Nitto Ridge Grappler vs BF Goodrich KO2

Both of these tires have enhanced off-road abilities combined with a reliable traction on paved tracks. Their rugged patterns not only give them aggressive looks, but also account for their lasting performance in tough terrains.

The famous BF Goodrich KO2 like its predecessor is an all-terrain tire with great durability and enhanced on-road comfort, thanks to their streamlined design and specialized rubber composition.

On the other side, the Ridge Grappler from the Nitto Family of tires, is hybrid terrain and offers great grip on rocks and mud. Due to its supreme biting abilities, it provides enhanced off road performance.

Let’s find which tire would suit you best.

BTW: Have you ever noticed that the BFG KO2 looks exactly like the General Grabber ATX?

The Key is in their designs, So Look very carefully!

Starting with the BFG KO2. Notice the hook shaped tread blocks everywhere. See how uniformly distributed they are, and how they surround each other.

The almost horizontal lines on it you see are the sipes (which help push water away). They are slanted at an angle and not completely straight.

BFG KO2 zoomed in
Green color shows shoulders, separated by blue colored central area with triangular shaped stone ejectors marked with pink.

Its shoulder lugs are irregularly shaped, have wide spacing among them. They carry traction notches on their internal sides and scooped edges at their outer margins.

In other words the shoulders are staggered.

Between the shoulder blocks the wide spacing you see act as stone ejectors. (And if you look close enough you’ll also find the triangular shaped stone ejectors strategically placed between the tread).

On the other side, in case of Nitto Ridge Grapplers, these stone ejectors are bigger and chunkier as more spacing between these shoulder blocks are seen.

Nitto Ridge Shoulders
Nitto Ridge Staggered shoulder Blocks.

That’s the reason why this tire is from the hybrid or RT (Rugged Terrain family). They fit right in the middle between the Mud tires (like Toyo MT) and AT tires like the KO2.

The central part of the tire resembles the narrower groove voids of AT tires while the shoulders are from mud terrain tires.

Nitto Ridge
Bigger stone ejectors on Ridge.

Here you can see big triangular shaped blocks arranged side-by-side to form a slanted Z-shaped grooves.

The overall design is again more aggressive here. Its blocks have reinforced edges and slit-like full-depth sipes combined with notches giving the tire amazing traction values.

The sidewalls of both tires is another area where they are again very different:

BFG Ko2 Sidewall
Sidewall of KO2 are less bulkier in comparison.
Dual sidewalls of Nitto Ridge
2 Styles of sidewalls come in Ridge. The one behind shows dual pattern and both of them are more aggressive in comparison.

In case of BFG KO2, they molded the shoulder’s tread and made a lug out of it.

These lugs from both shoulders join to form a sidewall. A deep cut between them joins with the stone ejectors.

But in case of Ridge Grapplers, the sidewalls are bulkier. Each block is separate from each other and they act as a better traction grooves here.

So they provide better protection from unwanted sharp objects on off road terrains.

Other than that, both sidewalls have 3 ply internal construction (on most sizes) and both are very durable.

But this is special for KO2 mostly because it makes it the strongest of all AT tires.

Guess, that’s why the tires survived dropping from 10,000 feet.

Mud Performance of both tires:

Both tires are great here but the overall performance of Nitto Ridge is better.

Like we mentioned, Nitto put the mud terrain shoulders on this tire. They are wider and are better in scooping up the mud.

With that, the central part of the tire is a better digger with its sharp Z shaped voids and biting edges of its blocks.

(The serrated shoulder is common with both tires) But the alternating shoulder width and length of blocks here allow this tire to slit through mud more efficiently.

When the tire is air blocked deep in to the mud. The bulkier shoulder lugs (we saw above) allows the tire to get out.

In other words this tire is better at getting out of a tough situation.

Coming to BFG KO2, the tire did great (considering how mud is AT tires worst enemy).

Here, the serrated shoulder are smaller and don’t vary in length but they do have strong biting notches to them which slash through the surface.

These notches are seen every where on the tire, on C shaped blocks. And they all help cut through the soft mud while the wide enough grooves provide a decent mud evacuation to sides.

Their C-shaped blocks also help bite on muddy surfaces very effectively, while wide enough grooves provide a good mud evacuation.

And here these help in slashing the mud.

Still you can’t expect a full on mud battle with these tires. They would simply get packed and loose traction.

