Nitto Recon Grappler Review

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Nitto Recon Grappler is an all terrain tire which seems to be a mixture of the two, the Toyo RT and the Nitto Ridge Grappler. Toyo and Nitto are sister companies, if you are wondering what’s Toyo doing here.

Nitto Recon Grappler
I was running Nitto Recon Grappler 33/12.5/R17, before deciding to swap these with Ridge for the sake or review.

Being a tire designer, from my perspective, the Nitto Recon Grappler offers a decent dry grip, given it’s aggressive design, but lacks severely in wet traction. Other than this, I love how durable these tires are with 3 ply sides, which gives you great confidence on rocks, protecting the weakest part of the tire from close encounters.

Tire Sizes

The Nitto Recon Grappler comes in a total of 98 sizes, ranging from 16 to 24 inches.

  • Where only 2 sizes are available in 16″.
  • 14 in 17 inches.
  • 13 in 18 inches
  • 29 in 20 inches
  • 11 in 22 inches
  • and just 7 in 24 inches.
  • None available in 19″,21″ and 23″

Speed ratings are available in either R or S, whereas the Load ratings are available in XL, D, E, as well as F.

Weight of the tire goes from 40 lbs (seen in 265/50R20) and ranges up to 83 lbs (seen in 37×13.50R24LT).

If I review the tread depth of this tire, it ranges from 13 to 17/32″, where most sizes get to have above 16/32″.

Also reviewing sizes, the Nitto Recon Grappler is the first one to come up with warranty (compared to other Grapplers), and it’s 55k for LT & Floating sizes, and 65k for non LT.

Tread Design:

The Nitto Recon Grappler shows up with a very neat design

Nitto Recon Grappler
Recon Grappler offers foundations under it’s ribs for highway stability.

Let’s start things off with the central area.

The tire show two main ribs here creating lateral and longitudinal grooves of similar width and zigzag design.

These provide efficient tread cleaning.

The ribs seems to be made out of 4 different blocks, but they are all joined together with tread foundations, so the a lot of biting edges are created that way.

These also consist of sharp full depth sipes joining notches.

If I review it’s shoulders, things are very simple here, as the ribs here don’t have any features.

Nitto Recon Grappler
Recon Grappler although provides dual sidewall design, I am showing you my favorite side.

Only small notches are seen here on both sides, and yes for highway stability, all blocks here have foundation supports underneath them.

Towards sidewalls, Nitto Recon makes staggered pattern which then join the sidewall lugs of L shaped design.

Although both sides of the tire offer thick enough lugs, in my experience, the ones showing provides better off road traction, during sidewall flexing (meaning better tread print when you lower the pressure down).

Compare Nitto Recon Grappler with others


When it comes to durability the most significant point to consider is the tire’s internal architecture.

And even though the Nitto Recon Grappler is less aggressive compared to other Grapplers, like Ridge and Trail, it still offers similar durable inner construction.

It comes with a casing made out of 3 layers of polyester, on which there are 2 belts running (made of steel).

These belts are then reinforced with 2 cap ply nylon, adding further stability to overall structure.

So with 3 ply sidewalls, the tire is pretty durable and confidence inspiring off road.

For Your Info: Most durable tire in AT category is BF Goodrich KO2 (review).


The Nitto Recon Grappler is not a quite tire compared to other all terrain tires, but it still is pretty quite compared to hybrid (which comes in between Mud and All Terrain).

So you can say in a way, Recon Grappler comes in between all terrain and hybrid tires.

As most of the air (that produces noise) comes through the gaps between shoulder blocks, the Recon Grappler although has larger gaps compared to an average all terrain is still not too wide.

Furthermore, the tire also offers variable pitch technology where different arrangement of angles and tread voids produces different wave patterns of sound waves and they try to cancel out each other.

And noise is dampened that way.

Side Note: Before moving forward to performance section, it’s recommend that you see where this tire lands in my list of top all terrain tires (all of them reviewed).

On Road Performance:

When it comes to dry highways, there are 3 things that you have to look, which includes grip, handling and the tire’s overall feedback to inputs.

Let’s talk about both of these one by one.

Steering Response:

Being a semi RT tire, with heavier construction, the Recon Grappler is not going to impress you in the steering response area, especially if you compare it light AT tires.

That’s because the tire’s 3 ply polyester casing emphasizes a lot of weight on the tire and while cornering the tire almost exclusively under-steers, which creates a slight lag in the communication between the steering in input and the wheels response.

Above 50 mph, you really feels this tire.

Dry Traction:

Dry traction is although dependent on a lot of factors, the two main are the dry grip and the tire’s ability to corner (measured with lateral G forces).

In order to increase the dry traction of the tire, maximum rubber to road exposure has to be made, the more the contact, the more the grip, simply.

But when it comes to all terrain tires, the grooves, notches, and other tread features, take away the rubber space that would have met the surface instead.

