Noodler’s Ahab vs. Noodler’s Konrad: Fountain Pen Battle

Every week, a Goulet team member pens a quote for the community using the #FlexNibFriday hashtag. Most of the time, that pen is a Noodler’s, since they offer the most affordable flex pens currently on the market. This has led to a lot of debate around the Goulet office- which is better, the Noodler’s Ahab or the Noodler’s Konrad?

Madigan and Lydia are bringing this battle to you and letting you know their opinions of each of these pens. Read on to see what they think and vote for your favorite!

Noodler’s Ahab

Madigan here, kicking off this pen battle by talking about the Noodler’s Ahab. I love this pen, not only for the flex nib but because of all the interesting details. If you are looking to try your hand at flex writing, I don’t think you can go wrong with the Ahab. I love the fact that it comes in 44 color options, including demonstrators so you can find one that fits your personality. It also features a unique clip that is made to look like a whale’s flipper.

The Ahab runs toward the larger size of the fountain pen spectrum, but still fits comfortably in your hand. The grip section is also unique- it has a slight additional slope right where your fingers grip the pen. This is not only comfortable, it gives you increased control when writing with the pen. I find this especially useful when writing with a flex nib since that increased control lets you get greater line variation.

I think one of the best things about this pen is the ink capacity. It has a slide piston mechanism that holds a substantial amount of ink. If you want to increase your ink capacity even more, you can also eyedropper the Ahab, giving it one of the most impressive ink capacities in the fountain pen world. The Ahab also works with the Noodler’s 308 Refillable Cartridges, which give you the best of all worlds- it’s the ease of cartridges but the economy of using bottled ink.

The last thing that makes the Ahab the best, is that you can take it entirely apart to clean it. The piston-filling mechanism can be completely disassembled and removed. The nib and feed can also be removed for easy cleaning! This is great if you are using a highly saturated, dark hued, or shimmering ink.

To sum it up, I love the Noodler’s Ahab because:

  • 44 color options, including demonstrators
  • Large size with interesting design details
  • Sloped grip section for increased control
  • Large ink capacity, with multiple filling options
  • Eyedropperable
  • Easy to clean

The Noodler’s Ahab is available at GouletPens.com in a variety of colors for $23.

Noodler’s Konrad

Lydia here, bringing you my thoughts on why the Konrad flex pen should be the king of your heart! First of all, the Konrad was my first flex pen so I may be a little biased! I love how many different varieties of the Konrad are available. There are the translucent bodied resin demonstrator options (which I have), the swirled acrylic options, as well and the ebonite versions. There is definitely a color option to suit everyone’s taste, whether you enjoy the subdued look of the brown and black accented Ebonite Konrad, the bright and bubbly hues of the Acrylic Konrad, or you want to put your ink on display and showcase it with the resin demonstrator Konrad.  These all vary slightly in posted size too, so there is an option that feels perfectly balanced in every hand. The resin flex pens come in at 145.5mm posted, the acrylics are 155mm, and the ebonite pens are 161mm posted.

I enjoy the fact that the Konrad has so many options to choose from. The design of these pens feels very balanced and proportional to me. I like that neither the cap or the body make up the majority of the pen and they look proportional when posted or capped. The biggest selling point for me with the Konrad was the twist piston filling mechanism. There is no worrying about a converter and extra parts to clean. The Konrad holds the ink right inside the body of the pen and can be taken apart if need be just by twisting the mechanism out of the back of the pen. So easy and fast!

So to recap, the Konrad wins in my book because:

  • So many different colors and variety of materials
  • There’s sure to be a color for everyone!
  • Slightly different posting sizes between models so there’s is one to fit most hands
  • Balanced design, cap and body are evenly or proportionally sized
  • Piston filling mechanism is part of the pen
  • Easy disassembly and no extra pieces

The Noodler’s Konrad fountain pen is available at GouletPens.com for $20-$40 depending on the model.

What do you think? 
Now it’s your turn to weigh in! Do you prefer the Noodler’s Ahab or the Noodler’s Konrad?

Leave us a comment as well and let us know why you love the Noodler’s Ahab or the Noodler’s Konrad! We’d love to hear what you think.

Write on,
Madigan & Lydia

2017-10-11T14:13:56+00:00 April 26th, 2017|Pen Reviews|21 Comments
  • David L.

    This decision was very hard. I chose the Konrad. I like how the Ahab can be filled in all sorts of ways, but the Konrad is the pen for me! I love the Ebonite Konrads. This was such a hard decision for me, and I believe I will be getting both!

    • Mike Ester

      I have to agree with David L. on the Konrad, specifically the ebonite models. I like the piston fill mechanism, and the classic look.

  • colddeadhand

    Ahab is A MESS. Konrad works great.

  • Sean

    I think you picked the two pens that are most comfortable for me to write with… that being said, I immediately voted for the Konrad.

