The Pilot Cavalier is probably one of the most underrated fountain pens in Pilot’s line. It is almost completely ignored in favour of the Pilot Metropolitan, the offerings from TWSBI, and the Lamy Safari. I originally purchased the Cavalier after my positive experiences with the Hi Tec C Cavalier. The pens are available in a variety of colours with gold trim with prices starting at $28 USD. The nibs are unique to the Cavalier and are available in Eastern fine and medium.
The Pilot Cavalier is only a little thicker than the average Bic ballpoint. At its widest, it is only 0.9cm thick. Capped, the pen is 13.5 cm long and 12.2 cm uncapped. The cap is friction fit and clicks with a very satisfying noise. There is a shirt clip on the cap that is extremely stiff. The pen is coated in a shiny lacquer that is surprisingly durable. The finish is not quite a flat metal under the lacquer, but rather a fine sparky finish that does a great job hiding fingerprints. For those who post their pens, the cap posts deeply, though the cap is rather heavy. I find the weight throws off the balance of the pen in my child-like hands.
The pen takes Pilot cartridges and the Pilot CON-20 squeeze converter. I attempted to fit the CON-50 screw converter, but the back of the CON-50 is too fat to fit in the slim taper at the end of the Cavalier. Personally, I have no quarrel with the CON-20 converter, but the squeeze mechanism seems to be a love it or hate it thing that is a deal breaker for some.
The nib and feed are exclusive to the Cavalier and are not compatible with the other low end offerings from Pilot. The Pilot Cavalier’s nib is as fine as it is small. I found the F to be finer than the Pilot Vanishing Point’s EF nib. The Cavalier is a little on the dry side, which is further worsened by the fact the pen is not the most air tight thing in the world. Ink in the pen will start to dry out and darken within a day. However, I only get hard starts if the pen has been left for several days without use. Once the pen gets going, there is no issues with skipping. I found the nib to be very smooth for being as fine as it is. It did not need any additional tuning or tweaking out of the box.
Depending where you buy the pen, the Cavalier is equal, if not more expensive than the other two popular starter pens, the Lamy Safari and the Pilot Metropolitan. Performance wise, it is a solid pen, but lacks the same value the Lamy Safari and the Pilot Metropolitan have due to the lack of nib options. To make matters worse, the Cavalier can only be purchased from retailers with direct connections to the Japanese market (Editor’s note: Amazon.com is now carrying these locally for a pretty reasonable price, though it’s still cheaper to import from a Japanese seller. Thanks Alex!). I would definitely recommend this pen to beginners who are looking for a fountain pen that feels more like a disposable ballpoint in size. However, I don’t see the Cavalier catching on like the Metropolitan any time soon.
Pilot Cavalier, F
Ink: Noodler’s Antietam Paper: Clairefontaine 90g
+ One of the slimmest fountain pens available
+ Nice click cap
+ Can pass for a ballpoint due to its small profile
+ Smooth Nib
– Only Japanese F and M available
– Hard to find
– Only compatible with cartridges and the CON-20 squeeze converter
Yes, if you like slim pens