General Grabber Red Letter Tire Review
Nov 25, 10 | by: Bruce Smith
Continental’s General Grabber makes its way from off-road racing to the jobsite
By Bruce W. Smith
Red-letters on the side of tires is a rarity on the street, and even more so around the jobsite.
So, too, is the tread design found on the Grabber pickup tires, which are the newest addition to the revived General Tire brand Continental Tire is showcasing as their performance arm.
The red letters spelling out “General Grabber” combined with deep, curving grooves that form a series of odd-shaped diagonal tread blocks, are eye magnets wherever you drive.
But during the past month I’ve found these new pickup tires excel at more than just attracting appreciative looks; these are some of the sweetest truck treads to come along in quite some time for overall on- and off-pavement performance.
The tires mounted-up well, requiring less than four-ounces of weight to balance them out, which is considered better than average for beefy tires weighing 65 pounds.
Mounting the Grabbers provides the perfect opportunity to take a close look at the tire’s interesting tread design. It’s kind of a hybrid – a cross between a mud tire with its deep grooves and more aggressive tread-block design – and an all-terrain with the tread along the shoulders closer together.
But the deep radial grooves between the treads are unlike anything I’ve seen on either mud or all-terrain tires.
Tony Talbert, General Tire’s light-truck tire division manager, says “The critical point in designing the Grabber competition tire was we wanted to use technology that allowed the tire to excel in the most severe desert-racing conditions and be transferable to a streetable version.
“It has always been our goal in going off-road racing,” says Talbert of the aggressive tread design, “to develop the technology that was race-worthy and then introduce the street version of the tire with that same technology.”
General did that in spades, as Grabber-shod race trucks won (and are still winning) off-road championships from Crandon, Wisconsin to Baja Mexico.
“This tire is a direct result of rigorous testing we did with Team General Tire off-road racers “Ballistic” BJ Baldwin and Carl Renezeder,” says Travis Roffler, director of marketing, General Tire.
“We’ve taken the best elements from our wildly successful Grabber Competition-Only tire, and re-engineered it to be a true off-road enthusiasts’ tire that delivers equally strong on-road and off-road performance.”
TOUGH AS NAILS
On the road these tires surprised me on two fronts: 1) They are quieter than expected from an aggressive tread pattern, increasing interior sound levels at 70mph by only 4dBA over the stock all-terrains they replaced, and 2) delivering a smoother, ride with better road grip than the factory tires that came on our 2010 Ram 2500 4×4 Crew Cab diesel.