Nitto Terra vs Ridge Grappler

Leave a comment

Nitto Terra Grappler G2 is an all terrain tire and the Nitto Ridge Grappler is a hybrid (rugged terrain), which means it’s slightly more aggressive in comparison, and so it makes sense why it’s better off road.

Nitto Ridge Grappler
I am in love with the sidewalls on Nitto Ridge Grappler

Being a tire engineer, in my opinion, the Nitto Terra Grappler G2 provides a good on road experience but only on dry roads, as the tire lacks in overall siping design. Though it’s still better in comparison. It’s sipes are actually optimized for snow, that’s why it’s 3 peak mountain snowflake rated. The Nitto Ridge Grappler on the other hand, is just M+S rated and the tire lacks a lot in wet and snow, but all that compromise is for it’s superior off road performance, where it shines on rocky terrains.

Tech. Specs

Starting with Nitto Terra G2, it comes between 17 to 24″ offering speed rating up to H, where other sizes are also available in R, S and T.

Talking about weight, its lightest size is 30 lbs, while the heaviest is almost 80, this is because of the wide range of load rating that comes on it’s sizes, they are seen with SL, XL, D, E and even F.

Lastly, the tread depth of this tire ranges between 12 to 17/32″.

Now considering the Nitto Ridge Grappler, you get to have more sizes, 98 going from 16 to 24 inches, with similar load ratings going up to F (weight goes from 36 lbs to 91 lbs).

Though speed ratings are limited to T and Q.

Lastly, comparing tread depth, the Nitto Ridge Grappler offers more, as it’s sizes range form 13 to 18/32″ where mostly sizes are seen with 16.4/32.

Tread Features

Let’s start things off with Nitto Terra Grappler.

Nitto Terra Grappler
Nitto Terra Grappler sipes are optimized for better winter traction.

The middle section of this tire is consisting of 3 main ribs, where you can see sharped edges (chamfered), notches and deep slits of sipes.

These sipes are although interlocking and go all the way deep, the are very small to provide ample traction on wet, but still great for snow.

Though they are still better overall compared to Nitto Ridge Grappler.

Together these ribs make 4 circumferential channels where the inner two are not as wide, but still very sharp, so both the hydroplaning and directional stability (on pavements) is optimized.

Off the 4 channels the outer are wider and are equipped with more biters, as the surrounding ribs have facing full depth notches.

On shoulders all blocks carry similar features, and towards sidewalls, they are staggered a little bit.

Though the tire does not make as thick of a sidewall lugs compared to Nitto Ridge Grappler, which offers dual design, having chunkier lugs on both sides.

Here the tire makes staggered shoulder blocks with very simple design.

Nitto Ridge Grappler
Overall, Nitto Ridge Grappler provides more biters, putting the tire in rugged terrain category.

That’s because these lugs don’t have any tread features other than plain siping.

Though, they are still great off road as they have wider gaps in between and big stone ejector placements, so they grab in types of terrains.

Toward the middle things get interesting though, as you get to see where most of the tire’s biting power comes from.

Here 4 ribs are seen which make X and Z shaped tread voids, so you get interconnected grooves making a very self clearing tread (good for mud cleaning).

All these lugs carry full depth notches and siping and provide good enough wet traction but only directional.

The tire also has softer rubber composition, so these biters are very flexible to chew.

And at the same time, since all blocks have dual tread layer (all ribs are joined together from underneath), the Ridge Grappler also offers ample dry traction on highways as well.

On Road Performance:

As the tire gets to be more and more aggressive, its starts to lack it’s highway performance.

That’s because it limits it’s traction, steering responsiveness and stability, the main on road factors, let’s discuss them all.

Dry Traction

In case of Nitto Terra Grappler the tire offers better directional performance as it gets to have smaller tread voids which means more of it’s rubber get to meet with the road, enhancing friction.

On the other hand, the Nitto Ridge Grappler, is not able to provide as much grip, but the tire does things satisfactorily in the lateral traction department, which means it’s okay with dry handling.

Though Nitto Terra Grappler is still superior, the Ridge Grappler not too bad for a rugged terrain tire, it’s shoulder lugs with minimum tread features offer a large chunk to stay in contact with the surface, so handling times aren’t so bad after all.

Steering Response

When it comes to the tire’s communication, the tread design, weight of the tire and sidewalls are considered.

And all these are seen better on Nitto Terra Grappler, as the tire offers a lighter internal construction with just 2 ply sidewalls, so the feedback does have a lot of delay, though compared to other AT tires it can improve a little bit (especially on wet).

