Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the FPN Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies


Registration on the Fountain Pen Network

Dearest Visitor of the little Fountain Pen Nut house on the digital prairie,

Due to the enormous influx of spammers, it is no longer possible to handle valditions in the traditional way. For registrations we therefore kindly and respectfully request you to send an email with your request to our especially created email address. This email address is register at fountainpennetwork dot com. Please include your desired user name, and after validation we will send you a return email containing the validation key, normally wiithin a week.

Thank you very much in advance!
The FPN Admin Team






Photo

Five sentences with the Levenger Decathlon...


  • Please log in to reply
22 replies to this topic

#1 rroossinck

rroossinck

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,683 posts
  • Location:Corn Country USA (Iowa)

Posted 11 July 2008 - 21:00



Just finished about five sentences with the Levenger Decathlon shown in the picture above. Here's my quick take.

  • Looks outstanding; excellent formal pen.
  • Great Schmidt-sourced screw-in nib (mine is medium); this means that for all of you with custom ground Bexley Simplicity nibs, they're a direct swap. Good flow, smooth, and despite what I thought when I first looked at it, the two-tone nib looks very nice.
  • Fit/finish is great!
  • Feel in the hand is very good; almost identical in weight to the TrueWriter as well as in all of the other dimensions.
  • Although I've never owned one, this has an Omas-esque quality to it - the facets make it feel similar to what I'd imagine a Paragon feels like.



Seriously, an outstanding pen. Levenger really hit one outta the park on this one!

















All right...time to do a more proper review of this one now that I've had it for a bit longer. I'll gloss over the stuff that I've already covered up above.

Initial: (See above)

Appearance
: (See above) I do, however, want to make a few comments about a couple of styling bits that I've come to enjoy over the past few months. I've owned a handful of faceted pens, and what I really like about this one is that the facets aren't quite so sharp as some of the others (specifically, the Retro51 Double 8). They're nicely rounded, and have a softness to them that lets them rest pretty easily in your hand. I'm also a big fan of the wider-than-average pocket clip on this one. It's wide enough that it doesn't twist or fold over when it's in your shirt pocket, and make your shirt pocket look all out of whack. It just sits there, and securely holds the pen where it's supposed to be.

Design: (See above) Much of this has been covered elsewhere, but I'll make a couple of comments regarding the weight and balance. Fully loaded, this pen feels quite similar to the True Writer in terms of weight - somewhere between 25g and 28g with a converter. While it's not heavy by any stretch, the cap does add a little bit of back-heaviness. While it won't bother most folks (and normally doesn't bother me, either), on occasion, it'll feel just a little back-weighted, depending on what I was using before I grabbed it. It's weird; some days I'll feel it, and some days I won't. It may be on the days where I've used something that's really lightweight (a Waterman 52 or something similar), and then grab this after lunch or something. YMMV.

Nib: As has been discussed, the nib is only available (currently - I'd imagine that they're working on getting a few other sizes ready) in a medium. It's a very nice medium, too. The steel nib used here is very nice, and what I've noticed lately is that it shows off a little more shading than most nibs I own. I don't know if it's just my nib that does this, or if it's a characteristic of the design.

The other thing about the nib, and some of you will take comfort in this, is that it's the exact same nib as is used in a Bexley Simplicity, the Retro51 Double 8, and other pens. If you have a Simplicity with an excellent nib that you really love - it'll be a direct swap into the Decathlon. I happened to have a spare (F) laying around, and I decided to grind it into an XF cursive italic, and it swapped in just fine. There are plenty of these screw-in nib units available out there; I believe that Pear Tree Pen Co. carries them (in fact, I think that at one time, they had a few Minuskin'd stubs available, too), as do a handful of other retailers. They're not terribly pricey, either, so if a medium isn't your thing, you're not entirely without option.

Filling: C/C. Works as advertised.

