Every now and then a new pen with a full flex nib is announced. If it happens to be very cheap I might buy it. I can put up with a cheap disappointment but not an expensive one! Of course they are always a disappointment. Admittedly, they’re flexible if you press hard enough but it would be very uncomfortable to do that for long and the snap-back is more of a drag-back. Hopeless, in other words, and far from truth in advertising.
Fountain Pen Revolution has a Darjeeling pen on offer with an ultra-flexible nib. It’s a pretty thing with the colours of the Big Red. FPR have never let me down before so I ordered one and they didn’t let me down this time either! The steel nib is truly flexible and it snaps back to a closed position instantly. I am pleased to be surprised. It isn’t Swan, Onoto or even the prewar Japanese steel nib type of flexibility but it’s impressive and usable. By that I mean that though the flexibility is easily induced it lacks the smoothness in action of those older nibs. I think I can probably fix that with some polishing of the inside faces of the nib tip.
I played with it for a while yesterday and even applying a lot of pressure and writing fast I didn’t see any railroading. I declare myself impressed! I don’t have much use for flexibility in my everyday pen use and I’m not much good at it so excuse the writing in the sample.
Even apart from the nib, this is an impressive pen for the money. It owes a little inspiration to the Parker Duofold and not just in the colours. The cap bands stand proud of the material as did the early Duofold’s and it has an nice ball-end clip but it’s far from being a slavish copy. There is no blind cap, as this is a cartridge/converter filler, and the butt end of the barrel comes to a shallow point. The pen is a modern medium size at 13.8 cm capped. It closes with two turns. For those who like doing such things, this pen has been designed to also be used as an eyedropper filler. A screw piston converter comes as part of the package.
Before writing this I read some other reviews and there are a couple of points I would like to put straight. Some have complained about the fit and finish – I find it to be exemplary. Some reviewers thought that the cap rings did not fit properly because they sit proud. They fit properly. It is a reference to the Duofold. Another said that the metal parts were so badly finished that they scratched their other pens. Perhaps the finish has improved since then but I don’t find that. It was also said by some that the plastic feels cheap. In terms of weight and smoothness, the pen seems fine to me and I have no other means of calculating value by touch alone.
In all a well-made flexible nib pen of some style for a paltry £24, of which around a tenner was the price of the nib. It’s an exceptional bargain. I think our Indian brethren have much to teach the rest of the pen-making world.
And why did I buy a pen with an ultra-flex nib when I don’t use flex? Curiosity!
8 thoughts on “Fountain Pen Revolution Darjeeling with Ultra-Flex Nib”
Deb. I couldn’t agree more !
I have quite a few of these, and find them to be astonishing with regard to the writing they can produce.
Just for fun I have even um …’ultraflexed’ them a bit more ( with judicious use use of my dremel…). And have a couple now that can flex softly open to match even some of my yummy swan superflex nibs ! And, as you say, without railroading.
You may have seen a couple of my communications written with them , and honestly, it’s quite hard to tell the difference in operation, between a very expensive gold nib and FPRs ‘ultraflex’ jobs.
If I were an expensive pen maker, I might be slightly worried that such a cheap pen performed so well .
Of course they are in a different category from your Swan / Waterman / Onoto et al, but in a blind test, assuming one could write with eyes closed, one would be hard pressed to tell the difference if the criteria were build quality and the writing they can produce.
If anyone wants to argue the point, I will provide written evidence comparing the ultraflex nib in an FPR pen , to any fine swan from the days of yore , of which I have many.
And yes, kudos to our Indian brethren.
A few years ago I bought pens in an eBay-type auction in Japan. I had to stop in the end because of the greed of the taxman and Royal Mail – much to my regret. Some of those 1930s Japanese pens – eyedroppers with shut-off valves a la Onoto – had the most wonderful flex steel nibs. It was then that I realised that it didn’t matter whether it was gold or steel. Other factors such as the shape of the nib and how the metal had been treated were what was important.
I would think that anyone with calligraphic skill, such as yourself, could make as much use of this nib as of vintage ones. I just found a little stiffness in changing direction, especially left to right or the opposite. I think that may be less-polished surfaces on the inside of the tines dragging a little on the paper, hence my intention of polishing them.
I think the pen itself is impressive too – and not just for the money.
Here is another FPR fan. I have both their #5.5 and #6 size steel ultra flex and their #6 gold flex nibs. They are wonderful writers, perhaps a bit slower snapback than a flexible Swan, but excellent nonetheless. I also discovered that they gradually becomes smoother if you use them intensively … which is easy to do since they are a pleasure to use. If you like the Darjeeling, I expect that you might like the Jaipur and the Himalaya even better.
Kind regards, Hans
Yes, they are really very good pens. As I said, I’m not really a flex fan so this pen will be enough for me. FPR included a free pen, a transparent eyedropper filler but as I’m not an eyedropper fan either… I can use my ultra-flex Darjeeling without pressure and it is a nice writer that way too.
I haven’t seen a UK dealer for FPR; whence did you obtain them for £24?
There’s no UK dealer. I bought it from America.
Deb… I have several of their ‘Muft’ freebies , and IMHO they are sadly lacking in any of the qualities as per above ; which is a polite way of saying that I have found them to be horrible. Also, the couple I have inked, have leaked badly.
Also, in the Jaipur (?) v:2 , the new style converter has a beveled lip and when screwed (!) into the overly thin section , has split it so that it too leaks ! I have fixed that, cos that’s what I do ! But most folk might be stuck with an uninkable pen .
They do have some faults, but the good ones are great. 👍🏻
I threw my freebie in a drawer and there it will remain. I don’t like eyedropper fillers unless they are pre-1920. Pity about the Jaipur which seems to be popular. I’ve been using the Darjeeling without flexing the nib and I find it very pleasant in use.