08-01-2013, 08:20 PM
#1
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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iKon Shave Craft 101 Razor Preview


This year iKon will introduce another "dynamic precision engineered safety razor"...
but with a major difference...
Price!


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I already own a Shave Craft handle and Greg, the man behind iKon,
kindly sent me a Shave Craft 101 head to preview.


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***For those concerned with absolute transparency***
Please be aware:
1. I did NOT purchase this razor head
2. I have no affiliation with Greg or financial interest in iKon
3. I own a number of iKon razors and am a loyal customer
4. My views are my own and are not representative of The Shave Nook forum.

Now back to the preview...


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Like the iKon stainless steel offerings
this is another quality instrument, both in form and function.
However, it will be keenly priced to appeal to a mid level investor.

Firstly, aesthetically there is nothing mid range about this razor, it looks fantastic!


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What jumps out at you is what I also really like about it - it's size and bulk.
A beefed up appearance sets it apart from the more streamlined existing range
and provides a substantial look and feel.

In my mind, it's the OSS on steroids.


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It's true inspiration however, no doubt dates much further back.
Greg often seeks out gems from the past and reinvents long forgotten razors.
Using modern materials and with current preferences in mind
Greg has wowed a bevy of shavers with his contemporary iKon razors.

The muse for the Shave Craft 101 may well herald from Solingen
With the 1930's Punktal 101

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(Not my images of the Punktal, the originals can be viewed here)

Regardless of it's lineage,
IMO it's wonderful that a manufacturer is hunting down these classics
Investing in reinventing forgotten design ideas
to produce modern interpretations
with quality materials that are affordable and even more importantly available.

If not, I wouldn't even know about the Punktal,
and more importantly never have an opportunity to try anything like it!

Back on track...


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The size of the head is imposing.
Next of note is the finish.
The coating is smooth and feels like it offers both form and function
in that there is a certain glide derived from the finish
and a strong aesthetic appeal too.

The finish is similar to the current Deluxe, Standard and OSS
However, it somehow feels thicker and smoother to me.

It's rumoured that Greg may offer a second version in a matte black.
A stellar idea in my book and I predict if done it will be very well received.

Despite the bulkiness of the head it is lightweight and agile.
It navigates the face with ease and provides a soft gentle touch
making it an extremely comfortable and easy razor to use.
In contrast to the Modern (or Pils inspired range) that looked and felt heavy,
this oversized head looks imposing,
but is more of a sheep in wolf's clothing
when it comes to weight and presentation to the face.

I moved about the harder to reach areas under the nose
easily and confidently without need for multiple passes or touch ups.
In contrast to the size of the head, there was no problem with navigation.


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Traditionally, I do have a preference for open comb,
with the Joris being one of my favourite razors.
However, the latest iKon offering with the Standard
(which is currently another favourite razor)
helped me rediscover and enjoy SB razors again.
Well, there is no need to choose with the Shave Craft!
This model features both an OC and SB side
that offer equally comfortable and effective shaves.

Truth be told, I'm not really a fan of the dual personality head
and would prefer the option of purchasing the head twice,
in all open comb and all tooth comb.
However, I'm sure this option adds to it's uniqueness
and holds appeal to a shaver that hasn't discovered a preference to OC vs SB.
That said, it would not stop me purchasing one.

I found the OC to be ever so slightly more aggressive than the SB,
however it is the SB (or tooth comb) that felt the most comfortable
and became the side I favoured using.
The teeth on the OC felt slightly over sized
compared to my other smaller OC razors
in terms of the presentation of the teeth to the face.
Bottom line the OC side works perfectly,
but I really, really enjoyed the other side.


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I'm a 2 pass shaver.
First WTG and then ATG.
Sometimes I require touch ups here and there,
like with the Feather D1 and D2.
Other times I'll achieve a great shave in one pass, with my Joris for example,
but I always complete two passes and then stop,
measuring success from there
and avoiding the possibility of irritation from multiple passes.
Regularly the Feather D1 and D2, but also often the iKon OSS too,
left me feeling like I needed extra passes.
Although, nowhere in the vicinity of the Joris,
the Shave Craft satisfied my needs with my standard 2 passes.

The razor is very, very easy to use.
The shave is extremely comfortable.
The cutting angle is intuitive and not fussy at all.
Blade exposure is sufficient and there is no tugging,
just a smooth transition across the face.
The razor is more mild than it is aggressive.
It is however effective.
Much more so than the Feather D1, D2 and OSS
(all of which I consider to be mild).


