Its easy to see from just one look how awesome the Roadfly Black Bear Jeep looks with its new 37-inch General Grabber All-Terrain Tires, mounted on 18-inch MR308 wheels from by Method Race Wheels, thanks to our awesome tire and wheel sponsor, Tirerack.com. It’s amazing what a difference new wheels and tires make on a Jeep. Wheels and tires have to be one of the single biggest changes you can make to a Jeep. We had previously installed a 4.5-inch suspension lift from Rugged Ridge, but we had been running on the tiny OEM wheels and tires. We were in desperate need of bigger wheels and tires. Before mounting the new General Grabbers, we installed wheel spacers from Rugged Ridge to give the Roadfly Black Bear Jeep a wider, more aggressive stance. And with these new massive 37-inch Generals, it looks rugged as hell. The wider stance is aggressive. Awesome. What a difference.
We knew the Roadfly Black Bear Jeep would look really cool with these new wheels and tires, but what we weren’t sure about was how well these tires would perform. Since the Black Bear would be spending most of its days on the pavement, we were worried about road noise, comfort, and to some extent, tread wear (we didn’t want to be constantly replacing tires). But we are car guys and we weren’t building a mall crawler, so they had to perform off-road too. These Grabbers are considered “Off-Road Maximum Traction” tires so we knew they would perform well off-road but were a little worried about road noise and comfort on road.
This is what General Tire says about its Grabber Off-Road Maximum Traction Tire:
“The Grabber features General Tire’s Duragen compound molded into their patented Strake & Chamfer symmetric tread pattern. Strake grooves sweep from one shoulder to the other to open the tread lug-face to the terrain while chamfered lug corners create pockets throughout the pattern to expose the edges of adjacent lugs enhancing traction in mud, dirt and silt. The Grabber’s vertical-edge shoulder blocks (which alternate between being stepped in and out) and multi-angled sidewall protectors work to deliver side bite and puncture protection. The Grabber tread design is refined with General Tire’s Acoustic Modulation Sound Technology (AMST) a sound wave suppression technology that helps reduce tire noise on the road. The tire’s internal structure includes twin steel belts reinforced by spirally wrapped nylon on top of a tough, three-ply reinforced casing designed to stand up to off-road challenges and on-road conditions. General Tire’s Reactive Contour Technology promotes even tread wear throughout the life of the tire.”
This won’t come as a surprise, but the new wheels and tires were on the Jeep within about 30 minutes of the pallet hitting our driveway. I was rolling the jack over before Charlie finished signing the shipping receipt. We quickly discovered that we had to take off the OEM rock sliders because the massive 37’s wouldn’t fit in the rear without resting against them. Our buddy Jeff Symanski, owner of Sledgehammer Manufacturing, let us use some of his tools to cut about 1.5 inches off the rear portion of the rock sliders so we could reinstall them. And then we hit the road. We’ve put about 2,000 miles on the new tires and have driven them in a multitude of conditions, just about everything other then ice and snow (its been a pretty tame winter so far). But before we get into how the tires performed, we have to say a word or two about the MR308 wheels from Method Race Wheels. These rims are very cool in matte gray with a black lip finish. We haven’t seen a lot of Method wheels in Northern Virginia where the Black Bear Jeep lives (I saw one set a few weeks ago – but that’s the only set I’ve seen). So at least in our area, they are more unique and stand out a lot more then some of the more common Jeep rims that everyone tends to have. We don’t want to be like everyone else and the Black Bear Jeep definitely stands out with these new 18-inch wheels from Method Race Wheels. Maybe next time we will go with 40-inch tires on a set of 20-inch Method Race Wheels.
Of course we did our research first and the Tirerack.com website was super helpful. The consumer reviews on the Grabbers overall are excellent and received the following ratings:
- dry conditions;
- cornering stability;
- dry traction; and
- steering response.
- wet conditions for hydroplaning resistance and wet traction;
- comfort for ride quality, noise and treadwear; and
- winter/snow for light and snow deep traction.
- ice traction
When we first backed down the driveway the tires were a bit chunky and I got a little nervous. We really weren’t looking for tires that you could hear two blocks away – mudders are notorious for road noise which is primarily the reason we went with the Grabbers; maybe a bit more of a mudder then a pavement tire, but still excellent on the road. Quickly we learned that the chunkiness goes away at moderate speeds and we found there to be very little road noise after that, even on the highway. The ride is very smooth and quiet which frankly was a bit of a surprise given the size of the tread on these tires (and the size of the tires as well).
Our stock tires started cupping almost immediately after we installed the suspension lift and we were rotating them like crazy. So far, we’ve seen absolutely no cupping at all from the Grabbers and no real tread wear to speak of (granted we’ve only put a few thousand miles on them). In rain they perform no different from our smaller stock tires handling very well with very little slipping and no real skidding. We haven’t had a significant amount of snow or ice yet this year so we can’t comment on snow and ice performance.
We’ve been off-roading a few times and the large lug tread pattern on the Grabbers tears into rock and dirt. We got high centered a few times on some pretty steep grades and these tires pulled us right out with little to no slipping. Conditions each time were fairly dry so we weren’t able to see how they handle in mud and wetter conditions.
The Grabbers look cool and so far, they perform awesome on road and off road. We couldn’t be happier with them. The only thing we would do differently next time is to mount them red letters out which would make the look even cooler.