ROGUE/PROHOE "long term" reviews on a few tools- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 26 of 26
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 11053's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    2,391

    ROGUE/PROHOE "long term" reviews on a few tools

    Been using several ROGUE tools for years.
    The following tools have been my go to for 40+ miles of hand cut trail over a variety of terrain in the past 3 years.
    Approx 600 build/maintenance days on the tool mix below. Based on wear and tear and current condition there's likely another 600 days in store for them. They just keep going.
    Travis 54"
    Travis 48"
    55A 42"
    60A 40"
    85H 40"

    For general maintenance and building in moderate terrain, the Travis is an amazing tool. Moves a decent amount of dirt, the pick can pry/move big rocks and bust hard soil, the rake is fully functional and the scraper blade is great for shaping. It's a heavy duty tool with lot of surface area and tamps dirt very well. Best "do everything" tool I've used in 30+ years.
    Really shines for maintenance although it is fully capable of lots of initial build work. 7" hoe digs deep and moves a decent amount of dirt. Scraper blade also moves a lot of loose soil and shapes terrain very well. Rake is on the smaller side, but very functional. 11 out of 10 times it beats a standard Mcleod no matter what trail building you are doing. Choose handle length depending on terrain.

    55A is an amazing "sleeper" tool. Super light= can carry and swing it all day long. Small size and low weight means it doesn't move a bunch of dirt or do final shaping and tamping well, but it is a great tool for roughing in lines, moving rock or being the lead on a build crew in steep terrain. Weight is 3lbs +/- and you can carry it anywhere. Great tool for benching in super steep terrain with the 42" handle. Amazing what you can rough in with this tool with minimal effort. If you have a follower working with you with a legit shaping/tamping tool it is amazing how quickly you can bench in steep and rocky terrain. Super burly tool for the 3lb weight. I've leveraged out rocks well over 100+ lbs and seen the handle flex to a super sketchy degree but this little tool just keeps going.

    60A with the 40" handle- amazing heavy duty steep terrain bench and rock moving tool. Doesn't move a ton of dirt but it does move dirt, cuts deep and remove big rocks. Not a finishing tool but a super burly tool for moving dirt and rocks that can be used all day long. Very light for what you can do with it. Does what the 55A does, but noticeably better for steeper terrain, moving a bit more dirt and bigger rocks.

    85H 40" THE BOSS- specialized tool for moving lots of loose and poorly compacted dirt in steep terrain. Easily moves an amazing amount of soil. It's heavy. Benches like nothing I've ever seen in loose soil. Cuts roots and brush in one swing. Head has enough surface area to move lots of loose dirt and to tamp tread very well. Take some time and apply precision and you can leverage big rocks out of the ground as well. Amazing how much dirt can be moved with this tool. Sharp edges make a big difference in efficiency and effort required. Takes a fit and strong user to utilize it effectively otherwise it just wears users out and efficiency declines. For a dialed builder, it can move a ton of dirt and shape tread in steep terrain like nothing else. Best to follow it with a McLeod/Travis or other finishing tool. 2 person crew using this approach in steep terrain can do amazing things.

    I have yet to break a Rogue handle or head.
    I have severely dinged the cutting edges of all tools and have gouged and chipped all handles.
    A hand file can clean things up with a lot of effort in about 1/2 hour. However, an angle or bench grinder with the appropriate attachment does it in minutes.

    I sand the handles once a year and use a wipe on varnish for weather proofing. I'm building several days a week and always wear gloves so I don't go in for the tung oil/linseed oil artisan program. Tools are stored out of the weather. Sand handles, wipe on varnish and get back to work the next day and all is good.

    Tool weight and handle length for the specific terrain have been a very big deal. Sure, you can "choke up" on a long handled tool in steep terrain, but having the appropriate handle length, blade width/style and tool weight for the terrain and soil makes a HUGE difference.

    The amount of energy saved and the efficiency gained for having the right tool for the trail project is a very real thing.

    There's lots of crossover in building tools currently and several tools can adequately meet a variety of needs.
    However, Rogue/ProHoe offers both specialized tools and and amazing do everything tools.

