Today Muhle launches their “TWIST” two piece (vs. three piece) double edge razor line, and Sharpologist is pleased to give you the very first “public” look. A very small group of wet shaving enthusiasts, including myself, have been given an opportunity to try the “R89″ version of the TWIST before formal launch. Here are some initial impressions:
Classic vs. TWIST
Here is the “standard” R89 (photo credit Andy Tarnoff. I PIF’d him an R89!):
[EDIT: This is a corrected image with the baseplate set correctly. Several people have said that this does not look like an R89. It is indeed an R89 but from a number of years ago. The latest version looks like THIS.]
And here is the R89 “TWIST”
The most obvious design element other than the two-piece head is the noticeably wider handle. In my hand it didn’t feel like I expected it to. Yes, it’s “beefy” but does not feel overly heavy. Which is strange because it is heavier:
- R89 TWIST: 85 grams
- R89 “Original” 65 grams
- R89 “Grande” 80 gram
Perhaps the difference is due to the razor’s center of gravity. The TWIST is definitely balanced down the handle shaft rather than closer to the head.
The design also addresses a common complaint about cleaning a two-piece razor. Instead of having a hole at the bottom of the receiving chamber for the screw that holds the two pieces together (and extends the length of the handle–making deep cleaning nearly impossible), the TWIST has a 3/4 inch (19mm) deep chamber that can be easily cleaned with a cotton swab).
The razor has an interesting way of loading blades as well, as demonstrated by this video (courtesy Muhle):
From a “fit and finish” perspective my TWIST is very good. Of course, only continued use will show how it holds up long term but I have no concerns about the build quality.
Design elements aside, the shave is where “the rubber meets the road.” And the TWIST does provide a good shave–though there can be a bit of a learning curve. If you are familiar with the current Muhle line you may find the TWIST has a slightly narrower range of good cutting angle and it is a bit less aggressive than a three-piece R89. In my own case the TWIST worked well with a wide variety of blades. I seemed to have the best luck with “average” blades like Astra’s and 7 o’ clock’s. Higher efficiency blades like Personna “med prep” blades and Polsilver Iridium blades worked well as along as I was a little more mindful of what I was doing. Feather blades were a bit “too much” for me with this razor. Of course, when it comes to blades YMMV so take my thoughts accordingly. I’m sure the other early TWIST users will have more to say about this.
The Muhle TWIST premiers at COSMOPROF in Bologna today and will be released next week in Europe, with U.S. dealers getting their inventory starting around April 18th. I don’t know if Muhle is going to retire the “original” R89 in favor of the TWIST but I will update this post when I know more.