Review: Easyflow 9000 cartridge

I really want to love the Easyflow 9000 cartridge. It’s just enough like a gel pen to have the line quality I want, with the feel of a ballpoint. It’s in the Parker format, so it fits a lot of pens, including the Caran d’Ache 849 (affiliate link), which I like.

The problem is that it has the most frustrating flaw. The ball sticks. Ok, I don’t know if it’s actually sticking or if there’s some other problem, but it feels like the ball is not quite round, and sticks in the socket from time to time. There is an intermittent binding and chattering. It was worse when the cartridge was new, but now it’s almost more annoying because I get used to a wonderfully smooth experience and then the thing binds up – it’s like running barefoot on a beach, and once every half a mile landing on a sharp rock. Enough to get you to stop running on a beach.

The memory of how nice it can write gets me to pull it out from time to time, and in a short while I remind myself why it’s in a drawer.

It’s possible that the two cartridges I got were flukes, but I’ve read similar comments elsewhere. If Schmidt can get the fit of the ball improved, they will really have a winner with this cartridge, but until they do it’s a loser for me.

The crime a pen cannot commit

You know what I’m talking about here – the one thing a pen cannot do if it is to be a keeper. A minor infraction here or there might be tolerated, but consistently ignoring the rules means banishment.

Of course I’m talking about writing. A pen must write. The first time, every time it’s expected to.

Yeah, if it’s a fountain pen that’s been sitting for a few months I don’t have high expectations, but if it’s been only a week or so that’s no excuse.

For a gel pen it depends. If it’s one that comes with the little blob on the point I take that as a sign that it’s not designed to handle being left unused for very long, but it should behave as well as a quality fountain pen. Otherwise, I expect it to be like a ballpoint.

For ballpoints it’s pretty much zero tolerance for anything that hasn’t been full on abandoned in the glove compartment.

We all have pens that are in jail serving time for this crime. In the drawer, the pencil cup, maybe even back in the original box. My memory fades and something about them calls to me. I revive them, give them some loyal usage, and I’m reminded about why they were banished.

However some pens are trustworthy. Pelikan’s fall into this category for me, with Lamy and Namiki a very close second. Nearly anything else (forget Parker) is probably at least on probation.

Fisher refills may drag like a dog with no legs (although they reward loyal usage) but they will always write in my experience. Most other ballpoints are pretty reliable as well. I do have a Caran d’Ache bold black refill that ALWAYS skips the first letter requiring a do-over. It’s pretty much killed my enthusiasm for the 849.

The Pilot G2 doesn’t give much trouble, but the fancier, finer, and much rarer pens I’ve gotten from Japan are more finicky. They’re fine within a day or so, but not go-to pens for the cup next to the phone.

So how about you? What pens do you have in jail?