Everyman Recon Grappler A/T Tire Review by a Truck Guy
I'm a truck guy and I know from friends and personal experience that tires and wheels are basically the #1 modification made to our vehicles. We generally want the most aggressive looking off-road tire we can find and then spend most of our time cruising up and down the interstate. We like to keep the volume of the radio up to drown out the howl typically heard from running big mud tires on the street.
Sure, we justify this by the few times we use four wheel drive off-road, “Good thing we had those mud tires,” as we tow a trailer down a dirt road or visit a job site in the winter. The truth is, it’s usually all about that look.
All About that Aggressive Look
If you’re like me, you've rarely even looked at the “all-terrain” tire category in the past, dismissing most of those options as basically street tires because of their boring, street tire look. Generally speaking, all-terrain tires usually don't meet the required rugged look. Enter Nitto's new Recon Grappler A/T tire- it's the answer most truck guys are looking for: an aggressively styled all-terrain tire. Plus, the new Recon Grappler has not only one, but two very aggressive looking sidewall designs and a capable tread pattern that's specially designed to cruise quietly on paved surfaces. So, in true truck-guy fashion, I picked the biggest possible size that would fit on the truck and off we went, quietly, smoothly, down the road on a set of Nitto's new Recon Grapplers.
Recon Grappler Test Subject
The truck we tested the Recons on is my GMC Sierra 1500 with a leveling kit and some other minor/common mods. Over the many years I’ve owned it, it has seen mud tires, then less aggressive “hybrid terrain” tires, and now Recon Grapplers. I drive it unloaded 90% of the time, 10% will pull about 5,000 pounds. Like most trucks, It sees dirt a couple times a year, but mostly cruises around town and the local highways.
I had the opportunity to run four Recon Grappler A/T 35x12.50R18LT tires for this truck (which will be available late 2021). This sizing is larger than the OEM size, and actually an inch taller and wider than the tire previously on the truck. In order to stuff that big 35 under this Sierra I went with an 18mm offset, 9” wide, KMC Mesa wheel. The first impression of the tire definitely met “the look” requirement for sure. The rugged sidewall lugs really made all the difference. What I didn’t expect was to notice such improved road manners. Despite its size, this tire had my truck driving like a car in the corners.
Recon Grappler Tire Noise and Wet Handling Initial Review
A notable benefit of the Recon Grappler is how quiet it is. In preparation for testing these new tires, I actually tested the decibel reading of the previous tires inside the cab at highway speeds. At 70MPH the Recons tested 5db quieter than the old tires. It's nice to enjoy the looks of a rugged tire without having to listen to it drone down the highway. Another shocking moment during these initial impressions was how much the handling was improved in wet weather conditions. The variety of wide and narrow tread blocks, all properly siped, provide confidence on all surfaces, but especially wet roads.
Having run a variety of tires on this truck before, I knew exactly what characteristics I liked and did not like from each tire. Traditionally, I felt that the more aggressive the tire tread, the less I’ll like it when towing. Previously the truck felt a bit spongy when towing. Likely due to the taller and more spaced out lugs of an aggressive tire. That being said I chose an F load range for this set of Recons. This load range is arguably overkill for the half-ton GMC 1500, but I didn’t want to take any chances. Boy did it pay off. The truck now feels confident and planted when towing. Additionally, the reinforced block foundation of the Recon tread makes a huge difference in providing a solid feel.
Ultimately, I am impressed by the Recon Grappler. Rugged looks, superior on-road handling, solid towing performance, and ample traction off-pavement. All this and a 55,000 mile tread wear warranty on LT Metric and flotation sizes, the Recon seems it might just be the best choice for “the average truck guy."