TWSBI GO - The Perfect Fountain Pen for Ink Geeks and Students

TWSBI GO Fountain Pen with Lots of InksGenerally TWSBI pens are aimed squarely at pen geeks. And we love that about them. Well, we would, we are pen geeks. 'Normal' for TWSBI is still bottle-fed pens, with transparent barrels so you can watch the ink slosh about inside; often supplied with the tools you need to take them apart. Because they know what us pen geeks are like.

Well, the TWSBI GO fits into the 'pen geek' thing quite well, but we think it fits even better for another (only subtly different) group: ink geeks.

A lot of fountain pen geeks are also ink geeks. In some cases, more ink geek than pen geek. Don't get us wrong, the pens are pretty exciting, but for ink geeks, the ink is the real interest - it's what marks the paper, it's what you really want - the pen is there to move the ink from bottle to paper, it's the ink itself that makes the mark.

They often have lots of inks, and like to change around often, to suit mood, season, day of week, or match outfits. They'll usually have a few pens on the go at once. So what do they look for in a pen?

  • A reasonably good ink capacity. If you're going to change inks often, it's probably not vital that it has a huge capacity, but you want enough ink in there to keep you going for a while.
  • Visible ink. At the minimum, a window so you can check how much ink is left, but being able to really see the ink is better. A transparent barrel is ideal, so you can watch the ink moving inside. Beautiful.
  • Easy to fill. You don't want to take too long to get ink in there.
  • Easy to empty. Once you're bored with that ink, you want to get it out again quickly so you can move on to the next. You fickle creature. For some, back in the bottle; for those more concerned with good ink hygiene, down the sink to avoid any cross-contamination.
  • Easy to flush. If the previous two are true, this one usually is too, but it's worth mentioning separately. If you're going to change inks, you want to be able to flush the pen out easily so you get a better idea of the colour and performance of your new ink as soon as possible.
  • Lots of them! You want to switch inks around often, so you want a few pens on the go at once. The lower the cost, the more you can buy, and the more inks you can be using. Joy.

TWSBI GO Fountain Pen in a Nock Co CaseSo how does the GO match up? Pretty well, we think. The capacity is quite good. A similar sized piston-filler of a more standard design could be higher capacity, and TWSBI's own Vac pens can hold lots more, but the GO does hold a decent amount. You can see the ink inside, because the barrel is transparent. To fill is just a matter of unscrewing the barrel, dipping in ink, and pushing and releasing the piston. That big spring does the rest. Same goes for emptying. Hold it over the sink (or the ink bottle if you're not too worried about contamination!) and push that plunger. Job done.

Animated GIF of filling the TWSBI GO fountain penFlushing is just a matter of dipping the nib in water and pumping water in and out, and that's much quicker to do with the GO than with a conventional piston-filler, where you can be twisting the blind cap back and forth until your fingers are sore.

And at under £20, it's pretty amazing value for a piston-filler pen. For the price of a piston-filler from most other brands, you could easily get five or ten TWSBI GOs, and have lots of inks on the go at once. Or if you prefer, fewer pens and spend the rest on even MORE INK!

Oh, and what don't ink geeks care about? Well, they're probably not too concerned over what the pen looks like, at least for this purpose. Well, it's very much a matter of taste, and we've seen quite divided opinion on the GO, but that big spring doesn't appeal to everyone. Some people have called it ugly, but that's just rude. It's a bit too utilitarian for some people's tastes, though, and won't fit in at meetings with the more executive crowd. Pretty sure there are going to be a few showing up at meetings here at Cult Pens, though.

TWSBI GO Fountain PenWe don't think it's only ink geeks who will love the GO, either. Plenty of pen geeks will love the unusual filling mechanism, and enjoy seeing how the pen works so clearly. And for the sheer practicality of it, we think it's going to be a bit hit with students.

Anyone who needs to do a lot of writing will love how quick and easy it is to get more ink into these pens. Yes, the Vac 700 holds more ink, but it needs the Vac-20A ink bottle to get really full, and it costs almost four times as much. And using bottled ink is very economical when you do a lot of writing.

So, for some people it's the fastest way to try out different inks; for others, it's a great value pen that's quick to refill when they've got a lot of notes to take; and for many, it's just a wonderfully unusual pen with a fascinating filling system you can watch in action. Perhaps not quite something for everyone, but it's certainly appealing to a lot of people.

TWSBI GO Fountain Pen in ink bottle

4 September 2018


  • Martin S 9 October 2018

    This is a great pen. I have just discovered it writes quite well with the back as well which makes it great for noting up drawings. I can't wait for them to release more colours.

  • Marjorie D 30 September 2018

    It’s definitely on my wishlist ! Thanks for this great post. Love, Marjorie [margessw(at)icloud(dot)com]

Back to top