This is less of a review (and much less of a competition), and more of a comparison / demonstration of my two newest pens using two of my newest inks.
The paper is Rhodia #16 pad.
I've been more interested in line variation lately, as well as broader nibs. I started out my fountain pen journey, quite briefly, with Japanese fine nibs. I soon came to the conclusion there was little reason to use a fountain pen if you're using a nib that fine. Not trying to convince or argue with anyone, but that's what my eyes and hands told me.
I quickly moved up to medium, and just recently began exploring some broad nibs, primarily for correspondence. I still use my Pilot 823 medium for work primarily, and my Franklin-Christoph #19 for journaling. Everything else varies, but I've also found I really only love using 3-5 pens of my ~ 3 dozen. (I don't use the word "collection" because I'm not a collector, i.e. if a pen isn't a good writer, it isn't a good pen and I have no use for it.)
I researched both these pens before I bought them and had high hopes for both, but also some anxiety as I've read negative comments of both, especially the Ahab. Those high hopes were valid; they are both very good pens. My expectations were well exceeded for one of them, and met by the other.
I've always had a strong suspicion I buy Noodler's products from some "other" Noodler's that is quite different from the one some quite vocal critics do. My evidence for this strange conclusion is I cannot for the life of me find a bottle of Bay State Blue that eats my pens or becomes a permanent stain on any object whatsoever it touches, nor Black or Heart of Darkness that smudges after 14 days in the Sahara dry heat, or a Noodler's pen that just won't write out of the box, or even ever, no matter what I do. It could, I suppose, have something to do with not giving one fig about the personal opinions of the owner and sole employee of Noodler's (or Pilot for that matter), but since that would be ridiculous to form a pen or ink opinion or review on, I can only come up with the idea that I'm actually doing business with a different company with the name "Noodler's".
But, the pen and documentation say "Noodler's Ahab" so, I'll go with that. The Pilot Falcon was a different story for me. It is only the second pen I've ever gone into a bricks and mortar store and bought, and the very first pen EVER I've tried before I bought it. Probably not so strange in this internet commerce age, but it still sounds weird to say out loud. I visited my friend Alan at Crazy Alan's Emporium nearby in Chapel Hill. Many in the pen world know Alan from pen shows. I know him, and the folks at Franklin-Christoph, because they're my home folks. There's more than one advantage to living in the Triangle of North Carolina.
I walked in to Alan's store with the goal of walking out with a few pads of paper for jotting quick notes, and left a little while later with a new Falcon. We've all been there.
The Pilot is a smooth writer, as I'd be shocked to find any different performance from a Pilot. My 823 is an absolute phenom and if the skinny thing would put on some weight and especially girth, say grow to the size of a Bexley Prometheus, I'd probably be a one man, one pen guy. It's got everything but that.
Pilot doesn't advertise the Falcon as a flex nib / pen, and I always thought that was a cop-out. Now I don't. They're right, it isn't. It's a "standard" pen with a quality nib that isn't a nail. It "flexes" some, vs. none at all, and it will give you some line variation, but not a lot. I noticed the most variation when I did the little squiggly lines many people seem to do to test a pen, much more than when actually writing real stuff with it. It's like the folks at PIlot know how you're going to test it! Or maybe not.
I have heard the line variation is more pronounced in the fine or medium nibs from Pilot, so I'm not making a statement about all the nibs available for the Falcon. I've only tried the Soft Broad. (hope my wife doesn't read that sentence out of context).
The Ahab is amazing. Maybe I'm amazed easily, but for all the pens I've seen that people claim to be "modern flex" or something equivalent, this one is head and shoulders above the rest. I have never once had problems with the feed keeping up or railroading. I've experienced both, especially railroading, with my Falcon. When I bought the Ahab, I thought it would be a gimmick, use once-in-a-blue-moon kind of thing. I had no expectations of it being a truly very good everyday writer, even when applying no "extra" pressure for flex writing. But it is.
This is also the first time I've seen Bay State Grape used in post, to my memory, which I really like. But, this post is about the pens, not the inks.
I like both pens and am happy with my purchase. The Ahab far exceeded my expectations, and the Falcon fully met them, though, if I hadn't used the Falcon in the store before I'd bought it, I probably would have expected more line variation from it based on most reviews I've read vs. what it actually does.