Sunday, 30 September 2012

Pen Review - Rotring Rapidograph

Ooh - my first ever pen review (and probably my only one).

As you may have seen this set was spotted by my DF when were at Office World, and I bought it as he has mention how good they are before. Obviously being pens I had to try them out to see if I would be able to use them and get one for myself, although I wasn't holding out too much hope as they are pretty fine nibs (the largest coming in at 0.5, followed by 0.35 and 0.25). The set also contains a Rotring 0.5 Tikki pencil.

The set comes with three spare capillary cartridges. Apparently these pens never dry up like fountain pens can if you don't use them for a while (obviously as a fountain pen free person I am relying on information from others for this).

So, here is my kit ready for testing. Filofax standard diary, Oxford notebook and the Rotring pens.  

Due to the quality of the Filofax paper the 0.5 pen is pretty thick as it bleeds a bit, so I need to write fairly big, which isn't a big problem as I quite like writing big, but I'm not that keen on the pen line being so thick.

The 0.35 nib is quite scratchy, and I would need to learn to write more gently.

The 0.25 is super fine and cute - although I did have to concentrate quite hard not to press too hard, and it is pretty scratchy (a bit like writing with a needle). However, if I could get used to this I could possibly fit everything into a pocket Filofax (though when I'm tired I could have problems actually reading it).

After writing with the 0.25 the 0.5 and the 0.35 felt much less scratchy... would the scratch factor be reduced by using smoother paper?

Results on filofax paper
The pen for the thicker nib bleeds through to the reverse of the paper, although not too badly. I personally don't think I would be able to write on the reverse with bleed through, I think I would find it distracting and messy.

Bleed through not too bad, but it's not great
The same pens on the Oxford paper.

Quite a difference - more of a difference than I was expecting.

All the nibs wrote a finer line as the paper bleeds much less. The pens didn't feel as scratchy (not perfect, but better). With the 0.25 I could possibly fit my whole life in a mini (if I want to carry a magnifying glass everywhere with me - ha ha ha!!!).

Results on the Oxford paper
Bleedthrough... nada!!! If I try really hard I can just about see that there is something written on the other side, but it's really no issue at all.

Pen can barely be seen from the other side at all
And side by side so you can see the difference - with the better quality paper this pen is pretty cool (if you look at the excerpt from the Rotring website below you will see that these are not designed for standard paper, or even normal writing). These pens are OK for upright writing, but if I start doing my more relaxed style (which I rarely use as it tends to be more for scribbling notes on scrap paper) there would be no hope. However, they are perfect for writing labels for presents, dividers etc.

Side by side
I took a look online to see what colour inks there are for these (they take Rotring capillary cartridges) and there isn't a massive selection, but apparently you can mix the inks...

"For tracing paper, vellum drawing paper and lineboard.The rapidograph uses rOtring's unique capillary cartridge. The pressure-equalization system, including ink helix is part of the ink cartridge which ensures that every time you change the cartridge, you get a clean new ink helix. This means that you never need to clean the ink helix and top reliability is guaranteed."

Off now to play with DF's pens again and then I can decide if I need to steal any of them (or if I need to buy him a whole new set, I have a feeling that this may be the option).



  1. Does it bleed terribly on the filofax paper? Also, do you think it would do well also on the colored (salmon) filofax note paper? I am planning on getting finer points (0.13 and 0.18). I've owned them before but never used them on the filofax paper.

    1. The thicker nib bleeds through on the Filofax paper, and although the thinner ones don't actually bleed through I can still see them too much for my personal preference. I thought that the coloured paper may not take the ink so well as some of them can have a bit of a waxy finish almost, nut having just popped to my room and checked out the pens on some pink Filofax paper I have then I have found that it seems to have bled through more than the normal FF diary pages did.

    2. Thanks for the advice! I'll be sticking with a good thin gel pen then. :) you saved me a lot of money!

    3. Glad to be of service blink :-)