Cost/Value: At $138, Levenger's pricing has taken some heat. Lots of folks have commented that it's pretty steep for a steel nib. I'm torn as to how to feel about it. On one hand, I can get a Retro51 Double 8 for a fair bit less money and get the same nib; on the other hand, though...I've owned a Double 8 before, and frankly, I didn't like it. It felt brittle, like I had to be super-careful with it for fear of shattering it. The construction wasn't/isn't as good as this Levenger pen, either. At the end of the day, I'd be more inclined to go for the Decathlon. It just feels more solid and well-made than the alternative. I don't get too hung up on the nib being steel, because frankly, some of my best (and most hassle-free) pens have steel nibs.

Conclusion
: Even though it's on the pricey end of the scale, I think that it's a pen that should be seriously considered by anyone who's looking for a really solid pen, and a great writing experience - especially if you're looking at a faceted pen and don't want to spend the big bucks to get into the more high-end brands. This is a nice pen that writes really well, and with the way that Levenger is utilizing Google Adwords, it would surprise me if you couldn't find a 15% off coupon out there to equalize the price a little bit more if you need to.

Edited by MYU, 02 November 2008 - 18:21.


Brassing Adds Character: Available by clicking on my signature.

Sponsored Content

#2 donwinn

donwinn

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,031 posts
  • Location:Frisco Texas (Northwest of Dallas)

Posted 11 July 2008 - 23:44

QUOTE (rroossinck @ Jul 11 2008, 04:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Just finished about five sentences with the Levenger Decathlon shown in the picture above. Here's my quick take.

  • Looks outstanding; excellent formal pen.
  • Great Schmidt-sourced screw-in nib (mine is medium); this means that for all of you with custom ground Bexley Simplicity nibs, they're a direct swap. Good flow, smooth, and despite what I thought when I first looked at it, the two-tone nib looks very nice.
  • Fit/finish is great!
  • Feel in the hand is very good; almost identical in weight to the TrueWriter as well as in all of the other dimensions.
  • Although I've never owned one, this has an Omas-esque quality to it - the facets make it feel similar to what I'd imagine a Paragon feels like.


Expect a full review and some detailed photos when I get a few minutes.

Seriously, an outstanding pen. Levenger really hit one outta the park on this one!


Only slightly off topic. Do you (or anyone who reads this) know if the Truewriter also uses the same screw-in Schmidt nib?

Donnie

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)
 


#3 rroossinck

rroossinck

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,683 posts
  • Location:Corn Country USA (Iowa)

Posted 11 July 2008 - 23:56

Same principle, but a smaller nib. Same diameter threads, etc. In a pinch, I once used the short Levenger nib in a Retro51 Double 8 and it worked okay. I wouldn't do it as a long-term solution, but it does work.

Brassing Adds Character: Available by clicking on my signature.

#4 R.ticle One

R.ticle One

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 319 posts

Posted 12 July 2008 - 01:30

Nice one! I was pleasantly surprised when I saw these on their site.

R.

#5 KCat

KCat

    Honorary Administrator

  • FPN Hon. Admin

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10,638 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 13 July 2008 - 02:50

This is a looker. I hope it is successful and comes out in something other than black.

A dark burgundy would be lovely.

KCat
Save animal lives - support your local animal shelter

My personal blog https://kcdockalscribbling.com

My nature blog https://kcbeachscribbles.com
Venerable are letters, infinitely brave, forlorn, and lost. V. Woolf, Jacob's Room


#6 jonro

jonro

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,534 posts
  • Location:South Florida

Posted 02 August 2008 - 00:11

Nice photos, Ryan! The Decathlon looks very nice, very elegant. My only only problem with this pen is that it is only available with a medium nib. Too bad for me.

#7 rroossinck

rroossinck

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,683 posts
  • Location:Corn Country USA (Iowa)

Posted 08 August 2008 - 22:26

I'm guessing that it won't be too long, and they'll release it in a few more nib sizes. I don't know that it'll be as big a selection as you might be able to get with a Pelikan, but I'd guess that they'll have at least F/M/B.

