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An Update To The Fpr Guru

fountain pen revolution indian pens piston filler update

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#1 Jamerelbe

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 23:10

I bought my first 'Guru' from Fountain Pen Revolution soon after it was released, but never got around to writing a review - basically because a few other people beat me to it, and I agreed with their assessments of the pen.  A cheap pen, a great buy for the money - but what was with that clip?  It looked like it had been gnawed at by rats on the slow boat from India - if such a thing were possible!

 

I'm putting up this post now, though, because of a few developments with the pen, that I think (if possible) make it an even better deal - and because I recently received 3 new ones, bringing my total to 6, four purchased outright, and 2 that came free with the new pen pouches I purchased (more on those another time, maybe).

 

DISCLAIMER: I was not compensated in any way for putting up this post, and paid for all these pens myself (except the two that were part of the pen pouch promotion, available to all customers).

 

My first 2 Gurus were clear demonstrator models - you'll see in the picture below, one of them became badly discoloured by an experimental ink I filled it with (oops!), but otherwise it's fine.  I purchased a blue model about 3 months ago (with a B nib), and a black model about two weeks ago - but as I mentioned, a couple of free Gurus (one blue, one black) came with the order.  

 

R0NF2m5.jpg

 

So, what do I like about these pens?  

 

First, the fact that they're cheap - dirt cheap - and yet they look reasonable and write really well.  If I remember correctly, these pens were commissioned from Serwex, based on an existing design (the Serwex 162? or the 1362?? I can't remember!), but with some minor modifications and improvements.  At present they're only available in these three colour options - that may possibly change in future, but (I suspect) only if there's sufficient demand.

 

Second, they're piston-fillers - the mechanism works well and can be completely disassembled for cleaning and/or trouble-shooting:

 

02NO5Rp.jpg

 

Thirdly, I like the fact that these pens use an ebonite feed, which can be heat set and/or tweaked to improve performance, far more easily than the plastic feeds that come on the more expensive FPR pens.

 

Fourthly, I like the nibs - the original #5 FPR nibs in Extra Fine, Fine, Fine Stub ($3 extra), Medium, Broad ($3 extra) and flex ($3 extra).  These nibs have changed their appearance over the past couple of years, from a plain matte finish (see the above photo) to a more adorned nib which (often but not always) has a nib designation inscribed on it (EF, F, M etc).  If you look closely, you'll notice that the black pen above has a different nib - order one of these pens with a flex nib, and the newer #5.5 version (in stainless steel) now comes standard on the pen. The feed is also custom-set to enhance ink flow, if you order with a flex nib.

 

Finally, I'll mention the improvements / updates that make this pen an even better buy.  The clip has been replaced with a newer version - a larger, sturdier, less mangled-looking clip, that improves dramatically the appearance of the pen (see below).  It's also less likely to bend out of shape and/or snap.  Also, you can now buy loose nibs AND FEEDS for these pens, to allow even more tinkering.  Ruined your feed trying to improve flow?  No worries - for $3 (I think) plus postage, you can order a replacement...

 

e5Up0sX.jpg

 

The Indus pen that I reviewed the other day is a much classier looking pen, probably made of more durable materials, certainly more attractive plastic / acrylic - but I've grown really fond of my Gurus in the time that I've been using (and collecting) them.  They're inexpensive, reliable, fun to play with (I've swapped the clips around so that in each colour I have one pen with an older clip, one with the new)... And at $9 (plus $3 for a nib upgrade) you won't weep too many bitter tears if you break or lose them.



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#2 mhguda

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 12:48

Hi, thanks for your review, and especially thanks for drawing attention to the improvements.

I too bought a Guru when it came out, and while I like it well enough, I found it unremarkable and so have hardly used it. I in fact like my Oliver Exams, which it resembles, too, better. But your mentioning the new nibs it now comes with caught my eye, and I am now thinking I may order one of them.

Only there's one thing that I don't quite understand. On the FPR website, the flex nib offered with the Guru (for $3 extra) is a #5, not the 5.5 you give it. And the 5.5 flex is available on their nibs menu - for $7! So, there is a little confusion. Would you care to explain? Because I also really like the look of the new nibs - I may just swap the old ones for the new on a number of their pens I have (Guru, Dilli...) and not buy a new pen body.

Thanks in advance...


