As a fountain pen fan, Cult Pens is one of my favourite guilty pleasures. They also produce an email newsletter which (unlike most such publications) I actually read and enjoy. While reading the most recent newsletter, I found out about the new TWSBI Go fountain pen. I’ve had a few TWSBI products before, and I have got a lot of enjoyment out of them. They tend to be well made (particularly for a relatively low price), and they often include some interesting and novel ideas. I was really intrigued by the Go, and at less than £20 it was a relatively guilt-free purchase. In fact, Mr. Bsag also enjoys a nice pen (primarily for drawing), so we bought two: an extra-fine nib for him and the usual medium nib for me.
The TWSBI Go’s main selling point (apart from its low price) is its unusual filling system. You unscrew the barrel, dip the nib in some ink (fairly deeply), press the spring-loaded plunger down and release, and — SLURP! — the barrel instantly fills with ink, in one go. Wipe the nib, screw the barrel back on, and off you go. The mechanism is unusual, but it works really well. I haven’t tried cleaning it yet, but it should be equally easy to clean. You can flush it by repeatedly pressing the plunger, which has got to be faster than screwing a piston in and out, as would be necessary on a piston-filler.
The nib is as nice as any of the TWSBI pens. The medium writes very smoothly and cleanly, and there are no hard starts or other annoyances. Elsewhere, the pen is a little more basic than the other TWSBI pens I have. There’s no clip, just a tiny loop protruding from the cap, through which you could attach it to a lanyard or something similar, I assume. This little loop also helps to stop the pen rolling on a table. I very rarely use a pen clip, so that doesn’t bother me. The body of the pen is made from a slightly different plastic than the other TWSBI pens. It feels a bit softer, less ‘crystal-like’ in appearance. I’m sure this is to reduce the price for this model, but it doesn’t detract from the pen’s function. The section has some subtle shaping towards the nib, with some shaped flanges that help your fingers fall in the correct position. Personally, I quite like these, but if you don’t, as long as you hold a pen further up the section, they won’t interfere with your grip one way or the other. I got the model with the smoke grey barrel. It is translucent, so you can see the ink level, but the colour of the ink is a little more difficult to distinguish.
I’m really impressed with this little pen. Its low price, the fact that you can fill and clean it so quickly and easily, and the fact that it has a push-on cap means that it will make a great everyday pen. Cult Pens1 rather cleverly marketed this pen as ideal for people who are more ink enthusiasts than pen enthusiasts. I can see that it would be great if you’d like a range of pens to fill with a selection of your favourite inks, and you would rather spend a fortune on inks than pens to put the inks in! However, I think it stands on its own merits as a great, budget fountain pen, ideal for people starting out with fountain pens, or more experienced enthusiasts who just want a good, sturdy pen to carry around with them.
I also think it might encourage me to branch out a little in terms of nibs, and perhaps try an italic nib or a stub. I’ve often wanted to try one, but when you are spending more on a pen, that can feel like an expensive and potentially risky experiment.
- I should say here that I have no affiliation with the company, other than as a happy customer. ↩