Nitto Recon Grappler vs General Grabber ATX

Leave a comment

Nitto Recon Grappler and General Grabber A/TX are two very different all-terrain tires, where each supply a very decent on and off road capability. Both offer all season traction and come with M+S ratings.

General Grabber A/TX
General Grabber A/TX may look packed, its very biting off road where its uniform pattern grips in all directions.

Comparing both, the General Grabber ATX, produces superior wet traction on pavements, epic snow performance, long lasting rubber and off road, it shines on gravel, dirt and sandy terrains. The Nitto Recon Grappler, on the other hand, is superior in dry traction, provides better on road comfort (is silent), and yields better rock climbing abilities.

Tread Pattern

Both tires offer a very different design, let’s start with middle part of their tread.

General Grabber A/TX
General Grabber A/TX offers stud-able lugs for ice traction.

The General Grabber A/Tx has a 3 rib design in the middle.

All these lugs have similar siping pattern and have small traction notches, though the wrapping lugs on sides are also equipped with holes, allowing you to add studs for enhancing ice traction.

These lugs make a web of grooves interconnecting in all directions.

On sides, the tread features slighter bulkier lugs with very rectilinear (as straight as it gets) siping.

Though the notches and stud holes stay the same.

Towards outside, these lugs are staggered having proper mud scoops, and on sidewalls they make good enough sidewall lugs.

Let’s check out Nitto Recon Grappler now.

Nitto Recon Grappler
Nitto Recon Grappler gives you more chewing power off road from the middle of it’s tread.

This tire also makes staggered shoulder lugs, but they don’t have big enough traction scoops in comparison.

These shoulder lugs are also more packed together and have a continuous running layer underneath joining all blocks for cornering stability.

The lugs have full depth siping and are equipped with very small notches that are barely visible.

These minimal tread features although, allows great handling capabilities on dry roads, with less siping, its wet traction gets limited.

The middle area of the tread has a better design. Here the blocks may seem divided but they are joined together form underneath.

They make lateral groves connecting the outer very similar circumferential channels, creating a very self cleaning tread.

But it’s interesting to note that none of the grooves have any kind of stone ejectors in them.

That’s why the tire lacks to Grabber ATX when it comes to dirt and gravel filled roads.

Moving on towards some important info about their sizes.

Sizes Info

Nitto Recon Grappler comes in a total of 98 sizes, ranging from 16 to 24 inches. These sizes have following specs.

  • They are seen with speed ratings of either R or S.
  • Load ratings are seen with XL, D, E and F (no size is available with C).
  • The weight range of the tire goes from 40 lbs (seen in 265/50R20) to 83 lbs (seen in 37×13.50R24LT).
  • All sizes vary in tread depth where the least you’d find would be having at least 13/32″ and the most with 17/32″, though on average, most sizes you’d find would have 16/32″.
  • All sizes come with 55k miles warranty for LT sizes (65k for others).
  • All sizes have 3 ply polyester casing (making 3 ply sidewalls), 2 steel belts and 2 nylon cap plies.

General Grabber ATx provides 60 total sizes with 14 to 20 inches.

  • Speed ratings available: Q, R, S and T.
  • Load range available: SL, XL, C, D and E.
  • Mostly sizes have 16/32″ of tread depth, though some also have 14/32″.
  • Weight range: 28 lbs to 75 lbs.
  • 50k miles warranty for all sizes.
  • Sizes have 2 ply sidewalls (along with 2 belts and 2 cap plies of nylon).

On-Road Performance

On pavements (dry), there are two main factors to look at, one is the tire’s directional grip, while the other is sideways traction (which also tell you about steering response).

Let’s talk about all of these one after another.

Dry Grip

Grip is related to middle area of the tread, and here how much the lugs (on tread) offer surface area to meet up with the road depends a lot.

So here with bigger triangular shaped lugs in the middle, the Recon Grappler offers better efficacy, so you are going to get slightly shorter braking distances and acceleration times.

Though Grabber ATx is better with higher speeds, that’s why its speed rating is also slightly better in comparison (going up to T).

Learn all about speed ratings here.

Dry Handling

Handling of a tire tells how well it corners, and here shoulders of a tire meet the road the most.

So it makes sense why Nitto Recon Grappler with minimal tread features on shoulder lugs offer maximum contact patch to meet with the surface and produces superior lateral grip.

The General Grabber ATX lacks in the lateral traction department a lot. In fact it’s one of the weakest point of this tire, it’s like this not only on rods, by in all terrains, including rocks, grass, in wet conditions and so on.

Steering Response

Steering response is often overlooked, but it’s a game changer in overall handling performance.

Here the tire’s weight and tread structure is considered the most.

With extra plies in it’s internal built, the Recon Grappler does not allow better steering response. It’s extra weight actually pressurizes on its’ tread lugs and cause the tire to under-steer.

Wet Performance

In wet conditions, traction is greatly reduced due to the water on the road, and that water needs to go somewhere as it’s in-compressible. So here sipes comes into action which provide grip, while the grooves provide resistance to hydroplaning.

