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Bridgestone Dueler 697 A/T: Product test

By Glenn Torrens, 23 Jun 2017 Wheels & Tyres

Bridgestone Dueler 697 AT

GT sticks a set of Bridgestone Duelers beneath his touring Toyota.

FOR SEVEN years and 200,000km my 2005 Toyota Hilux V6 has been my daily driver, tow-rig and adventure truck.

It’s taken me to Moreton Island, down the Darling, across The Simpson, around the High Country a few times, and it’s towed a race car to all corners of Australia.

Bridgestone-Dueler-697-A-T fittingI place a fair chunk of importance on tyres, and an all-terrain (A/T) tyre is the best choice for my driving habits. So when editor Matt said there was a set of Bridgestone Dueler A/T 697 tyres at 4X4 HQ, I didn’t need to be asked twice.

The Japanese-made Dueler 697 is the latest in a long line of respected off-road tyres from Bridgestone. Many new 4WDs are showroom-shod with Duelers, but these 697s are tougher and more durable – that’s not to knock the showroom Duelers, but to point out that the touring performance expectations of many of us are different.

Five tips for longer-lasting tyres

The Duelers have 9mm tread depth over the tread-wear indicators. Tread depth isn’t the only indicator of tyre life (a hard-compound tyre with less tread depth may outlive a soft tyre with more depth), but monitoring the change in tread depth – and hence wear – is a good way to extend the ‘life’ of a tyre.

Bridgestone-Dueler-697-A-T-attachment.jpgTo get the best life and performance from my tyres I always rotate them every 5000km – front to rear and side-for-side. Measuring tread depth every 10,000km, down to 50 per cent of the original tread depth, will provide an accurate indication of the 697’s expected life.

Adjusting tyre pressure with Pressure Perfect: Tested

I run a 225/75 16LT size. My 2005 model 4.0-litre V6 petrol/LPG Hilux runs a 205 tyre as standard, so the 225s won’t affect the gearing (it’s within two per cent), fry the clutch, destroy low-range ability in steep terrain, inhibit towing performance, or worsen overall touring economy.

First impressions of the Dueler are terrific: It’s quiet, grippy and supple, and the low-void tread pattern provides sharp response.

The wide tread block means there’s less tread squirm (where the tread block moves around like the bristles on a broom, affecting stability) and more rubber on the road for greater grip and longer life.

Bridgestone Dueler M/T: Product test

Unlike a more open-treaded tyre, there’s none of that annoying drone and, for better puncture resistance off-road, the tighter rubber blocks do a better job of shielding the body of the tyre.

Based on past experiences with Bridgestone tyres, I’m expecting good things – but I’ve had significant disappointments with two other major tyre brands in recent years, so I’ll keep you posted.

Need off-road tyres? We got you covered with WhichTyre.com.au