    Good pricing and hassle free shipping when you order directly from their website.
    Love their stuff.
    If you're already on the Rogue program, then likely none of the above is news to you.
    If you have yet to get a Rogue tool in your hands and put it in to dirt, then you owe it to yourself and the riders you are building for to check out what they offer.

    https://roguehoe.com/
    Last edited by 11053; 10-07-2018 at 10:45 AM.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    67
    I'm a big fan of the 70HR. One tool to do a lot of jobs. Less to pack in.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: hankthespacecowboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    538
    Rogue Hoe tools are the new standard in trailbuilding tools between their durability, and functionality.

    Of the above listed tools, the 60A is my favorite; an amazing tool for first pass of rough bench cut. I also find it very handy for rock placement; it moves more volume of dirt when excavating than a standard pick mattock, and the pick end is quite effective at leveraging rocks, and popping them out of the ground. The curved handle adds a significant amount of power & control to the swing.

    As the OP noted, Rogue Hoe tools are incredibly durable. I too have put far more leverage and force on them than would be considered reasonable, and have yet to break a handle. The outside tines of the 70HR as somewhat suspect; I've seen them break off on a few other tools and the both outside tines on my personal one are bent inwards, and there are obvious stress/fracture marks developing. This issue could likely be rectified if the outside tines were cut with a radius, rather than at a right angle.

    My other favorite tool in the Rogue Hoe line up is the 115FR. For trailbuilding missions where I can only bring in a limited quiver of tools, a standard pick mattock and 115FR have become my go-to combination. The extra-burly rake design is head and shoulders above every other tool I have used for sorting through chunky, rocky soil. It is far more aggressive than a standard bow/dirt rake, and even more effective than a McLeod in the same situation. One factor that hasn't been mentioned yet is how the slightly curved profile of the disc blades Rogue Hoe tools are shaped from increases the dirt-moving efficiency of these tools. It doesn't seem like much when looking at the tools, but there is noticeable difference in how the slightly cupped shape hold more dirt in front of the tool, rather than letting it spill off the sides.

  4. #4
    Dirt Monkey
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    273
    We've been using rogue hoes to build trail for 10 years. The 70H works best for our area; clay/silt/loam soils with no rocks, lots of hardwood roots, and trails usually require heavy bench work. Still the best all around tool we've found for the job.

    We've broken quite a few of the blades where it's welded onto the handle socket. Fatigue cracks develop on the lower weld and spread across the face of the blade until it eventually breaks off. Newer versions we've ordered have started using thicker blades to prevent this problem. Have never broken one of the 40" hickory handles. Keep them sharp with a bench grinder to deal with roots.

    Have tried to remove handles on broken tools but they seemed to be glued on and very difficult to remove. Plan was to weld the blades back together and add a reinforcing gusset to get them back in service. Gave up on that plan because they were so hard to get apart.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: tbmaddux's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    1,777
    Quote Originally Posted by fatso View Post
    I'm a big fan of the 70HR. One tool to do a lot of jobs. Less to pack in.
    Me too, although Iíd probably switch to a Travis if my 70HR breaks. I donít much need the pick end but the scraper side looks fantastic.

    I also have their 55HX Beast Pulaski but I donít use it as much due to the short handle and Iím mainly using these for maintenance work, not hacking new lines through deep organics anymore.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    2,409
    Quote Originally Posted by aero901 View Post
    We've been using rogue hoes to build trail for 10 years. The 70H works best for our area; clay/silt/loam soils with no rocks, lots of hardwood roots, and trails usually require heavy bench work. Still the best all around tool we've found for the job.

    We've broken quite a few of the blades where it's welded onto the handle socket. Fatigue cracks develop on the lower weld and spread across the face of the blade until it eventually breaks off. Newer versions we've ordered have started using thicker blades to prevent this problem. Have never broken one of the 40" hickory handles. Keep them sharp with a bench grinder to deal with roots.

    Have tried to remove handles on broken tools but they seemed to be glued on and very difficult to remove. Plan was to weld the blades back together and add a reinforcing gusset to get them back in service. Gave up on that plan because they were so hard to get apart.
    +1 on all the above. I recently broke my handle. I drilled it out in the center and then used a chiesel to chip out the rest. Yes, they are glued in.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    515
    I use the 70HR too. I do use a pick axe for larger rocks when bench cutting though.

