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All photos by Chris Daniels | @chrizdan unless noted otherwise

Their plush innards are as extreme in comfort as they are in protection, but poor ventilation and heavy weight limit traditional full face helmets to specific riding conditions. On the other hand, half shells do not provide the protection or confidence to pin it on lift-assisted park trails and gnarly backcountry descents. So, we have two types of helmets for two types of riding.

But there are not just two types of mountain biking.

There’s XC, downhill, and everything else in between. The in-between is often a combination of the two extremes, where a full face is wanted for superior safety and the half shell, for breathability to comfortably climb to the top.

 

Light enough to climb in, but strong enough to descend hard and fast, the MET Parachute fills a gap between the extremes of helmets. At 700g (size medium), the Parachute is the lightest “fixed” full face helmet in the world that meets ASTM certification for downhill racing. MET Helmets achieves such heights and low weight with a compact, in-molded, and highly-ventilated design.

The MET Parachute is undoubtedly a special helmet, and I had the opportunity to test one over the summer.

MET Parachute Specifications

  • In-mold outer shell
  • 24 vents
  • Double D buckle
  • Fixed chin guard
  • Two cheek pads of varying thickness
  • Adjustable visor
  • Rear goggle clip
  • Removable POV camera mount
  • Polyurethane front gel pad
  • Helmet bag included
  • Neck brace compatible
  • Certifications: ASTM 1952-2032, CE, AS/NZ, US
  • Weight: 670-740g
  • Sizes: S (51-56cm), M (54-58cm), L (59-62cm)
  • Available in seven colors
  • Two-year warranty and crash replacement
  • MSRP: $299 USD

Construction

The MET Parachute uses an in-mold construction to bond the EPS liner and outer shell. In-molding requires a higher quality outer shell and reduces weight compared to shells that are glued to the inner liner. The visor is attached with a set of tool-free, anodized aluminum screws.

The Parachute chin guard is a monocoque structure capable of withstanding tensile and compressive forces within the outer shell in the absence of any internal load-bearing structures. In theory, this reduces weight while complying with the high demands of ASTM 1952 and 2032 certifications for downhill mountain biking and BMX, respectively. To further stabilize impact and save weight, the chin guard is fixed to the upper shell with embedded frames.

Fit

The Safe-T Advanced retention system is MET Helmets’ top of the line fit ring. The rear ratcheting dial provides 2mm per click of horizontal adjustment. The occipital stabilizer has four levels of vertical adjustment to further tune the fit. MET has increased the surface area of contact points over previous fit rings and added polyurethane pads on the back of the head for improved comfort.

With a 59.5cm head circumference, I chose a size-large Parachute. It wasn’t until I was about 3/4 of the way in on the retention ring that I met just enough tension for a proper fit. Even then, the fit felt a touch big. The Parachute may fit oblong-shaped heads better than round ones, and you might prefer to size down if you’re between sizes.

Photo: Andrew Jensen

Strap anchors are embedded in the helmet and a lightweight double-D buckle is easy to use, even with gloves on. The nylon strap snaps back on itself, reducing the risk of snags, and a pull tab offers quick release. Two sets of snap-in cheek pads of different thicknesses come with the Parachute, allowing the rider to further dial in the fit.

Ventilation

If you include the five on the visor, the Parachute has a total of 24 vent ports. Three visor ports align directly with three forward helmet ports, which exhaust to any one of the four top, three rear, and two side vents. The chin guard is highly ventilated and more compact than traditional full face helmet chin guards, allowing swarms of air to flow through. Even at low speeds, there was a noticeable draft within the Parachute, which made it more than bearable to climb in.

As if 700g and 24 vents for a downhill-certified full facer weren’t enough, the Parachute further ensures that cooler heads will prevail with a gel forehead pad. Standard foam pads are comfortable enough, but they quickly saturate with sweat. If you’ve ever stopped mid-ride on a hot, humid day and pressed your helmet into your forehead releasing the Niagara Falls of perspiration, you know what I’m talking about. The gel pad does not absorb sweat and is more comfortable and durable than foam. A very subtle addition, but the gel pad is one of my favorite features of the Parachute.

Extra Features

The Parachute worked very well with my set of Oakley goggles. While the visor has a fair amount of vertical adjustment, it wasn’t enough to park my goggles with an unobstructed view. Although I rarely find it necessary, a rear clip stabilizes the goggle strap.

As point of view camera usage varies among riders, MET provides a detachable mount. This slick bit of hardware is specifically shaped to fit inside the top vent port. The two-piece mount simply screws together, and the GoPro-compatible clip maintains a subdued profile.

Detachable vs. Fixed Chin Guards

Like convertible full face helmets with a removable chin guard, the MET Parachute seeks a better balance between breathability and protective coverage. Unlike its detachable cousins, however, the Parachute makes use of a fixed chin guard to eliminate the weight of attachment hardware.

Although more compact in design, the Parachute still complies with ASTM certification for downhill racing — a safety standard not offered by every helmet with a detachable chin guard.

Finally, not everyone is sold on convertible full face helmets, yet most can agree with reducing weight while keeping protection constant. I’m glad to see there are still lightweight options for riders in both camps.

Photo: Andrew Jensen

Final Take

The Parachute is a seriously lightweight and durable helmet for serious riders. It aims squarely at the enduro crowd where breathability during the climb is as important as protection during timed downhill runs.

You don’t race? That’s ok… the Parachute does not discriminate, as it protected me, too!

With such a high standard of protection at such a low weight, it comes as no surprise the Parachute is not cheap. According to MET, there are no US distributors, but a Google search reveals no shortage of online retailers (many with discounted pricing) if you’re willing to pay for overseas shipping.

On that note, consider the Parachute two helmets in one: almost as breathable as a half shell, yet much safer. This 2-in-1 characteristic is a convenient and cost-effective option for those who want both a full face and a half shell, but don’t want to juggle between the two.

MSRP: $299 USD

Thanks to MET Helmets for providing the Parachute for review!

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