02-18-2014, 11:24 AM
#1
  • Samjax
  • Active Member
  • Clearwater, Florida
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This week I have had the privilege of using and testing/comparing the Simpson Chubby 2 Synthetic 28/54. While I’m really fond of testing and comparing razors, I’ve been a little bit less enthusiastic about reviewing brushes; mostly due to the huge amount of subjectivity involved and the whole “YMMV” thing. Nevertheless, I will do my best to convey my thoughts regarding the latest Simpson to grace my face.

Plenty of pictures have been posted by both Gary and Teiste, so I will defer to their threads for the photography.

First, my current brush lineup:

Rudy Vey AS3M Shavemac Silvertip 31.5x56
Shavemac 167 D01 3 Band Extra Silvertip 30x55
Simpson Simfix Carnane 2 Band: 28/56
Rooney Heritage 3XL 2 Band: 30/54
Rudy Vey TGN 2 Band Finest: 30/57
Rudy Vey TGN 2 Band Finest: 31/54
Muhle 35 K 257 Synthetic V2.0 Fibre: 25/57
Omega 49
Omega 20106

By way of background, I’ve owned and used a considerable number of other brushes, including the Simpson Chubby 3 in Best, Super and Manchurian. The Simpson Chubby 2 in Best, Super and 2 Band. The Simpson Chubby 1 in 2 Band. Simpson Duke 3 in 2 Band. Simpson Ehsan. Simpson Polo 10, Persian Jar 3 and 59, all in 2 Band. Simpson Tulip 4 Super. Vulfix 40 and 41 in Silvertip. Frank Shaving synthetic 28/56 in both Generation 3 and 4 fiber versions. Rooney Finest in 22mm. A couple of M&F’s; 26 and 30mm 3 band blondes. I’ve owned most of the Semogue LE badgers and boars as well.

All of the above are good to great brushes and it’s been a blast to use them all.

As a side note, brushes, much like razors, can become somewhat redundant after a while – in that there is some overlap between their characteristics, performance and “face feel”. With that being the case, at least for me, I have sold or traded a good number of both brushes and razors only because they already had “stable mates” that pretty much performed the same (albeit sometimes with subtle nuances). The razors and brushes that I have kept, I’ve done so in many cases because they just “felt” better in my hand or on my face; or because they filled a particular niche that seemed to better round out my collection and at the same time, provided variety in the shaving experience.

Back to the Simpson Chubby 2 Synthetic. The short story is simply this – on my face, it was readily outperformed by the 25mm V2.0 Muhle. It was also outperformed by all of my badgers, although there were some similarities that I will share.

In comparison to the Muhle 35 K 257 V2.0 25mm brush, the Simpson was “stiffer” and a bit more difficult to splay. The Muhle is by no means floppy – it does however feel a bit larger on the face than its 25mm knot would suggest. I tend to like “bigger” brushes and I was quite surprised that the Muhle felt as good as it did. The Simpson Chubby 2 Synthetic has a bigger knot and a fatter, but shorter, handle. I don’t particularly care for either handle by the way. The Muhle has good height, but is too slim for my liking. The Chubby 2 has a nice diameter, but I don’t like the height. On the other hand, I really like the Chubby 3 handles, but that’s another story. To summarize the handles – I don’t particularly care for either one.

Back to the Muhle 25mm and the Chubby 2. These fibers have to be pretty much the same I would guess. They are both using what appears to be the latest generation of synthetic hair so in the end, it comes down to knots, lofts, handles and final assembly quality (and glue bumps or the lack thereof). There’s no doubt more to it than that, but for the end user, those qualities are those most commonly recognized by end users.

I believe that the Chubby 2 Synthetic needs more loft if it is going to get closer to its Chubby 2 badger siblings (it is labeled Synthetic Badger – so striving to be like it’s Badger brothers/sisters seems to be a fair goal). The fibers are of course, very soft; but with the short loft, the fiber presents itself as too stiff to compare favorably with the badgers. I would guess that an added 5mm+ of loft would be just enough to get this brush very close to what I would be looking for. As it is, the Chubby 2, while silky soft, is simply too springy and a bit harder to splay and stiffer than it should be. What I mean by this is that you have to “concentrate” quite a bit more with the Chubby 2 Synthetic to get it to perform decently than you do the Muhle 25mm or any of the badgers (the Shavemac D01 being the exception). As it is now, both a Simpson Chubby 2 in Super or 2 Band would eat this thing alive.