  8. #8
    middle ring single track
    Reputation: Moe Ped's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    4,358
    FWIW the 70H is my go-to; the only Rogue I've never broken. I've broken every round-handle Rogue I've gotten my hands on (sometimes the handle, sometimes the weld where the handle ferrule meets the head). I did have a 60H fail once with the head separating from the handle socket just outside of the weld. The soils I do most of my trail work in tend to be rocky/rooty. (We break a lot of pick-mattock and pulaski handles too)
    Content here does not officially represent the CA DPR.

    Windows 10, destroying humanity one upgrade at a time.

  9. #9
    since 4/10/2009
    Reputation: Harold's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    25,614
    I have a 55HR, which is my 2nd. I broke my previous one at the weld on the head chopping a root that was probably a bit too big to be hacking at with that tool. Should have switched over to a mattock or Pulaski for it.

    I like the HR as a pretty versatile tool. burly rake is good to get the organics off the top. Sure, it's small and light enough that it's not the ideal tool for many tasks, but I CAN rough in trail and do finish work with it. About all it's not really any good for whatsoever is moving rock. I got mine with a fiberglass handle for weight, so it's an easy tool to haul out, too.

  10. #10
    > 55
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    128
    I use their Travis Tool (70AR-7) with the 54" handle. I have used the pick side as an axe to trim tree branches in a pinch. As stated above, great products, reuse of materials, family business....what is not to like!

    I will modify mine to be able to remove the 54" handle and swap out with a 36" handle. That way I can break it down and put in my pack in order to bike out to farther trail / work locations.

  11. #11
    Rent this space for $
    Reputation: Oh My Sack!'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3,580
    I was just reminded that Rogue is having a sale on new tools right now till the 31st in case anybody is in immediate need.

    This past year, I bought 10 55HR's for the first time. We have probably 15 70HR's on our trailer in addition to around 40 McLeods already but we wanted something a little lighter to appeal to some of our "smaller" volunteers on our big work days. I really like that 55HR. No, it doesn't quite get the work of a 70 done but it sure is nice to transport and work with in the field. In the past, we were buying Zack Tool McLeods and on maybe a dozen, cut the outer tines/edges off each side which gives us about the same diameter as the 55HR. This, of course, was before the 55HR was an item. That narrower tool is a very popular configuration for many of our volunteers.

    I bought 5 Travis Tools at the same time as the 55HR's. We had never owned one before and it was intriguing. It's another BIG winner, IMO. I've been making sure to query each and every guy that has grabbed those off the trailer when they're done and so far, everybody has given it the BIG thumbs-up so I think I'm gonna buy another 10 of them when I order some new stuff for our .org. My only complaint is the handle is a little thick for my personal liking and it only came in wood at the time. Not sure if that is still the case but I won't let that effect the next purchase. It's stout.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: JustMtnB44's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    688
    I also have many Rogue hoe tools in my collection for maintaining my local park. All of the digging hoes I get with a 40" axe handle, and the McLeod style tools with the 54" round handle.

    My all time go-to tool is still the Rogue 70H, there isn't anything it can't do for basic trail building and maintenance needs. Best for bench cutting, slough removal, clearing drain dips, digging ditches, tamping small areas, chopping out roots and small stumps - basically everything needed to build trail. Not great for really rocky areas.

    If I'm in a rocky area or repairing really compacted trail tread then I sometimes grab the Rogue 60A tool, the pick side is useful to break up hard dirt and soft rocks like shale and slate. For areas that are only dirt then this tool is not as useful as the 70H as it doesn't move enough dirt for me, but is good for less experienced or less strong volunteers.

    I have an 80R hoe for building berms and jumps or bench cutting on steep, soft hillsides. It moves a lot of dirt and is also good for tamping. It cuts through smaller roots well but doesn't hold an edge quite the same as the smaller hoes.

    I have two of the 55HX tools. They tend to stay the sharpest of the bunch, and is my go to tool for bench cutting areas with lots of roots, hardpack soil, or dense areas of small saplings or invasive bushes that need to be chopped out. I don't use the axe side as much as I thought I would, but it is useful for chopping out stumps or rotted deadfall. If I'm just going out for a maintenance hike, I'll grab this tool about half of the time. Obviously it cannot be used for tamping.

    I have one of the Rogue 70HR McLeod style tools and to me it is better than most standard McLeods because it is a lot sharper and better at cutting through dirt and small roots, while still being able to move dirt and tamp it. It works well for light bench cutting, scraping areas that don't need a lot of benching, and cleaning out drains of muck and wet leaves. It's not as big as some McLeod tools and therefore not quite as good at moving dirt, plus the rounded edge requires more finesse when shaping trail tread.

