06-10-2013, 04:37 PM
#1
  • Codfish
  • Product Tester
  • Connecticut Shoreline
User Info
[Image: IMAG0038_zpsc7151934.jpg]

Two years ago, I received my first Black Fibre brush from MÜHLE. This was my first new generation synth, and it was remarkable in a number of ways. I was very impressed with it. The fibers have features designed into them that dramatically improve issues reported with the former generations of synthetic brushes. I was surprised by the softness of the tips, its ability to hold water and the fast drying time. Its price made it a great value, too.

There was no noticeable break-in period with the brush. It performed as well on Day 1 as it does two years later. It had a number of characteristics that were immediately apparent:

• ergonomic design

• softness of the tips

• performance

• quick drying time

• economical use of soaps/cream

It quickly became my favorite of the dozen or so brushes I owned at the time.

Since that first MÜHLE synthetic brush, I acquired three more Black Fibre brushes. I've noticed over time that, as with the R41 razor, MÜHLE quietly introduces refinements to its products without fanfare. My first Black Fibre brush (center right below) sported a loft of 66mm. The second had a loft of 60mm. The third measured 54mm, and the brush I received today from Connaughts has a loft of 50mm!

True, they are all MÜHLE Black Fibre brushes, and yes, they all have remarkably soft tips, and all work very well with any soap or cream I use. But I suspect that there are differences not explained by loft alone.

The brush I received today is from the new RYTMO line. It is still made by machine, and as a result does not have the density of a hand-built MÜHLE STF V1 or V2 brush. The backbone is very nice. So much so that it provides great face feel and a nice massaging/scrubbing quality. At less than $35 delivered to Connecticut, it is still a great bargain.

The brush's handle is a big departure from the plastic HJM brushes I own. This is wood--very attractive and nicely grained. At 98 grams, it has a very solid heft and feel. The metal trim is beautifully chromed and polished.

The brush fibers are wonderfully soft. So much so that I question whether if they are the original fibers that I found on my first Black Fibre brush. They look and feel thinner--more like the fibers on a Kabuki brush. But I cannot be sure. I examined them under 10X magnification, and they are very gently tapered for almost their entire length.

Is this the V2 version of Black Fibres? MÜHLE will not confirm. My suspicions are due to the short loft, which I doubt would have been possible with the original fibers.

I'd really like the opinion of those who have tried these new brushes. And Gary, I'll be sending this brush to you for your opinion, too.



[Image: 6-10-201312-31-05PM_zps19ad704c.jpg] [Image: photo_7_1_zps4c861e8d.jpg]



[Image: a0dd8ec2-185c-4a8f-af42-1b03a2854558_zps2fc5da65.jpg]

0 254
Reply
 06-10-2013, 04:44 PM
#2
User Info
Excellent review, I look forward to reviewing this new version.

1 2,827
Reply
 06-10-2013, 04:49 PM
#3
User Info
Good looking brush, I smell a Father's Day self gift coming, how did you get it for 35?

1 85
Reply
 06-10-2013, 04:51 PM
#4
  • TexBilly
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Austin, TX
User Info
Jim - as always, well done and informative! It appears these brushes are getting better all the time and this wood model is easy on the eyes to boot (no surprise from Muhle). Well done...how about you post it in our Brush Review forum? Cool

35 2,703
Reply
 06-10-2013, 05:11 PM
#5
User Info
Wonderful! I recently sent my Black Fibre brush to my brother-in-law. I think I would really like the shorter loft that they are making available now. Thanks for sharing.

31 7,912
Reply
 06-10-2013, 06:19 PM
#6
User Info
I've been thinking about a synthetic, so this is definitely another option for consideration.

10 2,062
Reply
 06-10-2013, 08:44 PM
#7
  • TRBeck
  • Unregistered
User Info
Were I to acquire a synthetic, I think it would almost certainly be a Muehle. I like the look of these handles but m undecided on the black fibre. Thanks for the concise, thorough review here.

0
Reply
 06-10-2013, 08:47 PM
#8
User Info
Thanks for the review, Jim!

75 20,883
Reply
 06-11-2013, 05:59 AM
#9
User Info
I am glad to hear these are improving.
I bought an hjm black fibre last year. While the fibres were very good, the loft was too high and density too low for face lathering. It did however whip up a ton of lather in no tome and with very little product. A desnser shorter loft version should make a terrific brush.

