I have 2 x Sailor Sapporo's and they are my favorite nibs out of a large collection of pens. I'm not sure how the steel nibs compare with the gold as I haven't used the steel version but my understanding from the forums is that there is little difference. My only gripe with Sailor is the filling system and the cartridge converter. Ink capacity is pathetic. It seems to run dry after only about 3-4 sides of A4 writing, and that's with the fine nib! As a result I began to look at other pens as my daily work horse due to my 3 plus messy refills per day.
My next pen, was the Pelikan m200. Again, I bought 2 of these. One with a B nib and one with an EF nib. They both write ok, but the nibs just feel dull to me. I don't know what it is, but compared to the Sapporo, they don't feel anywhere near as special, despite being smooth and wet. It's like I am disconnected from the writing experience. They also run quite broad. Even the EF is like other western manufactures mediums. My plan was to upgrade the nibs, and I am currently awaiting a Richard Binder m400 nib with a custom EEF grind. I should receive this any day. I am hoping with the nib change I will have the pen I am looking for. What I like about the Pelikan is it's size and the fact it can hold a tonne of ink. It also appears well built, but simple although a tad on the light side. Unfortunately, there are very few colours I am keen on in the range. I managed to get hold of an m200 from the 1990's that was brand new with a lovely grey barrel which is far more appealing that there typical colours available in the modern range. I do like the limited edition Lizard 101n, but to me this is way overpriced for what it is.
Finally, I decided to also give TWSBI a try. Not the Micarta, but the Diamond Mini. I have purchased 3 of these in the past week and absolutely love them. Size wise, they are perfect for my small hands. I prefer the size of the mini to the Pelikan. The TWSBI feels a tad smaller but slightly fatter, It also has a nice weight and lovely balance. Again it is Piston filler and holds a tonne of ink. It is also a very beautiful pen and with the demonstrator and black models that I have, you can see ink sloshing around in the barrel. I love it! I want to get one for every colour of ink I use eventually.
Regarding the nib, I have bought a few different sizes to play with. The first couple of nibs were defective. I ordered more. The EF is comparable to my Sapporo F, which is perfect for work. It is medium wet and fairly smooth. I also have a F nib, which is comparable to a Sapporo MF. Again this is medium wet and reasonably smooth. Unfortunately, the nibs do not compare to the Sailor nibs with regard to feel. Having said that they are perfectly good nibs and given the pens other attributes, I would take it over the Sailor. Regarding the nib, I have ordered a Pendleton fine cursive Italic which should arrive any day now. I'm hoping with this custom nib, it will match the Sapporo's in terms of feel. If it does, I will order more custom nibs for the other pens.
My next pen will be another TWSBI mini. At the price they sell for (£42.00) they are a steal! I will also replace the regular nibs with Pendleton Points (also reasonably priced) if I am satisfied with my first order from him.
One other option to consider is the Pilot Custom 92. These can be had as cheap as chips on ebay if you order from Japan. You should get a nib comparable to The Sapporo with a large capacity Piston fill and all for about £70.00, which is only a tad more than the Micarta and the Sailor pro colour. The Custom 92 is on my future pen list.
If you heart is set in the Micarta, then go for that given it's unusual finish, but don't overlook the mini and check out Pendleton custom nibs for either Micarta or mini if you go the TWSBI route.
If you go for Pelikan, check out Richard Binder and consider a custom grind in either Steel if on a budget or gold if you have cash to spare.
Keep us posted with your choice and I will update regarding my custom nibs.
Edited by Blueorb, 20 February 2014 - 06:03.
They're trying to build a prison.................it's the totalitarian tiptoe!