    Next time I need to buy some tools I think I will get a Travis tool, it seems to be the ticket for a general purpose maintenance and building.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 11053's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    2,391
    More detail and specific info for those who are interested.

    For all tools I apply ATF to heads/metal for rust prevention and storage. Quick wipe with ATF a few times a year and before storage and metal remains rust free. Cheap and easy and effective.

    For handles/contact surface I sand the entire shaft and apply Formby's Tung Oil Varnish. It's a wipe on varnish and not a real tung oil treatment, but it is super easy to apply in multiple coats, quick drying and long lasting. I sand handles, wipe off dust, apply Formby's on a rag, and then buff with steel wool after it is dry. Your call on how many coats you want to apply, but I find that 3 coats attentively applied gets the tools through a year +/-. YMMV. I always wear gloves, favorite is Mechanix 4X Originals(can often be found for $15). I find that gloves buff a Formby's Tung Varnish treated handle to along lasting and glossy smooth finish.

    Edge maintenance/sharpening can be done several ways- hand file, Dremel tool(will burn through multiple attachments but works), angle grinder, bench grinder. Bench grinder gets it done in minutes. No more than a few minutes a tool required no matter what you did to the edge with a bench grinder. Bench grinder is best. Hand file is a workout if more than a few tools involved.

    As was pointed out above, the curved heads on Rogue tools move and hold/capture more dirt than flat heads. This is usually a very good thing. However, for certain tools that both cut deep and have large surface areas, it takes a skilled/experienced user to maximize efficiency. Inexperienced or overly enthusiastic users can wear themselves out by aggressively swinging a heavy tool, going too deep and then having to move large amounts of dirt with each swing. Tools like the 85H take some experience and awareness to get the most out of. Flipside is that light and small tools like the 55A are amazingly capable. Specific to the 55A- it is a featherweight-can even do some stuff with it one handed. However, the pick can move big rocks, the handle can take a ton of abuse, the blade can cut deep, and it moves more dirt than you'd think. It won't leave things pretty and requires follow up/cleanup, but you can go all day with it. If you don't push it and back off when you know it is outmatched, a quick follow up with a Travis or Mcleod type tool sets things right.

    Travis tool- this thing really is amazing. It does almost everything. However, handle length is the limiting factor in my experience. For established trail or flatter/lower angle terrain- pick from the available shaft lengths depending on terrain and user height. I like the 54" for established trail maintenance on low angle/flatter terrain. It's a PITA and inefficient in steep terrain building in my experience. 48" is the better all rounder, but still a bit too long for steeper terrain maintenance and building. I'm going to order another Travis and cut and shape the handle down to 44". I think that will cover most terrain and build/maintenance needs with minimal efficiency compromise.

    40" axe handles=Great for steep terrain or all terrain for users under 5'10" give or take. Love the burliness of the 40" axe handles but at 6' they are too short for long hours in lower angled terrain in my experience. Sure, they can do the work, but after several hours of using a tool that is a good match to user height + terrain vs using a tool that is too short or too long the efficiency and comfort gains are crystal clear. Rogue's 40" axe handles are super burly though. I wish they'd offer a 44-46" axe handle. I could easily make do with a 44" but a 46" would be great.

    The picks on on the 55A and 60A are amazing for rock removal and rock placement. Can also help get through burly roots/vegetation=break it up with pick and clean it up with hoe edge. With a bit of patience, digging and strategy both tools can move very big rocks.

    Rogue tools show up new with super sharp edges. Those sharp edges can provide big gains in efficiency. I used to try and preserve the original edges and would back off in rocky terrain. Now, I don't sweat it and just swing away. Knowing that most dings,chips and damage can be easily repaired with a bench grinder with minimal metal loss to the tool head I don't baby these things. I don't abuse them and definitely work smart, but am now on the use enthusiastically + maintain program.

    When you do the build + maintain miles to dollar math by tool, these thing are a deal.

  14. #14
    beer thief
    Reputation: radair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    4,860
    The Travis is hands down the best tool Iíve ever used. We have a big selection of Prohoe tools and this one does it all.

