As I stated in my TWSBI post, the Kaweco Sport series is another contender for best “step up” pen. I know several people who absolutely adore the Sport series, and I’ve come across photos of truly impressive collections.
I really like the non-satin finish metal-bodied Sports for their weight and durability. The nibs for the entire series are decent and come in a wide range of sizes, but the TWSBI nibs are definitely better.
The Sport comes in both plastic- and metal-bodied pens, with very different price points. The series also has dedicated clips, converters, and nib options. JetPens has a good overview guide on the entire Kaweco Sport line with additional detail.
The only times I’ve had issues with a Sport is when I use a very dry ink. However, like my TWSBI 580s, I haven’t left one inked for an extended period of time without use. For this reason, I can’t, in good conscience give it more than 4 stars, but, if I hear anecdotal evidence that it’s better, I’d be happy to change the score.
The Sport series has a classic look, with an octagonal body that hearkens back to a 1935 Sport update. It comes in such a wide variety of materials, finishes, and colors, I can’t give it anything but five stars.
The Sport comes in four standard lines of plastic-bodied pens, each with a multitude of color options:
- The Classic Sport is made of opaque plastic in a single color. It has gold trim and a gold colored steel nib.
- The Skyline Sport is also made of opaque plastic in a single color. However, it has silver trim and a silver colored steel nib.
- The Frosted Sport is made of translucent plastic in a single color. It has silver trim and a silver colored steel nib.
- The Ice Sport is made of transparent plastic. The barrel is completely clear, while the section and cap are a colored transparent plastic. It has silver trim and a silver colored steel nib. NOTE: the Ice Sport appears, as of now, to only be available in yellow with a 1.9mm nib.
The Sport also comes in four standard lines of metal-bodied pens:
- The AL Sport is made of aluminum and comes in three finishes (shiny/smooth, satin, and stonewashed). The trim and steel nib color are coordinated to the color of the pen.
- The AC Sport is also made of aluminum with a satin finish and features carbon fiber inlays. The trim and nib are either black or silver, depending on the color of the pen.
- The Brass Sport is made of raw brass with silver trim and a silver colored steel nib. The brass will patina with time.
- The Steel Sport is made of brushed stainless steel with silver trim and a silver colored steel nib.
The Art Sport
I don’t know how often Kaweco issues an edition of the Art Sport collection, but they seem to be rather rare and pricey. The Art Sport is a plastic-bodied pen made from unique looking plastics (as opposed to the single color plastics of the standard lines). The trim and steel nib color coordinate with the colors of the pen.
Kaweco does produce special edition Sport models in collaboration with other brands, such as the Hello Kitty pink and Galen Leather Cognac. They also produce country-specific editions, such as the U.S. exclusive Golden Espresso.
There are currently two models of slide-on clips for the Sport line in black, raw bronze, gold, and chrome finishes.
Many of the models also come in other writing instrument styles (gel pen, ballpoint pen, mechanical pencil, or clutch pencil) so you can have a complete matching set.
Durability ★★★★★ / ★★★☆☆
I have to give the Sport two ratings for durability. The plastic pens are, of course, much less durable than the metal-bodied pens. The Brass and Steel Sport pens, however, are practically indestructible.
The coating on the satin finish AL and AC Sports is also prone to scratching. Make sure you baby your pen if you purchase one of them.
Kaweco produces 10 different ink colors, available in short international standard cartridges and 30ml bottles. However, as a cartridge/converter pen, you can use any ink you want.
With the short length of the pen body, you can’t use standard converters with the Sport series. However, Kaweco makes two converters for it. The piston/plunger converter is significantly easier to find than the squeeze/bulb converter, and works with both vintage and modern Sport models. Both converters hold approximately the same amount of ink, 0.5ml.
Because the converters hold so little ink, a favorite among Sport fans is to refill cartridges (0.77ml capacity) with blunt needles. Also popular is to convert the Sport to an eyedropper pen. Be aware that, depending on the material of the pen, you risk staining or corroding your pen if you do this. However, you can find an excellent video on the process from The Goulet Pen Company.
The nib lineup for the Sport is more impressive than both the TWSBI 580 and the Lamy Safari, but the quality of the steel nibs falls below the quality of the TWSBI nibs in my opinion. Price wise, the standard gold and silver colored steel nibs run between $11 and $17. That puts them at a significantly higher percentage of total pen cost (46%+) of the plastic-bodied pens, but significantly lower percentage (9.5-14%) of the metal bodied pens.
The standard Sport nibs come in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, and Double broad in six finishes: silver colored steel, gold colored steel, black colored steel, 14K gold, 14K gold two tone, and rhodium plated 14K gold. There is, however, one exception. The gold 14K nib is not available in double broad, for some reason. The standard nibs only include the nib, feed, and housing.
Beyond the standard nibs, Kaweco also offers a calligraphy nib line in stainless steel for the Sport series: 1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm, 2.3mm, and “Twin”. The “Twin” is a special split nib that features both a wide line (1.4mm) and a thin line (0.7mm), with a space (approximately 0.7mm) between. The calligraphy nibs include a black or white grip section. It appears (I don’t own one, I can’t check) that the housing doesn’t unscrew from the grip section, so you’d have to pull the nib to swap it into your pen if you don’t want a mis-matched grip section.
The metal-bodied Sport can completely disassemble, but with the plastic-bodied Sport (at least based on the one I used to own) the housing doesn’t come out of the grip section. You can pull the nib from the housing for a deeper clean, regardless of the line, if desired.
A word of caution: While the nibs do come out of the housing, the first time can be a bit difficult. If you aren’t careful, you could damage the “wings” on the back of the feed. Realistically, this does nothing to the performance of the pen, but it does mess up aesthetics.
The Sport will run you between $25 and $120 for the standard lines mentioned above.
1 Kaweco Frosted Sport Sweet Banana, Medium Nib; 1 piston/plunger converter; and 1 standard clip in chrome finish.
Goulet Pen Company: $34 ($4.75)
Vanness: $34 ($4.50)
Lemur Ink: $35 ($0)
JetPens: $33.50 ($5.95) Find something for $1.50+ to get the free shipping.