Divers can soon sit around the fire and talk about the old days when we had to use those stiff and bulky rubber hoses on our regulators. With the introduction of the new Miflex Xtreme-hi (high pressure) hose there is no longer any reason to have dangly rubber on your reg. This product line is nothing less than amazing.
First there was the amazing and super flexible Miflex Xtreme LP hose (for regulator second stages, octos, bcd and drysuits). We have been using them for many months and cannot imagine ever using a rubber hose again. They are 30% lighter than the old rubber hose. You can tie them in a knot with no loss of air flow and they are come cool colors t hat are not black (more colors in Europe than the US). The Miflex Xtreme is quickly becoming standard on new regulators from some manufactures. All other regulator, BCD and dry suit manufacturers need to wake up and follow suit.
While the Miflex Xtreme LP hose was the herald of a new age of for scuba hoses, the newer Miflex Xtreme-hi stands to blow the collective mind of the industry. This hose goes way beyond normal scuba safety standards. It can handle an incredible pressure of more than 2000 Bar (more than 29,000 PSI!). Every diver to whom we showed the hose was stunned when they saw it. “Wow, can this really be a HP hose?!” was one of the mildest reactions. It is unbelievable to us and others that that this tiny string of a hose can replace its fat predecessor. Regulator and equipment guru Don Peterson, well known in the Pacific Northwest, was practically jumping for joy when we showed him the Miflex Xtreme-hi. I found it a pleasure to use it on my Suunto Cobra computer. It feels like I am carrying my air integrated computer on a thin, braided watch chain.
The reason this hose is so visually shocking is because it is so thin. Think of pencil and then go thinner. Remember that a high pressure hose’s only purpose is to transmit pressure to your dive computer or pressure gauge. No quantity of air has to flow, so there is no reason for the inside diameter hose to be wider than a pinhole. Older hoses were thicker because they needed more bulk to withstand the higher pressure and resist wear. Our test Miflex Xtreme-hi hose was only around 1/4 the weight of the rubber hose it replaced (2.3 ounces v.s. 8.6 ounces). Additionally, unlike rubber HP hosed that stiffen to attention when you turn on the pressure, the Miflex Xtreme-hi hose remains very flexible when pressurized. In actual use, we found that the hose to our dive computers became almost insignificant after we installed the Miflex hose. Checking the dive computer felt like checking a watch or compass that was just hanging on a d-ring retractor.
The only marketing challenge that may arise is purely emotional. Divers that are used to having a big, thick rubber hose holding their computer, may fear that this thin lanyard of hose may not be strong enough. But such fears are par for the course when new lighter but stronger products are invented. Not only does Miflex perform up to 30 individual tests including an air leakage test on 100% of their production, other companies such as Mares, which sells Miflex hoses under the name “Super Flex” performs even more testing on their end.
XS-Scuba is the main distributor for all of the Miflex Xtreme hoses in the US. However, other regulator manufacturers are jumping on board, including the previously mentioned Mares, Zeagle, Poseidon and Beuchat, many smaller rebreather manufacturers and Aqualung to name a few.” You may be able purchase Miflex Xtrem hoses to replace your rubber hoses from your regulator manufacture, via your local dive shop. Miflex Xtreme-hi hoses are available in six standard lengths; 6, 24, 30, 32, 36 and 40 inch. Miflex Xtreme LP hoses are available in multiple lengths for regulators, BCDs and drysuits. Prices for the HP and LP standard length hoses are in the $30-50 range. If you replace your current hoses one at a time, over a period of months it is very easy on the wallet.
As exciting as these hoses are, many still have not heard about them. One contributor could be that, oddly enough, XS-Scuba’s website, which comes up number two on a Google or Bing search, was not up to date in listing the products. We could not locate any mention of the Miflex drysuit hoses on the XS Scuba website. Also the listing for the Miflex Xtreme-hi hoses still says “available in June” (meaning last June 2009). However, to the contrary we found other US dealers that list both products for sale under the XS Scuba name on their websites. When we called for comment, an XS Scuba staff member said, “…oh that is probably because we mostly provide the info directly to dealers … that is why we do not keep the website up to date.” They do not seem to connect this to the fact that potential that customers do not even know to ask for Miflex hoses from their local dive shop. Not isolated to XS, this condition reflects a common apathy and ambivalence we see among many dive industry companies and dealers. They simpley do not understand how a good or bad web strategy can help or hurt their sales. Customers are going to search the web for new products before they buy. Dive equipment manufacturers, cannot depend on the LDS for marketing to customers. They need to use their website, and other social networking to market to customers, build a buzz, and convince them to ask for the product from their LDS.
Because the Miflex Xtreme scuba hoses evolved from hoses used by other industries (see history below), Miflex has already confirmed that they have found hoses on the market that are promoted as “Miflex style hose”. You can tell a Miflex brand by the laser ectched “MFX” or “MIFLEX Xtreme” the one of the ferrules.
We have to go overboard and give the Miflex Xtreme LP and HP hoses six out of five stars for this product line. It both enhances the life of the individual diver and will surely be a change that ripples through the industry. It seems to us that any dive equipment manufacturer involved with a product that uses hoses would only increase customer satisfaction by converting to the Miflex Xtreme hoses.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Miflex, an Italian manufacturer of flexible hoses for many different applications. They currently produce about 12 million hoses per year. Company staff heard remarks from scuba diving friends, who said that “scuba diving hoses have been the same for the last 40 years and why don’t you try and develop something new and better.” They decided to take on the this new challenge. Building on their experience in other sectors, they developed and patented a new generation hose, the Xtreme LP high performance scuba diving hose.
This hose is made of a special PU (polyurea) internal layer with a PET (polyethylene terephthalate) braiding and an external Nylon braiding. This combination gives the hose a fantastic flexibility even under pressure and a great resistance to abrasion due to its double braiding.
Since 2006 the Xtreme LP hose has been on the European market and was presented to the US market at DEMA 2007 in Orlando. Last year they started the development of the new Xtreme-hi HP hoses and in May 2009 started the first production.
FULL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: The Miflex factory sent ScubaGadget a 6″ and a 32″ sample Miflex Xtreme-hi hose for testing without charge. The Miflex LP hoses tested were all purchased retail at local dive shops.