Battle of the Cheap Tech Clones

Baili BD191 "Chaoying" is really the cutting edge of Tech evolution, being marketed incorrectly as an inexpensive clone (by Italian Barber) and simultaneously as a blatantly overpriced act of plagiarism (by Julian Vue). It has a steeper natural pitch than a Tech, more typical of TTOs like the Super Speed. But it has a very finely adjustable blade curvature; which, while possible with all Gillettes, is most associated with the Old Type. Finally, it has a modern, wide cutting head, enclosing the ends and corners safely.

It occupies a place in my lineup formerly held by Rimei RM2003, king of the more obvious Tech clones. RM2001, with the same cutting head, was my first real razor. But compared to my Travel Tech, I find it has more flex, which makes it more dangerous in my mind -- and it definitely has the worst blade-end overhang.  After inadvertently destroying mine in an attempt to bend the safety bar, I didn't bother to replace it. Until yesterday, when it reminded me how enjoyable an overly-exposed blade can be. Given that I've taken up one-pass shaving lately, maybe the original is still the best.

Accounting for natural pitch, I gave Chaoying her factory-supplied Baili Platinum, and the Rimei a close, perhaps superior substitute for it's own brand, Wilkinson Sword. Low angle razors require sharper blades, and probably better prep, too. I had a bunch of flaxseed extract in the fridge, so I took some in my little cup for pre- and post-shave use, (as well as toothbrushing and dietary supplement). Hot lather was supplied by Arko and No. 6 brush in my $1.50 scuttle. I even had hot water for the basin, having just flushed my pipes with citric acid. (Which has to be the best use of time I've ever come up with, on Super Bowl Sunday. New tradition, there!)

Pass 1

Chaoying gave a decidedly more even result, with the edge carefully adjusted to be even with the corner guards. Still, the Rimei gave an exhilarating feeling of just wanting to run, like it was stupid to shave in my new, little zones. Maybe it's the real super-speedy razor, not the straight-edge substitute that I've made it out to be, lately.

Pass 2

Foul! Shaving bumps raised along the neck crease by Rimei. The side ipsilateral to my dominant hand, arbitrarily assigned to Rimei, is always a little more challenging, but higher up than that, under the tongue. Advantage: Chaoying. Tightening the blade down a bit kept her edge out of the skin.

Pass 3

No skimming this time -- why use these razors, if not to take advantage of the reach? I'd call it a draw. They can both do the job. Rimei makes it a bit easier, Chaoying a bit safer.

Water Pass

Here, I let the razors switch sides. Chaoying picked up extra neck hair the Rimei left long, while Rimei picks up extra depth on the cheek. And no damage on the neck, suggesting that my problems XTG could be improved upon technically. It's a draw.


I've still got a pile of Rimeis in my basement, so it certainly pains me to say, the Baili is the better all-around razor, and for not much more money. I will note that I'm not using stock handles on either cutting head. There don't seem to be any good options currently available for either, but at least the Rimei comes with something that's the right size and weight. I replaced that with a Razorock bulldog (Mission) handle. I've only had the chance to use the grossly overweight BD191 handle; replaced with Schmidt R10 (hollow/epoxy) which is a decidely head-heavy balance.

The Rimei and I can console each other, though. It's nice to have the little guy back! I personally prefer using it... so we're both still winners.  I know it isn't right, but I like the feeling of hairlessness. This shave was a little rough-looking on my skin, deflated by the gel postshave, but my face soon plumped up with oil again.

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