reviews revisited III: pilot bamboo

It is just something about the simple and original design, the frosted nib  and the curve of barrel and cap. It is very different – just compare them size wise – from the über simple M90, but still share some fundamental similarities with it. It is, like the M90, very shape focused – no blingy ornaments and perfection through shape and no unnecessary details. I really like the knurls in the middle, that breaks the glossy sleekness of the barrel and cap. The cap walls are thick and have a solid metal lining that adds something extra to the overall impression when the cap is off or posted.

I got infatuated by the Pilot Bamboo when I saw a detail of the cap more than a year ago. That set me off hunting for a Bamboo and finally I found one used for a real good price.  The first review was written a couple of months afterwards (you find it here)  and when I re-read it it shows that the pen still had its honeymoon. That it is still in my possession tells a bit: Only pens I like much are keepers. But, the reasons for liking a certain pen varies and it might be interesting to know what makes me keep this pen and what the drawbacks are. Your priorities might – of course –  be different from mine.

One factor is that I still like its looks. The design is special, but not dysfunctional (which is a big minus for a pen in my eyes) and its understated elegance paired with the unusual shape and the knurls – how I like these knurls – hold up even a year later. I still fancy the frosted edge of the nib, even if I don’t find it just as special as when I first got it. I still dislike that the edges has “frames” instead of being plain and smooth – it looks cheapish.

‘This is a pen that is very well put together. It is solid. I particularly like that the cap is lined with metal and that the threads thus are of metal. It is very nice that it is not only a nice pen to look at, but that it is also has a solid and very pleasant feel to it. I was a little bit afraid that its asymmetric design should make it hard to post, but it posts very well and securely – to my slight surprise. The plastic feels very solid and unfragile.

Yes, it is well built. Everything still fits well together and doesn’t feel cheap. I have a few reservations, though. The first is that its size and shape is a bit unpractical. It is not clumsy to hold, but a bit bulky to carry around. The second is that I have a feeling that the plastic has a very low resistance to being scratched. I usually take good care of my pens and let them travel in pen cases, but it has some small scratches that make me get the feel that it is a little picky and thin skinned. The third reservation is that I think it is well balanced un-posted, but not so well balanced while posted. I hold pens near the nib, which might explain why this rather large and long pen with a large and long cap, becomes a bit unbalanced in my hand.

‘The CON-70 is a clever kind of press filler that holds a huge amount of ink. It is easy to clean and easy to replace if the converter breaks. The big drawback is that Pilot has their own, proprietary, cartridges and converters.’

Even if I’m still skeptic to proprietary cartridges/converter I do like the CON-70, since this is a pen for lenghty writing sessions. Another positive feature that has become more and more obvious is how comfortable (if one doesn’t mind the step, which I – obviously – don’t) the section is for longer writing sessions – it is fat and straight and very nice to hold.

The writing experience is very precise, distinct, smooth. Perfect for notetaking and margin notes – as well as for journalling, letters etc. It has not flex to it, but is not a numb nail either. The flow is excellent – maybe a bit on the wet side. Even so it lays down a line, that  – even with Japanese standardsought to be considered as on the verge to extra fine. It is an F, but lays down a line similar to the Sailor Sapporo EF and definitely more narrow than the line of  both the Vanishing Point F and the M90 F.’

One of the big attractions is the nib. But it is not a nib that is of everyone’s liking. The nib is very stiff and not far from a nail, but for fast scribblers like me it is a next to perfect tool for notes. It is distinct, precise and smooth. The line width is on the verge to a Japanese EF which makes it very usable for margin notes etc. It is not the most inspiring nib for letter writing or journalling, but it shines when it comes to notes and all kinds of fast scribbling and has few competitors here. In all, I still like this pens – with its flaws – and I think it will continue to serve me for a long time, since it is built with Pilot/Namikis’s usual attention to details. It is a pity that they don’t make them anymore, but that is the story of many of my pens.

About dandelion

perpetually moving
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8 Responses to reviews revisited III: pilot bamboo

  1. This is the best review of this pen I’ve found; bonus feature: a secondary review a year into use.

  2. Pingback: Tale of a Vandal Pen Collector: A Pack of Pilots | Peaceable Writer

  3. dandelion says:

    Thank you for kind response! :D
    Stationery Traffic: The nib is smooth and glides well on the paper without getting stucl-
    Lexi0514: I am very glad that you like the Bamboo after me luring you into buying it. :)
    Speedmaster: Extra thanks for such flattering words;).

  4. Speedmaster says:

    Great review, one of your best yet!!! ;-)

  5. Lexi0514 says:

    This is absolutely one of my favorite pens. I got the rhodium one and I love it. Your first review of this pen was what made me want to get mine. I’m so glad I did.

  6. Yes, I’d love to try one of these. Thanks for the review. I am a huge fan of Pilot pens and no doubt this one is a beaut. I’m fairly sure I would be OK with the step, and I don’t mind the fact that the nib is stiff; as long as it glides on the paper, that is all that matters.

  7. Pingback: Tweets that mention reviews revisited III: pilot bamboo | lady dandelion --

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