As a rider, you often take your box of tools for granted. You get the tools as and when you need them, throw them in the box and expect them to be there when duty calls. I've worked out of many different toolboxes in my day, but my bike tools have lived in the same Craftsman box I got for Christmas the year I started riding and generally obsessing over bikes. I haven't put much thought into it since then, it works fine and has been going for more years than I care to remember. But when the opportunity arose to try a similarly sized toolbox from Matrix Concepts that apparently had some design advantages over that old Craftsman, I thought I'd give it a try.
Matrix Concepts M31 Worx Toolbox Highlights
- Made from hi-impact plastic
- Metal drawers with aluminum trim
- Team graphics
- Removable plastic inside tool tray
- Locking drawers
- Price: $109.95 USD
Out of the box (!) the Matrix ConceptsM31 Toolbox was lighter than expected and slightly different to the photos I had seen. A plastic body and lid with metal drawers and frame create a light yet durable box with rounded edges. I don’t know how many times I’ve stubbed my toe on my old toolbox, so this seemed like a good idea. Flashy moto-esque graphics were the next thing to jump out at me. I liked the idea of these durable decals but thank god they are removable because the graphics are not my cup of tea and toolboxes are where the stickers go - only the best ones, of course!
In The Workshop
I moved all my tools/parts over and was impressed by the space provided by the M31. The 2 drawers move smoothly under load and the main compartment is large with a removable tray and a deep lid, creating a good amount of vertical space for stacking all kinds of $h1t in the tray without preventing the lid from closing. This was gonna be a great fit for my sloppy style. I fit two small parts bins under the tray and a good deal of lubes, tools and parts on the tray itself. The drawers fit all my bike tools including the enthusiastic and well-meaning mechanic's favorite tool - a dead blow hammer. To give you a sense of scale and perspective, I included a beer in the photos. After drinking it, the magical powers of Rainier led me to peel the Matrix decals off and apply a proper sticker. Now the box was rad, and I was set.
Next on the agenda, I threw the M31 in the truck for some trips. The rounded corners are a really nice feature in the truck too, as they won't snag the already shredded seats that my dog recently modified. The box handled some abuse and stayed tight and fairly quiet despite being loaded with tools and carelessly moved around whenever I looked for my gloves/keys/beer. You will need to make sure the drawers are fully shut when you close the lid otherwise they will surprise you with sockets on your toes. This is a common issue with toolboxes and really the only semi-serious piece of criticism I've managed to come up with.
The latches are sturdy and don’t shred your fingers when you go to open them, which is nice. There is a hole for a lock but it's all plastic, so that's cute. The box is comfortable to carry from the top handle or the side handles, which is convenient. And while toolboxes typically make great seats in the parking lot this one produced some bad noises and I won't be sitting on it again - so that's a bummer.
Things That Could Be Improved
$109.95 may seem like a lot for something that just sits there but if it's like my other toolbox it’ll go 15-20 years which already makes it worth every penny. The graphics could do with a bit of toning down, but since they are removable you are free to do so and apply your own artistic collection of toolbox-worthy stickers.
Long Term Durability
The build quality is solid and I am expecting a good run with this box. It's hard to tell how the plastic will hold up over time, but if you don't insist on sitting on it, there's no reason it shouldn't provide years of loyal service.
What's The Bottom Line?
Overall the M31 was a pleasant surprise. I had little to no expectations as it's a toolbox and it has a fairly basic role to play. But the little features and overall design made this one a true upgrade for myself and that is a good test. If you can stomach the graphics and deal with the plastic, no-sit-zone construction then this is a rad box, out of the box. I opted to remove the graphics and never sit on it again which made it a rad box for myself too. And ultimately, as far as holding tools - it does great.
For more information, head on over to www.matrixracingproducts.com.
About The Reviewer
Cory Tepper is a life long MTB nerd. He’s been riding since 1994 and spent a little time in the now defunct Semi-Pro downhill category. He’ll always love street riding and pumptracks, and will occasionally scare himself on a decently sized set of dirt jumps. During the day he turns wrenches on $10,000 road bikes and documents the lesser known riders as a photographer and video guy in his free time. Tepper has a three legged dog, and he loves gas station coffee, Dominoes and Katy Perry - basically he is THE best product tester ever. Count on Tepper to keep it real.