This Pens Ink is Baffling to Me – The Pilot G2


The Pilot G2 Pens Ink is Baffling to Me

The Pilot G2 Pens Ink is Baffling to Me

I don’t think I’ve made any secret of the fact that I’m really not on board with those who think that the Pilot G2 is the best pen and in fact, I’ve been pretty harsh in my criticism of it here in the past.  I found something odd the other day though when I started using a G2 by accident, and something about this pens ink really surprised me when I took a second to look closer.


Pilot G2 Writing Sample

Pilot G2 Writing Sample

The situation was this, I was working from home and I grabbed the first pen handy, which happened to be a G2.  Because I was super busy, I gave it no thought, nor did I even have a chance to swap it for something else.  I just grabbed the pen and went to work for a few hours with various conference calls and emergency requests for information on things that I am responsible for at the “real job.”  After the flood of work came to a slowdown, I began to realize that I had been writing with the Pilot G2 the whole time, but even more shocking, was that when I went back and looked at all my notes there was literally none of the mess that I usually attribute to this pens ink and its writing performance.  There was virtually no skipping, and there were definitely no blotchy ink spots.  Look at my writing sample up there, compared to this one I did a few months ago with a different G2, and you can see where in red I point out the flaws with the old G2s writing:


Pilot G2 Writing Sample

Here is the Pilot G2 Writing Sample in a Black n’ Red Notebook

This writing sample, was on the same paper, but with a different G2 and was atrocious compared to my most recent experience.  To date the poor experiences with Pilot G2s FAR outweigh my one good experience, however this makes me wonder, so I am going to at least be open minded and give them another chance.  This does make me a bit curious though, has Pilot changed something with the pens ink?  This was after all a newly purchased Pilot G2 that I bought for a comparison review I’ll be doing soon, but I have no way to really tell how new or old the pen is.  I’d love to hear from anyone who may have had previous bad situations with a G2 that may have seen a change lately.  I don’t know whats worse now though, the historically bad performance of this pens ink, the fact that now it might actually be a much better writing pen, OR that its now one of those hit or miss items where you can get a few jewels in the rough if you are lucky?

©2015, Brian Greene. All rights reserved.


  1. 1
    Robert M. says:

    I’ve been in the same boat on occasion with G-2s and other gel pens, like certain colors of the Uni Signo DX. I sometimes wonder if it’s sample or batch variation, since I’ll sometimes stumble across a pen that writes very poorly, and another sample from the same display rack that writes very nicely. On a few occasions, I’ve purchased Signo DXs that seemed to perform fine at first, but would be rather runny and watery later on, feathering on even high-quality paper. I wonder if might be due to a chemical breakdown in the ink, or if it’s mechanical damage, or if it may be related to environmental conditions. Then again, it may just be a wonky pen that I inaccurately assessed in the store.

  2. 2
    micahbgreen says:

    I tend to agree with Robert. I buy the G-2’s because the cartridge fits nicely in my Rotring 600 rollerball. After about 3 years of use, I’ve noticed differences with ink spots and skipping-but those issues have not been consistent.

  3. 3
    Lars3585 says:

    How many more ways do you need people to tell you that gel pens BLOW!? Use a ballpoint and be content. They dry instantly, write on everything, don’t feel scratchy, cost less, and feel smoother.
    Ballpoints have obviously been around since the 50’s and have stayed since for a reason.

    As far as your concern for the inconsistency of the G2, take a look at the amazon reviews on this pen… lots of other people complain about this same phenomena. My guess is that this is just yet another example of Pilot’s shabby quality control allowing for inconsistent product. I’ve never understood people’s draw towards Pilot products. In my personal opinion they are just over-priced junk!

  4. 4
    Sara Anderson says:

    I notice variation in all my gel pens. I even have a Uniball 207 which is a real brat and writes like a nightmare. I bet it’s due to a multitude of factors all playing together – like age, ink batch, location of production, chemical reactions in the ink itself, etc.

    I’d definitely hang on to that good one :) Mark it somehow so you know. ^^ Have a great weekend!

  5. 5
    Elizabeth P says:

    In my experience, the smaller the nib, the less awful it is. The 0.38mm G-2 is actually decent. The 0.7mm is, at least with every one I’ve tried, uniformly terrible.

  6. 6
    Mike D. says:

    I stopped using all Pilot gel pens a couple of years ago as I found them at best inconsistent but usually awful. These are pens I just can not trust to perform or last. The infatuation with the G2 is unimaginable to me. I’ve gotten much more consistent and better performance from Pentel pens and, primarily, Uni-ball pens (not Visions though, they’re awful too). Regarding the anti-gel pen, pro-ball point pen post, you’re comparing apples and oranges, or two different animals.

