Round two of rOtring Week on The Clicky Post is the currently available Rapid Pro model ballpoint.
I was privileged to receive some samples of the Rapid Pro series by Alice, rOtring's Assistant Brand Manager, and am excited to put them to the test against their iconic cousins from previous years. Thanks so much Alice and rOtring for providing these for review!
As I'd only been exposed to discontinued models of the rOtring brand, I've been more than excited to try some of the current lineup they had to offer, mainly the Rapid Pro as I felt it most closely resembled the 600 series roots that fanatics (like myself) go crazy for.
First impressions were good and ongoing impressions are getting even better.
I wasn't sure what to expect with the Rapid Pros as far as weight is concerned, but the pens carry a good heft to them. If you are familiar with the 600 series, the weight and feel holds very true to what you are used to. The pen feels great in your hand and isn't too heavy.
The barrel of the pen is actually a more subtle hexagonal shape with more rounded edges. All this time I though they were more of a smooth cylinder, but they held on to a bit of heritage by keeping the faceted sides, although less defined. Of course, I'm a sucker for the sharp edges of the 600 series, but feel that the barrel is tastefully done. It doesn't really jump out at you like the older ones do though.
The Rapid Pros come with a tightly knurled grip similar to the 600 ballpoint I reviewed on Thursday, but with a slightly larger diameter. Actually the pen itself is larger in diameter than the thinner 600 series, but not by much, perhaps a millimeter or so. My friend Dan Bishop has been telling me I need to buy a digital caliper or micrometer which would actually come in handy at this very moment; note taken, Dan, and it is now officially on my shopping list...
Now, concerning the knurling: as I have an example of both the matte black and silver editions, I find that the knurling on the silver pen tends to "bite" a bit more on the skin in comparison to the black version making it more grippy. This doesn't offend me, but I could see some people being put off by the sharpness of the knurling on the silver version. I'd compare it pretty closely to the Zebra F-701, although just a bit sharper. The black version has a coating on it that seems to dull the bite a bit. Aesthetically the silver is nice and shiny and shows off the detail of the knurling pattern better and accentuates the red ring just above it. The black version does look really stealthy and subtle though... Well heck, I like them both.
Also mentioned in the previous post is the sound that the knock makes based on the different pen finishes. They both have a a nice click to them comparable to the older models that are pretty stiff and responsive. No "squish" clicking, although not quite a Parker Jotter click if you know what I mean. The black version seems to have some resistance due to the matte finish where the knock rubs a bit against the side of the barrel. It feels like it drags a bit which is to be expected though. The silver version has a mirror finish chrome knock that creates a higher pitched "click" and is very smooth. No resistance on this one and I personally find it a bit more enjoyable. Is it odd to analyze the knock of pens for their "click"? I'm sure to non-pen people this sounds absolutely nuts!
There is one part of the pen that enthusiasts will likely cringe at being that the threading between the grip and barrel (the red line) is a plastic piece. (Gasps everywhere...) .
Maybe the cringing might be in two parts as they also moved the red ring from the knock section to the barrel break (and away from view when in your pocket) and made it plastic. I know that I personally preferred the line at the top of the pen from a design stand point, but I'm not so sure how I feel about the part being plastic. For manufacturing I'm sure the plastic parts are much cheaper and the fact that it also simultaneously creates the aesthetic of the red ring in the process at the barrel break, it makes sense. My hopes are that it holds up well in the case of an accidental drop or if someone mistakenly tightens the sections to much.
Despite the last paragraph of some concerns, I can say with all honesty that I think the Rapid Pro ballpoints are really great pens and, in my opinion, worth the price tag of $40. If you're not ready to take the plunge on a discontinued model, these would be a great starting place or introduction to the brand for sure.