Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fountain Pen Review: Kaweco Ice Sport

I'm not a fan of small pens. I find them uncomfortable to use, unlike big, heavy pens with heft and balance. When Arizona-based Pen Chalet owner Ron Manwaring offered to send me a fountain pen to review, he included a Kaweco Ice Sport in the list. I know it's a small pen, and I got curious about it. I thought I won't use it because of its size, but I still said yes to Ron's offer. Who wouldn't? A Kaweco Ice Sport sounded interesting, but an orange Kaweco Ice Sport with a broad nib is simply irresistible!

The Ice Sport, a colored demonstrator fountain pen made by Kaweco in Heidelberg, Germany, is from the Sport Series that includes the Classic, Aluminum, Stonewashed, AC, Art, Brass, and Skyline. It is available in six bright colors: blue, orange, red, green, yellow, and pink. Unlike most pens, Kaweco's Sport pens do not have clips, but clips can be bought separately in chrome, gold, or bronze finishes.

The Ice Sport is a small and lightweight pen, so it's easy to carry in one's pocket, or tuck in a bag. This small pen, however, has a unique design and becomes a full-sized pen when the cap is posted on the barrel. The pen is designed well, and the plastic used appears to be of high quality.

As mentioned above, the Ice Sport is a lightweight pen. It weighs 10g (body - 6g; cap - 4g), without a clip, or a full cartridge of ink. Don't frown yet — a posted Kaweco Ice Sport has exactly the same weight of a Lamy Safari's body!

Many fountain pen users consider it a downside that the Ice Sport is difficult to use without posting the cap. But this pen's faceted cap is designed to be an extension of its barrel to make it a full-sized pen. The cap is also a built in roll stopper. Even without a clip, the pen will not easily roll off a surface.

The Ice Sport's small built consists of the transparent barrel, section (grip + feed + nib), and cap. The nib and feed are friction-fit into the section, and I'm happy that I can easily pull them out for cleaning. It's cool that the transparent barrel shows the ink cartridge and the color of the ink inside, and nice, too, that the cap and section have the same bright, happy, orange color. The cap is threaded and screws securely to the barrel — not typical of small pens in this price range — which is a very practical feature.

Being a small pen, the Ice Sport is filled with ink only through an international standard short cartridge, which has 0.5 – 0.6ml of ink. Kaweco offers a squeeze converter for the Sport pens, but I do not own one, so I'm not sure about its ink capacity of how well it fills with ink. Some people, however, do away with cartridges and convert their Ice Sport into eyedropper pens for higher ink capacity. When converted as eyedropper pens, the Ice Sport's barrel can hold approximately 3ml of ink. For my pen, though, I used an empty short cartridge and syringe-filled it with Diamine Pumpkin to the brim.

I requested Ron to send me a pen with a broad nib, but Kaweco Sport pens have nibs ranging from extra fine (XF) to double broad (BB). Other Sport pens have gold plated nibs, but those in the Ice line have stainless steel nibs. The imprint includes the nib width (B), Kaweco logo, and the words Germany and 1883 under a filigree-like pattern.

The broad nib didn't write well out of the box, but it was my fault. In my excitement to test this pen, I forgot to clean the nib and section before inking. It was dry and scratchy and it took me two ink fills before I realized that I need to prime the nib and section first. After trying Noodler's Apache Sunset and Caran d'Ache Saffron, I finally cleaned the feed with a soft brush and mild soap, spread the tines with a thin blade, and widened the ink channel to increase the flow. I then tried another orange ink, Diamine Pumpkin, and voilà, I got my happy pen writing wet and smooth.

Ice Sport pens have chrome trims, including their finial (top cap), which bears the Kaweco logo.

The Kaweco Ice Sport, capped, measures ~4.10 inches.

Uncapped and unposted, it is really short at only 4 inches. The cap is a bit longer than most fountain pen caps at 2.75 inches.

The Ice Sport looks dwarfed alongside the Lamy Al Star (5.6 inches), Sailor Pro Gear (5 inches) and Pelikan M205 (4.8 inches).
But when it is posted, it becomes a full-sized pen at 5.3 inches long!

I don't usually post my pens, so writing with the posted Ice Sport is somewhat new to me. I tried writing with it unposted, and it was uncomfortable. The cap not only extends the length of the pen, it also provides weight and balance.

The Kaweco Ice Sport is a well-made, compact fountain pen that is uniquely designed to be portable and easy to use. The stainless steel nib writes well, and it can easily be converted to an eyedropper. It's a great pen in the US$30 price range, a perfect companion to small notebooks. If you are looking for a happy fountain pen, I suggest you get a Kaweco Ice Sport. I know it will be a happy fountain pen for you, because it is mine!

The Kaweco Ice Sport fountain pen in this review is courtesy of Pen Chalet, where it retails for US$27. For more about Pen Chalet and their pen offerings, visit www.penchalet.com.

1 comment:

  1. I really agree with you, as my old review shows:
    I also love big and heavy pens but I always carry one (or two) Kaweco with me.
    Great review, good job!