The Kaweco Sport line has joined the Lamy Safari to become my two favorite carry-around fountain pens. They are excellent performers in attractive packages with good build quality at a reasonable price. Non-fountain pen users love to try them. And if I want to test a new ink, it always goes into one or both of these pens — they are easy-to-clean and pretty much indestructible.
The Sport’s advantages, to me, are wetter ink flow, better nibs and the ability to convert plastic Sports to eyedroppers. Safaris have the advantage of larger ink converters and the Safari design. I know some people don’t like the Safari grip or its design; I think the primary complaint I’ve heard about the Sport is that they can be hard to find at US dealers, which I wish Kaweco would fix.
The ICE Sport is a plastic Sport, but instead of being clear or a solid color, the ICE Sport takes a third path. It uses clear plastic for the pen body and colored, usually translucent plastic everywhere else. It has silver-colored trim. Kaweco sent me the new ICE Sport in black to review.
I’m going to compare the ICE Sport to the other plastic Sports, because there are a lot of choices now. All of these plastic Sports are in Kaweco’s lower-priced tier. They are available with nibs sized extra-fine to double-broad. You can also buy calligraphy nib units separately that swap into any of the plastic Sports.
The ICE Sports and the Skyline Sports have silver-colored nibs and trim, as do the calligraphy pens. The Classic Sports have gold-colored nibs. Here are three types: the ICE Sport in black, a clear (or demonstrator) Classic Sport and a solid white Classic Sport.
The plastic Sports list in the US around $25. They weigh around 10 grams. They are a mini-pen, designed to be used posted, and I find them a comfortable length when posted. They are a bit longer than an unposted Lamy Safari or Pelikan M200. Kaweco Sports take standard international cartridges sold by Kaweco and other brands, or a small piston converter sold by Kaweco and upgraded recently to be very functional. The converter is $5 more.
I have Sports in every nib size except the widest calligraphy nib. Kaweco Sport nibs are excellent, smooth writers which seem to be adjusted right in the middle for ink flow. It’s easy to adjust these for more ink flow, if you like: just gently pull the tines a little bit up and apart, evenly and only a tiny bit at a time. Kaweco nibs are true-to-size and have performed well out of the box for me. I say it all the time: Kaweco steel nibs are my favorite steel nibs. It’s not even close.
My ICE Sport came with an extra-fine nib, which wrote perfectly out of the box. I’ve been using it with Kaweco Pearl Black ink, which is a wetter dark black ink with consistent flow
Functionally, the plastic Sports are the same. Aesthetically, choosing between the different models is a matter of choosing the look you prefer.
The ICE Sport is my first plastic Sport with silver-colored nib and trim, and I do like that a lot. I also like the clear barrels: I love seeing the color of the ink, especially if I turn the pen into an eyedropper.
But with the ICE Sport, the dark gray cap and the solid black section give the pen a more adult, more serious look, that I find nicer to take into work situations.
The black ICE Sport also keeps the pen looking better. With clear Sports ink can get trapped in visible locations. There is the cap, with an insert of milky plastic: and ink can get behind that insert, and inside it. Then there’s the section. All the plastic Sports have a nib and feed unit encased in black plastic. That black plastic nib unit casing remains fixed inside the section of the plastic Sports, and it can trap ink. The sections of the solid-color plastic Sports and the black ICE Sport hide any stains there may be. But stains will be visible under the clear outer section of the clear plastic Sport.
Here are two section units: the one on top is from the ICE Sport and the one on the bottom is from a clear Classic Sport that I bought used. Both work perfectly. The ICE Sport section actually has ink inside; the Classic Sport is empty, cleaned and dry. The black ICE Sport section, which is inky, looks neat and clean. The other, which is empty and not in use, has a permanent stain that’s visible.
Now, ICE Sport sections do seem to vary: with some of the other colors of ICE Sport, like the yellow, the section looks translucent and thus may be more liable to show ink like a clear Classic Sport. But the section of the black ICE Sport is solid black, and that’s the one I’m using.
Do note that upper-tier Kaweco Sports, like the AL-Sport, have a different nib unit, which unscrews from the section completely and doesn’t create an issue of ink trapped inside the section. But those are higher-priced pens.
All in all, I find the ICE Sport in black a really nice pen. The black is a translucent smoky dark gray in the cap, and a solid black in the section. I think the colors of black, gray and silver dress up the Kaweco Sport a little more. It’s closer to one of the AL-Sports, which cost a lot more. It also reminds me, in color scheme, of the Pelikan M805 and M405 Stresemann in anthracite.
At $25 it’s a nice deal. After testing the newer, upgraded piston converter, I think the $5 converter is now of high quality and works fine. But the new converter still has a small capacity. That may cause people who write a lot to opt for cartridges or an eyedropper conversion instead. But you can. And however you choose to fill it, the ICE Sport in black is a business-like option that’s nice to have in the entry-level Kaweco Sport line.