Desert Dueler 661 Testimonial from Adventure 4WD Australia
Desert Duelers Rule OK!
For many years now we've run Bridgestone products on our vehicles. Whilst other 4WD experts flock to brands that purportedly have a stronger 4WD heritage and reputation, we've used Bridgestones in the most demanding and constant extreme conditions and have rarely found them wanting.
Our favourite is one you won't find in the brochures, the 661 Desert Dueler. 661s are currently only available in two sizes, the 235/85R16 and the 245/75R16. Fortunately both sizes suit our purposes nicely.
We run the 235s on the Jackaroo and Rodeo, whilst the 245s are on the Delicas and I can report phenomenal wear resistance characteristics. In the hurly burly of training and long-distance touring they've been a godsend, with incredible puncture resistance and a huge load carrying capacity.
A set we wore out on the Jackaroo recently posted 75,000 kilometres, an astonishing figure for us when the previous best on another product was barely 36,000 (I should hasten to add that when we ditch a tyre, there's usually a couple of millimetres of tread left above the TWI; theoretically we could of run them out for another few thousand kilometres more before they'd be deemed illegal). The rubber compound is obviously a tough one, showing less chipping than other makes we've had on courses in the outback.
Where ordinary tyres get a puncture at the mere sight of a sharp point, the 661 will take a caning; desert hardwood root spikes, slates and shales, gibbers and anything else you could imagine as being puncture inducing are more often than not, deflected by the 661's 10-ply rating carcass. Only once have we had to write one off, when in a training course in the Coffin Bay NP we picked up the pointy end of a 13mm ring spanner through the shoulder between the tread blocks, a truly freak event.
The load index of the 661 is important, for it's rated at 120. Load indices determine the ultimate load that a tyre will take at maximum inflation and the 661 will carry 1400kg at 80psi (per tyre). Now on none of our vehicles will we ever carry 5,600kg, their GVM's are rated much less than that, but with a 1400kg maximum load we have a lot of excess capacity, offering significant peace of mind in the load and strength stakes. A low load index off the beaten track will always spell trouble.
The tread pattern is unidirectional with a pair of broad asymmetrical channels running the length of the footprint. These are supported by siphoning channels running across the width of the tread face and smaller sipes in the tread blocks for wet road grip. The pattern offers great all-rounder performance, excellent in urban bitumen environments, fantastic in sands - both desert and coast, great on outback roads and trails and pretty good when the same roads get wet and mud and slush would trap a more uniform pattern. For where we operate in Southern and Central Australia, they are without peer for our heavy-duty requirements.
If the 661's 10-ply construction is a little too robust for your likes and you spend more time around town, then the 693 Dueler is probably the tyre for you. The new series of 693 is a 6 or 8 ply rating tyre that features Bridgestone's "Donuts" technology, where a 'spiral cap' construction reinforces the tread area and offers better wear and puncture resistance than the old 691 it replaces. With a lower ply rating, the 693 naturally offers a more comfortable ride than the 661and is therefore a better selection when the demands aren't as extreme.
Whilst the 661 are available in a "light truck" (LT) construction only, the 693 are available as either a "passenger" (P) or "light truck" tyre. Those of you who have read my editorials elsewhere on this website or saw the TV series, will know of my preference for "light truck" tyres on Australian 4WDs. An LT offers the best performance when you intend going off the beaten track.
The size range in the 693 is extensive, Bridgestone listing either the 31X10.5R15, 7.50R16, 205R16, 215/75R16, 265/75R16 and 255/70R16 sizes in the LT construction. No doubt more will be added as the pattern dominates the local market. (more sizes)
The pattern of the 693 reveals a central rib design, with diagonal sipes and tread grooves that offer enhanced straight line stability. Tyre noise is kept low as the shoulder blocks feature 5 different block pitches to break up the wind as it rushes through the treads. Underlying the tread face is a construction of two steel belts and a synthetic shoulder cap providing excellent puncture resistance, which we've put to the test on the trails in the Flinders Ranges.
Bridgestone also claim that the "o-bead" design of the 693 provides greater contact between tyre bead and rim, which has to be a good thing off road. When tyre pressures are reduced in sand to increase footprint length there's a chance that in hard turns the lateral forces applied to bead seat can peel it apart from the rim, ending up with tyre separation and no more go. In a worst case, that might result in vehicle rollover.
The 693 also uses "Long-Link" carbon in its rubber compound. The benefit of the better molecular structure is that it makes the tread more resistant to chipping, tearing and increased wear.
With all that we have no hesitation in recommending Bridgestone's 4WD range, they are long lasting, comfortable and capable in all conditions.
Things We Liked -
- Exceptional puncture resistance
- Excellent load carrying capacity
- Great wear characteristics
- Good all-rounder performance
- Sizes to fit most 4WDs
Note: Additional sizes now available for D693 see Specifications.
This article is provided with kind permission from the Adventure 4WD web site.
Adventure 4WD training Land Rover with Bridgestone D693 285/75R16