That’s why formula one cars, which provide the best dry grip, have no tread features, and grooves at all.

When it comes to Nitto Recon Grappler, the tire makes a good compromise between these groves and contact patch, so it provides an above average dry grip with shorter braking distances (compared to Nitto Ridge for example).

The handling of the tire is also great, as shoulder blocks (which meets the road with more pressure on corners), have no tread features at all, so maximum contact is made over there.

But then again this limits the wet grip.

Performance on Wet Tarmacs:

On wet conditions a few things to keep in mind and when you are looking out for a tire, a pro tip here, try to check whether it has enough siping or not, and yes, also look for the tread of the tire, is it soft? Too hard or what?

And besides all if you know it’s internal construction, that’s the plus.

Let’s review how all these factors come in to action on wet tarmacs.

Wet Traction:

Let’s talk about the Nitto Recon’s overall tread compound first.

Recon now offers new generation tread compound, which simply means it has better silica, Kevlar and other polymers embedded in it’s make, and these do two things, one they make the rubber soft and spongy and the other, they enhance elasticity (which makes them strong).

So with a softer tread, sipes get the flexibility and with the elasticity, it doesn’t suffers in the tread wear department.

But with lacking sipes on the shoulder blocks, the handling on these tires are not so great, as these tires loose control and tend to over-steer almost exclusively (which also creates slow response times).

It’s not recommended that you drive on these tires with Traction Control off.

For Your Info: Most suitable tire in AT category for wet traction is Falken Wildpeak AT3w, review it here:


Hydroplaning, also called aquaplaning is the phenomena of tire floating on water. So in order to tackle this, the tire must have massive grooves from where the in-compressible water can leave out.

And so the tire’s “resistance” to hydroplaning is calculated by measuring the float speeds (which tells how fast a tire can go over water without floating).

Now Recon Grappler provides you with ample channels for water to escape through, so it shows no problem.

There are 3 main channels which helps this tire achieve good enough float speeds, two of those are the ones which divide the central ribs from the shoulders, while the rest is the lateral one which joins these circumferential outer channels.

So water get a clear pathway to get escaped from the tire.

Winter Traction:

Winter traction depends on the tire’s capability of forward momentum, cornering ability and braking response on both deep and slick on road snow, as well as ice.

Now, although the Nitto here isn’t branded with tri-peak rating, it still offers decent results, in terms of braking and cornering.

That’s because the 3pmsfr isn’t everything. It only tells you that the tire is at least 10% better compared to standard touring all season tires, in terms of snow acceleration.

So thanks to its numerous in-groove notches, and biters running in all directions, you still get superb overall grip (comparing other tires in its category, I mean).

These biters, basically allow for optimal snow-to-snow contact, as they trap in snow particles, in their voids.

This way, the trapped snow is able to generate better friction with the ground, as snow like to stick better to each other, instead of rubber.

Rocky Areas:

On rocky terrains, there are a lot of things to consider and Nitto Recon Grappler does everything right.

It’s 3 ply sidewalls have thick rubber lugs on top, which besides providing protection to the weakest part of the tire (sidewalls), also enhances grip and traction by providing extra rubber to rocks exposure.

It also comes with dual sidewall design, where on each side there are differently shaped lugs and both of them are very biting.

These lugs are thick enough to provide off road grabbing (that is, when you lower down the air pressure of the tires).

For Your Info: One of the most capable tire on rocks is Nitto Ridge Grappler (review).

Muddy Areas:

Nitto Recon Grappler surprisingly is not so bad on muddy terrains, which is by the way considered as one of the toughest terrains out there.

The tire offers multiple twisting channels, both lateral and longitudinal, and as all of them are interlinked with each other, mud gets to leave with ease.

Moreover, it’s staggered shoulder lugs act as mud scoops, throwing thick mud backwards and as a result providing forward momentum.

But the tire lacks on deep mud, as its tread voids are still not too wide.


On sand you need a light weight tire, which would not plough too much inside the ground.

And although the Nitto Recon Grappler offers ample tread print, when you lower the air pressure (which you almost exclusively do on sand), the tire’s weight becomes problematic.

As some of it’s sizes go up to 80 lbs, which is not good for sand, as this combined with sharp staggered shoulders, the tire’s forward momentum becomes harder to achiever, as it digs more.

So Thumbs Up or Down?

Well, I’d say in between. Nitto Recon Grappler is a confusing tire on wet, and it does not provide enough lateral stability there, and I am not talking about just roads, wet rocks, or gravel, on any wet patch, the tire would show slippage due to lack of lateral traction.

Moreover, although the tire isn’t branded with 3pmsf rating, it still provides good enough snow performance, though lacks on icy terrains.

Besides this, the tire is great on the rest, like on rocks, it provides you with confidence crawling abilities, with its 3 ply sides.

Even on mud, the tire won’t let you face a hard time (if you are experience that it, same goes for sand too).

And on highways, the noise can be an issue, but other than that, the traction is above average.

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