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Bic Xpen


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#1 Alriel

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 14:24

1. First Impressions - (4/5)

Bic is well known as a ballpoint pen maker at least here in the US. So imagine my surprise when I see this package at a local grocery store in Paris. The pen was packed on a card with one short international size cartridge of blue ink. There are 13 languages on the back of the card that give simple directions. It looked like it was marketed for the schoolkids. Bic was probably trying to cash in on the active crowd being that it is a fairly compact pen and the name began with an "X"

I just had to get it and try it out!





2. Appearance & Finish - (4/5)

Being a converted FP user, I did not have high hopes of it surpassing the good ole Sheaffer NoNonsense pens. This was a ballpoint manufacturer wasn't it?

The fit and finish of the pen are pretty good. You can see that there are design elements were purposeful such as the rubberized grip and ribbed front part of the section to help keep the cap on.

3. Design/ Size/Weight- (4/5)

The plastic pen is pretty small. The pen measures 5 inches capped, 5 and an eighth posted. Comfortable enough to put in your jeans pocket. The weight is minimal and somewhat attractive in that it was blueish and clear.

I really liked the rubber triangular grip and the snap of the cap to the section sounded clean. The clip is reminiscent of the Stypen clips I've seen - short cap, long clip.


Notice the ink spots inside the cap. This pen was in my pocket for a couple of days
4. Nib Design & Performance- (5/5)

The nib is a medium tipped steel nib. It even had a neat little stamp of the Bic guy on it. It writes smoothly and it still wrote after lying around for three months!



5. The Filling System- (3/5)

The XPen uses the short cartridges.

6. Cost/Value- (5/5)

I bought this pen in Paris, France at a grocery store for about 6 Euro. I think it was a pretty good value for the price.

7. Overall Opinion/Conclusion- (4/5)

Overall, I was very surprised to have a fountain pen come from Bic that I actually did not dislike. I'm sure it was due more to the Stypen manufacture than the Bic ballpoint aura. The pen is comfortable with the rubber grip and the girth is wide enough to let you know that you have a pen in hand. It writes smoothly and wrote on the first stroke after a long time of non use. I will not replace my OMAS or vintage Parkers for this pen, but I would not be upset to have it around. I think it is a great pen for the student and for people who just want to have a smooth writing pen.

On an aside, I think it's cool that Bic is entering the FP market. It may well mean that fountain pens for the younger generation won't be going away soon if a large manufacturer like Bic starts mass producing these nice starter pens.

-Alriel

Edited by Alriel, 22 April 2007 - 14:35.

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#2 vcowman

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 16:25

I have been looking for these forever! I cant seem to get them online, I am in the US. Any suggestions from where I may order these bic fps online.

#3 jonro

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 16:26

Interesting pen. It's nice to see some large manufacturers bring fountain pens into the mainstream that are targeted at students -- tomorrow's collectors. I hope we see this over in the US soon.

#4 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 17:17

for a student it is a perfect pen
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time
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#5 kenny

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 17:21

A review of the Bic website reveals that they have many low-end fountain pens....including one line with logos of NBA teams on them. These are only available in Europe or Europe/Africa. None of the models I saw were available in the USA...not even the NBA fountain pens (which makes no sense to me.....are there really that many NBA fans in Europe?).

If they have been producing so many lines of fountain pens, yet none of them have appeared in the US to date, I fear that they really don't intend to enter the US market with these pens. Perhaps the stronger tradition of fountain pens (particularly school pens still used in Europe) is why they choose Europe over the US.



#6 Emil

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 18:03

Should I sell my Parker 51? tongue.gif
 

#7 14lines

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 18:10

Hard to think about kids getting excited about fountain pens - at least here in North America. People are encouraged less and less to write at all; it's just typing. The enemy is not the ballpoint but the Blackberry!

Bic's pen is interesting. I'm glad it's at least refillable. Seeing its picture (and the name - X-pen?!?) reminds me of Pilot's V-Pen, which - while available in lots of fun colours - is disposable, eradicating one of the great stewardship advantages of FPs over other pens. So it's nice to see that one of the champions of the disposable pen is making something you can keep writing with for a while.
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#8 jd50ae

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 18:10

There is just something inherently wrong with paying more then $0.99 for a BIC.....