In comparison, the Nitto Ridge Grappler is not able to provide a better response as with more weight the tire oversteers and causes lag in providing the feedback.

That’s why the tire has limited speed rating up to T whereas Nitto Terra G2 offers up to H.

Wet Performance:

On wet pavements, off road tires uses water evacuation, and this is judged by looking at the tire’s grip and hydroplaning resistance.

Let’s start with grip.

Wet Traction:

Wet traction is seen with directional and lateral traction of a tire. And here sipes and tread composition have a huge role to play.

Sipes basically have slits in them and they squeeze/flex to soak up the water, and this how it makes the grip.

Now Nitto Terra Grpapler offers 3D full depth sipes, they are interlocking and they are flexible enough, so wet traction is superior in comparison.

But compared to other All-Terrain tires, it’s wet traction is not good enough at all.

The Nitto Ridge Grappler simply lacks in siping, both in design and number, so the tire has limited values here.


The balder the tire gets, the better the hydroplaning resistance, as water gets to move out easily.

So it makes sense shy the Nitto Ridge Grappler with wider channels supply efficient water channeling.

On the other hand, the Nitto Terra Grappler is also okay, but it’s tread voids are not as wide or deep as it’s bigger brother, so water is not escaped as efficiently.

Winter Performance:

In winter performance there overall traction includes lateral and directional grip and acceleration as main components.

In case of Nitto Terra Grappler, the tire offers a lot of notches on all its ribs and these are very efficient in trapping in the snow and make snow to snow contact, which is what you want.

That’s why the tire earns 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake rating (3PMSFR) symbol.

On the other hand, the Nitto Ridge Grappler only offers M+S as it lacks in siping, though with wider grooves, the tire can still perform on deeper snowy terrains.

Rolling Resistance

Fuel Efficiency and Tread Wear are the two areas of performance that gets highly manipulated with rolling resistance.

Let’s talk both.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel usage depends on rolling resistance, and Nitto Ridge Grappler has a lot of it. The tire has spongier rubber which does not want to leave off the surface easily.

And its heavier inner construction of 3 ply polyester is not making things easier as well, so with more pressure, the tire amplifies it’s rolling resistance, so more fuel is consumed.

Nitto Terra Grappler on the other side is not as heavy, with it’s 2 ply sidewalls and lighter cap ply, so its tread blocks don’t have as much pressure on them.

So it makes sense why it consumes less fuel.

Tread Wear

Nitto Terra Grappler takes a while to wear off, and this has to do with it’s optimized rubber, which is not too hard, nor too soft.

The Nitto Ridge Grappler on the other side, with more weight and rolling resistance puts more pressure on it’s softer rubber so it burns off with a larger rate.

That’s why the tire does not come with any kind of warranty either.

For Your Info: The General Grabber ATX offers a great tread life, review it here.

Off Road Performance:

Off road things get different very fast, as there are so many terrains to consider, let’s take them one by one and see how both tire do on them.

Mud traction

Being an AT tire its understandable why Nitto Terra Grappler is not able to perform so great here.

But for Nitto Ridge Grappler, things aren’t as tough as this tire comes in between all terrain and mud terrain tires, meaning it’s tread has shoulders similar to mud tires, whereas central lugs are arranged like an average AT.

So this means the tire is balder and offer better mud evacuation in comparison.

Sand Traction

Sand requires a tire which can make a lot of rubber contact, and is lighter.

Although the rubber contact is improved a lot on these tires by lowering the air pressure, the Nitto Ridge Grappler still does not provide enough traction especially on slopes, as the tire is quite heavy.

Though with softer composition and bigger staggered shoulders, the tire provides ample paddling from sides, which is also crucial on this type of terrains (that’s why paddle tires do so good here).

The Nitto Terra Grappler on the other sides does great by providing a large enough footprint and being lighter.

Traction on Rocks

My go to tire for rocks is Nitto Ridge Grappler, that’s because it offers everything you need on this terrain.

It comes with highly need durability with it’s 3 ply sidewalls, it offer countless biters everywhere, and its dual sidewalls with thicker lugs provide ample chewing power with lowered air pressure.

The Nitto Terra Grappler does not stand a chance here.


Out of both tires, the Nitto Terra Grappler is better on roads, as it provides better traction, but this goes for only dry conditions as the tire is not good enough on wet, though still somewhat better in comparison here.

It’s sipes are actually more optimized for snow, that’s why the tire has 3PMSF rating unlike the Ridge Grappler.

The Nitto Ridge Grappler shines off road, especially on rocks, and there it’s limited highway performance start to make sense.

Leave a Comment