Thursday, 28 June 2012

Quick review: The YUMA 2.59 / 2.98 dollar safety razor

Bottom line up front: This is not a bad razor when you consider the price - but there are plenty of other, better razors out there if you're willing to pony up a little more cash.

As part of my experiments in traditional wetshaving - and also with an eye to putting together a cheap starter kit I could PIF to people curious about old fashioned wetshaving, I picked up a very cheap Turkish razor. You can get this for 2.59USD from BestShave, or a whopping 2.98USD if you spring for the boxed version. The box is flimsy plastic and don't fit the razor very well - allowing it to dance around during shipping - so you might as well save the 40 cents.

The razor in it's presentation case. Notice the lack of supports holding the razor in place, and also the generous airspace between the lid and razor.
   
The YUMA head on. The actual surface treatment is decent, but not great - I can't see this razor lasting terrible long with frequent use.
   
Obligatory beuty shot - the hexagonal handle is quite comfortable to hold, but very lightweight. It is also oddly slippery, meaning dry hands is a must when using the YUMA.
   
When disassembled it's obvious that the YUMA has been designed to be as cheap as possible. Not only is the metal some unidentified for of pot metal, most likely heavily alloyed zinc, but they have also made the molds to use as little of it as possible - hence the very wide gap between the safety bar and the body of the razor head, as well as the     raised bars to lift the blade as opposed to a more traditional design where the center part of the head would be thicker.

The head and handle. Again notice how much care has gone into minimizing the use of metal in this razor. One downside of this is that the razor head is somewhat malleable -    if you look closely you can see that the curvature of the head is slightly uneven.

The YUMA reassembled and back in it's box. All things considered it's a fairly decent looking razor with a classical styling - reminiscent of the Merkur C42 in looks but not quality.

In use, the YUMA is.. .interesting. It feels harsh - at least with the Sharb blades - but provides a surprisingly smooth and mild shave. Some online reviews of the YUMA indicates that it should in fact be aggressive, I chalk that up to either the well known concept of YMMV, or possible to the lack of QC in production. The cheapness of construction also means that care has to be taken while loading the YUMA, to ensure an even blade exposure on both sides of the head. Care must also be taken while using the YUMA, since I found that the head have a disturbing tendency to work itself loose from the handle - which may be an issue with mine rather than a consistent feature with the YUMA. The YUMA handles much like any other short handled razor, although it is extremely lightweight. The hollow, lightweight handle acts as a megaphone, pretty much letting you hear each whisker as it's cut. As mentioned a couple of times the razor feels fairly rough and harsh, but it does give a remarkable decent shave in the hands  of someone who knows what they are doing. It is also remarkable intolerant of any mistakes the user might make; this makes the YUMA a poor choice for someone just starting out with traditional wetshaving in my opinion.

I cannot in good conscience recommend the YUMA as someones first razor. I will however suggest that it's a fun little razor to play around with for an experienced shaver, or to use as a travel razor. For less than three dollars it's actually remarkable good value... but keep in mind that the value is that low.

1 comment:

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