Spoke Design Roady (2, XL)

Having been a Spoke Design pencil owner, I’d long considered getting one of their pens. Some nice designs. The original Spoke Pen is reminiscent of the Spoke pencil designs with slotted barrels. Then there’s the Roady with solid barrels and smaller stature. I really like the colorways provided for the Roady 2… but I ultimately chose the XL version due to a wider refill compatibility.

Size and weight were two considerations and I kept going back and forth on the available choices… so I made a spreadsheet to help clarify. An outline chart might also be helpful for the quick visual reference.

Brian and Brad do a bang-up job of producing really nice quality machined writing instruments and fulfillment is professional. They even have a Spoke Design themed cardboard box, so you’ll know immediately what’s waiting for you when you collect your packages.

Here’s my handwritten review, using the Roady XL. My apologies; my semi-sloppy writing is nothing to do with the pen. My penmanship gets crappy late at night and that’s when I wrote it!

Just a few more comments:
The pen is a little smaller in hand than I originally expected, but that’s a good thing. I like the portability, being a Japanese pocket fountain-pen fan. I’m glad I chose the XL over the Roady-2, as the refill compatibility is more of a concern for me. The size difference isn’t really that much, as you can tell from the chart I provided above. I really have to say that this pen shines when posted. It’s a great size, perfect weight and balance, and the magnetic closure is a pleasure. I like how the magnetic tension is lighter when posted, as it doesn’t need to be all that strong. You don’t want to be tugging hard to release it. But when capped, it’s nicely tight so you won’t worry about it dislodging when clipped.

My Roady XL came with a Pentel Energel refill in 0.7 mm size. I have a bunch of 0.5 mm ones, so I chose to insert one of those. That’s why the protruding refill tip looks a bit different from the stock photos.

I had gone back and forth in my mind about the knurling. I’m a bit old-school in that I feel knurling is best for mechanical pencils. But then I got an OHTO Flat-C, which is a pen having a knurled section, and it’s really well done. The knurling granularity on the Spoke Design Roady lines looks very similar. Visually, I prefer the titanium ribbed grip, so I went with that. I like it a lot, but I think I’d have been happy with either grip style.

Some aesthetic notes: The PLA cap has a ribbed design matching the grip, which makes for some nice visual symmetry when the cap is posted. I also like how a thin line of the front section is visible when capped, a silver accent between the blue and black. Looks sharp, IMHO.

There are so many great quality choices out there for small shop turned writing instruments. But Spoke Design has a unique offering and a wonderful choice in colorways. I’m happy enough with my Roady XL that I don’t think I’ll need another one, but variety is the spice of life and I’m pretty sure I’ll be getting a companion pen in the future. Well done, Brian and Brad!

Now, for the photo gallery:

Btw, the XL in Blue comes by default with a polished steel nose cone. I elected to get mine in black, as I wanted that front/rear black steel symmetry. I think it came out rather well. The stock photo doesn’t adequately capture the appearance, as the rear cap doesn’t look very black. But you’ll see on my photos that it certainly is.

You’ll note in my handwritten review that I indicated some struggle with opening up the pen. The front section was very tightly mated to the blue anodized body. It was so tight, I figured this is just like on the Spoke 4 pencil… and so I tried to unscrew the nose cone, then rear cap… with no results. I then concluded that it had to be the front section, so I applied more force with my bare fingers, then used a swatch of rubber. That did it. It finally unscrewed! There was a trace of a white substance on the threads, which I think was the struggle. After cleaning that off and screwing/unscrewing the front a few times, it got easier. I don’t know if this is the norm. If it is, Spoke Design should put a little sticker on the body pointing to the seam for where to unscrew to insert the refill!


Wow. :astonished:

I just checked on the Roady XL, the listings for models having the knurled grips. ALL SOLD OUT!

That was fast.


Thanks for sharing this detailed review, Gary! I’ve been contemplating getting a Spoke pen to match my collection of their pencils, and your insights have definitely pushed me toward finally hitting that “buy” button.


You’re welcome, Thomas!

Before you buy, check with Brian on what he may be releasing soon. I’ve seen no-notice drops appearing on this website. So, what might be sold out right now could be restocked soon. Or something else may be in the pipeline.

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I’ve got two Spoke Roady XLs, and I absolutely love them. Of all my pens, it might be my favorite other than my recent acquisition of a TIJPEN R Extreme, which I only prefer due to it’s lightweight body, makes it easy for heaps of notes.
(Two Roady XLs and the TIJPEN on the right)



They look remarkably similar at first glance, but then I can see some minor differences. All titanium? Or is one a titanium/aluminum combo?


The Spoke on the left is completely TI, the middle spoke is Aluminum with TI grip and end-cap, and the TIJPEN is completely TI


The TIJPEN looks a bit plain in comparison. What inspired you to buy it? Does the cap post nicely to the body?

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The TIJPEN is rather plain to be fair. The cap post is softer, albeit less satisfying than the spoke. To be honest, I’m just a fiend for machined goods, and the TIJPEN’s machining is absolutely crazy - lots of different parts, just a very impressive amount of detail.

Furthermore, the internal mechanism of the TIJPEN allows it to suit basically any refill (provided it isn’t too wide.

The spring can twist along the metal bit (the ‘anchor’ as described by the manufacturer) which allows for basically any length refill, and the small body part (just to the right of the top of the spring) allows you to extend the body length for even longer refills.


That’s what I call intelligent design. Making pens to accommodate just 1 refill is just so shortsighted. I know with Parker, it was self serving. They make the pen and they make the ink. And to allow for refills from other brands was counterintuitive to their business model. Well, if they make the best ink and for a reasonable price, shouldn’t that be the winning factor? Still, why not allow people to try others? The very freedom makes the pen a selling point, but like printers… the ink eventually costs more than the printer!

So it would take small production houses with no vested interest in a single ink supplier to make a pen capable of supporting a variety. Another brand, Big Idea Design, makes a Ti EDC that can accommodate over 100 refills. Really sharp.

But I prefer the idea of a capped pen. An open-clicker makes sense for people who do lots of checklists and clipboard work (checking on things, making quick notes one handed). But if you aren’t super rushed and have 2 hands free, it’s nice to have capped so that the tip is well protected against damage and drying out prematurely.

Of course, “compatibility” is relative. It’s one thing for a refill to work, it’s another for it to be a proper fit. The one vexing part of all this is the tip diameter. That basically limits compatibility… unless, you have interchangeable nose cone liners.

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Yeah, unfortunately capitalism at its finest led to lots of single-refill pens. It’s a shame, but what is there to do.

I’m not quite sure if this is exactly what you meant by tip diameter but the TIJPEN does have a tighter tip, which stabilizes the tip pretty well regardless of what refill i push in there.
(from the website)

I’ve also always preferred cap, not only for the protection but I just feel like it makes for a more quality pen most of the time.

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