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#3 Jamerelbe

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 22:03

Hi there mhguda, thanks for the feedback and the question - and please forgive the delay, it came through near midnight local time...

 

If you check out the nibs page on the FPR website (which obviously you've already done!), you'll see that both the #5 and the #5.5 nibs are said to fit into most of their fountain pens.  Certainly that's the case with their Triveni pens - they now ship, by default, with the larger nib.  And the advice Kevin (FPR head honcho) gave me was that they now ship the Guru with a #5.5 nib if you ask for the flex option. That's what I ordered last time - while the two complimentary Gurus that came with the new pen pouches both featured an original #5 nib.  

 

Both types of nib are designed to work with a 5.1mm diameter feed.  The #5.5 will be a slightly tighter fit - because the wings flare out a little more - so I'd ask Kevin before trying it in the Dilli pens (for example).  The feed isn't the only factor: they also need to fit deeply enough within the grip section.  

 

It's also worth pointing out that the new (#5.5) nibs are priced exactly the same as the old (#5) nibs: $3 for EF, F and M; $7 for B or Flex.  Apparently there is also a stub nib option on the way (also for $7) - hopefully these will be a bit less 'scratchy', with a little more line variation, than the 'Fine Stub' in the #5 line of nibs...



#4 Jamerelbe

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 22:08

I'm interested to hear from anyone else who's purchased and/or tried out the Guru: how do you find them?  How do they compared (for you) to other, similarly priced pens?  Personally, I find the new Indus a little more appealing, at least aesthetically - and the Trivenis are nicer still, though I'd love to see them come with an ebonite feed - but for the price, this is a pretty nice pen!



#5 JTC

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 01:32

Thanks for the review and letting us know they changed the clip.  I was just using my Gurus today, and thinking about picking up a couple more, but that clip is just so ugly, and flimsy!  I'm definitely gonna pick up couple more now that they've improved it. They've become my favorite "knock about" pens.



#6 FPgal

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 19:14

Very helpful update. I have gotten interested in the Guru lately because I caught a comment from someone (I don't know where) saying that they used this pen for their J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite because the pen is easy to disassemble for cleaning. As I am really nervous about doing such a thing, I thought I should check out this pen. Your review is reassuring, especially as you feature a demonstrator, something I'm interested in trying out. I think I might give one a shot, with a flex nib...



#7 Jamerelbe

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 02:10

Very helpful update. I have gotten interested in the Guru lately because I caught a comment from someone (I don't know where) saying that they used this pen for their J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite because the pen is easy to disassemble for cleaning. As I am really nervous about doing such a thing, I thought I should check out this pen. Your review is reassuring, especially as you feature a demonstrator, something I'm interested in trying out. I think I might give one a shot, with a flex nib...


It's hard to go wrong with a pen this simple AND this inexpensive - and it'll fit both the #5 & #5.5 nibs you can buy on the FPR website.

#8 FPgal

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 17:38

Hi Jamerelbe, I was looking at your comments to the earlier FPR Guru Flex review and there was a mention about waiting to see whether or not the pen would dry out quickly or not. Have you noticed whether or not the Guru has a decent seal, or does it tend to dry out faster than you expect? Thanks so much for your detailed assessment of these pens so far.

 

Best,

May



#9 JTC

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 21:10

My flex guru never dries out, even when I leave it for a couple of days.



#10 FPgal

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Posted 12 April 2015 - 00:47

Thanks for the info, JTC! I just took the plunge and bought a FPR Guru demonstrator with a flex nib, and a red Serwex 1362 with the standard fine nib. I waffled a bit about buying a medium nib to swap out the fine nib, but I suddenly got itchy fingers. So I am waiting for Kevin and his boys to check the pens out before they send them out to me... does this mean Kevin is in India?



#11 Jamerelbe

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Posted 12 April 2015 - 03:21

Hi FPGal, congratulations on your purchases! The Guru seems to have a reasonable seal on the cap: you can't leave it unused for weeks or months, but it starts up fine after a few days' break. There's a visible breathing hole in the Serwex 1362 that will make it a little more susceptible to drying out - but neither pen (in my experience) is as bad for that as Noodler's pens, and there are some fairly easy work-arounds.

Yes, I understand that Kevin is an American based in India - which is how he sources all of his pens and/or manufacturers for his own products.

