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Zebra V-301


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#21 Kabe

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 03:01

Against my and your better judgement, got one today. And... it works nicely, very nicely actually. The ink, however, sucks.

The cariocas are great little pens, whic write smoothly, and come with great ink. I've bought several and PIFfed them away
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#22 bk123

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 06:17

Great detailed review!!! :notworthy1: :notworthy1:
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#23 englishchese

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Posted 04 July 2011 - 02:16

Great review :thumbup:
Thanks for the heads up I was thinking of getting this for when school rolls around again, guess I am going to have to keep on looking. I might try that Maped Freewriter.
The quest for the perfect school pen goes on :hmm1:

#24 kurazaybo

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 05:23

Against my and your better judgement, got one today. And... it works nicely, very nicely actually. The ink, however, sucks.

The cariocas are great little pens, whic write smoothly, and come with great ink. I've bought several and PIFfed them away


I've been trying the cariocas, they really are good. Somehow I damaged the first one I had but no worries, I got one of each color!!

So you did not have problems with your V - 301?? I am surprised.

Unfortunately I have very limited experience with inks, could you explain a little better?

#25 Kabe

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:26

I've been trying the cariocas, they really are good. Somehow I damaged the first one I had but no worries, I got one of each color!!

Sad thing is you lost the huge investment on the damaged one!

Unfortunately I have very limited experience with inks, could you explain a little better?

Well, the color is awful. I know, it's a matter of taste, but it looks washed out, like the first lines that come out of a washed pen.
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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#26 Chthulhu

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 18:01

My local Office Depot had them red-tagged for $3.03 the other day, tucked in a corner of a "Back to School" (in July??) floor display. I picked up two, mainly to have two more cartridges I could refill. I agree that the ink is a bit on the dull side, but tthe pen writes acceptably well.

The barrel makes a nice noise when you blow through it, too. :-)

Edited by Chthulhu, 08 July 2011 - 19:40.

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#27 RLTodd

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 18:28

NO!

Even is it was the best working pen yet designed by mankind, which the reviewers say it is not.

On the long list of things the world does NOT need, somewhere up near the top, is "Yet another Proprietary Ink Cartridge Design."
YMMV

#28 Chthulhu

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 20:28

I went back today and picked up the R-301 roller pen ($3.03) and the H-301 highlighter ($3.19). All three pens seem to take the same cartridge *type*, but the roller pen's carts are stamped "R-301" and cartridges for the three pen types have different stock numbers on the Zebra Web site. I doubt the ink is any different between roller and fountain pens, and all three use the same fibrous wick feed. The highlighter came with one cartridge already installed; I'm guessing because it takes longer to fill the feed and tip.

For reference:

http://www.zebrapen..../v-refill?c=252
http://www.zebrapen..../r-refill?c=252
http://www.zebrapen....hl-refill?c=252
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#29 kurazaybo

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 08:01

I've been trying the cariocas, they really are good. Somehow I damaged the first one I had but no worries, I got one of each color!!

Sad thing is you lost the huge investment on the damaged one!

Haha I know, but really what worries me is that I do not know what went wrong. It had been working OK, I left it untouched for some weeks (sorry, lots of pens to play with!) and when I grab it again to jot some notes what I get is an unstoppable flow of ink that ruined the page. Maybe air is getting in somehow????

Unfortunately I have very limited experience with inks, could you explain a little better?

Well, the color is awful. I know, it's a matter of taste, but it looks washed out, like the first lines that come out of a washed pen.


I would say without a doubt it was not the ink itself, but actually the very poor performance of the wick feed. Remember I tried this pen with blue ink but black is more widely available. What I discovered by my extensive use of the V 301 rollerbal is that, even though it produces a smooth and bold line (insert rant about the lack of a finer point here), the ink bleeds horribly to the other side of the page even on the thick fountain pen-friendly paper I use for my daily journal. That is, for me, one definition of a bad ink. Sad because the rollerball is awesome =(

What I am going to do next, once the cartridge on the roller is empty (I have used it extensively for six months and it is still half full!!! this thing is a monster!!) is fill it with fountain pen ink and check the bleeding. I have Quink, Skrip and some Sabonis branded bottles to test.

BTW in one review or thread I read that "nobody had tried a feed like this before" however that is not true. Here on the FPN I found a thread about some basic Sheaffer pens, the old "cartridge" or "school" pens, which are themselves very like the old Glideriter. They hade hooded nibs and the feed was made of a white fibrous material.

Unfortunately I lost the URL of the thread and have not been able to find it again. Imagine this pen but with a Parker 51-like nib

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Edited by kurazaybo, 09 July 2011 - 08:08.


#30 Chthulhu

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 21:37

V-301 Fail: both tines broke off just behind the tipping; inspection with a loupe shows some discoloration and pitting at the end of what's left. I opened the other pen and inspected the nib, and there's some discoloration in the same place where the first one came apart, possibly whatever flux was used to fuse the tipping onto the nib.
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#31 shamankl

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 04:16

i thing they fixed this problem by now, the on e i bout like a week ago as a temporary pen didn't have this problem anymore. I didn't leave it out for like 20 min but a good 5 min and it didn't dry up.

Luck me i guess?

#32 Chthulhu

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 04:30

I washed and flushed the second one, filled it with Waterman blue-black, and it's been working for about ten days. It does seem to have trouble keeping up (ink stops flowing after a paragraph or thereabouts), but storing the pen horizontally with the barrel end elevated seems to help.

Edited by Chthulhu, 22 July 2011 - 04:31.

