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Pelikan Nibs: M200/M400/M600


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40 replies to this topic

#1 Sallent

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 20:15

So which Pelikan nib is the best: Gold or steel?

The answer depends on what you are looking for.

For this test I used am M200 steel (gold plated) F nib, and two 14K M400 and M600 F nibs.

So how thick are the lines?

If you are interested in a true F nib that produces a real fine line, then the M200 nib is the one for you. Unfortunately (as seen in the pic below) the M400 and M600 nibs write on the thicker side, so if you are new to Pelikan and want a M gold nib, order a F gold nib, and if you want to write fine lines, order an XF gold nib.

I tested a 1960's Parker 45 F nib just to get a different perspective. The Parker 45 wrote somewhere in between the thickness between the Pelikan steel nib and the Pelikan Gold nibs; proving that the M200 F nib writes a true fine and that the M400/M600 F nibs write like a regular M nib.

Are they flexible?

While I have heard that the Pelikan nibs have some flex, I could find none. The M200 does have a bit of springiness which makes the nib feel softer and more pleasant to use, but comparing them to a true flex nib such as the one in my A.W Faber Dip pen from the late 19th century, it is clear that the Pelikan nibs don't produce any real variation and can't really be considered to have any flex.

The closest one has to be the M1000 (which I used to own) but that one just has massive amounts of springiness, but can't produce lines with enough variation to be called flexible.



The M400 nib was a dissapointment:
While the M400 Gold nib writes smoothly and has great ink flow, if you look at the picture below you will see that the M400 nib has a wider cut as it gets closer to the tip than the M200 and M600. This is probably why the M400 seems stiff as a nail in comparison to the M200 and M600 nibs, which have a pleasant springiness.

From left to right: M200/M400/M600



The M200 nib is larger and and has a narrow cut that gives it a very sharp appearance as it tapers towards the tip and I suspect gives it the springiness. The M600 nib also has it, however, the M400 nib is shorter and wider towards the tip which is why I suspect it feels more like a nail.

Here is the M200 up close, notice how the nib narrows considerably as it gets closer to the tip. The M600 is just like that, while the M400 has a wider and shorter cut.


.

Durability/quality:

While there are some reports of the gold plating of the M200 nib wearing off, I have yet to see any wear in my M200 nibs after mode than a year. I see no difference in construction quality of the nib and the M200 performs just as good or better than any Pelikan with a Gold nib.


Conclusion:

Pelikan steel nibs (at least in the M200) are just as good as Pelikan Gold nibs, and the springiness of the M200 make it a better nib than the M400. You'd have to go up to the M600 to find an equaly springy nib with as much character as the M200 nib.

The following might be very controversial but I need to say it:
If you are considering a Pelikan and you like a springy nib with a lot of character, get the M200 and when you are ready to move up, skip the stiffer and more borring M400 nib and buy yourself a Pelikan M600 instead.

Edited by Dr Ozzie, 26 December 2008 - 20:30.

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#2 digitalnative

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 20:49

Just ordered my first Pelikan, an M200. They come so highly recommended by FPN members I thought I'd give one a try. Sailor Sapporo and VP are in current rotation so I'm interested in how the M200 compares. Thanks for the review.
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#3 Sallent

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 22:37

QUOTE (digitalnative @ Dec 26 2008, 03:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just ordered my first Pelikan, an M200. They come so highly recommended by FPN members I thought I'd give one a try. Sailor Sapporo and VP are in current rotation so I'm interested in how the M200 compares. Thanks for the review.



Let me know how you like it.
Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane.

#4 inkyfingr

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 03:15

Nice comparison. Thanks for posting your findings!
My newer 200 nibs are pretty stiff, but my c1980s nibs have considerably more spring like you describe.

#5 hamadryad11

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 05:52

Given the inconsistency in nibs that I've experienced with my Pels, I wonder if there are variations in both line width and springiness in the M400 nibs. I can't really judge how springy my nibs are; springiness and flexibility are wasted on me since I use so little pressure when I write. But I will say that my M400 fine is very fine. It's finer than my M200 fine nib. Mind you, my M200 fine nib is broader than my M200 medium nib. I'm starting to think that I might as well just flip a coin when I'm picking out my nib size, because it appears to be completely random.
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#6 Sallent

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 05:55

QUOTE (hamadryad11 @ Dec 27 2008, 12:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Given the inconsistency in nibs that I've experienced with my Pels, I wonder if there are variations in both line width and springiness in the M400 nibs. I can't really judge how springy my nibs are; springiness and flexibility are wasted on me since I use so little pressure when I write. But I will say that my M400 fine is very fine. It's finer than my M200 fine nib. Mind you, my M200 fine nib is broader than my M200 medium nib. I'm starting to think that I might as well just flip a coin when I'm picking out my nib size, because it appears to be completely random.


