Thursday, September 26, 2013

The One and Only...Nitto Trail Grappler

It seems these days customers want their cake and want to eat it too.  They want great handling and performance from their tires, but keep a good quiet ride at the same time.  They want to put huge off road tires and wheels on their vehicles and modify the suspension while keeping factory ride quality.  A few short years ago this was not even feasible.  You had to give up your ride quality to get a great handling tire or give up a quiet ride to get a great looking off road tire.  Thanks to modern technology and some great research and development from some of these companies, the sacrifice you give today to customize your vehicle is much less.  Specifically with the Nitto Trail Grappler, you can now get the mud tire of your dreams without giving up tread life, durability, and ride comfort!

Nitto Trail Grappler

Nitto has always been know for producing super high quality tires.  The Trail Grappler is no exception! When Nitto announced a couple of years ago that they were going to release a new tire that combined the aggressiveness of the Mud Grappler with the ride comfort of the Terra Grappler I was a bit skeptical.  The Terra Grappler is a great riding tire, but if you get in some nasty stuff they will get you hung up looking for a buddy to help pull you out.  The Mud Grappler will get you just about anywhere, but you have to be willing to put up with the insane road noise!  The new tire was to be named the "Trail Grappler" and after a couple of years of sending hundreds of customers off with these tires I can proudly say that Nitto succeeded!

Noise Level:
Nitto Trail GrapplerNitto used advanced CAD design and sound analysis equipment and long hours of testing multiple models to come up with a tread design that puts out much lower sound levels than the average MT tire. They did this while keeping a tread design that cleans extremely well and provides great forward and lateral grip.  Here's a shot of the tread -
Nitto Trail Grappler

This low noise tread design also produces lower rolling resistance and higher mileage!  The z pattern down the middle helps with lateral stability and mud traction as well.

Ride Comfort:
While noise level is a big part of ride comfort, ride stiffness and difficulty in balancing is what makes many mud tires uncomfortable.  All Nitto Trail Grapplers are 10 ply rated tires.  While this makes them ideal for hauling heavy loads or running under really heavy trucks, you would think this would make them a bit stiff for a lighter vehicle such as a compact truck or Jeep.  This is not true, however, with the Trail Grappler.  The super thick 3 ply sidewall is very durable but allows Nitto to make the sidewall "softer" without sacrificing strength.  This gives the Trail Grappler a much softer ride than you would expect, allowing us to install them on vehicles of any size and weight.  Also, Nitto's proprietary, automated manufacturing system produces extraordinarily uniform tires.  There is no other brand tire I sell that uses less wheel weight compared to the weight of the tire than the Nitto tires.  It is very common for a 75lb Nitto Trail Grappler to use less than an ounce of wheel weight to balance it out.  That is extraordinary!  All of this means the Trail Grappler will give you a ride much better than you've ever experienced with a mud tire!

Tread Wear:
I've talked about how the tread design itself promotes longer tread life.  The tire also benefits from 2 extra wide, extra strong belts running under the tread of the tire.  This helps keep the tire uniform throughout its life and helps keep the tread wearing smooth and even.  These work exactly as intended I promise you because I rarely see a Trail Grappler come in that has been worn uneven from the alignment being off on the truck or worn struts, etc.  These hold up great!  I'm seeing an average of 40,000-45,000 miles with many customers getting well over 50,000 miles.  That is in the neighborhood of most all terrain tires!

It is obvious at first glance that the Trail Grappler is designed to perform in less than ideal conditions.  Mud, snow, and timber are just a few of the surfaces this tire was intended for.  Deep sipes in the center blocks of the tread allow for increased wet traction, raised stone ejectors in between the outer blocks keep rocks and debris from clogging the tread, 3d tapered grooves coming off the center blocks of the tread increase off road performance, and the high void tread allows for great self cleaning to keep these tires biting in the worst of conditions!  You shouldn't be calling any buddies to pull you out while running a set of these!

The thing about the Trail Grappler that most people fall in love with at first glance is the sidewall design. There are two different and very aggressive sidewalls designs on each Trail Grappler.  Here are a few pictures of the differences in the two sidewall designs.
Nitto Trail Grappler
Sidewall Design 1

Nitto Trail Grappler
Sidewall Design 2

Nitto Trail Grappler
Sidewall Design 1

Nitto Trail Grappler
Sidewall Design 2

Sidewall design 1 is by far the favorite in our shop because of the lettering font but they are both great looking sidewalls!

For those of you looking for a mud tire that compromises nothing, gives you great traction off road, great ride and tread life on the road, and a great look to make your truck look like a true 4x4, look no further than the Nitto Trail Grappler!  You won't be disappointed!
We keep hundreds of Trail Grapplers in stock in our store in most sizes with same day installation always available.  Also, they can be purchased from our online store with free shipping by clicking here.
Custom Automotive
4548 Hwy 62
Calvert City, KY 42029

Here is a short video explaining some of the technology that goes into the Nitto Trail Grappler!

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