Nitto Terra Grappler G2 vs Recon Grappler

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When it comes to tackling rugged off-road trails and smooth pavement with equal finesse, the Nitto Terra Grappler G2 and Recon Grappler are two top contenders. Both tires feature aggressive tread patterns and sturdy construction, variable pitch and dual sidewalls, but they have their own strengths and weaknesses. Let’s find them.

Nitto Recon Grappler
Nitto Recon Grappler is a great option for Chevy.

In my view as a tire engineer, the Nitto Terra Grappler offers better dry traction with its good enough braking and cornering abilities, though the tire really lacks on wet roads, as it siping is better optimized for snow. Recon Grappler on the other side, offers superior wet grip and is overall more preferable off road in all sorts of rugged terrains. The tire also offers more durability, and its snow performance is also not too far off.

Tire Toughness

While both these all-terrain tires have cut and chip resistant rubber, their internal construction vary a lot.

That’s because both tires are the very ends of all-terrain tire’s aggressiveness scale. The Nitto Terra Grappler gives you an average construction of 2 ply polyester cover, 2 steel belts and 2 nylon cap plies.

Wheres, the Recon Grappler offers a thicker polyester casing constituting of 3 plies, has 2 wider steel belts on top and 2 thicker cap plies on the very top, where they also cover the bead area a little bit.

So this tire get to have 3 ply sidewalls, having thicker lugs on top.

Tread Pattern

Both tires offer staggered shoulder lugs with dual sidewall design. Also both of them have ribs offer variable pitch forming geometry.

Nitto Recon Grappler
Nitto Recon yields dual sidewalls just like other Grappler members.

Starting with the shoulders on Nitto Recon Grappler, these could benefit from additional tread features as they have a minimalist design.

Despite this, the tire does feature full depth siping and small notches on the corners which although do offer a little bit of aggressiveness.

Compared to Terra Grappler, Recon also offers wider lateral grooves between the shoulder lugs, though all it’s lugs have reinforced foundations.

In the middle, the tread has triangular-shaped ribs with deep notches, rectilinear siping, and offset edges in all directions.

These ribs also have slanted lateral channels connecting the outer circumferential grooves, which help to provide sufficient self-cleaning of the tread.

Overall you get a slightly more biting tread (comparatively), though it does not offer any kind of stone ejectors.

On the other side, the Nitto Terra Grappler has a more on-road oriented design.

Nitto Terra Grappler G2
Nitto Terra Grappler G2 although has interlocking sipes from above, it’s not like this all the way, they separate as the tire wears.

This tire boasts a variable pitch tread with chamfered edges and deep sipes on its three main ribs, providing excellent snow performance.

However, its wet traction could be improved as the sipes are not optimized for that purpose.

The middle rib is thicker than the outer two, providing more rubber-to-road contact and improved directional traction.

While the outer ribs feature stone ejectors and shoulder lugs, which combine with notches on both sides to form highly efficient self-cleaning circumferential channels.

The tire’s shoulder features staggered lugs which are very similar to Recon Grappler, as all lugs on this rib are placed on a continuous running secondary layer underneath.

So this allows both tires to have great directional on road stability.

Sizes Available

The Nitto Terra Grappler G2, comes between 17″ to 24″ (rim diameters) and they have:

  • Speed Ratings of R, S, T and H.
  • Load Ratings of SL, XL, D, E and F.
  • Weight Range: 30 lbs to 80 lbs.
  • Tread Depth Range: 12 to 17/32″.
  • LT sizes have 50k miles warranty, while non LT have 65k.

On the other side, the Nitto Recon Grappler sizes in 16 to 24 inches. And they have:

  • Less available speed ratings, in comparison of either R or S. (Lean about speed ratings here).
  • Load range availability: XL, D, E and F.
  • Weight of larger sizes get to be very similar, where total weight range varies from 40 lbs to 83 lbs.
  • They offer tread depth of 13 to 17/32″, again very similar.
  • And all sizes have 55k miles warranty for LT, and 65k for non-LT.

