All 3 of these tires have symmetrical tread patterns and are designed for different purposes. Their different structures and designs allow them a suitability to a large variety of terrains.
Its very simple to understand them. Rule is, the more aggressive the pattern gets, the more off-road-capability the tire gets. So we gonna see all of them closely.
And there are 3 main things to look out for:
- Tire shoulders along with their sidewalls.
- Block arrangement in the middle.
- And the groove pattern they make. Or you can say pathway, the “block valleys” make.
By looking at them you will understand that choosing one of them becomes simpler, and in the end, it all comes down to your driving needs.
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Lets Analyses Their Design Differences:
Nitto Terra Grappler is an All Terrain tire designed to deliver better on road performance while still able to take you off road. These would be less comfortable than passenger tires but unlike them, they would be able to take you off road due to their durability.
Looking at the central area, its very interesting to see the arrangement of blocks. It seems like they have 6 unique blocks, but they are just 3 which are arranged in a very unique manner.
This way the cuts on the blocks are able to face outwards and the tire is also able to form a complicated groove design.
In other words, with this design, all blocks have notches (cuts) in them facing in upright and sideways direction (giving this tire grip from all sides).
To further enhance the grip, the blocks are made with sharp edges and the “four number shaped” deep sipes are placed on all of them.
All blocks together make 4 zigzag circumferential grooves and their offset enhances ground bite.
On the edges, the tire has staggered shoulder blocks with one having a stepped edge to it, and the other forming a central sidewall lug.
Here the sidewall design is the least aggressive out of all three tires here.
Compare Nitto Terra With Other Tires:
Moving to Nitto Ridge Grappler, it is a hybrid between a mud terrain (MT) and all terrain (AT).
It basically gets a shoulder of a MT and the central part remains AT. This way the tire is now capable of moving around off road like a MT but still gets the comfort of AT.
Its a remarkable tire with great looking design which is not for show.
Here the shoulder blocks are bulkier in comparison (and very similar to Trail Grappler).
They are again staggered here, with both of them combined, make a semi circle with lesser gaps between them.
With alternating gaps between the blocks, small and bold stone ejectors are formed.
And the alternating length and width of shoulder blocks form a a great zig zag circumferential grooves pattern which then contain the central blocks.
Its internal tread blocks are stepped with sharp edges to them. The two blocks have notches facing sideways. And the other two only have deep siping. (They are again just 2 unique blocks forming mirror images).
Together they form a “slanted Z shaped” groove which makes this tire amazing on rocks.
Compare Nitto Ridge with other Tires:
- Falken Wildpeak AT3w.
- BF Goodrich KM3.
- Toyo Open Country MT.
- Pirelli Scorpion AT Plus.
- General Grabber X3.
- Toyo Open Country RT.
- Toyo Open Country AT3.
- General Grabber ATX.
- Atturo Trail Blade XT.
- Goodyear DuraTrac.
- BF Goodrich KO2.
And lastly we have the Nitto Trail Grappler which is a mud-terrain tire with wide grooves and large tread blocks, designed to deliver superior off-road performance.
Its a very straight forward design (given the complicated ones we saw above).
Here 2-block design is seen with very prominent deep siping splitting them further.
These blocks don’t have sharp edges or steps in them. They are also seen with the least amount of siping.
Overall, a very minimalist design is seen in the middle compared to the sides.
On sides, you see serrated shoulders (again), with blocks having deep incisions on them.
They also form bulkier sides just like the Ridge Grappler.
Compare Nitto Trail with other Tires:
So what did we learn from their Designs?
All three contenders have an all-seasoned & symmetrical tread pattern. Nitto Ridge and Trail have a similar shoulder design which is bulkier and bolder than the Terra Grappler.
The trend of block void ratio is Trail > Ridge > Terra.
And the trend of siping density is seen as Terra > Ridge > Trail.
Following are other specs of these tires:
|Specs||Terra Grappler||Ridge Grappler||Trial Grappler|
|Tire Type||All-Terrain||Hybrid||Mud Terrain|
|Available Sizes, Inches||16 to 24″||16 to 24″||15 to 26″|
|Avg Weight||55 lbs||64 lbs||78 lbs|
|Avg Tread Depth||15/32″||16/32″||20/32″|
Overall, there is a increasing trend of average weight and tread depth from left to right, showing that the Trail is the most durable of them all.
Which tire performs better On-Road?
Now that we have looked at their design, its not surprising to see that Terra Grappler performed the best here.
Besides being closely packed, the central blocks in its design are bigger than the surrounding two. This allows this tire to have more surface area in contact with the road, resulting in better grip.
Similarly in wet conditions, besides it’s road contact, the tire is also seen with more siping so wet traction is also better here.
The tire also has 4 longitudinal grooves which provide straight forward channels for water to move through. This also makes this tire more resistant to hydroplaning as well.
Nitto Ridge with its bulkier shoulder block design has less contact with the pavement and the sipes are also lesser in comparison. There are also just 2 longitudinal grooves here. So overall, its dry and wet traction is not better Terra.
