Review: MET’s New Parachute MCR Convertible Full-Face Helmet – Pinkbike.com

MET was ahead of the lightweight full-face game with the original Parachute, although the look of that helmet was polarizing, to say the least. The next generation Parachute skipped the removable chinbar, and staked a claim as the world’s lightest full-face helmet. That brings us up to version 3.0, the Parachute MCR. It’s gained a few grams, but the removable chinbar feature is back (MCR stands for Magnetic Chinbar Release), and as a whole, the look of the helmet is much more palatable.

To create the removable chinbar, MET worked with Fidlock, the company whose magnetic buckles are becoming increasingly common on mountain bike helmets. The chinbar has two metals posts that slot into the helmet, and the magnets snap together to connect the rest of the chinbar. A plastic tube with serrated ridges adds an extra layer of security to ensure that everything is securely connected.

MET Parachute Details
• Magnetic chinbar release
• MIPS liner
• BOA retention system
• 21 vents
• FidLock magnetic buckle
• Certifications: ASTM F1952-15, EN 1078:2012, CPSC 1203 AS/NZS 2063:2008
• Weight: 833 grams (size M), 461 grams without chinbar
• MSRP: €330
www.met-helmets.com

When it’s time to remove the chinbar, a quarter turn of the flip-up dial on each side of the helmet is all it takes to separate the magnets. MET’s video that’s found below does a good job of demonstrating the process.

The Parachute MCR meets the ASTM DH standards, as well as EN 1078, CPSC 1203, and AS/NZS 2063. In other words, it’s passed all of the standards that are currently in place for full-face and half-shell helmets. It’s available in sizes S, M, and L, and comes with two different cheek pad thicknesses to fine-tune the fit. There are also six different color options, everything from basic black to fire engine red. My size medium test helmet weighed in at 866 grams in full-face mode, and 461 grams without the chinbar. MSRP: €330.

Features

The removable magnetic chinbar may be the star of the show, but the Parachute MCR has a laundry list of additional features, including more magnets in the Fidlock buckle, which can easily be operated with one hand.

The fit of the helmet is adjusted via a BOA system – the dial on the back is turned one way to tighten things up, or the other way to reduce the tension on the two cords that run around the entire perimeter of the helmet. The visor can be moved upwards to create more room for goggles, and it’s constructed of a flexible plastic that’s designed to bend during a crash, rather than transfer any unwanted forces to the neck.

Magnets connect the chinbar to the half shell portion of the helmet, and the plastic tube helps lock everything into place.

The number of vents a helmet has doesn’t automatically correlate to how well it’ll keep you cool on a hot day, but if you were curious, the Parachute has 21 vents, counting the ones on the chin bar. There’s also internal channeling that’s meant to keep air moving over your head before exiting out the back.

There are multiple designs currently on the market that are intended to reduce the amount of rotational force that reaches a rider’s head during a crash, everything from gel-filled pads to viscoelastic discs placed strategically throughout a helmet. MET went with a MIPS low-friction liner, which is attached to the helmet’s EPS foam with rubber elastomers, and the padding velcroes directly to the liner. The idea is that the outer portion of the helmet should be able to slide or rotate during a crash while the liner and padding stay relatively stationary on a rider’s head.

Performance

Installing the Parachute’s chinbar is quite simple, especially if you remember to do one side at a time. Simply slot the metal tab into the side of the half shell, and then move the chinbar around until the magnets find each other and snap into place. It’s easy to tell if everything is good to go by running your hand over the side of the helmet – the chinbar should be sitting flush with the rest of the shell. Removing the chinbar is almost as simple, but it can be a little tricky to find the latch that needs to be lifted up on each side, especially with gloves on.

I did run into a slight issue when I tried to take off the helmet in full-face mode without loosening the BOA dial first – the retention system will pop out of the tabs used to adjust the height at the back of the head. I tried to remember to loosen it up, but I still forgot every once in a while and was quickly reminded of my forgetfulness by the ‘snap’ of the retention system popping out of place.

The overall fit of the helmet was comfortable in both modes, although in the half shell mode the helmet does feel a little top heavy, a sensation I’ve also experienced with the Bell Super DH helmet, the Parachute’s most similar competitor. It never shifted out of place enough to require any adjustments, but it didn’t feel as stable and head-hugging in rough terrain as the Specialized Ambush that’s currently my go-to half shell. Summer hasn’t fully arrived yet in the Pacific Northwest, but I’d put the amount of ventilation in the middle of the pack – it’s not as steamy as a Giro Switchblade, but it’s also not as airy as the Fox Proframe or TLD Stage.

In full-face mode, the helmet feels more stable, with a nice and wide field of view. The chinbar’s position was fairly close to my face, which I wouldn’t typically mind, except for one thing – if I didn’t pay close attention to the position of the front vent my breath would be deflected directly up into my goggles. This may not be the case for everyone, but it’s worth trying one on to see how everything lines up.

Final Thoughts

Creating a two-in-one helmet is a tricky proposition – it’s difficult to make it work perfectly in all scenarios. At this point, I’ve tried almost all of the convertible helmets on the market, along with a large sampling of the lightweight full-face options out there, and come to the conclusion that I’d rather wear a dedicated full-face if the situation calls for it rather than deal with the extra bulk and complication of a two-in-one design. That’s especially true in an enduro race scenario. Even if I have the option, I’m unlikely to disassemble and reassemble a convertible helmet between stages, especially one with a larger chinbar like the MET or a Bell Super DH – if you’re not wearing a pack there’s no easy way to carry that chinbar around.

I completely understand that for some riders it’s a convenient way to avoid the hassle of bringing two helmets on a vacation, but I still haven’t found one that doesn’t make concessions in some area, whether that’s ventilation, weight, or overall fit, a sentiment that includes the Parachute MCR.

Pros

+ Easy to use removable chinbar
+ Excellent field of view
+ Lots of color choices

Cons

Retention system can pop out of place when removing helmet in full-face mode
Chinbar’s position may direct breath into goggles
Expensive

Pinkbike’s Take

bigquotes
The chinbar interface is easy to use, the weight and ventilation are all very competitive, and the look is much more appealing than previous versions. MET may not have hit a home run with the new Parachute MCR – there are a few small issues that prevent it from earning that distinction – but, to keep the baseball analogy going, I’d say they’ve hit at least a solid double. 
Mike Kazimer


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