#9 Maja

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 01:41

Thanks for the review, Alriel! Nice to see some new school pens. I like the imprint of the little Bic guy on the nib embarrassed_smile.gif

As I wrote a few months ago, Bic's X-Pen looks exactly like the Stypen X-Pen I got from a Swedish friend a few years ago. It's a comfortable pen to use and easy to carry around, being compact in size. According to a news release I found online a while back, Bic acquired Stypen on May 19, 2004, so the rebranding doesn't surprise me.

Oh, just now I found a webpage on Bic's International site showing more designs of the X-pens:
http://www.bicworld....?product_id=264
Unforunately these designs are only available in Europe... and Africa ( mellow.gif ).

The Stypen Up! pen is now called the Bic "Turn and Up" rolleyes.gif (only available in Europen)

Guess they've given up on the North American market, when it comes to inexpensive school pens.... sad.gif

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#10 DRP

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 05:39

Does anyone have both a Bic X-Pen and a Sheaffer No-Nonsense to compare which is better? If the Sheaffer No-Nonsense is better then it appears that Bic is wasting money and should simply produce No-Nonsense pens under their own label.

#11 Maja

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 07:14

QUOTE(DRP @ Apr 22 2007, 10:39 PM) View Post
Does anyone have both a Bic X-Pen and a Sheaffer No-Nonsense to compare which is better? If the Sheaffer No-Nonsense is better then it appears that Bic is wasting money and should simply produce No-Nonsense pens under their own label.

The old Sheaffer "No Nonsense" pens (I have quite a few) are much better pens, IMHO. The nib/section units can be swapped easily (they screw out) and are available in many different nibs widths and even italic and oblique nibs. They are larger pens than the X-Pen, and yet are well-balanced, sturdy, simple in design and elegant in their simplicity.
Now, I am talking about the "No Nonsense" line here, not the current "Viewpoint" line of pens made by Sheaffer (the ones with see-through coloured barrels). Those have rubberized sections and their nib/section units are *not* interchangeable with the NN. You can still find tons of NN pens on eBay....

Edited by Maja, 23 April 2007 - 07:15.

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#12 Shangas

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 11:12

I'll say this now, this was a shock to me.

I didn't expect Bic to be makin' fountain pens. I've only ever known them to make ballpoints, and rather terrible ones at that, forever scratching and snagging on the paper...*grumbles*

Looks like a nice pen, although I'm not sure about the transparent plastic. I would've preferred it solid. It looks like a smooth writer, though.
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#13 Alriel

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 14:24

QUOTE(Maja @ Apr 23 2007, 03:14 AM) View Post
QUOTE(DRP @ Apr 22 2007, 10:39 PM) View Post
Does anyone have both a Bic X-Pen and a Sheaffer No-Nonsense to compare which is better? If the Sheaffer No-Nonsense is better then it appears that Bic is wasting money and should simply produce No-Nonsense pens under their own label.

The old Sheaffer "No Nonsense" pens (I have quite a few) are much better pens, IMHO. The nib/section units can be swapped easily (they screw out) and are available in many different nibs widths and even italic and oblique nibs. They are larger pens than the X-Pen, and yet are well-balanced, sturdy, simple in design and elegant in their simplicity.
Now, I am talking about the "No Nonsense" line here, not the current "Viewpoint" line of pens made by Sheaffer (the ones with see-through coloured barrels). Those have rubberized sections and their nib/section units are *not* interchangeable with the NN. You can still find tons of NN pens on eBay....


Hello All,

Thanks all for your comments!
I am in agreement with Maja that the old No Nonsense pens were better. I mean the original ones with the hard rubber feed and the plastic section. They came in so many colors and styles and the design was a classic - reminiscent of flat tops. The XPen did have a feeling that it was a more "active" pen due to the size and the rubber section. The XPen does at least live in the same neighborhood as the No Nonsense in terms of overall appeal.
With regard to the paucity of color, if this pen gains some momentum, there may be more selection in terms of barrel/cap color in the future. However, you probably would not get as many nib choices. Maybe a line of calligraphy pens could increase nib selection? Dunno. bunny01.gif <--had to add the bunny cause I like the bunny

Alriel

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#14 DRP

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 17:58

So I raise the question, though rhetorically, why would Bic invest the money to design an entirely new pen (X-Pen) when the tooling is already in place to produce a far superior pen at roughly the same cost?

