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Lanbitou 866


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#1 PatientType

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 21:38

The Lanbitou 866

We buy fountain pens for more than one purpose. Some pens are esthetically pleasing and functionally excellent. Others are works of art. Then there are the work horse pens that we call "daily writers" that may not be glamorous but deliver clean, smooth writing and feel good in one's hand. The Lanbitou 866 represents another niche of the fountain pen market. The Lanbitou is a very slim and not of great length of weight. It is a capable but not remarkable writer, but the Lanbitou 866 is very portable, reliable, and offered at unsurpassed prices given the quality the pen delivers.

1. Appearance & Design - 8 – The Lanbitou 866 is a slim and fairly small pen with a polished stainless steel exterior. There are three fluted depressions behind the nib to properly position the user's fingers. Other accents on the pen are understated and include two black lines just above and below the finger depressions and the brand & model name printed in black capital, block letters on the clip. The look of the pen is completely different than its big brother the 603. The impression is one high quality, self-confidence, and prim elegance. Whereas a Reform 1745 looks somewhat dated, this pen looks modern. It would be a perfect companion for a leather diary or appointment book. Score of 8 in that the pen achieves very well what it seeks to achieve. It is of a conservative style, deliberately "small boned" and offering visual appeal with it's unadorned shiny steel surface and the flair provided by the fluted grips and the black, block lettered branding on the clip.

2. Construction & Quality - 7 – While the 866 is light in the hand, it feels solid and competent in its design and assembly. There are no visible seams and fittings are tight. The clip is solidly affixed and feels strong when flexed. Removing the snap off lined cap, one finds a small, hooded nib. The Lanbitou pens are designed to be posted and the back of the pen steps down so that the barrel receives the cap with a positive snap. I very much like that the posted cap is solidly attached and will not slip from the pen. I don't as much enjoy the characteristic that, when posted, the cap can spin around so the clip side of the cap always points toward the floor. Overall, this pen has moderately good quality components, above average design, and very good assembly. Overall, a score of 7.

3. Weight & Dimensions - 8 – For any serious writing project I prefer a large pen. However, the 866 is a small pen and not meant for penning doctoral theses or constitutions of Latin American countries. The Lanbitou 866 achieves, and very competently, the purpose for which it is designed. It's a great incidental pen to jot down a grocery list, make entries in a diary, or to take notes in a business meeting. Given the purpose for which the pen is designed, the weight and dimensions are ideal for providing lack of bulk and portability. I measure the length closed at 4 7/8" and 5 5/16" posted. The diameter is 5/16th". (For comparison, a Reform 1745, another smaller and slimmer pen, measures out at 5" closed, 5 7/8" posted and diameter 7/16ths".) Score of 8.

4. Nib & Performance - 8
– In choosing the Lanbitou 866, one chooses the nib there are no options or alternatives. The 866 delivers a smooth, fine-medium line. The nib of the 866 is smoother than it's cousin, the Lanbitou 603 giving very little feedback. The nib was received needing no adjustment and starts up and writes reliably every time. Having two pens from the same company with well-functioning nibs leaves the impression that Lanbitou employs a reasonably good quality control system. I read Richard Binder's comment that 85% of the pens he sells require nib adjustment prior to delivery. Any company selling a consumer product at premium prices (read here the great majority of pen types FPN members purchase) should do better than that. I think that consumers have a right to expect that manufacturers deliver a finished, well-adjusted, usable out of the box product. That Lanbitou achieves this while big, prestigious pen makers so often fail is one of my pet peeves. As one would expect for a lower-cost Chinese pen, the nib is plain steel and monotone. The nib writes well on lower-end paper and is not removable. Score of 8.

5. Filling System & Maintenance - 6 - The pen has a light plastic converter filler of a design I'd not seen before. Rather than use a corkscrew-style plunger, the converter fills though a slide-plunger. To use the converter, one presses a release button and slides the plunger down. The nib is submerged into the ink bottle, then the plunger is slid back, sucking ink into the converter. The pen is small and the converter capacity reflects that size. I'd guess it holds about 1/3 less ink than a Sailor Sapporo. The converter is leak free. Score of 7 in that most pens of this size are cartridge only. Lanbitou has designed a unique and diminutive converter that retains the convenience of using bottled ink.

6. Cost & Value - 10
– This pen was an Ebay purchase. In competitive bidding I paid $2.55 for the pen with free shipping. For a brand new - NOT NOS pen - a cost of less than $3 is utterly amazing. I find it hard to believe that one can get a usable, fairly sturdy and reliable fountain pen at this price. But you can and I did. With their faults and shortcomings, the Lanbitou pen offers one of the best values in low-end fountain pens available today. At this price they blow any non-Chinese pen out of the water in terms of their value to cost relationship.
7. Conclusion - Overall score, 47 out of possible 60 Points. - The Lanbitou 866 is an attractive, reliable pen that far exceeds expectations. I'd buy the pen again and recommend it to anyone - students, business persons, travelers - that need a very portable pen for day-to-day use.

I have read several recent FPN reviews that compared inexpensive pens. They weigh the virtues of pens in the $20-$30 dollar range. However, by overlooking the Lanbitou company offerings, the best alternatives may be missed. It is natural to examine lower end products from familiar companies that are well-established in Europe, the US, & Canada and, perhaps, to see those fountain pens as the universe from which we should choose. However, times are changing and it's time to look at the better offerings from China.

