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Rotring Surf Review


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18 replies to this topic

#1 fiberdrunk

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 23:30

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Let me just preface my remarks by saying I like cheap fountain pens-- Rotring Surfs, Parker Vectors, Platinum Preppys, to name a few. This is my latest addition to my collection and I love it. This one retails for under $8. I specifically bought it because it is a wetter writer, and I knew I would be using iron gall ink in it.

This pen came with a little velvet case, a blue ink cartridge and a universal converter. The converter is a low-capacity one. That's my only complaint, that it holds so little ink.


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Edited by fiberdrunk, 24 December 2010 - 18:30.

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#2 rcarlisle

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 00:21

Thank you Fiberdrunk. I got a Green Surf from Pendemonium last month and I love it. It is smooth and never skips on me. I got a regular size Waterman converter to go with it and I am happy with the amount of ink it holds. I was very pleasantly surprised how good a pen it is. I paid $20 for mine. But I think that was a fair price for it. I have it inked with PR Plum right now. I had been wishing someone would review it. The one thing that strikes me is that it is extremely light. I was not sure I liked that at first, but it is not a problem at all now that I am used to it.

But where do you get Chesterfield Archival Ink? I have never heard of it before.

Edited by rcarlisle, 24 December 2010 - 00:22.

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#3 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 14:29

As another fan of cheap pens, I thank you for this review. I may have to add the Rotring Surf to my collection!

#4 fiberdrunk

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 17:13

Thank you Fiberdrunk. I got a Green Surf from Pendemonium last month and I love it. It is smooth and never skips on me. I got a regular size Waterman converter to go with it and I am happy with the amount of ink it holds. I was very pleasantly surprised how good a pen it is. I paid $20 for mine. But I think that was a fair price for it. I have it inked with PR Plum right now. I had been wishing someone would review it. The one thing that strikes me is that it is extremely light. I was not sure I liked that at first, but it is not a problem at all now that I am used to it.

But where do you get Chesterfield Archival Ink? I have never heard of it before.


Chesterfield Archival Vault Ink can be found at xfountainpens. It is actually repackaged Diamine Registrars Ink. I just did a review of it yesterday (see the ink section).

Thanks for the tip about the Waterman converter... I'll have to look for that.

ETA: I added more photos to the above review. I had trouble adding them yesterday for some reason.

Edited by fiberdrunk, 24 December 2010 - 17:40.

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

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#5 fiberdrunk

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 16:15

After letting the iron gall ink sit in the pen for 3 days (writing with it a couple times each day), I notice it is starting to become fussy and puts down a scantier flow now (whereas I inked a Parker Vector at the same time, and it still flows wet and reliably). I've rinsed out the Rotring Surf and am going to put a regular fountain pen ink in and see how it does. So I retract what I said earlier about this pen being good for iron gall ink. I'd go with the Vector for that.

Edited by fiberdrunk, 26 December 2010 - 16:16.

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

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#6 fiberdrunk

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 22:28

Here's the Rotring Surf inked with vintage Rotring ArtistColor Blue. The paper is Office Depot Composition Book graph paper.

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I still like this pen and am glad to see other inks work just fine in it. I didn't want to leave this review on a bad note, just because an iron gall ink may not have been suited for it. I'm quite happy with the pen and have been a fan of Rotring for a long time.
Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

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#7 cadfael_tex

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 16:13

Just got mine from Jetpens today. First impressions, writes well but very light. I used the cart that came with it so I wouldn't have it floating around my desk (and for convenience) and so far so good. I paid $15 and it just came with the cartride - no converter or sleeve. Where'd ya get it for that price?

#8 comfortableshoes

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 18:55

Ho much work would it be to convert a Surf to eye dropper?
Seriously, have you checked Etsy.com yet?
Check out my blog ComfortableShoesStudio.com

#9 fiberdrunk

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 21:28

Just got mine from Jetpens today. First impressions, writes well but very light. I used the cart that came with it so I wouldn't have it floating around my desk (and for convenience) and so far so good. I paid $15 and it just came with the cartride - no converter or sleeve. Where'd ya get it for that price?