I am assuming that the tooling is in place. Perhaps that was also sold when all of the Fort Madison production facilities were removed. In which case, Bich/Bic management evidently felt that producing an inferior product without lowering the price was a good business decision, much as they make other business decisions.

That's not to say that the X-Pen is a poor product but merely inferior in every respect to the No-Nonsense pen which could be produced and sold to the same market.

#15 14lines

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 19:48

QUOTE
I didn't expect Bic to be makin' fountain pens. I've only ever known them to make ballpoints, and rather terrible ones at that, forever scratching and snagging on the paper...*grumbles*


Oh, I don't know about that. Before I turned on to FPs, my standby throughout high school and uni was the cheap-ass Bic clear hexagonal blue ballpoint - I think they call it the Cristal? I called it Excalibur - a sturdy writer that never jammed or dried on me; as long as I didn't lose it, I'd write them til they were empty.
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#16 Shangas

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 22:21

Yes, you're correct. They're called Cristals.

I used to love breaking off their clips. I was never a fan of ballpoints or rollerballs...or anything else for that matter.
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#17 mr T.

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 00:07

QUOTE(vcowman @ Apr 22 2007, 04:25 PM) View Post
I have been looking for these forever! I cant seem to get them online, I am in the US. Any suggestions from where I may order these bic fps online.



The Bic Xpen is the almost the same as the Bic Select fp. About the Bic Select is this thread. It seems that there is an online shop in Canada that sells these.

#18 vermillionpart4

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 14:59

I have 2 of these pens that i got while in England and they have fairly different characteristics.

One pen is decently well behaved. It's lines are fairly smooth, wet and broad. the pen takes a little time to start up after being upright for a long time and skips on certain papers. It also seems decently picky about the writing angle since if the angle's wrong at all it goes on strike. The nib is pretty stiff but does have a little flex if you shove it.

the second pen is stingier with the ink, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It sat around (horizontal, doh!) for a few months inked and i could not get it started before flushing it well out.

so what am i saying? well, for a ten dollar fountain pen (i got it for five pounds), it's okay, but i only use it as a back-up pen.

edit: also, the pen is a bit short for my large hands but the cap adds juuust enough length when posted. Also, the entire pen is quite light.

Edited by vermillionpart4, 24 April 2007 - 15:00.


#19 Maja

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Posted 25 April 2007 - 08:43

QUOTE(Shangas @ Apr 23 2007, 03:21 PM) View Post
Yes, you're correct. They're called Cristals.

I used to love breaking off their clips.
<snip>

...and they made pretty good peashooters, too (not that I ever did that in the school classroom.... rolleyes.gif wink.gif )
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#20 Johnny Appleseed

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Posted 25 April 2007 - 15:27

QUOTE
...and they made pretty good peashooters, too (not that I ever did that in the school classroom.... )


I was wondering when someone was going to mention that honorable use of the venerable Bic Cristal.

QUOTE
So I raise the question, though rhetorically, why would Bic invest the money to design an entirely new pen (X-Pen) when the tooling is already in place to produce a far superior pen at roughly the same cost?


I think your answer is found a little higher up in the thread, in a post by Maja. They didn't invest in designing a new pen, they bought a company that already had it.

QUOTE
As I wrote a few months ago, Bic's X-Pen looks exactly like the Stypen X-Pen I got from a Swedish friend a few years ago. It's a comfortable pen to use and easy to carry around, being compact in size. According to a news release I found online a while back, Bic acquired Stypen on May 19, 2004, so the rebranding doesn't surprise me.



QUOTE
I am assuming that the tooling is in place. Perhaps that was also sold when all of the Fort Madison production facilities were removed. In which case, Bich/Bic management evidently felt that producing an inferior product without lowering the price was a good business decision, much as they make other business decisions.


