I’m new to flex pens and am looking to get an inexpensive one. I know this is a common question but was wondering what your thoughts might be on Noodler’s vs FPR? I’m looking to get either the Konrad/Creaper or Dilli/Guru. So far the consensus seems to be that the Noodler’s pens need quite a bit of tweaking and that quality control is variable, while the FPR pens feel cheaper but generally work better out of the box. Some also say that the FPR flex pens are dryer and have less give.
Would appreciate your thoughts on this!
What I discovered upon receiving this question is that I’ve never actually written up a review of the Noodler’s Creaper. I did a review of the Dilli flex though so I thought I’d use this opportunity to dive deeper and share my opinions about both of these pens.
Both pens use a split nib to create flex. The Dilli nib is a brushed finish while the Noodler’s nib is a shiny silver. The Dilli nib is slightly larger nib. Both pens use a twist piston fill mechanism which need to be filled with bottled ink. Neither pen can be fitted with cartridges or converters.
Both pens are lightweight plastic bodied pens. The Creaper has some chrome metal detailing on the pen that makes it look like a bit higher end and a bit more durable. The Dilli just feels plasticky to me.
The Dilli nib is in a set spot, it seats into the feed in a specific location.
Alternately, there is a lot of play in how low into the pen barrel you can move the Creaper feed, thus allowing for more or less flex. The further into the pen you move the feed though, the more likely the pen is to write dry or not apply ink to the paper. As I cleaned and re-inked it, I could tell that finding the “sweet spot” for the placement of the nib and feed might be a series of trial and error experiments. I did my best to place the nib and feed in a “normal position” comparable to my non-flex nib pens and it worked well.
With both pens, I had no issues getting ink on the paper. Goulet Pens has some detailed information and videos about working with the Creaper pens and notes that they need to be completely flushed upon purchase to remove any traces of machine oil from the manufacturing process.
When writing, the Dilli had less resistance on the paper but I didn’t get as much thick-and-thin line variation on the paper. The lightest line width seemed a little wider than the lightest line with the Creaper. The Creaper had a little more resistance on the paper and a bit more spring but I liked the line variation a lot more.
I prefer the Creaper to the Dilli for a lot of reasons. Part of the joy of fountain pens is a pleasant visual experience and, to me, the Dilli looks and feels cheap. At some point, when filling it, some ink got inside the body of the Dilli pen, between the piston screw and the ink reservoir, and I cannot get it out. It now has dried ink inside a demonstrator body so it looks gross (you can see it in the top photo at the beginning of the post).
There are a few other options fro Noodler’s for the flex nib as well. The slightly larger Noodler’s Konrad can be fitted with one of the Goulet Pens #6 nibs, if your adventures in flexible nibs takes a turn for the worst, so you’ll still have a usable pen.The Ahab was specifically designed to allow for a larger ink reservoir. The Creaper, the Ahab and the Konrad are all available in a wide array of colors and finishes that will create a pleasing visual experience as well.
FPR also offers a few other pen models that feature their flex nib and that might be more visually appealing. The Triveni line look more upscale with prices in the $38-$45 range and available with a flex nib. The Guru is a bit less expensive than the Dilli and looks like it can be completely disassembled which might eliminate my crusty ink issues.
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I have both and agree with you. My Creaper is so great I bought a second and my Dilli (almost literally) fell apart at the seams. There is a definite distinction in quality (especially of the plastic). I had much more trouble getting the Dilli to work well out of the box, as well. I’m starting to think either I’ve been really lucky with Noodler’s or really unlucky with FPR. The one thing I will say is that I’m headed back to FPR to get stub nibs for my Dilli/Creaper/anything with that size nib.
The Treveni has a plastic feed, and there are reports the feed can’t keep up with the flow when flexing. You can NOT hack the plastic feed in a Treveni, you’re stuck with it. The feed in the Guru on the other hand is hackable Ebonite (hard rubber). The Guru came after the Treveni. I wish there was an Ebonite feed for the Treveni.
Keep in-mind Nathan Tardiff at Noodler’s Ink REFUSES to sell spare nibs and/or feeds for his flex pens. So if you screw up your nib or feed when hacking your Noodler’s pen to work right in the first place, there’s no choice but to throw the pen away and start all over again with a new one. Kevin at FPR on the other hand does sell spare parts for his pens.
When all is said and done, I prefer the Noodler’s Ahab and Konrad pens – just because the nibs flex more; especially when highly modified. For a newcomer to this type of pen, I recommend the FPR Guru – simply because you can get spare parts.