Ikon SB vs Ikon SB vs Ikon SB


After a bit of a mix up this is my second visitation on this subject

This is more a tale of three razors and strangely enough three heads from the same family. In this case the three all being different variants of the Ikon standard SB which is probably quite well known as my 'reach for' razor. In fact I've most likely bored you all shitless with my ramblings about this particular head. However despite all being much the same they all shave differently.

In general they are all made of stainless, very low profiled and full width with zero exposure of any tabs, which I rather like. Subsequently they all shave with great precision and a wonderful sense of accuracy. All base plates and top caps are interchangeable with no noticeable play and a great fit between each sample. In general the top caps are quite 'flat' compared to many razors which rather answers as to why they can be daunting around the chin and around the mouth,

In the world of razors the SB is quite acknowledged as being aggressive and on this side of the story at the higher end of aggressive. They do rather puzzle me as to why they should be this way, but I imagine a number of factors coming in to play. They all expose quite a bit of blade, they all shave at a steeper angle than most razors and they all clamp the blade very firmly reducing any chatter. But they all have a relatively small blade gap which kind of dispels the theory (well to me anyway) that a larger blade gap increases the aggressive level of a razor.

I have never been completely sold on the blade gap aspect as I honestly thought both the 68 and the 95 versions of the wonderful Timeless both shaved very much the same. If there was any difference it was barely noticeable and not worth writing home about. Not as though my wife would be one bit interested anyway. Likewise with that dreadful object the Futur. Apologies to those who love it, but for me the worse razor I have owned. All I found was that the higher settings did nothing else except increase the level of nicks and weepers. I was never convinced the blade was held firmly in position and the chatter factor to be quite high.

In the world of how aggressive is aggressive I think the Ikon must be near the top of the tree and many owners end up as ex-owners when they pass them on as being too much to tame. I have to say it is one of those razors which takes time to come to terms with, but once mastered they are quite pussy cats (if not slightly feral) to handle. Like any razor they need respect and even more so as they won't just bite, but they will happily slice your face up. My first shaves had me retiring it to the back of the cupboard for 'another day'. That 'other day' finally came to fruition and I have never looked back.

In passing I still hold you straight shavers to high esteem as they beat me in to the ground and I don't think I will be trying again. Far too daunting. You are shaving Gods to me.

I now have three different versions of the same head and one by one as they came in to my ownership I noticed an almost instant difference.

1) An all matt stainless head
2) An all black B1 proprietary coated head
3) A black B1 proprietary coated base with a polished cap


From L-R - All matt stainless - B1 proprietary coated - B1 proprietary coated and a polished cap


Same order from end on


Top caps in the same order

It is difficult to see, but from left to right the actual blade exposure increases. Only very slightly, but in the world of shaving this can make a huge difference. Or certainly in this case.

During last nights' SOTD my challenge was to try all three so as to draw up some kind of conclusion as to how they differ in the terms of shaving results. To put everything on a level playing field I used the same blade (so as to remove any inconsistency in blade samples) and all used on the same ATT Colossus handle being as a change of handle can have such a change in the dynamics of a razor. Same brush, same cream, same water and same me.

All matt stainless

This was a recent purchase from the BST and a very nice razor in use, By far the easiest of the three and I found myself being capable of throwing this around my face at a great rate of knots. All three passes being made with great ease and ATG had it continually finding bristles even after I'd thought they'd well been dealt with. Very comfortable and very confidence inspiring.

A snarling dog which will allow you to pat its head and it will happily respond by wagging its tale

All black B1 proprietary coated

I presume this black coating is supposed to make it smoother across the skin but in all honesty it doesn't seem to be any different to the matt version. Where it does differ is that the level of aggressive is definitely notched up the scale. Still capable of being used with confidence but there is a small notion at the back of my mind that this requires a bit more care and attention. XTG and ATG require a little more thought and the strokes around the chin and under the nose are starting to shorten as the feedback says 'back off a bit'. Finding those bristles the all matt left behind.

A snarling dog which will allow you to pat its head and it will not wag its tale

Black B1 base with polished cap

The one which started me on the Ikon trail. I don't know what it is about this particular head, but this one can be a scary prospect, The cap is very slightly thinner at the edges with a slightly different profile and is ever so slightly narrower, but whatever the differences it is very single minded with no room for loss of concentration. It can achieve in a single pass what most razors take three to even come anywhere as close. Strokes around the chin and nose take a lot of care and extremely short strokes. It will soon let you know when to use less pressure and when to back off. The feedback is tremendous and the results ridiculously close. So much so ones skin tingles and feels so alive. All three passes made with cautionary ease and this one is finding bristles long after they have been removed completely.

A snarling dog which you won't get even close to giving it a pat on the head and who's tale was long removed in a fight

So three of the same family heads and yet so different in how they attack and achieve the shave. All are most definitely at the higher end of the aggressive table but it is more a case of 'how high?' On a macro scale I would probably rate

All Matt stainless head - Aggressive
All B1 proprietary head - Very aggressive
B1 proprietary head and polished cap - Downright fucking angry

At the end of the day these are just my thoughts and I am sure there are plenty more 'scary' razors out there. I really must try an R41 being as these seem to be among the angriest razors on the planet and I look forward to the challenge.

Apologies to have taken up your time reading this drivel but I hope it gives folk some kind of an insight in to the world of Ikon standard heads. If anyone fancies giving one a shot I will be happy to loan one out.
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