We Take the All-New General Grabber M/T to New HeightsPosted in Product Reviews on November 22, 2015
Someone at General Tire must have seen our letter to Santa last year. We have been asking for General to add a mud-terrain tire to its lineup for years, and our prayers have finally been answered. We got our hands on one of the first sets of Grabber M/Ts, which are currently only available in a limited number of sizes. Lucky for us, one of the options is a good ol’ 33x12.50R15, perfect for our Jeep CJ-7. While many tire manufacturers are concentrating on larger rim diameters, General Tire recognizes that most people who actually go off-road prefer a smaller rim and taller sidewall to conform to the terrain.
Another trend that General has bucked is aggressive sidewall tread, focusing instead on where the rubber meets the road. The sides of the Grabber M/T are relatively smoothed compared to most mud-terrains, but the center lugs use full-depth grooves for more biting edges, while the outer lugs have shallow grooves to prevent the tires from chunking. The Grabber M/Ts ran very smooth, even without balancing. Whether that is due to the lack of rubber hanging off the side of the tire or the General’s tight quality controls, we appreciate the quiet ride—at least, it’s as quiet as a soft top CJ can get.
Since all of our prayers were being answered, we asked for some rain to test the new Grabbers. Well, we should be careful what we wish for, because the next very day a huge snowstorm arrived! Once power was restored and the driveway cleared, we headed out on the backroads from Reno, Nevada, to Truckee, California, to see if any downed trees were blocking our favorite trail. We didn’t get to use our chainsaw, but we certainly did put the new Grabber M/Ts to the test on pavement, ice, snow, and plenty of mud. Spoiler alert: Our luck didn’t run out once we hit the trail. We had our General admission ticket to ride.
The Grabber M/Ts have deep lugs and open voids to provide progress in loose terrain. “Grabber” between the tread blocks is not just for show; the letters prevent mud from sticking between the lugs.
We couldn’t see what was in the bottom of this muddy water hole, but we weren’t too concerned about it. The new General Grabber M/T borrows the three-ply DuraGen sidewall technology from General’s desert racing program, so they should be strong enough to handle anything we throw at them.
We assumed we would need to use our ARB Air Lockers to make it to the top of this slick, icy climb, but wanted to try it with open diffs first. Surprisingly, the Grabber M/Ts propelled the truck to the top of the hill without issue.
The Load Range C Grabber M/Ts were a perfect match on our relatively lightweight CJ-7. We aired the tires down to 15 psi to increase the contact patch in the dirt. The tires conformed nicely to the terrain and provided an excellent ride both on- and off-road.
The alternating tread blocks on the Grabber M/T provide excellent lateral stability when turning. We had to shift into 2WD to do our Ken Block impression in our little yellow Jeep.
The CJ-7 in our test is no powerhouse; it is powered by a 4.3L Vortec V-6 mated to a T-18 manual transmission. Even in thick, sticky mud the Grabber M/Ts cleaned out quickly with the application of throttle.
The General Grabber M/Ts run true to size. The 33s we tested were notably taller than the old 33-inch tires we replaced. This caused some contact on the rear fender flares, but we will put up with the rubbing for the added ground clearance.
We ran across plenty of heavy, wet snow in our test. The Grabber M/Ts performed admirably, but the lack of siping were a limiting factor when the snow turned to ice. We would choose the General Grabber AT2 if ice were a regular part of our driving.
The limited sizes are intended to serve as a test market for General, which plans to expand its M/T lineup soon. We might even see General’s trademark red-letter sidewalls on future Grabber M/Ts.
We encountered an unusual amount of water during our testing. This particular hole had a relatively firm bottom and didn’t present a problem, regardless of how much momentum we carried across the hole.
We didn’t have the opportunity yet to test the Grabber M/Ts in the rocks, but if they perform half as well on granite as they do in mud and snow we will be very pleased.
Model: Grabber M/T
Size Tested: 33x12.50R15
Load Range: C
Maximum Load (lb @ psi): 2,205 @ 35 psi
Sidewall Construction: 3-ply DuraGen
Approved Rim Width (in): 8.5-11
Tread Depth (in): 18/32
Tread Width (in): 10.3
Section Width (in): 12.5
Overall Diameter (in): 32.8
Weight (lb): 61.9
Sizes Available (in): 29-33 (more sizes coming)