Under Water: LX100
Looks are one thing, but real-life performance is the only real test, so time to get the regs wet.
I know I should drag it out and keep you guessing with a careful blend of positive and negative comments, but I’m not going to.
Hollis LX100 in use.
Both the LX100 and LX200 breathe beautifully, with a silky-smooth quality to their gas delivery, and were pretty much identical as far as my non-ANSTI-calibrated lungs were concerned. I’d be happy to use either in terms of their breathe quality.
I started with the LX100, which screwed into the cylinder-valve with enviable ease and smoothness. DIN threads can sometimes feel a bit scratchy or bind a bit, but the LX100 was exemplary.
Opening the cylinder-valve can also be a bit of an event sometimes as everything comes up to pressure and the hoses go rigid, but not the LX100. In fact, had the needle on the contents gauge not moved, I wouldn’t have known that the set was pressurised.
As I pulled the BC on I caught the purge of the LX100, and because I’d stupidly left the venturi lever in the dive position it freeflowed lustily until I flipped the lever and shoved a finger across the mouthpiece.
The LX200 will also do this if you have the breathing-resistance knob set at minimum and the venturi lever in the dive position, but it isn’t a fault, just a measure of how finely the cracking pressure of the two second stages is set.
The mouthpiece of the LX100 fitted my mouth and teeth well, with no trace of insecurity and no jaw-fatigue even after an hour in the water. I put this down to the mouthpiece design, because the inner curve of the exhaust T didn’t quite sit on my chin with either second stage.
My preference is for Comfo-bite mouthpieces, and have been known to swap to them even on new regs, but I wouldn’t feel any need to change these Hollis mouthpieces, so my one initial reservation had been neatly dispatched.
In a normal horizontal trim the LX100 breathed very well, cracking at the slightest inhale but not blasting air down my throat, even when it was abused by my panting and gasping as hard as I could.
Going vertical, head-up or head-down, rolling around or laid on my back and taking it easy, the breathe felt equally smooth.
I was having one of those days when my mask, normally dry and tight as the proverbial duck’s wossname, was leaking persistently and fogging continually, so rolling on my back had dribbles of water running around the inside of my nose. This was not nice, but the LX100 certainly wasn’t misbehaving, and simply continued to deliver gas perfectly.
Big tick from me. Like it. Time for big brother.
Under Water: LX200
I’m not going to ask you to re-read all that basic stuff again; take it from me that the LX200 works as flawlessly as the LX100, with extra tunability from the breathing resistance control knob, if you feel the need to twist it.
I might have remarked before that I don’t really understand the point of these knobs. Why drop large amounts of hard-earned cabbage on a high-performance reg set, then de-tune it?
How many Ferrari owners go back to the garage asking for their new car to be made slower?
But I do know there are those of you who will disagree and, for you, the control works well.
Fully open and the breathe is smooth and high-volume without being fierce. Closed, and you need to suck a bit, but never to the point at which you feel as if you’re having your first asthma attack.
If you want a second stage with breathing resistance adjustment, this one works well. That means another big tick from me.
The venturi levers on both second stages were easy to locate and move with a gloved hand, and the BRA knob on the LX200 was equally easy to twiddle even with my Kevlar dipped 5mm gloves.
Both also purged progressively and easily, allowing full control over the amount of gas that the purge swooshed through the second stage.