In the world of fountain pens, Rhodia paper is somewhat ubiquitous. It is widely available and, while it is not extraordinary, is fountain pen friendly. When the Rhodia Goalbook was first introduced, I didn’t pay much attention to it. It seemed like a Leuchtturm, only made by Rhodia. It wasn’t until it kept popping up in comments as something people would like to see reviewed that I realized maybe it was something more than just a Leuchtturm clone.
Up until recently, the Goalbook was only available with ivory paper. Fortunately (for people who don’t like cream-colored paper), a version with white paper was eventually introduced. In this post I’m going to take a look at both versions and see what makes them special and if there is any performance difference between the two paper colors.
When I unwrapped my first Goalbooks, I was impressed with how high quality they felt. The faux-leather cover material has a great feel to it and the faux-brushed-metal cover looks fantastic. The book itself is quite dense and feels substantial. Opening it up and taking a peek inside, the dot grid pattern is not too dark on the pages and the page numbers are fairly big and visible. Overall it makes a great first impression.
The following information applies to any Goalbook you may purchase.
- Pages: 112 (224 sheets)
- Paper Weight: 90gsm
- Binding: Stitch
- Page Style: Dot (regular grid available in UK)
- Size: A5
Ink-handling characteristics (A table summarizing the following properties can be found at the bottom of this post)
- Sheen: Low
- Shading: Medium
- Bleeding: Very Low
- Ghosting: Low
- Feathering: Very Low
- Dry Time: High
- Sheen: Low
- Shading: Medium
- Bleeding: Low
- Ghosting: Low
- Feathering: Very Low
- Dry Time: Medium
- Elastic Closure
- Pen Loop
- Page Numbers
- Rear Pocket
- Faux-leather or brushed metal cover
- Double Page Ribbon
I’ll start things out by saying that I’m not a fan of regular Rhodia paper. To me, it feels very boring to write on. The last thing I would want to do is get a notebook that I plan to use as a bullet journal and write on boring paper every day. Fortunately, the Goalbook does not use regular Rhodia paper. It uses the premium 90gsm Rhodia R paper, which is much more pleasant to write on.
Let’s back up a bit and take a look at what the notebook has to offer aside from the paper. I already mentioned the cover, which is available in many attractive faux-leather colors and a few brushed metal colors as well. Although these are softcover notebooks, they have a certain density that makes them feel fairly solid. While I would never call them hardcover, I’d go so far as to say that the cover is rigid and the notebook could be used without a hard surface underneath if needed. The cover and spine both have the [goalbook] logo debossed in them.Moving on to features, the Goalbook has everything you’d expect from a notebook of this type. You’ll find an elastic closure, double page ribbons, rear pocket, index and page numbers. It also has an elastic pen loop and two perpetual calendars in the front. Now for the paper. The Rhodia R paper is a premium version of regular Rhodia paper. It is smoother and, in my opinion, much more pleasant to write on. While my testing shows that regular Rhodia outperforms the Rhodia R (it shows more sheen and has faster dry times), I greatly prefer writing on the R paper. The overall experience is much more enjoyable.
Speaking of the paper performance, I’m looking at both the ivory and white papers in this review. Both perform almost exactly the same, but I did notice a slight difference between the two. I noticed a tiny bit of bleed through on the ivory paper, but none on the white paper with the exact same pens. The white had slightly longer dry times than the ivory. Otherwise, both performed the same, showing similar amounts of sheen, shading and ghosting, along with no observed feathering.
Goalbook vs Leuchtturm
I feel like I can’t do this review without comparing the Rhodia Goalbook to the Leuchtturm1917 A5 notebook. At first glance, both have nearly identical features, so what (if any) differences are there? Let’s take a look at both notebooks and see how different they really are.
The main difference between the two notebooks is the paper. The Goalbook uses Rhodia R paper, while the Leuchtturm uses Leuchtturm paper. Both offer very different writing experiences. Both papers show similar amounts of sheen and shading, but the Rhodia has much less ghosting, while the Leuchtturm has faster dry times. Leuchtturm paper has much more texture and offers some feedback while writing, while the Rhodia is much smoother.
Aside from the paper, another big difference is in the cover options. Both come in a variety of colors, but the Goalbook is available with different cover materials, as well as hard or soft cover options. While Leuchtturms are available in soft cover, they only have half of the pages that the hardcover notebooks do. The Goalbook (at least the softcover) also opens and lays flat easier than the Leuchtturm, which I assume is due to the cover material. One other big difference is that the Goalbook only comes in dot grid, while you can get a Leuchtturm with any page layout you’d like.
Everything else about these notebooks feels pretty similar. They have many of the same features and only a few minor differences. The Goalbook has two perpetual calendars in the front, while the Leuchtturm goes directly from the index to the numbered pages. The Leuchtturm has a small margin on each page, while the Goalbook dot grid basically goes to the edge of each page. The Goalbook has a pen loop, the Leuchtturm doesn’t.
If you’re trying to decide between the two notebooks, comparing features is probably not going to help you decide. Unless you really want the Goalbook’s calendar, they’re basically the same notebook. I think the biggest tie breaker is the paper. If you want a smoother writing experience with less ghosting, the Goalbook is a clear winner. If you want paper with a bit more feedback and faster dry times, the Leuchtturm is the notebook for you. If price is an issue, the Leuchtturm is the less expensive option.
For the longest time, I basically ignored the Rhodia Goalbook. Since I’m not a fan of regular Rhodia paper, I didn’t want anything to do with other Rhodia products. Luckily, some readers encouraged me to try out the Goalbook and I’m glad that they did! It turns out Rhodia does make paper that’s enjoyable to write on and the Goalbook is filled with it. While it’s not amazing, it is solid and I wouldn’t mind writing on it regularly. In addition to the paper, these notebooks look and feel great. They’re packed with features and would make a great bullet journal. If you’re not a fan of Leuchtturm paper but love the notebooks, or just want a solid notebook that’s packed with features, a Rhodia Goalbook may be just right for you.
If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.
Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating
Pros: Many features, nice cover options, smooth paper
Cons: Expensive, only available in dot grid
Value Rating: 3.14 Stars, Cost per A5 sheet: $0.23
Who this notebook is for: People who want a Leuchtturm without Leuchtturm paper
Upgrade to this notebook from: Regular Leuchtturm notebooks
Upgrade from this notebook to: 120gsm Leuchtturm notebooks