Pen Class: Intermediate ($26 to $99)
Street Price:: $28.00
Body Material: Plastic
Nib Material: Steel
Nib Size: Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, 1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm
Cap Type: Slip/Snap On/Off
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge / Converter (both proprietary)
Ink Capacity: Cartridge: 1.4 ml / 0.05 oz // Converter: 0.8ml / 0.03 oz
Overall Weight: 17 g / 0.60 oz
Cap Weight: 7 g / 0.25 oz
Body Weight: 10 g / 0.35 oz
Overall Length Capped: 140 mm / 5.51 in
Overall Length Posted: 166 mm / 6.54 in
Body Length (not including nib): 112.5 mm / 4.43 in
Nib Length: 17 mm / 0.67 in
Body Length (including nib): 129.5 mm / 5.10 in
Cap Length: 66 mm / 2.60 in
Cap Diameter w/o Clip: 14 mm / 0.55 in
Cap Diameter w/Clip: 17.5 mm / 0.69 in
Body Diameter: 12 mm / 0.47 in
If this pen were a movie, it would be: Color Cocktail (1935)
Eric: 4.25 – The Lamy Safari packaging can best be described as über-cool. Sure, it’s just a paper box, but the paper is heavy and quite sturdy. Sure, it’s just your standard, long box shape, but eleven cut-outs on two opposing corners break the monotony and somehow remind me of Frank Lloyd
Write Wright architecture.
Inside the box is a strip of the same heavy paper, sitting askew or sideways, used to secure the Safari safely in place (the Safari’s being clipped to the paper). Simple yet very effective. It’s great to see that Lamy was thinking outside the box while designing this one.
Dan: 7.5 – Once again Lamy has come up with a unique, intriguing box for a fountain pen that stands out against the crowd. While I wasn’t expecting something as lavish as what the Dialog 3 comes in, I feel the Safari’s packaging is more than appropriate for a pen at this price. The cardboard is pretty substantial and could probably withstand quite a bit of abuse. I really like the multiple, thin slits that give you a little preview of what’s inside. The box has this very pleasing texture that gives it a subtle checkerboard appearance. When opening the box you’ll find the pen clipped to a piece of cardboard made from the same material as the box. That piece of material fits diagonally inside the box with the entire assembly securely holding the pen inside. Most people will probably just dismiss this as a cheap box, but as a Manufacturing Engineer, I can really appreciate the simplicity and functionality of this design.
Eric: 4 – Like the Lamy Studio, the Safari is strictly a cartridge/converter pen. That’s fairly common and I’ve learned to live with the c/c filling system being popular. But also like the Studio, the Safari uses a proprietary cartridge and a proprietary converter. The converter is not included with the pen. To add to the confusion, Lamy makes the Z24 converter and the Z26 converter. The Z24 will fit the Safari and all Safari-like pens (Al-Star, Vista, etc.), but not the Studio. The Z26, which is included with the Studio, will fit all c/c Lamy pens, including the Safari. Call three different Lamy retailers to ask which converters fit which pens and you’ll likely receive three different answers. C’mon Lamy, two proprietary converters? Ah well.
Dan: 6 – The Lamy Safari comes with a single Lamy T10 cartridge, but the Z24 and Z26 converters can be used as well and must be purchased separately. There’s not much of anything special here. The Safari uses a proprietary filling system that functions well. The long Lamy cartridge definitely holds more ink than the converter so if maximum ink capacity is important then the cartridge is your only option. I decided to go with the cartridge this time and didn’t experience any problems. I inserted the cartridge before I left for work on a Monday morning and didn’t have a chance to use the pen until Tuesday evening. When I did, the feed was primed and it wrote without any hesitation.
Eric: 8 – Using the converter, I inked up my black Safari with some Aurora Black. I put the pen to paper and before I could finish my first sentence I was thinking, “This pen feels fun!” And the rest of the Test Drive did not disappoint. The pen felt good in the hand, there was no skipping and there were no hesitations. The pen has a sporty feel and an obvious love for writing. If I had a small complaint, it would be that the flow was a bit on the dry side.
Dan: 5.5 – I decided to go with the Charcoal color because of it’s matte finish and the black clip instead of the shiny black Safari with the chrome clip. I also opted for a black Fine nib, so right away I was in love with the look of this Lamy Safari. My impression started to go south very quickly once I started writing, though. The nib was awesome. I was actually incredibly impressed with the smoothness of the Fine nib. What really turned me off was the two flat surfaces on the section. I ended up having to change the position of my hand quite drastically to be able to even write with the Safari. I go into more details about my problems with the section in the Road Trip.
Eric: 6.5 – My Safari sports a Medium nib that is neither smooth nor scratchy. It writes well, but there’s a bit of drag involved. All in all, the nib gets the job done, but I would prefer a bit more glide and a bit less friction.
That having been said, we’re still dealing with the incredible versatility of the Lamy nib system. Lamy nibs are available in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium and Broad, both in standard steel and in black. There are also 1.1mm, 1.5mm and 1.9mm nibs in the steel color. All of these nibs can be slipped out and replaced “on the fly” with many Lamy pens (Safari, Al-Star, Studio, Vista, Joy, CP1, Accent, and Logo). This is a great feature and should be exploited by anyone owning one of these Lamy pens.
Dan: 8 – Eric detailed the nib options very well, so there’s not a whole lot for me to add. All I’ll say is this nib scores major points with me because it is available in so many options, interchangeability, and it is incredibly smooth. I only wish all the widths were available in black.
