Even from overhead, the topography of the Baja Peninsula looks wicked. The dusty brown terrain is peppered with jagged rocks, immense boulders, spiny bushes and cacti, and stark patches of land that have been scraped clean by flash floods. You can almost see the heat burning off all visible life forms. This hellish terrain is the inspiration for General Tire’s Grabber off-road tire.
Grabber’s slogan, “Born from Baja/Tamed for the Street,” is no empty catchphrase. Engineers at General Tire developed the Grabber to carry Team General Tire across the finish line at the Baja 1000.
Grabbers: Baja-proven performanceResearch for the Grabber began in 2006. Two years later, Team General Tire began testing the Grabber in competition, and the results were promising. Jason and Rich Voss took first in the 2008 Baja 1000. In the next year, Rick Johnson achieved an overall first place at the Baja 500. Additional wins followed, including first places in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series in 2009 and 2010.
When the Grabber hit the consumer market, it had evolved to deliver reliable street performance, plus durability, traction, and puncture resistance. General Tire’s engineers say their decision to use Baja as a testing ground made all the difference. According to Travis Roffler, General’s director of marketing, “Baja is the ultimate test of man and machine.” Roffler goes on to explain that Ford engineers believe a truck transmission wears 40 times faster during the Baja 1000 than it does during normal street driving. Following that logic, the Baja 1000 was the ultimate durability test for these new General tires.
Durability in casing, construction, and compoundThese General tires have durability designed into every aspect, including the casing, construction, and tread compound. The casing is formed from a hardy, 3-ply micro-fiber. The Grabber also features General Tire’s patented Duragen sidewall construction, which incorporates dual steel belts that are strong enough to lift a Trophy Truck. An extended lug pattern provides another layer of sidewall protection. And finally, Grabber’s tread compound is the same formulation that’s raced and won in the rugged conditions of Baja.
The result is more tire strength than the average weekend off-roader will ever need — but that’s never a bad thing. With these General tires, you can head down the trail feeling confident that your tires will get you back.
Tread pattern balances street performanceThe engineers at General weren’t satisfied with extreme off road performance, however. They wanted to create an off road tire that had good street manners too. This balance was achieved through an innovative tread pattern that General Tire calls “Strake and Chamfer.” The strakes, which are long grooves running across the tread, allow the corners of the tread blocks to move, opening up traction pockets, or chamfers. Those chamfers deliver race-winning traction by locking onto uneven terrain. On pavement, though, the Grabber tread pattern remains quiet and stable.
The consumer version of these General tires has only been slightly modified from the competition tire. General Tire’s engineers made the consumer tire lighter and altered the compound to improve gas mileage and ride quality. But, according to Roffler, “the street version is 95% true to the competition Grabber.”
Three versions of the Grabber are available for consumers: