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Nitto Ridge Grappler Review – Winter Test

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Truck guys – we’re a unique brand. Whether it’s looks, performance, or capability you’re after, we expect the very best from our trucks.

That’s why when we were offered the chance to try the new Nitto Ridge Grappler we couldn’t say no. These tires fit my needs perfectly, as my truck lives most of its life on pavement, while occasionally making the trek down dirt and gravel roads along with launching boats and towing a snowmobile trailer. This is exactly the customer Nitto is looking for with the Ridge Grappler, as the tire is a hybrid; trying to be smooth and calm on the street while offering better-than-average grip in the rough stuff.

We matched the stock 265/70R17 on our 2016 RAM 1500 Outdoorsman, but just by installing these tires the truck has a more aggressive stance and we picked up about a one-inch lift from the size of the lugs on the tread. The dynamic variable pitch tread pattern was specially designed for highway noise performance, and after logging a few thousand kms with these beauties we can report (loaded or empty) the Ridge Grapplers are quiet. We had no audible change from the stock Goodyear Wranglers we replaced. This was a relief for me. As a first time off-road tires purchaser I was worried about driving with that constant tire and road “humming” noise.

They accomplished the Ridge Grappler’s dual personality with a dynamic hybrid tread pattern which gives you the best mud and off-road capabilities as well as good on-road performance. Features like stone ejectors between the treads to shed unwanted rocks are just one example how Nitto has thought of everything with these tires. Alternating tapered and step block edges provide plenty of ground grab while being held solid with the tires reinforced block foundation (reducing lug flex). This shows up best while rock crawling or on tight rutted trails.

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The wrap-around sidewall design helps to bite into the ground and also gives the tire its aggressive appearance. Got the modded “look” without sacrificing performance. We have received several compliments, looks and questions about the tires in the short time we’ve been driving them – they get noticed.

The Dirt

We took delivery of the Ridge Grapplers in late November. For those of you familiar with Winters onset in Canada you’ll know that this means access to Mud was hard to come by – check back for an update on how well these aggressive shoulders and lateral-z grooves cleared the mud and got us through the tough stuff.

We’re kind of chomping at the bit to get these tires dirty, however, waiting for the spring thaw will be worth it.

The Wet

Snow. It’s that time of year. Now, the Ridge Grappler’s are not winter rated and do not have a snowflake on the sidewall, but we are impressed with the performance in the frigid north regardless. We’ve had these tires rolling through a few dumps of the white stuff and can report they handle on road snow like velcro. The zigzag tread pattern bites the road and keeps you tracking strait. Off the road we buried the truck in foot deep loose snow on our drive into the cottage. Not once did a tire spin, or did we sweat getting stuck. The staggered shoulder lugs bit into the snow and ice and powered us down the trail. Made old man winter roadkill!

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The Blacktop

On-road handling has really impressed us as well, with the Ridge Grapplers shattering our expectations of noisy mud tires and instead providing consistent quiet performance. We’ve towed (approx. 6000lbs), hauled (1000lbs), and cruised empty. In all three instances we were impressed – quiet and comfortable. Matching the performance of a highway tire in my opinion.

There was a small penalty in the fuel economy of our Ram of 1.0-liter per 100 km, but traditionally you associate ‘mudders’ with high rolling resistance and a hefty fuel bill, not just a tiny jump. For the boost in off-road performance, paying that small price seems worth it.

Get off road. Cruise the highway. Don’t blow the fuel budget and don’t go deaf. Instill a feeling of confidence with these Ridge Grappler tires. Nitto has set us up with an excellent option for the everyday truck owner who commutes to work but also buries it to the axles on weekends!

In the market? Check out the new Ridge Grappler! Available in 17” – 22″ with prices starting at CAD 310$ each.

 

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Comment (1)

  1. brandon doehring

    I run these on my Jeep 285/75R17 6 ply 34×11.5×17. I found that compared to my Mickey Thompson MTZ 33×12.5×17 the only area where the Ridge Grapplers lacked was in mud. But even rock crawling they out did all my previously owned tires. These tires should have the snowflake All Weather rating. They are better all around than when I ran All Weather Goodyear Duratracs 285/70R17. I’m recommending these to all my Off Road friends and they back up my claim when the Ridge Grapplers out perform their 37″ super swampers. Southeast AB sand and shale. These are like baja tires on that stuff.

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