Ian Glover Puts Bridgestone A/T 697 Through its Paces

Ian Glover
Ian Glover
Lives and breathes the outdoors
14 January 2021
Ian Glover Puts Bridgestone A/T 697 Through its Paces

Automotive journalist Ian Glover has been in the 4x4 media game for longer than just about anyone.

 

A former editor of Overlander magazine and 4Wheeler magazine, Ian is currently editor-at-large for Pat Callinan's 4x4 Adventures. He’s had some crazy adventures during his colourful career, from the Great Divide Expedition over the Colorado Rockies, to the Hannibal Trail over the Italian/French Alps and some madcap treks for Top Gear right here in Australia. You name it, he’s done it.

 

Here, Ian shares his thoughts on how the Bridgestone Dueler A/T 697 performed on a huge array of terrains:

Just recently, I was approached by mapping company Hema to do some research and mapping in outback Queensland, the Top End and the Gulf. The trip would take in far-flung national parks like Bladensburg, Davenport Range, Litchfield, Kakadu and Limmen, Lawn Hill, and four parks on a loop out of Hughenden. The itinerary also called for a navigation of the Diamantina Developmental Road that basically goes from Charleville to Mount Isa... Definitely the back way!

 

As before any big trip, despite the fact that my NP Pajero had only just been serviced, I took it in for a thorough check. I was going solo on this one, so I really didn't want to encounter any nasty surprises. Although the vehicle was given a clean bill of health, my tyres didn't fare so well – showing the first signs of delamination on the interior sidewalls. New rubber required, I went for a set of Dueler A/T 697s in LT265/65R17s.


Dirt

Discussing dirt road performance isn't as straightforward as on bitumen, because gravel roads can vary greatly. The Binns Track, from the Stuart Highway south of Tennant Creek out to the Davenport Range, is an excellent example, alternating between abrasive stony red sections and smooth grey soil. The Duelers were very surefooted on the loose, sharp, red patches, showing little in the way of cuts and chips afterwards, and they handled the smooth bits with ease. It'd be somewhat less easy if the surface was wet!

Ian Glover Puts Bridgestone A/T 697 Through its Paces

I normally air up or down depending on the road surface – higher pressures for tarmac, lower pressures for dirt – but on one part of the trip, this was impossible. The Kennedy Developmental Road from Hughenden to the Oasis Roadhouse at The Lynd Junction repeatedly alternates between tar and dirt. Changing pressures constantly would make the trip a very long one, so I chose median pressures and drove cautiously. In the Pajero's case, that’s 32psi front and 38psi rear with no complaints from the tyres. Remember, optimal tyre pressures vary a great deal from vehicle to vehicle – make your choice based on info in the glovebox manual and the tyre manufacturer's recommendations.




Overall thoughts


The Bridgestone Dueler A/T 697 is an excellent general purpose four-wheel drive tyre. The light truck construction breeds toughness, with not one puncture on the entire trip. For people who, as I did, have to cope with immensely varied terrains and road conditions, they'll do the job admirably.

Find out more about the Bridgestone Dueler range here or find your local Bridgestone store here

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Ian Glover
As an avid 4WD owner and photographer, Aaron Schubert lives and breathes the outdoors. When he’s not out exploring Australia by 4WD, he’s writing about it. Aaron runs 4WDing Australia, a blog dedicated to inspiring others to travel Australia by 4WD.

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