GEAR GUIDE: TEST EX­TRAS

£529 (€592.96)

Sport Diver - - Contents -

The Sport Diver Test Team takes a de­tailed look at kit in­clud­ing the Apeks MTX-R reg and Dive Rite’s Side Lock Safety Reel.

MARK EVANS: The her­itage of the MTX-R is im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent. Okay, so the name gives it away - the ‘M’ in MTX stands for mil­i­tary, and the ‘R’ for recre­ational ver­sion - but just a pass­ing glance at that beau­ti­ful first and sec­ond stage re­veals laser-etched, mil­i­tary-style let­ter­ing which con­trasts well with the vivid white plas­tic/elas­tomer and satin-fin­ish brass. It is stun­ning, yet strangely pur­pose­ful. As you would ex­pect, com­ing from the MTX mil­i­tary reg­u­la­tor, this is one su­per-tough, rugged, high-per­for­mance, go-any­where reg­u­la­tor. It has ex­cel­lent cold wa­ter per­for­mance and a greatly re­duced risk of free flow – it was de­signed to meet all as­pects of the NEDU (Navy Ex­per­i­men­tal Dive Unit) mil­i­tary re­quire­ments for div­ing in very cold wa­ter. As you would ex­pect from Apeks, the MTX-R is highly re­li­able and also very easy to ser­vice out in the field. The first stage has a unique over-bal­anced di­aphragm de­sign – as the diver de­scends, the over-balanc­ing fea­ture al­lows the medium pres­sure gas in the hose to in­crease at a faster rate than am­bi­ent. This re­sults in su­pe­rior per­for­mance at depth. What makes the MTX-R stand out from the crowd is the in­no­va­tive world-first over-moulded first-stage end­cap for the sealed di­aphragm, which helps pre­vent ice build-up that can cause first stage free flow in ex­treme cir­cum­stances. This also has the handy abil­ity to pro­tect the first stage from impact dam­age. The forged first stage body is equipped with five medium pres­sure ports (the fifth is cov­ered with a pro­tec­tive white bumper when it is not in use) on a ro­tat­ing tur­ret, and two high pres­sure ports an­gled for op­ti­mal hose rout­ing.

The re­versible sec­ond stage (can be set up for ei­ther left or right hand gas sup­ply) is sim­ple to use be­cause it has no dive ad­just­ment con­trols, which means a fur­ther re­duced chance of free flow oc­cur­rence. This is en­hanced even more by a patented heat ex­changer which sur­rounds the valve mech­a­nism, dis­si­pat­ing the cold caused by gas expansion while draw­ing in the warmth of the am­bi­ent wa­ter. The large pro­tec­tive elas­tomer bumpers on the sides and on the top pro­tect the sec­ond stage from im­pacts and scratches in the most vul­ner­a­ble places, and it is fit­ted with a Comfo-bite mouth­piece. The MTX-R fea­tures Apeks’ in­no­va­tive Diver Change­able Ex­haust sys­tem (DCE), giv­ing the diver the abil­ity to change from a small ex­haust tee to a large ex­haust tee. The reg­u­la­tor is sup­plied with both sets of ex­haust tees. A flex­i­ble ny­lon braided hose which has a bet­ter cold wa­ter per­for­mance than a tra­di­tional rub­ber hose links the two. In use, the MTX-R pro­vides a sub­lime breathe. In­hala­tion is ef­fort­less and silky smooth, re­gard­less of ori­en­ta­tion. From the fit in your mouth, it is much the same as any other Apeks reg (which is no bad thing), and the large purge is easy to lo­cate and op­er­ate. The rout­ing from the first stage is well thought out, and the pri­mary reg ben­e­fits from hav­ing a swivel at ei­ther end, the same as the Black Sap­phire. In short, it looks the busi­ness, per­forms like a champ, and doesn’t break the bank. What more could you want from a top-level reg­u­la­tor? The MTX-R is avail­able with DIN, Yoke and M26 Thread, and is ni­trox/ oxy­gen com­pat­i­ble up to 40 per­cent.

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