Spoke Designs Spoke Pen review

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REVIEW – We’re fans of pens here at The Gadgeteer, and personally I like pens that are unique in style and other design elements.  The Spoke Designs Spoke Pen is one such writing instrument, with its machined, slotted body, magnetic cap, and other features.  I felt very fortunate that Brian Conti, founder of Spoke Designs, offered to send me a prototype review sample of the Spoke Pen—which is in its final few days of a crowdfunded Kickstarter campaign as of this writing.  Let’s check it out!  Gadget on!

What is it?

The Spoke Pen is, “a streamlined geometric-deco style in a world of minimal cylindrical machined pens.”

Hardware specs

  • Options:
    • Classic Series colorways: Black, Blue, Red, Lime, Purple, Orange, and Rub/Brushed Aluminum
    • Edition Series: The Joker, Orange Crush
  • Dimensions: 5.5″ long x 0.43″ diameter (with cap attached)
  • Weight:
    • 0.93 oz (with aluminum grip)
    • 1.00 oz (with titanium grip)
  • Materials:
    • Cap: 6061 Aluminum (with polymer coated interior)
    • Clip: Super alloy spring steel (with e-coat (black) or nickel plate (silver))
    • Cap magnet: High grade Neodymium
    • Barrel: 6061 Aluminum interior, 6061 Aluminum interior sleeve for color contrast
    • Grip: 6061 Aluminum, Cp2 Titanium
    • End cone: 500 Series Stainless Steel

What’s in the box?

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As mentioned initially and seen in the image above, I was sent a Spoke Pen prototype to review, and I was super excited to receive this.  I don’t know if this is indicative of the final packaging.  The Spoke Pen was inside a plastic tube, which was inside a foam pouch with a Spoke Design logo decal taped to the outside.

Design and features

A bit of background: the Kickstarter campaign that is bringing Spoke Pen to life is a collaboration between Brian Conti of Spoke Design and Brian Dowdy of The Pen Addict. It would be challenging to have a better combo of proven ability to deliver products to market and pen technical knowledge. Brian Conti has produced some very cleverly designed, solidly built, and successfully-crowdfunded products in the past, so confidence in his ability to get this campaign across the goal line is high. He has also been progressively updating his original Spoke Pencil design for several years now, with the latest evolution being the Spoke Pen reviewed here.

It includes an aluminum barrel grip in either aluminum or titanium, a magnetic cap, a spring clip, and anodized colors. It’s also been designed to accommodate the Uni-ball Signo DX cartridge., and includes an aluminum barrel grip in either aluminum or titanium, a magnetic cap, a spring clip, and anodized colors. It’s also been designed to accommodate the Uni-ball Signo DX cartridge.

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Right out of the box, I was impressed with the look, feel and weight of the Spoke Pen.  It continues the slotted “spoke” shape that is characteristic of the Spoke writing instruments to date.  Plus, it looks not too dissimilar to a lightsaber, the “elegant weapon for a more civilized age” wielded with deadly by the noble Jedi Knights and menacing Sith Lord of Star Wars lore.

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There are MANY different pen styles out there.  The Spoke Pen is a capped pen design, as opposed to a “clicky” or “twist” style, and the Spoke Pen includes a clever way of keeping that cap attached to the body, which I’ll get into in detail later.  spokedesigns spokepen 07

The components of the Spoke Pen are shown above.  They consist of the cap, grip, body and ink cartridge, which is a Uni-ball Signo UM-151, also known as the Uni-ball Signo DX.
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The Spoke Pen’s grip section is a machined cylinder that includes grooves to help prevent the pen from slipping in your hand while writing.  This prototype’s grip section is in uncoated stainless steel color, but most of the Spoke Pen colorways available from the Kickstarter campaign appear to have a black coating on the grip section.  I like the way these grooves have been machined because they provide just a bit of grip without being overly aggressive and too rough, like some pens I’ve used that have had a diamond knurl or other type of very abrasive grip.  The grip is made from either 6061 Aluminum or Cp2 Titanium depending on which is selected by the buyer.  The grip section threads into the main body on the far end and on the near end it has a press-fit, non-removable cone section made of 500 Series Stainless Steel through which the tip of the ink cartridge protrudes.

