Aggressive tires look cool, and they usually work well in the dirt, but they are many times not the best street tires to have on your daily driver. But that's never stopped the majority of us before. We've seen many a desert rat towing giant toy haulers with bias-ply tires, surpassing the load range on the side of their tires and clearly choosing form over function. This can not only lessen fuel economy but also burn through lots of rubber that was never designed for highway life. Worst of all, it can endanger your passengers and other drivers around you as aggressive tires generate more heat than tires designed for the street, putting a tirethat's likely overloaded past its load range at even more risk of failure.
Knowing that larger and larger tires are finding themselves onto daily drivers, Nitto took it upon itself to design a tire that would fit lifted trucks and still give the load rating and tread design needed for hauling more than just the weight of the truck. The Dura Grappler encompasses features necessary for a heavy-duty work/tow truck that needs to endure heavy loads on the street and into camp, without totally compromising its ability to hook up in loose-dirt situations.
We acquired a set to mount on a Duramax test truck - a truck that sees constant construction duty on weekdays and trips to San Felipe with a trailer on the weekends. This truck gets so overloaded that it has actually broke wheels in the past. We made sure that the tire-and-wheel package we were getting was up to snuff for the duties demanded by this Duramax's driver.
Although the tire clearly encompasses a street-derived tread design, the control on dirt roads at moderate speeds was actually very good. We whipped our Duramax test truck around some fire roads and felt very much in control at reasonable speeds.
On the street, the Dura Grapplers were as quiet as a hot rod's tires. Very little noise came from the tread blocks, and the Dura-Belt technology combined with multirib blocks ensure long tread life. The stability gained from the Dura-Belting and the continuous tread design makes sure that there is minimal tread squirm (therefore reducing heat buildup and tread flex that can fatigue a tire prematurely).
Even with a giant overloaded utility trailer, the tires barely bulged when inflated to the maximum 60 pounds of air pressure. The owner of this truck tells us the truck has a more controlled feeling with these new tires (most likely due to less tread flex).
For our 5-inch-lifted Chevy 2500 truck, 305/70R16 Dura Grapplers were wrapped onto Dick Cepek DC-1 16x10 wheels, the smallest wheel diameter that you can fit onto the brakes of a `99-'06 Chevy 2500 truck. Call us old-school, but we're only into a wheel big enough to fit the brake package we're running. Overly large wheels can sometimes be hard to balance and give less rubber in between the street and the wheel. Consumers often forget that tires are also part of the suspension package and that more rubber can absorb more force before it gets to the shocks.
The owner of our Duramax test truck has given us his month-long report and is very happy with the performance of the tires so far. He, like many of us, prefers the gnarly-aggressive tread for the looks of his truck, but the Dura Grapplers' superior performance for everything he uses the truck for has made him a fan. He's even claimed to be getting 1 mpg better due to a smoother riding tire! He tells us that the trailer he pulls is constantly overloaded, but the rear tires just don't bulge like his past tires have.