That is very odd, almost everyone has experienced modern Pelikan Gold nibs that tend to write thicker than their size (ie. F nibs that write medium) while the steel nibs tend to write thinner.

Is your M400 nib an older one???
Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane.

#7 aloofy

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 08:02

Nice, comprehensive review! clap1.gif

By the way, how about M250's one-tone gold nib? I've tried both M400 and M250 and, strangely enough, M250 nib felt more springy than M400. I expected M400 to be more flexible, or springy, because it's in higher line than M250.

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#8 hamadryad11

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 03:18

QUOTE (Dr Ozzie @ Dec 27 2008, 12:55 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Is your M400 nib an older one???

It's the honey tortoise, so not that old at all.
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. -- Herbert Spencer, (1820-1903) British author, economist, philosopher.

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#9 diplomat

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 21:22

Nice review Dr! Someone should tell MYU to move this in his review forum IMHO.

As for the content, here are my .2:

The company I have the highest number of nibs is Aurora. It is surprising to note how different is a nib with another inside its size family. I was told this come from the fact that every Aurora nib is refined manually, hence the variation in width and flex. From the other side, when you are purchasing an Aurora, you know for sure is a quality tool with a "personality" that will not only reflect some work machine but even the skills and the experience of the real man behind it.

I think something similar may apply to Pelikan too.

Cheers,

#10 Bill D

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 01:50

Very interesting review, Dr Ozzie... thank you smile.gif

Diplomat's suggestion is a good one, and I'm moving this thread over to the pen reviews.

Bill

#11 MYU

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 04:45

Great exploration of Pelikan M series nib possibilities, Dr. Ozzie. This is a useful guide for anyone not well acquainted with Pelikan nibs. smile.gif

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#12 Alps821

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 02:23

Awesome way to dig into the details Dr.!

I am awaiting delivery of a new M200 Fine myself. I was anxious to get it anyway but now I can't wait. rolleyes.gif

Thanks much! thumbup.gif

#13 blackranger63

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 02:52

Wow, great test. It would be interesting to see the good Doctor add a vintage Pel in to really make it interesting (unless he has already done it and I just need to find the thread). You guys are really killing me (but in a good way). I am finding that I really like the Pelikans. Although my only one to date is the M140 (thanks Russ) but I have tested some of the other nibs. Now if I could get a killer deal on a new 400 for say less than half off should that influence me?? Or should just get a discounted M200 and let it ride. Don't plan on getting a 600 anytime soon.

Again great write up. Appreciate any feedback from the crowd.

V/r
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#14 blackranger63

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 18:17

Almost forgot, what do you recommend for folks like me that are partial to firm/stiff nibs for small cursive writing?
Blackranger
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#15 Sallent

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 20:24

QUOTE (blackranger63 @ Jan 8 2009, 01:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Almost forgot, what do you recommend for folks like me that are partial to firm/stiff nibs for small cursive writing?


The M400, but with an XF nib. The fine nib writes too thick, so if your handwritting is small, get the XF nib.

However, Pelikan XF nibs (for some strange reason) are not as well tuned as the other Pelikan nibs. There have been some ink flow issues reported with a few of them, so I would recomend buying an XF Pelikan nib from Richard Binder. He tunes every nib he sells to make sure they have good ink flow.

You could even buy a "custom" XXF or XXXF nib from him.
Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane.

#16 blackranger63

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 20:58

Thansk, I figured you would say that. I had read that caveat on Pelikan XF nibs on Richard's site.

Thanks Doc,

Tony
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#17 wolf727

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 03:35

QUOTE (Dr Ozzie @ Jan 8 2009, 09:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (blackranger63 @ Jan 8 2009, 01:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Almost forgot, what do you recommend for folks like me that are partial to firm/stiff nibs for small cursive writing?


The M400, but with an XF nib. The fine nib writes too thick, so if your handwritting is small, get the XF nib.

However, Pelikan XF nibs (for some strange reason) are not as well tuned as the other Pelikan nibs. There have been some ink flow issues reported with a few of them, so I would recomend buying an XF Pelikan nib from Richard Binder. He tunes every nib he sells to make sure they have good ink flow.

You could even buy a "custom" XXF or XXXF nib from him.

Hi Dr Ozzie

Thank you for your review and your helpful tips. I wish now that I had read this earlier!