  7. 7
    Drone says:

    I often find inconsistencies from pen-to-pen – especially with the broader gels. The broad Jetstreams in-particular are all over the place in terms of quality. Before I buy a Jetstream, I work it hard in the store first, many skip, some blob, some are Perfect. I am surprised you are surprised about the pen-to-pen change in performance with this type of pen. Regards, David

  8. 8
    sgsflyer says:

    I’ve been a fan of G2s for a while now, but not just any G2. I prefer the .5mm which I had no problem with (I did with the few .7mm I experimented with). Recently I discovered a set in 0.38mm and I now use those almost exclusively. In fact, I’ve purchased .38mm G2s just for the refill, to remove and put in other (higher end) pens that use same size refill.

  9. 9
    Ken McCarty says:

    Is it possible that you unconsciously write differently when you are deliberately testing a pen than you do when you are just casually writing? That might account for the difference in performance. Or, the company may have a secret plan to woo you into saying nice things about their pen and have actually improved their ink formulation since you last tried it.

    D. McCarty

  10. 10
    Anonymous says:

    I dont think so, I’ve used G2 so many times, including even before I started the blog and I’ve never once had one that didnt skip or leave blotches.

  11. 11
    Anonymous says:

    THAT is the best, when you find a pen that works well for you and you can put the refills in a different body that you REALLY like. Its pen nirvana. :)

  12. 12
    Anonymous says:

    Thats interesting, I hardly ever use the wider (anything above .5mm) so I’ve never had that issue. I did use the 1.0mm Jetstreams once, but never had an issue, probably didnt use them long enough though.

    In regards to being surprised, its not really just a pen to pen difference, its the entire universe of every G2 I’ve ever used having horrible performance, to this ONE that is the only one I’ve ever used that literally never skipped or splotched.

  13. 13
    Anonymous says:

    I’m with you on the Pentel and Uniballs in comparison to the Pilots, although I do really like the Pilot Coleto multi-pen, I never have the skipping issues with that. You are absolutely right about the comparison on the ball points to gel…totally different animals with their own pros and cons.

  14. 14
    Anonymous says:

    Less room for error maybe? :)

  15. 15
    Anonymous says:

    Pretty strong opinion there. :) All I’ll say on this topic is that the answer to your question about how many times “I need to be told” is somewhere in the neighborhood of about 999 trillion billion times. My preference is just that, MY preference. I’m 100% certain that you love ballpoint pens, just as much as I am 100% certain that if given a choice, a ballpoint is the absolute last pen I’ll reach for. Its all personal preference.

    To me, my fountain pen is always my first choice, and ballpoint is my last…the middle ground there is up for grabs though, and it can all change depending on the paper I’m writing on, or the type of task I am performing.

  16. 16
    Anonymous says:

    Yes, I’ve actually had one or two 207s that were temperamental, but overall I just feel like the G2s being temperamental is the norm.

    Good to hear from you as always, hope all is well!

  17. 17
    Anonymous says:

    So they are inconsistent in their inconsistency. :)

  18. 18
    Anonymous says:

    You know, I noticed that once with a DX, where towards the end of its life, the ink got watery. My theory on it was that maybe the clear gel at the top of the ink barrel maybe somehow mixes with the ink to break it down. Total uninformed speculation there though.

  19. 19
    Anonymous says:

    That is an interesting point. I’ve only ever noticed “JAPAN” stamped on the ink cartridge, but I’ll have to pay more attention there and take a closer look at my others.

  20. 20
    Peninkcillin says:

    You know, the first G2 I used at work was great, but then I got some duds which made me hate them. Other people at work seem to like them so maybe the quality control on them isn’t that great.

  21. 21
    Karina says:

    I guess I must have snatched up a good one back in the day when I favoured gel pens over anything else. I remember loving the G2, but then something happened and I started drifting towards the not so much loved in the pen community – the ballpoint pen. I think nowadays however, I am opening up to the gel pens again, and I’m rather curious now, to see if I would still enjoy the G2 the way I did back in the day. If only a Staples would exist in this country, I’d be there right now.

  22. 22
    Karina says:

    I guess I must have snatched up a good one back in the day when I favoured gel pens over anything else. I remember loving the G2, but then something happened and I started drifting towards the not so much loved in the pen community – the ballpoint pen. I think nowadays however, I am opening up to the gel pens again, and I’m rather curious now, to see if I would still enjoy the G2 the way I did back in the day. If only a Staples would exist in this country, I’d be there right now.

