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Stypen UP! Review


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#1 Neill78

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 09:25

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1. First impressions: 7/10
I was looking for a pen that was light, sturdy, cheap, and “loanable” to use at university. I was tired of people asking to borrow my expensive fountain pen—they would either get mad if I said “sorry, no” or they would make me cringe by jabbing it into their paper or even write with it upside down.
The Stypen Up! was appealing in that it was $22, was extremely small, and had a steel tip that seemed like it would impervious to abuse. An added bonus was that the one I dipped at the store wrote quite smoothly.

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2. Appearance & Finish: 7/10
The pen reminds me of the 1950’s futuristic styling. The overall shape is a tapered bullet; the cap and the butt are chromed plastic. The clip is curved metal, long, and with 3 holes (they’re speed holes… they make the pen go faster). My particular pen has a dark brown ribbed body, with a black section that is flared where the nib begins. I like this because I sometimes slip and touch the nib on my other pens. However there is a sharp edge where the section and the body meet, which can be uncomfortable if you are writing a lot.
The nib is fairly long, and curved into a half- cylinder. STYPEN is stamped near the base of the nib with the “M” for the point size half hidden under the collar of the section. Keeping with the outer styling there are also 10 speed holes in the nib. The slit is narrow and there is no breather hole. There is a fair amount of tipping.
I thought the styling was neat, but it feels and looks a bit cheap. However it is pretty unique and I’ve received a few comments on the style—more than my other fountain pens. I would describe it as “cool in an odd way.”

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3. Design/size/weight: 6/10
The pen is almost entirely plastic and the nib retraction mechanism doesn’t feel very strong, although I haven’t had any problems with it. Overall it’s extremely light and feels cheap to hold, but it is very solid: everything fits tightly, and there are no squeaks or rattles. I’d say the cheap feel is probably a bit deceiving.
The pen feels smaller than it actually is: it’s 4 3/8” long, about ¼” shorter than my Pelikan M150, with a slightly fatter body.
The Stypen Up! has a retractable nib. By twisting the butt of the pen (it has a ribbed ring for grip), the nib extends out of the section. The only advantage to this is the size of the pen, although they probably could have made it even shorter by NOT having a retractable nib (like a Kaweko Sport, for example). One problem is that you cannot cap the pen with the nib extended. Luckily the nib seems like it will stand up to plenty of abuse, so slapping the cap on top of it probably won’t do any damage, but the nib retracting feature has become a bit of a waste of time for me. This has become the biggest negative and an even an irritation at times.
Extensive use of cheap-feeling plastic contributes to its almost negative weight. Despite this, it feels strong enough to survive a long time in the pocket of tight blue jeans.

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4. Nib design and performance: 8/10
The nib is no-frills, straightforward, and usable. It’s not overly smooth but not overly scratchy, and isn’t affected much by differences in paper quality. Despite the “M” on the nib, it is a very fine writer. It outperformed my finicky Parker Sonnet, which was 5 times the price, so I definitely can’t complain. One thing I’ve noticed is that ink seems to evaporate quickly. The cap is far from airtight around the clip. It takes a few seconds to start if left upright for a day, but once it starts, it flows well.

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5. Filling system: 5*/10
The pen takes one short international cartridge. The body is too short to take any kind of converter (I contacted Tryphon about it already). I am using a syringe to fill empty carts and so far have had no problems. *I don’t think that the need for international cartridges is necessarily a bad thing, but I personally prefer the option of using a converter.

6. Cost/value: 6/10
The pen was $22 at Notables, a stationary store here in Edmonton, Alberta. It was on a clearance sale for 40% off, I believe. But I can’t imagine spending more than I did for it. It’s only worth $22 because it’s eccentric. However I have to say it’s a workhorse… it’s not finicky in terms of ink or paper, the nib seems indestructible, and the styling turns heads.

7. Overall Opinion: 7/10
This pen is interesting, and it’s got a strong nib. However it’s not that comfortable to write with, and it’s not really the smallest pen on the market. It’s a great pen to carry around and I don’t worry about loaning it to people. Overall it was a decent purchase and I’m putting it to good use marking assignments written on paper that my Parkers would either tear or soak. I would never use it for something involved like class note-taking or novel-writing, but it’s a neat addition to a collection, and when someone borrows it and attempts to write with it upside down or sideways it doesn’t cause heart palpitations. And it’s neat to see eyebrows raise as the nib extends into view.


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#2 Deirdre

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 09:31

I have a whole bunch of Stypens I bought at closeout for $12 each and they were definitely worth every penny I spent for them. Mine were comfier, though
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#3 diplomat

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 10:40

This pen is awfully similar to the BIC SELECT!

Is Stypen owned by BIC possibly?

#4 Deirdre

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 10:47

QUOTE(diplomat @ Jan 8 2008, 02:40 AM) View Post
This pen is awfully similar to the BIC SELECT!

