The Kaweco AL Sport is a classic, beautiful design that many of us love, but we also probably assume that we're talking about a fountain pen when that name comes up. Well, there's also a roller ball version of the pen, and it's pretty nice.
The Kaweco AL Sport Roller Ball is exactly what you might expect — it's the same as the normal fountain pen, but with a different section that uses a roller ball refill instead of the fountain pen nib. In fact, you can even swap the section out with other AL Sports if you want.
In my opinion, this is one of the best pocket carry pens out there. It's well made, durable, and has a refill that behaves better than most fountain pen nibs. Even better, it can accept the Schmidt capless refills. Yep, the same ones found in the Retro 51. Knowing that, this pen was an insta-purchase for me.
How does the pen perform? In many ways, it's the same as the regular fountain pen version, so I'll just summarize it with: it feels great in the hand, it's made of durable materials with high tolerances, and it can withstand a lot of punishment. With this particular version, the stonewashing effect means you don't have to worry about making that first scratch because there's already an infinite number of scratches on the pen from the factory. (I hope I'm not the only one who has a fear of making a first scratch on a new pen.)
If the body is the same as the fountain pen line, then the most important thing to consider here is the refill. I'll be honest with you — the Kaweco refill included with the pen is OK. It tends to skip every now and then and it doesn't fit in the pen perfectly. When writing, the refill moves a tiny bit and makes a noise that distracts me when writing. I like the refill to be snug when writing. And, the skipping can be a bit of an annoyance as well. Like I said, it's OK.
But, you have to also consider that the awesome Schmidt Capless refills work with this pen. Any Parker style refills will work this pen as well, but I'm a huge fan of the Schmidts. Most of us probably had our introduction to these refills from a Retro 51 of one kind or another, and you'll know immediately if you like it or not. Basically, the Schmidt refills are really smooth, dark, and skipless. I've never had problems with them hard-starting, skipping, or any other problems that sometimes come up with roller balls. They're really one of my favorite refills, and I'm really happy when a pen accepts them.
With that in mind, I whole-heartedly recommend this pen. Just remember to pick up a Schmidt P8126 or P8127 with your order. The combination of a comfortable, nearly indestructable pen with an awesome refill is what joy is made from. The price for the pen is a bit high, but you probably already know that this is a standard price for the Kaweco AL Sports, and it's certainly fair due to the materials and high quality craftsmanship that goes into them. If you're in the market for a great roller ball, definitely check them out!
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)