The ever unusual Yoropen! It’s been a few years since the first Yoropen undulated into my life. And now here we are, this silver phoenix born again through the fire of Kickstarter. Thanks to the folks at Yoropen for sending this free Z3 to review.
The Z3 is an executive pen and comes in a tasteful box to match—nice enough that you’d never have to hide in shame when giving it as a gift, but not so nice that you’d feel like you couldn’t throw it away, if you’re not of the box-hoarding persuasion. Included with my sample pen: 1 proprietary cartridge, and 1 mold to turn other refills into Yoropen-compatible refills.
The grip is made of comfortable, dust-collecting material. Once you start using it, it will never be fully clean again. The grip is adjustable, making the pen suitable for both left- and right-handers. I’m still trying to figure out exactly where I want my grip twisted to so as to facilitate the correct grip positioning.
To get the full ergonomic benefits of the Yoropen requires some grip retraining, which allegedly will take you about five minutes. I didn’t really time it, but my cursive handwriting of this review did look a lot better by the end.
The cap snaps securely on the end, the clip a tilde floating in the wind. But closing the pen, the cap is very particular—it only goes on one way, in such a way that it pushes the nub of the clip’s end into the grip.
Every time I put the cap back on, I have to remind myself that pushing the clip into the grip is correct. This creates a dent in the grip, which is more aesthetically annoying than really having any functional impact.
It’s surprising how little pressure is needed to get the Yoropen refill to write. It isn’t a particularly dark or striking refill, especially when applying so little pressure. But it flows smoothly and leaves marks on the page.
New to the Yoropen Z3 (as opposed to previous Yoropen models) is a little plastic mold (shipped with the Kickstarter pens, currently available on the Yoropen website with each plastic refill ordered, plans in the future to be included with pens sold from the site). This little bit of plastic opens up a world of possibility. The idea is to take any similarly proportioned plastic refill and bend it into a Yoropen refill shape. It doesn’t work perfectly (the writing tip end doesn’t get bent far enough down, compared to the Yoropen refill), but it works well enough to get the newly molded refill into the Yoropen. You may have to finagle a bit, and physically encourage the refill to go where you want when you put the pen back together, but in the end I got mine to work. I first molded a Surari multipen refill (not sure how long it actually takes, as I just left it in the mold for a few days). Next, I went to mold a Jetstream refill and broke the plastic tip off the mold. Oops. The mold still works though, and as long as I keep the broken-off tip I’ll still be able to line up refills to put the Yoropen bend in at the correct distance from the pen tip.
I’m not used to using a ballpoint with such an incredibly light touch, and with a super-smooth refill in it? Smoother than buttered skates on oiled ice. It’s like first learning to write with a fountain pen all over again. You know how you’re supposed to write with your whole arm, not your fingers? The Yoropen is comfortable yet controllable enough for me to actually start doing that. I haven’t adapted quite as well to any other pen that demanded me to change my grip style (tripod style is typically a disaster, and every five years or so it used to be that I’d buy a PenAgain and soon remember I can never write right with it).
Ordinarily I don’t go for the idea of spending top dollar on a ballpoint pen (that money’s for fountain pens), but with a comfortable design and the ability to mold super-smooth refills to fit? That just might be worth it.