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Bic Xpen Select


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#1 mr T.

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 05:22

1. First Impressions (4/5)
This fountain pen comes, as most Bic pens, in a blister pack. Yes, Bic sells even their top range in a blister pack! On the front there is some very basic information about this pen (like what kind of nib it has). On the back there is some more information about the pen and how to use it. Also on the back are instructions about what to do when the user of this product is dissatisfied with it. In that case, the owner can send it back tot France for replacement. This packaging is only meant to protect the pen in a cheap but funtional way. In my opinon that's good. Pens are meant to be used and not to be kept away in expensive boxes. So why waste money it?

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2. Appearance & Finish - (5/5)
The barrel and cap of this pen are made from polished aluminium and the clip and nib are made from steel. The grip is made of a plastic that looks and feels like rubber material. This pen feels very solid. The aluminium used for this pen is high quality material. Used this pen for a couple of months and the pen doesn't have even a small scratch.

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3. Design/ Size/Weight- (5/5)
This is a very light and quite small pen. It is about 12,5 cm long and has (where the grip is) a diameter of about 1,4 cm. It is smaller than. for example, the Waterman Kultur, but a little larger than the Parker Jotter fp. This pen has some similiarities with the Stypen UP. The size of this pen makes it ideal for carrying it around. The Xpen Select can be used posted and unposted. When it is used unposted, it is in my opinion too short to hold. Using it posted makes it comfortable to write with. The pen has a spring loaded clip (like for example on Waterman pens and the Parker Reflex and I.M). Also very functional are the two holes in the barrel for checking the ink level in the cartridge or converter. This is a modern and trendy looking pen.

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4. Nib Design & Performance- (5/5)
This pen has a 'medium steel iridium nib'. The nib (and feed) on this pen are very good. Had in the months using this pen no problems with skipping or drying up at all. Even when it wasn't used for a couple of hours uncapped, it did start without a problem again. This pen is very reliable. The nib Bic has fitted on this pen is quite firm (very little flex in it). Compared with other 'medium' nibs, this nib produces a fine line. It is, compared with a Waterman Kultur f-nib and a Parker Jotter f-nib, not much thicker. The nib is smooth and makes this pen very comfortable to use.

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5. The Filling System- (4/5)
This is a cartridge pen. It takes standard international cartridges (and that means lot's of choice and low cost of ownership). Also used this pen with a (Montblanc) converter without problems. Didn't notice any difference in performance between using cartridges (Hema blue and black) or bottled ink (Quink Black).

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6. Cost/Value- (5/5)
The normal/usual price of this pen is about € 7,50. I really don't know of any other pen that is such excellent value.


7. Overall Opinion/Conclusion- (5/5)
The Xpen Select is a real bargain. It is solid, well made, comfortable, reliable and very affordable. This is probably one of the best lower end pens on the market. It is in my opinion better than pens like the Parker Reflex, the Parker I.M, the Pelikano, the Waterman Kultur or the Lamy Safari. Bic isn't synonymus anymore with cheap disposable ballpoints, but a serious competitor on the market of fountain pens. My next fountain pen will be likely another Bic.


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#2 captnemo

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 05:32

Wow. Very interesting pen. I think I like it. It has a modern high-tech look without looking weird.

And I'm all for getting FPs into the hands of as many people as possible. Young people, at least in the United States, need to learn what they are and try out a good one. The BIC name might help with acceptance by doubtful youngsters.

#3 Robin

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 13:24

I got one of these a couple of months ago. At first I really liked it, and used it all day without problems. Recently thought it just won't start. I flushed it out with water which helped, but the problem came back.

I'm unsure if it's because the cap is not airtight enough, which may be causing the ink to dry into the nib.

Any suggestions on improving it's performance would be well received.... crybaby.gif



#4 Judybug

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 13:49

Thanks for the very thorough review. I wouldn't mind having one; but from what I see on Bic's website, it appears that they are only available in Europe. sad.gif

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#5 goodguy

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 15:02

Excellent review thumbup.gif

This comes to show all of the pen fans out there that you dont need to spend lots of money to get a nice solid writer.
If you are a sacker that spends 400$+ for a good writer give this pen a thought.

What is that you say ? why did I spend so much money on a Mont Blanc pen.
Well to be honest I dont like cheap pens even if they feel solid.For me if its not a nice pen with a gold nib (like my current writer Parker 65) then its no fun smile.gif

Edited by goodguy, 31 January 2008 - 15:03.

Respect to all

#6 rroossinck

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 15:18

I think that's the first time I've ever read "cost of ownership" in a pen review!:)

Nice work, and it looks like a pretty interesting pen!

BTW, where'd you find that Kultur? That looks like it's an aluminum barrel? Haven't seen those before.

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#7 scratchy

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 18:34

In the UK, the stores called WHSmith are stocking these BIC pens and I got obsessed with them, I was buying one per week and I think I've got 5 (except when I was looking around just now could only find 4). I would describe them as "nice and handy". I find them a bit temperamental but "solid" is quite a good description and I usually take one to work where I do short bursts of writing. They can dry up a bit - but after a couple of shakes usually get going again. I was attracted to them in the first instance by the brand name, then by their design. The rubber grip is nice for me to use. I particulary like the 3 little holes in the clip for some reason. The weight is light which is also nice for me to use because I have been getting some writers cramp or hand fatigue from the handwriting. The price is attractive and I expect the next time I see them I will buy another one or maybe two!
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#8 Pengrump

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 19:14

They do indeed look a lot like the Stypen fps I have. Useful little things to carry around, though the nib does dry out if not used every day.

