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Asa Athlete Fountain Pen Review


a_m
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Some months back, I had written a review titled "Fountain Pen Revolution in India" There I had written that "...it is good that ASA is making its own revolutionary contribution in making of the high standard fountain pen in a substantive manner." And it is good to see that ASA is scaling up on the spiral.

 

Some weeks back, ASA came out with its own branded FP by name Athlete. And it is a well constructed pen. It is an ebonite FP, and the capped surface is smooth. So, it gives a really nice feeling to hold it. The pen comes with ASA branding, with name of pen Athlete written on it, alongwith India and year of manufacture. Though in my opinion the imprint could have been more prominent

 

 

15592277497_f73ff61cd4_z.jpgathlete_1

 

 

15157473294_88ae25f097_z.jpgathlete_3

 

The cap is threaded cap, as with all EDs manufactured in India.

 

The Nib - The pen originally came with a steel #6 (35 mm) nib. Which in my opinion is not really the right size nib for this FP. The reason is that the curvature of the nib and the curvature of the section seemed to have a mismatch, leading to the nib times not touching. The exact issue can be seen wrt another custom pen made to order by ASA and hosted on its photostream

 

15529171439_9c2a2c5d9d_z.jpgLil Kuyil Opened

 

So I changed the nib with the dual tone Wality Fine nib - which I had couple of them in spare. (I am told that Wality has currently stopped making these nibs!).However going by some posts by other members of FPN - they have not found it an issue with the stock nib and their writing experience with the stock nib is good.

 

Overall its a very well constructed FP, with a finger friendly grip. However the finger stoppers on section were not necessary - because that bump is sufficient to hurt fingers for those who hold their FPs closer to nib.

 

15158002463_809d8a1e6a_z.jpgathlete_2

 

Writing sample with original nib:

 

15562245422_693ffdc26f_z.jpgASA Athlete Writing Sample

 

Writing sample with Wality dual tone F nib

 

15777427865_77f5ffd9ff_z.jpgathlete_4

 

Ink filling- It is an standard ED fountain pen. And it can take a good amount of ink.

 

Clip has good design, though its folded metal.

 

Size of pen - it is just a few mm bigger than Lamy Safari. The size comparison pics are there on ASApens.in website.

 

Outstanding feature: I think in its initial experiment with ED, ASA has come out successful. The pen has a long section - so that serves many purposes - Gives a good grip, but more importantly prevents ink burping. Usually the normal / usual ED pens would (1) throw out lot of ink when jerked, and also (2) burp out ink as soon as the ink reaches a certain level.

 

In case of Athlete - possibly because of its longer section and a matching ebonite feed, both the issues of ink jerking out and burping out seems to be solved. I have been able to write on both these pens till the end of barrel. And it requires lot of jerking the pen for very small ink to come out.

 

I hope in future ASA comes out with a transparent resin version of the same pen - which would be delightful to use

I put my savings to test

Lamy & Pilot FPs the Best

No more I even think of the rest

(Preference Fine and Extra Fine Nibs)

Pen is meant for writing - not for looking :-)

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Thanks Anup for reviewing this delightful pen. I'm one of those who have had no issues at all with the stock nib, except I thought the Fs I received were probably EFs - I've had Schmidt nibs before and found the M too broad, and the earlier Fs I have (on other pens) exactly right, but these are just a bit too fine. Though not enough to complain about to Asa - I expect with use and a little tweaking they will conform to what I like.

I've had my two for nine days now, and used them every day. I think these want a relatively wet ink. The mottled brown has Hero 232 in it, which in most of my pens is a fairly wet ink, but in this pen tends to be a bit dry! although not to the point of skipping. The black has been filled with a wild mix of Susemai test inks - main characteristic: very wet. This flows better in the Athlete than the Hero.

I like the extra long section very much, and the bump on it does not bother me but rather adds to the experience. But I tend to hold my pens high - those who tend to grip almost at the nib might indeed have a little problem.

I agree with you that the engraving might have been a little more prominent, although I must say I am glad they did not resort to the white letters that Airmail/Wality uses on theirs - Those are too "in your face" for my taste. Maybe something in a subtly contrasting color...

 

All in all a wonderful addition to Indian ebonites. I hope he sells many!

