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.
Rotring Rapid Pro
– 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.
15 thoughts on “Rotring Rapid Pro Ballpoint Pen Review”
“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”
I love the Parker blue Gels ..they transform any ballpoint pen. Some complain how long they last…my only problem with them is the blue gel writing washes away with the slightest water..the Parker black gel does not do this. If only Parker had added a little dye or something to make the blue less temporary.
Interesting! I haven’t tried washing it out (or spilling anything on the paper), but that’s good to know. I’ll have to pick up some of those black refills!
I wonder how it feels next to the Hexomatic from Retro 51.
Great review, Ed! Lava in the final pic looks pretty sweet too… 🙂 Excited for that write up as well.
Does this body actually fit the Hi-tec-c refill? you mention the refill but I’m not exactly clear on if you’re saying it fits.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t.
It accepts Parker style refills with no problem. I’ve been using it with the Parker Gel 0.7mm refill, and it’s been great.
Hi, is this the refill that you’re using with this pen? http://www.amazon.ca/Parker-Refill-Retractable-Medium-30525PP/dp/B001AFB6YI
Yup! Those are the ones.
Thanks 😀 I wanted to make sure before I order a couple.
Thread is almost 20 months old but it’s one of the very few online that highlight the Rotring ballpoint, so I thought I’d throw in my two cents worth. I have two Rotring Rapidpros in black, two Hexomatics, one in silver and one in black and one Levenger Ltech 3 in black and offer the following:
1. The Rotring is the longest pen followed by the Hex followed by the Levenger. Differences are miniscule (and I didn’t measure them, just layed them out on the bed) but suffice to say, the Rotring is the longest.
2. The Rotring is also the lightest. The Levenger is the heaviest. Again, not scientific but it’s noticeable and likely because the Levenger is all brass underneath the finish.
3. Rotring is made in Japan, the Hexomatics are Chinese and the Levenger is from Taiwan.
4. The Rotrings and Hexomatics are clickies and the Levenger is a twist.
5. All owe their styling, obviously to the Rotring 600 series of years past.
6. The Rotring and Hexomatics are six-sided. Curiously, the Levenger is seven sided.
7. All utilize the excellent Parker-style refill which I salt away a bunch at a time on Amazon orders. Love, love, LOVE the blue gel. I only get three to four weeks of writing out of it, but I don’t mind a bit. Aside from my fountain pens, it’s the closest equivalent I’ve ever felt that feels ‘fountain-pen-ish’. Unreal smooth.
8. The Rotring is the mid-priced pen here; Hexomatics the cheapest and the Levenger, by far, the most expensive.
9. Opinion on them all: I agree with the author of this post. A good pen, NOT a great pen. NOT was capitalized as I had the throw one away as the knock broke. The plastic sleeve, which is a majority of the pen, is cheap personified. I guess it would be a great pen if it sold for $10 and didn’t carry such a provenance of a name. For the ~$35.00 or so it costs: no value at all. Seems if Newell Rubbermaid buys your pen company, watch out. The Hexomatics are the value leader BY FAR in the technical pen department. All metal. Great value. Only downside I’ve seen is the flat black model isn’t a sexy Lava-like the old Rotrings nor anywhere near as pretty as the drop-dead gorgeous ‘wet-look’ black of the Levenger. Love the Hexomatics and hope Retro 51 never discontinues them…they’re as close as we’ll ever get to an original Rotring 600 unless someone buys Rotring from Newell Rubbermaid. The Levenger is just beautiful. Smooth as silk mechanism, especially for a twist. And you get Levenger superlative service. Only downside is it’s a $70.00 pen and you could get almost three Hexomatics for the price. But I rotate between the Hexomatics and the Levenger. Overall the Levenger is my favorite because I love the minimalist styling of a twist pen and there’s no knock to break and it deploys almost as fast.
That’s the state of the technical ballpoint pen offerings as of May 2015. I had a picture of all three, side-by-side, but I don’t know how to post pictures on these replies, but if anyone wants that pic, let me know by commentary on here.
My knock just broke, 2 days into using the pen… sigh.
Wow, that’s weird! Maybe it was a defect, I would contact customer service or the retailer. I’ve since parted with mine, but it didn’t seem like something that would break so easily.