04-25-2013, 12:01 PM
#1
  • Codfish
  • Product Tester
  • Connecticut Shoreline
User Info
Early this year, I began to hear rumors of a new version of the Mühle R41 which had been introduced to European customers quietly and without fanfare. I first saw pictures of the new model on a Spanish website. The new version had a larger top cap, and the base plate had also been enlarged slightly. No new model number had been assigned, and the original packaging had not been modified in any way. I remembered how quietly Mühle's new V2 series of shave brushes had been introduced, and suspected that they were doing the same with the R41.

The R41 has been controversial since its introduction--with many users loving it, while others found it "too much". This was especially true in Europe. After verifying the rumors, I ordered the new R41 head directly from Muhle and began to test it a month ago.

On first examination, it was very hard to see any differences except by a side-by-side comparison with the previous model. Differences are subtle indeed, but a close look shows that the new version has a slightly larger top cap (20.1mm) and base plate. The three close-up photos included with this review show the best way to identify the new model: the amount of blade exposure is the best and easiest identifying characteristic.

Could I tell the differences in shaving? Most definitely!

While the new version seems every bit as aggressive/effective as the original, it is significantly better behaved. The modifications seem geared toward making it easier and safer to use, and towards eliminating the blade flex that is sometimes noted with thinner blades.

I was concerned that it might have modifications that reduced its effectiveness, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I tried three- and four-pass shaves and received fine BBS shave with each approach.

I tried shaves with the 2013 on the left side of my face, and the original version on the right. For the next two weeks, I continued this testing procedure, alternating sides every day. I tried different blades and soaps/creams, sometimes with three passes and sometimes four—all with BBS results.

It took a few says to adjust to the new blade angle that the 2013 seemed to require. Because of the reduced blade exposure, the shallow angle I used previously was no longer possible, but a minor adjustment that did not affect shave quality in the least was easy to learn.

Is there any difference in the shave at all? Yes, but difficult to detect.

Does anyone remember the playing card test that Gillette used years ago? To do it, one draws a playing card (or business card) ATG along the cheek, holding it perpendicular to the face and listening for audible feedback.

I waited a full 12 hours and tried the card-scratch test on each side of my face. My suspicions were confirmed—the shave with the newer version did not last as long. But then, it was only detectable after 12 hours, and only with the card. I could not feel any difference to the touch! I repeated the card test over a two week period to verify my findings.

I am now leaning toward the opinion that the original R41 is a little more aggressive. The shave on that side is closer, but only by a tiny amount, and only with a three-pass shave. With four passes, both sides are excellent. On the other hand, the 2013 side had no irritation at all (as detected by a strong dose of Tabac cologne applied immediately after my shaves).

With over 450 shaves with the original R41, I have to say that the refined 2013 model should be a hit with all lovers of aggressive razors!

This is a summary of my impressions of the Mühle R41 2013 model:

The Mühle R41 2013, is a stunning pieces of craftsmanship, with flawless plating that reminded me of polished sterling or rhodium. During my testing, I used the original and longer, heavier Grande handles. They both had excellent size and heft, were well-balanced and felt good in my hands. During the testing, I alternate randomly between them. I feel that the shorter handle was more nimble, and that the Grande's extra length and weight also added to my shaving experience. In addition, I tried the Griest brass handle which is both short (3 inches) and heavy (111 grams). I liked this configuration very much as well.

Price: The cost of this razor depends on how carefully you shop. I bought mine for $45, and I’ve seen prices ranging from $36-$61*. The razor offers high value for the money.

Readers should be cautioned that the 2011 and 2013 models have the same model numbers and identical packaging. There is no way to tell which version you are buying without close visual comparison with a blade loaded, or by purchasing through a trusted vendor.

I gave the price a "10".

Quality: This is a beautiful and functional piece of craftsmanship. Mühle is known for high quality manufacturing standards and Rolls-Royce quality plating. I found the R41 to excel in every dimension of quality. I scored a "10" here.

User Friendly: I gave it a "9" because I actually prefer two- and three-piece razors for ease of cleaning. The extra few seconds it takes to replace a blade every few days I find negligible. The grip and balance contribute to great control and performance. I felt this razor made sure, close and comfortable shaves easy. I know that other shavers prefer TTO mechanisms, so I did not give it a top score in this category."9"

Grip: The grip and its finish are two of the R41's finest features. The texturing is attractive and provides a secure grip under slippery conditions. The handles are large enough to be well-suited to most users, but small enough to be very nimble. The Griest handle's knurling makes for an even better grip. A "9".

Ease of Blade Replacement: Personally, I like three-piece razors, especially this one. The quality of construction is even evident in the cut of the threads that bind it together. It is so well fitted that it screws into the head as smoothly as if it were coated with grease. A "9”.

Aggressiveness: This is an aggressive and effective razor capable of giving really fine shaves. With a sharp blade like Feathers, Perma-Sharps or Personna Med Preps it is arguably in a class by itself. This razor gives really fine, close and comfortable shaves. The 2013 model corrects the original version's tendency to "bite" because of blade exposure and flex with thinner blades, while providing a nearly identical shave. The only difference I could detect is a slight reduction in shave longevity, not closeness. "10"

Adjustability: This is a non-adjustable razor. The scoring shows as “1” because “N/A” is no longer a rating choice. However, I think it’s perfect the way it is.