Lets discuss both of these one by one.

Wet Grip

The Nitto Recon Grappler as I showed, has very less number of total siping overall (almost none on shoulder lugs), and even those sipes don’t offer a good enough design to clean water off.

Sipes basically are just computer generated slits on the tread, and these slits literally slurp water in them as they make contact with the wet surface. If the they are not flexible enough, how much water is sucked in gets to be limited.

General Grabber ATX offers full depth siping, which are greater in number and it’s tread (as it’s softer in comparison), allow the sipes to squeeze better, providing ample wet traction.


The balder the tire, the better the hydroplaning resistance. So all-terrain tires do okay here overall.

But out of them, the General Grabber ATX offers a web of grooves which offer better evacuation capability. The faster the flow-rate of water (out of the tire), the less water is left behind for sipes.

So this is also the reason why overall, Recon Grappler has limited wet traction in comparison.

Tread Wear

The General Grabber ATx is the top ranking tire in this section, in fact, that’s the reason why I added this tire in my list of top A/T tires (check here).

The tire basically offers a very unique tread compound, where although its softer, it’s elastic as well. I actually contacted the General on this, and they did not tell me the key ingredients used that makes their tires last so long. (In fact none of the tire companies reveal that).

The Recon Grappler on the other side, is also pretty great, and it’s the first tire to ever have the Nitto’s warranty of 55k miles.

Ride Quality

In order to enhance the ride quality, all-terrain tires are made silent on roads. But that’s just half part of the equation, as here the overall tire’s ability to soak up the vibrations also tell about the comfort in general.

Noise is just air. And if that air has more gap to move around, it would hit the walls of the tread and create a louder tire.

The rigid the tire, the harsher the ride would feel, that’s why comfortable tires soak up the imperfections of the surface in a better way.

Nitto Recon Grappler has closed up shoulder lugs with foundational supports underneath. Basically here, it offers secondary rubber layers that run beneath all its lugs and join them all together.

Because of this the air is not able to get in that easily, which would have then struck around causing noise.

General Grabber ATX on the other side, is slightly louder as it’s shoulder gaps allow a lot of air to come in, though it minimizes it a lot with the help of pitch sequencing, but it’s not enough.

Recon Grappler also uses this, and in fact they actually name it with variable pitch technology. Here the geometry of the tread lugs are slightly altered and air hitting them generate different sound frequencies, and cancel each other out.

Winter Traction

Out of both tires, the General Grabber ATX takes the larger piece of the pie, and it makes sense, why its the only one here with 3 peak mountain snowflake rating.

The tire basically offers an interlocking pattern that is very good at grabbing snow and trapping it in it’s grooves, so it can make snow to snow contact.

This type of contact is the most important snow traction factor, that’s because snow particles, or should I say snowflakes have unique design and their arms interlock with other snowflakes enhancing friction. In simpler words snow sticks on snow more than it sticks on tire’s rubber.

The Nitto Recon Grappler is also pretty good at it, but it’s snow grabbing abilities are not as great.

Moreover, Grabber ATX allow you to install studs and with that you can effectively improve it’s ice traction as well.

Off Road Performance

Off road you need tires with huge cleaning abilities. You also need durability to move confidently on all types of terrains, let’s see all these types of lands.

On Mud

Mud needs to escape out, otherwise it causes packing in the tire.

Where the interlocking design of Grabber ATX is so great on snow, its not good for mud, as it lugs don’t let go off the mud that easy.

Recon Grappler on the other side offer two main channels for mud evacuation, the outer grooves interconnect with the slanted lateral grooves. Both of them are equally wide and have zigzag pattern, that allows superior mud escaping abilities.

On Rocks

On rocks you need biters, a lot of it, you need powerful lugs, especially on sidewalls, and you need durability.

Nitto Recon Grappler offers 3 ply sidewalls, so it can take on rougher rocky terrains. On top it presents dual sidewall design, having thicker lugs which grab more effectively when you air down the tire.

And where these offer superior lateral traction, the countless biters in the middle offer directional grip as well.

Grabber ATX on the other side, is not capable of offering good enough lateral traction, so with this tire, you are more susceptible to slip sideways.

On Sand

On sand you need a tire with following features.

  • It should be light in weight.
  • Have a larger area of rubber to meet with the sand.
  • Have durable rim locks and sidewall lugs.

Nitto Recon Grappler offers a good rubber to sand meet up, it’s a heavier tire, so this combined with it’s sharper sides, you get a digger.

Grabber ATX on the other hand, is smoother to handle as it does not dig in to the sand that much, and it’s easier to maintain it’s forward motion.

Take Home Points

Nitto Recon Grappler is slightly more aggressive all-terrain tire, that’s why it offers superior rock and mud traction, though it’s weight lacks it behind on sandy dunes.

On pavements, the tire is great with 2 things, dry grip, and tread noise.

General Grabber ATX on the other side is great for wear life, and snow traction, it’s wet grip is superior in comparison but it’s not so great overall compared to other A/T Tires.

Leave a Comment