by Garrick Dee
Updated December 5th, 2018
There are days that you don’t feel like doing a three to four pass shave and fully enjoy the Zen that comes from shaving.
Admit it we all go through that phase in our schedules.
Another option would be a slant razor or you can opt for an “open comb” razor like this one from Muhle called the R41.
A hybrid design
Well it really isn’t an open comb razor per se. But a hybrid of the traditional open comb design and the scalloped safety bar design in more recent safety razors.
Most aggressive safety razor now
While it exposes less of the blade than the older R41, a lot of folks in the wet shaving community call this the most aggressive safety razor in the market.
Mow down a 4 day growth in less passes
This chrome beauty has an open comb design that makes it more aggressive compared to a closed comb. It’ll be able to shave a 3 or 4 day beard growth with less passes.
If you’re new to wet shaving though I’d suggest you still do your due diligence and start with a close combed razor like the Merkur 34C.
Experienced shavers like GeoFatBoy, Ryan and Codfish say this is well-built.
This version is less aggressive
“CodFish” says that the current R41 is upgraded and less aggressive. The top cap is bigger thus decreasing blade exposure (from 18.8 mm to 20.2 mm). This in effect decreased blade exposure.
As I dug a little bit deeper, it turns out that the earlier version was causing problems to many wet shavers because of its aggressiveness.
Even with the milder head, some are still afraid to use it.
Consumers who liked it say even with the aggressive design, they were able to achieve a BBS in as little as 2-1/2 passes.
Even with one pass, it is still possible to get a clean look with this razor.
While others like the “Sharpologist” say that even though with the milder shave, you still have to be careful.
Consider yourself warned. There are those also who compare this to a shavette in terms of aggressiveness.
Features at a glance
- Chrome plated finish
- This product is made in Germany
- Weighs around 2.2 ounces
- The open comb design make this a great option to shave a heavier beard growth with less passes
- Comes with one feather blade
- Type: 3 piece
- Length: 3.7″
- Aggressiveness: 10/10
- Blades included: 1
- Great design and craftsmanship
- Open comb design will help you go through a thicker beard growth with less passes
- Excellent knurling design prevents slippage
- Even with the redesigned top cap, it is still a very aggressive razor (beginners should not use this!)
There are actually three versions of the R41 design.
There’s the 3 piece traditional design, 3 piece Grande and the 2 piece Twist.
If you checked out Muhle’s site, you’ll also see a “Traditional Rosegold” design which is basically a traditional with a different handle color (if you so want that color).
How the three variants differ?
Based on this post at Shave Nook, the Twist is the heaviest of the 3 at 85 grams. While the standard 2013 R41 is the lightest at 65 grams.
Both have the same dimension at around 107mm long, 41mm wide with a handle diameter of 14mm.
What’s great about the Grande is you can change the handle to something that has more grip if you think the knurling design does not provide enough grip for you as you’ll see in the video below…
If you’re buying this make sure to get the 2013 version because it is less aggressive.
With the 2011 version the moment you lose focus in what you’re doing, you could nick yourself because it had more blade exposure.
There are actually 3 variants – Traditional, Grande and Twist.
Take note that the Twist is more expensive than the smaller R41 Traditional and the only one of the three that has a 2 piece design.
If you have large hands and want something easier to assemble go with the Twist.
But if you don’t mind paying a bit more for a three piece variant that’s easier to clean but a little harder to assemble then go with the Grande.
It’s hard to describe the knurling of the R41, from afar it looks like a wavy groove that spirals down the handle. These grooves isn’t deep so I will warn you that it can get slippery.
The bottom part of the “Traditional” and “Grande” variants is flat (well, mostly) while the “Twist” hs a wider base that adds to the grip.
This is also how you differ the two and three piece variants.
This razor is nicknamed the beast for a reason.
The original R41 is more aggressive than the current one in production so Muhle had to tweak the design to make it less aggressive.
If you look closely at the head what makes this a really aggressive razor is the open comb design meaning the safety bar isn’t flat.
Lots of blade exposure
These indentations are wide which means more blade exposure on the skin.
With the proper technique, it is possible to get a BBS shave in as little as two passes.
The aggressiveness make this unsuitable for any beginner but for experienced wet shavers who want something to tame their rough 5 day beard growth.
All three variants have varying lengths.
The 3-piece Traditional and Grande are roughly the same length at 3.7 and 3.8 inches respectively while the Twist is the longest at 4.2 inches.
So if you have large hands and prefer something with a longer handle – go with the Twist.
If you have smaller hands then go with the Grande or the Traditional.
|Handle Length||94 mm|
|Handle Diameter||12 mm||14 mm||14 mm|
|Finish||Chrome plated||Chrome plated||Chrome plated|
|Type||3 piece||3 piece||2 piece|
I did a little research in forums like StraightRazorPlace.com and ShaveNook.com. And wet shavers say this this open comb razor will give you a BBS shave even with relatively heavy beard growth (3+ days). That’s because of the open comb design that has more ridges to let the shaving cream pass through.
This means it will clog less when you compare it to a close comb razor like a Merkur R34. And you can mow down thicker beard growth a bit faster and more efficiently.
Your other option would be going with a Slant razor like a Merkur Slant which is a bit cheaper than this.
Let’s see how it handles a 3 day beard growth. This video is courtesy of Geofatboy from Shave Nation.
If you look at the reviews in Amazon, the people who liked this razor are men who wanted a closer shave than a close combed razor and they got it with the R41.
Less aggressive than the 2011 version
The open comb design exposes more of the blade. But compared to the 2011 version this one is slightly less aggressive.
Not as much nicks and cuts
Even though with its reputation of being of the most aggressive (if not the most aggressive) DE razor in the market right now, consumers (both in forums and in Amazon) were pleasantly surprised at the results. This means they didn’t get any nicks or cuts as they initially feared.
Learn the proper technique first
It was able to handle facial hair even from several days of growth. But you will still have to have proper wet shaving technique in order to get a nick-free shave.
ShaveBusta says that you’ll have to be careful when shaving near the ears.
There were also complaints irritations. But that could be improper technique or using the wrong blade.
From the reviews I’ve read and watched, you’ll probably have to find the right blade (in terms of sharpness) that will fit your skin type as this razor is not as forgiving as let’s say the Edwin Jagger Kelvin.
Avoid this if you’re just starting out
A little warning though, if you’re new to wet shaving avoid this as it can nick and cut your skin.
Mantic59 shares his experience in this video.
The Muhle R41 has three variants (all available in Amazon) – the traditional, grande and twist. The price varies from $56 to $81++ depending on the variant and color. These will be eligible for the free 2-day shipping if you join Prime.
This is a great razor for men with coarse beards or with sensitive skin who are looking for a more aggressive razor that can shave off their facial hair with less passes.
Get the 2013 edition
Make sure that you get the 2013 edition because of the design improvements that make this less aggressive and more forgiving on your skin.
It comes in three variants that vary in cost, length, weight and handle size (see the table above).
If you prefer the 3 piece design then get the Tradtional or the Grande. But if you prefer the 2 piece design then go with the Twist.
Not for newbies
I wouldn’t recommend this for beginners who are transitioning from a cartridge.
They will need to learn the correct technique first before even thinking of trying this.
But for experienced shavers who want something in their arsenal that will mow down a multi-day growth, this is a great option.