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Trail Grappler SXS Review: Leveling Up the Honda Talon

When Honda released the Talon side-by-side in 2019, the two seater combined Honda’s long history of off-road dirt bike performance with their reputation for quality side-by-side vehicles. Equipped with a DCT transmission and performance-tuned 999cc parallel-twin engine, longtime Honda fans finally had a way to experience the joys of high-speed, 4 wheel trail riding.

Modified Honda Talon side-by-side

For owner Kelly Strandmark, the Talon was a must-have. A lifelong Honda fan, he quickly traded in his Yamaha Rhino for the 1000R model. Not content with anything in factory form, he quickly went to work modifying the Talon to fit his purposes. One of the first moves was to replace the OEM tires with Nitto’s Trail Grappler SXS offering. Kelly has been using Nittos on his road vehicles since the late nineties, so fitting the set to his Talon was a no-brainer. 

Nitto Trail Grappler SXS

A Proven Formula

The Trail Grappler has long been a favorite in the mud-terrain category among off-road enthusiasts, and Nitto worked to downsize the tread pattern for the side-by-side application. Originally designed for the King of Hammers UTV race class, SxS owners can rest assured that the tires have been tested in the harshest of terrains, and not only survived, but came out on top. 

Honda Talon Rear shot

While the Talon 1000R was sold with 28” tires on the 15” wheels, Kelly opted for 32”x9.50r15s on 15x7 Fuel Offroad D920 wheels. Even with 1.5” adapters, the upsized wheel package fits without modification, a testament to Honda’s commitment to making the Talon a machine capable of more than out-of-the-box performance.

Honda Talon 1000R flex

The Ideal Trail Tire

Although side-by-side tires don’t need to meet the same levels of comfort and streetability of road tires, Nitto’s experience with street tire production results in a product that mounts and balances easily. That same standard goes to create a stable, comfortable ride that suits the trails of the American southeast that this Talon spends the majority of its time exploring. 

Nitto Trail Grappler SXS

One thing that’s largely unavoidable in the South though is mud. Luckily, Nitto has equipped the Trail Grappler SXS with tread that employs a balanced void ratio that quickly and effectively evacuates mud and dirt from the tread, ensuring that the Talon’s i-4WD system can work its magic, finding traction in every possible situation. 

Honda Talon 1000R in mud

Looks Still Matter

Aesthetically, the tire straddles the line between the more aggressive designs of the SXS world and classic mud-terrain aesthetics. Although the automotive Grapplers feature dual faces, the Trail Grappler SXS features one face that features a blocky design and stylized lettering. 

Nitto Trail Grappler SXS in mud

For owners that want a durable, race-proven tire, the Nitto Trail Grappler SXS is an obvious choice. On a Honda Talon 1000R, the tire works to highlight Honda’s best intentions for their side by side, blending performance and reliability together. Whether its the mud-filled trails of the South, or the rocky runs of the desert, the Honda Talon and the Trail Grappler SXS are an unbeatable team.

Honda Talon 1000R rear

  • If the Trail Grappler SXS is tough enough to win Dakar, it's tough enough for anything. 
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