#9 scratchy

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 22:02

About the converter, I have successfully been using international standard converters in these BIC pens. And I am currently running one with bottled Noodlers Midnight Blue with only a small drying up problem. If I shake it downwards gently it gets going again. Also running okay Herbin Perle Noir cartridges. Dinky and nice to use...yes I can feel another purchase coming over me.....
(Waiting on an order for Sailor Professional Gear with B nib my first "real" pen; maybe I should compare them when I get it)
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#10 mr T.

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 14:22

QUOTE
I'm unsure if it's because the cap is not airtight enough, which may be causing the ink to dry into the nib.


Maybe you could look at the ribbed front at the section (at the place where the cap is put on). Maybe there is also enough reason to be a dissatisfied owner. There are instructions on the packaging what to do in that case (send it back for replacement to Societe Bic, 14 rue Jeanne d'Asnieres, 92611 Clichy Cedex, France).

QUOTE
BTW, where'd you find that Kultur? That looks like it's an aluminum barrel? Haven't seen those before.


The Kultur on the picture doesn't have an aluminium barrel (I wish it had). The barrel is made of plastic material. That it looks like an alumium barrel has to do with the applied paint/coating. Bought this one at a Vroom & Dreesmann department store here in The Netherlands.

QUOTE
In the UK, the stores called WHSmith are stocking these BIC pens and I got obsessed with them, I was buying one per week and I think I've got 5 (except when I was looking around just now could only find 4). I would describe them as "nice and handy". I find them a bit temperamental but "solid" is quite a good description and I usually take one to work where I do short bursts of writing. They can dry up a bit - but after a couple of shakes usually get going again. I was attracted to them in the first instance by the brand name, then by their design. The rubber grip is nice for me to use. I particulary like the 3 little holes in the clip for some reason. The weight is light which is also nice for me to use because I have been getting some writers cramp or hand fatigue from the handwriting. The price is attractive and I expect the next time I see them I will buy another one or maybe two!


I do agree with you: buying these pens is addictive. So I bought yesterday another four smile.gif


QUOTE
Waiting on an order for Sailor Professional Gear with B nib my first "real" pen; maybe I should compare them when I get it


I'm very interested in a comparison between these c/c pens. I'm curious if the huge price difference betweens these pens can be justified..

#11 scratchy

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 18:23

Yes! I shall be interested too. From what I've read of Sailor nibs the Professional Gear should be worth it (although the Sailor Sapporo is probably better value) However I think I shall be too scared to take the PG out the house to work, and the BIC pens have a hold on me.

However it might be a couple of weeks before I can compare them because there's a delay in getting the new pen. (Forlorn....turns to BIC fpen for comfort......)
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#12 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 15:59

Great review!

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#13 sajpens

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 16:25

The similarity of this BIC with a Stypen is no coincidence since BIC bought Stypen back in 2004. Here in the states, I believe the identical fountain pen is sold with the Stypen name.

I have several of the Stypen RB's. Since they are so "inexpensive" and have a plastic barrel, I have been able to spray paint the barrel (using paint specially formulated for plastic) in unique colors of my choice.
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#14 el3ssar

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 19:59

I used to have one like that, the same actually with the aluminium barrel. This is a nice school pen, although I didn't really like the grip (the way I hold the pen doesn't fit the notches very well biggrin.gif)

#15 GeeTee

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 09:54

Just bought one for 3 euro's. They were on sale (probably at the storechain where Mr. T bought it because mine had the same pricetag as on the photo, only a handwritten 3 euro pricetag was added). It's a nice pen. I wanted a cheap pen to carry around (so it won't hurt to much if someone steals it or it gets damaged) and this one wil do nicely.

Edited by GeeTee, 03 May 2008 - 10:09.


#16 fatehbajwa

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 11:06

Is the inside of the barrel also aluminium or is there some kind of plastic inner?
Are they available online anywhere?
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#17 hari317

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 13:52

Thanks for a nice and detailed review!


QUOTE(fatehbajwa @ May 3 2008, 04:36 PM)  
Is the inside of the barrel also aluminium or is there some kind of plastic inner?


Fatheh, the ink level slots preclude it from being turned into an ED if that was on your mind!

Cheers,
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#18 mr T.

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 14:16

QUOTE(fatehbajwa @ May 3 2008, 11:06 AM)  
Is the inside of the barrel also aluminium or is there some kind of plastic inner?
Are they available online anywhere?



It's also aluminium. Online you can find them at Amazon.de or at this shop in Belgium. They are also available at this Canadian online store.

#19 penburg

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 20:11

QUOTE(Pengrump @ Jan 31 2008, 03:14 PM)  
They do indeed look a lot like the Stypen fps I have. Useful little things to carry around, though the nib does dry out if not used every day.


Indeed they look almost exactly like a Stypen that I got from France. I think it was a school pen, maybe. The size, shape, holes in the clip, taking short internat'l cartridges & such. I like Stypens. Maybe they are being revived under the name of the new owner, Bic(h).


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#20 mr T.

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 21:54

QUOTE(penburg @ May 9 2008, 08:11 PM)  
QUOTE(Pengrump @ Jan 31 2008, 03:14 PM)  
They do indeed look a lot like the Stypen fps I have. Useful little things to carry around, though the nib does dry out if not used every day.


Indeed they look almost exactly like a Stypen that I got from France. I think it was a school pen, maybe. The size, shape, holes in the clip, taking short internat'l cartridges & such. I like Stypens. Maybe they are being revived under the name of the new owner, Bic(h).


Stypen does still exist as a brand. Their website can be found here.






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