Anyone who has seen my pen collection cannot fail to notice that I am a bit of a fan of TWSBI fountain pens, especially the Eco, which I think, for it’s price point, is an excellent piston filler fountain pen, great not only for those starting out with fountain pens but also for the more seasoned users alike. TWSBI mainly produce affordable and high quality piston filler fountain pens but they also produce a range of vacuum fillers, again at affordable prices and of a very high quality, and I am also fortunate enough to own and enjoy using several of these as well.
Recently the company announced the launch of a brand new model to the market, the TWSBI Go. Not only is this the lowest priced fountain pen in their line-up but it’s new and innovative spring load mechanism as TWSBI have called it, is completely different to anything which we have seen previously.
As I have briefly touched upon above, the Eco, which to this point was their lowest priced pen at just less than £30. For your investment, you get a well constructed pen that writes incredibly well. With the launch of the new ‘Go’, could TWSBI deliver their trademark quality and writing experience in a pen which costs less than £20. Naturally I was keen to find out and waited patiently for it’s release to put it through it’s paces. Finally release day arrived and the pen dropped onto my door mat.
The packaging is recognisably TWSBI but without all of the extras which you would normally find in the boxes of their other pens, you won’t find any silicone grease, wrench or ‘O’ rings (there is no need for them with this pen), this is a low maintenance pen and as a result it is packaged in a very small box.
The box has a very familiar brown cardboard sleeve wrapped around it with the TWSBI logo printed on the top in red. Slide this sleeve off and you reveal a long, thin, white plastic box which as the TWSBI logo de-bossed on the top. The box ia actually very attractive and is made from a nice, hard plastic which you could even use to keep the pen in during daily use, it would offer good protection especially if carrying it around in a bag for example.
The lid pulls off and inside you will find the pen which is protected from moving around inside the box by a small piece of foam which sits around the middle of the pen. Beneath the pen is a small piece of folded paper which has a simple diagram showing how to fill the pen with ink. I actually quite like this more minimalist type of packaging as after all it is the pen inside that I am more interested in, not the box it comes in.
The TWSBI Go is currently available with a choice of three different barrel colours, either Sapphire (Blue), Smoke (Black) or Clear.
The pen which I am testing in this review is the Sapphire with a 1.1mm stub nib although since this review was originally published I now own another Sapphire with a Medium Nib and a Clear with a Broad Nib.
Visually the TWSBI Go certainly does look very different to anything currently available on the market.
Moving on to look at the parts of the pen, beginning with the cap. The TWSBI Go has a snap fit cap which it does very securely and with a nice, satisfying click. the cap can also be posted and again it does this deeply and securely, it does not feel loose and I would have no worries about the cap falling off.
The cap is made from clear plastic and it has a white plastic inner cap. The cap finial has a blue plastic ring (which matches the colour of the barrel – black on the smoke version and clear on the clear version) with a centre piece in red plastic which embossed with the TWSBI logo. The cap is round and has the words TWSBI GO embossed near the top on one side. On the inside, below the inner cap liner are some raised facets in the plastic.
An obvious feature noticeable (or rather not noticeable) on the ‘Go’ is that there is no clip, and this may be an issue for some. I will be honest and say that I like to wear a pen in my shirt pocket so using this pen is going to present a challenge to me. This however is my personal preference and I suppose I can always carry it around in one of my pen pouches so its not a big deal in the overall scheme of things.
The cap does however have a small plastic loop towards the top which acts as a roll stop when the pen is on a surface. I would also imagine that you could put a lanyard chord through the loop if you so wished although the hole is a bit on the small side for this.
The pen is long enough to be comfortably used without the need to post the caption normal use however should you wish to that also makes for a comfortable writing experience as well, with the ‘Go’ coming in a fraction smaller than the Eco when posted. The lightweight plastic construction of the pen add no weight/balance issues when used posted. My own personal preference is to write with the pen un-posted.
The section of the pen is made from an off white, transparent plastic. It is a quite long section and has the same familiar indents for finger placement that you find on the TWSBI Eco, so makes for a familiar writing experience. I have found that it is very comfortable to grip and hold this pen when used for prolonged periods of writing.
The coloured, transparent barrel is also made of plastic and this unscrews to reveal the unique feature of this pen, the spring action piston. There is a plastic plunger (which is the same colour as the barrel) and this has the spring coiled around it.
The barrel is ever so slightly off round in shape although this is hardly noticeable.
Now to take a closer look at the filling mechanism, which, as I said, is the unique feature of this pen. The plunger mechanism has a spring cooled around it and inside the ink chamber at the end of the plunger there is a rubber stop just like you would find on a traditional piston filler.
