A number of years back, we were given a set of Bridgestone Dueler 697’s for our Dmax, to use to get photos for some photography and content creation for Bridgestone. I actually sold our Toyo Open Country AT2’s that were on the car not long after, knowing that by the time I needed them they’d be over 5 years old, and that’s starting to push the friendship.
We did a Bridgestone Dueler AT 697 review some time ago, and I expressed that we were pretty happy with the tyres, and that’s not at all because they were given to us. We’re not like so many other individuals, couples and travelling families who sell their soul for a dollar.
Bridgestone don’t even know that this is coming out, and even if they did, they wouldn’t get the opportunity to critique it. We are fiercely independent, and will let you know if we receive anything for free (which we almost always decline today).
I said in the review that I thought they were similar to the Toyo AT2’s, although possibly had a bit less traction and wore a bit better (both of which go hand in hand!).
After a trip to Shark Bay saw our camper trailer tyre completely destroy itself, I had no choice to go out and get new tyres for it, and after much reading and discussion I ended up with the Toyo Open Country Rugged Terrains, and have been extremely pleased with them so far.
I contemplated getting 4 extras for our Dmax and retiring the Bridgestone Dueler 697’s, but the miser in me said why not get one more trip out of them before you do, and that’s exactly what we did.
When we left to head north into the Pilbara for 3 weeks, the Bridgestones had between 5 and 7mm of tread, and whilst they were still well legal I knew we were pushing the friendship of traction and puncture resistance, and knew that we’d likely get something up north. The Pilbara rocks are about as nasty as it gets, and despite running good tyre pressures I was expecting a puncture.
The tyres performed very well, although did struggle on one hill climb out of Magic Pool, and lost traction a few times on the rough gravel roads. The rears in particular copped a hammering on the Ashburton Downs road to Mt Augustus, where they did almost all of the driving as I had it in 2WD, with chunks taken out of them and obvious damage from sharp rocks.
I was glad then, of the road from Mt Augustus to the Kennedy Ranges which was much friendlier. We pulled into Temple Gorge, paid our fees and as I went to unhook the camper I noticed the rear right tyre looked quite flat. After sticking my head in the guard and hearing the hiss of air leaking, I knew we’d had a puncture.
I got the camper off, and after rolling forward 20 centimetres I could see something had gone straight through the tread, and was the cause of our deflating. After using a screwdriver to pry out as much of the rock as possible, I rammed the tyre puncture repair reamer through, and stuck a plug in it.
The rock must have been fairly sharp, as it had wedged in between a tiny slot of the tread, and pushed its way right through.
We’ve only ever had one other tiny puncture on these tyres which I lived with for months, with it going down 10 PSI every couple of fortnights. It got worse after a trip to the Burrup Peninsula, and a local tyre shop repaired it when the vehicle went in for a wheel alignment and rotation due to poor inner tyre wear.
We made it back to Perth running the same set of tyres, which by now had between 3 and 6mm of tread, and were looking well and truly dead.
Overall, we did about 52,000km on the tyres, using only 4 (our spare was never rotated and is still a new Toyo AT2, which I’m less than happy about, but that’s how its worked out). 52k from a set of all terrains that weren’t rotated, aligned or balanced very often, and without using a spare into the mix is a pretty decent result
I have to say I’m fairly happy with them, and met a number of other travellers who raved about them as well, and have only a handful of people who’ve said they didn’t like them at all.
We had new Toyo RT’s installed recently, as I wanted to step the traction and puncture resistance up a bit more on our Dmax. Yes, it comes at the cost of some extra noise (maybe – need more time with them), and some extra fuel consumption and weight, but I think its worth it.
Have you run the Bridgestone Dueler 697’s before? Were you happy with them? We’d get them again, if we needed another set of all terrains, but I’d be just as happy to try something else.