Nitto Ridge Grappler vs DuraTrac

Leave a comment

Both the Nitto Ridge Grappler and the Goodyear Duratrac are hybrid tires, sometimes also called rugged terrain, and these tires sit right in the middle of all terrain and mud terrain tires, traction wise.

Goodyear Duratrac
The shoulder blocks of Wrangler Duratrac are bigger compared to it’s central ribs.

The Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac offers a better on road stability and grip especially on wet roads, thanks to it’s multiple full depth siping which also earn it 3PMSF rating symbol as well (for enhanced wet traction). The Nitto Ridge Grappler on the other side show superior traction on rocks and provides better durability so you move on rugged terrains with more confidence.

Sizes – Things to know:

If we check out Wrangler Duratrac, it also offers 15 to 22 inches rim sizes where speed ratings are available in Q,S,P and T, while the load rating goes up to F.

Other than that, the weight range is 35 to 68 lbs and tread depth goes up to 18/32″ where most sizes have 16/32″.

On the other hand, Nitto Ridge Grappler comes in 16 to 24 inches, where speed rating is either available in T or Q and load range goes form C to F.

Weight of the tire on average is greater and it goes form 36 to 91 pounds, while the tread depth of the vary from 13 to 18/32″, where most of the sizes get to have 16.4/32″.

Other than tall this, the Nitto Ridge Grappler does not have any miles warranty and is missing 3 peak mountain snowflake rating. On the flip side, Duratrac comes with 50k miles warranty (for non-LT sizes) and has 3pmsf rating and offer a stud-able tread (for LT sizes).

Tread Appearance:

Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tread
Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac makes wider circumferential channels which helps in mud and dirt evacuation.

The square shaped blocks in the center of Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac provide a lot of biting abilities, as their edges are very wild.

All these blocks have rubber foundations underneath (so they are all connected together in a way, this helps in highway stability).

These central blocks get separated by large longitudinal (zigzag) outer channels, which have mini tread blocks in them (tractive groove technology, as Goodyear calls it).

If I move on shoulder blocks, the blocks carry similar features, they are connected with foundations and their edges are very aggressive, but apart from that, these blocks also carry stud holes and the siping here is more interlocking (better for wet traction).

Towards the sidewalls, it offers staggered shoulder blocks and a lot of spacing (but without any stone ejectors), and on sidewalls, it makes noticeable lugs.

On the other hand, the Nitto Ridge Grappler is also very aggressive.

Ridge Grappler 1
Nitto Ridge Grappler provides more biting edges in comparison, rendering it better on rocks.

Starting things from the shoulders, although the blocks here don’t carry notches and effective siping, the lateral gaps have stone ejectors, and these blocks turn in to bulkier sidewall lugs.

The tire actually provides different sidewall design on each side of the tire, and you can choose which one to show out.

In the middle, it features very aggressive blocks, and there are notches and off set edges along with reinforced foundations underneath all these blocks.

Together they make Z shaped grooves connecting the outer two longitudinal channels.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel Efficiency is often neglected, but it’s a significant performance factor. Out of these two tires, the Goodyear Duratrac offers better fuel economy.

The tire is lighter in weight and has better optimized rubber footprint, so it does not push on highways with a lot of pressure, consequently reducing the rolling resistance which improves the fuel consumption.

The Nitto Ridge Grappler on the other hand with more weight provides higher rolling resistance values which translates in to decreased fuel efficiency.

Durability

Goodyear Duratrac is not going to impress in terms of durability.

The tire only has simple 2 ply polyester and 2 steel belts covered with 2 ply nylon. This kind of construction is the most popular out there in A/T category, and for rugged terrain tires, it does not suit too much.

In comparison, on Nitto Ridge Grappler, you get 3 ply polyester casing covered with 2 steel belts and 2 capping layers of polyamide, providing you with a stronger construction, with 3 ply sidewalls.

The tire’s thicker lugs also protect the sidewalls further where on Duratrac there are not as aggressive.

For Your Info: One of the strongest tire in All Terrain category is BF Goodrich KO2 (review). If you are looking for the strongest in R/T (hybrid) category, it’s Mickey Thompson Baja Boss A/T (also reviewed).

Winter Performance

Snow traction includes light and deep snow as well as ice, and here a good tire has decent grip, and acceleration abilities along with lateral stability.

Out of these two tires in question, it’s no surprise to see Wrangler Duratrac being a better choice. The tire is tagged with 3 peak mountain snowflake grading unlike the Nitto Ridge and has effective snow grabbing abilities.

Snow grabbing is highly crucial on this terrain, as you want more snow to snow contact here which provides superior friction compared to rubber to snow contact.

For this, besides multiple biters, the Duratrac also features mini tread blocks (installed in the grooves) and these hold on to the snow particles in a much better way.

Moreover, this tire is also great with ice, and to further increase the traction, it’s provided with studable lugs (16 of these), but note that they only come in LT sizes.

The Nitto Ridge Grappler, on the flip side, does not focus on winter performance too much, nonetheless, the tire despite not been awarded with 3pmsf rating still performs satisfactorily on deep snow (as it has broader channels of tread voids).

Comfort and Noise

With a polymer rich composition, the Goodyear Duratrac’s tread has better stretching abilities so its able to absorb bumps in a better way.

The tire is not as rigid in comparison, as it has 2 ply polyester and thinner cap plies of nylon (compared to 3 ply polyester of Nitto Ridge), so the overall ride quality is seen better here.

But the tire is very loud. As it offers very wide area for air to come in and hit the tread walls.

On the other side, with stiffer construction, although the Nitto Ridge Grappler is not able to provide enough ride comfort but the tire is not as loud as the Duratrac.

