Nitto Recon Grappler vs Nitto Ridge Grappler: Nitto Recon Grappler is an all-terrain tire that gives a balanced performance on road and off road while Ridge Grappler is a hybrid terrain tire providing a supreme off-road experience.
Nitto Recon is basically a mixture of Toyo RT and the Nitto Ridge Grappler. (FYI, Nitto and Toyo are a part of the same company).
They joined the design of both tires and made it compact. And over the highways, this compactness of Nitto Recon makes it stable and angled placement of central lugs make it quieter.
Here the Ridge Grappler is also a mixture of other tires, taking its shoulders from a mud tire and the central part from AT tire. This allows it to have great off road capabilities.
So, comparing both, its not surprising to see Nitto Ridge Grappler performing better off road and Recon on road. And the reason for this, lies in their amazing looking designs.
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What’s in their Amazing Designs?
Nitto Ridge Grappler
Nitto Recon Grappler
Nitto Ridge Grappler has a lot of fan base when it comes to its aggressive design. But there is a lot of science behind it and its not just for show.
Starting from the sides. The tire shoulder blocks are staggered, with one block having a stepped pit, and another a scoop (making this tire a better digger).
These blocks also have very less siping going on for them and its gonna give them tough time especially while cornering in wet conditions.
The tire also have larger gaps in between those blocks, so besides forming bigger stone ejectors, the tire also has more capability to excavate dirt/mud.
These blocks also vary in length and width one after another, creating a zig zag groove pattern and allowing the tire to give more bite to the ground.
The shoulders then join the sidewall lugs which are bulkier in comparison.
Nitto Ridge also offers different designs on each side of the tire, so you can choose which side to put outwards.
They both look equally as good but the one behind is more aggressive and would protect the tire’s most vulnerable part more.
On the other hand, the Nitto Recon Grappler has a very different shoulder design.
The blocks here are not as competing. They are not as edged and they almost look like squares. Also very minimal siping is seen here but that’s common with both.
Shoulders have 2 different block design with very less variation in them as well.
Both have same sipe design with every other one having a small incision on the edges.
These blocks have steps on the outer sides, which vary a little in shape making the blocks serrated. But they still are less restrictive in comparison.
The block valleys are also smaller and have ridges in between them so the positions of these blocks are somewhat locked, and stone ejecting capability is compromised a little.
This tire also presents with 2 different sidewall designs on each tire’s side, but its sidewall lugs are less thicker comparatively.
The tire has boring shoulder blocks one might say, but looking at its central part, things get very interesting.
The inner section of the Recon Grappler has a very futuristic design. It exhibits a versatile tread pattern with a combination of sharp lateral grooves and sipes.
Its basically a mixture of thin and wide sipes.
The complicated design is formed with a set of various shaped blocks which we have colored separately. (These blocks also join each others with the help of tie bars).
They have sharp edges to them, giving this tire a great chewing power to the ground.
On the other hand, the good old Ridge Grappler also looks great with 4 blocks forming a rectangle (if you will).
They are actually 2 unique blocks, making a mirror image with each other.
All of them are deviated from their positions and have steps in them besides already having sharp edges (allowing it to munch into the surface).
2 of these have notches/cuts in them which are facing the sides, giving this tire ample lateral traction.
The other 2 angular offset blocks only have deep siping to them (which divide the blocks further, allowing them to squirm/wiggle according to the surface they are on).
Other than this, we calculated the average weight and tread depth of all the available sizes are they come out to be same, almost.
|Average Tread Depth
On-Road Traction Comparison
Overall, with less spacing in shoulders, and more blocks in the middle, the Recon Grappler has a much more uniform design here.
The shoulder blocks of the tire which are very plain and almost squared, adds to the tire’s overall uniformity and consistency.
This consistent design of the tire combined with it’s variable pitch tread compound, allows this tire to have a more comfortable ride in comparison.
On the other hand, the Ridge Grappler also has this variable pitch technology (where different part of the tread create different pitches canceling each other, making tire quieter).
But the rubber compound here is softer and the tire is more aggressive with larger voids.
So less contact is made with the road and softer compound also causes less fuel efficiency.
So this makes Recon Grapple better on road.
How they Performed on Rocks?
Nitto Ridge performs better here with as the edges blocks everywhere give this tire ample traction from all sides.
The alternating width and length of shoulder blocks create circumferential grooves which are more jagged with aggressive zig zag pattern. This gives this tire better lateral traction/sideways grip.
Similarly, the inner 2 blocks with notches in them facing the shoulders combined with the z shaped groove they all form, further aids this tire’s traction and allows it to have more bite to the rocks in comparison.
Here, the Recon Grappler isn’t too far off either. Although due to less combative sides, it would be able to have lesser lateral traction in comparison, it still gives ample grip owning to its central design.
Here the blocks also have a lot of edges and together they form zig zag lateral grooves that run parallel to each other throughout the tire.
This allows the tire to maintain friction with the rocks.
Off-Road Mud Traction:
On average both tires have almost the same tread depth with Nitto Ridge having a slightly larger overall groove-void width, allowing this tire to have better mud evacuation capability.
Why Ridge Grappler is better in mud?
Nitto Ridge has a shoulder of a mud terrain tire here, that’s why its called the hybrid. Here the shoulder lugs of the tire act as traction scoops.
The bolder blocks along with bulkier sidewalls allows this tire to push more mud around.
Meanwhile the middle edged blocks with notches dig through the mud, breaking it apart, so they can escape through the web of grooves.
Why Recon Grappler is still Good enough in mud?
On the other hand, it was quite interesting to see that being an AT tire, the Recon Grappler still performed very well.
Mud is All Terrain tires biggest enemy, so you can’t expect much from them. But having said that, the tire still has a few things up its sleeves that allows it to still compete if not more.
First, the tire shoulder are also staggered here too, so they help in scooping the mud.
And second, the triangular shaped blocks although are packed closely together, still form a zig zag lateral groove on their sides, which are wide enough.
These wide grooves (which also form lateral traction) allows the pathway for the mud to leave while the sharp edges of central blocks cut through them.
Are They Good on Snow?
Just like the Ridge, the Nitto Recon also did not come with 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake rating.
The 3PMSF rating is simply an acceleration test on snow. If a tire has this rating, it roughly means that it would be 10% faster on snow than all-season tires.
And although this rating does not directly equate to their lower performance, the lower siping on these tires does.
Both tires have clean designs and don’t have the wave like pattern of sipes much needed on snow. So they don’t give any extra-ordinary results.
But still if we compare them, Ridge performs better.
On snow, tires tend to get stiffer with very freezing temperatures. So Ridge, with its softer compound in comparison would perform better here.
The tire also has more biting edges than the Recon Grappler, so it would have more contact friction with the surface of the snow.
Durability and Tread wear
Both tires have 3 ply sidewall construction. And have the same central internal construction of 2 steel belts covered with 3 plys of polyester wrapped with 2 plys of nylon.
So internally, both tires are equally durable.
So both perform great on gravel and dirt even on high speeds without getting any harm.
But with bulkier sidewall lugs, Nitto Ridge gives a little bit of more protection by moving unwanted rocks away.
Speaking of Warranty and pricing, Nitto started giving out warranty with the newer tire (55k miles). And the tire also costs lesser overall.
So What’s the Verdict?
Well, it all comes down to your needs really.
If you are a frequent hill/rock climber or you are staying off road most of your time, than you should definitely pick Nitto Ridge over the others.
On the other hand, if you are mostly staying on road and maybe you go off road twice or thrice a year… than you cant go wrong with the Recon Grapplers.