(Video) The Muhle R41 Razor

[UPDATE: HERE is a post about the newer, 2013 R41 head that is not quite so aggressive.]

The muhle R41 is one of the latest in a series of recent engineering design changes going on through the double-edged safety razor world (in addition to new razors such as the Weber and the Ikon one-side-open-comb-one-side-safety-bar).  It sports an unusual razor head, a hybrid of the classic open-comb razor and the more recent scalloped safety bar design.  It has generated some interest in the safety razor world recently, particularly in some of the discussion forums, for not only its innovative design but also its aggressiveness.  Some are saying shaving with the R41 is about as close as you can get to shaving with a straight razor, using a double edged tool.

The new design sports fewer teeth and the teeth are set deeply into the safety bar rather than mounted on the razor cap.  The new razor head is a bit thicker than its older brother as well.

The Muhle R41

Open-comb razors have a reputation of being more aggressive than regular safety bar designs.  A casual glance comparing the R41 to a typical safety bar may look similar but the R41’s deeply notched teeth exposes much more razor blade than the mildly scalloped safety bar design.  By the way, the fit and finish of this razor is excellent.

But the only way to find out how the R41 performs is to shave with it.

The aggressiveness is apparent right away and careful attention to razor angle is important.  It’s easy to tell that there is a lot of blade exposure, but on the other hand it is not a harsh shave where you can easily feel the teeth like other open comb razors.

If you have used an R41 please comment on your experiences with it!

Mark H Mark H (481 Posts)

also known as "Mantic59." Shave tutor and sharpologist.


Comments

  1. Dirty Texan says:

    Fantastic information and great camera work! I feel as if I have handled the razor myself now. I have been debating one of these in the Grande format. How would you compare it to other polarizing and aggressive razors like the SE GEM Micromatic open comb?

  2. middlesmith says:

    I tried it, and it’s an amazing razor. But I sold the awful thing.

  3. Psywiped says:

    Yes it is a very aggressive razor, you need to use minimal pressure as well as a shallow blade angle keeping the cap against your face, if you can feel the teeth of the safety bar you have too steep of an angle. Looks like you went to fast on the ATG pass with to steep of an angle, or too much pressure. Using feather blades in my R41 only results in 1 nick with a new blade and I can keep that from happening if I remember the grain pattern on my neck. The OCMM is so far the only other razor I’ve used that is just as aggressive as the R41 and both give wonderful shaves. I’ve also found that the R41 works with a lot more blades than other razors such as the Webber or R89/DE89. Also both the old and new R41 have the teeth on the safety/bottom plate not the top cap. The new R41 puts them on a bar mounted to the safety plate.

  4. Miatapaul says:

    I had one and used it about 10 times. Not for me, and I love open combs. My favorite razor is a Gillette Old type thin head open comb from 1912. I found the R41 was just too sensitive to blade angle. It takes too much attention for me to use it on a daily basis so I traded it for a really nice Fat Boy. I love the Fat Boy on 9, very smooth and much more forgiving than the R41. For the the R41 had a very small sweet spot and any deviation from that spot meant instant burn. It did shave close and I could do one less pass, one with and one against the grain. I normally do wtg, xtg and atg.

  5. Miatapaul says:

    I will also say I did not get any nicks or cuts from it, just burn. But I was terrified that if I made the wrong move I would remove my nose! So I just found it a not very enjoyable experience. It was a shame too as I enjoyed the fact that it was a two pass shave!

  6. Thomas Mlot says:

    I love my R41 razor, with the three other razors I own, (Fatboy, GEM 1912, Valet) they gave me nowhere near as a close shave as the R41. I would say it is B-BBS!! Beyond Baby Bottom Smooth. I think the last time I was this smooth, I was still in my mothers womb. I like to shave with a steep angle unlike “PSYWIPED” shallow angle, the only time I get nicked is from being careless, and rushing. Blade choice(s) are Feather, Astra, and Wilki-Swords. If you currently have a razor that is giving you a close shave, and happy with it, no need to get the R41. Seriously, I feel this Razor gets waaaay to much hype in the shave forums and gets waaay over analyzed.

  7. Johnzsmith says:

    This and the Weber are the next razors on my list.

  8. I prefer razors that go the other way in terms of blade angle… steeper; IMO, the steeper blade angle is much easier to use in a safety razor design. The flatter angle makes it much more difficult to maintain the proper blade angle on the face. If you want something more aggressive that uses a DE blade, you are better served buying a Dovo Shavette, in my opinion.

