I originally posted this in First Stop. It was my first post. I subsequently realised that the reviews are meant to be posted here.
This review is my first and is intended for a layman.
There is usually no best. No best book, no best car and no best movie. Same goes with fountain pens. However, recently I found or discovered a pen which comes very near to being the best in my present collection. This pen was bought from ASApens.in and was named Athlete. I quite enjoyed writing with it. I call it the pen with a character
As you can perhaps see, the pen is made of ebonite i.e.a hard rubber but feels and looks like wood. How many of us can boast of using an writing instrument made of ebonite. Not many, I guess. Believe me when I say it, the feel of ebonite surpasses plastic, acrylic or even metal. You won't feel the weight. You will not experience the pressure and pain on the tips of your finger while writing for long hours. Your hands will not sweat as much. Moreover, the balance of the pen is very significant when it comes to writing for long durations. This pen has perfect balance. at least for me, posted(putting the cap on the end) or unposted. Despite being of such a large size, I never felt its size or weight even once. Pardon the cliche, but the pen is literally light as a feather.
The wooden ebonite body has been polished to give it a matt black finish. It adds to the aesthetics of this pen. The pen looks classy and visually appealing. It catches the attention of those around you, provided they care about pens. The 'Athlete' has got a personality of its own. Its exterior speaks of its being a no nonsense , efficient and durable pen. When you keep it with other pens, it dominates them with its presence.
Athlete is an eyedropper. For a layman, this means that its barrel is filled with ink, unlike say Parker vector or Hero 360. Usually in an eyedropper, the air bubble inside gets warmed up with the heat of the body and expands. This results in burping which means that your page can get ruined and you may end up with a big and sizable blot on your paper. But, thankfully, this is not the case with this pen. I ended up a complete tank and I found no burping. The wooden body apparently acts as an insulator much better than plastic. The ink flow increased when the ink levels dropped but there was no burping. Another problems which eyedropper pens face is leakage. None here though. The cap fits securely and the barrel is securely attached to the nib and feed section. It was a new experience for me. An Eyedropper fountain pen that doesn't leak.!!!
The best part is nib. These nibs are apparently made in Germany. The engraving says that they are Iridium tipped. You can feel their superior quality. If the best fountain pen you have is a Parker Vector, you would be blown away by the smoothness of the nib. The nib does not have a glossy smooth feel which many a chinese fountain pens have. That is being too smooth to like. There is a very little feedback, which I love, because I can feel myself writing and I can feel the nib gliding on the paper. The nib is a dual tone size #6. For a lay man this can be translated as fairly large nib. Not the largest, but quite large. Having a large nib means that if you have large hands like mine and many of other adult men, you wont be forced to write too close to paper and while writing you can maintain a comfortable hand stance.Moreover the grip section was long and smooth. I got the nib with tines separated. I thought that it would be an issue. But it was not. There was no rail roading. No issues with writing at all. I found the nib and the pen to be made for each other. The feed was a pretty simple ebonite one. It had deep channels. Which is perhaps the reason behind the wet writing.
Writing samples of the pen and the comparison with Pilot 'Tank', Pilot MR and Lamy are included. The ink used is commonly available Chelpark and the paper is a JK A4 size paper.
The service of ASApens.in was excellent. When I bought the pen I used the option of getting the fountain pen checked which is not available on any other indian site. The sellers are professionals. One can any time mail them or call them in respect of any queries related to fountain pens. I called them and they didn't disappoint me.
Now, let me answer the most difficult question about this pen. What I didn't like about it? Well, I liked everything. But I should add a caveat that this is an eyedropper pen which needs a little maintenance just like a samurai sword does . And the cap if left posted may leave a round mark on the matt finish. However, the pen is available in many colors on ASApens. Lastly if you feel the ink flow increasing it would be wiser to refill the barrel pen instead of waiting for the ink to be over.
Overall, I recommend this pen. It's a great value for money and a daily writer. One can use it daily without impunity. One can show it off or keep it entirely to himself. It is a work horse, a no nonsense pen. It is one macho of a pen, that dominates other pens and the paper. The pen with a 'Character'.
The review is also available on my blog.
Hope it was helpful. I am soon going to write a review of Doctor Deluxe. A under 3$ pen that quite surprised me with its performance. I call that the reliable housemaid.
Edited by mrmohitmishra, 18 November 2014 - 11:03.