04-15-2012, 10:38 AM
#1
  • etoyoc
  • Active Member
  • NW Indiana
User Info
I had a Progress that I purchased and was using it in my rotation until I noticed that handle was cracked. I don't know how or when it became cracked, but it was cracked none-the-less. I set it aside and sort of forgot about the Progress. It sat neglected for well over a year. In the meanwhile, I managed to get a Mergress XL. It shaved well, and it was put in my rotation. However, by this point in time, my rotation was huge and it did not get used too often. Finally, I got around to contacting Merkur about that cracked Progress handle and sent it off to Germany. I received either a repair or a replacement Progress eventually and it just sat there in a cabinet with other razors that were not in rotation, but by that time the Mergress XL was sitting in the cabinet as well.

Time passed on....

recently, in a for sale post, it was mentioned that the Mergress XL had the same handle as the Progress. This I could not believe. For some reason I thought the Mergress XL had the XL handle. I went to the cabinet and pulled out the Plano container with my non 3-piece DE razors. I got out the Progress and the Mergress XL and compared them side to side. I looked at them from another angle. I got out my calipers. No matter how I looked at them, the handles were exactly the same. Wow...

So now, I realize that I have two of the same razor; one customized, and the other not.

So, this morning both razors were loaded with blades from the same pack. I confirmed that they are both calibrated the same. I set them both at 3 and let the shave off begin.

For day one, each pass was split in half with one half being done by the Progress and the other pass being the Mergress XL. For each pass, the razors swapped sides to avoid side of the face bias. The shave quality was identical (no surprise); however, the Mergress XL really did feel better. I didn't think about how I was holding it, it was natural. The Progress on the other hand I felt a little more clumsy with and at first I had to think about how I was holding it. Ahh... but then there was the ATG pass. In this pass it was the Mergress XL that felt a little more unwieldy. It is a close match.

When it was all done, I realized that I nicked the outer edge of my ear. How I did that, I have no clue, and I don't know which razor to blame.

The battle will continue through the week.

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 04-15-2012, 10:46 AM
#2
  • Harvey
  • Senior Member
  • North Hills CA
User Info
I have an original Mergress,Long handle and standard handle Progress and both a Bob,s knob and an Ikon knob and the knob makes no difference what so ever..just for looks and feel..like putting racing stripes on a car...the razor head stays the same....but we feel so much better when we have custom..rare and hard to get items...that is what really makes us feel we are using special equipment not available to the common man....welcome to my cave !!!!!

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 04-15-2012, 09:29 PM
#3
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Justin, great review, sir.

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 04-16-2012, 01:42 AM
#4
  • etoyoc
  • Active Member
  • NW Indiana
User Info
Day 2:

I used both razors again.
  • Pass One: WTG with Progress on right side, Mergress XL on left
  • Pass Two: WTG with Mergress XL on right side, Progress on left
  • Pass Three: ATG with Mergress XL on right side, Progress on left
  • Pass Four: ATG with Progress on right side, Mergress XL on left
Observations:
Comfort: The Mergress is still more comfortable to use, but not by much.
Audible: The Mergress produces much more accoustics. Without a doubt, if you enjoy the sound of the stubble being mowed down, this razor wins
Shave quality: It is still a toss up. Obviously the final shave was excellent, but did either razor out shine the other on any pass. I don't know. Because of the extra accoustics I felt like the Mergress was doing a better job. However, they have the same head and the same blade. Unless the extra length has me using a slightly better angle, I don't see how the Mergress can be actually shaving better.

So what is next? I am trying to decide to do a Progress only shave followed by a Mergress only shave to see if there is any shave difference. However, that introduces extra variables. I hesitate to assign a razor to only one side of my face because I have a definite side of the face bias. My left side of my neck is always better shaved than my right side. So the razor on the left would win any one side only challenge. Hmmm...

