12-17-2012, 02:03 PM
  • Samjax
  • Active Member
  • Clearwater, Florida
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Part 1 - ATT Atlas R vs. iKon SB

The newest Stainless Steel offerings are getting more than a little bit of attention these days and for good reason. They offer extreme high quality shaving tools that provide you (or someone), a literal lifetime of shaving pleasure.

Since there is an investment, sometimes significant, in any and all of them; questions abound as to which razor does what…and which razor, or razors, offer the best value for your shaving style.

As in all things, YMMV is the common mantra with all razor reviews. With that said, I wanted to test out some of the more popular offerings that are currently available. Shaving “memory” can sometimes be sketchy, so for the purpose of this testing process, I wanted all of the razors to be compared in my actual possession and shaving rotation.

The razors to be evaluated are:

Weber DLC
Tradere SB
iKon OC
iKon SB
ATT Atlas M
ATT Atlas R

A word about the ATT Titan: I understand that the ATT Titan is the most aggressive razor in the ATT lineup; but after owning it and using it for several shaves, I found it simply too harsh to be taken seriously as a top ranked contender in its current format. The R41 shaves closer and is actually smoother. The Titan is built extremely well and I actually preferred it’s handle over the shorter Atlas version. In any event, with the fairly significant selection of razors I have to choose from; the Titan just wasn’t going to find any regular use. My personal thoughts on the Titan are that either the blade exposure or the blade angle is simply not ready for primetime. The blade gap is reasonable, but the razor does show a lot of blade, which in my mind, may be producing too much flex in the blade, thus resulting in a less than desirable shaving experience.

A word about the Tradere 1st and 2nd Generation Open Combs: I’ve owned both and liked the 2nd Gen version quite a bit more than the 1st Gen. The new Tradere Open Comb is built exceptionally well and provides a fairly aggressive and smooth shave. I would have kept it, but it was getting beaten up regularly by my Joris…so it had to find a new home. I do recommend the 2nd Gen however, it’s a great razor and its build quality is excellent. It will take you a shave or two to dial in the right angle, but it’s an easy enough tool to master. I would personally take a pass on the 1st Gen Tradere and grab the 2nd Gen. Richard has improved it considerably as an overall shaving tool.

A word about past iKons: I’ve owned the S3S and the OSS razors. The best thing that came out of that experience was me falling in love with the OSS handle. Other than that, the S3S, while beautiful and built to impress, failed me miserably as a shaver. The OSS on the other hand is a pretty decent mild razor, but really too mild – and while the SB/OC combo on both the S3S and OSS is pretty neat, neither of them did anything that an EJ89 couldn’t do just as well and for a whole lot less money.

A word about the Feather AS DE: Another razor built like a tank but unfortunately shaves much like a Gillette Tech triangle slot razor. If you want a Tech shave in Stainless, the Feather is for you. Sadly, it just wasn’t to my liking as an overall shaving tool. It’s ironic actually since Feather knows all about making very sharp things…take their Feather DEs and their Artist Club line of straights and blades – they redefine the whole meaning of sharp. They obviously have their reasons for designing an “overbuilt” exceptionally mild razor – but it just wasn’t happening for me.

A word about the Pils 101: Arguably the best built/engineered razor currently available. Unfortunately for me, it was a lackluster shaver (although many like it, and the Feather for that matter, quite well). I had high hopes for the Pils, but I found out rather quickly that the expectations far exceeded the actual performance of the Pils as a daily shaver. The Pils on its best day provides a mild/moderate shave; but once again, you can get better shaves for far less money so why bother? Well…I do know why. Owning a Pils is a very cool thing…as in hey, I got a Pils. Looking cool and shaving cool are two different things however and to the B/S/T it went.

I will keep this thread updated as I do my daily shaving comparisons. My results are just those, my results. Something I don’t like, you may well love. Something you love, I may dislike a fair amount. Please keep those things in mind when reading this or any review.

Testing protocols

Brush – will be anything that strikes my fancy from the following:
Duke 3 Two Band, Simpson 59 Two Band, Simfix Carnane Two Band, Rooney 3 XL Two Band or my Simpson Chubby 3 Super Three Band

Soap – I’ve decided to stick with Cella for each of my comparison shaves. I purchased a whole brick of it a while back and put it in a large container – so whipping up a lot of lather is easy.

