The folks at Nitto Tire assured us that we would not be disappointed by the tires' on-road performance either. We didn't think that the open tread with the tall blocks would do well at all on the pavement, but we were surprised to find that the Ridge Grappler had quite a bit more grip than the already very good Terra Grappler on the highway as well as in the dirt!
Nitto said that this was due to an improved tread compound as well as a careful computer aided analysis of the tread design that would reduce squirm under lateral load. Although these tires are not R-Compound race rubber or even ultra high-performance summer tires, we are very pleased with the dry pavement grip. We are amazed how a tire can be so competent in both dirt and pavement use.
The tires grip so well that our truck runs hard into its annoying stability control as the cornering speeds are now much higher and the truck rolls over more due to the increased traction. We have had to adjust our King Shocks' compression damping harder, add more air pressure to our Hellwig air lift springs and set our Hellwig sway bar to full stiff to reduce the body roll. This let us go faster before the electronic nannies would annoyingly kick in with a vengeance. Unfortunately, this was still at velocities way below the truck's potential cornering speed.
Perhaps the most amazing thing is that these aggressive looking tires are actually really quiet going down the road. The road noise is much lower than our previous Terra Grapplers, which were already pretty quiet to begin with. Now we can hear things like the whine of the fuel pump and our previously quiet supercharger! The Ridge Grappler has a slightly firmer ride than the Terra Grappler, but the difference was not that perceptible and most people probably would not be able to tell the difference.
Unfortunately, as this test ran during our spring, summer and fall months, we did not get to test the Ridge Grappler in hard rain. We don't see any reason as to why this tire would not work excellently in the wet and Nitto's own internal testing has shown this to be a great rain tire as well. Our previous Terra Grapplers were great in the rain, and Nitto's testing has shown than the Ridge Grapper to be better than the Terra Grappler in both wet cornering and braking.
We had thought that Nitto was going to have their work cut out to improve upon the excellent Terra Grappler, and we are pleased to report that the Ridge Grappler has done just that. This is going to be a hard truck tire to top from any manufacturer and is our current favorite truck tire on the market, a position that we don't take lightly.