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Best Rollerball?


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#1 Bruce-YVR

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 15:00

Hi all... I am sure this question has been asked again and again... I did search around the site first but did not come up with any similar results. So if anyone can send me the previous link or simply started a new thread... much appreciated!

Bruce

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#2 tonybelding

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 15:33

IMHO, the best rollerball is any one that will accept Zebra JF gel refills. And since those are very close in dimensions to standard Schmidt rollerball refills, a lot of pens could potentially use them.

If for some reason I wasn't able to use a fountain pen, that would be my second choice. I've got to say, though, that I've left rollerballs pretty far behind. It's been a long time since I used one for anything.

#3 nxn96

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 16:05

I used to be pretty big on Rollerballs, but I think the newer Gelpens beat them by far. In my experience, a Gel has all the benefits of a Roller (smooth, no ballpoint drag, crisp look on paper, etc.) with less of the downside (less "blopping" on paper, longer refill life).

I've got a number of Parker Rollerballs (Systemark, 45, 75 and Sonnet) that have been pretty much retired in favor of a 45 ballpen with a Gel refill.

#4 wspohn

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 16:28

Yup, when you are talking about RBs, you are really just talking about the refills, as that is what determines writing experience.

I rather like the Gel pens myself!
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#5 dapv

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 17:30

The refill is important, but I also think hand comfort when writing is important, and for some the aesthetics are important. For example, for me a diameter of 7/16" is ideal, and nothing smaller than 3/8"; more than a 1/2" is too much.
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#6 elysee

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 00:38

When purchasing a rollerball, your first consideration should be for the refill, the second, for the weight and feel of the pen, and the third for the aesthetics and price for the pen. If you know your refills then you can purchase a pen for which you dislike the company's refill and substitue/use another refill that you prefer/enjoy. For example, I dislike both Waterman and Montblanc rollerball refills yet I own several of each of these types of pens since I use other refills in my pens; this took some searching/perseverance but it was well worth it since I enjoy using these pens. For example, I use Pilot G2 Broad gel ink refills (FANTASTIC!) in ALL my Waterman rollerball pens, I use either a Cross (are you surprised??) Gel Ink rollerball refill with some well-placed Scotch tape (see pictures in my posting #10 in the "Montblanc Refill Adaptor" topic) to create the necessary ridge or the Monteverde Gel Ink ballpoint refill with the Montblanc extender (see pictures of the Montblanc ballpoint refill extender in my posting #13 in the "Is There Any Ballpoint Refill That Fits The Meisterstück Le Grand Rollerball?" topic) snapped into the end of the refill in my Montblanc rollerball pens, a Cross Gel Ink refill and some cut-up rubber band pieces at the bottom of the pen body before inserting the refill or the Monteverde Gel Ink refill in my Parker Sonnet rollerball pens, and a Pilot G2 Broad gel ink refill with some cut-up rubber band pieces in the bottom of the S.T. Dupont Montparnasse rollerball pen. A little careful exploration/experimentation can allow you to use the refills that you prefer.

However, if you already own a pen that takes a Parker-style refill then you can "convert" it to a rollerball using a gel ink refill: Monteverde, Schmidt, Visconti, Parker, and Itoya, for example, make Parker-style gel ink refills. Monteverde makes gel ink and liquid ink (soft roll) refills that fit Parker, Sheaffer, Montblanc, Pelikan, and the newer Waterman pens as well as for other pens including Pelikan, Cross and S.T. Dupont pens; I included a hyperlink to the Monteverde online refill catalog below.

Many folks do not realize that some pens that take the short rollerball refills like the Dunhill Sidecar rollerball, for example, can use the Parker-style refill. I use the Monteverde Gel Ink refill in my Dunhill Sidecar rollerball pen -- it's a perfect fit.

Some refills that you may want to consider are listed below with some purchase options/stores (I tried to include several that had pictures of packages and/or the refills but there are MANY others) for your convenience.

There are many other options as well, including the rollerball refills for the pen brands themselves. Try the refills for the pen brands as you explore others since you may prefer one of these. Since I enjoy a lot of ink flow, I use broad refills and I particularly enjoy the gel ink refills for the flow and beauty of the inks. If you live near a pen shop that allows customers to try pens/refills, you will find it helpful to go to the store so that you can try the refills/pens in order to get a feel for the ink and a feel for the weight and balance of a pen if you choose to buy one.

