Karas Pen Co - Galaxie XL Rollerball Review
Introduction: The evolution of Karas Kustoms into what is now referred to as the Karas Pen Co has attracted pen enthusiasts for good reason.
They’ve adapted proven vintage ideas through their own unique styling to machine timeless designs of modern Americana built to last a lifetime.
A new installation to their inventory is this Galaxie XL Rollerball pen. It is part of their Reaktor lineup intended to provide more affordable options while retaining their standards of quality. This version is Tumbled Aluminum, juxtaposed by 2 notches at the end of the body that retained their polish accenting the aesthetics nicely.
Design: Despite the name, the Galaxie XL is indeed a small pen, or rather an XL pocket pen. Unlike many pocket pens it can fit well in the hand unposted unless you have larger hands. Posting does backweight the pen a bit, but because it posts deeply (and securely) it rests comfortably in the web of the hand. It feels like a formidable pen while remaining lightweight.
The finial of the cap is a salient feature resembling the wheel of a hot rod. It simply looks great without being tacky. I really like this.
Karas Pen Co innovated a Snap-Cap design, which fits the cap securely with a healthy snap providing a good seal with an O-ring. This significantly elongates the life of any refill used. There is minimal play/movement when capped, which I could only observe when firmly fiddling with it. Overall, it is a welcomed design I do appreciate.
Under the cap is a threadless section that seamlessly tapers from the body to a healthy flare that contours the fingers very comfortably. This design feature is my favorite and is very much appreciated as it adds enhanced angling to assist one’s grip, increasing comfort and decreasing effort to hold, and thus decreasing hand fatigue and increasing the capacity for this pen to be used for longer writing sessions. Holding the pen higher up is notably pretty comfortable due to the lack of threads.
Writing Experience: To help keep costs down Karas Pen Co opted to limit native installation of refills of the Galaxie XL to those compatible with the Pilot G2 refill, which it comes with OOTB. This is the most popular refill in the world and inexpensive so I don’t blame them, espeically with regards to their goal to create a more affordable option in their pen inventory. The Galaxie XL can also fit a Schmidt 5888, Pentel Energel, and Pilot V7. Out of all these refills I only had an enjoyable writing experience with a Pentel Energel refill, which I find fairly reliable when purchased from a good source. I don’t like the Pilot G2’s and the 5888’s I tried had inconsistent flow. I have loved the Pilot V7’s (capped-versions) in my past, and I still have some, but for the life of me I couldn’t get a fresh V7 refill that didn’t write poorly, whether it be from the store or Amazon.
Personally, I would have much preferred to be able to natively use a schmidt easyflow9000 (Best Ballpoint out there) or the highly regarded Schmidt p812x, which made the Retro 51’s so famous. The Pilot G2 refills offer affordability, but I think it is a trade off for performance.
Verdict: For me, a male with above average sized hands, the Galaxie XL is simply too small for most of the writing I have to do. I find that comfortable contour of the section to be too low (like a #5 nib when you need a #6). The section at its narrowest is too narrow for me as well. But please keep in mind that this is preferential. I do love this pen, and it was a heartbreak to be basically using the miniature version of what I personally need and have been looking for… especially if it had better refill options.
If you have small hands or really do need or like a small pen this is simply a superb design. I am glad Karas Pen Co found a reason to push their creativity, innovate, and artfully create a superbly functioning design regardless of the price. I think they are setting the standard of machined metal pens, competing successfully, standing out, and most importantly doing so with a very high consideration to customer feedback and the needs of the pen community. And though this pen doesn’t meet my preferences, for those it does it could potentially be a favorite for a lifetime.
Conclusion: The evolution of Karas Kustoms into Karas Pen Co is illustrated by the release of the Galaxie XL and the Reaktor Lineup it is a part of. After having tried their Ink and Render/Fountain K, and Retrakt, I find this design of the Galaxie’s and Starliners to be the most ergonomic and well balanced pens in their lineup. As with evolution I hope the vestiges of their origin don’t impede their adaptation forward to create pens that provide an optimal writing experience the likes of which would truly stand the test of time with a precedence Karas Pen Co is capable of setting. Among the emerging pen companies I think Karas Kustoms, or rather Karas Pen Co, has the greatest potential standing in the company of Edison Pen Co, and Franklin-Christoph, whom I have the highest regard for when it comes to pen manufacturing and design.