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Razor 2.0 or 2.1 or SMS75

Discussion in 'Sidemount Diving' started by ScubaShaneVB, Jul 20, 2014.

  1. loquat149

    loquat149 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Clearwater, FL
    Well, I only have the xDeep Stealth wing, not the harness. The wing seems as solid as any of my Halcyon wings. It comes with a replaceable bladder, which in my book makes it expedition-grade.

  2. Razorista

    Razorista Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Germany
    I am actually a huge fan of the Xdeep Stealth 2.0

    But I hate that nobody is able to come to an informed opinion about it.
    Some seem to buy it being uncritical fans of 'something or someone' and mostly stay that way. Some seem to have never bought it at all and still talk about it constantly.
    (btw: I do not mean you or anyone from this thread - excluding me perhaps, I do not own one but still talk about it. I helped set-up several in the last year and that has reinforced my prejudices)

    It is easy to see that the wing has some huge flaws and the harness will never be able to take as much abuse as something build from several millimeter thick V4A-steel-plates and resin reinforced webbing material.

    The Stealth is a great Sidemount system.
    One of the best Razor imitations and one of the most innovative.
    But it also has a lot of flaws and fixing those is not always cheap or cheaper than with any other system.

    Because it simply is a copy of the concept in everything but details.
    It tries to be different, but (in my opinion) fails at that.
    It is also a 'believable rumor' that the 'inventor' went to visit Steve Bogaerts before 'inventing' the Stealth only weeks later (and a nearly identical backstory links most harness systems).

    Cheap, because it uses less robust materials and sells at a significantly lower price because of that.

    I do not see anything really 'wrong' with that and I do not think I am degrading the Stealth in any way by pointing out that it is just one of many 'Razor inspired systems' = copies.
    In my opinion the original still has some elements that distinguish it from any competing copies, but that is something everyone should decide for themselves.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  3. loquat149

    loquat149 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Clearwater, FL
    Well, for me I don't care which came first or second. Or what kind of marketing hype is used to sell which product. I'm just happy we have so many choices now. I sold my Razor after one dive in Ginnie, and bought a Manta. Then, while test diving the prototype for the Halcyon Contour, a buddy of mine loaned me his Stealth rig. I hopped in Jackson Blue, the harness wasn't even adjusted property for me, but I immediately felt my center of gravity and center of buoyancy had finally converged.

  4. Sidemount_Stu

    Sidemount_Stu Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cambridgeshire, UK
    I'm the same, not interested in who made what or when, it's about function for me. After all, isn't the process of small modifications to try and improve something called evolution?
  5. Razorista

    Razorista Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Germany
    Perfect description of what sidemount should feel like, thanks, I will quote that I am sure.

    I share the opinions you expressed.

    Sidemount is still a bit underdeveloped at most dive sites I visit.
    So it is always important to me to be able to make my own decisions regarding configuration and how to use it properly.
    I collect as much information as I can for that, without regard for importance.

    One always has to remember where and why the Razor was developed:
    Steve had access to similar sidemount systems as the ones available today, but they could not fit through the restrictions they had to get through and where damaged to often.
    Even systems like the SMS series and the Halcyon today simply would not fit any better and passages would have to be avoided or no-mounted.

    There where several harnesses before the Razor and Steve will also have to have used some of those before.
    But none made the user think: 'Hey! Why not use this on every dive?'.

    Most harness systems allow this today.
    Usable for everyone and in any diving environment - thanks to Steve and his people.
    I my opinion every one using sidemount today owes him for not patenting any of his ideas or secreting them away.

    I do not want to diminish other inventors and pioneers, there are many others.
    Some of those may even be more important but the Razor still changed some things drastically.

    To get back on topic:
    I like my Razor and would not use anything else available at the moment.
    But from my point of view everyone can make any harness feel exactly the same.
    My main reason for using a Razor is that gosidemount training can be used without having to modify the system or redeveloping everything they thought up in the last 15 years.
  6. Mike.D

    Mike.D DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brisbane
    Razorista, care to write a comparison between the stealth and the razor, in particular highlighting the pros and cons of both (or whichever you can write about from experience)

    Cheers mate


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  7. Razorista

    Razorista Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Germany
    I think that would be unfair because of my biased opinion.

    I could list the differences most important to me, however.

    1. Material
    Razor: Heavy reinforced webbing and v4a-elements. Two pieces of webbing in total, one seam for the crotch strap loop.
    Stealth: Sewn crodura. One piece essentially with small v4a plates for weight system attachment.

    I am on my second set of webbing for my Razor because of abrasions, would have used up more then one Stealth in the same time (and I am not a cave diver).

    Razor wins in sturdiness, Stealth in comfort section.

    A Razor fitted perfectly is absolutely comfortable (you do not feel its there), the Stealth feels good even when not fitted perfectly.

    2. Weight System
    Razor: T-Weight System. Big Name for what is essentially two small pieces of webbing with a few holes for attachment.
    Stealth: pocket system with astounding carry capacity

    I like the Stealth System.
    Easy to use, can carry soft weights, flexible...
    Very expensive though.

    On the other hand the T-Weight System allows for millimeter precision in placement. Perfect for trim-fanatics.
    Also bulk: empty the Stealth system still has some bulk, the T-Weight system is next to non-existent without removing anything.

