I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an early edition of the Spoke Pen (starting at $65 — 5 days left), a collaborative project recently launched on Kickstarter between Brian Conti of Spoke Design and Brad Dowdy of The Pen Addict. Y’all have heard of Brad, right? Of course you have. Probably have an enamel pin of his head on your NockCo pen case too? So, I’m probably not the first person to tell you about this collaborative project? I didn’t think so.
It’s a lightweight anodized aluminum design with fluted cutouts in the body and black accents for the clip, grip and end caps. The grip has a rippled grip — I call it “grippled”. The grip doesn’t have a soft touch plastic/rubber coating but it does feel easier on the hands than I expected when I first saw it. The clip has some give and flex to it so that it can be clipped to a notebook cover or pocket. The fluted cuts in the body help to keep the pen from rolling so I would be curious what a clipless version would look like. I don’t often need a clip other than to act as a roll-stop so I am curious about the aesthetics of the pen without the clip?
The coolest feature of the Spoke Pen? The magnetic snap cap. It makes opening and closing the pen a snap, really. I did notice that the pen had a tendency to attract other metal objects due to the magnet though. This can be a plus or a minus but is something to be aware of.
The biggest downside of the Spoke Pen? The cap does not post. I am not a cap poster usually but this might be an issue for some folks. You might consider holding out for version 2.0.
Brad was thrilled to design the pen to fit the Signo DX sized refills but I, of course, couldn’t leave well enough alone. The pen shipped with a middle-of-the-road 0.5mm sized DX refill which is not exactly my cup of tea so I immediately grabbed another pen to see if a different refill would work. The Sakura Ballsign gel refill that I harvested from a Knock pen fit fine. So, if you were hesitating to purchase the Spoke Pen because you are not a fan of the Signo DX refill, I feel confident that a good number of other refills should work besides the DX and Hi-Tec-Cs (which according to my Refill Guide are the same size).
One thing I noticed when I searched for comparable ballpoint, rollerball and gel pens in my stash — very few had caps. I know some of my friends who carry pens in their pockets have complained that the Retro 51 has leaked more than once as the point accidentally became exposed to the fabric of their jeans, etc. eventually causing them to swear off the pen completely. So, the Spoke Pen may be a good alternative and eliminate the accidental pocket leakage.
As someone who seldom carries a pen in my pocket, I have not been a victim to these issues. My pens usually go in a bag or case or on my desk.
My initial reaction to the overall design was that it was a little tactical-looking and not necessarily an aesthetic I would have gravitated towards. However, it feels good in the hand and the magnet cap is really fun. If you are looking for a reusable pen barrel with a cap, this is a good option and the colors are bright and vivid.
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