4x4 enthusiasts Graeme and Yvonne Turner share their thoughts on Bridgestone Dueler A/T 697.
As a Pat Callinan’s 4x4 Adventures magazine reader, you have something in common with northern New South Wales (Goonellabah) residents Graeme and Yvonne Turner. They’re readers too, but there’s probably something else you share with them as well.
Their 4X4, a 1VD-FTV 79 Series LandCruiser, is well set up for touring including the big eight week trips the Turners try to do at least every two years, along with more frequent, shorter, local jaunts.
Over the years they’ve been to an impressive array of destinations – Cape York, the Flinders Ranges, the Corner Country, Alice, Uluru; even the Kimberley, returning via the Simpson.
Graeme and Yvonne need tyres they can rely on, because some of those trips have been in fairly remote country…and for them, it’s Bridgestones every time.
“I’ve always used them,” Graeme says. “They’re perfect for what we do … never let us down. And their longevity’s good – we got 90,000 kilometres out of one set!”
Although the ’Cruiser has a Metalink canopy fitted, the Turners also tow a van on their travels. So the work their tyres have to do isn’t just to carry the weight of the ’Cruiser. When we caught up with Graeme, he’d just had a new set of tyres fitted – Bridgestone Dueler A/T 697 285/75R16s.
He and Yvonne are busy planning a really big trip – two years on the road – and they expect the Duelers to see them through to the end.
This article was originally published in Pat Calinans 4X4 Adventures Magazine.
Dueler A/T 697 LT wear life. When the going gets tough, Dueler keeps going.
Purpose-built to hit the road or trail time and time again, Bridgestone’s new Dueler A/T 697 LT is built to last. Delivering the extended wear life, overall durability and ride comfort that 4WD enthusiasts have long been hoping for.
Most people think that a tyre with the deepest tread offers the longest wear life, but it’s not that simple. Rubber compound and overall design also play a huge role.
Many deep-tread tyres have a ‘hard’ rubber compound, that keeps the tread blocks stable as the tyre transfers torque to the road surface. But while this hard compound may give good tyre life on bitumen roads, it lacks the versatility to perform on gravel and stony surfaces. Alternatively, a deep-tread tyre that might be great on bitumen, can be cut and chipped to a useless state on some of Australia’s harsher stony road surfaces.
Excessive heat build up, caused by the rubber compound, can also have a detrimental effect on the wear life and structural integrity of some deep-tread 4WD tyres.
So clearly there’s a lot more to designing a long life, bush capable tyre than just the depth of tread.
Bridgestone’s new Dueler A/T 697 LT delivers a deep-tread, long-life tyre with superior ‘cut and chip’ resistance.
Its advanced rubber compound’s malleability moulds the tread around sharp objects to prevent cuts, but is also resilient enough to prevent tearing and chipping when cuts do occur, providing excellent wear life under all conditions.
Throughout our testing, the Dueler A/T 697 LT delivered a quiet and smooth ride on bitumen, and even after navigating huge tracts of sharp and stony country, suffered almost no signs of tread damage.
Dueler A/T 697 LT ride quality. Toughness on tour.
When we hit the road, the first thing I noticed was the Dueler A/T 697 LTs ride quality. Despite being built with heavy-duty light truck construction and running recommended full load pressures, they rode as comfortably as passenger car rated tyres. Another unexpected feature was the low road-noise level.
On gravel roads, the Dueler A/T 697 LT delivered exceptional grip, with no signs of cutting or chipping of the tread elements. Even after a gruelling sharp-stone, ridge-climbing exercise, the tyres emerged virtually unmarked.
For low-pressure testing, a sandy and stony creek bed was chosen and we lowered all tyre pressures. In an environment that has caught out many a 4WD tyre in the past, the Dueler A/T 697 LT prevailed.
The low pressure that’s necessary for flotation on the sand often makes bagged-out sidewalls and shoulders vulnerable to stone cutting, but the Dueler showed no signs of damage.
In fact, at the end of what proved to be one hell of a journey, the Dueler A/T 697 LTs looked fresh and ready for even more action, with the treads in remarkable condition and only a few visible tiny cuts and chips.
In a place where only the best survive, Bridgestone’s Dueler A/T 697 LTs lived up to their well earned reputation. More than ever, Australia’s favourite 4WD tyre is tough enough to bring you back.
Dueler A/T 697 puncture resistance. Takes tough to a whole new level.
In the early days of 4WD outback adventuring, people wasted a lot of valuable travel time patching tyre tubes and changing tyres. Fortunately, tyre durability has come a long way in recent years, and the new Dueler sits at the forefront of enhanced puncture resistance.
It’s a common misconception that most punctures occur in a tyre’s sidewall. The majority of tyre failures actually start with a puncture in the tread area. Because the sidewall is often ‘blown out’ during such failures, it’s just assumed that the sidewall was the original problem area.
This is where the purpose built Dueler A/T 697 LT demonstrates its superior design and structural integrity. Cut test comparisons with sections of standard 4WD tyres reveal that the new Dueler’s entire structure is thicker – particularly in the vulnerable shoulder and under–tread areas.
Its greater tread depth is such that sharp objects often can’t penetrate the tread grooves and, even if they do, the under-tread structure protecting the steel belts forms a thicker shield to resist tyre casing damage.
The Dueler A/T 697 LT also has heavier- gauge steel belts than previous generation Duelers, encased in a thicker tread area structure. These improved belts offer even more puncture resistance.
When it came to testing the Dueler A/T 697 LTs enhanced puncture resistance we found that the tyre was more than ready to meet any challenge.
Allan Whiting reviewed the Dueler A/T 697 LTs on behalf of Outback Travel Australia.