Sometimes I don’t use fountain pens. In those times, there’s the likely possibility it’s a gel ink pen. Here’s another review of a non-fountain pen that’s definitely worth checking out.
- Handwritten Review -
- Review Paper: Mnemosyne in B5 (available at JetPens)
- Description: A high quality, german-designed clicky pen
- Point: 0.7mm, conical tip (Parker Gel Refill)
- Material: Mostly metal with a plastic thread section
- Refillable: Yes
- Measurements: length: ~ 5.5″ (extended and not), grip diameter: ~ 5/16″
Handwritten Review Scans:
Well, thanks to Mike over at ClickyPost.com. You and your Rotring week made me do this. After not being able to hold out on the German-designed goodness any longer, I opted to pick up the readily available Rotring Rapid Pro Ballpoint. Coming in at just over $40, this is my most expensive non-fountain pen. The Rapid Pro comes with a ballpoint refill loaded up, but two lines in I had to get it out of there. This review was done with a 0.7mm Parker Quink Gel Refill purchased at my usual giant office supply store. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the review!
Sporting an all-metal body (with the exception of the plastic thread section) the Rapid Pro has a nice heft to it. The knurled grip is comfortable in terms of texture, and gripping it is no problem. More on the grip in the “Feel” section of the review. The body of the pen is hexagonal, but the edges are much softer than the Rotring 600 series of days past. The clip is thin metal, but well-made. I’m sure it’ll hold onto a pocket or notebook without giving out just fine. I went for the matte finished black model, which is powder coated brass (I think…). The slight texturization feels great in hand and should be quite durable. I’m okay with the plastic threads, but I’m most let down by the knock. The button to extend the pen has a little wiggle to it and I feel like it should have more resistance. Perhaps I’m spoiled by my Pilot Vanishing Points – which has arguably one of the best feeling clicks around.
First thing I noticed about the Rapid Pro: this is a much thinner pen than I’ve becomed used to writing with. Just a hair wider than a standard wooden #2 pencil, I find myself getting more hand fatigue the longer I write. I’ve grown very accustomed to the wider grip of a fountain pen and this thinner grip is having a negative effect on my writing. I think my handwriting is seeing some backlash as well the more I write. When compared to a UNI Shift Pipe Lock pencil I have, the pencil seems more comfortable. My theory is that the conical tip of the refill I’m using is blocking the exact point where ink meets paper. This is avoided with a needle point like the Hi-Tec-C or a pencil, whereas the Parker refill’s larger conical tip gets in the way.
I really like the weight of the pen. It’s got a quality feeling heft to it, but isn’t unnecessarily heavy. The build quality and finish of the pen help justify the price tag. My only real complaint is that the knock does not feel as solid as I think it should be. If you’ve ever tried a Vanishing Point, you’ll know what I mean. Granted, there’s a $100 difference between the two, but a slightly stronger spring in the knock mechanism would go a long way in terms of perceived quality.
The Rapid Pro comes as a ballpoint. Guess what I hate. Ballpoint pens. If there’s one type of pen I avoid using, it’s 1.0mm ballpoints. The day after the pen came in the mail, I was at Staples first thing in the morning to get a Parker-style refill to go in the pen. I already confused the Schmidt 8126 rollerball refill with the Easyflow 9000. My trip to Staples yielded a 2-pack of Parker Gel refills, in blue 0.7mm and a pack of Monteverde ballpoint refills that didn’t fit. Refills can definitely be a bit of a hassle and I’m not a fan. Maybe I’m just outside of my comfort zone. I’m much happier with the gel refill and it’ vibrancy on the page. Skip-prone ballpoints are not my favorite, and will probably not go back into this pen.
The Rapid Pro is a good pen, but to me it’s not great. Everything but the knock has a nice, quality feel to it. Ballpoints aren’t really for me, but that’s not to say that millions of people don’t use them every day. I’m happy with the Parker Gel refill and I’ll probably continue to use them in this pen. I’m open to suggestions for others, so if you know of anything better, sound off in the comments! Overall, the pen is a bit too narrow for me to write with for extended periods of time. For shorter notes and casual writing, the Rapid Pro does an excellent job. I’ll continue to use the pen on a daily basis, but it has no chance in dethroning my fountain pens as my go-to writing instrument.
- Design is great
- Takes a few different refills
- Finish and build quality are good
Recommendation: If you like the design and the type of refill it takes, and do not want to pay a premium for the discontinued 600 series, then yes! Just be aware that the grip section is very thin and can lead to cramps / poor handwriting if you are not used to this.