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 04-18-2012, 01:47 AM
#5
  • etoyoc
  • Active Member
  • NW Indiana
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Day 3: Progress only
Day 4: Mergress XL only

Through the entire shave, the Mergress felt better, it sounded better. I was convincing myself, it must be shaving better. The results of both shaves are about the same.

Is there any sense in continuing? hmmm...

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 04-18-2012, 02:28 AM
#6
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(04-18-2012, 01:47 AM)etoyoc Wrote: Day 3: Progress only
Day 4: Mergress XL only

Through the entire shave, the Mergress felt better, it sounded better. I was convincing myself, it must be shaving better. The results of both shaves are about the same.

Is there any sense in continuing? hmmm...

Having myself had the Progress as well as the 'Mergress' and 'Mergress XL' as well as the cooncatbob 'Bull Progress' (another Progress modification), I can say that the quality of the shave doesn't change appreciably with the modifications.

[Image: IMG_4154.jpg]

The heavier knobs in the Mergress and Mergress XL do balance the razor a bit better for the WTG and XTG passes but, like you, I found that for the ATG pass, the Progress handled better.

The Cooncatbob Bull Progress was a better experience -

A) It looks better than either the Progress or the Mergress
B) It weighs significantly more
C) The grip is much better (with the knurling on the handle)

However, at the end of the day, the shave was the same ----- I just like using it more.

I think there's a lot of 'placebo effect' in the Mergress modifications. Even the fact that he calibrates the knob better only makes a minor difference.

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 04-19-2012, 03:32 PM
#7
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I have had both a Progress and a Mergress (the original shorter version). I preferred the Mergress due to its better balance. The Progress always felt head heavy to me.

eric.

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 04-19-2012, 04:02 PM
#8
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(04-19-2012, 03:32 PM)glassmtn Wrote: I have had both a Progress and a Mergress (the original shorter version). I preferred the Mergress due to its better balance. The Progress always felt head heavy to me.

eric.

I am just the opposite. I prefer head heavy. That is why the Mergress and other mods never caught on with me.

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 04-19-2012, 04:57 PM
#9
  • etoyoc
  • Active Member
  • NW Indiana
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Well, I think the Mergress XL is better. However, I need to raise some funds to get in on a fountain pen deal, and the Mergress XL is a razor that I can survive without. Although it won, the margin of victory was tiny.

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 04-20-2012, 07:37 PM
#10
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
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do the (Progress, Mergress, cooncat) require special cleaning like a Merkur Vision?

What is the recommended cleaning method?

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 04-21-2012, 05:50 AM
#11
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The Progress/Mergress is just as easy to clean as any other two piece Merkur like the HD or the 37C Slant. The spring loaded base plate doesn't accumulate grime, but could be detail cleaned with a brief soak in diluted vinegar at about hot coffee temperatures.

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 04-21-2012, 08:28 AM
#12
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
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(04-21-2012, 05:50 AM)Dirty Texan Wrote: The Progress/Mergress is just as easy to clean as any other two piece Merkur like the HD or the 37C Slant. The spring loaded base plate doesn't accumulate grime, but could be detail cleaned with a brief soak in diluted vinegar at about hot coffee temperatures.

thanks for the response DT!
would that require disassembling the razor to get that part cleaned/flushed?

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 04-21-2012, 08:49 AM
#13
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(04-21-2012, 08:28 AM)gijames Wrote:
(04-21-2012, 05:50 AM)Dirty Texan Wrote: The Progress/Mergress is just as easy to clean as any other two piece Merkur like the HD or the 37C Slant. The spring loaded base plate doesn't accumulate grime, but could be detail cleaned with a brief soak in diluted vinegar at about hot coffee temperatures.

thanks for the response DT!
would that require disassembling the razor to get that part cleaned/flushed?

I don't know that you can actually remove the spring plate from the base plate. If you really wanted to clean it impeccably, I imagine you would have to fold a pipe cleaner to get into the smaller crevices. I would say it's easier to clean than a Fatboy.

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