A Fair Shake: The Field Notes Bic Clic

A little shorter review this week because there’s a new member of the household who demands our full attention! Meet FLAPJACK! He’s our 9-week old Silky Terrier whose middle name should be Houdini. He scaled his playpen on day two, and is keeping us on our toes. We love him to bits.

Flapjack (9 weeks)

NOW, for the review…

Field Notes branded Bic Clic

My latest package from Field Notes included one of the Field Notes branded Bic Clic pens. As I was about to reflexively toss it into a mug of pens, it dawned on me that I’ve never spent much time writing with one. I give them away, I have them lying around, I stuff them into pen cups, but I don’t write with them. It was about time to give this retractable blast from the past a fair shake.

Bic Clic (Made in Mexico)

I spent a day using this pen only— an unheard of feat! (Sometimes I change pens in the middle of a sentence. No lie.)

It turns out, there are a lot of things I like about this pen. It feels comfortable in hand— nice taper, easy to grip. I’m smitten by the retro look and simple Field Notes branding. The clip, with its embossed Bic branding, is perfectly adequate. The knock functions reliably and with a solid sounding “click” (thus the name). The refill FEELS smooth and is not draggy. It’s easy to carry and inexpensive, which means it’s a good candidate for a “take it everywhere” pen. Lose one? Not a big deal.

Bic Clic knock

There is, though, one flaw. And for me, it’s the fatal flaw.

Bic Clic refill

The refill is merely adequate— just as it’s always been. There’s a lot of white space in the line, and the “black” ink is a blah gray. The line is not rich or solid— two things that I demand from my ballpoints. Since discovering the uni-ball Jetstream and the like, that’s pretty much the standard by which I gauge all other ballpoints. The Bic Clic, despite the attributes of its simple and iconic pen body, just doesn’t deliver a memorable writing experience.

Ink comparison
Schmidt EasyFlow 9000 refill vs. Bic Clic’s refill

Oh, how I’d love an ink upgrade in these pens!

Errand pen
A good errand pen

I posted a comment on the Field Nuts Facebook page asking if folks regularly use these pens and the answers were plentiful and varied. Some people love them, others don’t. Some use them for work all day long, while others leave them in their car or purse as an “emergency” pen.

Because I do love the Field Notes branding and the pen’s easy-to-throw-in-pocket form factor, I’m going to make a point of using these pens a little more, if only when I’m running errands and might have to jot something down. And maybe I’ll set a few free in the world— in a bookstore or coffee shop. I think that’s what these pens are best at— spreading a little Field Notes love.

Do YOU love and use the Field Notes Bic Clic, or, like me, do they cause you to reach for something better? Do you know of a refill hack that elevates this pen’s writing performance?

Be sure to let me know.

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15 thoughts on “A Fair Shake: The Field Notes Bic Clic

  1. I would reach for the Bic Clic before the Schmidt. I run my hand through the ink of the Schmidt as I am writing, and it just gets all over my hands & smears on the page. I prefer my EF Kaweco AL Sport or brass Liliput for a pen but, as a ferpectionist, I rather use a mechanical pencil that I can erase. Unfortunately, in a laboratory notebook, pencils are not allowed. Then I use a 0.38 Uni Signo DX.

  2. He’s a little heartbreaker, he is.

    Not really a fan of faint ink either, but I grew up using Bic Cristals and never really got out of the habit, though I use all kinds of other pens as well. One thing that used to put me off Bic Clics was point wobble. Do you find yours wobbles? Totally agree Field Notes branding is rad.

  3. After reading Anna’s omnibus refill post on The Well Appointed Desk, I’m wondering if any other, better, refills could be modded to work in the FN pens.

  4. The BIC clic pens are great for sketching. You can get nice sensitive lines from it so you can get light light areas and deep darks by adding additional layers of line. The Schmidt easy flow is so much better though. I’ve tried stuffing every refill I own and hacking all kinds of others to fit into these. No go.

  5. Pingback: Link Love: Text Messages | The Well-Appointed Desk

  6. I recently picked up a parker jotter ballpoint. The refill gives that deep black line we like, and the barrel has classic “mad men era” good looks.

  7. Have you tried the BIC Easy Glide refills? These have made my Clics much more enjoyable to use and last as long as any others I’ve tried. My main complaint with the pen is that the barrel tip breaks, leaving the refill tip exposed. I’ve owned one or more Clics since they came out in the 1960s or 1970s.

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