  9. I’ve been shaving with the previous model R41 for about six months. It took a few shaves to get use to it, but am now experiencing the closest smoothest shaves ever.

    I’ve tried various Brands of blades and find that Astra blades work best, Feathers blades were good also, but it took me too long shaving with these being extra careful.

    They say when you’re on a good thing stick to it, for this reason I’m not sure that I need to or want to try the new model R41 2011.

  10. I agree with the assessment that it’s about as close as you can get to a straight razor type of experience with a DE. It’s got more blade exposure than any of the fifteen safety razors I’ve used. There is no functional safety bar with this – as mentioned, if the teeth are against your skin, you will be cutting yourself. So you won’t or shouldn’t feel them. You do need even lighter pressure than usual, despite it not being a particularly heavy razor. And even more attention to blade angle than usual. I find I get a closer shave with just two passes than with other razors, even with a smoother blade like a Derby. A third ATG pass is possible, but takes even greater care. I don’t think this is a particularly wonderful or awful razor, but it is unique. Nobody needs to have more than one razor if that one razor is doing the job. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone new to DE shaving. It is not typical or easy for a newbie. But if you like the variety of experiences you get with different equipment, this is definitely going to complement your collection. Just be slow, methodical, and careful till you get used to it.

  11. I have had decent shaves with the R.41 when I use a Personna Medical Prep blade or any of the Lord blades. However, I shave with the handle closer to my face. I try to minimize the amount of blade exposure, if that is possible.

    Blade angle and no pressure are critical for this razor. I have also discovered that this is the only razor I have ever used in which I can get a BBS shave without resorting to an ATG pass. I do one WTG pass and two XTG passes in opposite directions.

  12. I was one of the first shavers in the U.S. to obtain the new MÜHLE R-41, and have used it continuously ever since. I can still recall that when I first opened its package, being immediately struck be its beauty and craftsmanship. When I inserted an Iridium Super blade and saw the blade exposure, I was struck by caution.

    I could understand the manufacturer’s warnings that it was “not for everyone”, and why my early model came with instructions for its use. This was not like any DE I’d ever seen before. The new R-41 appeared to be beautiful, lean and quite possibly—mean.

    In the time that has passed, I remember the early adopters’ discussions about blade selections, proper technique and helping each other through the learning curve. I happened to be lucky in that my shaving style was naturally compatible, so I almost never experience nicks, cuts or irritation.

    For a time last year, the R-41 enjoyed rock-star status. It took on a macho and rite-of-passage aura similar to Feather blades in some circles. New shavers proudly boasted about their ability to use it, and encouraged other newbies to try one. Much was written about the closeness of the shave one could achieve. Much was written about irritation and blood-loss users experienced, and how they hoped to soon get through the learning curve. It became evident through polls and classified ads that a significant number of users found it “not for me”.

    I really enjoy my MÜHLE R-41, and almost never have a bad experience with it. I get the best shaves of my life with it, but I still agree that it is not for everyone.

  13. Wayne Johnson says:

    Sorry you hacked your face up Mantic, but the end of that video had me in spasms! I began my DE journey with a Slantbar loaded with a Feather, so I feel your pain brother. Actually, thanks to your videos, I love,love,love my Slantbar now…just loaded with a Wilkinson Sword now. Thanks for giving an honest review unlike others that gush over every new product.

  14. You need some Village Barber Aftershave Balm on that face after that shave, my man!

  15. I have one and use it once every other week or so. Any more than that results in a good amount of burn. Very aggressive. I’ve never used a straight razor, but the R41 has got to be the closest thing to a straight. It’s that aggressive.

  16. frederik says:

    I ordered my R41 three weeks ago I did not have any experience with DE razors before.
    After reading many of these blogs I must confess I was afraid of using it. On the other hand I also read that technique is really important when using DE razors.

    I confess I am absolutely delighted with the R41. Never before I felt my skin so smooth. The first time I had cuts and burns but now is just perfect, like if I used DE since ever.

    I indeed believe that the skin preparation and technique are even more important than the razor. For being a newbie without experience and getting the best of the R41 I just say

    check/improve your technique!!