To fill the pen then all you do is push down on the plunger and with the nib of the pen placed into your chosen bottle of ink, release the plunger and ink is drawn into the chamber. A single pump of the mechanism appears to give almost a full fill of ink which is very impressive with this new filling method appearing to work very well.
One point to note on the subject of filling the pen is that bottles with a small opening such as the Diamine 30ml bottle are not really suited to being filled by this pen as the section prevents it from going all the way down into the bottle.
The ink chamber is clear so that you can see the ink level inside. The ‘Go’ holds approximately 1.5ml of ink, which is not quite as much as an Eco holds but it is still a very generous quantity that should last for some time.
Another point worth mentioning here which some people may find off putting with this pen is the fact that through the clear barrel you can see the spring mechanism. To those who like the elegance of a more traditional filling mechanism, you may find the fact that that you can see a large sporing in the middle of your pen a bit industrial. For me however, I find this an appeal of the pen and I quite like the look, but as we all have our own taste, it is something to consider before you purchase the pen.
Finally, lets look at the nib and the writing experience. The pen has a #5 steel nib and is available with the following nib options: EF, F, M, B, 1.1mm stub. The nib has some scroll work above the breather hole on both sides along with the TWSBI logo and name below the breather hole, and below all of this is the nib designation. There is a black plastic feed.
I am not sure if these are the same nibs and feeds which are used on the TWSBI Eco models of if they are interchangeable (I haven’t tried as yet) but they do look similar.
The 1.1mm stub nib on my pen is a very smooth and pleasant writer which lays down a nice line of ink. The pen starts writing first time and I haven’t experienced any skipping or hard starts from using the nib. This is the first time I have used a TWSBI 1.1mm stub nib but my experience matches what I have read from others.
The pen is an all plastic construction save for the nib and spring mechanism, this is one way I would imagine they have been able to bring the overall cost of the product down married with the fact that there are no user serviceable parts on the pen so no need for the normal extras provided in the box as I touched upon at the beginning. I wouldn’t necessarily say that the pen feels cheap in terms of its construction, it feels sturdy and well made.
TWSBI GO FOUNTAIN PEN SPECIFICATIONS:
Country Of Manufacture: Taiwan
Nib Options: EF, F, M, B, 1.1mm Stub
Filler Type: Spring Action Piston
Length (capped): 134.5mm / 5.29″
Length (uncapped): 124.9mm / 4.91″
Length (posted): 165.5mm / 6.51″
Barrel Diameter: 14.4mm / 0.56″
Section Diameter: 10.5mm / 0.41″
Cap Length: 60.8mm / 2.39″
Weight (cap): 4.59g
Filled Weight (Body + Cap): 19.2g
Filled Weight (Body): 13.7g
Empty Weight (Body + Cap): 17.3g
Empty Weight (Body): 12.7g
Note – these weights and measurements have all been taken by myself and as such may differ slightly from officially published figures or those available on other websites.
Another aspect of this pen which I like is that the filling mechanism also makes cleaning and flushing the pen very easy too. It is a very quick and simple process to empty out the pen and flush it through with water to clean it ready for re-use. A rinse of the nib under running water and a few cycles of pumping the piston in a cup of clean water and the pen is ready to ‘Go’ again with a new fill of ink. This makes the TWSBI Go an ideal pen if you are someone who likes to change ink colours frequently.
Overall, I have really enjoyed using this new offering from TWSBI and in particular my first 1.1mm stub nib. The ‘Go’ is a cheap and cheerful fountain pen that writes nicely and I particularly like the innovation of the filling mechanism. It is a pen which you can quite easily throw into your bag for daily use and its low price means that you don’t have to worry as much about replacing it should it get damaged or lost.
It is also a low cost way for those new to fountain pens to own and use a pen which they can try bottled ink with.
Do I like the TWSBI Go – yes I do, would I recommend the TWSBI Go to others – absolutely.
TWSBI GO – The Good Points:
- Well Constructed
- Great Writer
- Comfortable To Use
- Good Ink Capacity
- Innovative Filling Mechanism
- Easy To Fill
- Easy To Clean
TWSBI GO – The Not So Good Points:
- No Clip
- Spring Mechanism On Show Through Barrel
This pen was provided to me for the purpose of review by Write Here. The pen can be purchased from them for £19.99 by visiting their website https://www.writeherekitenow.co.uk/twsbi-go-fountain-pen.html
You can also see my Review Code Of Ethics for items that have been provided for review by clicking on the link in the menu at the top of this page.
It is always worth remembering that the best way to experience a particular fountain pen is to try it out first where possible although for many I realise that this may not be a viable option. When you read a review like the one above, you are getting the personal experiences, opinions and reflections of the reviewer which may differ from your own experience with a particular pen.
This review was originally published in August 2018 and a minor update added in July 2019 to include a short note about the new Clear version along with a note about additions to my collection.