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The Shave Craft, for me is an improvement over the OSS
in terms of effectiveness.
Not only is it a bulked up reincarnation,
but it is also performance enhanced too.

The short Shave Craft handle is a perfect mate in terms of weight and balance.
The razor will be retailed with the shiny finished Shave Craft handle
which is already available for purchase.
I love the short bulldog handle,
but can't help but think the overall presentation
will be even better with the matching finish on the handle.
Lucky for me, I have the iKon Standard and Deluxe models
that I can interchange handles with if this desire persists.


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In summary, I'm impressed with this razor.
I enjoy the presentation and finish.
I like the the size and bulk of the head.
The light weight adds to the comfort of the shave and it's so easy to use.
The agreeable investment positioning makes this razor very appealing,
But it is the carefree and comfortable shave devoid of any irritation
that warrants it's recommendation.

For those that crave an aggressive tool, this might not satisfy,
but at the price it may be worth trying?

I've shaved with the Shave Craft 101 for a week now,
and am looking forward to further shaves with it.
I'll definitely be acquiring the matte black version when it is released.

This stainless steel type hybrid head combination razor,
In my opinion is a bargain at around $65.

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 08-01-2013, 08:32 PM
#2
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Great preview Ben. Thank you.

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 08-01-2013, 08:34 PM
#3
  • Agravic
  • Emeritus
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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Thanks for the comprehensive preview, Ben ... beautiful photos! Smile

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 08-01-2013, 08:41 PM
#4
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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Thank-you gentlemen and I do wish to emphasise preview, more than review as IMO by virtue of the fact that the razor is not yet released, there is no avenue for peer review and the broader perspective that comes from a range of other comments from a variety of users with their own various experiences and individual opinions...

My aim here with "Previews" was to reward our members with the opportunity to learn of upcoming products prior to them being launched to the general public.

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 08-01-2013, 09:14 PM
#5
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Ben,
How would you rank the current Ikon lineup in terms of closeness of shave?

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 08-01-2013, 09:17 PM
#6
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(08-01-2013, 08:41 PM)ben74 Wrote: Thank-you gentlemen and I do wish to emphasise preview, more than review as IMO by virtue of the fact that the razor is not yet released, there is no avenue for peer review and the broader perspective that comes from a range of other comments from a variety of users with their own various experiences and individual opinions...

My aim here with "Previews" was to reward our members with the opportunity to learn of upcoming products prior to them being launched to the general public.
and thank you for a tasty preview.Biggrin

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 08-01-2013, 09:18 PM
#7
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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You are most welcome! Biggrin

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 08-01-2013, 09:34 PM
#8
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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(08-01-2013, 09:14 PM)Ronnie Aloha Wrote: Ben,
How would you rank the current Ikon lineup in terms of closeness of shave?

In order of most aggressive to least:

Muhle R41 (2011)
Joris
FaTip
Muhle R41 (2013)
iKon Standard (current model)
iKon Deluxe (current model)
iKon Deluxe (2nd generation)
Muhle R41 (pre 2010)
iKon Shave Craft 101
iKon Modern Bulldog
Pils 101
iKon Modern
iKon OSS
Feather D2
Feather D1

A quick list and in keeping with individual preferences please remember YMMV...

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 08-01-2013, 09:36 PM
#9
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As far as I understood, this is aluminum head. I don’t know what you are thinking about, but for me aluminum is nothing special. Market is full of cheap razors in better material, such as brass, so what’s the point to buy aluminum, when you can buy brass head from companies which have much longer creation history and bigger experience (let’s say German company Merkur)? Looking from other side, if this head could be made from 316 steel, that would be something special. I think price is not the main factor if you are buying good quality. But the fact is that market is full of cheap crap and it’s hard to get something really good.

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 08-01-2013, 09:45 PM
#10
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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You are correct, this head is not all stainless steel.

As for nothing special you are certainly entitled to that opinion. What is special to me is new shaving products. I'm passionate about traditional shaving and am regularly excited about the introduction of new products to this pursuit.