  15. #15
    K&K
    Reputation: ki5ka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    850
    What an awesome and informative post. Thanks 11053

  16. #16
    K&K
    Reputation: ki5ka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    850
    Can you easily remove the handle on a Rouge Hoe or is it permanently fixed? It appears to be pinned on? This has always been my hesitation. I routinely ride with my field hoe, but it has an "eye", where the head is simply tapped into place for use, then knocked loose and carried separately in my pack for riding. I sure see a lot of love for the Rouge Hoe though and it's making me wonder.
    Last edited by ki5ka; 10-28-2018 at 11:16 AM.

  17. #17
    Dirt Monkey
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    273
    Rogue Hoe handles are attached with glue (epoxy?) and a rivet. Not easy to disassemble.

  18. #18
    Keep on Rockin...
    Reputation: Miker J's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    5,800
    I've removed the heads/handles. Its not easy. You have to smooth off then grind the pin out, then they are still in there tight. Maybe a glue, not sure. But you can get them out.

    I have a few Rogues and at times they are the best tool for a specific job, but for our turf they have quite a few limitations. Our turf is very rocky and rooty. Most of the wide bladed Rogues work best when you have a lot of soil.


    As a side note...

    An old fashioned cutter mattock and a fire rake are the two tools I find to be the most useful and versatile.

    Also has to do with trail building style. Many builders cut trails way down past all the surface rocks and roots. Admittedly that gets you a firmer, faster riding trail as soon as the trail is in. But, the end result in my opinion, ends up appearing very unnatural and contrived, and it removes many of the smaller, natural features found on the trail. I prefer to remove only the duff, and with time let the riders pack in a narrow line. The trail takes longer to mature and will likely never be buffed out, but it retains a much more natural, unobtrusive character, and it typically will be more challenging to ride. I think I got off point there...

  19. #19
    K&K
    Reputation: ki5ka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    850
    Thanks Aero, that was my impression.

  20. #20
    K&K
    Reputation: ki5ka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    850
    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    I've removed the heads/handles.
    Was this for transporting or to replace a handle?

    ... I think I got off point there...
    Yes you did, but I like the ethos you project

    AND as an added bonus, the post about ebikes is buried one post deeper.

  21. #21
    Keep on Rockin...
    Reputation: Miker J's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    5,800
    Quote Originally Posted by ki5ka View Post
    Was this for transporting or to replace a handle?


    Yes you did, but I like the ethos you project

    AND as an added bonus, the post about ebikes is buried one post deeper.


    The handle was removed to be replaced. It was a major hassle getting it off. I'd avoid doing that again. No way would it be practical to do for transport.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Bradym77's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    162
    This is all some great information!

    I have one question. I'm building my own trails in my 15 acres and there are a good amount of hills with some creek crossings. If you only could choose one to use which Rogue tool would it be?

  23. #23
    K&K
    Reputation: ki5ka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    850
    ......

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 11053's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    2,391
    Quote Originally Posted by Bradym77 View Post
    This is all some great information!

    I have one question. I'm building my own trails in my 15 acres and there are a good amount of hills with some creek crossings. If you only could choose one to use which Rogue tool would it be?
    70AR "Travis" 48" handle.

  25. #25
    Rent this space for $
    Reputation: Oh My Sack!'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3,580
    Definitely the 70AR but with the longer 54" handle, IMO. If only they would put a fiberglass handle on it, it would be the perfect tool!

  26. #26
    mtbr member
    Reputation: roughster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    569
    Love the 70HR54. Great versatile tool, but to be honest, I grab the Loweís Heavy Pick Axe 90% of the time if there is heavy lifting to be done. Now for trail finishing, the Rogue Hoe is the way to go. $0.02
    2018 Trek Farley Ex 8 - One bike to rule them all!
    2015 Salsa Bucksaw 2 - Also pretty frickiní sweet!

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-17-2017, 06:52 AM
  2. i9 Torch Trail 24 wheelset long-term reviews?
    By deepwat3r in forum Wheels and Tires
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 10-07-2014, 06:55 PM
  3. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-26-2014, 11:37 AM
  4. Mach 5.7 long-term reviews?
    By markom in forum Pivot Cycles
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 11-23-2011, 07:14 PM
  5. Any more long term dropper reviews?
    By whoda*huck in forum Turner
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: 02-17-2011, 03:38 PM

Members who have read this thread: 74

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.