The challenger: Pre-owned Pilot U
There is little information about this pen online, all that I was able to gather was:
- Yes, this pen was manufactured by pilot for a short while.
- It might had been a predecessor to the Custom 74
The pen came with 14k 585 nib, and the older version of the Con-20. It writes like a F nib and has a unique feed which seem to be joined to the section.
|Hero 336||Pilot U|
|Ease of maintenance||✔|
|Look & Feel||✔|
I'm not sure if it is due to abuse from the previous owner or a design flaw, but somehow the Hero 336 nib feels smoother to write with compared to the Pilot U.
At SGD $1.20 per pen in Singapore, the price of the Hero 336 is hard to match.
Ease of maintenance
With a removable converter, the Pilot U is a lot easier to clean and maintenance, compared to the Hero 336, where the plastic sac is glued directly onto the section.
Look & Feel
The Hero 336 looks and feels cheap, that has always been one of the main reasons why it has never been able to compete with more expensive pens, even though it is a decent writer.
Sometimes it is a lot easier to fill a removable converter like an eyedropper fountain pen, in this aspect, the Pilot U has a better filling system than the Hero 336
Hero 336s are notorious for the lack of QC, one of the more constant issues involves out-of-the-box ink flow problems, which requires some tuning before the pen is usable.
Again, the Pilot U has a hard start issue which I cannot determine, if it is due to abuse or design flaw.
The Pilot U has a strong feedback when drawing across the nib. This could be due to the thin nibs which are not supported fully by the feed.
The Pilot U is no longer in production, and will take some effort to acquire.