The average Joe (or Jane) doesn’t really think about the tires on their vehicle. It’s just a matter of whatever is cheapest and fits their car/truck/SUV when it comes time to replace the factory-supplied rubber. However, to the off-roader—and especially the Jeeper—tires are the connection to the terrain.
Tires are what deliver all that horsepower and torque distribution technology you’ve developed through powertrain, drivetrain, and suspension upgrades and mods to the place you need it most: the dirt, sand, rocks, or mud that you are piloting your Jeep over or through. That is why most Jeepers replace the OEM tires long, long before the factory tread sees much wear and tear.
General Tire has developed a new breed of Grabber, and it’s called the X3. After three years in R&D, the new tire went on sale in the fall of 2016. We’ve had a set since then, but before setting out, we had a conversation with Barry Terzaken, General Tire product manager for Light Truck and SUV products (and an engineer by training). Terzken offered insight into the design, engineering, and testing, as well as the two distinct groups of end users General was targeting during development of the X3. “The first group is the serious enthusiast who demands exceptional off-road performance. Styling, noise, comfort, and on-road performance are secondary.”
“This naturally brings us to the other distinct group—cosmetic consumers. This group is looking for an extremely aggressive and stylish tire. Bold tread and off-shoulder designs are a key focus. On-road handling and wet/winter performance are much more important than off-road performance. This consumer also expects a ride that is as quiet and comfortable as a mud-terrain tire line can provide.”
Terzaken continued: “My challenge to our engineering team, was to create a product line that has exceptional off-road performance, bold, unique and aggressive styling, excellent on-road performance and a ride that is as quiet and comfortable as the segment allows. In short, I wanted it all, and I didn't want to sacrifice anything in the process.”
We spent a couple months wearing a set of 35x12.50R15LT X3s on our ’01 Jeep TJ Wrangler (you may recognize it as the newly resurrected Project TJ Reboot), and nearly as much of that mileage was off-highway as it was on. Here’s what we learned.
SpecificationsGeneral Grabber X3
Size Tested: 35x12.50R15LT
Load Range: C
Maximum Load (lb @ psi): 2,535@ 35
Sidewall Construction: Three-ply Duragen
Tread Construction: Radial steel belted
Approved Rim Width (in): 8.5-11.0
Tread Depth (in): 21/32
Tread Width (in): (10.0)
Section Width (in): 12.5
Overall Diameter (in): 35.0
Weight (lb): 72.3