When it comes to all-terrain tires, the Falken Wildpeak AT3W is a strong contender. This tire performs solidly on and off the road, and its deep treads are a real game-changer in the rain, preventing the tire from slipping on wet surfaces. The Nitto Ridge Grappler, however, takes things to the next level as a hybrid tire.
The Ridge Grappler borrows the best of both worlds, combining features from mud-terrain and all-terrain tires. It sports the chunky shoulder lugs of a mud tire, while the rest of its design stays true to all-terrain standards.
Essentially, it’s a mud-terrain tire built on an all-terrain platform.
This aggressive design gives the Ridge Grappler excellent traction off-road, especially on rocky terrain. However, it doesn’t perform as well on the road. And that’s where the Falken Wildpeak AT3W steps in.
Wildpeak excels on dry and wet roads, delivers better fuel efficiency, and offers a comfortable ride. It also carries a 3PMSF rating, something the Nitto Ridge doesn’t have. But, it does fall a bit short when it comes to durability.
Now, let’s dive into a detailed comparison of these two tire titans.
Side By Side Comparison
Falken Wildpeak AT3w
Nitto Ridge Grappler
The rugged tread of Ridge Grappler of the Nitto Family, characterizes large-sized triangular blocks arranged in the central portion.
These blocks have reinforced foundations and stepped edges, providing rigidity and additional biting ability.
Lateral Z-grooves, zigzag circumferential channel and linear siping over all tread blocks provide effective evacuation abilities.
However, the depth and width of the grooves are lesser than the competitor.
Its shoulder blocks are staggered and closely arranged.
Prominent rectilinear stone ejectors are engraved in the lateral shoulder voids.
Its sturdy sidewalls and aggressively designed sides are very distinctive from each other.
On the other side, the Falken Wildpeak A/T3W comes with three ribs of interlocking angular blocks, making the longitudinal grooves wave-like.
Its tread channels are surprisingly deeper and broader than the competitor.
Its blocks are stepped at some points to provide additional biting edges and stone ejection properties.
Its shoulders are also compact and have stepped edges.
An advantage it has over the competitor is the presence of 3D zigzag canyon sipes, which increases its hydroplaning resistance.
So what are the major difference in their overall designs?
First off the the Falken Wildpeak AT3w doesn’t have the staggered shoulders like the other tire. It’s sidewalls are also less aggressive with a single pattern design, while on the other hand you see wider shoulder lugs and dual pattern design on them (this is not on all tire sizes).
The Wildpeak also lacks specialized stone ejectors, and its sidewalls are not as aggressive as the Nitto Ridge.
Falken however features an additional bead running around the sidewall’s circumference that gives the tire heat dissipation properties and some extra protection.
So although you get 3 ply construction in Nitto Ridge (with 2 steel belts and 2 nylon coverings), the Falken actually has 4 layers in its sidewalls making the most vulnerable part of the tire a little stronger.
Off-Road Mud Traction Comparison
Mud is all terrain tires biggest enemy, and having said that, both tires are good enough here.
The Ridge Grappler with its stepped blocks and Z shaped lateral grooves is able to cut through the soft mud easily.
And its wide staggered shoulders along with sidewalls lugs scoop the mud out and away from the tire efficiently.
So the tire can reliably move in mud terrain because its grooves evacuate mud from the tread as it moves forward, and reinforced blocks take advantage of their biting edges to provide the extra traction needed.
On the other hand,the Falken Wildpeak AT3w has deeper tread depth (in fact, they have the deepest, I’ve ever seen).
(The tread depth of this tire reaches up 20/32″ and in case of Nitto Ridge, 18.3/32″).
So here the mud is effectively thrown out from the deep tread channels when it rolls forward because they create a massive vacuum.
The tire’s raised, angular blocks also present optimized biting abilities on mud-covered pathways.
And the lateral shoulder channels effectively wipe off the mud to ensure a firm grip while taking turns in the mud terrain.
But overall, Ridge Grappler, with its wider grooves, has a little bit of a upper hand here.
Traction of tires in Snow
On snow, both tires show unexpected punch, as they don’t have the siping of a dedicated winter tire, yet they still perform great.
On packed snow (as in on road snow) Falken Wildpeak is simply amazing. Its performance is optimized a bit more due to it’s strong biting stepped blocks combined with 3d siping everywhere.
But the tire lacks a little on deep snow and that’s where the Nitto Ridge comes in with its wider grooves.
The snow gets lodged in these groves and since snow stick better on snow, the tire is able to maintain a great deal of traction on deep snow.
FYI: Snow particles basically have an interlocking design so they inter-mingle with each other and allows the tire maintain its grip.