Dry Performance

In order to get a good understanding on dry performance of these all-terrain tires, we need to consider traction both directionally and laterally, and overall steering response.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

Dry Grip

Tire grip can be assessed by examining the tire’s footprint, which is the area of rubber that meets the road. The larger the footprint, the better the grip.

I am basically talking about directional grip here that is associated with braking and acceleration on starlight paths. And here the middle part of the tread comes in to action.

Out of both, the Nitto Terra Grappler, as it offers better ribs design there, makes more rubber meet up with the surface. It’s central most rib (where the most tire pressure is emphasized), has wider ribs with a blocky design, so you get better stability overall.

That’s why it yields speed ratings of up to H.

Sideways Grip

Tire handling refers to the tire’s performance when turning, and is influenced by the tire’s shoulders, which bear the majority of the vehicle’s weight during turns.

So it makes sense why both tires do great here, as they both have a very similar shoulder design.

They are both so closed up there that they can’t even form stone ejectors in between, the reinforced foundations underneath them all provide better laterally stability though, with heavier weight, the Recon Grappler is slightly harder to maneuver, but that comes in tire’s steering response.

Steering Response

This has to do with how well a tire communicates with your steering input.

And when a tire weighs more, the lugs get to bear more pressure on them.

Nitto Recon Grappler weighs more with 3 ply sides, has a slightly softer composition, and a lot of tread depth going up to 17/32″, so when you turn this tire, a lot of it’s energy gets wasted on flexing the lugs, and you face under-steering.

On the other side, the Nitto Terra offers a faster steering feedback, though it’s not that impressive compared to other less aggressive on road tires.

Wet Traction

On wet road, two things matter, grip and hydroplaning. Lets start with hydroplaning.


Hydroplaning resistance is essential for preventing a tire from losing contact with the watery surface.

And this is achieved with the help of (some) tread features like, circumferential grooves and open shoulder blocks, that channel the water away from the tire.

So, it makes sense why Recon Grappler with wider vertical and horizontal channels, interlinked with each other, allows faster water escaping abilities.

Nitto Terra on the other hand, although also offers vertical channels, it’s shoulder voids are less open and don’t allow water to leave laterally, so it lacks a little bit from there.

And this also affects the siping performance, as the less the water leaves, the more its there for sipes to work on. And this brings us to the gripping part.

Wet Gripping.

The grip on wet asphalts is achieved with sipes, as they provide you with slits which flex to soak up the water.

Now in comparison, the Nitto Recon Grappler offers silica dense composition, so it’s sipes create more suction as they can move more freely due to tread’s enhanced ability to flex.

Nitto Terra G2 on the other side, has stiffer sipes, and less hydroplaning resistance, so with stiffer sipes, less water is picked up, and with less resistance to aquaplaning, there’s more water for these sipes in the first place. So overall wet traction becomes limited in its case.

Fuel and Tread Usage

Fuel and tread are both connected with tire’s rolling resistance.

And although there are a lot of variables both tires are pretty similar in some of them. Like both have almost similar weight range, and tread depth.

So both tires show very similar fuel consumption and tread wear.

Though its surprising that Nitto Terra Grappler G2 even with 2 ply sides, have almost similar rolling resistance to Recon Grappler having 3 plies.

Ride Quality

Noise and comfort are two key factors that contribute to ride quality. And here the Recon Grappler leads both.

Although both tires have very similar technologies, and new generation tread compounds, the Recon Grappler provides better efficacy.

It’s shoulders are packed together which allows less air to come in from sides (where most air comes from), and hit the tread (to generate noise).

Moreover, its pitch sequencing is better, as it’s symmetric tread is more streamlined.

The tire is also softer so it dampens the bumps on the road in a much better way as well.

In comparison, the Nitto Terra, although has very similar shoulders, it’s asymmetric design is not as streamlined, so it makes more noise.