6 808
Reply
 06-11-2013, 08:15 AM
#10
  • tsimmns
  • Senior Member
  • Mississippi
User Info
Thanks for the review. I must say I love the look of that clear based brush with the blue around it. I think I just have a fascination with clear looking brushes like Semogue makes.

15 970
Reply
 06-11-2013, 08:55 AM
#11
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
User Info
Great review the more I read the reviews about the Muhle Synthetics, I definitely will be adding one to my Nook

1 3,507
Reply
 06-11-2013, 08:55 AM
#12
User Info
Thanks for the review. I definitely see a Muhle synth in my future.

15 762
Reply
 06-11-2013, 09:12 AM
#13
User Info
Jim, I always appreciate your reviews and this one no less.

I have not tried Muhle Black Fibre before but do enjoy their Silvertip Fibre. My favorite is the 25mm V2.

It really befuddles me why Muhle would not be more forthcoming on things they are doing which we (enthusiasts, admittedly) know that they are doing. I remember Christian Mueller was present at the Great Shave 2012, and he was reportedly very forthcoming about his thoughts and excitement regarding his product line.

I do not mean to distract from the thread...only to contribute in the vein of the OP. First STF V2, then the 2013 R41 and now Black Fibre V2?! Maybe they think that updates would confuse the picture for a more casual user.

Nonetheless, a great review about product from a solid company. Just leaves me puzzled.

47 1,270
Reply
 06-11-2013, 10:20 AM
#14
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
User Info
OK , now I want one !....

86 7,123
Reply
 06-11-2013, 10:54 AM
#15
  • Exapno
  • Member
  • Northampton, England
User Info
Another excellent review Jim. I was about to order the HJM black fibre (as a travel brush) but I think I'll hold fire now and maybe go for one of the Rytmo or Vivo wooden handled brushes. I'm glad the lofts seem to be decreasing, I always found that old Mühle third from left in your top picture way too floppy. A side by side comparison of the Rytmo and HJM brushes reveals, to my eye at least, a significantly different knot.

0 132
Reply
 06-11-2013, 02:42 PM
#16
  • Codfish
  • Product Tester
  • Connecticut Shoreline
User Info
(06-11-2013, 09:12 AM)kentclark Wrote: ...It really befuddles me why Muhle would not be more forthcoming on things they are doing which we (enthusiasts, admittedly) know that they are doing...First STF V2, then the 2013 R41 and now Black Fibre V2?! Maybe they think that updates would confuse the picture for a more casual user...

First, let me say I am not positive that this brush is definitely V2 Black Fibre. It looks and feels that way to me, but I will send the brushes pictured to Gary for a second opinion. I'll also check European sites for the latest buzz. They seem to be first on the distribution chain.

For some time now, it has been an accepted fact that brush lofts with synthetics is directly related to the flexibility of the fibers, and that thinner fibers are necessary for shorter lofts. MUHLE has been gradually reducing lofts to a length that I think would be impossible with the original Black Fibres. The differences between the two pictured brushes is, at least to me, apparent.

Regarding your point about product upgrades, I agree that MUHLE has not appreciated the sophistication of their customers--shavers like us! Their products, perhaps starting with the R41 2011 and STF brushes, reach a very aware audience. While perhaps not the consumers of their high-end shave sets, we have probably done more to affect MUHLE's bottom line than their high-end customers in recent years. The published profit margins that MUHLE has enjoyed since the introduction of the R41 2011 and STF series of brushes may speak to that fact.

I respect the position that some product upgrades are a normal part of doing business. At the same time, the introduction of the V2 series and R41 2013 have created havoc for shavers and vendors alike. The apparent fact that U.S. vendors still do not have the R41 2013 model is inexcusable. MUHLE's supply side to the U.S. is a disaster, plain and simple.

Introducing entirely new lines of products--assuming that the RYTMO and VIVO brushes represent such efforts--is a cleaner and better approach, I think. It avoids confusion (if that is what they have done) to a great extent. The brush I have is a definite improvement, and it is clear to me (and vendors) that if I order one, that's what I will get.