Exploring the refill option will give you a place to start in regard to buying a pen. It may turn out that you have a pen that takes a Parker-style refill that you would like to "convert" to a rollerball and that will save you the expense of buying a new pen. However, if you want to buy a new pen, considering the refill options first will save you from buying a pen for which you dislike the refill and then, in turn, never use. Afer you have determined the refill types that you prefer/enjoy, you will be able to enjoy the pen buying process. I should caution you that very few folks know about the "fitting" options that I mentioned above. I have surprised the Montblanc and Cross retail store folks with the well-placed Scotch tape on the Cross Gel Ink refill; the retail folks to whom I have shown this have enjoyed it and adopted it for use in their pens too.

Well, I suppose that is enough "food for thought" right now. I wish you all the best with your rollerball search! : )

Edited by elysee, 26 August 2010 - 06:37.


#7 LisaN

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 01:39

By far the best Rollerball is the 1975 film with James Caan and John Houseman.
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#8 Crobe

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 01:42

By far the best Rollerball is the 1975 film with James Caan and John Houseman.


:roflmho: :roflmho:

+1.

Mike

#9 Moses John

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 04:02

[size="3"][font="Comic Sans MS"]

I'm so glad you asked! Take this for what it's worth, but I'll try to be as objective as I can within my experiences.

I like the fast drying, vivid liquid black ink and love the crisp, fine line of a high quality rollerball. I absolutely hate ballpoint pens and once I discovered rollers, haven't used one in at least 15 years. There are (probably) some good, disposable rollers on the market, but I'm betting you're asking because you are looking for a nice/high quality, non-disposable rollerball body to keep and hug and love and use over and over and over.

My vote goes to Mont Blanc. I started with the 144 Rollerball and, once lost, replaced it with a Noblesse. Of course, the model body is just the holder for the refill, but when their powers combine, a new and more powerful entity is created! The 144 is nice, but too small (short) for me. The Noblesse is a hair-more-than a half inch longer, uncapped and/or posted, and this really makes a tremendous difference in my hand. (My intent has been to get a 146 and I know this is a great size pen which would work well for me, but I have been side-tracked with a new fountain pen obsession... ) Another point I want to quickly make about the 144/Noblesse comparison: The 144 *would* suffice in length, when posted, but it doesn't really post firmly and in my hand, the place where it connects hits a point where my hand easily and maddeningly, continuously knocks the posted cap off. The Noblesse cap posts much more firmly, and given it's greater length, that "point" is moved enough that it doesn't hit the spot of my hand that keeps driving the 144 cap off. It should also be mentioned that my Noblesse also says Oblige. It was purchased new, in the US, early 2003. I know there are some "early" Noblesse models that have a similar form factor, but I don't know the dimensions of those pens.

Now, about the refill: they are proprietary Mont Blanc, made in Germany and come in two sizes: regular and "marathon". The marathon is the one specifically for the 146 pen; the regular fits everything else. I can't speak for the marathon, but I've heard they are good and very long lasting, hence the name marathon. The regular size ones are for the 144 and Noblesse, etc. They come in (at least) blue and black, and are available in tip sizes (at least) fine and medium. There may be specific size information somewhere, but the refills are simply marked with "F" or "M". I don't use medium because I am particularly fond of fine lines; the finer, the better. The fine refill, I'm happy to report, is fine. It is at least .05, but may be a little finer. I compared a line written with the MB to a line written with my .05 pencil, both held at a dead 90 degree angle to the paper. The pen is visibly finer than the pencil and may be as fine as .04. With the pen held at a more normal, near 45 degree writing angle, it produces a line about identical to the .05 pencil. I know -real scientific, right. But I can say this about the MB fine: I can write legible letters, as small as those on a penny, with it. : )

The ink is vivid and black, black, black. At least the black ink is black! I don't use blue, so can't report on that. Also, yes, it writes very smoothly. Impressively smooth. Of course, gel ink writes smooth, but I think that's more due to the "greasy" feeling of the gel, where for the MB, I believe it is more a result of the precision of the actual ball. I'm sure the ink has something to do with it, but it has a distinctly different feel than any gel ink. Since I'm currently a full time student, I do a lot of writing and mostly on my own paper. I create lined writing sheets using the cheapest paper I can get from Wal-Mart, when it's on sale, which is the Georgia Pacific "Copy Paper" at 20lb/88 brightness, 500 sheets for $2.50 (made in the U.S.A.!). You can see the writing on the other side, but faintly and it's not a distraction. Also, there is no bleed-through on this paper.

