Gateron Blue Bubblegum: New and Improved Black Ink

The Blue Bubblegum has a great typing feel with that classic bassy sound that is characteristic of the Ink housing

Get the Blue Bubblegum on Ctrl.Shift.Esc

I think most keyboard enthusiasts have heard about the Gateron Oil King by now, a switch that combines the famed Ink bottom housing with a nylon top. But there is another Gateron switch that uses the exact same housing combination, a switch that has somewhat flown under the radar. Back in December of 2021, Keebhut did an interest check on the Gateron Blue Bubblegum, with vendors running their group buys earlier this year. One of those vendors is none other than our very own Ctrl.Shift.Esc, and a big shoutout to CSE for sending these switches out. Their Blue Bubblegum pre-orders are expected to be fulfilled this month (June 2022), and after that they will be selling the switch as an in-stock item. It’s really crazy to think that we have a switch like this available locally; a few years ago this was almost unthinkable. The Blue Bubblegum is going for $0.75 per switch, and CSE’s price of R500 per 36 pack is very competitive.

Similar to the Oil King

Comparing the Blue Bubblegum to the Oil King, there are a few noteworthy differences. The first of these is the spring: the Oil King features a longer spring of 22mm whereas the Blue Bubblegum has a more standard 15mm spring. Consequently the Oil King will have more preload and a faster snapback. Secondly the Oil King does come factory lubed whereas the Blue Bubblegum is not prelubed. So you can expect good out of the box performance from the Oil King, with Gateron implementing their new factory lubing method which promises better consistency across switches. Finally, these switches are using different top housing molds, which is apparent when looking at the inverted nameplate on the Oil King and the different LED slots. Like the Gateron CJ, the Oil King’s top housing is designed to support Cherry keycaps in a north-facing configuration, but we don’t see this design on the Blue Bubblegum. Both switches are rated for 55g actuation and 65g bottom out, but I think the Blue Bubblegum’s actuation should be closer to 50g as it has less preload.

Ink material with a nylon top

The most interesting thing about the Blue Bubblegum and Oil King is the housing. The bottom housing features Gateron’s proprietary Ink material, which is of course used in the famous Black Ink. So it’s the same material but they just made it more opaque than the Black Ink. But where these switches are truly unique is the top housing. The Blue Bubblegum and Oil King feature an opaque nylon top. Nylon usually means a deeper and more muted sound, so we’ll see how the sound profile compares to the Black Ink. The Blue Bubblegum features a POM stem with a standard length stem pole and also a standard 15mm spring. Like many of Gateron’s new switches, the stem is factory polished which should increase the stock smoothness. Personally I like the 65g bottom out, as I have been moving towards heavier springs lately.

Eyecatching aesthetic

Considering that the Blue Bubblegums do not come factory lubed, the stock performance and sound was exceptional. They feel fantastic to type on with a nice solid bottom out feel. The stock sound is already full, rich and bassy, as you would expect from the Ink housing. They are definitely more thocky than clacky, and the nylon top plays a part in that. What impressed me the most about the Blue Bubblegum was the consistency in sound and feel across switches, and that’s the main reason they felt so great type on. They don’t quite have that frictionless downstroke of an Alpaca or Black Ink, but I think once they’re broken in and lubed they should have comparable smoothness. The notorious Gateron spring ping is still present on these switches, and I did find that it was quite pronounced on a few individual switches. But with that said, it wasn’t super noticeable during actual use, so these are definitely fine to use as is.

Less stem wobble than the Black Ink v2

As far as stem wobble, the Blue Bubblegum is a huge improvement on the Black Ink v2, featuring notably less wobble on the East-West and North-South lines. This puts it more or less on the same level as the Gateron Box Inks. I wouldn’t quite say it matches a JWK switch yet, but it’s very encouraging to see Gateron improving in this area. The housing also feels a lot tighter than the Black Ink v2, and I would actually be comfortable using these switches without films. I never thought I’d say that about a Gateron switch. Gateron has really upped their game on recent releases like the CJ, Oil King and Blue Bubblegum we’re reviewing today.

I was extremely curious to see what these switches would sound like after modding, as I felt like they had a lot of potential. I always lube my own switches, so the lack of factory lube is actually a good thing for me. I applied my favoured Krytox 205g0, and picked up some Durock 0.3mm films from Ctrl.Shift.Esc. The lube and films enhanced an already impressive sound profile, and I would highly recommend modding these switches. At the very least you should do a spring lube to eliminate the metal ping.

Blue Bubblegum on the KBD67 Lite

So in summary, the Blue Bubblegum is another excellent release by Gateron, and they’re definitely going to give JWK a run for their money in 2022. These switches have a great typing feel with that classic bassy sound that is characteristic of the Ink housing. The Blue Bubblegum is a must have for any linear fan.

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