When properly splayed, the Simpson takes up about the same amount of real estate on my face as does my Simpson Carnane. If you don’t apply enough pressure to splay it properly, it’s face feel deteriorates rapidly. On the other hand, the Muhle, much like the Carnane and the Rooney 3XL, simply performs well without much thought. The Simpson actually reminds me of my last Frank Shaving Pur-Tech 4.0 brush. The Simpson is no doubt built better – but the actual feel of the two is very close. The Frank has the glue bump thing going on, but then again, it has a taller loft than does the Simpson. The final “face feel” result is very similar. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Simpson feels and performs MUCH closer to the Frank Shaving 28/57 than it does to the 25mm Muhle.

When compared to my badger brushes, the Simpson Synthetic (when properly splayed) has the face coverage of the Simpson Carnane, but feels a lot more like a shorter lofted Shavemac D01 3 band than it does to the Simpson Carnane 2 Band, Rooney Heritage, TGN 2 Band Finest or the Shavemac Silvertip. I guess if you’ve owned a shorter loft Shavemac D01 3 Band, you get the picture. If you like brushes on the “stiffer” side, this Simpson may make you happy. If you’re looking for a Simpson Chubby 2 Super or 2 Band feel, this isn’t the brush for you, at least not in it's current configuration.

Final Verdict: The Simpson Synthetic as it is, would not make it into my rotation and is not quite ready for primetime. It does not perform as well as the Simpson, Rooney, TGN or Shavemac badgers and it does not perform as well as the new Muhle synthetic. It is however, pretty close, for better or for worse, to the current Frank Shaving Pur-Tech 4.0.

I’m a Simpson fan – no doubt about it. I am not however, a fan of this particular Simpson brush. I’m hoping that some more knot/loft experimentation will take place to get a closer “dial in” to Simpson’s outstanding Chubby 2 badger brushes.

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 02-18-2014, 11:27 AM
#2
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Nice review. I'm a big Simpson fan & also of the Muhle synthetics. I was a bit worried that the Chubby route would not be the way to go, as it would need more loft & splay.

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 02-18-2014, 11:34 AM
#3
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Excellent, careful review. Thanks for posting it.

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 02-18-2014, 11:42 AM
#4
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Thanks for the candid review, Tom! Smile

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 02-18-2014, 11:57 AM
#5
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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Thanks for the review. Makes me thinking again, if I should get one. I do not particularly like stiff, short lofted brushes. The Simpson 2 Bands are different because the tips and face feel are very soft and can take the shorter loft (my Chubby 2 is a 27/47mm or so).

I did not like my Muehle 23mm, nor the Black Fibre version. The Plisson seems about right but could use a bit shorter loft.

Will be interesting to test the Chubby 2 Synthetic. Too bad I did not make it on the tester list... Biggrin

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 02-18-2014, 11:58 AM
#6
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Excellent review Tom.

As far as loft the Simpsons is the shortest overall of the four generation 4 synthetic brushes at 54 mm. The Mühle STF V2 25 mm knot is set at 57 mm. The question is whether Simpsons is going for a dominant face lathering mode with this brush by keeping it stiffer with the shorter loft and whether production models will have slightly longer lofts.

Here are the measurements for comparison:

Mühle 35 K 257 STF V2
Knot Size 25 MM
Overall Height 107 MM
Handle Height 50 MM
Loft 57 MM

Frank Shaving Pur-Tech Synthetic

Knot Size 28 MM
Overall Height 106 MM
Handle Height 49 MM
Loft 57 MM **
** Effective loft varies due to glue bump mine
The effective loft on mine is 47 mm while others have reported up to 50 mm.

