General Grabber APT Detailed Review

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The General Grabber APT stands out for its strong performance both on and off the road. It’s designed to handle a variety of terrains, making it a versatile choice for a lot of drivers. But is this tire really for you? Let’s find out.

GMC Sierra 1500
Grabber APT installed on Sierra.

Available Sizes

The General Grabber APT comes in 16 to 20 inches (rims/wheels), with sizes having following specs.

  • Speed ratings: S, T and H.
  • Load ratings: SL, XL, C and E.
  • Weight range: 35 to 57 lbs.
  • Tread depth: Either 14 or 16/32″.
  • UTQG: 520 A B.
  • Treadwear warranty: 60k miles.

All sizes come with the branded three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) and M+S label.

Key Takeaway

Overall, the General Grabber APT tire excels in:

  • Winter Traction: Its pliable compound ensure optimal snow grip.
  • Impact Comfort: Benefits from ComfortPlus technology and a deep tread depth for absorbing road shocks.
  • Tread Mileage: Impressive longevity supported by DuraGen technology.
  • Light-Mud Performance: Features interconnected grooves for effective mud evacuation.
  • Sand Driving: Offers well-engineered sidewalls, that prevents the tire from digging.

But it needs improvements in:

  • Wet Traction: Limited siping results in reduced grip on wet roads.
  • Steering Responsiveness: The heavy construction impacts steering precision.
  • Noise Level: The shoulder design creates higher noise levels.
  • Fuel Efficiency: The tire’s weight increases rolling resistance.

Tread Design

The General Grabber APT comes with a symmetrical tread pattern.

General Grabber APT
General Grabber APT showing full depth sipes, even with wear.

Now overall, one can clearly see how the tire makes 5 rib design, with the outer two being shoulders.

These shoulders (blocks) are staggered, with their serrated outer edges.

While their inner edges (facing the middle of the tread) have zigzag edges, adding to the aggressiveness of the circumferential grooves they make, separating the central tread area.

Moreover, they are clearly seen with thick siping slits as well, (varying in angles, like the lateral voids these shoulders make).

Moving towards the middle, you see 3 ribs here, with a lot of off-set edges and linear siping slits, running in all directions.

This unique structure creates a network of grooves that crisscross in multiple directions, enhancing the tire’s self-cleaning capability, especially when off road.

However, due to its compact design and robust underlying supports, the tread is optimized for highway performance as well.

Compare General Grabber APT with others:

Dry Performance

On pavements, traction is determined by three key factors: the tire’s responsiveness, grip, and handling capabilities. Let’s dive into these aspects, starting with longitudinal grip.

Directional Grip

Directional grip, also known as longitudinal grip, is fundamentally linked to the tire’s ability to maintain grip in a straight line.

And in this regard, the central rib or area of the tire plays a pivotal role, this is because of the fact, that the central part typically bears the most weight while the tire rolls straight.

In other words, you need a decent central contact patch to get good enough directional grip.

Now, for the General APT, while its design doesn’t allow for extensive rubber-road contact due to its lateral grooves, it still achieves good enough dry grip, I mean looking at how other tires performed in its category.

These “grooves”, despite reducing the amount of rubber that contacts the road, basically, act as in-groove notches.

These notches provide the tire with necessary biting edges, enhancing its grip.

To put it in perspective, the directional grip of the Grabber APT, (measured by its braking distance), is on par with that of the Kumho Road Venture AT52 (review).

Overall Handling

The effectiveness of a tire’s handling relies on two key factors: its lateral grip and steering responsiveness.

Now, for cornering grip, the tire’s shoulders play the most significant role. That’s because when a vehicle turns, this part of the tire, along with the sidewall, compresses against the road surface more, (compared to middle tread area).

In other words, how well they meet the road’s surface defines the overall lateral grip.

Having said that, the Grabber APT, with its robust shoulder design, excel in this aspect.

I mean, the tire offer ample shoulder-to-road contact with compactly placed lugs, while their slanted interlocking grooves (which are kind of V-shaped), add to overall lateral grip.

However, they could benefit from enhanced steering responsiveness, which is another aspect of overall handling, as already mentioned.

The primary issue here lies in the tire’s relatively heavier construction, which incorporates DuraGen technology. This added weight puts more pressure on the tire, causing the lugs to flex more, during turns.

And this flexing predominantly leads to understeering, which is a notable factor, affecting tire’s handling efficiency.

