Nitto Ridge Grappler Review

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The Nitto Ridge Grappler is a rugged terrain tire, which comes between all terrain and mud terrain. Such tires are also called hybrid, as they offer you with a combination of features form both categories. So in case of Nitto Ridge, it has shoulder blocks of a mud tire and central ribs are from AT.

Nitto Ridge
Nitto Ridge Grappler lasts 40k miles easy, even with testing.

Despite being an aggressive RT, the Nitto Ridge Grappler is still able to provide decent grip with stable lateral traction values. The slight lag in the responsiveness is mostly neglected when it’s off road performance is seen. The tire rocks on rocks. But it would have been great if it could qualify for 3 peak mountain snowflake rating, as don’t except much from these tires on snow, or even on wet roads. It’s a compromise you have to make for superior rugged terrain grip.

Compare Nitto Ridge Grappler with others


Off road, the most helpless part of the tire is it’s sidewalls, and so rugged tires have to make the tire’s inner construction stronger.

The Nitto Ridge Grappler is very strong and consists of 3 ply polyester casing, so you get 3 ply sidewalls (which is pretty durable).

This cover of polyester then gets layered with 2 broad steel belts, and 2 cap plys of nylon, both of these don’t cover the sides of the tire, so only thing protecting that is 3 ply polyester.

Overall the tire is pretty tough, but it’s not the strongest, as that spot on my list of top A/T tires is taken by BFG KO2.

Tread Appearance

Let’s start thing off with the middle section.

Nitto Ridge Grappler
All ribs on Nitto Ridge Grappler are strengthened with foundations underneath, where blocks in vertical position also connect with the shoulder blocks.

Nitto Ridge Grappler has 4 ribs here which are shaped like triangles. 2 of these have full depth notches in them facing the sides, while the other two are slightly smaller and carry similar features (except for the notches), though they are connected to shoulder blocks (see if you can find it in the picture).

These 4 ribs together make X and Z shaped grooves in the middle, as well as zigzag longitudinal surrounding grooves (which divide the shoulder blocks).

Overall the tire presents a lot of biters, but still lacks in providing effective siping.

Though these sipes are still full depth and make a somewhat interlocking design, and they are still good in number in the middle section.

It’s actually the shoulders where it lacks severely.

Nitto Ridge Grappler
Nitto Ridge Grappler

As on shoulder blocks, there are no tread features and each block carry a simple pattern of these sipes. But again these sipes are full depth.

And the tire also provides a lot of lateral gaps between the blocks where you can see stone ejectors.

On the edges, the shoulder get staggered and extend further towards the sidewalls to make thick lugs.

These lugs are very powerful and helps the tire a lot when pressured down.

Furthermore, the tire comes with dual sidewall design, where both sides have cool biting lugs and you can choose which side to show out.

Nitto Ridge Grappler Tire Sizes:

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

  • On 16 inches – 7 sizes are available.
  • On 17 inches – 20 sizes are available.
  • 18 inches have 26 sizes available.
  • None in 19″.
  • 20″ have 28 sizes available.
  • None in 21″.
  • 22″ have 13 sizes available.
  • None in 23″.
  • and 24 inches have just 4 sizes available.

All sizes either have the speed rating of Q or T, and the load rating goes all the way up to F, so yes the tire is also quite heavy.

It’s weight ranges from 36 lbs to 91 lbs.

And lastly talking about tread depth, it although ranges from 13 to 18/32″, most of the sizes are available with 16.4/32″.

Compare Nitto Ridge Grappler with others

On Road Performance

On streets, the performance is mostly understood by considering the tire’s lateral traction component, steering response and overall grip.

Let’s talk about them all one by one.

Steering Response

When it comes to response times, the tire’s construction and weight has a lot to do, so it makes sense why Nitto Ridge Grappler lags slightly with larger weight.

With the 3 ply polyester casing in it’s internal make-up, the tire’s steering feels a little harder, on higher speeds the tire tends to under-steers most of the time, and this increase the time between the steering input and the tire’s feedback.

Lateral Traction and Stability

Lateral stability and traction are interlinked with each other, and although here the tire’s weight is also a significant factor, the overall tread design also has a noteworthy role to play, more specifically the shoulders, as they make the most contact while cornering.

So with very minimal tread features on the shoulder ribs, the Nitto Ridge Grappler offers a very decent contact with the surface.

And this enhances the tires lateral traction component by a good margin.

Most capable tire for dry lateral stability is Pirelli Scorpion AT plus (review).

Dry Grip

Dry grip is related with the tire’s overall rubber to pavement connection, so being a rugged terrain tire, its explicit that the tire won’t be able to offer too much grip values here.

That’s the reason why Nitto Ridge comes up with maximum speed rating of T. But it is still pretty good for a hybrid tire. And compared to other RTs an hybrids, the Nitto Ridge Grappler has a better advantage.

It offers quite some decent contact with it’s triangular shaped ribs in the middle, which are closely packed.

All these ribs are also strengthened by foundation supports underneath which further enhances the traction stability.

Wet Performance

Wet tarmacs are slightly tricky, as water is not compressible, so the only way to maintain traction there is to clear it off.

And a tire does it by providing efficient hydroplaning resistance, and wet grip.

So let’s go through them one by one.

Wet Grip

The wet grip of a tire is linked with it’s tread composition and sipes (total number as well as design).

