Sometimes the coolest stuff you’ll see at Eurobike comes from brands too small to have their own booth. You’ll be walking by, say, the Pinion booth, and you’ll see a beautiful custom-made steel hardtail that’s there to catch your eye so they can reel you in. At the booth belonging to iconic 14-speed gearbox hub manufacturer, Rolhoff, there was something a little more hidden.
Strapped to a monstrous custom cargo bike (which technically happened to be a steel hardtail) was a collapsible trail tool that, to the right person, was definitely eye-catching. Turns out, it was made by a German brand called Dörte Tools. The design of this model, the Dörte Kompakttool, should be familiar to anyone who’s seen the tools made by Bellingham, Washington’s Trail Boss USA. The handle separates into three pieces, two of which are a glass-fiber-reinforced polymer, and one is aluminum to increase strength at the high-torque area nearest to the tool head.
The way those sections connect should also be familiar. Aluminum couplers are bonded to the handle, and there’s a high-tolerance spline on each end. A threaded lockring pulls them together, knurled to give you a firm grip with your hand, though there’s room to use a tool for a tighter fit.
Both Dörte and Trail Boss have a truly boutique feel to them. When you see a brand new one, you almost can’t bring yourself to, ya’ know, spend four straight hours slamming it into dry dirt and sharp rocks. But that adds character, and like the Trail Boss tool I have at home, the Dörte Kompakttool I saw hiding in the Rolhoff booth definitely has character.
But it’s also got something the Trailboss doesn't have. A 160cm (63-inch) overall length. Out of the box, most Trail Boss tools are 122cm (48”). That’s closer to the size of a “normal” hand tool, but a 160cm tool is bound to keep your back from being any more sore than it has to be at the end of a hard day of pounding dry dirt and sharp rocks. And it looks like it’s built to hold up to the extra leverage that length brings. The diameter of both the handles and the couplers is larger than that of Trail Boss tools. Plus, the couplers themselves are taller, and the threaded sections are deeper. As a bonus, they’re tightened with a traditional spanner instead of a classic bottom-bracket-tool-style hook.
Dörte doesn’t offer nearly as many head options as Trail boss, but they cover the basics. There’s a compact mattock / hoe-style head, a narrow 4-tined McLeod (pictured), a wider 6-tined McLeod, and a wide 10-tined rake with a pretty clever pair of small tines on one end for those hard-to-reach places.
Surprisingly, the Dörte Kompakttool is priced pretty reasonably. It’s definitely expensive, but at €330, it’s actually on par with a similar tool from Trail Boss. Also surprisingly, Dörte seems to be able to ship worldwide. You just need to send them an email first to see if it’s possible. But if you're at Eurobike the weekend of July 14th, I know where you can find one.