Blade – The common Astra SP will be the only blade used for these comparisons. It’s a blade most everyone is familiar with and it does a reasonable job, particularly at its current price point.

Handle – This is where I’m going to be leaving the conventional testing method a bit. We all have various preferences regarding handles and I’ve owned a good many of them including BRWs, UFOs, Traderes, iKon, Weber, ATT, etc… My personal favorite of all of them is the iKon OSS handle. It’s a Stainless design with aggressive knurling and measures:

Length: 95mm
Diameter: 12.45mm
Weight: 73 grams

I am very familiar with this handle and achieving proper angles with everything from a Muhle R89 to a Muhle R41 is easy for me to do. I decided that for this testing procedure, I wanted to focus on the razors as I would be using them – with the handle of my choice – and not have to deal with the variable of different handles, lengths, weights, etc…

I currently own 4 of them, so there’s not a lot of switching around for the testing at hand.

First up is the ATT Atlas R versus the iKon SB


Head weight w/o blade:

ATT Atlas R: 37 grams
iKon SB: 30 grams

Build Quality as observed by naked eye, 6x and 10x magnifiers:

ATT Atlas: no sharp edges, appears to be high quality and consistent throughout – light swirl marks on the plate itself and underneath the cap. Nothing is amiss in the R1 that I have on hand. Although, when the blade is placed in the head, the ends of the blade do protrude on both ends. In the iKon, the blade ends are completely covered.

iKon SB: no sharp edges, no swirl marks (this may be due to differences in how they’re made), the iKon SB plate has 4 horizontal “oval” type slots in it. One of those slots was “off” in that it had a couple of small variations or waves in it. These are probably not visible to the naked eye very easily, but under 6x magnification, they are readily apparent. There also seems to be a bit of a wave that is visible when looking at the baseplate from the side – probably a manufacturing thing, but it’s not smooth. Since the Atlas R1 is 20% heavier, I have to give the overall build quality “edge” in this case to the ATT Atlas.

Note: The iKon does have a couple of rectangular “ridges” that a DE blade will slip over to help keep it stable and in place. The Atlas offers two very small round “nipples” that apparently does the same thing; although the iKon has considerably more metal doing that particular job. Whether this is important or not I don’t know, but there is a fair difference between the two razors in that regard.

Initial Shave Results:

ATT Atlas R: Lots of feedback with the razor and one can readily feel the blade exposure when shaving. The Atlas R “feels” aggressive and sounds the same. No real issues in going WTG and XTG but when going ATG, weepers sprouted in nearly a dozen places. I had learned from the Titan to shave with an extremely light pressure similar to the R41…so pressure was not the issue. The angle itself was easy to find on the Atlas R, but the razor just doesn’t shave smoothly no matter how you hold it (at least not when compared to other higher quality razors). As with the Titan, I feel that the blade exposure is too much perhaps for the current design. It shaves very much like its bigger brother the Titan in regards to the overall harshness of the final results. Weepers aside, the shave can be described as moderately aggressive but on the rough side. No BBS to be had and after 3 passes and some touch up, there were too many weepers to keep pushing my luck.

iKon SB: Another razor with good feedback and with an angle that is very intuitive. WTG and XTG presented no issues and while the shave “felt” aggressive, it seems to be a fairly smooth shaver. The real test here, since having my unfortunate results the day before with the Atlas R, was my ATG passes. Final result was only 2 weepers and a shave that was noticeably better, smoother and closer than the Atlas R.

You absolutely cannot shave with either of these razors like you would a Weber DLC or EJ89…they just won’t allow that, particularly when flying through your XTG and ATG passes. The iKon does come closest however and provides a shave in the same neighborhood as my Joris in regards to closeness. It arguably shaves a bit closer than the Joris…but they are very close. Neither of these are as aggressive as the R41 and between the two, the iKon will get you closer to the R41 while the Atlas R is more in the moderate area of the Slant 39C or Tradere SB, although its not as smooth as either.