H.I.S. Original Synthetic
Knot Size 28 MM
Overall Height 124 MM
Handle Height 64 MM
Loft 60 MM *
* Some have been measured with longer lofts

Simpsons Synthetic Badger
Knot Size 28 MM
Overall Height 98 MM
Handle Height 44 MM
Loft 54 MM

As I stated in my review, I am interested to see how production models will differ from the early release prototypes.

Again, great review.

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 02-18-2014, 11:59 AM
#7
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Thanks for a very careful review.

Quick question: You stated, "What I mean by this is that you have to “concentrate” quite a bit more with the Chubby 2 Synthetic to get it to perform decently than you do the Muhle 25mm or any of the badgers (the Shavemac D01 being the exception)."

What do you mean by the Shavemac D01 reference?

In your opinion, would a D01 2 band 32mm/50mm splay well?

Thanks

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 02-18-2014, 12:09 PM
#8
  • Samjax
  • Active Member
  • Clearwater, Florida
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(02-18-2014, 11:59 AM)CyanideMetal Wrote: Thanks for a very careful review.

Quick question: You stated, "What I mean by this is that you have to “concentrate” quite a bit more with the Chubby 2 Synthetic to get it to perform decently than you do the Muhle 25mm or any of the badgers (the Shavemac D01 being the exception)."

What do you mean by the Shavemac D01 reference?

In your opinion, would a D01 2 band 32mm/50mm splay well?

Thanks

Never owned a D01 2 Band, so I cannot comment on that. At first glance, I would think a 50mm loft with a 32mm knot would be very much on the short side with the D01 2 Band's reputation for density and some noticeable prickle.

In regards to the "concentrate" part...my D01 3 Band is a very, very dense brush. I have to apply the correct amount of pressure to maximize the brush and since it's so dense/stiff, you have to focus to keep the pressure right in order for it to splay properly. I tend to use it when I want to "destroy" a soap or if I haven't shaved in 2 or 3 days and want a more "aggressive" brush (not sure if that term even applies to brushes).

On the other hand, my Simpson Carnane or Rooney Heritage 3XL almost lather your face on their own. Good backbone but not stiff. Good splay but not floppy. It's very hard to beat the "feel and performance" of a Simpson 2 Band or a Rooney Heritage. The same can be said, at least in part, of the Muhle 25mm synthetic - just a heck of a nice overall brush.

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 02-18-2014, 12:24 PM
#9
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(02-18-2014, 12:09 PM)Samjax Wrote:
(02-18-2014, 11:59 AM)CyanideMetal Wrote: Thanks for a very careful review.

Quick question: You stated, "What I mean by this is that you have to “concentrate” quite a bit more with the Chubby 2 Synthetic to get it to perform decently than you do the Muhle 25mm or any of the badgers (the Shavemac D01 being the exception)."

What do you mean by the Shavemac D01 reference?

In your opinion, would a D01 2 band 32mm/50mm splay well?

Thanks

Never owned a D01 2 Band, so I cannot comment on that. At first glance, I would think a 50mm loft with a 32mm knot would be very much on the short side with the D01 2 Band's reputation for density and some noticeable prickle.

In regards to the "concentrate" part...my D01 3 Band is a very, very dense brush. I have to apply the correct amount of pressure to maximize the brush and since it's so dense/stiff, you have to focus to keep the pressure right in order for it to splay properly. I tend to use it when I want to "destroy" a soap or if I haven't shaved in 2 or 3 days and want a more "aggressive" brush (not sure if that term even applies to brushes).

On the other hand, my Simpson Carnane or Rooney Heritage 3XL almost lather your face on their own. Good backbone but not stiff. Good splay but not floppy. It's very hard to beat the "feel and performance" of a Simpson 2 Band or a Rooney Heritage. The same can be said, at least in part, of the Muhle 25mm synthetic - just a heck of a nice overall brush.

Thanks for the help.

I currently own 3 Rooneys and a M&F 2 band from Lee. I have asked R. Vey to make me a D01 2 band 32mm and I noticed that you like large badger knots too so I thought I'd ask for your expertise.