    3. Wing
    Long story...

    Lets start with the most important difference:
    3.1. Attachment:
    Razor: Wing held by a strong screw on the top, a bungee cord at the bottom and the wing bungee around the waist.
    Stealth: Wing held only by the double waist bungee and a bungee following the crotch strap.

    The Stealth wing is not securely attached.
    This gives some flexibility, but is also very dangerous.

    Anecdote mode:
    When I started sidemounting (with the Razor) without sufficient training I often made mistakes and miscalculated experiments.
    One of those sent me into the water with a fully inflated and badly attached BAT-wing.
    Hit a wave and the wing went up behind my shoulders.
    Dunked the face firmly into the water and made reaching any dump impossible while choking me with the bungees and inflator hose around my neck.
    Another time I was nearly chocked by a overly-tight wing-bungee I had forgotten to loop through the crotch strap when someone inflated the wing to the max in a rescue drill.
    Went up very fast, dislocated the wing and ended in the only time I ever panicked and really feared for my life while diving.

    My wing is attached exactly according to the manual since then.

    Also: have you ever looked at those tiny loops holding the bungees to the Stealth wing?
    2 centimeter of cordura webbing? I could saw through this with the default bungee in a few hours...

    3.2. Pull dump and inflator placement
    Razor: set to one side, interchangeable with the infaltor hose.
    Stealth: located at the bottom of the wing, fixed inflator hose position.

    The ambidextrous idea of placing the pull dump in the middle seem ideal at first glance.
    It seems to totally ignore that the wing will be inflated, however.
    Even people with two fully useable arms sometimes cannot reach it without straining.
    A dislocated wing will almost always make it nearly impossible to even find the pull dump.
    Also: lifting your ass for a dump? Sounds like a pun to me, not like good technique.

    On the Razor I always dive with the inflator coming from the right side, since I always use a drysuit.
    Not possible with the Stealth.

    I could go on forever, but I think this should be enough regarding the wing.

    4. Pouch!!
    Razor: supplied
    Stealth: not supplied, but attachments similar to the Razor provided.

    I simply do not understand why nobody seems to find this important.

    It was one of my most important questions when I started researching if I could somehow start using this myself.
    Where will I put my stuff in a minimalistic harness system??

    In my opinion sidemount is impossible without an adequate solution there.
    The Razor is the only system offering that.

    It might seem like a small thing to some, but it is not! (in my humble opinion)


    I hope I did not start to rant to much there
    Johanan and descent like this.
  8. Mike.D

    Mike.D DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brisbane
    Dude, fantastic write up. Thank you very much. One more question for you,
    What changes do you think would make the razor a better sm system? Any modifications/alterations?

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  9. Razorista

    Razorista Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Germany
    >> What changes do you think would make the razor a better sm system?
    I think only HP and Steve are competent to comment on that.
    Just witness the insignificant changes made in the Razor 2.1 version and the huge effects those have.

    I would often like a smaller wing (since it almost wraps around me with an XS waist like mine), but why use it if the big one works?

    I really think the Razor close to perfect.
    I tried literally hundreds of modification in the first 250 dives with it.
    I thought that using the ideas of Edd and Lamar had to make it easier - I was wrong.

    Since then I stopped and never really modified again before June this year.
    Retried loop bungees, changed default cylinder placement farther down toward the fins and up again, tried different ways of looping the bungee.
    Came to the same conclusion as last time: I cannot improve the Razor myself (and it looks like I cannot use its full potential for a few years to come).

    As a totally different example:
    I do not use a helmet. I would never find instant-buddys at a dive site in Germany wearing one.
    That's different from Steves solution for backup lights and the Razor does not have any other solution because Steve does not need it.

    So I have to place them on the harness or in the pouch - I use the pouch after a lot of problems with the 'under-arm-position'.

    I would like to have a few bungee loops on or in the pouch to secure them to the outside.
    But I cannot build anything that does not entangle in the first tryout dive (ok, I am good at provoking accidents if I want to).

    Accessing the lights at the moment is awkward can take 10 seconds, but there is no need to improve anything.

    I have come back to the method I had been using since that mentioned 250s dive in the Razor.
    Do not change the Razor, understand how Steve already has solved my issue and use that method - if you can't: improvise.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
    Mike.D likes this.
  10. gearhound

    gearhound Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    I have no problems with the Razor. And I truly believe that the current sidemount craze is due to the youtube videos that Bogaerts and Hp put out. I've met both of them and I'm pretty sure they know what they're doing.

    I just want to defend the Stealth. I think it's pretty telling that Steve Martin, one of the original GoSidemount instructors is now diving and teaching with the Stealth. I have quite a few cave dives with the Stealth. I've also dove with it dry in cold water, under the ice with steels and some advanced caves in Mexico. It has never failed me yet. Al80s, hp100s, lp95s, hp120s, double stages...worked with all of them.
    As an instructor, the weight system is fantastic. And the harness is very simple to adjust for different divers. The loop bungees are more comfortable that the one piece single, and they make staging easier.
    The butt dump is simplicity. If you can wipe your bum, you should be able to dump...air :wink: Easier than having to roll to dump, and always to only one side.

    The Razor and Stealth are designed to put the majority of buoyancy where it is needed, down low. Either one would be a good decision. I decided on the Stealth because, in my opinion, it's easier to switch for cold water.

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