The refills will run between $6 and $7 each. Yeah, a little pricey, they are, but I don't mind because they work well and give the performance I want/expect. Occasionally I have gotten a dud refill, i.e. a scratchy or crunchy ball or ink that just doesn't flow properly. Always, I've been able to get an exchange with NO problem. Once I was having a conversation, on the phone, with a rep at a MB boutique in a different state, and had mentioned I had a problem with a couple refills "some time ago". Without telling me, he sent me two fresh roller refills and a fineliner to sample.

How long do they last? That, of course, is subjective, but mine will last for a long time -months, usually. At first, when I realized the price of the refills, I was taken aback a little. But now, since I've been using these refills for long enough, I DO NOT feel like I'm getting ripped off because of the cost of them; they really will last.

Here is a comparison for you: Due to nearly 8 years of constant use, my Noblesse is on vacation (till I can get it fixed, so it doesn't get worse), and as a back-up, I have been using a Pilot G-2 Pro with a .07 gel refill. Yep, it has nice, vivid, black ink, and it's smooth -when it writes, that is. The pen has not been abused and has a nearly full refill in it, yet it often skips and even won't start immediately needing a few doodles to get it going. The worst part is the skipping in mid word. Simply unacceptable. To be fair, it might be just this particular pen, but I'm not inclined to go out and get another, just to see if it's better, while I await the return of my MB roller.

Hope this has been helpful. Good luck in your search.

"Peeka" approves of the Noblesse, too!

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#10 wspohn

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 05:08

[size="3"][font="Comic Sans MS"]

My vote goes to Mont Blanc.



For the nth time, there is no pen maker known as Mont Blanc. That is a mountain.

The pen maker is Montblanc. If we can't be precise about this on a fountain pen site how can we expect the ignorant masses to appreciate proper usage? Please, please, let's be correct about this. If WE can't do this, who will?
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#11 InkyCarl

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 18:14

For the nth time, there is no pen maker known as Mont Blanc.


Actually, there IS a pen maker "known as" Mont Blanc. If that is what some people call it, then it is known as that. You probably meant to say that there is no pen maker which has legally registered that name, or that there is no pen maker which chose that name for itself. I don't know for sure if those are correct, but I think they represent your intent.

If we snooty bastards can't be precise about language, then how can we expect the ignorant masses to appreciate proper usage?

I think Montblanc is a little bit loose with their own name, as they sometimes display it, in logo form, with a carriage return in the middle.

#12 adyf

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 18:17

I used to be pretty big on Rollerballs, but I think the newer Gelpens beat them by far. In my experience, a Gel has all the benefits of a Roller (smooth, no ballpoint drag, crisp look on paper, etc.) with less of the downside (less "blopping" on paper, longer refill life).

I've got a number of Parker Rollerballs (Systemark, 45, 75 and Sonnet) that have been pretty much retired in favor of a 45 ballpen with a Gel refill.



I snagged a Duofold ballpoint from Ebay in order to use gel refills. Use it for crosswords and the like.

#13 Moses John

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 02:11

[/quote]

Actually, there IS a pen maker "known as" Mont Blanc. If that is what some people call it, then it is known as that. You probably meant to say that there is no pen maker which has legally registered that name, or that there is no pen maker which chose that name for itself. I don't know for sure if those are correct, but I think they represent your intent.

If we snooty bastards can't be precise about language, then how can we expect the ignorant masses to appreciate proper usage?

I think Montblanc is a little bit loose with their own name, as they sometimes display it, in logo form, with a carriage return in the middle.
[/quote]

Thank you very kindly.

