Initial Impressions: Nitto Recon Grappler A/T tires on a '21 RAM 2500
Over the past twenty years, the heavy-duty truck has slowly transitioned from a blunt force work tool to a do-it-all family hauler for many owners. Looking back at diesel pickups in the eighties and nineties, they could probably best be described as “tractor adjacent.” Nowadays, it is not uncommon to climb into the cabin of a mid-tier model and find plush leather seats, massive screens, active safety technology, and a litany of electronic gimmicks designed to make living with a truck easier.
With that change, however, the idea of mindlessly swapping out the OEM street tires for a set of aggressive mud-terrain becomes a little more complicated. If the ride is already punishing, exacerbating the experience with a loud, rough ride is hardly problematic. But for a modern heavy-duty truck, many owners value the engineering that has gone into taming these beasts. For those that need increased off-road performance, a tire that offers capability, while also falling in line with the modern on-road performance expectation—is a must.
A Tire for All Terrains
The owner of this 2021 Ram 2500 Laramie found it necessary to strike that balance. While much of the truck’s life is spent commuting and performing regular dad duties, it also needs to be able to make regular trips to the owner’s 200 acre timber property. Hastily cut roads for logging trucks mean deep ruts in the thick Georgia clay, and the state’s unpredictable weather means that those roads can unexpectedly turn into a thick, soupy mess. While the big Dodge was built to handle it, the OEM street tires were not.
With only a few hundred miles on the truck, the owner made the decision to mount a set of Nitto’s new all-terrain Recon Grappler tire in OEM-spec LT285/60R20. Having heard good recommendations regarding Nitto’s Ridge Grappler hybrid-terrain tire, he bet that the Recon Grappler would allow him to retain all of the on-road capabilities of his 2500, and it's since proved to give him the edge he's needed when his work took him off-road.
During our time photographing the truck, the owner invited us to travel with him in the truck on the standard paved country roads en route to the property. The big RAM felt composed and confident. The arrangement of wide and narrow grooves in the tread pattern did their job to reduce road noise and eliminate vibration. According to the owner, the difference on the road was imperceptible when compared to the OEM street tires, meaning the aggressive-looking tread on the new Recon Grappler were just as quiet on the road as the OEM tires the truck was sold with.
The Battle with Georgia's Red Clay
Once we turned off of the paved road into his property, the truck immediately had to contend with the wet clay. For those unfamiliar with the red clay of Georgia, it is both slicker and thicker than mud, and will quickly fill every open space in a tire’s tread.
Nevertheless, the large shoulder and tread blocks handled the thick material with ease. The truck never struggled with traction, despite being all but covered in clay.
When we left the muddier, wetter area of the property and ventured into the wooded, higher area, the truck felt as confident on the trails as it did on the road. Although these traditional wooded trails are hardly a challenge for either the truck or the tire, Recon Grappler’s zig-zag pattern tread ensured that traction was always present.
For the owner, these trips off-road in the Dodge aren’t for fun, and a boring, incident-free trip is a good day. The Recon Grapplers give him the confidence that he won’t get stuck, regardless of weather conditions, and that the job will get done.
As another bonus, some versions of the Recon Grappler come with a 55,000 mile treadwear warranty. As the RAM soaks up miles off and on road, the owner can depend on the Recon Grapplers to be more than up to the task.
Modern Tires for a Modern Truck
For a truck that is asked to drive comfortably, tow reliably, and wheel confidently, the demands of the tires can be equally strenuous. Thankfully, Nitto has designed a modern all-terrain tire that can do it all. For those that don’t need (or want) the concessions required for extreme-terrain tires, the Recon Grappler works well, looks great, and is guaranteed to last as long as many street tires. A modern truck needs modern tires, and Nitto’s Recon Grappler a/t tire is the best for the job.
More From Driving Line
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- Everyman Recon Grappler A/T Tire Review by a Truck Guy
- The Recon Grappler A/T Tire: An All-Terrain Tire that's Designed for Confidence in All Terrains