After nearly three decades in hiatus, General Tire is back in the battlefield of desert racing and taking names in the process. It all started when Continental Tire North America acquired the General brand and revitalized it with the hopes of capturing additional market share in the competitive light truck tire segment. As such, Continental made significant investments in both manufacturing ability and compound technology. The plan was simple: develop a tire that wins races, and then work backwards to tame it down for public consumption. While the new Grabber may have the DNA of a desert-racing thoroughbred, we assure you that the tire also works well in other venues. Purposeful attributes such as staggered stone deflectors on the sidewalls work together with special high-strength steel belts to increase the Grabber's puncture resistance. The technology is coined by the phrase "Duragen Technology" as seen on the sidewall.
Tread Pattern Details
The General Grabber features a unique tread pattern that features a patented element that General refers to as "Strake and Chamfer." In tire development lingo, the Grabber's tread has a trans-toric groove repeated around the circumference of the tire, which is intersected by lateral grooves that connect the ends of the repeating grooves, i.e., the strakes. The chamfers are positioned to intersect the cascading tread block arrangement, thus maintaining a high degree of lateral stability within the pattern. This arrangement creates an asymmetrical cascading repetition of tread blocks with built-in traction pockets. To put it in English, the tread was designed to provide ample traction with increased resistance to block shearing while giving the tire a more stable feel on loose surfaces.
Alternatively, simpler yet, the Grabber bites hard where others tend to slip. The technology is new to the tire world, and it is the direct result of countless hours of testing in sandy, loose desert terrain. Having won several off-road races in its three-year development cycle, the General Grabber competition tire was the platform that the behind-the-scenes innovators were allowed for testing new concepts prior to building production tires for the end user. We believe that this strategy has paid off for General, because the new DOT-legal Grabbers we tested are hard to beat when it comes to desert traction.
We asked General Tire's light-truck tire division manager Tony Talbert about the new tread and specifically how desert racing influenced the design. His observations:
"The critical point in designing the Grabber competition tire was that we wanted to use technology that allowed the tire to excel in the most severe desert racing conditions and be transferable to a streetable version. It has always been our goal in going racing, prior to offering an extreme traction tire to the general public, to develop the technology that was race-worthy and then introduce the street version of the tire with that same technology. In essence, when the Grabber street-legal tire is available to the public, everyone will be able to buy a tire born from and incorporating racing technology."