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Hi! I'm new to this forum. The only pens that I've owned till now are a couple of Fellowship(an old Indian brand) and a Shaeffer Agio, which gave a lot of anxious days and doubts about my purchase (cosidering it was at least 10x the costliest pen I've ever owned). AFter wrangling with it for a bit (including a novice attempt at grinding!), it now writes excellent. Now, I'd like to make another purchase. I'm confused between the Lamy2k, in extra fine, which is quite costly, and then the Indian Handmades such as a Ranga 9B giant with a JoWo fine nib. I'm very particular about the feel and comfort, so thats a top priority. Also, the Nahvalur's are great looking pens, and I've only heard good about them. Now, what I'm trying to understand is what exactly is the difference between the Ranga/Nahvalur and the Lamy 2k, that people recommend it so much. Would it be justifiable for me to go with L2k or there's not much difference between the Ranga & Lamy. My heart's set on Ranga/Narwhal for they look just gorgeous, but then I don't want to eventually end up with the L2k. I'll be very thankful of any advice/suggestions to a newbie like me.
A few weeks ago, a friend on mine Mr. @Binu Raj wanted to gift me a pen. At first, I declined his offer, but after a lot of back and forth, I finally caved in and accepted his offer. A couple of weeks later, the pen arrived and I was surprised, it was an ebonite pen, more specifically, an Athlete. Earlier I was discussing with him about buying an ebonite pen after my M.Tech allotments finish, But this came as an early surprise. I've now been using it for a few weeks, and here's my opinion on the pen. If you can stay till the end, I'll answer a question that in my experience, Literally, No One has asked for. But for those pinched for time, here's a TL;DR: " For the asking price of 1500 rupees, I find this an impressively well built and excellent pen with a great nib. If you can deal with the pros and cons of an eyedropper, then you won't be disappointed. ". Now that half of the readers have left, Let's get moving... Design and Build I have seen some ASA pens on youtube and the forum, and I had one of their models on my bucket list. And this pen definitely lets me cross that wish from my list. Design wise, it’s a classic flattop design. Capped, the pen starts from a flat top, then goes straight, onto the barrel with a smooth transition, and starts to taper around 2/3rd of the way until the end which is also flat. There is no transition noticeable by feel, and I think if you have one of the solid colour ebonite models, it’ll just feel like a single rod stock. The finish on the barrel is excellent and like an athlete it is supremely well built. Just below the cap, on the barrel, the model’s name is engraved. I prefer this subtle engraving over the big logo like I’ve seen on some gama pens. But to each their own, I guess. My only gripe with this pen is the cap. Not because it’s flimsy or anything, the cap is adequately thick with a generic but functional clip, but the cap takes 6 turns to uncap. Yup… 6 turns. As a man who’s experienced with the 2 or 3 turns it takes to uncap most of my pens, this feels a bit too much. A multi start thread would’ve been nice. The grip is lengthy and tapered with a small flare close to the end. I like this design. Below the grip are the threads and a small step up to the barrel. The step is noticeable, but not sharp. It’s supremely comfortable to hold, and the pen is light enough that it makes as a great long writer of a pen. And with a nib as good as the ASA nib this has, I could write page after page after page, without any fatigue. The pen is plenty long to be used uncapped. Or if you prefer writing with a cricket stump rather than a pen, you can post this pen, it’ll post securely, but not deeply. But this makes it super long, but the cap weighs nothing, and it’s as comfortable to write posted as is unposted. This is not an oversized pen, that being said, it’s not a small pen either. For size comparison, from left to right, 1. Pilot 55C2 2. Click 71 Jumbo 3. Airmail 69T 4. ASA Athlete Nib, Filling and Writing The nib that the athlete comes with is a No.35/No.6 ASA branded nib. From the looks of it, it seems to be a kanwrite nib on top of an ebonite feed friction fit on the section. To @subbucal sir’s credit, the nib and feed was friction fit very tightly around the section. I needed to use a knockout jig to get the nib and the feed off for cleaning. More on the snug fit later. The pen is a traditional eyedropper (or, Tank Filler as I like to call it) and takes a very good 2.75-2.85ml of ink. Even with the ink, the pen weighs just 16 grams. That’s not considering the 6.3 grams of the cap. Coming to the writing sample, Here’s a sample of the writing with the supposedly medium nib. The pen is one of the most comfortable pen I’ve used till date, almost matching the feel of my daily carry Airmail 71JT. The pen is very comfortable to write on long sessions and the flow is very wet. The ebonite feed sure keeps up with very fast writing and the pen hasn’t dried out on me, capped or uncapped. A very reliable pen indeed. The nib feels like writing with a soft lead pencil, smooth with a touch of feedback, that goes away as you empty the barrel, since the flow goes wetter the more ink you use up. I haven’t emptied the barrel yet, but at the time of writing that writing sample, the barrel is about 1/4th now, and it hasn’t burped. The flow has become noticeably wetter since the barrel was full. I guess the tight fit does serve it’s purpose of regulating the air ink interchange. The ebonite does feel noticeably more comfortable than my airmails, it feels like it’s conforming to my grip for some reason, and for sweaty handers like me, there is no slippage, even if your hand sweats more than a man running at midday on the Chennai sun. Overall, as my first ebonite pen, I’m very much satisfied, and I don’t regret on accepting the pen from Binuraj Sir. For the asking price, It’s a damn good value. On a side note, if you don’t like flattop pens, the writer is the same pen as the athlete but with round ends. And if you prefer the convenience of a cartridge converter, but like this shape, go with the ASA spear. That comes with a jowo nib unit at bit more cost. Now, the question literally, No one asked. Say, you have a Shaeffer No Nonsense, or School pen, or the award, and you’ve damaged the nib, would an Airmail nib fit🤔🤔🤔??? The answer is… YES… any Indian No.8 nib fits, and it writes surprisingly well. Well, that’s all. Here’s a 🥇 for your patience. Till next time… see ya🙋♂️ P.S : A quick Update A quick update, The ink was about 1/5th of the barrel, and it finally burped. I noticed the flow getting wetter and wetter by the week, and the tightly fit feed finally got overwhelmed in the cold rains in kerala. well, guess its time to refill or change the feed... I do have some NN feeds lying around and I'll probably swap that in... So, will it burp??? Absolutely... But it'll take a fair time before that happens, just refill if the pen starts to flow like a firehose, then you'll be alright.👍