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.
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!
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.
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