Ink: Noodler's Nightshade
Paper: Rhodia dotpad 80gsm
Pros: Inexpensive, comes with a converter, weighted well, SMOOTH nib, several color options
Cons: Grip is a tad thin
The Pilot Metropolitan has become a household name in the pen world. At $15 including a converter, you would wonder what the catch is. Really, there is none. I would venture to say this is one of the best, if not THE best fountain pen for newbies.
The Metro is not at all cheap feeling; the barrel is made of brass, giving it a great weight and balance in the hand, unlike nearly every sub-$20 pen. That is not even the best part of the Metro; what will surprise you most is the nib. This nib is buttery smooth. You'll be hard pressed to find a nib this smooth on a sub-$30 pen. In fact, I own some fairly expensive pens that aren't nearly this smooth. The medium nib compares well to most 0.7mm gel pens - a Japanese compares to a German fine like what you would find on a Lamy.
Some folks have an issue with the grip section of the Metro. It is a little thin for long writing sessions, but for me that is easily overlooked. I use the pen for more of a workhorse pen that I can throw in a bag, and don't tend to write long sessions with it.
All in all, the Metro is a must-have for fountain pen fans. For veterans it's a great throw around workhorse pen, and for beginners it's a low cost, high quality introduction to fountain pens.
Note - if you don't care for Pilot's "cleaning converter" that comes with this pen - $5 will get you their Con-50 twist converter, which I like much better. Also, if you like a stub nib, the Pilot Plumix stub nib will fit the Metropolitan.