Eric: 7.25 – My Lamy Safari performs very nicely and without complaint. It has never hinted at a hard start even after several weeks of non-use. It’s a pen that simply gets the job done. I do, however, seem to have initial flow issues with all of my Lamys, my Safari being no exception. Adjusting flow can sometimes be extremely easy, but at other times can prove frustrating. Still, it’s difficult to fault a pen that writes every time you ask it to, even if the flow does not fit your preference exactly.
Dan: 7 – The performance of my Safari mirrors that of Eric’s, if not surpasses it. I’ve never had any issues with hard starts or skipping and the flow of mine has been exactly what I wanted. It works well and it works hard for as long as I ask of it. Sadly, because of the shape of the section I won’t be asking it to work for very long.
Eric: 8 – I have to confess that I like the clip on the Lamy Safari. First of all, the Safari is a pen designed to go places – as in, leave the house with you. As such, it absolutely needs a clip. The clip on the Safari is different. Not different as in ugly/offensive but different as in unique/cool. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I hold the pen with the clip facing the ceiling, I’m always reminded of the magnetic spinning wheel toy, the Whee-lo. That memory endears both the clip and the pen to me.
The remainder of the pen also enjoys the benefits of awesome design. I see the pen as a go anywhere, use for quick notes sort of pen. As such, I truly appreciate the slip cap. The shape of the section/grip is comfortable. The ink window, which I affectionately refer to as the ink portholes, are useful, well designed and not something found on many pens of this class.
Dan: 8 – I actually had no idea what the Whee-lo was until I saw the picture. And I totally agree. Also, isn’t this like the fifth pen that Eric likes the clip of? This is starting to get a little out of hand!
The Lamy Safari was designed and produced in 1980 by Prof. Bernt Spiegel. It was designed as a fountain pen for students and was made from ABS Plastic and came in several bright colors. Thirty-two years later and the Lamy Safari is still going strong and available in more colors than ever. I really enjoy the textured Charcoal color I chose. The simple, steel clip works amazingly well and looks good, too. I’m kind of impartial about the section until I have to hold the pen. The two flat surfaces add a unique look to the pen that I think is very fitting to the overall style. Lamy did a great job designing this pen for students.
If you’re really interested in the design and history of the Lamy Safari you can learn more than you ever wanted to know about it in this thread.
Eric: 8.25 – I know the Lamy Safari is a product of injection molding both by its price point and the way it looks/feels. However, I find it impossible to locate any evidence of the process. The finishing is top notch and the pen is very clean. Perhaps our resident Mechanical Engineer will be able to spot something.
Based on my experience with the much pricier Lamy Studio, I was fully expecting the Safari cap to wiggle. Not so. The cap stays perfectly in place and will not move until asked to do so. Same goes for the section, it fits so snugly in the barrel that if it weren’t for the two ink portholes, I’d be tempted to try the Safari as an eyedropper.
Dan: 8 – The Lamy Safari is built like a tank. There’s very few pieces to the entire pen. The majority of it is injection molded and I had to look at the part of the section where the barrel screws in to see any flashing from the molding process. Once I found one of the flash lines where the mold halves meet I was able to follow it to the section and barely make out a very subtle flash line. The line was so subtle I missed it before when I didn’t have anything pointing me where to look. The barrel screws securely to the section and the cap attaches solidly to the pen. There’s no wiggling or jiggling anywhere. I imagine this pen could take quite a bit of abuse from even the most careless of teenagers and still last for decades. But, those are the advantages of the injection molding. You can achieve tight tolerances, good finish, and use durable materials. The only downside is that it doesn’t have that high quality look and feel of more expensive pens. When you pick up a Safari you just know it’s one of those cheaper pens.
Eric: 7.25 – The Lamy Safari will take you anywhere you’d like to go in Volkswagen Beetle fashion. There’s nothing about the pen that I would call luxurious, but it certainly keeps up the pace and reaches the intended destination, even if it’s done in a utilitarian fashion.
My Road Trip was pleasant but not amazingly wonderful. There was no hard starting, no skipping and no hesitations. If you backed me into a corner, I would call this pen a workhorse. I started the Road Trip in basic comfort, but as the minutes passed, my fingers started to bemoan the indentations on the grip meant for the thumb and index finger. In theory, they are intended to help the writer hold the pen properly, and that may be true for someone new to fountain pens. I, however, wanted to hold the pen just a degree or two clockwise from where the indentations seemed to point. Forcing my desire on the pen was uncomfortable. Acquiescing proved to be the path of least resistance, but not what I wanted.
Dan: 5 – I was really looking forward to the Road Trip until I uncapped the pen and saw the flat surfaces on the section. For some reason I just knew this was going to cause problems, most likely because I remembered my experience with the Pelikan Pelikano Junior. I normally hold the pen with three fingers and the flat of my wrist touching the table. But, to use the Safari I had to rotate my hand clockwise about 90 degrees so that it was in more of a vertical position. This would at least allow me to write but it wasn’t very comfortable and my penmanship suffered. Thankfully, the Safari has good balance when posted and is pretty light so I didn’t experience any fatigue during the trip. I was very pleased with how smooth the Fine nib was and the feed kept a steady flow of ink coming to the nib. I really wish I could get a round section for this pen because I think I would really like it so much more.
Nibs easily swappable on the fly
Plethora of nib sizes available
Many color options
Not all nib sizes available in black
May need a flow adjustment
Proprietary C/C filler
Famous Last Words:
Eric: The Lamy Safari is an affordable, fun, go anywhere pen that everyone should test drive at least once. If the thumb and index finger indentations on the grip are to your liking, pick your favorite color and join the popular Safari Club.
Dan: The Lamy Safari is an incredibly affordable pen with enough nib options and colors to please everyone. If the funny shaped section doesn’t bother you then you can’t go wrong with adding one or twelve to your collection.
This pen was purchased for review.