Original Review 14/06/2012
last updated 5/09/2015
Also known as Bridgestone Revo 2
Supersceeded by Bridgestone D697
Tested on 2007 Dual Cab Manual Toyota Hilux 3L Turbo Diesel D4D
Tyre Size 31×10.5R15LT
Tyre Pressure fully loaded: Front 45 psi, Rear 50 psi
What tyres to put on your 4WD? There are so many options and a huge range in prices. 4WD tyres are big dollars and are critical for safety so it’s an important decision. Our vehicle has been running Bridgestone Dueler D694 since the start of our trip around Australia. We got new tyres all round in preparation for the trip. After 14,000km it was time to complete a thorough inspection of the tyres and perform a tyre rotation. It was supposed to be 10,000km but I missed that appointment. This review is to provide you with feedback on my thoughts as of around 14,000km of travel. I’ve since done a new review after 48,000km, check it out here.
Note About Fitting Larger Than Factory Tyres
Apart from potentially making your vehicle illegal, larger diameter tyres also effect the driveability of your vehicle. Larger diameter tyres essentially shifts your gearing up. This makes taking off more difficult, especially up hills or whilst towing, so can lead to more clutch / transmission stress. Larger tyres transfer more torque to your drivetrain, wearing out drivetrain components faster and increasing the risk of drivetrain component failure. Acceleration becomes poorer so the car feels like it has lost power. Some people counter this by fitting a diesel performance chip or re-gear the diff ratios. Low range won’t be as low, so the crawling speed of first gear may no longer be a crawl and the vehicle’s ability to ascend and descend very steep slopes will be effected. Larger tyres also make it harder for the brakes – you’ll have to push the pedal harder to get the same braking response. Large tyres also increase fuel consumption. The overall gear ratios are shifted away from the optimized values designed by the manufacturer. Larger tyres are also heavier and suffer from higher rotational inertia, further worsening fuel efficiency. These are things to consider before going up in size. The advantages of bigger tyres are higher ground clearance, larger rolling diameter which improves the ability of the tyre to clear larger obstacles, and more room in the profile to reduce tyre pressures. The 31 inch tyres I run are only slightly larger than factory on a hilux, so change in driveability is noticeable but not huge. The bigger the tyre, the greater the effect. It can be substantial.
Reasons for Choosing Bridgestone Dueler D694
For me the tyres had to be all terrain and had to be light truck construction. Light truck so that they are more durable and able to withstand the strain of a heavily loaded vehicle and resist punctures and sidewall damage. Although light truck tyres may not have a higher load rating then a passenger tyre equivalent, light truck tyres are designed for a more arduous duty – carrying heavy loads all the time. They have greater tread depth, thicker under-tread rubber, heavier duty steel belts, thicker sidewalls and thicker beads. The other requirement for me was all terrain tyre – this means a strong 4WD spec tyre with a tread pattern that isn’t too aggressive. Touring around Australia means mostly highway work, so I wanted a tyre with good tread life that would wear evenly on tarmac, be quiet at cruising speed and provide the best possible fuel efficiency. The offroad work that I do is mostly gravel, sand and rocks, where tread pattern doesn’t make much difference. So all terrain made sense for my requirements.
I researched for light truck all terrain tyres with a good reputation for strength and durability. There’s plenty of options and I’m sure many do a good job. For me it came down to either the Bridgestone Dueler D694 or the BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A – a choice that many have considered before me. There’s plenty of discussion online to read about and heaps on American sites where the Duelers are called Bridgestone Revo 2. There wasn’t much between the Duelers and the BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A. Both seem to be a good tyre. The Bridgestone I have seen used often in mining which adds weight to its reputation. So I went for the Bridgestone.
At the time of writing this article we had covered over 14,000km on our trip around Australia. The first 3,000km or so were around town before we left Perth. Roughly 6,500km has been on tarmac since then, leaving 4,500km of offroad work. Some of that was on graded gravel tracks. A large portion has been on unmaintained or poorly maintained gravel, rocky or sandy tracks including through Fitzgerald River National Park (including Point Ann, Quaalap Homestead, Tooregullup Beach and Gordon Inlet), Cape Arid National Park (including Poison Creek, Israelite Bay, Mt Ragged, Balladonia Road and Pt Malcolm), Davenport Range National Park, Davenport Creek, Transcontinental Railway Track, and Googs track. We have also driven on many boggy beaches along the way. We have traversed severe corrugations, deep soft sand requiring super low tyre pressure and one vehicle recovery, sharp stony tracks and steep deeply rutted rocky hills requiring first gear low range.
Excluding tread wear which I’ll treat separately, the tyres look extremely good. Crisp edges, no cuts or gouges, no scratches or scuffs, no chips. Most people report some sort of chipping when touring a heavily laden vehicle offroad, but I couldn’t find any chips in the tread. Sidewalls look completely unscathed, although I do take care when on rocky terrain. I closely inspected all tyres from all angles and found nothing noteworthy. I was surprised – the car is hauling a lot of weight with the rear tyres carrying close to rated load and we have travelled over some ugly looking rocks and stones. I expected at least a few cuts, chips or gouges but couldn’t find anything more than a few tiny superficial cuts of a couple of mm length.