#12 FPgal

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Posted 25 April 2015 - 15:38

Got my Guru demonstrator yesterday from the post office and filled it up with Pelikan 4001 violet ink (sorry I don't have a photo right now). It started up beautifully right away and even did a little flexing for me. While I do agree the acrylic looks a bit light and plasticky in parts, the performance of the pen already blows those things away. And my Massdrop shipment of the 1670 J. Herbin inks just arrived this morning, so I'm looking forward to seeing how the Rouge Hematite looks in the demonstrator! Exciting and new...



#13 Mpheenan

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 03:36

I'm interested to hear from anyone else who's purchased and/or tried out the Guru: how do you find them?  How do they compared (for you) to other, similarly priced pens?  Personally, I find the new Indus a little more appealing, at least aesthetically - and the Trivenis are nicer still, though I'd love to see them come with an ebonite feed - but for the price, this is a pretty nice pen!

I have two Gurus and two Indus pens and really like them. Recently, however, I've encountered a disappointing development that I hope is just bad luck on my part. The end of the plunger rod -- the rubbery thing that actually blocks the ink from moving farther up the barrel, whatever that's called -- has basically disintegrated on my Guru. This means the plunger rod just turns around inside the now-loose end piece rather than moving up and down the barrel. So, the breakdown of this tiny piece of plastic has made the pen useless (at least until I figure out how to replace/repair it.)

 

Any ideas? I tried binding it together with silicone tape, but that didn't work. I need a replacement plunger thingy, I think. I tried robbing some Dollar pens and Serwex pens for the part, but they weren't the same diameter or design. Worse, I noticed the same thing is happening on my Serwex 962 pens. 

 

I'd welcome any suggestions or info anyone might have.



#14 mhguda

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 03:54

1. Ask FPR for a replacement. (of the plunger seal or the whole pen)

2. (not sure if this is possible?) fix in place at the end of the barrel and use as an eyedropper? (That would mean pulling out the nib and feed, I'm afraid)


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#15 Jamerelbe

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 04:28

I have two Gurus and two Indus pens and really like them. Recently, however, I've encountered a disappointing development that I hope is just bad luck on my part. The end of the plunger rod -- the rubbery thing that actually blocks the ink from moving farther up the barrel, whatever that's called -- has basically disintegrated on my Guru. This means the plunger rod just turns around inside the now-loose end piece rather than moving up and down the barrel. So, the breakdown of this tiny piece of plastic has made the pen useless (at least until I figure out how to replace/repair it.)

 

Any ideas? I tried binding it together with silicone tape, but that didn't work. I need a replacement plunger thingy, I think. I tried robbing some Dollar pens and Serwex pens for the part, but they weren't the same diameter or design. Worse, I noticed the same thing is happening on my Serwex 962 pens. 

 

I'd welcome any suggestions or info anyone might have.

 

Very sorry to hear about your trouble: I'd contact Kevin at Fountain Pen Revolution, and ask him whether he has spare parts available.  The Guru is, I believe, made by Serwex - built on their 162(?) pen.  The plunger is also identical to the 1362 models, which are still available (just slightly cheaper?) on their website.



#16 grainweevil

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 10:43

Yeah, I had that happen to mine. Kevin promptly sent me a replacement, but I've concluded O-rings are the answer - I posted a long and saga-ish blog entry about it a year or so ago here. (You're going ask the O-ring size, and I'm going to fail mightily to tell you; I have a mixed box of different standard ones, and just picked the one that fitted.) Hope it might help, anyway. 

 

Cheers, Al



#17 Aramchek

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 11:06

The end of the plunger rod -- the rubbery thing that actually blocks the ink from moving farther up the barrel, whatever that's called -- has basically disintegrated on my Guru.

Three of the four Serwex piston fillers I've had failed in the same way after only a few fills (the fourth one I think I've only used once) so it seems like a standard flaw with their piston design. I kept the nib and feed on those that had a decent nib and threw away the rest of the pen since it didn't seem worth the effort fixing them, since they're not exactly ultra rare or super fancy.


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#18 Shubhranshu Das

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Posted 12 September 2015 - 09:45

Hi, I just received my FPR Triveni Ebonite... Red with a #5.5 flex nib.... It wrote out of the box... I did do a wash first as advised... Good flex, but this comes with. Plastic feed which I feel doesn't do the flex nib justice in terms of flow.... This results in railroading if additional flex is required...I'm in touch with Kevin as I would like to resolve this niggling issue on this very nice writer....





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