I have just ordered a Pelikan M600 from Niche Pens Ltd in the UK; I should be getting it in the middle of next week. To complicate matters I am based at the moment in Italy but I shall be returning to the UK in April/May.

I am totally new to fountain pens - it will be my first one. I was ordering an F nib but was told there was none in stock so I have ordered an EF nib instead. I have just discovered from reading several posts on this site how EF nibs are inconsistent and do not flow well. It doesn't really cheer me to read such comments after having paid so much money for it. Now I'm getting paranoid, expecting the worst on its arrival. I'm dreading to discover that I will have to get another nib or have the first one repaired, what a hassle! I will probably have to have it sent off and have to wait all over again; just when I was looking forward to enjoying the fountain pen experience.

I thought Pelikans were meant to be good pens. Anyway if the worst happens, what pen in future should I aim for that have good F or EF nibs? I have read that Japanese pens are good and their M nib is F nib to ours and so on. What about the Lamy?

Oh hell! I don't really want to talk about another pen when I have just ordered the Pelikan. Here I was looking forward to it and now I'm dreading that there will be problems with the bl**dy nib! Grrr! Gaaaah! gaah.gif

wolf4

Edited by wolf4, 09 January 2009 - 03:37.


#18 lefty928

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 03:49

QUOTE (wolf4 @ Jan 8 2009, 10:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Dr Ozzie @ Jan 8 2009, 09:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (blackranger63 @ Jan 8 2009, 01:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Almost forgot, what do you recommend for folks like me that are partial to firm/stiff nibs for small cursive writing?


The M400, but with an XF nib. The fine nib writes too thick, so if your handwritting is small, get the XF nib.

However, Pelikan XF nibs (for some strange reason) are not as well tuned as the other Pelikan nibs. There have been some ink flow issues reported with a few of them, so I would recomend buying an XF Pelikan nib from Richard Binder. He tunes every nib he sells to make sure they have good ink flow.

You could even buy a "custom" XXF or XXXF nib from him.

Hi Dr Ozzie

Thank you for your review and your helpful tips. I wish now that I had read this earlier!

I have just ordered a Pelikan M600 from Niche Pens Ltd in the UK; I should be getting it in the middle of next week. To complicate matters I am based at the moment in Italy but I shall be returning to the UK in April/May.

I am totally new to fountain pens - it will be my first one. I was ordering an F nib but was told there was none in stock so I have ordered an EF nib instead. I have just discovered from reading several posts on this site how EF nibs are inconsistent and do not flow well. It doesn't really cheer me to read such comments after having paid so much money for it. Now I'm getting paranoid, expecting the worst on its arrival. I'm dreading to discover that I will have to get another nib or have the first one repaired, what a hassle! I will probably have to have it sent off and have to wait all over again; just when I was looking forward to enjoying the fountain pen experience.

I thought Pelikans were meant to be good pens. Anyway if the worst happens, what pen in future should I aim for that have good F or EF nibs? I have read that Japanese pens are good and their M nib is F nib to ours and so on. What about the Lamy?

Oh hell! I don't really want to talk about another pen when I have just ordered the Pelikan. Here I was looking forward to it and now I'm dreading that there will be problems with the bl**dy nib! Grrr! Gaaaah! gaah.gif

wolf4

Seems to be luck of the draw, but I ordered an EF nib and it is fine. Chances are that yours will be, too. Hope that it all works out and that you enjoy your new Pelikan!
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#19 bphollin

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 04:03

Doc, thanks for a great rundown of these nibs. This matches my experience with a M215 and a M605. Gotta love those beautiful nibs!
QUOTE (lefty928 @ Jan 8 2009, 08:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (wolf4 @ Jan 8 2009, 10:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
[quote name='Dr Ozzie' post='879553' date='Jan 8 2009,
Oh hell! I don't really want to talk about another pen when I have just ordered the Pelikan. Here I was looking forward to it and now I'm dreading that there will be problems with the bl**dy nib! Grrr! Gaaaah! gaah.gif
wolf4

Seems to be luck of the draw, but I ordered an EF nib and it is fine. Chances are that yours will be, too. Hope that it all works out and that you enjoy your new Pelikan!

I agree with lefty, wolf. I have been perfectly happy with my factory Pelikan nibs. If your nib does have issues, there are a few easy tricks to get it in shape. If nothing else, Pelikan is wonderful about exchanging problem nibs if purchased from authorized dealers.

#20 Sallent

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 04:59

If the worst turns out to be true, Pelikan has fas service and they are great about honoring their warranty. However, am sure your nib will be fine
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