But Nitto Ridge Grappler with minimal tread features, especially on the shoulders where a single sipe is seen per block, compromises on grip by a lot.

So as the sipes inhale in the water particles and dry away that way, Nitto Ridge is not able to provide good enough grip here.

Adding to that, the sipes also don’t have a locking design, so on corners, these sipes become rigid and are are flexible enough to open and squeeze in the water particles effectively.


Hydroplaning resistance is the tire’s ability to clear water off from its grooves swiftly, so it would not float on it, that’s why float speeds determine the tire’s resistance to hydroplaning/aquaplaning.

For Your Info: Float speed is just the maximum speed with which the tire can run on standing water without losing floating and losing traction.

With X and Z shaped grooves the rib makes in the middle which joins the outer circumferential channels, enough pathways are created for water to leave off quickly.

So overall, Nitto Ridge Grappler provides satisfactory hydroplaning resistance values.

Snow Performance

Winter performance has very different terrain challenges, there’s multiple types of deep as well as light snow, and there’s ice as well.

Now the Nitto Ridge Grappler is although not graded with 3 peak mountain snowflake rating, its till able to perform as this rating is not everything.

For Your Info: The 3pmsfs is often mistaken other performance factors like lateral traction and grip on snow, where it just show the acceleration capability. It tells that it’s acceleration is 25% better than then average all season tire.

So the tire although does not qualify in the acceleration performance, and yes it’s not able to grip well on ice, but it does okay with deep snow, where anything above 2 feet of snow, this tire does the job very well in fact.

It’s grooves effectively connects snowflakes with others by trapping in the particles while the excess snow gets funneled out of the tire without any resistance.

It’s serrated shoulders also help here as they scoop the snow back to provide advancing moving traction.

Note: In Rugged terrain category, one of the most capable tire in winter performance is Mickey Thompson Baja Boss AT (review).

Tread Wear

The Nitto Ridge Grappler is just okay in the tread department, which is no surprise given the tire’s aggressive design.

It’s softer compound which endures a lot of pressure of its weight due to extra cap ply and 3 ply polyester carcass, the tire is not able to provide great tread wear.

Rotating these tires religiously would give you 40k plus miles.

For Your Info: Out of all AT tires I’ve reviewed, I’ve found General Grabber A/TX to do best in terms of tread wear.

Ride Quality

Rugged terrain tires like the Nitto Ridge Grappler, which are in between AT and MT provide ride quality in a similar manner.

The overall comfort levels on RT tires are better compared to mud terrain tires, but lacks when compared to all terrain.

In other words, the tire’s aggressiveness is inversely proportional to it’s ride quality.

Now, having said that, let’s discuss it’s noise and comfort.

Comfort and Noise

Let’s talk noise first, as Nitto Ridge Grappler is surprisingly quite. It’s the most silent tire I have seen compared to other hybrids, again compared to other hybrids. So if you are moving to this tire from AT, you really are going to hear them.

Nitto Ridge offers a very vigorous angles of tread blocks which supply variable ptich technology.

This technology basically yields different sound modulations from different parts of the tread and they all try to cancel out each other and this way the noise is calmed down.

If we talk comfort, the softer rubber of the tire does a good job mop up the impacts. Usually with 3 ply polyester construction, tires get stiffer, but Nitto Ridge Grappler cap plies are positioned in a way that does not stiffen things up too much, and this way it still keeps your ride a little comfortable on both on and off roads.

For Your Info: Yokohama Geolandar G015 is the most comfortable tire in AT category:

Muddy Terrain Performance

On mud, staying in hybrids, Goodyear Duratrac offers the best traction values, and compared to that, the Nitto Ridge Grappler isn’t too far off.

The zigzag channels which are interlinked with each other provide great mud evacuation capabilities, while the sharp angled ribs crush the mud down in to pieces so they could flow out easily.

Moreover, the dual sidewall design with thick rubber lugs combined with staggered shoulders providing scooping affect with the mud and helps in traction further.

Rock Traction

My go to tire for rocks is Nitto Ridge Grappler. This tire gives me no trouble and has never let me down.

I have literally taken it on all sorts of terrains here, gravely roads, sharp rocks, rocky terrains filled with sharp logs, sharp thorns you name it.

For Your Info: Thorny areas are often untreated as they puncture the sidewalls the most.

But that a piece of cake for this beast, as it’s 3 ply polyester casing is pretty durable enough to take on all these paths.

And not to to forget, the thick sidewall lugs on both sides of the tire, with dual design, where both offer epic off road traction. These provide ample traction when pressuring down the tires.

Sand Traction

Sand is not easy. It needs skills especially with as heavier tire as the Nitro Ridge Grappler.

Luckily the tire offers better footprint on sand, which is very crucial as when you air down the tire pressure (which is must-to-do on sand).

So with this and bulky sidewall lugs, the tire provide ample traction values.

Moreover, although not recommenced you can take these tire well below the approved limit (pressure) as it’s rim locks is powerful enough to keep the tire in place.

Take Home Points

The Nitto Ridge is going to perform much better off road than on highways. But the tire is still good enough for roads. There are not too loud, provide satisfactory ride quality, all is good except their wet handling. It’s a little below average.

Other than that, the snow traction is a plus for this tire and it comes with 3 peak mountain snowflake rating, which authenticates it.

Mud performance is very considerable and it’s traction on rocks is simply amazing.

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