Nonetheless, the difference is not a lot, comparing with other tires in its category.

I mean comparing with Cooper Discoverer AT3 4S, which is a well-regarded tire for dry handling, the Grabber APT only lacked by less than half a second, in terms of overall handling lap time tests.

Wet Performance

The performance of Grabber APT on wet roads might not align with your expectations due to its limited water-clearing capabilities.

And so you don’t get adequate wet traction with this tire, though its hydroplaning performance is a different story.

Let’s check them out in details.

Wet Traction

In wet conditions, it’s crucial for tires to effectively interact with the road surface, as water could easily come in the way.

That’s why if water isn’t efficiently dispersed off (in time), it can lead to significant slippage.

And that’s where sipes come in. These are small slits in the tread, which absorb water particles, allowing the tire’s rubber/biters to grip the road better.

Having said that, the General APT is one of the most lacking tire (in its category).

This is because the tire comes with a limited number of sipes to begin with, which is self explanatory.

Additionally, the existing sipes it does offer, are linear in design. Although they are positioned at various angles, their flexibility diminishes during intense maneuvers, leading to decreased water dispersal capabilities.

Actually, Grabber APT tires’ sipes are better optimized for snow-performance, and don’t do so well on wet roads. Consequently, the tire achieves one of the lengthiest handling lap times during testing.

Hydroplaning Performance

Hydroplaning happens when water comes in between the tread and the road, and tire starts to float.

And this is the area, where I have no complaints with General’s tire.

I mean the Grabber APT offers a network of channels across its surface, ensuring that water under the tread is evenly dispersed through its grooves as it is expelled.

These channels are also notably deep, as the tire offers a 16″/32″ tread depth in most of its sizes. And this further facilitates water expulsion by taking out more volume of water at a given time.

Winter Traction

When it comes to winter traction, you need tires with sufficient biters, flexible tread compound, and a narrower section width.

Having said that, the General Grabber APT provides you with all of these features.

First off, the tire’s compound remains pliable in cold environment, ensuring reliable performance. I mean, since its rubber is thermally adaptive, it keeps the biters flexible with extreme temperatures.

Moreover, the tire also features a narrower profile, in conjunction with its greater weight, relatively.

Both these features basically exert (more) pressure on the snow, allowing for optimal snow-to-snow contact, enhancing grip.

Basically snow likes to stick on other snow particles, instead of rubber, so that contact offers better friction, and therefore traction.

Side Note: The Grabber APT’s snow handling (measured in averaged lap time tests), is similar to General Grabber HTS60 (review), which is a less aggressive highway all season tire.

Noise Comfort

The noise generated by tires is primarily caused by air particles colliding with the walls of tread voids, often entering through the tire’s shoulders.

And so its obvious why the General Grabber APT, with its ample gaps in the shoulder area is not a quiet enough option.

It basically provides significant space for air movement, leading to a stronger impact against the tread walls and consequently, more noise.

And even though the tire incorporates variable pitch technology, its still not entirely effective at reducing noise, overall, as seen by it’s comparative decibel readings (on tests).

For Your Info: This pitch technology is actually the subtle variations in the tread blocks’ geometry. This causes air particles striking them, to generate different sound frequencies, that are intended to cancel each other out.

Impact Comfort

The General Grabber APT excels in impact comfort, which is a measure of a tire’s ability to absorb road shocks, contributing to a smoother driving experience.

This proficiency is due to two key features:

  • Tire’s ComfortPlus technology.
  • It’s tread depth.

So with the ComfortPlus technology, the tire includes a specialized layer within its internal structure, positioned beneath the rubber.

This layer is specifically designed to neutralize road shocks and vibrations, thereby enhancing the comfort of the ride.

And regarding tire’s tread depth, its relatively much greater (compared to other tires in its category).

This increased depth allows for more effective dissipation of bumps and irregularities in the road surface, before they enter the vehicles cabin.

Side Note: Interestingly, almost all tires in the Grabber family, including General Grabber ATX (review), incorporate similar absorption layers underneath, enhancing comfort.

Fuel Efficiency

Although the General APT is recognized for its solid and stable tread, it has been noted for its lack of fuel efficiency, primarily due to its excessive weight.

This weight is a result of its robust internal construction, which includes several layers adding to its heft.

This increased weight places excessive pressure on the tire’s tread, leading to increased friction as it interacts with the road surface.