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 02-18-2014, 04:13 PM
#10
  • Rufus
  • Senior Member
  • Greater Toronto Area
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Very insightful review which makes some important comparisons.

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 02-18-2014, 05:37 PM
#11
  • Johnny
  • MODERATOR EMERITUS
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Thanks Tom. A most helpful review.

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 02-18-2014, 05:48 PM
#12
  • Agravic
  • Super Moderator
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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Tom, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this much anticipated brush.

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 02-20-2014, 02:12 AM
#13
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Thanks for a great review. I may wait for next generation then. Simpson will always be at the very top of Badger brush heaven, for now I'm sticking to their excellent badgers !

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 02-20-2014, 08:03 AM
#14
  • TheMonk
  • Super Moderator
  • Porto, Portugal
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Thank you for a very helpful review, and for the somehow dissonant voice amongst the other reviews of this brush.

I always find it very helpful to read a different (and sustained) point of view on what seems to be a generally well accepted product.

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 02-20-2014, 08:26 AM
#15
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Thank you for a well written and candid review.

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 02-21-2014, 08:59 AM
#16
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Excellent review! It's good to hear from other voices and different perspectives. IMO much more is learned.

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 03-06-2014, 05:53 AM
#17
  • Samjax
  • Active Member
  • Clearwater, Florida
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From another thread, it appears that the price shipped to the U.S. will be in the neighborhood of $125.

Money for shaving stuff has never been a particular issue for me (my purchase of a Simpson Chubby 3 in Manchurian pretty much handled that)...but in this case, I would not be up for purchasing Simpson's version of a Frank Shaving Pur Tech 4. There is nothing magical about the brush - there is nothing, other than the handle, that is even recommended about the brush in its current configuration.

If you like the Frank Shaving Pur Tech at 28mm, you will probably be okay with it. If you're looking for something to outperform the Frank Shaving or the Muhle V2, you're going to be disappointed.

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 03-06-2014, 06:11 AM
#18
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In the case of our recently launched CH2 Synthetic:

There will be guys that love it because it's a Simpson.
There will be guys that detest it because it's a Simpson.
There will be guys that couldn't give a hoot either way if it's a Simpson.
There will be guys that without testing it for themselves will never really know.

All equally understood & respected viewpoints.

It's what makes our business so great. Who would have thought that a simple shaving brush (any shaving brush) could polarize & divide opinion as much as we see.

Wonderful stuff Wink

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 03-06-2014, 07:07 AM
#19
  • Samjax
  • Active Member
  • Clearwater, Florida
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Hey Mark - thanks for your input. Ultimately, your comment that guys will never know without testing it themselves will prove to be very true. I'm probably one of the guys who wanted and expected to "love" it due to it being a Simpson. You guys make very, very good brushes.

In regards to the synthetics - I'm not entirely sure that the current line of synthetic fiber will ever be particularly good in a 28mm version. It seems that 25mm and below is the current sweet spot and for many, 22 to 23 is on target.

I have used the 28mm HIS, the 28mm Frank Shaving version 3 and 4 and finally, the Chubby 2 synthetic. I just don't see the 28mm working anytime soon. It may well be that with the current fiber choices, one can only go so large in knot size before you begin to experience quickly diminishing - or downright negative - returns.

While I'm not at all enthusiastic about the Chubby 2 synthetic - I would be very curious to see how a Duke 3 with a 23 to 24mm synthetic knot would turn out. I'm guessing it would perform far better than the current Chubby 2. The Duke is another "legendary" Simpson brush and would no doubt be well received and if the final price were to be kept under $100 shipped to most parts of the world, would no doubt sell very well; provided of course that the performance lived up to the Simpson name.

Other options would of course be a Polo 8 or 59 with a 25mm knot. If one of those performed as good or slightly better than the current Muhle 25mm V2, my guess is, many people would buy it simply due to it being a Simpson product.

In any event - thanks for the effort.

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 03-06-2014, 07:37 AM
#20
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I would definitely like to see a Simpson 59 with a 25mm synthetic knot.

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