Brassing Adds Character: Available by clicking on my signature.

#8 John Cullen

John Cullen

    John Cullen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,899 posts

Posted 08 August 2008 - 22:38

Hi Ryan,

I do not have a Simplicity so I am not sure which nib it is that might fit in here other than the standard one.


Do you know, would it take the standard Steel nib that comes in the Dani and Taccias? Those come on a feed pushed into a plastic threaded collar. Wonder if they would fit? If this would take the Taccia Fine steel nib, that would be very nice.

john

#9 rroossinck

rroossinck

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,683 posts
  • Location:Corn Country USA (Iowa)

Posted 09 August 2008 - 05:57

John, I suppose that might work. I don't have a Dani, and the Staccato that I do own doesn't seem to have this threading. Mine's just a friction fit setup.

Can anyone try this out with their Simplicity and Taccia to see if it works there? A Retro 51 Double 8 would work, too.

Brassing Adds Character: Available by clicking on my signature.

#10 Curly2001

Curly2001

    Dipped Only

  • Member - Gold

  • Pip
  • 6 posts

Posted 02 November 2008 - 17:03

Does Levenger make it or is it outsourced and they just market it? I get the feeling that Levenger wants the fame of being more than they are in respect to making a "Levenger" pen but really only has it assembled.
Thanks,
Curly

#11 louie24

louie24

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 66 posts

Posted 22 December 2008 - 14:52

QUOTE (KCat @ Jul 13 2008, 03:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This is a looker. I hope it is successful and comes out in something other than black.

A dark burgundy would be lovely.



2nd the burgundy, if anyone at Levenger is listening.
wish list!
Sailor 1911M
Sheaffer Balance
Esterbrook Bell Systems J

#12 TheNibsmith

TheNibsmith

    The Nibsmith

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,400 posts
  • Location:IOWA - Go Hawks!!

Posted 30 December 2008 - 04:16

QUOTE
Although I've never owned one, this has an Omas-esque quality to it - the facets make it feel similar to what I'd imagine a Paragon feels like.
So now that you've owned an Omas, how would you compare them?

#13 ParkerBeta

ParkerBeta

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 471 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 26 June 2009 - 07:14

QUOTE (Curly2001 @ Nov 2 2008, 10:03 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does Levenger make it or is it outsourced and they just market it? I get the feeling that Levenger wants the fame of being more than they are in respect to making a "Levenger" pen but really only has it assembled.
Thanks,
Curly


I happened to look at the underside of the clip of my Decathlon, and saw the word "TAIWAN" there, so I guess the pen is made there. Now, don't Taccia and Retro51 have their pens made in Taiwan too? Maybe the same factory makes all of these pens.
S.T. Dupont Defi with (steel) F nib
Montegrappa Nero Uno Linea M nib
Visconti Sterling Silver Skeleton M nib
Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age EF nib

#14 ParkerBeta

ParkerBeta

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 471 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 26 June 2009 - 07:19

QUOTE (dannzeman @ Dec 29 2008, 09:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE
Although I've never owned one, this has an Omas-esque quality to it - the facets make it feel similar to what I'd imagine a Paragon feels like.
So now that you've owned an Omas, how would you compare them?


Since I've very recently bought a Paragon (new-style), allow me to answer. The Decathlon's facets line up perfectly on the cap and barrel, just like on the Paragon. However, the seller of the Paragon remarked on how it was comparatively rare to see a Paragon like that. So it appears that the quality control in the Taiwanese (see above post) factory that makes the Decathlon is no worse than that in the Italian factory that makes the Paragon, and more remarkable for doing so at a much lower price point. I would not be surprised if the resin used in the Decathlon came from Italy, though, as it appears to be identical to that used in my Aurora Talentum. I have also seen Taccia advertising some of their pens as being machined from blocks of "Italian resin," which would tie in to my hypothesis that the same Taiwanese factory that makes Taccia pens also makes the Decathlon.