(06-11-2013, 10:54 AM)Exapno Wrote: I was about to order the HJM black fibre (as a travel brush) but I think I'll hold fire now and maybe go for one of the Rytmo or Vivo wooden handled brushes. I'm glad the lofts seem to be decreasing...A side by side comparison of the Rytmo and HJM brushes reveals, to my eye at least, a significantly different knot.

The HJM Black Fibre brushes with 54mm lofts are quite nice. If you favor short lofts, the 50mm RYTMO I just received is excellent, indeed! It has very nice face-feel and backbone. Like the HJM line, it IS machine made to save costs. It is a wonderful to use medium-density brush.

0 254
Reply
 06-11-2013, 06:41 PM
#17
User Info
Thanks for your response, Jim. I think it is clear they are at the top of the heap (currently) with synthetic brushes and tooth comb razors (I think there is just one, the R41). Even more reason to flaunt them and let everyone know that they continue to push the envelope.

47 1,270
Reply
 06-11-2013, 07:03 PM
#18
User Info
(06-10-2013, 04:49 PM)MondoJ Wrote: Good looking brush, I smell a Father's Day self gift coming, how did you get it for 35?

Check the link he provided. Connaught Shaving will send this to the US for about $35.90, delivered. If you put it in your cart, select United States, you'll then see the USD price.

0 836
Reply
 06-18-2013, 03:24 PM
#19
User Info
(06-11-2013, 07:03 PM)5Savages Wrote:
(06-10-2013, 04:49 PM)MondoJ Wrote: Good looking brush, I smell a Father's Day self gift coming, how did you get it for 35?

Check the link he provided. Connaught Shaving will send this to the US for about $35.90, delivered. If you put it in your cart, select United States, you'll then see the USD price.

Thanks I have one on the way


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

1 85
Reply
 06-18-2013, 05:01 PM
#20
User Info
I received the brushes from Jim (Codfish) and after looking at, and feeling, the original Black Fibre versus this new one, it seems that Muhle has decided to follow a similiar product change strategy as the STF.

The original STF (Version 1) used a much thicker synthetic fiber and used a crimping technique to make the fibers better mimic a badger brush. Then after a production run, without much fan fare at all, Muhle replaced the fibers with a different synthetic fiber which was thinner and softer due to different tapering methods. The thinner fibers were packed closer to create more density than the original. This is the improved Version 2 STF that is available now.

The Black Fibre (Version 1) had a similar fiber to the original version 1 STF in that it was crimped to increase a resemblance to badger. The fibers were slightly different in coloration and the brush was different in density as compared to the Version 1 STF. This allowed the brush to have a different feeling when applied to the skin versus the Version 1 STF. Now once again without much discussion, Muhle has changed the fibers again to create the equivalent Version 2 for the Black Fibre. The Version 2 Black Fibre also has thinner fibers that have longer tapering. The strong crimping which was a hallmark of the Version 1 has reduced to a very minor waving effect. Just like the STF the Version 2 of the Black Fibre has much softer tips.

The new Version 2 Black Fibre brush is a very good brush, but is much more closer to the Version 2 STF in terms of backbone, feel and tip softness. This should be a very popular brush in the Muhle line up and is another way that Muhle is staying ahead of a pack of producers that are steadily gaining ground in the synthetic brush world.

At this point, however, I am going to make a statement about product line management. This is at least the third or fourth major product change to existing lines without any word of warning to loyal customers whatsoever. The concept of having quantum shifts in products without providing customers with an understanding as to what the differences are is, in the long run, detrimental to long term good will in the market place.

The R41 has gone through three major redesigns and both vendors and customers alike have been confused as to which R41 is in stock or which one they have. The STF and now the Black Fibre brush knots have each gone through a major design change with little to no discussion to what has changed. It seems as if weekly someone request information to help them to determine what version of product they have and how is it different from the current product, which ever one is current depending on which vendor you buy it from. If this continues and other companies continue to develop new products that are technologically competitive, and will properly mark changes in their products, and announce these changes publicly, they will take away market share from companies that utilize a blizzard of undocumented changes. That will increase market share for the competition over time because customers will not want to continue to risk incurring hidden obsolescence when they buy a "brand new" product.

1 2,827
Reply
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)