And as you can now guess where this is going, the Trail Grappler with almost no siping and bigger block valleys would perform poorly on roads.
Performance of tires in Mud:
The Nitto Trail Grappler would obviously be the winner in this scenario since it is a mud-terrain tire.
It has large-sized grooves with a high void ratio for better mud evacuation.
Nitto Ridge on the other hand, again standing in the middle, in terms of traction. Here the tire’s Z shaped grooves with sharp edged blocks cut the mud as it passes through. Similarly the big shoulder lugs act as traction spoons, scooping the mud out of the tire, maintainig traction.
Terra Grappler would simply get packed with mud rather quickly as the tire doesn’t provide enough capacity for mud to evacuate.
Performance in Snow:
Snow evacuation, like mud evacuation, also depends upon the width of the grooves.
Since the Nitto Trail has comparatively wider grooves, so its snow evacuation ability would be comparatively better and it would have superior traction in snow terrain.
Nitto Terra’s traction in this terrain would be the lowest due to its comparatively narrower grooves.
Nitto Ridge’s traction would be intermediate since it contains narrow and wider, both types of grooves.
Like on-road traction, traction on icy roads also depends upon the contact patch of the tire.
So in this regard, Nitto Terra would be the victor due to its high contact patch and Trail would be the vanquisher.
Ridge would have moderate traction on icy paths.
Performance in Rocky Terrain
With a high void ratio, reinforced shoulder grooves, and 3-ply sidewall, Trail is the best choice in rocky terrain.
Ridge is also a very good contender in rocky terrain due to its varied lateral grooves, stepped block edges, staggered shoulder lugs, and stone ejectors.
Even though Terra can be used in rocky terrains due to its staggered shoulder design and decent void ratio but in comparison to the other two contenders, Terra would not be a preferable choice in rocky terrain since it has comparatively narrow grooves, no stone ejectors, and no biting edges.
Trail in this regard is the superior choice.
Durability and Treadwear
Even though many factors affect the durability of car tires like the climate conditions, road conditions, driving habits, weight and size of the car, etc.
But under normal and identical conditions, there are two major factors to consider while determining the durability of any tire; its tread depth and the number of tire plies.
The more the tread depth is, the longer it would take a tire to worn out.
The number of pliers is the number of internal layers of a tire, usually made of up thick rubber and polyester layers.
More ply means more sidewall strength which enhances its puncture resistivity.
Since the tread depth of Trail is comparatively higher and it is also a 3-ply tire, its durability would be much higher compared to its competitor.
Ridge gives you the choice to have 2 or 3 plies in its construction, also its tread depth is lower compared to Trail. So its durability would be moderate.
Terra is a 2-ply tire which means it would the least resistance against puncture, also its tread depth is the lowest among the three contenders.
Hence it would be less durable compared to its competitors.
And there is also the matter of stone ejectors, which are installed in Trail and Ridge that provides additional puncture resistivity.
The durability trend is Trail > Ridge > Terra.
Comfort & Noise
The comfort aspect of a tire heavily depends upon its tread width and depth.
The more the tread width and depth, the more cushion will be available between the passenger and the road.
Hence there would be fewer jerks and a more comfortable ride since the large and deep tread would absorb the impacts.
By considering these aspects, it is obvious that Trail would be more comfortable since it has large and deep tread.
Conversely, Terra would be the least comfortable tire and Ridge would provide intermediate comfort to the passengers.
While driving at high speed on paved roads, the air gets trapped inside the grooves and strikes against the walls of the tread blocks which causes noise.
The higher the void ratio, the more noise will be produced since there would be more space for air to get trapped. So the Trail would produce loud noise due to its high void ratio.
And conversely, the Terra would deliver quiet and calm traveling.
Ridge, once again, would be a moderate noise producer compared to its rivals.
Terra is the quietest tire among the contenders but it is also the least comfortable on bumpy roads.
On the other hand, Trail would be the loudest tire but it is the most comfortable tire among the contenders.
Ridge is an intermediate noise producer and provides moderate comfort on bumpy roads.
Load & Speed
The load and speed ratio of same-sized contenders are mentioned in the table given below.
As we can see that Trail can endure a high load but has a relatively low-speed rating.
On the other hand, Terra relatively high-speed rating but can endure less amount of load.
The best choice in this regard is Ridge since it matches Terra’s speed and can endure the same amount of load as Trail’s.
A tire’s rolling resistance is the amount of energy your car provides to the tire to keep it rolling at a constant speed.
If the car tire flexes or squishes more, at a constant inflation pressure, then there would be high rolling resistance.
It is related to the fuel efficiency of a car since more rolling resistance would require more power from a vehicle, and hence more fuel consumption.
This energy loss is usually referred to as hysteresis. Rolling resistance is directly proportional to the contact patch of a tire.
Terra would be less efficient since it has a comparatively high contact patch meaning more rolling resistance.
Ridge would be the next, and Trail would be the most fuel-efficient tire among the contenders.