Be there or be square. Only I can do both!
"My lord, I will use them according to their desert."
"God's bodykins, man, much better: use every man
after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"
Veteran of the Great Irisch Moos Campaign of 2008-09
78G's are great. I can't get into the TWSBI hype. I had one. Wrote poorly. Not worth it. Leaked a lot, too.
I have several 78G and don't get how they keep getting complained about as being a dry scratchy pen. They work great for me. I received a Pilot Prera for Christmas. I inked it once, and just never really cared that much for it. I need to give it another chance, but not at the moment.
I have TWSBI pens and love them. But I have had to upgrade piston seals and I have had the cracked section issues. But in the morning, it is the pen I grab to put in my pocket. But if you want a pen that will work from day 1 and not have to be tinkered with, repaired, etc.,, you may want to wait until they get all these injection issues dealt with and the cracked sections and barrels stop occurring.
I have many Lamy Safari, Vista, Al-Star. The nibs are really hit and miss. One nib has tooth, the other is smooth. One EF is bolder than a M and I have a M which writes like an EF. The only other complaint I have is the fact that the cap is not secure. I have had the cap fall off while the pen was clipped to a pocket and then ink was all over my shirt. The TWSBI cap screws on. I won't carry a pen in my shirt pocket anymore unless the cap screws on.
Noodler pens? I bought several, they are all finicky, picky, and a pain to keep working properly. I don't care that much about flex, so I am giving up on the flex nibs and am now modifying my Ahabs with the nibs from other pens.
Duke, Baoer, Jinhao? I know there are many who love them. I see them being suggested in the comments above. However, I have also purchased a number of these pens, and none of them worked correctly. They skip, they stop writing in the middle of the first page and then don't start again well. Several of them are weighty, they look nice, but they just don't feel that good or write that well to me.
A pen that has impressed me - Platinum Plaisir. I thought I would hate the pen being just a metal version of the cheap preppy. And although that is true, they write well, they don't stop, they don't skip, they don't dry out. However, they don't come with a converter and take proprietary cartridges. I bought converters for mine. Again, the cap just snaps on, so they don't go in my pocket.
Kaweco Sport Classic - small pen that is designed to post. The cap screws on. The nib does what the nib is supposed to do. It only takes cartridges as there is no converter currently made for the pen. However, when the summer comes and I start wearing t-shirts most of the time, these go in my jeans/shorts pocket.
I have a couple of 78G's and once I tweaked the nib they write splendidly. I use one at work loaded with 5 O' Clock Shadow every day. They are light pens though.
I looked at the 540's when the 2nd round of them hit the shelves, but found a used 530 that I picked up for $25 shipped. I've had zero problems with it, no cracking after many complete takedowns, just the cap screws on a little tight, but nothing that's troublesome or concerning. I'm glad I didn't get the 540 now, because I like to change ink color fairly often, but don't really get the chance to write as much as I like, so the smaller ink capacity of the 530 is perfect. FWIW, it has a M nib on it and writes fairly smooth with a little bit of tooth to it, but nothing that makes me want to go spring for a 540 or ROC.
Personally, I like my Esterbrooks better or even my Parker 45 and ditto on the Kaweco Sport. Nice little pen that writes as well as any I have.
-in search for the rare element Illudium Phosdex, the shaving cream atom.