Lamy Safari, Vista, and Al-Star Rollerballs… yup, Rollerballs


If you’ve been following GouletPens.com and what we’ve done over the last five years, you’ve very seldom seen us carry or cover anything besides fountain pen, ink, paper, and associated peripherals. It might seem like rollerballs are coming out of the blue, though we’ve actually been seriously considering carrying them for about a year now. We’ve dabbled with them in the past, and we actually exclusively sold rollerball pens back in the founding days of The Goulet Pen Company back when I was turning wood pens. 

Alright, so why rollerballs, when we’ve been driving hard with fountain pens for five years now? We’re definitely not looking to change who we are, in fact, we’re looking to better serve the fountain pen community by offering something we’ve been asked about quite a lot. That offering is select rollerballs from a brand that is primarily known and loved by fountain pen users, Lamy. 

Why rollerballs? 

  • It’s a gateway for people coming from using ballpoints to have an enhanced writing experience, who aren’t ready to go all in on fountain pens.
  • They’re great gifts
    for non-fountain pen-using friends and family.
  • It’s a part of our Goulet
    history, and what originally led me on the path to discover fountain pens
  • It is an enhanced
    writing experience beyond the typical ballpoint pen

Some notes from the video:

Here are the Lamy rollerball pens we’re now carrying: (1:58)


Lamy Vista & Safari 
$25.60
Al-Star  $33.60
Refills $5.00
Comparison to Lamy FP (4:25)
  • Weight of rollerball is about 2g heavier than FP 
  • Dimensions same (side-by-side visual) 
  • Truly triangular grip (3 vs 2) 
  • Finial slash vs. X 
  • No ink window 
How to replace a refill (5:07)
  • No spring
  • Just do it
  • All pens come with black refills, except the Safari White, which comes with blue refill
Vista body/swap trick for eyedropper conversion?  (7:18)
  • Nope! It leaks, don’t do it
How they write (8:32)
  • Smooth, consistent, fairly broad
  • Nib size closest on steel Lamy fine nib, on Clairefontaine paper (would be extra-fine on more absorbent paper)
  • Close to Pilot G2 1.0mm
All-in-all, we’re excited about the Lamy rollerball pens here at Goulet. We’re all about some fountain pens around here and are certainly not looking to change our focus, it’s just nice to have the option when you need them. You can learn more on GouletPens.com. I’d love to hear your thoughts, share down in the comments below!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

2017-10-11T13:52:01+00:00 March 11th, 2015|Pen Reviews|44 Comments
  • Jeff

    That’s crazyβ€”I just came to the site this morning to see if you carried the Lamy Pico, because I’m looking for a good pocket ballpoint! I’d obviously love for you to start carrying that one, too, but I think this is great news.

    • Madigan

      Wow! Good timing. πŸ™‚

  • KGM

    WANT

  • KGM

    WANT

  • Still making me want one… aiiiiish. But no, I really need to save up some money to eventually get a Pilot Falcon xD Haven’t been saving up at all lately, geez >.< By the way, just received this week's newsletter, and uuuugh, that bottom shelf restocking broke my heart. I don't have money for those pretty things right now TT_TT

    • Madigan

      Hi Amaryllis! Falcons are fantastic but so are these rollerballs… decisions, decisions. πŸ˜›

      • Uuugh I know D: I’d buy everything if I could xD

  • Still making me want one… aiiiiish. But no, I really need to save up some money to eventually get a Pilot Falcon xD Haven't been saving up at all lately, geez >.< By the way, just received this week's newsletter, and uuuugh, that bottom shelf restocking broke my heart. I don't have money for those pretty things right now TT_TT

  • Andria

    The safari is my go-to rollerball (I have about ten) and I can not wait for the orange! (Also the orange ink for the fountain pen.)

    • Madigan

      Hey Andria! Good to see we already have some fans! We should have the orange one soon, so stay tuned. πŸ™‚

  • Andria

    The safari is my go-to rollerball (I have about ten) and I can not wait for the orange! (Also the orange ink for the fountain pen.)

  • Freddy

    Meh. If it could take international fountain pen ink cartridges then it would be something to consider. My Kaweco Sport rollerball allows that and I love it.

  • Freddy

    Meh. If it could take international fountain pen ink cartridges then it would be something to consider. My Kaweco Sport rollerball allows that and I love it.

