's cause they are seasoned Bird or Athena Users. I think @gdawg55 nailed it perfectly when he said this , "Ask yourself if you prefer low blade exposure, high efficiency or high blade exposure, high efficiency then you’ll have your answer. " and this is coming from a lad who is very passionate about both Razors. I think @Guido75 too laid it out beautifully on page one, teh comparison was spot on.

I find the GC.84 very mild and love the 1.05 better but for me the Sweet Spot would be the Lupo 127. Having said that, I still find the Athena a Stellar and extremely enjoyable Shaver. I'll be blunt and say this If you find the GC .84 even a little aggressive, then go for the Athena blindly. If you can get to a point where you can use the GC.84 comfortably as a daily shaver, get the Blackbird.

Or better still, get both and then you can pick the Razor for the cause on a given day depending on growth or mood etc.
Great feedback. Thx!
 
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