While it is a matter of debate whether Rhodia is hyped, I would say it is a stretch to compare BILT, ITC Classmate, Navneet Scholar or other similar Indian notebooks with Rhodia.
I have used Classmate and Scholar notebooks extensively, and I have used different fountain pen and ink combinations on these papers. In fact, we had no other options while in school and college and had to use these notebooks.
The quality is strictly acceptable for fountain pen use, nothing spectacular. So if you are talking about the same notebooks, I'm afraid my experience is very different and not altogether positive.
The 90 GSM and 100 GSM papers from BILT, JK Cedar, Paper One, etc. are pretty nice and fountain pen friendly, but they are not in the Rs. 50 range. I use this paper for regular use along with other nicer paper like Rhodia, Fabriano, Tomoe River, and Maruman.
Sudhir, I didn't mean to say that Rhodia isn't good quality, I am saying that I think it is quite expensive and the quality isn't proportional to the price. I am also not disputing your experience with Classmate and Scholar notebooks. My experience was pretty good with a Parker 45/vector and Quink/Camlin Blue on Classmate and Scholar books (in fact even those were quite expensive for me back in the day, I used even cheaper notebooks with fountain pens). They didn't feather or bleed through and the ink dried fairly quickly. Ghosting was very minor. Maybe I got a really good batch of classmate last year?
The reason I compared the brands was because I think Rhodia is way overpriced for what it offers compared to the Indian brands. And the notion that Rhodia is somewhat a gold standard is probably because people (including me) haven't used many of the nicer paper out there.
For me, reasonably good is good enough for daily writing and these cheaper Indian paper do the job well. I've been using BILT Matrix for my handwritten reviews and it's fantastic! I'll take it over Rhodia any day for reasons other than just price. Rhodia paper has a coating on it that makes for a 'slick' writing experience that I don't like. It tends be too smooth and I like a bit more control when I write, I guess there is a sweet spot between too smooth and rough texture, which the Indian brands seem to hit just right for me. Inks also tend to take longer to dry on Rhodia because of the coating causing it to smudge every now and then while taking quick notes. Some of my smooth pens that write perfectly well on most paper including TR tend to skip on Rhodia. That really puts Rhodia far behind in my book and that is why I stand by my opinion that the Indian brands I've used are more fountain pen friendly than Rhodia. Now, I have a different set of issues with TR that I won't discuss at the moment. I am not taking into consideration factors like sheen, shading and other artistic properties, just plain simple writing on a day-to-day basis.
I think I should sample more scholar and classmate notebooks to see if anything has changed. If multiple people are noting that classmate isn't great for FPs then I'm surely missing something.
I probably took it too far by saying that the Indian brands will take the market by storm. I should have said that chances are quite high that people will like it. It all depends on their preferences.
Edited by s_t_e_v_e, 25 August 2016 - 21:36.