These tyres have performed exceptionally well. Super grippy on dry tarmac – I have to stomp on the pedal surprisingly hard to activate the ABS, after which I must check that my eye balls are still in their sockets. They are excellent on wet tarmac. In the wet I’m able to accelerate fairly hard out of corners without any wheel spin. They work well at low pressures in soft sand. On gravel they are sure footed and dependable. They are quiet – I have not noticed any difference from the tyres that were on the car originally, although I have read that they get noisier as they age. Not much change to fuel economy either. I think fuel economy has worsened slightly, but I put that down to the larger diameter tyre. They seem to be strong – I am yet to suffer a puncture or any tyre damage at all even though I’ve covered some tough conditions in remote areas with a heavily loaded vehicle. Performance wise these tyres have exceeded expectations. In mud they are a bit slippery, as expected from any all terrain tyre.
You may be getting the impression that these tyres are about to get the perfect review. That’s not the case. Unfortunately for my beer budget they will need to be replaced sooner than anticipated. They are wearing out faster than expected. I drive with extending my beer budget in mind, accelerating, braking and cornering slowly. My cruise speed maxes out at 100km/h. Often, if the wife doesn’t complain, I go 90km/h. I was hoping I’d get 80,000km out of these tyres in line with what I’ve heard reported for some tyres. That doesn’t look like it will happen.
I have measured wear in meticulous detail. I measured tread depth on each tyre as accurately as I could using a strip of cardboard which I shoved into the tread, marking off the height of the top of the tread. I did this so I could measure all in one hit then enter the data later. It gave me a fixed record of the measurement which I could cross check against the data entry for any errors.
I’m very interested in wear. Tyres are expensive, especially big fancy 4WD tyres, and a new set of tyres will set you back an inconceivable quantity of beer equivalence. I have constructed a table to record wear and calculate what I can expect to get out of these tyres.
|New||Rear Right||Rear Left||Front Right||Front Left|
|inside tread depth||12.2||9.5||8.5||10||10|
|centre tread depth||12||8.5||7.5||8.5||10|
|outside tread depth||12.2||9.2||7.8||10.5||9.2|
|inside amount worn||0||2.7||3.7||2.2||2.2|
|centre amount worn||0||3.5||4.5||3.5||2|
|outside amount worn||0||3||4.4||1.7||3|
|inside usable tread (-1.5)||10.7||8||7||8.5||8.5|
|centre usable tread (-1.5)||10.5||7||6||7||8.5|
|outside usable tread (-1.5)||10.7||7.7||6.3||9||7.7|
|inside % worn||0||25.2||34.6||20.6||20.6|
|centre % worn||0||33.3||42.9||33.3||19|
|outside % worn||0||28||41.1||15.9||28|
|average % worn||0||28.9||39.5||23.3||22.5|
|inside expected life||NA||55481||40486||68091||68091|
|centre expected life||NA||42000||32667||42000||73500|
|outside expected life||NA||49933||34045||88118||49933|
|average expected life||NA||49138||35733||66070||63841|
|overall average % worn||28.5|
|overall average expected life||53696|
The worst tyre is already worn nearly 43% after just 14,000km. At that rate it will need replacing after 32,667km. Mind you that is a rear tyre, which has worn more than the front. After the tyre rotation the wear should even out. If wear is perfectly even, then I can anticipate the overall average expected life of 53,696km. Less if you consider it’s unlikely I can wear all four tyres out perfectly evenly. Well short of 80,000km.
With the care I take and the price of these tyres (over $300 each), I expected better. Is it because the car is loaded so heavily? Is it because I have done plenty of offroad work? Is it because I have done lots of highway cruising on hot tarmac? Is it because tyre wear is not linear – they wear out faster at first and then last a long time? Or is it just because these tyres are not a durable compound. There is anecdotal evidence I have read that suggests they are soft. Maybe that is the price you pay for the good grip and resistance to chipping that these tyres provide. Although I have no first hand experience, I have read, as an example, that BFG T/A all terrains are slippery in the wet and are easily chipped. I have also read they last a long time.
In my opinion, based on my experience so far, these are strong, good performing tyres. If you’re after a high performance, strong tyre that you can rely on in the outback and don’t mind paying a few extra dollars replacing your tyres more regularly, then these would be a good choice. For me, fast wear rate lets them down, but I can’t say if the level of wear is excessive or not. This is my first set of Bridgestone D694s, and this is my first trip with a car loaded for long term living. What are your thoughts and experiences? Does your experience suggest they are not a long lasting tyre? Or is their wear rate normal for the duty they are performing? How long do other tyres last in similar applications? Leave a comment below.
If these tyres lasted 80,000km it would be a no brainer to get them again. If they last only 50,000km or less then I’d have to consider the BFGoodrich or something else to see how they compare. Or maybe I’ll try out the new Birdgestone D697 which have superseeced the D694 and supposedly offer superior wear life. As it turns out I was forced to try the D697s – check it out in the later review of these tyres.