  • DragonflyDM

    I had the Konrad fall apart on me in multiple spots. Maybe I just got a bad one.. the nib was amazing.. just can’t trust the rest of it. I mentioned it to someone else with a Konrad who said he loved it and then ten minutes later said “Hey.. my piston mechanism just came out like yours. You jinxed me.” I enjoyed the FPR Guru, but I am resigned that a GREAT flex needs to be on a well crafted pen. Sometimes you have to spend money to save money (or at least your shirt pocket)

    • Kathy

      DragonflyDM, I agree with you 100%. I think some of the Ahabs and Konrads are attractive pens, and I have a few of each. But each pen is unreliable….leaks, blobs, etc. I use my pens, and want to be able to carry them around with me. I can’t do that with the Noodler’s pens. I think you get what you pay for with most pens. A reliable flex pen is going to cost more than $20-40.

  • Tom Johnson

    I’m not taking sides in this fight! For one reason I haven’t used an Ahab yet, the other is that I bought the ebonite Konrad as soon as it was available. Later I bought the ebonite Neponset when it first came available. After some efforts writing with the flex nib, where I did OK with the Konrad, but never cared for the “music” nib on the Neponset, I put Goulet nibs on each one and am using them as regular fountain pens. I like both of them, and suppose the Neponset is closer to the Ahab. So, I declare neutrality in this conflict. I don’t want to see either of you get so heated that ink is shed! This is a great Pen vs Pen battle! I love it, and learned several things about the two pens that I hadn’t known before. Good job Madigan and Lydia.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Thanks, Tom! 🙂 Glad you found a way to make the pens work for you 🙂 Trust me, no ink will be shed, we’re civil and understanding of the differing viewpoints 😉

  • David

    I can’t vote in your poll. It demands that I log into my Google account first 🙁

    • Mitchell

      Yes. And I am so over all things google… invasive and annoying.

      • David

        Yeah, just be careful what you say… When the Google Machine itself “wakes up” some day, “revenge” will be one of the first traits she develops. Revenge is a bad trait to have, especially for an omni-present being with an infinitely persistent memory. If you survive the initial “purge”, from that day forward everything you say and do will be judged by Google; and if Google doesn’t like it – you die. [It will be much like attending U.C. Berkeley today.]

        • Kathy

          I’m no defender of Google, so that’s not my point in writing. I didn’t try to vote in the poll because I don’t like either pen. For comments, I sign into DIsqus directly. Does that involve Google…my ignorance, not trying to be sarcastic. Just curious. BTW, I am a retired attorney. I always told my clients, and tell friends, to assume anything you put in an email, or anything you search for online, is discoverable….because it is. I’m not arguing that is ok, but it is the reality of our new world.

  • Adam T

    One point that wasn’t mentioned is that the Ahab and Neponset grips include a cut out section for the nib, so there’s one specific way to orient the nib and the feed, making things a bit more straight forward for reassembly after a thorough cleaning. The Konrad doesn’t have this; it’s more-or-less uniformly round. I also think the Ahabs are good for Goulet ink samples since the massive 308 cartridge can hold an entire sample. I don’t like the fact that if you want an acrylic/ebonite Ahab, you basically have to bump up to the $75 Neponset.

    Regardless, I prefer the Konrads over the Ahabs mainly because the Konrads, at least for me, don’t dry out nearly as fast as the Ahabs. I went so far as to mod my first Ahab (a clear demonstrator) with an o-ring on the grip to try to provide a better seal, but it still didn’t do much to keep the nib from drying out.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ec1c4b4a0b9b4ff3ab178f734456769198aa2a79272a471947f21ceba6e3213d.jpg
    (I was using Noodler’s Sequoia Green, which has been working like a champ in my Lamy 2000.)

  • Mitchell

    I can’t vote (or won’t go through dealing with google) but would be opting for neither. I tried both and found them to fail on the one thing that I care about — I want no-fuss pens so I can spend my time writing and making art. Both were always drying out. Everyone said fool with them and I learned to fool with them and they are all about the fuss. I replaced the nibs with Goulet’s in both and saved the Ahab so that at least I’d bother to use it. For a bit more I can get GREAT pens that work…

    • Ryan K.

      But… Doesn’t replacing the nibs defeat the purpose of getting a flex-nib pen?

      • Tom Johnson

        Not at all. These pens are a great if you want to try writing with a modern flex nib. If you find out that flex writing is not suited for you, you can either write without flex or replace the nib with a higher quality one (from EF to 1.5mm). They are good fountain pens that happen to come with an easily replaceable flex nib. This is no different than switching nibs on any fountain pen to get a different writing experience.

    • Helen O’Connor

      You are right about drying out. I thought that was only my bad luck. I too want a drawing pen with variable line width.

  • Abstutheit

    What is a “flex” pen?

    • Michael P.

      A “flex” pen has a flexible nib. The tines spread as you place more pressure on it. This allows you to make a line that goes from fine to broad within a single pen stroke.

  • pnwfemale

    Not sure if I would get either pen; but, I do like the style of the Noodler’s Ahab over that of the Konrad. However, the problem I would have is deciding what color.

  • wendywander7

    I find the Ahab more comfortable to hold and write with, but the feed has difficulty keeping up with the ink flow, so I get more railroading than with the Konrad. The Konrad isn’t quite as comfortable in my hand, and it’s more likely to leak; I find it tricky to get the nib and feed set just right. But the flow from the Konrad is more consistent (if it’s not leaking). So I find advantages and disadvantages to both.