Were Sheaffer Veiwpoints even made in Fort Madison? I thought most of their lower-priced pens were produced offshore even before they sold the Fort Madison plant. In either case, companies produce new product lines all the time for a variety of reasons. The Bic X-Pen has a different look - maybe they think it will sell better than the viewpoints. Maybe it is cheaper to produce (no metel trim, for example).

Also, I have not heard anyone say that the X-Pen was worse than the current Viewpoint, only that it was not as good as the old No-Nonsense.

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#21 wackyjacky1

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Posted 25 April 2007 - 23:08

QUOTE(Maja @ Apr 25 2007, 03:43 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Shangas @ Apr 23 2007, 03:21 PM) View Post
Yes, you're correct. They're called Cristals.

I used to love breaking off their clips.
<snip>

...and they made pretty good peashooters, too (not that I ever did that in the school classroom.... rolleyes.gif wink.gif )

...and if you stick a piece of bubble gum on one end, and set the gum on fire with the science lab's bunsen burner, flames wil shoot out the other end, and the whole lab will smell like marshmallows and plastic! laugh.gif (We were left unsupervised waaaay too often in the science lab....)
Posted ImagePosted Image

#22 mr T.

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 11:16

QUOTE
As I wrote a few months ago, Bic's X-Pen looks exactly like the Stypen X-Pen I got from a Swedish friend a few years ago. It's a comfortable pen to use and easy to carry around, being compact in size. According to a news release I found online a while back, Bic acquired Stypen on May 19, 2004, so the rebranding doesn't surprise me.


The X-Pen is indeed a rebadged Stypen. For a review about a Stypen product (the "UP") that looks a lot like the X-Pen, see this link.


QUOTE
Looks like a nice pen, although I'm not sure about the transparent plastic. I would've preferred it solid. It looks like a smooth writer, though.


There is also a solid model of the X-Pen with silver finish: see this link.

#23 garyc

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Posted 03 May 2007 - 12:33

Ryman in the Uk have the silver versions advertised for £2.99 now.
The Easyclic coloured fountain pen link on that page seems to be broken, but it appears to be a new product according to this. Apparently it has a side loading mechanism for the cartridge.
More pics Bic Easyclic

Edited by garyc, 03 May 2007 - 12:37.


#24 kissing

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 15:16

I just wonder how tough the tipping is. Whether it's plain steel or hard tipping unsure.gif

#25 mr T.

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 18:33

QUOTE(kissing @ May 12 2007, 03:16 PM) View Post
I just wonder how tough the tipping is. Whether it's plain steel or hard tipping unsure.gif


It's steel. See for a description this link.

#26 Hélène

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 19:54

I have a Bic Easy Clic and a Bic For School, I got both of them in Paris, Bic fountain pens are nice, really good for carbon(less) copies, the steel nibs are firm so they can take it. I just wish they were avaible outside of Europe, along with their ink (bulk bags of standerd internation carts)

#27 Garageboy

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 04:31

The ink looks like Parker Blue?
The packaging the OP posted says iridium nib

Edited by Garageboy, 23 October 2007 - 11:54.


#28 ppenloverr

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 02:00

QUOTE(Emil @ Apr 22 2007, 06:03 PM) View Post
Should I sell my Parker 51? tongue.gif

do not sell it. by the way if you are the one in the picture you are pretty cute.
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#29 Ovidius

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 01:46

I just received a Bic X-pen today, and I must say that the nib is very smooth for a pen in this price range, as good as some pens in the 40$ range. It is a shorter pen, and the grip section is not covered by the cap, but it would be very easy to carry. On the down side, it can only fit one international short cartridge vs. the Pelikano, which can carry a second short cartridge in the barrel in case the pen runs out of ink.

Great value, and a fun little pen.

Highly recommended for the price, the nib and the overall fun factor.
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#30 mr T.

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 17:26

QUOTE(Ovidius @ Apr 18 2008, 01:46 AM) View Post
On the down side, it can only fit one international short cartridge vs. the Pelikano, which can carry a second short cartridge in the barrel in case the pen runs out of ink.



The Bic Xpen and the Xpen Select can carry two short international cartridges, not only one.