  • Conce

    Right there with you on stuffing your pens in your shirt pockets! I tend to do the same with my work carry bag……decisions…decisions…. which pen will I use for now?? hmmm….

  • Conce

    Right there with you on stuffing your pens in your shirt pockets! I tend to do the same with my work carry bag……decisions…decisions…. which pen will I use for now?? hmmm….

  • Turtle

    Nope, no body swap, no way ! But we can have a section swap to get a triangular grip. How ? Just do it. DO IT !

  • Turtle

    Nope, no body swap, no way ! But we can have a section swap to get a triangular grip. How ? Just do it. DO IT !

  • $29304501

    As much as I love fountain pens, they are not the best pen for all jobs. This is a good option to offer, and it supports a brand you already carry.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    As much as I love fountain pens, they are not the best pen for all jobs. This is a good option to offer, and it supports a brand you already carry.

  • David

    In the close-up photos, why can’t you get a larger depth of field? Or maybe the out of focus thing is an intentional effect?

    • Madigan

      Hey David! Sarah uses a Macro lens which has a shallow depth of field. Because of the size of the stuff we carry (small!) you get that out of focus effect. We like it! πŸ™‚

  • David

    In the close-up photos, why can't you get a larger depth of field? Or maybe the out of focus thing is an intentional effect?

  • Jordi Waggoner

    OK art questions: how permanent is the ink? Will it write over slick stuff like acrylic paint/medium?

    • Madigan

      Hey Jordi! Good question. We don’t use a lot of acrylic paint around here, so I’m not entirely sure. It’s a regular style rollerball pen with gel ink, so I wouldn’t expect it to perform well in this scenario.

      • Jordi Waggoner

        waterproof? Permanent? I keep hoping..

        • Madigan

          We haven’t thoroughly tested it, but I don’t think they’d be either. πŸ™ Sorry about that!

  • Jordi Waggoner

    OK art questions: how permanent is the ink? Will it write over slick stuff like acrylic paint/medium?

  • Michael Marcal

    Thanks Brian. Very informative video. With respect to Rollerballs, I’m a longtime aficionado of Pilot G2 – 07’s, so I was interested in your comparison with the M63’s. Definitely going to give the latter a try. Needless to say, fountain pens all the way!

  • Michael Marcal

    Thanks Brian. Very informative video. With respect to Rollerballs, I'm a longtime aficionado of Pilot G2 – 07's, so I was interested in your comparison with the M63's. Definitely going to give the latter a try. Needless to say, fountain pens all the way!

  • Bryangb

    Off topic – Brian, do you have any experience with Akkerman inks?

  • Bryangb

    Off topic – Brian, do you have any experience with Akkerman inks?

  • Madigan

    Wow! Good timing. πŸ™‚

  • Madigan

    Hi Amaryllis! Falcons are fantastic but so are these rollerballs… decisions, decisions. πŸ˜›

  • Madigan

    Hey Andria! Good to see we already have some fans! We should have the orange one soon, so stay tuned. πŸ™‚

  • Madigan

    Hey David! Sarah uses a Macro lens which has a shallow depth of field. Because of the size of the stuff we carry (small!) you get that out of focus effect. We like it! πŸ™‚

  • Uuugh I know D: I'd buy everything if I could xD

  • Arika Harman Cloud

    Well, I like what I see. I’ll definitely try one at some point. It does seems to rare among FP users, to also use other types of pens, but I still use all kinds. And there are definitely instances where I even prefer a rollerball!

  • Arika Harman Cloud

    Well, I like what I see. I'll definitely try one at some point. It does seems to rare among FP users, to also use other types of pens, but I still use all kinds. And there are definitely instances where I even prefer a rollerball!

  • Madigan

    Hey Jordi! Good question. We don't use a lot of acrylic paint around here, so I'm not entirely sure. It's a regular style rollerball pen with gel ink, so I wouldn't expect it to perform well in this scenario.

  • Jordi Waggoner

    waterproof? Permanent? I keep hoping..

  • Madigan

    We haven't thoroughly tested it, but I don't think they'd be either. πŸ™ Sorry about that!

  • Angie Scotello

    thanks to this video I learned I’ve been using rollerballs for years and didn’t know it

  • Angie Scotello

    thanks to this video I learned I've been using rollerballs for years and didn't know it