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The iKon Slant(r/wicked_edge)
I just got my iKon Slant—it was an early shipment, and thanks to Greg of iKon for it. Here’s how it looks disassembled.
It’s as comfortable as the bakelite slant—perhaps even more comfortable—and of course has the heft and strength that the bakelite slant lacks. It’s better than the Merkur 37C and 39C (its only competitors on the open market) because:
a. It’s stainless steel, which is stronger than the metal used in the Merkur razors.
b. It’s a three-piece design, which packs flat when disassembled and also allows one to use other handles if desired. These offer excellent handles for sale separately:
The stock handle is perfectly satisfactory, but one sometimes wants variety.
c. The iKon Slant provides a more comfortable shave than the Merkur 37C/39C. “Comfort” has been iKon’s stock in trade after his first razor, which was harsh. He learned his lesson, and ever since the first adjective that comes to mind when using an iKon razor is, “My! This is a comfortable razor.” That, and the efficiency of the line—and the Slant continues that tradition in fine style. edit: The comfort differences are not great, and in terms of shaving all the slants are (for me) noticeably better than any straight bar. When we comparing all the types of DE razors, I would say that the three slant heads (iKon, bakelite, and Merkur) are the gold, silver, and bronze winners, well ahead of the pack of regular DE razors and relatively close in comfort and efficiency—but distinguishable.
d. The comfort extends to the loading: unlike the Merkur 37C/39C, the iKon Slant’s head is wide enough so that the ends of the blade are not exposed and the blade thus doesn’t dig into your fingers when you tighten or loosen the head. (If the razor is seriously tightened, I sometimes have to hold the 37C’s head in a towel to protect from fingers from the blade ends that protrude. Not so with the iKon Slant.) edit: This means that with the iKon you can drop the blade onto the alignment lugs in the cap, place the baseplate atop that and hold the assembly firmly together as you tighten the handle. Same with the bakelite slant, another 3-piece razor. But the two piece design doesn’t allow baseplate and cap to come together before tightening, only when tightening is complete, and this may allow the blade to shift out of position—I’ve not found that to be a problem, but some have.
My first shave using it is here.
I believe that regular shipping will start in a week or two. He’s doing some finishing work to present a completely polished piece. Watch his site for when they become available. They are also available from some dealers—I believe that BullgooseShaving.net, ItalianBarber.com, and ShaveNation.com will have them, for example.
I do not know what the retail price will be.
Edit: The price will probably be around $150, with the head available separately (and I have no idea of the price of that). The Merkur 37C is $44, the 39C $52, and the bakelite slant was $30 when it was available, but they’re all gone now. (Check /r/shave_bazaar if you want one—sometimes they com up there.) Performance of any of the slants is (to my mind) superior to that of almost any straight-bar, but (speaking of unfair comparisons), the two types of razors have very different cutting actions: as I write in another comment, to compare a regular razor and the slant is like comparing the Scottish Maiden and the Guillotine: the Slant/Guillotine cuts much more easily and cleanly than the regular razor/Scottish Maiden. So any of the four slants mentioned will do a good job, better than a straight bar razor. In terms of comfort (they’re all efficient), I would rate the iKon as very close to the bakelite slant, with the iKon’s greater mass perhaps helping increase comfort, and both of those more comfortable than the Merkurs, which, however, are not bad at all. More significant than differences in comfort and performance are the differences in build quality, material, head design (how the iKon covers the ends of the blades) and construction (three-piece vs. two-piece, with three-piece having in my eyes the advantage). Those who don’t wish to pay the premium for an iKon can be assured that the Merkur 37C and 39C shave quite well, and the performance difference compared to the iKon is not enormous—certainly not like the performance difference between a Ferrari and Dacia, as suggested below. Obviously, if you drop the razor, you’re more likely to break the bakelite slant than the Merkurs, and more likely to break the Merkurs than the iKon.
And note that not everyone ends up liking a slant: though around 70% of those who try it love it, for about 7% it doesn’t work well.
edit: added “c.” And “d.”.
Another edit: three slants side by side: bakelite slant, iKon slant, Merkur 37G.
Another edit: added such price information as I have, and talked more about performance, as suggested by Johnzsmith.
Yet another edit: clarified the difference in loading the iKon and the Merkurs.