I’ve been admiring the ingenuity of the Industry Nine Matchstix Thru Axle Multi-tool since it debuted, but up until just recently, they didn’t make one that would fit the fat-bike with a Bluto or Bluto compatible 150mm x 15 fork. As soon as I found out that I9 introduced a fat-bike compatible model, I pinged our amigos over there and asked (begged really) for one to test. They make them in just about every color of the rainbow, so they sent us one in Lime Green to match the Fatback Corvus that we’re testing. If your fat-bike has a front thru axle, you can replace that unit with a Matchstix thru axle and never have to worry about getting caught without a multi tool ever again. The Matchstix has a really versatile, solid feeling set of bike tools built into the thru axle. The thru axle stays installed in the drop outs of the fork, when using the tools. Both ends of the axle, separate from the thru axle, to be used for trail side repairs.
The lever snaps in and out of the non-threaded side of the T/A/ The lever is designed with a chain tool, a 5mm allen, a spoke wrench and a bit driver socket. It feels good and solid in your hand. I wonder, in the long term, if the O-ring that hold the lever in place will deteriorate and eventually launch the tool into the weeds, but it hasn’t happened yet. Time will tell, but the solid click that you hear, when you re-attach the handle makes it seem quite secure (fresh out of the box).
The Matchstix thru axle is hollow and on the threaded end of the T/A (opposite of the lever) is a plastic tube containing 6 tool bits with an end plug with a spot for a KMC 9 or 10 or 11 speed or Sram 9 or 10 speed quick link. (11 Speed Sram Quick link will not fit) that also has a presta valve core remover and becomes the handle (used in combination with one of the bits and the lever) for the chain tool.
The whole package weighs in at 129 grams.
Compare that with the stock thru axle with my trusty cane creek multi tool at 260 grams and we see that we’ve saved a little weight.
Here’s a shot of the handle with a 3 mm allen tool bit attached. I fear dropping one of the bits in the snow and losing it, but these bits can be replaced at any regular hardware store, so again….time and real testing on the side of the trail, without reading glasses, getting bit by swarms of mosquitoes, will reveal everything we need to know about the functionality of the Matchstix.
The chain tool is revealed by unscrewing the pin driver out of the handle and removing the debris cover. The tool doesn’t use any pins to hold the link in place, so it takes a little finesse to get the links pressed down into the depression in the handle, but it did the job (on the workbench). See my statement about mosquitoes and field testing above.
Here’s a shot of the Matchstix installed on a Fatback Corvus. Keep in mind that, in addition to the Matchstix, I carry a tube, a pump, a patch kit and two tire levers to cover most trail side mechanical failures that can (and will) occur if you ride long enough. The MSRP on the fat-bike compatible Matchstix is $160.
We’ll be testing the Matchstix and report back on how things go out there on the trail. Till then “¡Felices Caminos Amigos!”
For more information visit – https://industrynine.com/matchstix/