I have been looking forward to this for quite some time. I began this series of reviews with a focus on Dorco products, the Pace series of razors have all been fantastic, but my original value pack only came with the Pace 3, 4 and 6 Plus. I discovered, very quickly that the Pace 6 Plus was no longer the flagship products from my favorite razor company. They made one better. The Pace 7. Seven precision blades, tightly knit and sharp as a….razor? Regardless, I ordered it, and it finally arrived. It was with much anticipation that I began to shave with it. I was unsurprised.
Dorco have been around a while, though you might not know it. They were founded in the fifties, in Korea. Their westward expansion has been impressive, sliding into the niches that the larger firms do not want to occupy, namely offering high quality products at reasonable prices. They do not currently provide a subscription service in North America, though they do in the UK, but their product lines are still extremely affordable, with some of them being cheap enough to get a years worth of razors for under $50. The company has a fair number of patents and designs innovations under their belt, with this seven bladed build being one of the more recent ones.
The only issue with Dorco that I can think of is the difference in beard culture between Korea and here. It is very seldom you see a beard in Korea, unlike here, as the trend is to to grow one out. I still shave to the bone, which is why I am enjoying this series of reviews so much, but for the beard wearer there are better blades out there.
Onto the methodology. I will be shaving every three days, providing more than enough growth to really put the blade through its paces, aha. By the second shave the blade will be pushing four days old, letting us verify the longevity of the design. The shave itself is my own five step three pass shave.
So let’s get to the review, you will find the Dorco Pace 7 to be one of the best products on the market.
The Fresh Blade – Dorco Pace 7
I know I said it already, but I went into this shave hoping for a revelation . Remember years back when they released the Xbox 360 and everyone was clamoring for a HD TV to see the games correctly, Dead Rising was horrible on SD TVs at the time. Remember plugging things in and being blown away by the clarity? That is what I was hoping for from the Pace 7, a game changer. I am ecstatic to say that that is exactly what I got.
Before we move onto the shave itself, let’s take a look at the package. The Pace 7 is a seven bladed razor, who would have guessed. The lubricated strip is joined by a honeycomb guard bar here, much like the Gillette Pro Glide. I am a fan of these things, seen as my shave is so thorough the honeycomb strip goes a long way to making it smooth. The lubrication here is a combination of Argan Oil and Calendula extract. I’ve been using Argan oil on my hair for a long while now, so I know how good it is, but the Calendula extract was new to me. It has anti inflammatory properties and is used in the healing of wounds, so great for razor burn and the odd cut. Good choice of materials there, something I am a fan of seeing. The handle is good. I expected more to be honest. The construction is sound and it is solid, but I like a little more heft to a handle. As it stands the Pace 7 handle is too light for me. It does provide a good range of movement for the blade and the rubber grips fit nicely in the hand. Minor issue overall that.
Onto the shave itself, and let me tell you something brother, I have been saying that a lot in these reviews, slowly turning into Hulk Hogan over here, you will not have a smoother, closer first pass shave in your life. Proper preparation is still important, and good form goes a long way on even the worst of razors, but on a good one, it is amazing. That first stroke, which can be bothersome depending on the brand, was like skimming off a layer of butter, and leaving it looking untouched. Like silk sliding down waxed banister. The closeness was near on par with my three pass, which is something I truly did not expect. I pressed on with the shave regardless, and by the time I was done my face was not only as smooth as it has ever been, it was also more pristine than it has ever been as well. In spite of all the steps I take to avoid razor burn or cuts, I still have issues post shave most of the time. Here I had none. I applied my balm and it was like I never had a beard in my life.
There are a few other things to discuss before we move onto the dull blade shave. The Pace 7 does not come with a Trimmer blade. It seems to be a bit of a standard with other manufacturers, especially in the high blade density market. It’s absence here is a little troubling. Granted, finding a good one is a challenge, big nosed as I am, most trimmer blades have trouble navigating the chasm like recesses of my philtrum. The Pace 7 is thinner as a result, and were they to shoe horn in a small blade I am certain it would have worked on me. But they did not. The reduction in weight was nice, and on the whole the lack of trimmer did not have a huge impact on the shave.
The Dull Blade – Dorco Pace 7
Experience has told me that the more blades a razor has the better and longer it lasts. I have used a six day old Pace 6 in the past and it shaved my face very well, even if it took a little longer than I would like. So a three day old Pace 7 should be easy. It very much was, I am glad to say. I went for the usual methodology, the five step three pass shave, and was left with as close and as quick a shave as the last time. But perhaps there is something more I could do. I had in my hands one of the best razors in the world. So I thought I would try something new for a change. I decided to shave my chest. Not something I am used to, but I gave it a go. It was remarkable. It sailed along my chest and stomach with ease, no cranny was too deep for it and the whole thing took me less than twenty minutes, not bad for a three day old face razor.
This is a blade that will stand the test of time. I will try it again in a few days and see how it holds up, as I am very interested in the longer term longevity. Bear in mind that it saw more use on day three than I was intending, so I am not expecting great things on day six.
edit: It did alright. The third shave could have been smoother, and likely would have been had I not shaved my body with the damn thing, but overall I was happy with the relatively quick shave.
Conclusion & Pricing – Dorco Pace 7
Here is where I might lose you. Dorco have made waves in the business, selling top of the range razors at affordable prices. The current state of the razor industry is such that the larger firms can charge what they like. It is a near monopoly here, with Schick and Gillette accounting for a huge swath of the market. In recent years firms like the Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s have been luring consumers away from the giants with high quality product at low prices, and I for one am very glad to see some competition in the marketplace. Dorco are not challenging the big boys with a novel marketing campaign or new delivery system. They are taking them head on, with a storefront and selling handles and refills. I hope it pays off for them in the long run.
The price is the factor, and where the Pace 3 and 6 have been very cheap, the Pace 7 is more in line with the bigger name companies. Getting the handle and a few replacement heads will cost you $8. By comparison the Gillette Pro Shield will cost you closer to $13 for the same thing. Replace razor cartridges are a little more expensive, with a four pack costing you $10. The more you buy the better the price though, and if you shell out for a 24 pack you will only be charged $50. I consider it to be great value, especially if you think long term. Stretched out it will last you the guts of a year, or if you time it right at least until you are next due some gifts, be it Birthday or Christmas.
As an aside, there is one area that Dorco don’t seem to have grown into. Accoutrements. My shaving methodology up there makes it pretty clear that I love random crap to throw on my face both before and after shaving. The fact that the firm has not saw fit to release balms and exfoliants under it’s name is a bit baffling, but I am sure they have their reasons. The Pace 7 handle has one more trick up its sleeve too. It is backwards compatible with the entire Pace range. So if you want to check out some of the cheaper cartridges you can go right ahead. Handle type locking is a ludicrous thing, and those companies that practice it are being more than a little bit anti-consumer.
Now at the end of the review. I had an absolutely wonderful time with the Dorco Pace 7. So good a time that I am making it my standard go to razor. I found the experience to be quite possibly the best on the market, and bear in mind I spent the last several weeks shaving with a variety of the best razors that money could buy, so when I claim a preference there may be some weight behind it. The pricing is on point, for a change in the razor industry, and while Dorco might lack in some areas, they more than make up for it with the quality of this particular blade.
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