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Rotring Freeway Medium Review


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#1 Bottlegreen Elderflower

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:44

Hi all,

I was looking for a review of a pen I have owned for some time, only to find almost nothing, so I figured I should write one myself.

But first a flash back. [Insert wavy lines and funny warbling noise] Several years ago, maybe 8 or 9 or more, I was in an art store vaguely near my house ogling the "fine pens" display. Looking at what they had to offer, between price and style, I settled on the Rotring Freeway. I remember it coming in a cool clear package. It had a neat converter with a red twist nob, not unlike the Lamy converters. It was blue with a sparkle and iridescence. The weight was heavy compared to anything I had used, and the pen felt solid in my hands.

I used the pen off and on after that, eventually using it for notes during lectures in university. When I finished school and began working I found I had little use for any writing implement, and so it sat in my bag, used once every so often. Eventually it went out of use entirely. Like so many others I left it with ink still inside.

I had used mainly J. Herbin cartridges, the black and blue. They worked well enough but I often had issues with the pen on cold days.

Fast forward about 5 years. I've moved back from university and renewed my fountain pen fetish. I've bought two Lamy Safaris, EF and 1.1, and an EF 2000. I've got a few inks, noodler's, and Private Reserve. I remembered my old pen and decided to clean it. Three hours later, I've got it cleaned to my satisfaction, an old J. Herbin cartridge cleaned and filled with noodler's American Eel Turquoise, and I'm ready to roll.

That was two days ago. The pen is working well. It took me a few minutes to even remember what the pen is called, but after looking at pictures online I found/remembered it.

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So there's the pen. Pretty dull in my dim lighting. I have a few more pictures, some more interesting than others.

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The pen disassembled, here. As you can see it takes the standard international short cartridge and has room for another in the body. The cartridge in the pen has been refilled, while the black one is one I purchased a few years back. It seems to have leaked in the pen, or some ancient crusts of ink escaped my cleaning the body and since acquired some moisture. I misplaced the converter years ago, but I haven't given up hope of finding it.

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The nib, with the Rotting logo visible.

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The sparkle and iridescence I wrote of. If you look close you can see a slight mar or chip on the top sharp edge, just above the clip. The only damage from several drops.

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Posted, the pen is somewhat unwieldy. The balance is too far back for my taste, and my hand gets fatigued after long sessions. Cap off is much better, but even then more than an hour of notes began to strain me slightly due to the weight. Usually classes were only an hour. With a brief rest every so often the pen is good for long durations.

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The nib is simple, no nothing, not even a hole. You might be able to see the M on the right side.

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A size comparison with two AA batteries. Its about as long as my Safaris and 2000; all are within about a millimeter of each other. As for weight, it's about 1.5 times that of the 2000 maybe more, I don't know the exact weight. Maybe closer to the Lamy studio, which I have played with.

And how does it write? Pretty well. As smooth as any of the smoother steel nibs. With the noodler's Turquoise Eel, it writes very smooth on nice paper, and average on bad paper.

Here are some comparison shots on some no name paper I happen to have handy.

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The Freeway

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The 2000 with an EF nib

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My Safaris, with noodler's black and Dragon's Napalm, in an EF and 1.1 nib, respectively.

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Same as above, just different lighting. I have found the color of my inks to change depending on lighting.

So aside from my atrocious hand writing, you can see that it lays down more ink than my 2000 or Safari with the EF nibs. The 1.1 Italic is a bit broader but this paper just doesn't like ink. On more absorbent papers the lines of the above pens are actually more similar. I don't have any samples to show you. The medium line is nominally larger than the EF Safari and a bit more than the 2000 but, more so, it's just darker and has more shading. I remember the shading from the old J. Herbin ink I used to use, it had almost an iridescent look to it.

As for the cost of the pen, I got it new for $35. That was a decade ago give or take, so it would probably be almost $45 now. But I have seen them for around $20 online. From what I have seen/read, they come in fine and medium and three other colors, red, black, and silver. I like this blue. The build is solid metal, either brass or some other alloy, nearly indestructible. I've dropped this pen more times than I can count. The only damage is a slight chipping/marring on the cap edge above the clip. The enamel coating is fairly tough. The clip has a little lever you can squeeze to open it but its not spring loaded like the 2000, just bendy.

Its a fantastic daily writer with good ink, on decent paper. Its tough and can be taken anywhere. Its got the typical German no nonsense approach while still being stylish. A good pen for students or young people, while not looking like a pen for kids.

Thanks,
Bottlegreen

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Edited by watch_art, 24 March 2013 - 03:36.

EF Safari in Charcoal,1.1 Safari in Lime Green, EF 2000, Medium Rotring Freeway in Blue, Sheaffer $1 Cartridge pen in Blue, no sign of stopping

#2 Bottlegreen Elderflower

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:48

I reread the entire post three times, and missed the mistake in the title, typical. Such is life.

