Goodyear Duratrac = Dependable, Rugged, Awesome
After much research reading endless reviews and watching videos I fitted a set of Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tyres for my around Australia trip. These are more aggressive than all-terrains, considered a 70% off-road to 30% on-road split, compared to a 50/50 split for all-terrains. However, Duratracs are not as aggressive as a full mud tyre.
Initial Impressions (2014)
Completing a weekend camping trip to Sundown National Park, I feel confident these Duratrac tyres were the right choice. Performing exceptionally well on the rocky tracks I crawled up and down hills with ease. Even descending highly eroded gravel tracks, with pressures dropped to 16psi traction was solid.
On road handling, initially felt floaty, but this disappeared shortly after 300kms. Road noise is equal to my previous Goodyear Silent Armor All-Terrains, however, my Defender engine is quite noisy, so I can’t hear any difference.
I also reduced the tyre size from the previous 265/75/16 to a Land Rover stock 235/85/16. This I believe has greatly improved vehicle handling and off-road performance as well as reduced stress on the driveline. For an underpowered engine like my 200tdi having a wider tyre creates greater rolling resistance requiring the engine to work harder to get moving. Since reducing sizes I feel zippy starting off and offroad I no longer feel like a fat pig wallowing in mud. A small rock or tree root was previously enough to halt progress, now I ride over them. An excellent article on the age-old narrow vs. wide tyre debate can be found here: Tire selection for expedition travel
52500km Later (2017)
Three years later and a solo 30000km trip around Australia tackling outback desert and beach sands, millions of pounding corrugations, mud, rocky tracks and tarmac, I still love my Duratracs.
Zero punctures, no sidewall damage and even tread wear with minimal block chipping, they have performed as champions. New, tread depth was 14mm. 52500km later, depth is 6mm, with plenty of tread remaining. My Defender was loaded to 3 Tonnes during my 30000km trip.
Corrugated outback tracks with tyres between 20-32psi depending on conditions and speed, absorbed the shocks providing some comfort from the pounding.
Desert sands depending on depth and coarseness aired down to 16-28psi, I never had problems. In most cases, I could stay in high range. Even if I failed to reach the crest I could start on the side of dunes and crawl over in first gear. I completed the crossing of 363 sand dunes of Googs Track in South Australia with ease, along with Wyperfeld, Murray-Sunset and Little Desert.
On road, the only issues I had was in the wet. They can lock up and skid with too much brake pressure. I always gave myself plenty of space during rain for braking to accommodate this. A newer car with ABS braking would probably perform better.
I will replace these with Duratracs again when the time arrives.
Tyre specs can be found at Goodyear’s site: Goodyear Duratracs
If the video did not display above you can watch it here: http://youtu.be/F51RqjJgWMY