Edited by ParkerBeta, 26 June 2009 - 14:03.

S.T. Dupont Defi with (steel) F nib
Montegrappa Nero Uno Linea M nib
Visconti Sterling Silver Skeleton M nib
Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age EF nib

#15 rroossinck

rroossinck

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,683 posts
  • Location:Corn Country USA (Iowa)

Posted 09 July 2009 - 19:30

Dan, sorry to get to this one so darn late...don't know how I missed it.

I agree with ParkerBeta's comments comparing the two, for the most part. I'd add that the facets on the Paragon were a bit more defined, whereas the ones on the Decathlon are a little more rounded, perhaps a bit like the difference between the corners on a stub and the corners on a cursive italic. One other thing that I noted as a major difference between the two was my perception of how fragile the Paragon felt as compared to that of the Decathlon. Take this with a big grain of salt, though; I had an old-style Arco, which costs a great deal more than a Decathlon. Some of the fragility that I perceived may have been because of my wallet...not because of the build. wink.gif

As for manufacturing, I believe that you're right, ParkerBeta. I think I remembered hearing that most of Levenger's pens in production today are coming from Asia somewhere. Frankly, that wouldn't surprise me in the slightest; there are/were a good number of pen companies that have done this - Taccia, Conklin, etc. From where I sit, Taccia and Levenger have hired the better quality control people (Conklin's quality control left a LOT to be desired).

Brassing Adds Character: Available by clicking on my signature.

#16 adam11

adam11

    Vintage

  • Premium - Ruby

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 747 posts
  • Location:Europe

Posted 10 July 2009 - 22:33

Nice black pen thumbup.gif

#17 CraigR

CraigR

    Bibliophile, Writer and Philosopher

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,854 posts
  • Location:Hudson, NC
  • Flag:

Posted 10 July 2009 - 23:34

I am a fan of Levingeer True Writers and own 5 of them. The last pen I purchased from Levinger is a Decathlon. Not only do I like the pen, it is a regular writer for me. Highly recommend it and especially if on sale. /Craig

A consumer and purveyor of words. 

 

Co-editor and writer for Faith On Every Corner Magazine

Magazine - http://www.faithonev...m/magazine.html

 

 

 


#18 tommyweir98

tommyweir98

    Near Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPip
  • 46 posts

Posted 13 February 2010 - 03:52

I bought this pen from the Levenger Outlet on Ebay and, while I find it to perform fine, it feels very cheap to me. It is very light, looks like plastic and the clip is so flimsy it moves left and right with just the slightest pressure. I expect it will fall off fairly quickly if it actually is used much. The pen does write well, but if I paid anywhere close to full price for it I would not be happy. Just my $0.02.

#19 Ed Ronax

Ed Ronax

    Support a pen addict - donate now.

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,753 posts
  • Location:The shores of Belfast Lough.
  • Flag:

Posted 13 February 2010 - 11:21

Excellent review, thanks.
And how can this be, because he is the Kwisatz Haderach.


#20 gary

gary

    Kalamazoo direct to you

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,252 posts

Posted 14 February 2010 - 13:51

One other thing that I noted as a major difference between the two was my perception of how fragile the Paragon felt as compared to that of the Decathlon. Take this with a big grain of salt, though; I had an old-style Arco, which costs a great deal more than a Decathlon. Some of the fragility that I perceived may have been because of my wallet...not because of the build.


I wonder, without having held a Decathlon, whether part of your impression of fragility is the lightweight celluloid. I've had two Paragons (old-style) and have been delighted with how light in the hand they are, but still stand up to being daily users. They are also very slender pens compared to the Decathlon, which looks like its design cues come from the new Milord. Same with a Omas Ogiva Autumno: lightweight, slender, but a tool to use all day long.
gary

Edited by gary, 14 February 2010 - 14:28.







Sponsored Content




|