This time my review is for Ranga Thin Bamboo ebonite pen.
Ranga pen is one of the most well-known brands in fountain pen world, they have ardent followers both in India and abroad. They are manufacturing ebonite and acrylic fountain, ball point and roller ball pens for more than 50 years. I was quite late in buying from them considering my fascination for ebonite pens, just because their ebay site doesnt have any option for paying in Indian currency. The price list is entirely in USD, so I contacted them over email and whatsapp. Mr. Pandurangan was generous to respond within a short time, and he did help me a lot. ASA pens and Ranga pens are two of the most customer oriented fountain pen companies that I have encountered.
I chose the thin bamboo model as it was a bit on the smaller side for ebonite pens, I do have problems with jumbo pens. Also, I have many pens from ASA which are similar in design to some other Ranga models. Bamboo model has a unique design which is still available exclusively with Ranga pens in Indian market. I asked for a clipless cap as in my opinion the clip was hindering the complete display of its beauty.
I am satisfied with the pen.
1.Appearance & Design (9/10): First of all, I must admit, Its a gorgeous ebonite pen.
This is a rod shaped pen with bamboo-like slightly swollen nodes on the body. Each node has a groove running through it. There are five nodes altogether. Both the ends look similar and have large grooves for the clip and presumably for posting, which as I would explain is not a feasible option. As I ordered for a clipless design, my pen looks symmetrical. I dont know the exact origin of this bamboo design, but as a fountain pen this design is unique. There is no logo or branding, which is a wise decision as it would have hampered the actual aesthetics of the design. The cap is a bit shorter than the body, and the distance between individual nodes is smaller on the cap than the body. But unless you compare them side by side (as I have already alerted your mind) its difficult to notice at first glance. I chose the yellow-black swirled one and the colour is great. Its not the highest quality of ebonite on offer from them, but still its better than most other Indian ebonite pens. That will give a fair idea about the quality of these pens.
The thin Bamboo
The cap and body- side by side
2. Construction & Quality (9/10): I dont find any fault with the design or construction of this pen. The finish is absolutely flawless. The ebonite is top class, with almost no extra inclusion or impurities visible. No lathe mark, scratch mark or inconsistencies found. The material is of good quality. The body is well polished and sturdy. Its a light weight pen. The cap secures on the body with three and quarter turn, which in my opinion is excess, but the threads are well crafted, so there is no tightness or problem while closing and opening the cap. The section is also made of ebonite with gentle tapering towards nib. The grooves at the nodal regions are consistent in width and well made. The cap creates a small gap with the body looking similar to the grooves above and below it.
3. Weight & Dimensions (9/10): The dimensions are as follows
Pen Length Capped 14o mm
Pen Length Uncapped 130 mm.
Pen Length Posted 195 mm (so one have to use it without posting, unless one has hands like a giant).
Average section diameter : 10-11 mm.
This pen feels very comfortable and well balanced (unposted). No problem with long writing sessions. As evident from the measurements, its not a very big pen, but not a small pen either. Its a bit smaller and thinner than most standard ebonite pens, but has a decent length to it.
from left to right: The Pilot Metropolitan, Ranga thin bamboo, Jinhao x750 and ASA Daily
4. Nib & Performance (6/10): The stock nib is a bit disappointing. If you are a user of Indian fountain pens, by now you must have been introduced to Wality nibs. The stock nib is a Wality monotone nib, smooth with lots of feedback. It writes Indian fine line. These are cheap nibs without much character to the writing. I hope to change this nib for a better one. The flow is generous. There is much feathering on cheap papers. The nib has very little flex. I would suggest them to use Kanwrite nibs which are cheap Indian nibs but much smoother.
Wality monotone stock nib (Indian fine)
5. Filling System & Maintenance (6/10): This pen is eyedropper pen. There is no provision for a cartridge or converter in this model. There are costlier versions with German JoWo and Schimdt nibs and converters.
6. Cost & Value (9/10): This pen is valued at INR 2300 (45 USD ). I find the price quite appropriate. There will always be comparison of Ranga pens with ASA, the other major Indian ebonite pen makers. I find these comparisons a bit futile, thats because each product is priced for its buyers. If the buyer is happy with the finished product, I dont see why it would not be priced at the current value. ASA pens are a bit on the cheaper side, almost all pens have cartridge converter system, the finishes are comparable (with Ranga having a slight edge), the material from Ranga looks better, and if ASA were to launch a bamboo design of their own (I have no idea whether this design is copyrighted to Ranga pens) it would come at a lower price. This doesnt mean that if that becomes a reality (ASA launching bamboo design), this pen will lose its value. Ranga pens are one of the most internationally successful fountain pen makers and they stood the test of time. The communication is well maintained from their end and there are some little things, like getting a link in email about to how these pens are made - these small things build a relationship with the seller. So the buying experience get enriched beyond the product value.
7. Conclusion (Final score, 48/60): This pen is a must have for every fountain pen and ebonite pen enthusiast. I would suggest, if budget is not a constraint, one must go for the cartridge convertor German nib variety, plus one may look into the premium ebonite models.
The whatsapp no is 9444357967
Email id: email@example.com
Ebay site: Ranga pens
Edited by Samrat, 02 July 2016 - 17:32.