Is Stypen owned by BIC possibly?

Good catch!

Stypen® is a brand of BIC Group.
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#5 diplomat

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 19:26

Ah ah! A good example of shared platforms, then!

#6 Grog

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 19:35

The Up! existed before BIC took over Stypen. I don't think they make any more Stypen-branded pens anymore, which might explain why you got it on clearance... sad.gif

#7 mr T.

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 19:47

QUOTE
I don't think they make any more Stypen-branded pens anymore, which might explain why you got it on clearance


Stypen-branded fountain pens are still made. Their website can be found here.

#8 Pengrump

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 20:10

I got one of these pens a few years ago for $5 at Seattle Pen when I was visiting the other coast. They had them on clearance way back then. Mine is bright orange. Writes well enough if I don't forget to use it regularly.

#9 Deirdre

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 20:42

QUOTE(Grog @ Jan 8 2008, 11:35 AM) View Post
The Up! existed before BIC took over Stypen. I don't think they make any more Stypen-branded pens anymore, which might explain why you got it on clearance... sad.gif

I think the distinction really is that Stypen-branded pens aren't imported into the US. If they are imported, they're branded as Bic.
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#10 Anne-Sophie

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 13:32

Stypen has been there for a long time. My first pen was one, a cheap brown plastic school pen with a Medium nib going on Bold. I was in 4th grade.

It looked almost exactly like a Sheaffer school pen but with a flat top and a pull instead of a screw cap. I remember getting much use out of it even if I got my second pen a year later, a metal Waterman school pen.

I wrote all my school work in fountain pen and ink except math and physics formula and science, history and geography illustrations that were done in pencil.




Is it fair for an intelligent and family oriented mammal to be separated from his/her family and spend his/her life starved in a concrete jail?

#11 BobR

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 02:51

Thanks for the review Neill. I get good use out of mine, it's a very utilitarian pen as you say. The biggest annoyance for me is the slow-starting, but it does flow well once started. Oh and I constantly try to put the cap on when the nib is out!

#12 Inkroyable

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 13:41

Greetings from Ontario,

Thanks for writing about your Stypen. Definitely futuristic 50's looking. I wouldn't be surprised to find it in Popular Science from that time period, grin. I can see how it is an attention grabber.

Would you mind telling me what brown ink you were using with the Pelikan 150 in the writing sample.

Regards,
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#13 Neill78

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 05:06

The brown ink is J. Herbin Lie de Thé, my favorite brown ink.

Neill

#14 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 15:03

I enjoy Stypens---especially the Creeks selections. I bought about every color they had from isellpens and they are great, cheap writers, if a bit thin and dry. Don't use any thick or saturated inks and they'll do very well.

Thanks for the review AND the handwritten comparisons!

#15 Inkroyable

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 04:55

QUOTE (Neill78 @ Jun 14 2009, 01:06 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The brown ink is J. Herbin Lie de Thé, my favorite brown ink.

Neill


Thanks for replying Neill. I tried to respond to your PM, but was informed i cannot for another day. Not sure what's happening there, but wanted you to know your note was very much appreciated.

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#16 Kabe

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 05:33

aka Bic X-pen Turn
The voice of this guitar of mine, at the awakening of the morning, wants to sing its joy;
I sing to your volcanoes, to your meadows and flowers, that are like mementos of the greatest of my loves;
If I am to die away from you, may they say I am sleeping, and bring me back home.
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#17 Marlon

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 23:12

I remember getting one of these as a back-to-school present back in time. It was like the one you showed, only the barrel was more rubbery in texture and was not striped.

It wrote a smooth, nice, fairly wet medium-to-bold line, which was too thick for me.

Apart from that no major issues.

The turn mechanism than broke and I put it in some drawer.

Edited by Marlon, 21 September 2009 - 23:12.


#18 pen2paper

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 23:33

I have a nifty capped Stypen which is triangular in shape-writes very well-bought in a Paris shop..
Have never seen another like it.

emoticon-animal-007.gif~Hi! fountain pen enthusiast here~


#19 Neill78

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 23:59

I saw those triangular ones on the Stypen website (or what was left of it-- I think they were transitioning into Bic at the time) a year or so ago and thought they looked really nice; much nicer than the Up! I had never even heard of Stypen before I bought this pen on a whim.
Neill

#20 Anne-Sophie

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 04:23

<!--quoteo--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE</div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->I don't think they make any more Stypen-branded pens anymore, which might explain why you got it on clearance<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Stypen-branded fountain pens are still made. Their website can be found <a href="http://www.stypen.com/" target="_blank">here</a>.


On that website it says:" Stypen® is a brand of BIC Group."
Is it fair for an intelligent and family oriented mammal to be separated from his/her family and spend his/her life starved in a concrete jail?






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