And its stiffer rubber is not good at absorbing the vibrations of the road as well.

Winter Performance

All-terrain tires tend to perform well in the snow due to their inclusion of winter tire features like soft rubber compounds, numerous sipes, and deep notches that can help grip snow.

And both tires carry a set of similar features.

Nitto Terra Grappler has more sipes (which although are not so effective on water, they sure are great on snow), so it’s tread is able to grab better on lighter terrains.

Where its notches also help a lot. Both of them basically collect snowflakes in their tread gaps so that snow to snow contact can be made, which is what gets you better traction.

In comparison, the Recon Grappler does better with deeper terrains, as its wider grooves are optimized for that.

Moreover, its tread is also softer which is actually a better advantage over the Terra G2, as it makes it less susceptible to freeze up on deep snow.

Off Road Performance

Factors that can impact performance when driving on rough terrain include the type of terrain and the capabilities of the tire.

On Mud

Maintaining traction on muddy surfaces requires a tire with good mud evacuation capabilities.

And all-terrain tires aren’t good at that, as they are still not extreme enough (that’s why mud tires are there).

But still, all-terrain tires are not built equal, even if they are different models from the same company, so here Nitto Recon Grappler is built more aggressive.

It’s tread offers wider grooves and they connect with each other in a very non-subtle way.

The ribs in the middle basically make 2 different kinds of channels, where on sides, they make longitudinal tread voids separating the shoulder lugs, and in the middle, make equally wider, (and having same geometry), make slanted lateral grooves connecting those two.

So mud cuts down from the sharp lugs in the middle and the broken down material then easily passes out through these channels.

Moreover, the tire also offers sharper sides which cut through the mud, and bigger lugs which act as scoops.

Nitto Terra on the other side, although offers staggered shoulder, it’s overall tread is too compact to allow significant mud removal.

On Rocks

Although from the Grappler family, my go to tire on rocks is Nitto Ridge Grappler (review), out of these two, I’d pick Recon, as Terra Grappler offers far less no. of biters and don’t have thicker sidewall lugs.

So even though it’s dual sided, and even with lowered pressure, it does not give enough footprint/traction while climbing rocks.

Moreover, it’s 2 ply sides scare me, whereas on Recon Grappler, the 3 ply sidewalls of strong polyester cover inspires more confidence to crawl on challenging tracks.

Soft Sand

Soft sand need tread print and scoops, that’s why on sand races, you see paddle tires everywhere.

Though on all-terrain tires, you can achieve better by lowering the air pressure to a minimum value.

But Recon Grappler with sharper sides is more digging, so its a little hard to maneuver while on inclined sandy hills.

Whereas Terra Grappler is much smother on the edges, though it does not offer as powerful a rim lock in comparison.

On Gravely Roads

Gravel roads can lead to stones becoming trapped in the tire tread, which can then damage the tread and decrease the tire’s handling and directional traction.

To combat this, many tires are equipped with stone ejectors to remove those lodged stones and have chip-resistant treads to prevent damage.

Our Grappler tires although have cut resistant rubber, they don’t offer any kind of stone ejectors, though still with wider channels on Nitto Recon, stones are less likely to get stuck in.

Though you can’t say the same about Nitto Terra Grappler, that’s why it lacks here slightly.

To End

When the Nitto Recon Grappler first came in, I though it was a hybrid, and it looks like though it’s made out of Toyo RT and Nitto Ridge (both are part of a same organization).

But this tire is an all-terrain, though you can say, it’s one of the most aggressive A/Ts.

That’s why it offers better off road traction, with self cleaning tread and superior 3 ply sidewalls durability rendering it better on mud, rocks, and gravel.

On the other side, the Terra Grappler is more on road aligned, though still it lacks to it’s bigger brother in the wet traction department.

That’s because it’s sipes are more optimized on snow, and its better performing over there, that’s why it has the 3 peak mountain snowflake rating (unlike the Recon).

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