#14 penspouse

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 03:04

<snip>

  • Monteverde refills (the catalog)
  • Parker style gel ink refill (page 12)
  • Parker style soft roll (liquid ink) refill (page 7)
  • Montblanc gel ink refill (page 10)
  • Montblanc soft roll (liquid ink) refill (page 6)
  • Pelikan gel ink refill for rollerball pens (page 12)
  • Sheaffer soft roll (liquid ink) refill (page 8)
  • Sheaffer gel ink refill (page 11)
  • Waterman soft roll (liquid ink) refill (page 10) (NOTE: Does not fit Waterman Rhapsody ballpoint pens or rollerball pens.)
  • Waterman gel ink refill (page 11) (NOTE: Does not fit Waterman Rhapsody ballpoint pens or rollerball pens.)
<snip>


I'm a little confused by the description on Page 12. Can a Pelikan Rollerball pen (M150) be converted to a gel pen, or is it just the ballpoint that can be converted to a gel pen? The description talks about capless pens, but my Pelikan rollerball has a cap. :blink:
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#15 SCPaul

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 12:50

By far the best Rollerball is the 1975 film with James Caan and John Houseman.

Jonathan! Jonathan!

Edited by SCPaul, 27 August 2010 - 12:51.

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#16 elysee

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 05:16

I'm a little confused by the description on Page 12. Can a Pelikan Rollerball pen (M150) be converted to a gel pen, or is it just the ballpoint that can be converted to a gel pen? The description talks about capless pens, but my Pelikan rollerball has a cap. :blink:


My Pelikan has a cap too.

Monteverde really does make a gel ink refill for the Pelikan rollerball pen -- this is different from the Parker-style Monteverde gel ink refill but they have the same type of ink.

How about a picture -- my brown Pelikan rollerball with its Monteverde refill!

Pelikan_Rollerball_Monteverde_Refill.png

Keep in mind that pens use different physical types of refills -- it is easier to refer to these as the type or style of refill. For example, I own one Dunhill ballpoint pen that uses a Montblanc-style refill and another Dunhill ballpoint pen (the Sidecar) that takes a Parker-style refill. My Dunhill Sidecar rollerball pen can use the short capless refill (many different manufacturers) as well as the Parker-style refill (I use the Monteverde gel ink Parker-style refill) -- these are the same length and fit the Sidecar rollerball pen equally well.

The Pelikan rollerball pen takes a different style of refill than the Pelikan ballpoint pen but Monteverde makes a gel ink refill for each of them.

Edited by elysee, 07 September 2010 - 05:27.


#17 penspouse

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 05:19

I'm a little confused by the description on Page 12. Can a Pelikan Rollerball pen (M150) be converted to a gel pen, or is it just the ballpoint that can be converted to a gel pen? The description talks about capless pens, but my Pelikan rollerball has a cap. :blink:


My Pelikan has a cap too.

Monteverde really does make a gel ink refill for the Pelikan rollerball pen -- this is different from the Parker-style Monteverde gel ink refill but they have the same type of ink.

How about a picture -- my brown Pelikan rollerball with its Monteverde refill!
Pelikan_Rollerball_Monteverde_Refill.png

Thanks!!!!!!! Do you happen to know an item number for ordering?
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#18 mori45

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 05:37

I have a Rotring Esprit which I really like. It's very reasonably priced and I believe it takes Rotring and Waterman refills, which are both pretty solid performers.

#19 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 07:29

Elysee that was a great post.
I have no real intention of buying a gel pen, how ever I have copied your info to my pen files.

Thank you

On second thought I have a nice Parker French Flighter that is good enough to resurrect from the dead with a gel refill.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

Due to Mauricio's improved definition of Super-flex, I try not use the term Easy Full Flex, but fail...sigh.

 

Semi-flex is an “almost” flex; not a ‘flex’ nib. It is great for regular writing with a touch of flair. It can give you some fancy; but it is not made for real fancy writing. For bit more of that get a maxi-semi-flex. Both spread tines 3X.  Those are not "Flex" nibs. 

 

Wider than Normal does not exist. Wider than Japanese does. Every company has it's very own standard + slop/tolerance. Developed from the users of it's pens and inks only; not the users or inks of other companies pens. The size you grind a nib to, is your standard only. Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.


#20 Bruce-YVR

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 13:08

"[quote name='elysee' timestamp='1282783121' post='1658574']
. For example, I use Pilot G2 Broad gel ink refills (FANTASTIC!) in ALL my Waterman rollerball pens..."

Thanks very much... I am looking at the new Waterman Perspective... and from your post... it should fit the Pilot G2 gel ink refill??

Thanks

Bruce






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