One hundred years ago General Tire was founded on the simple idea of offering a quality product to a burgeoning automotive industry. In short order, General Tire was bringing innovative products to market that began to shape the future of the young company. One such innovation was the General Jumbo, an oversized tire meant as a direct replacement for OEM tires. The Jumbo and later the Balloon Jumbo revolutionized the tire industry from both a product and a manufacturing standpoint. From those early years on, General Tire has been producing forward thinking products to every segment of the tire industry.
For off-road enthusiasts the General Tire Grabber has been a mainstay tire in the deserts and on the trails for many years. With such notable drivers as BJ Baldwin, Casey Currie, and Harley Letner racing and winning on the Red Letter race rubber it’s safe to say that General has made a name for themselves in the minds of racers and die-hard fans. If you need proof of their reputation you need only walk through the parking lot at any stadium off-road race and see how many Grabbers adorn the daily-drivers of the sport’s legions of fans. No doubt General has a popular product on their hands, but how well do they really work? General Tire invited us out to Pennsylvania, in the Appalachian Mountains, to find out for ourselves how well the new Grabber X3 performs under the abuses of off-road driving.
When General Tire decided to build the new Grabber X3 they didn’t just add some lugs to the sidewall and slap a new name on the old tire. No, they designed a brand new tire from the ground up. Over the course of three years the General Tire engineers tested sixteen different tread designs and put on more than two million test miles in search of just the right combination of performance and durability. With robust, 3-ply construction and an aggressive tread and sidewall design; General Tire has continued its focus on providing a performance tire for true off-road enthusiasts.
Let’s take a closer look at the new Grabber X3.
Upon first glance, it’s clear that the new Grabber X3 doesn’t hold much in common with its predecessor aside from the iconic red lettering emblazoned on the sidewall. This isn’t a revised version of the original, but rather a whole new generation of Grabber. The moniker X3 calls to the tire’s intended purpose of tackling mud, dirt, and rock under extreme conditions. A sort of off-road triple threat if you will. With its high void tread pattern designed to evacuate mud and water and stone bumpers to release rocks from the lugs, the X3 is clearly designed for more than just trips to the mall. In addition to the tread features the X3 also boasts multi angle gripping edges and sidewall lugs for extra hold in rock conditions as well as more sidewall puncture resistance. These features combined with General’s Duragen construction technology come together to provide a serious option for both racers and hard-core off-road enthusiasts. While these features all sound great we wanted to know how the tire performs!
General went all out to provide us with the opportunity to properly test the capabilities of the new Grabber X3. Our group was provided with twelve Jeep Rubicons all shod in the new Grabber X3 and prepped for abuse. Since General’s focus with the X3 is mud, dirt, and rock, a trail offering ample amounts of all three was constructed for us to explore in order to get a proper feel for the new product. This wasn’t some course built in a parking lot with a little mud pit, some gravel, and some cones to drive around. No, this was a legitimate off-road trail complete with mud holes, steep, slick climbs, and a formidable rock garden with spotters to guide the group though safely. The trail took more than 3-hours to complete and in that time we came away with a solid grasp on the abilities of the Grabber X3.
The first thing we encountered on the trail was mud. It was everywhere! From the beginning to the end, mud was a constant adversary and the X3 handled it in impressive fashion. From slimy ruts to headlight-deep water crossings, never once was there cause for concern. On the trail it’s often a challenge to come out of a slick mud hole and straight up a sheer, rocky climb, but we were faced with this scenario repeatedly and every time the Grabber X3 just clawed it’s way to the top.
With the Grabber’s deep mud channels and big lugs you would expect it to perform well in the mud, but how would it handle the rocks? While the Jeeps were prepped for rocks and of course the tires were running the proper air pressure for our purpose, the Grabber X3 really never missed a beat while crawling over the garden of boulders laid out for our test. Out of twelve test vehicles and two different groups of drivers there were no punctures or tire related issues on our test. Pretty good considering that many in the group had never driven in that type of terrain.
One thing we didn’t get to test due to our location was wide open desert driving. While the Grabber X3 handled quite well in the mud and rocks we would like a chance to put the new tire through it’s paces in a true desert environment. If it handles the desert anything like it handled the terrain in Pennsylvania (and we have no reason to believe it won’t) then this is a truly well rounded extreme performance tire for all conditions.
Given the history of innovation for General Tire its no surprise that they continue to search for ways to offer a better product to the consumer. It is always refreshing to see a company not only hold true to it’s roots but also strive to embrace true driving enthusiasts with a product that will enhance their experience and provide the confidence to explore the limits. From our time in the hills of Pennsylvania we’d have to say that the General Tire Grabber X3 is just that type of product.
The new Grabber X3 will be offered in sizes from 31-37 inches for 15-20 inch wheels. Stay tuned this fall as the General Grabber X3 is set to be released to the public in early September.