Both the tires and the shocks are highly recommended. If you're in the market for new tires, the Bridgestone Dueler A/T REVO should be right at the top of your list. And while you're at it, have a set of Tokico Trek Master shocks installed. The combination is a pure joy to drive.
Test Wheel: Finn F1000In deciding what to test for this column, our preference, which we assume most readers are in agreement, is to choose tire/wheel combinations that will fit without interference from the body at all steering angles and suspension motions. In this case, we wanted an aluminum wheel that was reasonably priced with a style that'd look right at home on or off the road, since our test mule was an '01 Nissan Xterra.
The stock wheels were OK, but the 15x7-inch aluminum wheels just looked, well, stock. So we had to change it. The crew at Complete Wheel Source suggested a Finn F1000 as a replacement wheel for the Xterra. It came in 15x8 inches with a backspace that'd work fine on the Xterra, while giving an extra inch of width to the rim. The added width was the perfect size; the measuring rim width was 8 inches for the Bridgestone P265/70-15 Dueler A/T REVO we were testing.
This is a six-lug wheel, but is available in five-lug as well. The polished aluminum surface is accented with cast-in faux bead lock with FINN cast into the surface. The casting work is topnotch, with no flashing or unfinished surfaces or edges. What impressed us most and convinced us of the quality of this cast-aluminum wheel was its nearly perfect concentric rim with imperceptible radial or lateral runout. We've seen more expensive forged units with more runout.
In addition to the quality of the finish work, the centers and hubs are designed to hold the load of a light truck. In fact, the weight rating is cast into the back of the wheel. The ones we used were rated at 3,500 pounds.
FINN F1000 Available Sizes: 15x8: 0mm offset; 15x10: 25mm offset; 16x8: 0mm offset; 17x8: 0mm offset
Test Tire: Bridgestone Dueler A/T REVO Bridgestone's pitch on the Dueler A/T REVO is a standard marketing mix of features and benefits. The features are a little obscure, as they are more technological than observable, but the promised benefits are just what you'd like in a sport truck or SUV tire. The company touts the tire's powerful grip and smooth ride, making it the light-truck and SUV tire that's equipped for the best and worst driving conditions; and says its advanced technology gives superior performance in the wet, the dry, and even the snow, as the tire wears.
The advanced technology that is source of the tire's improved handling in wet or dry conditions and reduced irregular tread wear comes in the form of a comprehensive, innovative tire design method that combines the ideal tread design, casing shape, materials, and construction. This whole regime of chemistry and manufacturing technique is what Bridgestone refers to as UNI-T. With the AQII suffix, the Bridgestone chemists and engineers stuff even more tire design wizardry into the tire.
The new manufacturing techniques are said to produce a rounder overall tire shape that provides better balance for wet or dry handling. In addition, an innovative compound features something the company calls long-link carbon, which offers increased wear resistance by reformulating the compound such that it strengthens the rubber and Super EPC. Super EPC, Bridgestone-speak for a quiver of compound chemistry tactics that consists of Anti-Hardening Resin and Link Stabilizing Agent, counteracts the effects of heat so worn tires have the flexibility needed for wet performance. The Dueler A/T REVO also uses Bridgestone's Dual Layer Tread technique, which has specially treated rubber so that as the tire wears, more of it is exposed, allowing the older, heat-cycled tire to grip the road in wet conditions much like it did when new.