THE ONLY light-truck construction of our test, the Bridgestone Dueler brings a more rugged construction to the table. For that you pay a premium, too, with the $325 retail price towards the pointy end of our seven-strong field.
There are on-paper advantages, most notably with its 1180kg load rating, matching the Falkens in being 120kg ahead of the others; great for people looking to accessorise or modify their truck.
That the Bridgestones performed admirably on-road was a plus, with the dry-road performance outdoing the wet. In both dry cornering and braking the Dueler was only outdone by Maxxis and Dunlop. Even then, the deficit to the Maxxis under brakes was limited to half a metre.
Stokell was less complementary about what the Bridgestones did to the behaviour of the car, with the rigid light truck construction taking the edge off driver feel. However, he said there was a consistency when the tyres let go, with the modest limits allowing more confident pushing near the threshold. Throw water into the mix and the Bridgestones lost some of their sheen, especially around corners, and they trailed all but the Goodyears in how long it took to cover our two wet bends.
Stokell also noticed that winding on steering lock challenged the Bridgestones, the relatively low grip levels and tougher sidewall conspiring to make things less athletic and less responsive. None of which hurt the Dueler’s all-round on-road ability, its final tally edging the Hankook by the slimmest of margins.
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Off-road, the aggressive tread pattern earned respect from Walker, who noted the ease with which it traversed mud and rocks. “There was heaps of grip up the pinch at the end,” he said, cementing its five per cent off-road factor boost.
Add it all up and the off-road performance helped the Dueler’s cause.
Putting the latest rubber through the wringer on 4x4 Tyre Test 2019