When the Eco was released, I described it as the TWSBI’s budget pen, but apparently there was room under the keel to descend a little further. The Go is an even less expensive pen, and if the Eco was aimed at the same market as the Pelikano, then the Go seems to be looking towards people who like the Pelikano Jr and asking, “Say, have you thought of bottled ink rather than cartridges?”
I also said of the Eco that the cost-saving elements were not obvious on it. This is not the case with the Go. There is no clip, for a start– the cap has a molded loop where a clip would normally appear, to act as an anti-roll stop. It could also conceivably have a cord run through it, to allow the pen to be carried as a pendant; the cap attaches firmly enough to make this a reasonable practice.
The other clear (or at least highly translucent) savings comes in the material of the section. This is made of a manifestly cheaper plastic than TWSBI uses for anything else. It is not the nervous-making brittle cheapness of the Wing Sung 3008, but rather a soft plastic that puts one in mind of sandwich boxes. It will not be scuff resistant, although it should also be perfectly immune to cracking.
The section is of a single piece with the ink reservoir, with the back of it sealed with the filler’s piston. The name of the model is apparently taken from the quick-fill nature of the mechanism, which is not like the conventional screw-piston found in all the other models the company offers. It is rather a sprung plunger; you put the pen in the ink, push down, release, and that’s it but for wiping the point. I would suggest resisting the urge to try this in a one-handed gesture, as the resistance of the spring is enough that it’s hard to keep it from bounding out of control, which leads to fumbling and knocking over ink bottles (or, as was the case when I realized this, a glass of water).
I do not think this different mechanism is a way that TWSBI has saved money, even though on the surface it seems more simple. If I’m counting correctly, there are actually three more parts involved in the mechanism of the Go than of the Eco, not including the Go’s outer barrel. There is also a retaining nut keeping the plunger in place, so it is just as fiddly to put it together as the other sort, if not more so. This leads to my central concern about the Go, in that I think TWSBI have designed the closest they’ve yet come to a disposable pen.
Unlike the rest of TWSBI’s models, the Go has no suggestions for owner maintenance. The box contains only the pen and a small leaflet, rather than the usual tool kit; this is likely a major source of savings for them, probably more than the others mentioned above. It’s no good fishing the wrench and grease out of one of your other TWSBI pens, either, because that nut I mentioned above calls for a very specialized spanner to withdraw. There may be sound policy at work, because the plunger is under tension at the end of its travel, and would be a bit of a bear to get out and put in again. However, this means that when the lubrication on the piston starts to go, there’s very little to be done to refresh it; you can’t come in through the point, as one might in a Pelikan, because the hole between feed and ink chamber is too wee by far. It may be that the lifetime of a Go can be extended indefinitely by using one of Noodler’s lubricating inks in it.
This one issue aside (which, at this price, is not a profound one), the Go seems an excellent choice for a starter pen or a knock-around item for taking notes while gardening. The points are the same excellent sort that TWSBI applies to the Eco, so the writing properties are at least as good as a pen costing nearly twice as much… and in fact rather good in an absolute sense.
Lifespan is not the only fly in the Go’s ointment. While filling it is quick, it also presents a small risk of inky fingers during the process. Whether or not one tries a one-handed load, the digits that stabilize the pen can be no further back than the rear of the threads on the section– any further back and you’re getting pinched by the spring. If the bottle the pen is filling from doesn’t have a full depth of ink in it, getting far enough down leads to those stabilizing fingers touching the mouth of the bottle… which is invariably covered with ink. The only solution I can see is to make a point of filling from a bottle with an small inner cup that brings the ink to the mouth, like Sailor Jentle, or indeed TWSBI’s own bottles.
One last point– the Go follows the inclination of TWSBI to urge writers to not post the cap while writing. It is possible, but the overlap of cap and barrel is only about 5mm and somewhat throws off the pen’s balance. It also strikes me that it would be very easy indeed to crack the cap from pushing it firmly onto the barrel, so I’m going to suggest not posting at all.
Note: This profile is probably a little on the harsh side. I am a fan of TWSBI, and I think I’m over-compensating in the hunt for faults. None of what I’ve said above is incorrect, but I am enjoying the use of the pen itself.
Production Run: 2018 – present.
Cost When New: $18.99.
Size: 13.5 cm long capped, 17.9 cm posted (approx.), 12.6 cm uncapped.
Body: Polycarbonate, although the section/ink chamber are something rather softer.
Filler: Piston , capacity approx. 1.3 ml
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