The lugs of the Grabber APT are basically forced to bend under this pressure. And such deformation of the lugs requires additional energy, which negatively impacts fuel efficiency, as more energy gets wasted in the form of heat (mostly).

So yes you can say, there’s a cost one has to pay for its durability.

But where is all that weight coming form?

Well the tire features a heavier 2 ply polyester, 2 steel belts, and spirally wound nylon cap plies, and then it has an additional layer on top of that, which is designed specifically for absorbing road bumps.

Moreover, you also get a thicker rubber layer on top of that, (fortified with DuraGen Technology, known for its cut-resistant properties), with a tread depth of up to 16/32″.

Tread Mileage

Tread wear, a critical aspect of tire performance, and is influenced by various factors, including the tire’s construction and rolling resistance.

Considering these factors, one can see why the General Grabber APT tire demonstrates desirable performance.

The tire’s durability can be attributed to its cut-resistant rubber, enhanced with DuraGen Technology.

This technology equips the tire with wear and chip resistance, especially under diverse conditions, including mild off-road use, like gravely roads.

Another factor contributing to the tire’s longevity is its substantial tread depth, which can reach up to 16/32″.

This depth is significant because it means the tire takes longer to wear down to the level where replacement becomes necessary.

And yes, greater tread depth also increases rolling resistance (ironically, lowering tread life), and lugs become susceptible to bending, it’s not the case with Grabber here, as the lugs on this tire have reinforced foundations underneath.

And so the tire offers a confidence inspiring 60k miles treadwear warranty, which is a testament to its durability and long-lasting performance.

Off Road Performance

All-terrain tires are designed with a focus on off-road capabilities, which sometimes leads to trade-offs in on-road performance. However, General’s tire stands out for its robust performance in most off-road conditions.

Let’s see how it performed in all of the following terrains.

Sand Driving

Sand is a challenging terrain due to its looseness, requiring a larger contact area to prevent sinking and ensure traction.

This is why deflating tires is a vital first step for optimal sand performance, as lowered tire pressure increases the tire’s footprint, reducing the risk of getting stuck.

The General Grabber APT excels in sandy conditions, despite its stiffer sidewalls, which could potentially lead to digging in. Though the tire overcomes this issue, by deflating the tires allowing sidewalls to gain the needed flexibility.

Moreover, this flexibility, along with the tire’s “staggered” edges, enables effective scooping action, throwing sand backwards, and in return inducing forward momentum, which is particularly challenging to achieve on deeper sandy terrains.

So you get leading sand performance in its category of on-road oriented all-terrain tires.

Light-Mud Performance

In muddy conditions, the effectiveness of a tire largely depends on the design of its tread, where predominately grooves thickness matter the most.

I mean, narrow grooves cause mud to accumulate more easily, leading to a total loss of traction.

Fortunately, the General Grabber APT doesn’t face this issue, I mean when it comes to less aggressive muddy trails.

This tire features interconnected grooves that run in various directions, a design that continuously evacuates mud, keeping tread clean, enhancing the tire’s overall traction in mud.

Traction on Rocks

When navigating rocky terrain, a tire must have durability, strong sidewalls, and multi-directional gripping elements.

Now, in terms of durability, the General Grabber APT is fairly competent for its class, largely due to its DuraGen technology.

This technology incorporates cut-resistant rubber and thicker polyester cords in the sidewalls, providing a measure of puncture resistance.

Moreover, while the tire’s sidewalls aren’t good enough, they do feature staggered shoulder lugs with serrated edges, which still provide decent enough grip with lowered air pressure.

Additionally, the central tread area, characterized by interconnected grooves with in-groove notches running in various directions, ensures grip from multiple angles.

This design helps to offset the limitations of the sidewalls to a certain extent, contributing to the tire’s overall good enough performance on rocky terrain.

Summing Up

The General Grabber APT tire offers a balanced performance across various terrains.

On dry pavements, its directional grip and overall handling are satisfactory, though its heavy construction slightly affects steering responsiveness.

In wet conditions, the tire’s limited siping leads to reduced wet traction, but it performs well in hydroplaning resistance.

For winter traction, its pliable compound and narrower profile ensure effective snow grip. Though the tire lacks on ice.

And although its loud, it offers great comfort performance, with its ComfortPlus tech.

Moreover, it’s fuel economy isn’t as great, but its tread longevity is.

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