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#33 Andy M-S

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 18:04

The Sheaffer pictured does not have a hooded nib, and I've used their school pens off and on for a long time (my first had the slightly "conical" ends, and I picked up an even older round-ended one that had the same open nib). It's been a long while (my spouse-to-be bought me a Mont Blanc in 1986), but I recall these as being excellent pens with a good feed.

Unfortunately, neither of the Zebras I've purchased write worth a darn. I guess I'm picky; I love how the Sheaffers write, and my Mont Blanc, but the Parker Vector I had was terrible, the Zebra is terrible, and I've also had some Lamy Safari-type pens that were poor on this count. Give me the old Sheaffers (I'm fond of 440s) for pens that always write.

As an interesting side note, the Zebra *does* write reliably (and with a fine, if slightly dry, line) IF you write with the back side of the nib. Who knows?
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#34 kurazaybo

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 02:46

The Sheaffer pictured does not have a hooded nib, and I've used their school pens off and on for a long time (my first had the slightly "conical" ends, and I picked up an even older round-ended one that had the same open nib). It's been a long while (my spouse-to-be bought me a Mont Blanc in 1986), but I recall these as being excellent pens with a good feed.

Unfortunately, neither of the Zebras I've purchased write worth a darn. I guess I'm picky; I love how the Sheaffers write, and my Mont Blanc, but the Parker Vector I had was terrible, the Zebra is terrible, and I've also had some Lamy Safari-type pens that were poor on this count. Give me the old Sheaffers (I'm fond of 440s) for pens that always write.

As an interesting side note, the Zebra *does* write reliably (and with a fine, if slightly dry, line) IF you write with the back side of the nib. Who knows?


Sorry, as i mentioned the pictures is of a look alike pen, the difference is exaclty the nib. There are (were?) some Sheaffer´s that have the same cap and barrel but the section and nib are different. Notably, the nib is hooded and semi closed around a fibrous wick feed.

Also, I forgot to mention that the world famous and incredibly awesome line of Pilot Varsity fountain pens use a wick feed.

I am also a big fan of the old Sheaffer 440 but, and this is a big *but* the section/nibs (keep in mind the inlaid nib is a single unit attached to the section) is famously unreliable. Some pens write like a dream while others are very unreliable. I have three and, though I have not had issues with intermitent ink flow, I have the opposite: excessive flow, which gives any ink a *double saturation* look. The revised 444 pens are, for me, the definition of pen perfection.

I will try my V 301 upside down, I really want to like it!!

#35 KrazyIvan

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 02:49

I bought one on Saturday to try for myself. It came with the black ink so maybe I will have a different experience.

#36 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:03

Mine works all right. I don't mind the color of the blue ink; the nib seems to write smoothly enough.

No broken tines yet. :P

#37 Chthulhu

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:42

My second one's still going strong with the Waterman blue-black. :-)
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#38 79spitfire

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:49

I did hack the feed and it did help. I opened up the air vents that run up the bottom of the feed with a pocket knife and carved a bit of plastic from the cartridge nipple and from the wick it self. I detailed it in this thread Other Zebra thread If your getting these cheap enough it could be a good victim for experimenting with inks. The nibs aren't remarkable, but they do work, and are smooth.

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#39 Bill32164

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 01:24

Well, I came across this review while looking for ink cartridges for my V-310. Great review. I found one of at Walgreen's tonight when I stopped to buy a notebook that I found on FPN in another forum. I guarantee the quality of these pens is typical Chinese quality. Cap hold/release is bad, nib is very basic plain nail nib. After testing this pen for awhile and tiring of the skips I decided to start the pen right. I removed the cartridge and soaked the nib in alcohol. Then I cleaned the entire nib in hot water and scrubbed it with a soft tooth brush. I dried it and let all the water wick out by propping it up in a small container stuffed with paper towel. After about an hour I reinstalled the cartridge. It took about as much writing to fill a 3 inch by 5 inch card until ink to flow. I could write immediately, but the ink was very watery from being mostly water. Now the pen writes fine. I filled a steno pad sheet with letters, numerals and doodles. So far the pen writes fairly smoothly on junky kind of paper and it does not skip. I tried it on good paper and it writes about as easy and smoothly as my old Shaeffer's. It is no Waterman by a long shot, but for an everyday work pen as I hope to use it I think it will be fine. If I remember tomorrow after I come home from using it at work I'll post the results. For $3.00 it is still better than a ball point (IMHO). I know there are BP and gel users out there and there are some gels I like, but I like the fountain pens better.

#40 Bill32164

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 22:33

I used this pen all day at work writing enough to fill about 3 pages of a legal pad. The pen wrote flawlessly all day and pretty darn good for a pen costing less than $5.00! I do not like the charcoal grey color of what Zebra calls black, but it will do for everyday writing. I do not need worry about ruining a Waterman. I do not need to worry about someone who thinks they can write with a FP and pick it up to use and bend the nib. I only need keep it filled with ink and if it does get damaged, $5.00 for a new one ( the price of about one Starbuck's cup of caffine).

I can feel a bit of nib scraping or scratching on the paper and it does make a small scratching sound,, nothing major. I even tried it on a Moleskine. I really like that this ink will not bleed through the pages like my Waterman and Pilot inks do. I can go on about the over rating of Moleskine's; that's a post all of it's own. Moleskines are great notebooks, but I am also trying others. Everyone has their favorite pen and notebook.

I will not hesitate to purchase another one or 2 of the Zebra V-301 fountain pens for every day use. For now I need to find a cartridge supplier.

Regards,
Bill




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