TWSBI Go

  • Price – £19.95
  • Can be purchased from The Writing DeskHere (Sapphire) or Here (Smoke)
  • Recommend? – Absolutely!

This is my third TWSBI fountain pen review (fourth TWSBI review if you count the Precision mechanical pencil). I have eight or nine TWSBIs in my collection. What draws me to this brand? They’re cheap (relatively speaking), have unique filling systems for their price range, look great, are demonstrators and above all are reliable and good for getting people interested in the hobby; if someone gets a taste of fountain pens, this is what you smack them with to make them eat and eat and eat like a wonderful buffet (a bloody expensive buffet). The TWSBI Go is no exception to this and falls in line with the Eco.

Twsbi go fountain pen review

I’ll begin this review by talking about one of the staples in my pen collection – the Jinhao 1200. I keep this pen inked up all the time during term time as I use it to annotate any essays or articles and such for revision or essay writing. This was the pen that hooked me; it was my second pen but as soon as I laid eyes on this monstrosity item(?) I fell in love with the fountain pen hobby and I had to get it. Why? Easy – because it’s stupid. Just.. Look at this thing, it is utterly ridiculous. Which brings me on to the TWSBI Go. This pen has received some flack from the online community, partly because it just looks so absurd and amusing. In the TWSBI line up, it is safe to say that this is the ugly duckling. But it’s great, simple, usable and cheap. It makes it perfect for those wanting to get into the hobby due to its usability and price but also for those already in the hobby because.. Well, pretty much the same reason. It’s cheap and silly!

Design

As with virtually all of (read: not all) TWSBI’s pens, this is a demonstrator, which simply means the barrel isn’t opaque. You can have a “smoke” version (light black/grey) or “sapphire”. Naturally, I went with the blue. The smoke perhaps gives it a level of seriousness to it while this seems more lighthearted. It’s common for TWSBI pens to be demonstrators, but I am not convinced this is the sole reason why this is a demonstrator. At the back, you can see a spring. It’s the first thing you see and you’re drawn to it. This is where the usability and simpleness of the pen comes into play. The user knows that to fill the pen they must unscrew the end cap/barrel (it’s sorta one piece) and press down. No instructions needed (though TWSBI to provide you with such). The design is ostentatious, but adds to the experience. Sure, it isn’t the most “suitable” design, but you shouldn’t take life too seriously: no one gets out alive..!

Twsbi go fountain pen review

Nib

I’ve never had anything negative to say about a TWSBI nib. They’re made in Germany by JoWo. It seems that you can take this nib out and can be replaced with an Eco nib, though I don’t recommend altering your pen because if you do so then you won’t be covered by any warranty and the retailer can’t do much to help you out.

Twsbi go fountain pen review

The nib is smooth and has very nice flow. Diamine Ancient Copper (which I used for the sample) is one of those inks that when in the right pen with the right flow looks spectacular and this is one of those nibs. Reverse writing was quite pleasant – albeit dry, but not scratchy and you could write quite a bit with it like that if need be. Not much in terms of line variation, however. It’s a steel nib, so that’s to be expected.

Twsbi go fountain pen review

Filling

This is what you all came here for, isn’t it.

As explained above, this pen fills by pressing down on the spring at the back and this causes it to suck up ink. This system reminds me of what you’d see in a Parker Vacumatic (or the early 51s). There are two fundamental differences, though. The first difference is that there’s no sac. This would greatly ruin the “simplicity” or “usability” of the pen as these can wear down over times, be eaten by vicious inks and for a newbie (or anyone not used to vintage) can be a real pain in the ass. The second difference is that the old push systems were at least subtle about it. This is not. You know it’s there and even when you have the covering on, you can still see the mechanism (which you wouldn’t be able to see on the Parker offerings as the covering.. Well, covered the bar).

Twsbi go fountain pen review

This modern take on the filling system is pretty awesome when you think about it. You’re not likely to come into problems with it, and if you do it’s cheap to replace, but you can also see the mechanism easily if there are issues and it shows you the ink level also.

Oh, it’s also fun to ink. Here’s a video!

Feel

This is a plastic pen. It looks cheap and it feels cheap too. Not necessarily a bad thing – if you’re going for executive buy a black and gold cigar shaped pen. It’s light in the hand and it fits nicely. I don’t really have many complaints. The cap does post, but I would be extremely careful in doing so as it doesn’t feel like it likes being posted and I think the cap could quite easily snap if pushed too far.

Twsbi go fountain pen review
Left to right: Pelikan Souverän M800, TWSBI Eco, TWSBI Go, Wing Sung 618, Platinum #3776
Left to right: Pelikan Souverän M800, TWSBI Eco, TWSBI Go, Wing Sung 618, Platinum #3776

Price

This pen replaces the Eco as TWSBI’s cheapest pen, coming in at £19; making it £10 cheaper. Effectively it’s 2/3 the price of an Eco. I think it sits in a nice price point – respectable but not excessive. If TWSBI were to charge anything above £25 then I think they’d be taking advantage slightly – especially as it wouldn’t be too much more to just get an Eco.

Would I buy it?

Yes. I would. This looks like such a ridiculous pen and the price point justifies it. It’s a fun thing to have and would be cool to loan out to people as a spare pen. It’s a bit of fun, and that is exactly what this hobby is about. There’s nothing wrong with this pen in my opinion. It gives a pleasant writing experience, lighthearted, enjoyable and (again) fun; it embodies the philosophy of a hobby in my eyes.

If not this, then what?

‘Tis a good question, and a difficult question. There are of course the vintage “push down” fillers that you could go for. These will come with a gold nib but would be more maintenance and more expensive. I do believe Wingsung make a similar pen to the old 51s before they had their aerometric filling system. Of course, then you lose out on some of the fun that this pen offers (hey, why not both?!)

You could also consider another TWSBI, such as the Eco for just an additional £10. There are more options, such as a white, black, clear, pink and blue (for the Eco T, which is the same pen but with a different grip section). I’d like to see TWSBI offer more options for this, such as a nice translucent rose pink. Orange would be quite popular, I think.

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Disclaimer: This pen was sent to be from The Writing Desk in exchange for an honest review. All views expressed are my own.

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