Yes, there are a lot of "junk" pens from Asia being dumped onto Ebay. With the Lanbitou and, doubtless, some other brands, we are beginning to see very, very low-priced fountain pens that are well-designed and of adequate quality to deserve consideration. With this in mind, I can recommend the Lanbitou 866 for anyone desiring a small but reliable fountain pen and the Lanbitou 603 to those that could use a larger, heavier low-end fountain pen.

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Edited by PatientType, 16 July 2009 - 21:57.


#2 lovemy51

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 01:09

i have one of theses in a nice lacquer over metal finish. i do like the fine nib (at least mine writes leke a "fine"), but i did pay a bit more than you. $6 from quillpens.com (they don't have it anymore).
enjoy your pen and thanx for the review.

PS hey.... what's wrong with the constitution of latin american countries? wink.gif
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#3 Richard

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 16:53

QUOTE (PatientType @ Jul 16 2009, 05:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I read Richard Binder's comment that 85% of the pens he sells require nib adjustment prior to delivery.

The thing that you're forgetting -- and it's an important thing -- is that my standards are higher than those of most people. Most people can be quite content with a nib that I will think needs adjustment.
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#4 hari317

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 09:57

Nice review, must check out this brand.

Best,
Hari


#5 Yuki Onitsura

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 10:27

QUOTE (Richard @ Jul 18 2009, 02:53 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (PatientType @ Jul 16 2009, 05:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I read Richard Binder's comment that 85% of the pens he sells require nib adjustment prior to delivery.

The thing that you're forgetting -- and it's an important thing -- is that my standards are higher than those of most people. Most people can be quite content with a nib that I will think needs adjustment.


I think that's why I've never heard anyone complain about a nib you've tinkered with =)

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#6 pathologyliu

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 15:57

"Lanbitou" ? Never heard of that brand. rolleyes.gif The brand's name writtern in Chinese should be "烂笔头“ (a shabby /worn nib) . A modest name indeed. headsmack.gif

However, there is an old Chinese saying "A worn nib (Lanbitou) is better than good memory" . Parents and teachers often use this proverb to encourage children study harder. glare.gif

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#7 lovemy51

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 17:55

QUOTE (pathologyliu @ Jul 21 2009, 08:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
"Lanbitou" ? Never heard of that brand. rolleyes.gif The brand's name writtern in Chinese should be "烂笔头“ (a shabby /worn nib) . A modest name indeed. headsmack.gif

However, there is an old Chinese saying "A worn nib (Lanbitou) is better than good memory" . Parents and teachers often use this proverb to encourage children study harder. glare.gif


very interesting!!!
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#8 lovemy51

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 18:22

here's a pic of mine:

Edited by lovemy51, 21 July 2009 - 18:22.

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#9 PatientType

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 19:59

QUOTE (lovemy51 @ Jul 21 2009, 11:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
here's a pic of mine:



What model Lanbitou is this? I like the look and if I can find it on Ebay would pick one up to try out. (As I write this I realize that there are very few pens that you'd buy just to see how you like them. Can you imagine purchasing a Sailor Sapporo just to see if you like how it writes?)

#10 lovemy51

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 21:15

QUOTE (PatientType @ Jul 21 2009, 12:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (lovemy51 @ Jul 21 2009, 11:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
here's a pic of mine:



What model Lanbitou is this? I like the look and if I can find it on Ebay would pick one up to try out. (As I write this I realize that there are very few pens that you'd buy just to see how you like them. Can you imagine purchasing a Sailor Sapporo just to see if you like how it writes?)

it reads "lanbitou 322" on the cap band. it's a very nice "cherry dark wood" looking lacquer over metal body. as i mentioned earlier, i got i form qillpens.com, but they don't have it anymore.
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#11 aDr

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 03:17

Just bought mine a few days ago and anxiously awaiting its arrival. I bought some Waterman Florida Blue to use it in it.

#12 susustra

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 02:19

Great review! You covered all the questions I had. I am 'watching" several pens on ebay and I am going to go ahead and make the plunge. Thanks you for being so thorough.

#13 lovemy51

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 05:10

:W2FPN: hope you get a pen you can enjoy!

Great review! You covered all the questions I had. I am 'watching" several pens on ebay and I am going to go ahead and make the plunge. Thanks you for being so thorough.


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#14 singer

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 07:23

4. Nib & Performance - 8 – In choosing the Lanbitou 866, one chooses the nib there are no options or alternatives.

Hi, I just wanted to confirm you are saying the nib cannot be removed at all and a different nib put its place?

If you could post a sample of your writing with it, it would also be really helpful

Edited by singer, 09 February 2011 - 07:37.


#15 PatientType

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 07:34


4. Nib & Performance - 8 – In choosing the Lanbitou 866, one chooses the nib there are no options or alternatives.

Hi, I just wanted to confirm you are saying the nib cannot be removed at all and a different nib put its place?


I'm not sure if the nib can be removed. I didn't attempt to remove mine.

My comment was meant to indicate that there are no nib options with the pen. It comes in what is, basically, a fine nib. If someone wants an extra fine or a western style medium or broad, they're not going to find this pen with that nib.

#16 Kabe

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 07:41

I have a Hero with that exact nib and feed
The voice of this guitar of mine, at the awakening of the morning, wants to sing its joy;
I sing to your volcanoes, to your meadows and flowers, that are like mementos of the greatest of my loves;
If I am to die away from you, may they say I am sleeping, and bring me back home.
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#17 singer

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 07:53

Thanks PT. I think I'll give it a shot

Edited by singer, 09 February 2011 - 21:34.