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Met Para-Chute Helmet    Review By Ben Freeman 

MET Para-chute mountain bike helmet £95. Five stars because nothing else so light and wearable will save your face.

What is it for?
I was just sprinting towards the end of the MBR route at Coed-y-Brenin when suddenly I was airborne and heading head first into the ground at about 25mph. I can remember clearly as my face got closer and closer to the stony ground and just before my chin impacted, I bounced. My right arm had got trapped under my chest and hit first ' which was lucky as I almost lost most of my lower jaw. I broke a finger on my left hand (must have got snapped by the brake lever as the bars flipped round) and came away with some major bruising and a bike in need of a new tyre and tube. I'd managed to hit a rock straight on, in the adrenaline rush of the final section (trying to keep the lap time down), I'd ploughed straight into a rock rather than going round it! Amazingly the wheel (Spinergy) and forks (Cannondale Headshok) were fine.


So you want to keep your teeth?
This is when I realised I needed a helmet with a chin guard. A broken arm or finger is an inconvenience ' a few weeks in plaster and it's fixed. But loosing your teeth is pretty serious ' you're in and out of dentists for the rest of your life. So I was looking for a light weight helmet for XC racing which would save my teeth if I ever flew off into the ground face first. As far as I could see, the only option was the MET Para-chute, so I bought one. (Giro no longer make the very good Switchblade, Ed.)

They say
' MET In-moulding construction - the best helmet shell manufacturing process available, makes the shell slimmer and lighter while increasing resistance.
' Removable chin guard - two helmets in one.
' Safe-T evolution - the very latest development of MET's unmatched retention system.
' Removable peak includes air-channel - keeps sun, mud and branches away from your eyes. Channels more air towards the front vents.
' Double front pad - transports moisture away from the skin keeping you drier and happier.
' Reflective sticker at the rear - makes you more visible in the traffic at night or inside tunnels.
' Lockable side straps divider - unlock it, adjust the straps the way you want, lock it back, simple.
' 23 vents
' 480g

Is it any good?
Well I've been using it for 6 months and I'm quite happy with it. The fit is fine (it is very adjustable), it's quite cool, you can still use a Camelback whilst riding and even eat energy bars on the go. The padding is a bit poor, it moves around and is not as soft as a Specialized helmet, but its not uncomfortable ' more irritating. If you wear glasses, you will have to take them off before putting the helmet on which is a slight inconvenience. 

Is it any good?
On the first few rides I used to take the chin bar off (4 screws and 2 minutes effort) for flatter rides, but now I rarely bother and just leave it on, after all the whole point is that you don't know when you're going to crash ' so what's the point in taking it off for some rides and not for others? Fortunately I've not tested its strength yet (and have no plans to do so intentionally), so I can't report on that aspect.

What does it cost?
List price is £100, but you should be able to find it on offer at £90-£95 somewhere on line. 

Would I recommend it?
Yes ' if you're buying a new helmet and like going fast ' this is the best insurance policy you can take out on your good looks!

Where can I buy one?

Manufacturers Website

Print Text! the whole review in text only form.

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