A long time ago, I wrote off (sorry, bad pun) ballpoint pens. Any ballpoint pen. Didn't matter who made it or what the refill was. I was done with them. And I'll tell you why: They were thick, globby, sticky, skippy and required a metric ton of force to write with them, resulting in cramping hands and wrists. I think when I was in middle and high school I was so used to them that I could just write and write and write, and it didn't bother me (although, to be fair, I discovered gel pens sometime around my freshman year and that's when a lot of this pen addict stuff began).
But as I've gotten older and I write less, long writing sessions are often uncomfortable for me. Especially with a ballpoint pen. Fountain and gel pens typically give me a significantly more comfortable writing experience so I had turned my back on ballpoints for good. Or so I thought...
Enter Dan Bishop, designer of awesome over at Karas Kustoms. I just love their pens, and I think one day Dan and I were chatting about refills for a certain pen and the Schmidt EasyFlow 9000 came up. I told him I wasn't interested in his EasyFlow 9000, that I was 100% gel when it came to my standard pens. Which, looking back on it, reminds me of that scene in O Brother, Where Art Thou? when George Clooney is looking for Dapper Dan pomade and the shopkeeper only has FOP and Clooney says, "I don't want FOP [expletive], I'm a Dapper Dan man!" It was kinda like that.
But, Dan made sure to include an EasyFlow in one of my pens at some point and I, reluctantly, gave it a whirl thinking to myself, "Fine, I'll get it out of my system once and for all and then I can really give Dan crap about it." But nope. I was pleasantly surprised. The Schmidt EasyFlow 9000 put down a dark, consistent line with incredible smoothness. And, thank God, didn't require the force of 10,000 elephants to make it do its thing on paper.
You're probably asking, "Well, that sounds like everything you like about gel pens, so why not use those?" A couple of reasons:
- Gel pens don't work on certain papers like thermal receipt paper, glossy greeting cards and coated papers, among others.
- Gel refills tend to be much too long to fit in a lot of pens. In fact, the best gel refill I've found is an Itoya 0.7 gel refill and I think the Schmidt gives it a run for its money. So the EasyFlow opens up a lot of pens to me that I wouldn't normally consider due to the lack of a proper gel refill for them.
So, The EasyFlow has become one of my go-to refills lately. It comes in black and blue (the blue is a little less rich than I prefer, but is still very nice), it fits a wide variety of pens that accept the Parker G2-sized refill (not to be confused with the Pilot G2), it has excellent cap-off time, making it perfect for retractable pens, and it's a tad more versatile than gel ink, making it a great refill in an EDC pen that is more likely to encounter random paper in the wild. And that's all not to mention that it works perfectly in the ReBolt from Karas Kustoms.*
*Note: The ReBolt is not a standard offering from KarasKustoms. It's the front end of a Bolt and the back (clicky) end of a Retrakt with a simple tweak using a piece of clear plastic tubing (generously supplied by the folks at KK). Check out Jeff Bruckwicki's ReBolt Tutorial here.
With all this good, there has to be some bad, right? Yes, but just a couple... First is the line width. While I love the dark, rich line this pen lays down, I don't like the width of it. I'm guessing it's roughly a 0.7mm line, maybe slightly more, but I'd much prefer a 0.5mm. I realize it's tricky to do with a ballpoint pen, but Schmidt needs to make this happen. if they could give me a fine/extra-fine refill (~0.5mm) and maintain all the excellent qualities of the current refill, I'd be in ballpoint heaven. As you'll see from the writing sample below, they're not too far off, but it's just a little chunkier than, say, the Energel 0.5 Gel Refill. And the blue leaves a little to be desired as well. It's not awful, but it's not quite as dark as the blue Schmidt P8126, which is one of my favorite blue refills of all time, and it's also just a touch purple, in my opinion. Very "Bic Stic Blue," if you will, but I'd prefer something a little richer, personally. I still like the blue as it's nice for signing documents, writing notes on copies and marking up paperwork as it stands out from black and white copies and faxes, but the black is a little richer.
These are small quibbles and are definitely not enough to keep me from using them, but it does keep me looking for a replacement; Not actively, but occasionally I'll do a little research to find something a bit finer for my everyday tasks. I've included a writing sample below so you can see the line width as compared to some other rollerball and gel refills.
I hope you guys found this helpful. Have you tried the Schmidt EasyFlow 9000? If so, what'd you think? Have you found your favorite ballpoint refill yet? If so, what is it and why? Looking forward to hearing your feedback. As always, if you have questions or comments, leave 'em down below and I'll do my best to address them. If you want to try out the Schmidt EasyFlow 9000 for yourself, you can get 'em from the awesome guys over at Karas Karas Kustoms here.
Thanks for reading,