Balance: I like the overall weight and balance of this razor very much. It is perfectly balanced for ease of use. A "10"

Overall: I still have difficulty holding back my enthusiasm for this razor. It’s just that good. It is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and for me, shaves better than any DE or SE razor I’ve ever used. The refinements in the 2013 model only effect the longevity of the shave, not the closeness.

I do not hesitate to recommend the R41 2013 to anyone who desires an aggressive razor. The new model also seems to have corrected the earlier version's tendency to shorten blade life. For me, sharp, smooth blades work best. I've had great success with Feathers, Personna Med Preps and Labs, Russian Perma-Sharps and Gillette Yellows.

Thank you to Christian Vela for his excellent photos and to Foroafeitado.com for permission to use them.

[Image: 0155cc61-d5f0-4cf8-abb0-10842ac63d66_zpsdd4e88a2.jpg] [Image: 6ddbfe98-c2a5-4e6d-8ce0-33f29f62ac7a_zps58e0336d.jpg]

*Connaught's and Shaving.ie

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 04-25-2013, 12:17 PM
#2
  • Harvey
  • Senior Member
  • North Hills CA
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Super excellent review...wow...I agree completely...but you nailed on every factor....excellent and complete description.

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 04-25-2013, 12:26 PM
#3
  • VTMAX
  • Banned
  • Woodstock, Vermont
User Info
Great review indeed. An endorsement from Harvey is no small feat either as he knows his DE's. I lean toward milder razors but this new model sounds intriguing for sure, especially WTG passes.

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 04-25-2013, 12:40 PM
#4
User Info
Jim, excellent and thorough review!
Can't wait to try mine when it gets here.Biggrin

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 04-25-2013, 01:04 PM
#5
  • YMMV
  • Junior Member
  • Europe
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Great review, thank you very much

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 04-25-2013, 01:21 PM
#6
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Thanks Jim for taking the time to write such an informative review.

A fine offering from Muhle it seems,and a razor with enough horsepower to bring me back from a long hiatus away from double edge shaving.

I've become a bit of a retro-grouch with razors,the 13R41 is currently the only DE Razor I own that wasn't manufactured before 1969.I'm pretty sure the average age of my DE razors is 80 years old or older.

I'm glad I followed my instincts on this razor,it's a keeper.

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 04-25-2013, 01:52 PM
#7
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Nice review !

I own and enjoy both R41 versions Smile

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 04-25-2013, 03:49 PM
#8
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Great review! I am really enjoying my '13 R41.

Jeff

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 04-25-2013, 04:08 PM
#9
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Tempted to pull the trigger. Need to decide between the regular or grand longer handle.. .

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 04-25-2013, 06:57 PM
#10
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Right on the money Jim and thanks again for that new 2013 head. It's fantastic!

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 04-25-2013, 07:05 PM
#11
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Excellent review and I am sure that many users on both sides of the Atlantic will be acquiring one of these "New R41s."

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 04-25-2013, 09:14 PM
#12
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
User Info
Yes, excellent review and I concur with everything that's been said. I don't think you could get a better shave from a current DE, not for the price anyway. Polsilver Browns work the best for me in the R41 so far, but I have yet to try the Gillette Thai Super Thins.

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 04-26-2013, 01:33 AM
#13
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Great review! I got one incoming, expected to arrive next week.

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 04-26-2013, 01:52 AM
#14
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Well researched and well written review!
Thanks.

So, now I need new razors?
:-)

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 04-26-2013, 02:40 AM
#15
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Great review. Thanks.

Received mine - with rose gold handle - from Connaughts about a week ago. Complete with a new Muhle razor stand. Looks superb, classy. I can't wait to try it. I'm holding out for a few more days as I've been trying to limit my use of razors to a specific selection of 3 per month. No exceptions. My current 3 picks for April are a type E injector, Merkur 34c HD and the 2011 R41.

It's a few days left until the month of May and the 2013 R41 will definitely be my first pick.

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 04-26-2013, 04:41 AM
#16
  • slantman
  • Expert Shaver
  • Leesburg, Florida
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Great review and concise.

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 04-26-2013, 08:01 AM
#17
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
User Info
Hi Jim

A very! well written review, excellent stuff Thumbsup

Is it just me (not seeing them), or is there no photos with the review?

Take care, Mike

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 04-26-2013, 08:37 AM
#18
  • Codfish
  • Product Tester
  • Connecticut Shoreline
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(04-26-2013, 08:01 AM)mikeperry Wrote: Hi Jim

A very! well written review, excellent stuff Thumbsup

Is it just me (not seeing them), or is there no photos with the review?

Take care, Mike

Corrected. Thanks!

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 04-26-2013, 08:47 AM
#19
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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(04-26-2013, 08:37 AM)Codfish Wrote: Corrected. Thanks!

Thank you Jim Thumbsup

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 04-26-2013, 09:02 AM
#20
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Great review Im ordering the rose version on Monday

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