The Falken Wildpeak shows comparatively lesser performance here because its lower void ratio (or less wider block valleys) allow for less snow to get lodged in.
But still out the two, the Falken Wildpeak is the only one rated for 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake rating (which is actually an acceleration test on snowy roads).
Rocky Terrain Traction
In Rock terrain, things get a little different.
The Ridge Grappler shows better overall traction abilities here but why?
- Nitto Ridge because of its Z grooves gets to have a lateral traction on rocks.
- It has more enhanced edged blocks that strongly bite over the hard rocky surfaces.
- Its stone ejection technology is superior due to its prominent, bumpy, rectilinear stone ejectors embossed in its lateral grooves that brings a better overall high speed performance on gravel.
- Its chunkier dual pattern sidewall lugs also push away unwanted rocks.
- The overall compound of the tire is softer which causes a sticky affect enhancing friction with the ground.
Falken Wildpeak AT3w doesn’t have the enhanced lateral traction in comparison, is missing stone ejectors and its sidewalls lugs are smaller in comparison.
It’s also missing the aggressive sidewalls like the Nitto Ridge that bounce back striking gravel particles, protecting the tread from gravel-choking and stone punctures.
But this tire still gives a satisfactory performance, don’t get me wrong here.
The tire is also durable enough and gives it’s sidewall internal protection with an extra bead ply on top of the construction.
On-Road Dry Traction
Falken Wildpeak shows enhanced dry traction in comparison owing to the benefit of its compact tread pattern.
As its tread specifies a larger contact patch, it firmly grips over the dry paved surface.
However, its steering efficacy is the same as its competitor because both have bulky shoulders that maintain stable traction as the load comes on them while taking turns. (This is only on dry roads).
As on wet roads, Falken Wildpeak AT3w is simply amazing in both grip and handling times (given the aggressive nature of these tires).
With the tires name “3w”, the tire focused on 3 main things, wear,wet and winter, and they really achieved that with its design.
The 3D wave like siping on the shoulders combined with the rectilinear ones in the middle, the tire simply grips the wet surface in a much better way.
Ridge Grappler on the other hand, is a more off road oriented tire so they had to made its rubber softer (and softer rubber with too many sipes is a disaster when it comes to wear).
So the tire compromised a little on wet roads but now it’s just amazing on rocks.
The Nitto Ridge has tread pattern designed to have different sound pitches because of which the tire is very quite given its nature.
Out of all the rugged tires we reviewed, Nitto Ridge was the quietest of them all (in its category, which is actually rugged terrain/hybrid terrain).
Despite it’s mud terrain shoulder and groove voids the tire is still pretty silent when compared to other mud tires out there.
And looking at both tires its not surprisingly to see, the Falken Wildpeak AT3w provides comfortable ride (with its more on road oriented pattern comparatively).
After wearing of these tires (both would however be loud).
Where Wildpeaks have more of a wobbling sound.
And the Ridge Grappler has a humming noise.
Which tire has more life?
The Falken Wildpeak AT3w takes the lead over its competitor for longevity as advanced technologies are employed for its construction.
It is molded from an enhanced silica tread compound that resists wear and tear, lasting longer.
Likewise, it has outer apex sidewalls constructed according to Heat Diffuser technology.
This feature shields the internal tire components from heat damage.
In addition to improved composition, its tread pattern also accounts for its durability as it encounters lesser rolling friction; it is consumed relatively slowly during hysteresis.
Its longer tread life is also evident from the manufacturer’s 55,000 miles treadwear warranty.
Ridge Grappler on the other side, also ranks fairly durable due to twin steel internal structuring and hybrid tread polymer, but it lacks silicated enhancements and heat diffusing properties, so it gets lesser points than its competitor.
Nitto does not provide a tread life warranty; however, it comes with an assurance for uniform wear and material/workmanship accuracy.
|Nitto Ridge Grappler||Falken Wildpeak AT3W|
|Treadwear mileage warranty||No warranty||55k miles / 5 years|
|Uniformity warranty||First 1/32’’||First 2/32’’|
Differences in Price
Falken Wildpeak AT3w comes for a higher amount than its competitor, but it shows enhanced performance in mud and snow terrain and also provides the long-term benefits of longer tread life.
In contrast, Ridge Grappler costs relatively lesser, so you can enjoy its superior rocky traction combined with it’s durability and on road comfort.
Both tires are very durable and shows similar traction on multiple terrains.
But still Wildpeak is overall better on road especially when it comes to wet ones.
And Ridge is and always have been great on rocks and other more rugged terrains out there (where you don’t want to get a loud mud tire).
Following are the specs of both tires we compared for this article.
|Ridge Grappler||Wildpeak AT3W|
|Load/ speed rating||123/120Q E||123/120S E|