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks

fpn_1425200643__fpn_1425160066__super_pi

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I have my eye on this pen and it is on my "next buy" list. That shiny black looks absolutely gorgeous.
@Anup, did you swap the stock #6 with a #8 wality nib ?

Opensuse_2.png http://www.gnu.org/graphics/gnubanner-2.png

Looking for: Camlin pens (minus SD/Trinity/Elegante)

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Thanks :-)

 

Yes the pen is delightful to use. The section cylindrical diameter is absolutely right - and most FP users would be comfortable using it.

 

 

 

Thanks Anup for reviewing this delightful pen. I'm one of those who have had no issues at all with the stock nib, except I thought the Fs I received were probably EFs - I've had Schmidt nibs before and found the M too broad, and the earlier Fs I have (on other pens) exactly right, but these are just a bit too fine. Though not enough to complain about to Asa - I expect with use and a little tweaking they will conform to what I like.

I've had my two for nine days now, and used them every day. I think these want a relatively wet ink. The mottled brown has Hero 232 in it, which in most of my pens is a fairly wet ink, but in this pen tends to be a bit dry! although not to the point of skipping. The black has been filled with a wild mix of Susemai test inks - main characteristic: very wet. This flows better in the Athlete than the Hero.

I like the extra long section very much, and the bump on it does not bother me but rather adds to the experience. But I tend to hold my pens high - those who tend to grip almost at the nib might indeed have a little problem.

I agree with you that the engraving might have been a little more prominent, although I must say I am glad they did not resort to the white letters that Airmail/Wality uses on theirs - Those are too "in your face" for my taste. Maybe something in a subtly contrasting color...

 

All in all a wonderful addition to Indian ebonites. I hope he sells many!

I put my savings to test

Lamy & Pilot FPs the Best

No more I even think of the rest

(Preference Fine and Extra Fine Nibs)

Pen is meant for writing - not for looking :-)

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Yes. Its commonly called Wality #8. Wality calls it no.4.

 

The sizes were compared in another post of mine

 

https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/264504-new-pens-on-asapens/?p=2968979

 

I have been told that Oliver #8 is also same size / diameter as this Wality nib. The Oliver #8 can be found in the Oliver Nirvana FP. I have this Oliver Nirvana FP and its nib is very excellent. There are some reviews of it on ASA site (i understand ASA has those very nibs in spare also)

 

I have my eye on this pen and it is on my "next buy" list. That shiny black looks absolutely gorgeous.

@Anup, did you swap the stock #6 with a #8 wality nib ?

 

Edited by a_m

I put my savings to test

Lamy & Pilot FPs the Best

No more I even think of the rest

(Preference Fine and Extra Fine Nibs)

Pen is meant for writing - not for looking :-)

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ASA has posted a few more pics on its photostream. This one seems to be the JoWo version of Athlete.

This FP is named SPEAR

 

15158756633_ec32a51f43_z.jpg

15754490116_9ae012bd8e_z.jpg

Edited by a_m

I put my savings to test

Lamy & Pilot FPs the Best

No more I even think of the rest

(Preference Fine and Extra Fine Nibs)

Pen is meant for writing - not for looking :-)

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Anup,

 

Nice review. I am fairly new to FPs but I've been using Gama ebonite pens for the last few months exclusively. They are great for work. Several of my pens also had the tines separated when I received them. I usually heat set the nib by placing it in hot water for 1 min. I remove it from the water and force the tines together and push the feed onto the nib. This solves the problem for me.

 

One thing that impresses me with the Athlete is how smooth and flush the cap is with the main body of the pen when screwed on. It is very well done. I'm glad to hear that I can drain my pen to the last drop without excess flow.

 

John

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Thanks John. Welcome to FPN.

 

In Athlete, I didn't find any issue with nib feed alignment. Usually in 70 - 80% cases the pens made in India would work well. At best one has to do some adjustments of feed and nib to control ink flow (wet / dry).

 

I was able to adjust the tines (as you can see in the first writing sample) - but was not really satisfied with the results. Given that the default nib is "Fine" - it gives very little latitude. The default Gama nibs are a bit more sturdy. But in Gama FPs in general I didn't face this nib issue. The Gama FPs are more notorious for ink burping.

