With the launch of its new all-terrain tire, General Tire’s team followed an old – yet trusted – saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
So they didn’t. They just improved upon it.
The Grabber A/TX, the successor to the Continental-owned tire company’s Grabber AT2, was launched during a four-day event in New Orleans and tested on an off-road track outside the NOLA Motorsports Park that General Tire staff created for the event.
“It’s amazing what you can do with a bulldozer, grater and a backhoe,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing for General Tire, about the off-road course.
For the tire dealers, Continental staff, media and special guests that trekked over the course’s rocks, mud, logs and stones, the Grabber A/TX didn’t fail to deliver in off-road performance. In a three-hour drive through the course’s rough terrain, the company showcased the tire’s handling and grip through a series of obstacles with guides steering participants through the course.
Obstacles included driving over rocks, through a mud pit, around tight corners and over logs to name a few.
“The off-road course was very technical and the ATX handles great,” said Rick Lopez, an outside sales representative with Hesselbein Tire’s southwest region. “In the stuff it went through, it [the course] should have given it [the Grabber A/TX] much more trouble than it did.”
With on and off-road capabilities, the Grabber A/TX is an all-terrain tire with a three peak mountain snowflake rating, studdable design and aggressive white lettering in select sizes that adds to its style.
“The Grabber A/TX is designed for the all-terrain enthusiast who demands off-road capability balanced with on-road performance,” Roffler said. “The design provides confidence to the consumer, who requires a year-round solution for all weather conditions.”
Barry Terzaken, Continental’s product manager for light track and SUV tires, said the tire represents an improvement of the company’s Grabber AT2, which received rave reviews from customers.
“Specifically with the Grabber AT/X, we were told the predecessor tire, the Grabber AT2, was fantastic,” he said. “[Customers said] do not change it whatsoever, but if you can make it a little better, sure.”
The new tire, which the company will launch to customers March 1, shares some visual elements – such as a strong sidewall – of the Grabber X3, the company’s extreme terrain tire, while keeping with the tread elements of the AT2.
Jaakko Riekkola, product lead engineer on the Grabber A/TX, said the tire, which took three years to develop, adds to the AT2 with the development of an advanced shoulder design.
“Before we had a straight sidewall, but now the tire goes down into the snow and mud,” he said. “You come down to the sidewall and every second block has a scoop… See, you have these elements that grab. The area that grabs [the sidewall and shoulder design] – that’s why it’s called grabber – gets bigger. And of course, it looks good.”
Riekkola added that the tire was also built with a 13.9 m.m. profile depth, which creates for a thicker tread and longer lasting wear than its competitors.
Adding to the tire’s durability is its Comfort Balance Technology, that provides an acoustic tread pattern for a more quiet, comfortable ride. The tire’s DuraGen Technology gives it even wear with cut and chip resistance while traction notches give it better grip in dirt, snow and other harsh surfaces.
Its tread also features stone bumpers that help release debris, which was evident after the mud-splattered Jeep Rubicons equipped with the tires at the event emerged from General’s off-road course with dirt flying out of them. The tire’s white block lettering, which was coated in mud during the course, showed again as the fleet of Jeeps returned to the Motorsports Park.
The Grabber A/TX will be available in 27 LT-metric sizes ranging from 15- to 20-inch rim diameter; in 10 floatation sizes ranging from 14- to 20-inch rim diameter, OD from 27- to 37-inch; three metric sizes ranging from 16- to 20-inch rim diameter in widths up to 305 m.m.; and 11 new sizes.