When iKon first introduced their ALL stainless steel razors to the market they were much more affordably priced (in line with this current offering). That was many years ago and I believe any manufacturer would be challenged to offer an all stainless steel razor for well under $100. iKon still make all stainless steel razors and price then accordingly. IMO the motivation behind the Shave Craft range is to offer a more affordable option. To achieve this, materials employed obviously will not be the same. Options IMO are good. As you noted there are many razor manufacturers and many options, which means that varying tastes and budgets can be accommodated. This is simply another option. A fairly unique option and IMO not a cheap crap option, if I thought otherwise I'd have little hesitation in saying so...

I welcome your input and as stated above the danger in any preview is bias and a lack of supportive or counter viewpoints based on experience with the product in question.

Also I noticed this was your first post. A warm welcome to The Shave Nook and when you find a moment, please don't forget to introduce yourself in the Introduction section.

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 08-01-2013, 09:58 PM
#11
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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Great preview Ben! Thank you for taking the time to do this.

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 08-01-2013, 09:59 PM
#12
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(08-01-2013, 09:34 PM)ben74 Wrote:
(08-01-2013, 09:14 PM)Ronnie Aloha Wrote: Ben,
How would you rank the current Ikon lineup in terms of closeness of shave?

In order of most aggressive to least:

Muhle R41 (2011)
Joris
FaTip
Muhle R41 (2013)
iKon Standard (current model)
iKon Deluxe (current model)
iKon Deluxe (2nd generation)
Muhle R41 (pre 2010)
iKon Shave Craft 101
iKon Modern Bulldog
Pils 101
iKon Modern
iKon OSS
Feather D2
Feather D1

A quick list and in keeping with individual preferences please remember YMMV...
[b]

Ben,
Can you put Tradere SB and OC in to the list?

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 08-01-2013, 09:59 PM
#13
  • beartrap
  • Resident Цирюльник
  • Southern California
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This looks very interesting, thanks for intro and nice pics.

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 08-01-2013, 10:07 PM
#14
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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Onur, I owned both the Tradere SB and OC and while I wanted to love these wonderfully crafted razors I had issues with finding a comfortable angle. This is a classic example of YMMV, because many others did not encounter the same problem. From my experience and memory I'd rate them similarly to the current iKon Deluxe and Standard, if not slightly more aggressive, but not R41 (2011) aggressive!

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 08-01-2013, 10:26 PM
#15
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Thanks Ben. I appreciate you taking the time to compose the list.

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 08-01-2013, 10:33 PM
#16
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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My pleasure! Biggrin

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 08-01-2013, 10:37 PM
#17
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First off excellent review Ben. Great price and I have always liked iKons.

(08-01-2013, 09:34 PM)ben74 Wrote: In order of most aggressive to least:

Muhle R41 (2011)
Joris
FaTip
Muhle R41 (2013)
iKon Standard (current model)
iKon Deluxe (current model)
iKon Deluxe (2nd generation)
Muhle R41 (pre 2010)
iKon Shave Craft 101
iKon Modern Bulldog
Pils 101
iKon Modern
iKon OSS
Feather D2
Feather D1

A quick list and in keeping with individual preferences please remember YMMV...

I think placing the OSS in here is tough. The SB side is mild like the Feathers, but I think the OC side is more aggressive than the pre 2010 Muhle R41 (aka the merkur OC). Very hard to pick a spot for those dual sided heads.

Hopefully Greg will change his mind and sell the handle which matches the head.

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 08-01-2013, 11:53 PM
#18
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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Agreed Doug, the OC side of the OSS is definitely more aggressive than the SB side, but overall I found it to be a mild razor for me.

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 08-02-2013, 12:41 AM
#19
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Excellent review Ben, and very informative. Great photographs........

Charles U.K

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 08-02-2013, 02:10 AM
#20
  • MikekiM
  • Senior Member
  • Long Island, NY
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Great job Ben and as always, great imaging.

I've never been shy about my love for the iKon line (primarily the pre-sintered products) and have or have had every one of them... some in multiple copies. Though I've not used a DE since early this year, I will purchase this one for sure. I think it's lines are beautiful and though I didn't love the OSS, I did enjoy the dual heads. This iKon is to me, what the Hart Steel is to straight razors, both in design and aesthetics. No nonsense, utilitarian and straightforward function.

I don't get the idea behind no matching handle. I think that is a marketing mistake. Not every one has a bevy of handles to swap off. The black version? Not sure.. I'd have to see it.

I don't think there is a DE out there that will lure me away from straights, but this one will coax a few dollars from my pockets. Thanks for the review.

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