 

 

 

Anup,

 

Nice review. I am fairly new to FPs but I've been using Gama ebonite pens for the last few months exclusively. They are great for work. Several of my pens also had the tines separated when I received them. I usually heat set the nib by placing it in hot water for 1 min. I remove it from the water and force the tines together and push the feed onto the nib. This solves the problem for me.

 

One thing that impresses me with the Athlete is how smooth and flush the cap is with the main body of the pen when screwed on. It is very well done. I'm glad to hear that I can drain my pen to the last drop without excess flow.

 

John

I put my savings to test

Lamy & Pilot FPs the Best

No more I even think of the rest

(Preference Fine and Extra Fine Nibs)

Pen is meant for writing - not for looking :-)

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I on the other hand had no nib issues at all. The nib tines were separated in my case too. But the pen wrote smooth and left its impression from the very first word. I also wrote a review of this pen. In fact I found the pen superior in built, and performance then many other brands I have. The fountain pen is a subjective phenomenon, so such different experiences are expected. Overall a very good and constructive review Anoop Ji. Thanks for sharing this on this widely read platform

Edited by mrmohitmishra
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ASA has posted a few more pics on its photostream. This one seems to be the JoWo version of Athlete.

This FP is named SPEAR

 

15158756633_ec32a51f43_z.jpg

 

15754490116_9ae012bd8e_z.jpg

 

Wow sir. Thanks for sharing these wonderful pics.

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Yes. Definitely the pen is superior in build and performance.

 

In fact I found the pen superior in built, and performance then many other brands I have

I put my savings to test

Lamy & Pilot FPs the Best

No more I even think of the rest

(Preference Fine and Extra Fine Nibs)

Pen is meant for writing - not for looking :-)

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Lovely review. I rotated the ASA Athlete out of use this weekend. What struck me was the balance in the hand and the (somewhat) springy nib - very smooth for a stock Indian nib.

 

Cheers

Sudhir

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Thanks. Definitely a very good pen.

 

Lovely review. I rotated the ASA Athlete out of use this weekend. What struck me was the balance in the hand and the (somewhat) springy nib - very smooth for a stock Indian nib.

 

Cheers

Sudhir

I put my savings to test

Lamy & Pilot FPs the Best

No more I even think of the rest

(Preference Fine and Extra Fine Nibs)

Pen is meant for writing - not for looking :-)

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I ruined the nib. :) . Tried to make tines touch. Found scratchy. Rubbed it on nail buffer. Found iridium tip ruined. Used a jinhao nib of x450. Was dissatisfied. Wished if i had wallity dual tone nib like you have sir. Placing an order for athlete nib. :(

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I have usually found that if and when one finds a good pen, then one should go after nibs and inks. Its important to keep the "ammunitions" handy.

I put my savings to test

Lamy & Pilot FPs the Best

No more I even think of the rest

(Preference Fine and Extra Fine Nibs)

Pen is meant for writing - not for looking :-)

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I did find the nibs on both my Athletes needed a little tweaking. I'm surprised that the nail buffer ruined yours - did it actually break off the iridium tip? because I found those nail buffers fairly soft, and I passed the pen over them a good number of times before it was as smooth as I wanted it. You may have had a defective one... did you ask mr Subramaniam?

I think the Jinhao nibs are slightly larger than the Athlete nib, so you would not have a very good fit - it would probably protude a little too far, and get affected by touching the inner parts of the cap when you close the pen. Maybe you can try not turning the cap completely flush when you close the pen...

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks

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I don't know. I am fairly inexperienced in this. The only thing I know is that the pen is not as smooth as it was when it arrived.

 

But I will try it again, thanks for the suggestion. I have mailed Mr. Subramanium for a new nib. Lets see if it works as fine.

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I did find the nibs on both my Athletes needed a little tweaking. I'm surprised that the nail buffer ruined yours - did it actually break off the iridium tip? because I found those nail buffers fairly soft, and I passed the pen over them a good number of times before it was as smooth as I wanted it. You may have had a defective one... did you ask mr Subramaniam?

I think the Jinhao nibs are slightly larger than the Athlete nib, so you would not have a very good fit - it would probably protude a little too far, and get affected by touching the inner parts of the cap when you close the pen. Maybe you can try not turning the cap completely flush when you close the pen...

Thank you... I used your advice and used the buffer even more. Washed and flushed it. Pen started working again like anything. Wow!!

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