REGULATOR Mares Axes Pro

Pro performer at an amateur price
THE MARES AXIS PRO MIGHT SOUND AS IF ITS AIMED AT PROFESSIONALS but at first glance you would assume that this was an entry-level regulator. Im told that its called Pro to distinguish it from its less-well-performing predecessor.
 It uses the MR12 diaphragm-type first stage designed with a fixed barrel, a well-thought-of performer when it comes to deliveries of gas. This has four medium-pressure and two hp ports.
The Axis Pro has a lightweight polymer second stage uncluttered by any knobs or switches. Exponential free-flows, against which other manufacturers provide a venturi plus/minus switch, are taken care of by the patent Mares Bi-pass tube, which avoids drops in pressure caused by fast flows of air across the back of the pressure-sensitive front membrane.
 The mesh front proves good in a front-on current in that it too resists any tendency to cause a free-flow. It unscrews after a simple locking-pin is removed, should you need to clean debris from inside the spacious main chamber. The purge button is clearly seen and easily accessed in the middle of this.
 In fact the Axis Pro has all the features of its much more expensive siblings combined in a less expensively made package. I say this because the second stage, in the way it feels, evokes those cheap plastic toys made in the Far East.
 The first stage, on the other hand, exudes the usual Mares high manufacturing quality, although the fixed barrel design does mean that, if a full set of hoses is used, some will take up a rather uncomfortable routeing and may encounter some strain.
The Axis Pro is a big chunk of kit. It seems to make no concessions to the complications of diving in cold, fresh water either, but if youre looking for a standard design while being budget-conscious, you could do worse than this uncluttered regulator.
 Under water I found it good enough to be uneventfu - something I could use and take for granted on every dive I did with it, save for a slight whistling sound that became apparent only when I had exactly 50 bar of gas remaining in my tank.
 I could have kidded myself that this was a design feature, but I simply thought it fortuitous that it gave me an audible warning just as I was about to consider ending the dive! At higher and lower tank-pressures it was silent. Im sure it performs as well as more expensive Mares products.
The typically small Mares mouthpiece doesnt suffer from having to support a heavy second stage but I needed to position my lower jaw slightly forward, so tended to swallow air into my stomach, leading to a bit of heartburn during deeper dives.
 Although not large, I found that the exhaust-T was quite effective in routeing exhaled bubbles away from the front of my face.
The Mares Axis Pro costs a competitive £150.

  • Blandford Sub-Aqua 01923 801572, www.blandfordsubaqua.co.uk

  • Divernet Divernet Divernet
    + Good performance at budget end of price spectrum

    - Poor hose routeing
    - Large and cheap-looking second stage