Funny thing, I just bought three Ahabs after using a Neponset as my daily driver for the last six months. Not that I particularly like the Ahab, I just wanted more pens to play with.
In my opinion the Neponset is what the Ahab should have been.
The primary reason is that the Neponset separates the grip from the nib. If you get burping while the pen is in your pocket the worst case scenario is that there's some ink on the very front of the grip. Using the Ahab a few years ago I was constantly finding ink on the grip, I had to stop using it for that reason. After that I accidentally melted the Ahab trying to colour it with RIT die (hot water and this pen do not mix) and I didn't bother with Noodler's pens for a few years.
Surprisingly I have two Ahabs inked right now and the grips are still clean. We'll see how long it lasts.
For me the Neponset nib is just a nice wet music nib, and not a flex nib. Yes it can flex, but back in the day when Nathan first talked about it he described old school quality of flex, and that certainly hasn't translated into the product. If you want to add flex to your every day writing style then you're still going to need to heavily modify the nib.
As for the quality of the pen out of the box, I don't think it's any worse than a normal pen. When I started with fountain pens I was appalled at the consistency of Pelikan nibs (actually the only nib I bought that I couldn't get working was a Pelikan, one of the tines was twisted to give it irreparable baby bottom). Over the years I haven't heard anything better about Mont Blanc or any other company. Richard Binder didn't adjust every nib that passed through his hands for no reason.
Fit and finish on the rest of the Neponset is maybe a little bit behind the big companies, it's certainly no M600, but it is every bit as much a functional pen. After I tuned the nib for a little wetter flow with no pressure it's a very good writer. I just wish Nooldler's would make $20 version so that I could buy more of them, or at least give us the option of purchasing the music nib separately so that I can experiment on some.
Edited by Joshua J., 21 June 2015 - 16:22.