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The Spoke Pen’s cap has a substantial clip made from “super alloy spring steel” that can be either e-coated black or nickel plated silver.  I really like this clip because it is solidly attached to the cap and feels very sturdy, such that it will grab things like a pocket and hold tight but without fear of bending the clip.

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One of my favorite features of the Spoke Pen is its magnetic cap feature.  The Neodymium magnet embedded into the cap allows it to snap right onto the barrel with a satisfying “click” and it holds together pretty well.  The cap also has a black component piece press-fit into its end (more on this blow).spokedesigns spokepen 11

As stated above, the end of the Spoke Pen’s cap has a small, non-removable component press-fit into it.  This appears to be a black anodized aluminum part with the Spoke Design logo etched into it.  A nice touch that prevents the Spoke Pen from having a glaring, gaudy logo ruining its aesthetic.spokedesigns spokepen 13spokedesigns spokepen 14

The barrel of the Spoke Pen is made from 6061 Aluminum exterior with a black anodized 6061 Aluminum interior sleeve for color contrast, and a plastic plug at the very end.  The interior sleeve and plastic plug are non-removable.

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I really liked how the Spoke Pen feels in the hand while writing with it.  It feels very balanced, the grip is comfortable, and the weight is just right–not too heavy or too light.  Also, the Signo DX gel ink cartridge writes very consistently and smoothly.

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The Spoke Pen I received to review is in natural aluminum color, but the Kickstarter campaign allows backers to choose from several colorways in which the color has been anodized to the exterior of the pen.

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Above, I’ve paired the Spoke Pen with my Baron Fig Confidant Notebook, and this combo has been my daily journaling gear for a week or so.  I really like how the Spoke Pen writes on the pages of the Confidant.

What I like

  • Cool style
  • Great feel–solid heft, but still lightweight
  • Magnetic cap is fun
  • Sturdy clip; not likely to break
  • Well balanced when writing; feels great in the hand
  • Signo DX gel refill writes smoothly

What needs to be improved

  • I’d like to see the cap have the ability to post onto the back of the pen–just a personal preference, but one that I think a lot of other folks would also like to have

Final thoughts

I really like the Spoke Pen for the reasons listed above.  Its become my new favorite journaling pen and I use it every day.  Honestly, if the cap posted, it would literally be my favorite pen of all time.

The Spoke Pen’s Kickstarter campaign ends on March 9, 2019.  As of this writing, To date, over 900 backers have already pledged over $80,000 toward the $20,000 funding goal. Pledge packages start at $55 for a single aluminum-grip Spoke Pen shipped to the USA and increase from there based on the options selected. Visit the Spoke Pen campaign site for more information or to become a backer.

Update 6/7/20

With its magnetic cap attachment, retro/futuristic looks and ergonomic feel, the Spoke Pen is iterally the most fun pen I’ve ever used. Highly recommended.

Price: $55.00 (pledge packages start at this price and increase from there depending on the options selected)
Where to buy: Spoke Pen Kickstarter campaign page
Source: The product sample for this review was provided by Spoke Design.

5 thoughts on “Spoke Designs Spoke Pen review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. The Conti brothers have made a lot of useful things including slbmagnets.com, spokepen.com, and yaketgrip.com. I’ve spent more money than I’m willing to admit with them.

  3. I was totally set on the Orange body with titanium grip config…. but after seeing your review photos, the lightsaber’ish bare aluminum has me torn!!!

    Agreed, pen “posting” would be on my wish list, along with a all-titanium option 😉

      1. Brian tried to do a Spoke pencil one time in Titanium (Spoke 3 Dot), but had problems milling the titanium body (I suspect cutting the slots). He could only make 100 of those pencils available, and they are long gone.

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