07-20-2015, 06:23 AM
#1
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So I very recently acquired one of these from the Swap and Shop forum here (thanks, Deuce Deuce) and I have used it for the past three shaves, but I have a quick question for others who currently own or who have owned this razor.  

I understand that the baseplate is reversible, and that it is supposed to be more aggressive in one configuration than in the other, but I can't figure out which way is supposed to be more aggressive.  I used it with the SBS showing the first time, then with iKon showing the second time, and then with SBS showing again this morning.  For me it's kind of hard to tell the difference.  I think I like it slightly better with the SBS showing.  Is this supposed to be the milder way?  

Thanks in advance for any help.

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 07-20-2015, 06:46 AM
#2
  • chamm
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  • Central Ohio
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It is definitely supposed to be more aggressive on the side when the the iKon logo is showing, (with the blade against the side with the SBS logo) and more mild on the other side.

In my personal practical experience, I haven't noticed a whole lot of difference between the two sides. The head geometries are visually slightly different, but with the normal flex of the blade, I could not feel any difference between the two sides. Both offered incredibly smooth, close shaves.

I like the flipped-baseplate idea, and I was quasi-considering possibly trying to very slightly grind the safety bar down just a hair on one side, but that is a dangerous game to play with a razor that already shaves so well, so it's very unlikely I'll try it.

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 07-20-2015, 07:39 AM
#3
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Thanks, Craig.  I was thinking it was as you describe.  The difference is pretty subtle to me, although I feel like I enjoyed the shave better when the SBS was showing (i.e., when it was set to milder).  

It does provide a nice shave.  I'm not sure I'm a fan of the flippable baseplate; if it offered vastly different shave characteristics, that would be one thing.  In my opinion, it really doesn't, and I think the flippable plate adds a lot of unnecessary weight to the head.  I'm not sure if the razor would be even better with less weight in the baseplate, but I suspect that it might.  

On the other hand, I'm kind of picking nits about a razor I've only used for three shaves and which, at worst, it a nice, smooth, competent shaver with a beautiful design.  I really, really like the open comb side.  Kinda makes me wish it were open comb on both sides, but again, the difference from the SB side to the OC side is minor, and it shaves beautifully with both sides.  

Thanks again, Craig.

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 07-21-2015, 06:37 AM
#4
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Craig, I am also curious as to how closely the OC side of the SBS mimics the feel/shave of the Tradere OC.  Since it looks like you own both razors, I was wondering if you could compare/contrast the two?  


I shaved with it again this morning, with SBS showing underneath the assembled head.  I got a nice shave, but to me it seems, comparing it to my SB Tradere, that the SBS has a lot more blade feel on the face (for lack of a better term).  In other words, the Tradere feels just incredibly smooth on the face, but with the SBS, although it is smooth, it feels just a tad rougher and more "unsafe" (as if I need to be careful not to apply pressure and as if I have to watch my angle more closely) because of the feel of the blade on the face.

The magic of the Tradere, to me at least, is the large blade gap but tiny blade exposure.  I wonder if the SBS has a bit more blade exposure than the Tradere.  I suspect it does.   I would be really curious to see if flipping the baseplate affects the exposure, and, if so, in what direction.  I sometimes wish I had the technology to load a blade, take close-up photos, draw lines showing blade exposure, etc., like some guys on the forums can do.  I'd love to see those blade exposure tangent lines on the SBS comparing the exposure when the SBS is showing versus when the word iKon is showing.  

From all that it probably sounds as if I don't like the razor; nothing could be further from the truth.  I'm still exploring it and hoping to make it even better (by choosing which way to flip the baseplate, choosing what blade works best with it, etc) but even now I am getting really nice shaves with it and am enjoying it quite a bit.

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 07-21-2015, 10:09 AM
#5
  • chamm
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  • Central Ohio
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On my first set of comparisons, both sides of the SBS (OC and SB) felt very, very similar to one another. I could slightly feel the teeth when I was using the OC side, but as far as blade exposure and overall closeness, I had a difficult time telling them apart. I would have to say they felt a little closer in performance to the Tradere OC, which is quite a bit different to the Tradere SB. It is more "aggressive" and not as smooth. I think that difference is probably much more because I have a 1st generation OC, but all of the SBs are second generation. I think Tradere did make some dimensional changes between generations that would cause them to shave differently. Because of how they were manufactured, though, I suspect that the second-gen Tradere OC is probably very close in performance to the Tradere SB. I believe when they made those, they cut "blank" heads, then, depending on whether they were OC or SB, just milled a hole behind the bar for SB, or cut teeth into the bar for OC. I'm pretty sure that's how James at Wolfman does it.

That would also explain why the SBS isn't really all that different in performance between the OC and SB. If Greg just made a blank head, then cut teeth into one side, and a bar in the other, the fundamental head geometry would be identical between the two sides, just a slightly different face feel.

So, I would agree that the Tradere SB is "smoother" than the SBS, which is the same experience that I had. But all told, I probably get a better shave from the SBS than the Tradere SB. Not by a whole lot, but enough that I could surely tell them apart by the feel of the shave alone.

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 07-24-2015, 05:51 AM
#6
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After using it for a few more days, I'm really getting a nice feel for it.  It definitely plows through the stubble.  

I don't differentiate the open comb side from the safety bar side.  I just shave with it as though both sides were the same.  IOW, shave with one side until it's full of lather, switch to the other side until it's full of lather, rinse, and repeat.  Both sides shave equally well but I slightly prefer the feel of the OC side (probably because I almost always shave with an OC, so I'm used to it).  

Comparing it with my favorite razor (an RFB NEW) is interesting.  After a week or so of shaving with the SBS, the RFB NEW feels so light and nimble.  It's like driving a sports car after you've been driving a large luxury car.  First pass reduction is slightly better with the SBS.  Overall, the end result of the shave is basically the same.  

I think the SBS is a keeper, although it certainly isn't going to bump the RFB off the top spot just yet.

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