Industry Nine A35 Stem and MatchStix Axle

A35 Stem & MatchStix Axle

Industry Nine

Words & Photos by Chili Dog

Normally we don’t review things like axles or stems. They’re not typically glamorous and don’t do much besides hold vital parts of your bike together. While you definitely don’t want one to fail, most people don’t get excited about an axle. This review is about exactly those two things though, so what gives? Although they’re not always exciting, the stem has a massive impact on the handling and steering feel of your bike, and the MatchStix axle is anything but a boring axle. We’ll show you why.

The Lab

The A35 stem begins its life when Industry Nine machines a solid chunk of 7075-aluminum into a beautifully rugged unit with a bit of industrial flare. The stem is offered in 32-, 40-, 50- and 60-millimeter lengths. We’ve put the 32mm stem on several of our test bikes and love the feel. With many frames adopting longer reach numbers, shorter stems are becoming  prevalent for more than just DH riders. The short stem keeps handling quick and precise while maintaining a comfortable reach with the longer frames that are popular today.

Industry Nine A35 Stem and MatchStix Axle

The A35 stem is domestically sourced, machined and anodized here in the USA. In typical Industry Nine fashion, there are eleven colors to choose from. If you truly like customizing your bike you can even mix and match the stem body and faceplate colors. The 32mm model weighs a scant 128 grams while the 60mm weights 165 grams.

Even though the new stem is pretty sweet, the Axle is even better. Available for 15mm RockShox and Fox forks, the MatchSitx replaces the standard axle with a multi-tool equipped one. Inside is a chain screw, 5mm press-fit tool, 3mm hex, 4mm hex, t25 bit, 6mm hex, valve core remover, spoke tool and a quick release chain link holder. The axle itself turns into a handled driver for the various bits and tools.

The MatchStix axle is a brilliant blend of simplicity and complex thinking. It’s a part that’s as practical as it is beautifully machined. At 102 grams for the 15×100 model, it’s a negligible weight increase given the benefits. Rubber seals keep everything clean and debris free so you can easily pull out the tools and get to work. Once again, it wouldn’t be an Industry Nine component if it wasn’t available in a full spectrum of colors to match or accent your ride.

Industry Nine A35 Stem and MatchStix Axle

The Dirt

After some time on these parts, Industry Nine’s attention to detail is readily evident. Whether it’s the perfectly machined faces of the stem or the careful thought put into the seals of the axle. You get what you pay for with these parts.

Sure a stem may not affect your ride like a new fork, but it’s more than just bicycle jewelry too. For discerning riders who push the limits, having a flexy stem can drastically change the overall feel of your bike.

We’ve always been fans of short stems and the 32mm A35 we got probably as short as things can get. It tightened up the steering on more than a few test bikes we have at The Den and was a welcome upgrade on a few e-bikes that came spec’d with lower end stems. If you’re struggling with sluggish steering feel, stem flex or want to change your reach numbers, a stem will make subtle but noticeable improvement.

Industry Nine A35 Stem and MatchStix Axle

I’ll do anything I can to not carry a pack, so anything that lets me store tools on the bike instead of on me is a win in my book. While the One Up system we recently reviewed, requires you to thread your steer tube, the Industry Nine MatchStix simply takes the place of your standard axle– no modifications required. There’s no permanent alteration to your fork, retaining re-sale value when you decide to change things up. The design does however change the way you remove your front wheel and the axle itself.

If you’re someone that has to remove the front wheel frequently for transport, the Matchstix will make that process a little slower than normal. Instead of turning the handle, you have to pop it off and use it to unthread the axle. It’s not a big issue for van and truck owners like us, but it’s worth noting for guys fitting big bikes into small cars. If you want to only use it on longer rides, your normal axle will still work just like it always has.

When you need it though, this tool is seriously handy. The rubber seals do a great job keeping dirt and grime out of the tools, which are all ergonomic and easy to use. The ability to have them on the bike at all times is huge, especially for people that are as forgetful as myself. It’s also impossible for the tools to fall out, which can’t be said for bottle cage mounted tools. It’s one of the slickest ways we’ve seen to store tools on the bike and this is one part that I’ll definitely be transferring to as many test bikes as I can!

The Wolf’s Last Word

If you’re looking to add a little bling and a whole lot of practicality to your bike, the A35 stem and MatchStix axle are just the ticket. We’ve never been shy about our affinity for Industry Nine and the pride we have in American made products. These two little bits only re-affirm our positive view of their quality, workmanship and utmost attention to detail. Sure you can probably get a cheaper stem, and carrying a multi tool in your pocket is free, but you can’t argue with the ingenious simplicity of the MatchStix axle system. We are fans and will proudly support a quality American product!

Price
A35 Stem: $125
MatchStix: $145

Weight
A35 Stem: 128g
MatchStix: 102g

Contact: Industrynine.com

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