Traction on Rocks:

The Nitto Ridge Grappler’s design allows it to have a more powerful combination of lateral and circumferential traction which is one of the most important factors for grip on rocks. (KO2’s don’t really have proper circumferential grooves).

The Nitto’s Z shaped design allow the grooves to bite the rocks horizontally and the alternating groove pattern of the shoulder design hugs the surface in a vertical fashion.

This is further enhanced given the nature of the tire’s material. The Ridge Grappler’s silica based compound is softer in comparison. So this combined with the larger shoulder groove voids makes this tire a perfect climber.

On the other hand, KO2 has a harder compound (for its on road reasons). But still the hook shaped blocks of KO2 hang on to the rocks (guess that’s why they are designed as hooks).

These uniformly separated hooks with dents everywhere allows this tire to still have an amazing rocky terrain performance.

The sipes which also separate these blocks further act as fangs and they open and close accordingly as the tire rolls over.

Both tires are however perfect for high speeds on gravel and dirt/small rocks. They both have efficient stone ejectors (with Ridge Grappler having a little better design).

And they both have cut/chip resistant tread along with powerful sidewalls. (3 ply for both)

Nitto Ridge Grappler also has a bulkier sidewall design here and it aids in protecting the tire even further enhancing its durability.

Snow Performance:

On snow is where the BFG KO2 shines.

The web of uniform siping and biting edges along with its serrated shoulders make this tire one of best on snow.

This is how they all help this tire here:

  • The 3D siping has a zig zag design and they go down to the base of the tire (so they are deep). They act as a gripping tool for the tire on snow. All these sipes are angled too which allows the tire further by making a lock with the surface.
  • The multi-edged blocks bite the surface of the snow like they do in mud.
  • And the serrated shoulder work along the grooves and allow the tire to dig in and act as traction scoops.

All these features allows this tire to have better braking distances on snow and earn it the 3PMSF rating.

The rating is missing in the Nitto Ridge Grappler.

The tire still performs well in snow though. As this tire also has no less biting abilities.

Here’s its bulkier shoulders and lugs provide the necessary “scooping” and the sharp edges of the tires do the biting.

But due to lack of uniformity of blocks found in KO2 along with the sipes makes this tire perform lesser overall.

On Road Traction/Comfort/Noise:

The BFG KO2 where they lacked a little in the off road section, compensated it all here.

When it comes to on road. The KO2 is simply amazing. The tire has the 2nd shortest braking distance in it’s category. (First is the Goodyear Adventure AT)

The lateral g forces are also great with this tire as the aggressive shoulder blocks have more contact with the road. And this allows the tire to have amazing cornering.

Compared to Nitto Ridge, KO2 performs better on road by a large margin. They have greater traction values and provide great on road comfort thanks to their uniform tread design. (the tire also wears very smoothly because of this)

But the Ridge Grappler did not lack too behind, still. (Which was also a huge surprise given their aggressive design).

They produce very little noise because the different parts of the tire produce different pitches (this technology dampens the noise levels).

And the on road comfort was on par with the KO2 due to its softer material and plain central design. The tire however felt very hard during cornering.

On wet roads, KO2 still performs better than Ridge (with great siping and more contact patch). But both tires are prone to slipping during cornering.

Price & Warranty:

Nitto Ridge Grappler is priced comparatively higher and it seems justified, given the tire’s amazing off road abilities.

Speaking of their warranty: You dont get any miles warranty from Nitto.

 KO2Ridge Grappler
Treadwear mileage warranty50,000 miles/ 6 yearsNo warranty
Uniformity warrantyFirst 2/32’’First 1/32’’
Workmanship warranty6 years5 years (only for Original equipment tires)

So Whats the verdict:

The BFG KO2 is made for you if you:

  • are a frequent highway driver.
  • are going to face a lot of on road snow.
  • go off road casual.

On the other hand, get Nitto Ridge Grappler:

  • if you need a more aggressive AT tire.
  • if you are spending more time off road.
  • if you still want the on road comfort too.

Following are the specs of both tires we compared here:

 BFG KO2Nitto Ridge
Tire typeAll-terrainHybrid terrain
Three peak mountain snowflake rated (3PMSF)yesNo
Tested sizeLT265/75R16   LT265/75R16   
Tread depth15/32’’16.4/32’’
Tread width8.5’’10.51’’
Load/ speed rating126/120R E       123/120R E

Compare Nitto Ridge with its competitors:

Compare BFG KO2 with other AT tires:

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