There's no shortage of machined metal pens on the market these days. From the Karas Kustoms Retrakt to the Ti2 Techliners to the ultra minimalist Ateleia, it's become a category unto itself. Seemingly every time you turn around, someone is Kickstarting their new idea. So what separates the best machined pens from the also-rans? To me, it's a mix of functional design, comfort over long writing sessions, and refill compatibility. The RIIND Pen earns a high score in all three categories, and I'd be shocked if this pen didn't receive a lot of attention as it becomes more widely available.
What surprised me the most, at least at first, was the size of this pen. Most of the machined pens out there are on the slimmer side in order to cut down on weight. The RIIND measures about 5.5 inches in length, and isn't particularly slender, but the combination of lightweight aluminum construction and good design make this one of the most comfortable metal pens that I've ever used.
The RIIND website discusses several key aspects of the pen's design that make it stand out:
- The "ContinuousCam" Technology: "ContinuousCam" refers to the knock mechanism that rotates 360 degrees to extend/retract the refill. On most pens that use this sort of rotating mechanism, like a Retro 51 Tornado or a Baron Fig Squire, the mechanism only moves a half turn in a single direction, and you're then required to move it back to retract the tip. On the ContinuousCam, you can rotate the knock 360 degrees in either direction, with the tip extending/retracting with every 180 degree turn. While this may not seem like a significant innovation on paper, it makes the RIIND an extremely quick pen to deploy, and eliminates just one more little thing you need to think about before you get down to work.
- The "Super Clip": I wasn't sure how I'd end up liking the large, sort of funky styling of the RIIND's clip, but at the end of the day it's extremely functional and the design works well for this particular pen. This clip strikes the rare balance between being strong and being easy to use. It slides easily onto shirt pockets and slots in pen cases and bags, but there's enough tension that the pen isn't going to come loose.
- The "Texture Grip": Better known to pen fans as "knurling." The grip area on this pen is quite comfortable, and isn't rough or sharp. In my opinion, some texture is necessary on the grip area of metal pens to avoid slippage during long periods of use. It also gives the RIIND pen an industrial aesthetic that I like.
I didn't pay much attention to refill compatibility until a couple days ago. I'm perfectly happy with the stock Pilot G2 .38mm refill that ships with the pen. People tend to criticize the G2, but personally it's one of my favorites, and I suspect that much of the "criticism" has more to do with the G2's status as a somewhat boring workhorse that's neither trendy nor flashy, rather than poor quality. For example, in terms of getting dud refills that won't write or are super scratchy, I've had MUCH better luck with the .5mm and .38mm G2 than with the Pilot Juice, the Hi-Tec-C, or even the Schmidt liquid ink rollerball refills. But that's my own experience and I digress. Whether you like the G2 or not, the RIIND website states that the pen accepts over 35 different refills without any hacking or modification whatsoever, which includes basically all of my favorite mainstream retractable gel refills. The ones that I tested that worked included: the Uniball Signo 207, the Signo RT, the Pentel Energel, the Pilot Precise RT, the Papermate Inkjoy, the TUL needlepoint, and the Zebra Sarasa Clip. Since the Pilot Juice refill has the same dimensions as the G2, it should work as well, though I don't currently have one on hand. Stick pens such as the Signo DX and the Pilot Hi-Tec-C generally don' t fit, though the Pilot Hi-Tec-C Cavalier refill will fit, per RIIND.
Correction: Clayton at RIIND reached out and pointed me to a list of compatible refills on the RIIND website.
Takeaways and Where To Buy
I can highly recommend the RIIND Pen. I've reduced the number of non-fountain pens that I own, and I could be very happy with the RIIND Pen, the Ti Arto, and the Baron Fig Squire as the only non-fountain pens in my tool kit. This set would give you the ability to use pretty much any pen refill in existence, in both retractable and non-retractable formats.
You can purchase the RIIND Pen directly from the RIIND website. All pens are $99, which is eminently reasonable for a pen of this quality. Currently, RIIND only offers one model in three colors (black, gray, and standard aluminum), but I'm hoping that they have more on the way. I'd love to see color anodized versions, as well as a slightly shorter, pocketable version of this pen, which would immediately make it's way into my daily carry.
Disclaimer: RIIND Pens loaned me this pen for review purposes. Many thanks to Clayton at RIIND for making this review possible. This post contains affiliate links.