I went looking on isellpens.com and chewed my fingernails over the Chinese pens. It seemed wrong to desert Sheaffer, but a #226 was only $8. If it turned out to be a lousy buy, I wouldn't be out the money. And it was billed as a smaller to mid-sized pen, light weight... and it was black and elegant. With a removable ink converter. I mean, how bad could it be?
I bought one of it and a second pen (also Chinese) but not a Kaigelu, and crossed my fingers. The second pen turned out to be absolutely horrible. Ill-balanced, would not write, the presentation box and visual of the pen was better than the actual pen.
I love my Kaigelu. So much that I went back and bought two more for gifts. First of all, it's 95% metal (steel?), the converter works flawlessly, and the workmanship is clean and elegant. Lovely balanced for my hand, though my SO says it's too small for his fingers. (Well, duh! small to medium? only 6" long?) I've dropped it twice on a school linoleum floor and it's ignored my clumsiness. It didn't bleed or spray ink on the floor, either. It wrote from the moment it came out of the box. And it has a cute little kangaroo logo on the clip.
I've switched from Noodler's Beaver to J. Herbin's Lie The and back without a skip or skid. I've slung it around in notebooks and a carryall and my purse, expecting it to leak. It's taken it all in stride and is the most reliable fountain pen I've ever owned.
I've put away my Sheaffer and Waterman (hangs head in shame). I never thought a Chinese-made pen could make me do this. I've no idea why it's so good, I only know that whenever I ask it to write, it writes.
I'm sorry this isn't a more technical review. Maybe someone else out there could give one, telling me about this manufacturer. I can't find any information on the web about them. I only know that I'd buy another based on the $8 I have. It looks and works far better than my $80 Shaeffer that's 15 years old, and the horrible aluminum Parker I abandoned in a desk drawer years ago.
Image of pen (mine is the solid black one, bottom right; click to magnify):
Edited by MYU, 16 December 2008 - 17:00.
embedded photo for convenience