    • You’re absolutely correct frederik. Good preparation together with correct technique are vital for any decent shave.
      You can be using the very best razor alongside the greatest products – if your prep and technique is not there, you will experience a poor, if not ‘face-altering’ shave!

  17. I have one minor , well, complaint I suppose. I wish you wouldn’t simply use the script to your video as your written review. They’re 2 different mediums and really do require 2 different types of review (even if ultimately saying the same thing). I wish you had elaborated a bit in your written review.

  18. I love this razor. In fact, it’s the only razor that I use, now. With the grain and across the grain (twice) gets me just as close as ATG with any other razor. Beautiful machine, that R41.

  19. It is one of my favorites. You show a correct angle while shaving ;) Thanks for your Video.

  20. I am looking forward to your comparison between the version you used in the vid above and the newer 2013 model. I wonder if Mikri, above, was using the new model? I am using the new model, but can’t compare to the old model(s) because I had never used one. Having said that, the new 2013 model shaves exceedingly well indeed! Aggressive, but it’s not a fire-breathing dragon that takes no hostages. Face feels VERY smooth, and I did shave three passes, including ATG. No issues here. No nicks, weepers, tears…just a smooth, clean, nice close shave.

  21. …will it happen? Stay tuned…

  22. …waiting patiently…patiently….

  23. Looks like it’s not coming…or is it??

    • Mark H mantic59 says:

      Well I was hoping to have it done by now but I ran into a problem. It turns out the “new” R41 I bought for the update post was actually the older 2011 version. I’m trying to get the new version but there’s some confusion in the vendor community about the different styles. I imagine it will be June before I get the appropriate razor, give it a test drive, and write an update. Sorry about that!

  24. Ho usato sia il mod R41 che il mod R41 2011,ora il nuovo mod.non l’ho ancora approntato, certo forte aggressività,comunque non dimentichiamo il mod. Fatip (Made in Italy) in fase di rasatura non tralascia niente… siete d’accordo?? Buona rasatura a tutti gli amanti del DE—-

  25. I love my r41 grande ,i shave twice a week ! i switch between feather asd2 and the r41 ! both razors demands a different way of shaving and for me thats cool , 2 pass wtg and im done for a perfect shave !!!!and i have a very coarse beard.

  26. hi mantic.

    I just got the 2013 r41 from connaught (tested by measuring the cap width from corner to corner. 2011 version is just over 18mm. 2013 version is just over the 20mm). I’m rolling over to the r41 from an r89. as many others have said, it’s a lot more aggressive than the r89, but not to the point of being unusable. I did a 3 pass shave (w/a/x) and seemed to get away with it with no sign of the trouble you saw in your vid. :-)

    very nice razor to use, although may become more trying if used on consecutive days….

    best

    Paul

  27. I’ve been shaving with the “new” R41 (my big hands opted for the Grande) for about two months now (upgrading from a DE89) and it is by far the best shaving experience I have had in my life. I have the worst skin/beard combination for shaving in that I have a very coarse, fast growing beard and ultra sensitive skin. My R41 with Polsilver Super Iridium blades and an ultra light touch have made all the difference. It’s a good razor that demands respect. Come in cocky and you’ll get bit…

    moe

  28. I’ve been using the Mühle R89 grande with good results but thought I’d give the R41 a try to make the matching pair (it’s the 2013 version – I went for the grande version again as I have big paws).
    I attacked a 3-day growth using a Voskhod blade and got a great shave on 1 pass. I followed up with a 2nd pass ATG using the R89 & a Personna – one step at a time! The result was a very smooth BBS. Subsequent shaves all very good but you beed to take care.
    It’s the Mongo of the shaving world: treat it right and you’ll get great results, mistreat it and things will not go well for you.

  29. Ahmad Jaber says:

    I have used the progress, slant bar and a shivatte but this one is the best. Although sometimes I nick myself but it gives me very good shaves if I do my 3 passes every 3-4days. I love it and I am trying to avoid the redness and small nicks by paying attention.
    I recall using this one with a Gillette blade and the British brand Wilkson or something like this and it gave me horrible shave. So choosing a blad with this one is important
    I wonder if anyone has an idea of how to improve the shave with it

  30. Rejean D. says:

    This is really a beautiful razor. Be gentle with it otherwise it will leave some traces. Aggressive razor but when you find the good angle, you’ll be happy with because it does a pretty good job. Remember, let the razor do what it’s meant for. It will soon be one if my favorite.

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