Diesel pens. OK.... Never heard of them! But now that I have, I'll admit to being a bit intrigued by these pens. They are interesting, no doubt about that! Interesting isn't all, though. They also seem to be very well made, have a nice nib, and on top of all that, they're inexpensive. A nice combination.
These are what I would call "brand" pens, in other words, they are made by one company, for sale by another under their own brand. I'm assuming that these pens are actually being made by Stypen, judging from the nib design. Good news, since this French company makes an excellent pen, and they are great value for the money.
The pens come in a couple of slightly different designs, but share some common qualities. Weight, for one. These are substantial pens, not excessively heavy, but they do have a solid feel to them. A thin brass barrel liner, with the barrel itself being made of what looks like aluminum, or some other lightweight metal. This results in a pen with enough weight to feel like a metal pen, but not so much that it feels heavy in the hand.
There are a couple of different styles that we looked at, the simplest being the Carbon. A matte finish black, with a slightly rubberized feel to it. The cap is a matte finish chrome, with the trim in bright chrome. All of the Diesel pens have the same trim, a knurled cap band, matte chrome barrel end, and a clip that carries up to an angled cap top, also in matte chrome.
The Carbon version is probably the simplest of the designs, and while it does have a nice feel to it, it wasn't my favorite. I had to give the nod to the ribbed barrel version in blue! The matte finish chrome model is also quite nice, if a bit more plain in terms of looks.
All three of the fountain pen models have plain black plastic sections. They are wide enough to be comfortable in the grip, and I can't complain about them from that standpoint.
Sure, it might have been nice to have the sections done in a soft rubber coating, or maybe in a matching finish to the barrels, but it's not surprising that on a pen in this price range, the sections would be interchangeable between models. The nib and feed units look to be the same as on other Stypen manufactured pens, but with the Diesel logo engraved on the upper surface.
There is no breather hole on the nib, just a slit, which makes for a very "modern" looking nib. Looks aside, the nib works well. It's your basic steel nib, but unlike some of the cheapest steel nibs, these are nicely tipped, and so end up being pretty smooth. No flex to them, of course, but still pleasant to write with.
The nib size is listed as medium, I would say that, compared to other pens, it's on the fine side of medium. They are cartridge converter fillers, using international size cartridges.
Of course there is also a capless rollerball if your tastes run in that direction. It has the same overall design as the fountain pen version, and is very close to the same size. It's one of those where you twist the cap to extend the writing tip, and the mechanism works smoothly. The refill included is simply marked Stypen, and is basic black ink, but seems pretty good in terms of performance on paper.
So, do I recommend the Diesel pens? Well, it depends. If you want something "serious", maybe not. If you are looking for a more fun approach to your writing, then yes! These are without a doubt fun pens.
At the same time, they are "working pens", clearly designed to be used on a daily basis. I think they should prove to be pretty good "every day" writing pens.
Considering the market at which these are aimed, I think that's appropriate. I don't know if you could properly call these "student pens", but that's a pretty close approximation. I expect that they will be especially appealing to teens and young adults. Maybe an excellent "first pen" if you're in need of a gift for someone in that age group? Or, since we're all young at heart (right?), maybe you should just get one for yourself!
copyright 2003 Phillip Tucker