GEAR GUIDE: TEST EXTRAS
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.