For Your Info: One of the most comfortable tire in A/T category is Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 (reviewed here).

Tread Life

Tread wear depends on tire’s construction and the type of polymers it’s rubber contains.

Usually with good Kevlar compounds tire takes more time to wear off, that’s why the Goodyear Duratrac shows better capability.

The tire also weighs a little lighter so with that, less pressure lays on the surface and rolling resistance decreases, which increases the tread life.

On the other side, the Nitto Ridge Grappler with more number of inner plies is heavier, so it puts more pressure on the surface, consequently increasing its rolling resistance and along with it, the tread wear.

Also note that tread depth is a factor here too, however, both tires show similar values, so didn’t discuss it.

Dry Traction

On highways, although both provide almost equal footprint, the Goodyear Duratrac shows better effectiveness.

First off, the tire has a rounded contact patch, so with that it’s offers better stability on high speeds.

Second, as it’s inner construction consists of fewer polymer layers, the overall lower weight of the tire contribute to better steering responsiveness and handling stability with less stiffer sidewalls.

On the other side, the Nitto Ridge Grappler although provides a very smooth rubber to road contact on shoulders (which play a large role while cornering), with more weight and hard sidewalls, the tire is not as vocal in communicating with the steering input.

That’s why on corners, it understeers most of the time, which is seen more on wet roads compared to dry.

Wet Performance

Wet performance of a tire depends on it’s ability to remove water from its grooves, and so it’s relies on traction and hydroplaning.

Wet Traction

In order to have a better wet grip, a tire needs stretchable siping, along with other on road factors, like being lighter in weight and having softer sides.

The Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac is better here, as it offers snobbier siping pattern which interlock more in comparison (especially on shoulder blocks which contributes to handling a lot).

These sipes under pressure contact and expand at the same time (at various points) and provides tread more flexibility overall. That’s why its siping is better able to wipe water away efficiently.

Moreover, the tire’s less stiffer sidewall construction adds to it’s flexibility further and enhances overall traction.

On the other side, the Nitto Ridge Grappler’s tread with 3 ply polyester sidewalls is not as flexing. And on top of that, the tire does not offer enough siping, so it’s not surprising to see slippage while cornering.

For Your Info: One of the best tires (in A/T category) for wet traction is Falken Wildpeak AT3w (review).

Hydroplaning Resistance

Hydroplaning indirectly affects wet traction. Look at it this way. The more the tire evacuates water out, the less water there will be left for sipes to deal with.

Now, both tires offer good enough channels for water evacuation, but still out of the two, the outer longitudinal channels on Wrangler Duratrac are wider, so they provide better resistance to hydroplaning.

Moreover, the Duratrac is also helped here with it’s more stretchable tread, which allows easier path for water to leave.

Off Road Performance

Off road, there are various terrains to consider, but out of them the most significant includes, mud, rocks and sand. Let’s discuss all of them one by one.

Mud traction

They say mud is all terrain tire’s biggest enemy, luckily both of these tires are not as All Terrain as marketed. They lie in hybrid terrain category, meaning they get to have mud tire’s shoulder blocks, so they offer better performance on this terrain.

But still out of them, the Goodyear Duratrac shows better mud evacuation capability, just like it’s better in hydroplaning.

But the tire with wider grooves has one more extra feature which really helps it a lot. And that’s tractive grooves technology, where the mini version of tread blocks break down the mud particles and they evacuate through the outer wider circumferential channels and out of the tire through lateral shoulder grooves.

On the other side, the Nitto Ridge Grappler is not as effective, but the tire is still good enough as with it’s sharp edged central ribs, it cuts the mud down and it’s Z shaped channels forces it out sideways.

Sand Traction

Sand is a tricky one and here some of most significant factors include, tire’s weight, tread’s footprint and sidewall construction.

The Goodyear Duratrac has the advantage of being lighter in weight, so with that, it provides better efficacy on slopes.

Furthermore, with less stiffer sidewalls (having 2 ply construction), it also offers good enough footprint with the sand which promotes traction.

On the other side, the Nitto Ridge Grappler although is heavier, containing stiffer sides (3 ply), it’s sidewall lugs are bulkier and offer better footprint in comparison.

The tire also has the advantage of shoulder blocks which don’t dig as much compared to Duratrac, so forward momentum is seen better here.

Traction on Rocks

On rocks, Nitto Ridge Grappler is a king. It offers everything a tire needs to perform great here.

It’s durable 3 ply polyester construction provide powerful sides which are very resistant to punctures, where it’s thicker dual sidewall lugs presents ample off road traction when tire is pressured down.

Moreover, the tire’s numerous biting edges through out the middle including chamfered edges, offsets, sharp sides etc, all provide this tire with superior grip in all directions.

On the other hand, the Goodyear Duratrac is not able to perform so well here (in comparison), as the tire offers 2 ply sidewalls, and not so efficient shoulders and sidewall lugs.

Moreover, although the tire has enough biters in the middle, they are still not as aggressive as the Nitto Ridge Grappler.

To Sum Up

Both tires here are although marketed as all terrain, they are both hybrid (rugged terrain tires), so they come right in the middle of AT and MT.

Out of these two, the Goodyear Duratrac offers better performance of dry and wet roads, so you can say overall better on highways. But note that the tire is very loud so it’s not good in the comfort department.

But with less weight it’s still better in terms of tread wear and fuel efficiency.

The tire is also great on snow and has 3 peak mountain snowflake rating and studable lugs.

On the other hand, the Nitto Ridge Grappler although not rated with this, could use some wet and winter traction, but the tire is great off road in all types of terrains except for mud, where Duratrac shows better efficacy.

Leave a Comment