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Trail-Testing the Newest General Grabber X3 Mud-Terrain

Posted in How To: Wheels Tires on November 21, 2016
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Grabby Generals, good or bad? Depends on the context. If you are speaking in military terms, well, best keep your eyes on your front line. However, if you are talking about off-road tires, grabby Generals are most definitely a good thing.

We have been running General tires on our 4x4s since the late 1980s. Back then a Grabber AP was the hot commodity. But oh how the times have changed. Nowadays that mild-mannered all-terrain would seem antiquated, especially when measured against the company’s newest crossover tire, the Grabber X3. Taking three years and 20,000 engineering hours to create, the X3 is so loaded with technological advances we don’t know where to start. For one thing, the X3 isn’t just a new tread pattern slapped atop an existing carcass. The X3s employ a special three-ply polyester sidewall weave for extra strength in rocks and trail debris like poking sticks and logs. Even our miniscule 31x10.50R15LT test size had a nasty seven-ply tread comprised of three polyester, two steel, and two polyamide plies for strength and flexibility. Given that the tire also boasts a new cut- and chip-resistant rubber compound, we are fairly certain these are some of the most durable Generals to date.

Off-road, the open tread design features channels to evacuate mud, sand, and gravel. The overlapping inner treads offer lots of biting edges both longitudinally and laterally. Stone bumpers are employed between the outer lugs to help break suction of sticky mud and evacuate rocks and stones. And the sidewalls are nicely bolstered not only with tread blocks extending one-third of the way down, but with special deflection ribs between the tread blocks that (by design and as the name implies) deflect damaging obstacles away from penetrating the sidewalls back down to the trail.

We mounted a set on our 1989 Wrangler and hit the road and trail. We found our optimal street pressure for the little 3,200-pound Jeep to be 25 psi. They grip the pavement like gangbusters, but even over the wind noise running without a top or doors, you can hear the tread. They are not obnoxiously loud, but if you are worried about your tires drowning out your Yanni CD then these probably aren’t the choice for you. That said, if you listen to Yanni you probably drive a Fiat 500, so moving on.

Off-road, we dropped them to 10 psi in the front and 8 psi in the rear, but ideally on a vehicle this light we’d much prefer losing another 3-4 psi. Beadlocks aren’t a reality for this vehicle yet, but even with 8 psi in the back we don’t think we came close to slipping a bead. Maybe we should’ve dropped them more, but even with less sidewall bulge than we figured on (they were still breaking in) extra traction just wasn’t a problem. In fact, we made climbs with open diffs in this vehicle that used to require at least the rear locker engaged. So far we are really happy with our new little Generals. So much that we are eyeballing some of the bigger sizes for our more hardcore trail rigs.

Traction! Whiz-bang computer design isn’t worth the pixels it’s printed on if a tire can’t hook up. The General Grabber X3s bit hard and hung on in the sand, rocks, loose-pack dirt, and gravely shale we tested them in. And despite our subjecting them to frequent and deliberate abuse, we found the sidewalls to be supertough and resilient.

One of this vehicle’s uses is brush busting on private property and navigating an avocado orchard. The strong three-ply sidewall and seven-ply tread design shrugs off errant sticks and poky things while still delivering a smooth ride on the street.

With the fronts aired down to 10 psi, the sidewalls would bulge fairly well despite the relatively light weight of our test vehicle and the tires still breaking in. More plies and burlier construction usually mean a stiffer carcass, but that just doesn’t seem to be the case with the new General X3s. They are compliant at lower pressures, allowing the tread to wrap around and envelop rocks and the sidewalls to give to incongruities rather than rip and tear.

Specifications

General Grabber X3
Size Tested: 31x10.50R15LT
Type: Crossover/Mud-Terrain
Load Range: C
Maximum Load (lb @ psi): 2,270 @ 50
Sidewall Construction: 3-ply
Approved Rim Width (in): 7.0-10.0
Tread Depth (in): 21/32
Tread Width (in): 8.4
Section Width (in): 10.5
Overall Diameter (in): 30.8
Weight (lb): 55
Sizes Available: 28 sizes from 31 to 37 inches for wheels 15 to 20 inches in diameter

Sources

General Tire
Charlotte, NC 28288
800-847-3349
www.generaltire.com

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