If ‘Muhle’ sounds like an underrated German brand, that’s because it is. But the Muhle R41 Safety Razor is by no means unknown among wet shaving enthusiasts.
Made in Stützengrün, Saxony, Muhle’s blades are well crafted and its prices are fairly affordable. The marketing though is clearly classy and subtle. Check out their brand home page video to understand how devoted the firm is to its heritage.
The parent company, Hans-Jürgen Müller GmbH & Co. KG., likes to keep its manufacturing local and this small factory puts thousands of handcrafted and mass-manufactured grooming products annually. They’ve been around since 1945.
How’s the Muhle R41 safety razor really?
The brand quietly introduced a new version of their popular safety razor across Europe a few years back.
The Muhle R41’s latest edition is just as divisive as the first iteration. Either you love it or hate, there’s no in-between with this unique razor.
The latest version has a slightly larger head and base plate. Those two key differences are what make this a slight improvement over the older model.
The key differentiator between the two versions of the same razor is the exposure to the blade.
It’s an aggressive design that exposes more of the blade than your average safety razor. The head is a combination of open comb design and the scalloped safety bar design, which is unusual but highly effective. It’s meant to give you a closer shave, and you can get deeper to the roots than with any other razor.
With fewer passes over the skin you’ll likely get a shave close enough to last longer than with your regular shaving razor.
But some might argue it takes away the ‘safety’ from safety razors.
Even though the latest version slightly reduces the exposure of the blade, the R41 is still considered the most out-of-the-box safety razor on the market now.
Many wet shavers had a bad experience with the older version and will be skeptical of the new one despite the design improvements.
The top cap has been expanded from 18mm to 20mm. The body modifications allow the blade to be held tightly in place. This means the blade has no headroom to flex while you scrape it across your skin. That’s surely an improvement, seeing as how dangerous blade flex can be.
In my opinion, using this razor involves a learning curve.
You need to get the technique and pressure just right to make the design work for you. You also need a certain type of skin for the blade to work best. If your technique is off or your skin too sensitive, I’d suggest you stay away from this.
But for experienced wet shavers who like a finely tuned shaving tool, this is the one to get.
The designers do not compromise on quality. The Chrome-plated body used for this version is sturdy and really high-quality. It feels strong but lightweight.
The whole thing is a little over 2 ounces or 62 grams.
The design is also surprisingly thin which, admittedly, makes it hard to hold if you have big hands. The length is close to 100mm and the diameter is barely 12mm.
There’s no denying the reason to buy this is the fine craftsmanship.
The company has been perfecting the art of the shave for over seven decades. It’s at a stage now where the razors will sell to the loyal fan base regardless of how the products are announced. That’s probably because the company realizes the razors will not suit beginners.
The target market here is experienced wet shavers.
At this point, it helps to discuss the different variations of the Muhle R41.
There’s three variations – Traditional, Grande, and Twist. There’s also a Rosegold design but that’s basically a Traditional body with a rose gold tint.
The Twist design is a two-piece while the other two are three pieces. The three pieces are a little more difficult to load, but the Twist costs more.
Choosing between the different variants comes down to personal preference.
If you have bigger hand and hate fiddling around with a complex blade fitting mechanism, go for the twist. If you like being able to closely clasp the blade in a three-piece structure, the other two variations are better.
There’s also differences in the handle between the different versions.
The Grande and Traditional have small grooves that run down the length of the handle, which make them slightly more slippery. The bottom is flat. Whereas the Twist has a protruding bottom that offers a little more grip.
Finally, the Muhle R41 is a bit overpriced but honestly, this is the case in the US and not in Europe.
It’s difficult to find in the United States, but when you do get it online it tends to cost 1.5 times higher than in Europe, depending on the variant you pick. That’s a little more expensive than most other razors on the market now. The popular safety razor series by Edwin Jagger and Merkur cost sometimes even half of it.
Final thoughts on the Muhle R41
In conclusion, the Muhle R41 safety razor is a well-designed shaving tool that tends to favor a deeper shave over shaving comfort.
It’s likely you’ve heard of the brand and used the razor before.
If you liked the aggressive design of the 2011 version, you’ll be happy with the newer version.
It’s good a good solid grip, quality materials and a reliable head to hold the blade in place. It’s the sort of blade you could easily use to shave off a thick beard you’ve been growing for months.
On the other hand, the razor is not meant for beginners. It’s a slightly aggressive design that takes some getting used to.
If you’ve got prior experience with this type of razors, you enjoy super close shaves and you want to upgrade, then the Muhle R41 is definitely among the best safety razors you can consider.
Besides, the razor costs more than your average safety razor. So, if you’re on a budget or don’t have the time for a careful shave, this one’s not for you.