Edited by Bottlegreen Elderflower, 14 January 2013 - 09:49.

EF Safari in Charcoal,1.1 Safari in Lime Green, EF 2000, Medium Rotring Freeway in Blue, Sheaffer $1 Cartridge pen in Blue, no sign of stopping

#3 penguinmaster

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 14:22

Nice review. The Freeway was my first pen back in 2007. They actually come in 4 colors, the 3 you listed, plus silver. They also come in fine and medium nibs. Great workhorse pens!
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#4 Bottlegreen Elderflower

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 18:33

Nice review. The Freeway was my first pen back in 2007. They actually come in 4 colors, the 3 you listed, plus silver. They also come in fine and medium nibs. Great workhorse pens!


Hi Penguinmaster,
Thanks for taking the time reading my review. A bit long winded. What color/size is your Freeway?

Edited by Bottlegreen Elderflower, 14 January 2013 - 18:36.

EF Safari in Charcoal,1.1 Safari in Lime Green, EF 2000, Medium Rotring Freeway in Blue, Sheaffer $1 Cartridge pen in Blue, no sign of stopping

#5 jcable

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 18:59

I have two of the Freeway fountain pens, Waterman converters work well. I also have three of the rollerballs which work well with Pilot G-2 Cartridges. I miss Rotring as a real brand

#6 penguinmaster

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 13:37


Nice review. The Freeway was my first pen back in 2007. They actually come in 4 colors, the 3 you listed, plus silver. They also come in fine and medium nibs. Great workhorse pens!


Hi Penguinmaster,
Thanks for taking the time reading my review. A bit long winded. What color/size is your Freeway?


I sold the one that I had previously. Although after reading your review I was an eBay and got a crazy deal on all four colors of the pens. All fine nibs.

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#7 ajlmarques

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:33

Thanks for the review.

I have the Freeway in silver (got it new in 2001).
Some mixed feelings on it. It is a tough pen - feels almost indestructible, and I definitely like the look of it (I was always attracted to the simple yet modern style of the rotring brand). But the nib feels very hard (even the M) and it is too dry for me. When compared with the F or even EF from the ArtPen, it's a nail.
That said, I still use it once in a while but it is not a constant in my bag anymore.

#8 cjjohnst

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 14:09

Nice review. The Freeway was my first pen back in 2007. They actually come in 4 colors, the 3 you listed, plus silver. They also come in fine and medium nibs. Great workhorse pens!

If you read the review it mentions 4 colours.

#9 ivarkr

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:46

i have the freeway in blue with a fine nib its one smooth writer and totally indestructible pen :)

#10 cjjohnst

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 06:41


Nice review. The Freeway was my first pen back in 2007. They actually come in 4 colors, the 3 you listed, plus silver. They also come in fine and medium nibs. Great workhorse pens!


Hi Penguinmaster,
Thanks for taking the time reading my review. A bit long winded. What color/size is your Freeway?

I bought four of these pens. One of each colour from a chap in India. I liked the look of the nib in your review. All of them are fine and write absolutely excellently. By the way I'm not nuts he was selling them in groups of 4 . I got them for$70.A good deal for what is a good quality Germany product. They take a Schmidt k5 converter. I thought your review was spot on.

#11 Drinky

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 02:21

I had one of these for a while as Rotring nibs were one of my favorites. A nice solid pen, and I carried it for about a year. Eventually, the cap would not seat all that well, and finally, would not seat at all. This is as good as a death-knell for a pen. It becomes untrustworthy. I think the cap was just to heavy for the plastic portion that snaps it to the section. Too bad really.

#12 Bhavna

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 11:09

A gorgeous review of a fabulous pen. I can't remember when I got mine (it was that long ago!), but I have the silver and the blue and they are both amazing. Yes very hard nibs, but also very smooth indeed with great flow. I actually have Rotring's Brilliant Ultramarine ink in one and Brilliant Fuschia in the other. Heaven.
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#13 snark0285

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 02:11

I think it's hard to see this pen in China

#14 sirtoti

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 10:50

I used mine for years, in silver with F nib, and it's been right from the start one of my favorites workhorses.
Very smooth writer and a good starter. It's worth the money it costs. It's a shame there's no rotring anymore. One of my favorite brands.

#15 Chayan

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 16:01

I bought four of these pens. One of each colour from a chap in India. I liked the look of the nib in your review. All of them are fine and write absolutely excellently. By the way I'm not nuts he was selling them in groups of 4 . I got them for$70.A good deal for what is a good quality Germany product. They take a Schmidt k5 converter. I thought your review was spot on.


I noticed that Freeway has groves inside, and was wondering. Which scew-in converter might fit?