  23. 23
    synical says:

    I use primarily Pilot gel pens because I can’t be bothered to find out if the other brands are refillable and I hate buying new pens just because the ink is out. I use both G-1 and G-2s, the latter for when I travel. Of course I get ink on my hands and there’s the occasional smudging, but it’s part of the course and I just deal with it. I am also not a fan of ballpoint pen – I wouldn’t pay for one, but I never say no to freebies.

    The only way I’ll stop using them is when they stop making the refills.

  24. 24
    Jeffery Sumler says:

    I believe the title of this article should be “This Pen’s Ink . . . .” no? You are talking about the ink of this pen, hence the possessive apostrophe would be appropriate.

  25. 25
    Tyler says:

    how would you compare this pen to the sharpie pen?

    one thing i noticed (not sure if it is true about all of the pens) is that if you write fast with the sharpie pen, the ink doesn’t flow fast enough so its not all dark lines and it will fade and skip if you write to fast with the sharpie. I’ve only used my friends, so im not sure

  26. 26

    You know, this could make for an interesting blog post (I mean, another interesting blog post): Which pen is the most consistent? Take five of your favorite models, get five different samples of each (including some older/well used ones), and make a writing sample of each.

    I mean, yeah, it’s 25 pens, 25 writing samples and the end result may be “they’re all kinda the same” or something… but it’s science dammit!

    (for the record, my money is on the Zebra Sarasa. I’ve got one from New Year’s 2006 that still lays down a perfect line)

  27. 27
    Carlos says:

    Ballpoint are not smoother, they are a pain in the a… to write, they look faded, and the ink is pretty much not acid free or safe (For those who want it for journals or scrapbooking)

    I have ballpoints who doesnt work … every mass production product could be inconsistent.

  28. 28
    Sdw says:

    I found the Pilot G2 6 months ago and love it at first. Dense dark color, smooth writing. Then, you start getting blotches and streaks from the pen. I have had many of the tips break when the ink is barley at half use. I am not searching for a new pen to replace the G2.

    I have used the 0.38, 0.5 and 0.7. I am looking into ballpoint pens.

  29. 29
    Guest says:

    The G-2 in anything wider than the .5 is inconsistent, blotchy and slow to dry… just as you experienced.  Your pic shows the .7… couldn’t tell you how many of those I’ve given away. 
    The .38 is my favorite, and I actually like it better than the uni-ball Signo .38

  30. 30
    Ed says:

    I have always had the same bad performance out of Pilot G2 pens too.  I’ll have to give a newer pen a try and see what happens.

  31. 31
    Guest Comment says:

    Though late to this discussion, I noticed this some time ago, as well. My first encounter w/the G-2 was average, at best, but rave reviews led me to give it a second try. Fortunately, this led to a stocking stuffer of two packs of Pilot G-2 07s, one black and one blue. (It wasn’t on my dime to try them the second time!) The black pens skipped less frequently than previously. Most interestingly, I found that the blue pens were far better: they never skip, they write very smoothly. The blue gel ink seems to be more viscous than the black. 

  32. 32
    Krista Irwin says:

    I actually never liked gel pens because of the skips and smears and they just seemed such a pain to write with. Then I got a G2. I do have to say that I prefer the 07 or 10 but I just don’t like writing with a fine tip. I also tend to press fairly hard when I write.

  33. 33
    brian says:

    It really is odd that people can have such differing experiences with the same pen.

    I’m quite picky about pens, and I’ve been consistently thrilled with the G-2 (.5, blue and black) for many years. I have filled several journals with it and would be hard-pressed to find any skipping or blobs or smears.

  34. 34
    Dan says:

    I know this is an old post, but I too used to actively hate the G-2. Recently I tried one and was blown away at how nice it was. It even has me comparing it against my trusty Jetstream. They had to have changed something.

    It looks like the last bit of writing on the refill is the year followed by the month. Perhaps that can help us figure out when/if the change happened. I’d tell you what my bad one had but I threw it away in anger a week ago before discovering how nice they (now?) are.

  35. 35
    Rudy says:

    I actually have a USA made 07 G2 ink cartridge is stamped JAX instead of Japan, probably Jacksonville Florida, 40 miles away from where I live and where Pilot pens US headquarters are…as far as blobbing and skipping, it’s a hit or miss, I use the .38 G2 refill in a Dr. Grip gel, and sometimes an 05 Uni 207 in which mine seemed to have developed air bubbles…while the G2 refills have not!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *