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REVIEW

MET Parachute Convertible Helmet

Words Cam McRae
Photos Cam McRae (unless noted)
Date Oct 9, 2019

Convertible helmets have surged in popularity recently, in part because ENDURO! and in part because some riders want more protection than a conventional helmet provides but without the warmth, weight, and bulk of a dedicated DH head protector.

Dual mode helmets are used in several different ways. There are riders who never remove the chin bar, those who decide on the chin bar based on the difficulty of the day's ride, others who remove and replace the jaw several times during a ride, and some who use convertibles as travel helmets because of the simplicity of bringing one helmet instead of two.

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The face hole is generous and doesn't interfere with vision at all.

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Slurping from my bottle was a trivial matter. Photos - Trevor Hansen

MET is an Italian helmet brand founded on the Shores of Lake Como in 1987, producing road, mountain and youth helmets. There was a time when production was primarily in Italy but this helmet, and others, are now made in China.

The Parachute MCR is lightweight and highly ventilated convertible that retains a DH rating from ASTM. The unique chin bar fastening is simple and effective and the size medium fits me very well. The MCR has several other unique features that make it stand out in the market

Chin Bar Removal/Replacement

MET worked with Fidlock to create a new interface to ease chin bar removal and mounting. And removal is indeed very easy. The twisters on the sides of the helmet push away from magnets that fasten the bar near the top of your jaw. Once you twist both sides you can easily pull the jaw piece away from the rest of the helmet without removal. Replacement is a little tougher, and takes some practice, but once you figure things out it can also be done without removal. Clicking the twisters into the magnetic holes can be a little tricky sometimes but based on the video above, over time it becomes much easier.

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Twisting the small dials on each side of the helmet push the chin bar away from the magnetic closure, which was designed in partnership with Fidlock.

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The Y in the webbing is not adjustable, and this is welcome simplicity. Many beginner riders don't take the time to adjust these properly and the fit is great as is. The buckle is also a fidlock product and it's a breeze on and off and seems to be secure as well.

Comfort

Venting is excellent and this is the coolest full face helmet I have worn. 21 vents direct air flow, with five placed at the front of the shell and five at the front of the chin bar.

MET worked with BOA on the retention system and the two way system is easily fine tuned without hotspots, thanks to the belt extending the entire circumference of the shell. Fit can be customized with two sets of removable cheek pads. The thinner pads fit best for me.

The overall weight of the size medium I've been testing is 837g/1.85lbs on my scale making the Parachute MCR feel less like a full face helmet. I find it easy to forget the jaw piece is attached while I'm wearing it. Comfort is also excellent without the chin bar and weight is a respectable 459g/1.01lbs.

The straps are not adjustable where they triangulate to the attachment points, which is probably for the best. I regularly see even somewhat experienced riders with straps adjusted poorly and the set positioning will likely work for most heads in the chosen size.

Safety

In terms of protection, the MCR complies with ASTM 1952 which is the downhill standard. Which isn't entirely good news. ASTM, who may need a new copy writer, admits as much stating; "F1952 helmets are heavier than road helmets and their harder foam to meet the more severe impact requirements may affect performance in lower level impacts." Despite testing standards, we are still mostly fumbling around in the dark in terms of helmet safety, particularly in terms of concussion. I have yet to see a study that suggests wearing any helmet reduces the incidence or severity of concussion,* but many riders believe they are wearing a helmet mostly for that reason. A chin bar changes things somewhat because it can prevent facial injuries as well as skull trauma.

*I'm skeptical about a Penn State study, using in-helmet sensors and players wearing soft helmet caps, that makes that claim.

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The flexible visor is a thoughtful detail that may reduce injury. The visor only has two positions but in the uppermost there is room for your goggles.

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The Boa Closure is very user friendly. A criticism I would make is that there isn't much padding above your eyebrows to absorb buckets of sweat. But the tradeoff is improved airflow.

MET paid attention to the details of this helmet and the visor is a good example. Most visors are rigid plastic which is at odds with MIPS and can increase rotational forces. The MET visor bends easily and would be less detrimental in this regard. The visor only has two positions, which is enough for me, and can be positioned high enough to accommodate your goggles.

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Smooth contours and thick polyurethane padding inspire confidence.

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The Fidlock twister to release the jaw piece is very simple to use.

Many MIPS-equipped helmets are no longer simply conventional shells with a rotational mesh squished inside and, like others I have worn recently, there is no comfort compromise here. Met claims the helmet can rotate 10-15mm in any direction because of the four elastomers that allow the low friction layer to move. Some helmets, like the excellent Bell Super DH, use MIPS Spherical which allows the entire liner to rotate rather than the hairnet style used here. The version Bell uses is much cleaner looking and seems like a more sophisticated solution.

I am impressed by the smooth lines of the polyurethane interior of the chin bar. I once punched a hole through my upper lip while wearing a full face and this detail appears to reduce the likelihood of facial injuries.

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North Shore tested. Lately I haven't been keen on full face helmets but the Parachute MCR has me re-thinking that stance. Photo - Trevor Hansen

On The Trail

Compared to traditional full face helmets, the MCR doesn't seem to interfere with my hearing much at all. Or I don't bother listening to my riding buddies much these days. It works well with both the Smith goggles I tried with them and the Julbo Outline riding glasses I've been wearing. It's such a comfortable helmet that with the chin bar installed, on moderately warm days days, I hardly notice I'm wearing a full face. It doesn't interfere with my vision and it's light enough that the increased weight over a regular all mountain-style helmet hardly registers.

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To my eyes this is a very good looking helmet.

Until the MCR I only wore a full face (convertible or otherwise) in bike parks. And not every time at that. The MCR has me clicking on the chin bar for more challenging rides on days when it's not sweltering and I haven't regretted the decision once.

A shipment just arrived in North America yesterday so these should be arriving in stores shortly. The Parachute MCR retails for 349.95 USD. More info here.

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Comments

nouseforaname
0
Nouseforaname  - Oct. 9, 2019, 10:40 a.m.

$350USD makes this a pricey helmet for Canadians. I thought the Super DH was pricey already. Chain Reaction has this at $540CAD - $140 more than the street price of a Super DH.

Worth the extra cash in your opinion Cam? Have you worn a Super DH as a comparison?

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+2 Saša Stojanovic OldManBike
Cam McRae  - Oct. 9, 2019, 8:51 p.m.

It's a hefty bill indeed.. I'd say it would depend on your perspective. With the Super DH, which I have worn quite a bit, you feel like you are wearing a full face, for better or worse. It's not much heavier but it feels bulkier, has less ventilation and makes it difficult to hear. I was riding with a buddy today who was wearing a Super DH and he pulled off the jawpiece for our 15 minute ride out from the bottom of the trail. I had forgotten I was wearing a chin bar. Taking the chin bar off the Super DH is also more of a chore and difficult, if not impossible, to do without removal. If your goals are to have a lighter, better ventilated full face that easily swaps to and from full face, it might be worth the extra cash.

Reply

nouseforaname
0
Nouseforaname  - Oct. 11, 2019, 8:39 a.m.

Thanks for the insight. Super DH sits at the top of the pile compared to the Giro which seems even bulkier. I wonder if MEC will have some of these?

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+1 Nouseforaname
Cam McRae  - Oct. 11, 2019, 12:08 p.m.

I believe MEC will be carrying the MCR. The Switch is about 140 grams heavier than the MCR (980g)  jand the Super about 40 (880).

Reply

ac
0
Ac  - Oct. 9, 2019, 11:18 a.m.

I'm most curious how it compares to the previous generation Parachute.

Mainly, is the new version hotter and less ventilated than the old non-detachable version?

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+1 Ac
Cam McRae  - Oct. 9, 2019, 8:51 p.m.

Apologies Ac but I have never worn the previous Parachute. To me the new one looks better, and I can't imagine it being hotter since it vents very well.

Reply

grcgrc
0
grcgrc  - Oct. 9, 2019, 3:26 p.m.

Italian design, Italian prices. Looks good but the price is pretty steep, even for a convertible. I will be trying them on before making a decision.

Reply

cyclotoine
+1 Cam McRae
cyclotoine  - Oct. 9, 2019, 4:38 p.m.

Wow, that’s steep pricing. still too much for me to consider for trail riding. I’m surprised since I thought Met were reasonably priced. I had a parabellum (sp?) for a few seasons and liked it a lot; comfortable and did it’s job in a heavy crash. Even got a 50 off crash replacement.

Reply

Kelownakona
+1 Cam McRae
Kelownakona  - Oct. 10, 2019, 7:16 a.m.

The Switchblade is a great helmet too. The chin bar is probably the smallest of all the removable type meaning you can tuck in in a strap until you need it. It does mean it's an over the ear job without chinny but looking at current Giro/Fox helmets that's where it's at.

Def is heavy and hot though. 

For the price if I was to buy again  I'd go for a super lightweight permanent full face ProFrame or the like, and a nice trail lid for similar money. I think you'd decide on the riding your doing rather than needing to keep converting midride

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Oct. 11, 2019, 12:57 a.m.

Good points. Something else to consider is that the Switchblade, which I have also worn quite a lot, is a different beast because it becomes an open face without the chin bar and doesn't get much cooler.

Reply

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