Tentative Results:

Handling: Both are very good - angles easy to find
Feedback: Excellent in both
Smoothness: iKon SB
Closeness: iKon SB
Blade Exposure: The Atlas R has considerably more blade beyond the cap
Blade Gap: The iKon SB has a good bit more than the Atlas R
Build Quality: ATT Atlas R is built better and is heavier – but the iKon does cover the exposed blade ends.

Winner of this Round: iKon SB by a comfortable margin - it's a fairly aggressive shaver and with a minimal amount of time, will reward you with exceptionally close and trouble-free shaves.

Added Note: The iKon SB wins against the Atlas R, but how does it compare to the popular Weber DLC? The iKon has better feedback, they handle the same, angles are very similar. The iKon will shave you considerably closer but the Weber will shave you smoother and faster and with less thinking. If you’re in a hurry and just need a good shave – grab the Weber. If you have a bit more time and want BBS or close to it, you’re going to reach for the iKon SB. Both the iKon SB and Weber DLC outpeform the Atlas R on my face.

Plenty more to come…stay tuned!

ATT Atlas R on the left & iKon SB on the right


iKon SB slot cosmetic issue


Pins to help stabilize blades - iKon top - Atlas R bottom



Atlas head with blades ends exposed


iKon head - blade ends covered - machining not perfect however



Various pics showing blade exposure & gap






29 466
 12-17-2012, 02:17 PM
  • Triad
  • Triad Razor Handles
  • Texas
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Good stuff Tom i will stay tuned

115 1,690
 12-17-2012, 02:24 PM
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Thank you Tom for putting this all together and starting a stainless steel razor shootout. The pictures are excellent. Any comments I may have will come after you are completely finished.

98 12,360
 12-17-2012, 02:44 PM
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Always look forward to reading your posts and will keep a close eye on this one.

5 329
 12-17-2012, 02:49 PM
  • beartrap
  • Resident Цирюльник
  • Southern California
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This must be the greatest comparo ever. Thanks Tom for doing that, subscribed!

88 4,233
 12-17-2012, 03:06 PM
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Tom, wow, that is an extensive write-up and good luck with the testing.

74 20,793
 12-17-2012, 03:11 PM
  • Agravic
  • Emeritus
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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Impressive Tom ... very comprehensive and I will be following carefully!

102 17,574
 12-17-2012, 03:30 PM
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This is one of the best threads that I have read. I can't wait for the rest. ThanksBiggrin

0 156
 12-17-2012, 03:54 PM
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Great stuff-and great taste in razors!

97 615
 12-17-2012, 04:22 PM
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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Great thread Tom, I'll be following with much interest!

91 17,615
 12-17-2012, 05:09 PM
  • ajc347
  • Senior Member
  • Exeter, UK
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Great thread - thanks for doing this mate. Smile

The review and photos of the Ikon SB have already prompted me to order a SB baseplate to go with the OC that I got for my birthday a couple of weeks ago.

32 638
 12-17-2012, 05:35 PM
  • Johnny
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Darn Tom, very nice comparison/review thread.

Thank you sir.

173 23,290
 12-17-2012, 05:58 PM
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Tom, you have my attention. Great thread.

47 1,270
 12-17-2012, 06:25 PM
  • OldDog23
  • Senior Member
  • BeanTown MetroWest
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nice piece of work, Tom...will stay tuned. thanks !

0 1,291
 12-17-2012, 07:10 PM
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Ikon is using your comparison pictures and posting them on Facebook calling ATT "junk".

I think that is so tacky! He should remove them before he really looks like a jackass to all who see it...

63 2,125
 12-17-2012, 07:15 PM
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Tom, this will be an epic test!
We are staying tuned!

1 2,827
 12-17-2012, 07:29 PM
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Great stuff, Tom. Sounds like your experience with these razors is close to mine.

9 166
 12-17-2012, 07:49 PM
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Impressive and well written!

5 135
 12-17-2012, 08:13 PM
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
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Thanks for this write-up. I have been considering an Ikon baseplate for my Feather AS, and your experience with the SB has me leaning toward that (instead of the OC).

43 1,682
 12-18-2012, 04:54 AM
  • EHV
  • Senior Member
  • Milford,PA
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Fantastic and much appreciated! I look forward to more, please. Smile

6 905
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