I got mine on eBay. They're still available there, just checked.
Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

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#10 OscarWilde

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 22:10

Woow, great pics, interesting review

#11 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 22:21

Ho much work would it be to convert a Surf to eye dropper?


Technically, can't you convert any pen to an eyedropper with an o-ring and some silicone grease?

#12 fiberdrunk

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 23:21

Ho much work would it be to convert a Surf to eye dropper?


No work at all, I'd think. It's an all-plastic barrel, no holes. A little silicone grease and an o-ring, and I'm sure you'd be set.
Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

#13 comfortableshoes

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 00:29

Nice. I just found my next inexpensive pen purchase
Seriously, have you checked Etsy.com yet?
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#14 comfortableshoes

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 00:32

Ho much work would it be to convert a Surf to eye dropper?


Technically, can't you convert any pen to an eyedropper with an o-ring and some silicone grease?

Not if the barrel has holes in it. Then you have to get a little more creative, fill the holes with silicone caulking or something else.
Seriously, have you checked Etsy.com yet?
Check out my blog ComfortableShoesStudio.com

#15 weink

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 05:03

Thanks for the review! I picked up a light blue Rotring Surf with a medium nib on Ebay last November. With converter and shipping it came to $9.95. I wanted a cheap pen because I had a sample of Bay State Blue ink and I had been warned that its alkaline pH could be hard on pens and that the ink stained everything it touched. I love the pen and the ink. I leave the pen filled with Bay State Blue. Even after leaving it sitting for a week or more, it writes smoothly at first touch. It lays down a wet line, about .5 mm with light pressure and .8 mm with heavy pressure. It's kind of the German version of Sheaffer's No Nonsense school pen; straightforward style, durable, smooth writing, easy to maintain,and unpretentious. And an incredibly good value.

#16 fiberdrunk

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 05:07

Thanks for the review! I picked up a light blue Rotring Surf with a medium nib on Ebay last November. With converter and shipping it came to $9.95. I wanted a cheap pen because I had a sample of Bay State Blue ink and I had been warned that its alkaline pH could be hard on pens and that the ink stained everything it touched. I love the pen and the ink. I leave the pen filled with Bay State Blue. Even after leaving it sitting for a week or more, it writes smoothly at first touch. It lays down a wet line, about .5 mm with light pressure and .8 mm with heavy pressure. It's kind of the German version of Sheaffer's No Nonsense school pen; straightforward style, durable, smooth writing, easy to maintain,and unpretentious. And an incredibly good value.


I'm very glad to hear that Bay State Blue works well in this pen. I was thinking about getting some. It would go great with the blue Rotring.
Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

#17 PDW

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 15:00

One additional point for those people who got an example without a converter - a cheap Chinese converter fits perfectly (if a little tightly) on the peg in a Surf, and makes it into a very nice bottle ink pen!

#18 fabiana

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 08:57

Ho much work would it be to convert a Surf to eye dropper?


No work at all, I'd think. It's an all-plastic barrel, no holes. A little silicone grease and an o-ring, and I'm sure you'd be set.


I also was shocked at how small it is the cartridge that comes with it and also the converter. So small!
So I also converted mine with the silicone grease and o-ring (thanks, Goulet pens!), but first I tested the barrel with water for a few days to see if it had any holes or cracks that could let the water spread. Without the o-ring it tends to leak during the writing, but since the moment I converted it properly it's working safe and nicely for some months already. :)
I'm also keen on those cheap colorful pens. :)
I also bought mine on e-bay, bought a set of 3 (pastel green, coral and blue). I think it was about US$14 some months ago.

I think it's a nice option for a first pen to people that wants to try a fountain pen but don't want to spend so much money, as with a Lamy Safari, for example (not that Safaris are expensive at all, but you can buy 6 Rotring Surfs by the price of 1 Safari). I really like it.
Parker Vectors are also nice, I bought one at e-bay too, with little leafs patterns. The best part is that they are inexpensive and you will not be sad if the pen is not what you expected. But since I'm glad even with the most bizarre chinese pens, I tend to enjoy the majority of FP in this category. LOL

I feel glad that I'm not the only one... :roflmho:

#19 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 11:19

You are definitely not the only one. The Surf comes in some nice colors.






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