Gislaved Nordfrost 200 vs General Altimax Arctic 12

The Gislaved Nordfrost 200 and the General Altimax Arctic 12, are both acclaimed for their exceptional winter performance, but which tire is a better pick for your driving style? Well, let’s find out, but first, some info on their sizes.

Gislaved Nordfrost 200
Gislaved Nordfrost 200

Available Sizes

The General Altimax Arctic 12 (review) comes in 14 to 19 inches with following.

  • Speed ratings: T only.
  • Load ratings: XL only.
  • Tread depth: 12/32″ on all.
  • Weight: 16 to 35 lbs.

On the other side, the Gislaved Nordfrost 200 comes in 14 to 19 inches wheels with following.

  • Speed ratings: T only.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ on all.
  • Weight: 15 to 35 lbs.
  • Tread warranty: None.

Wet Traction

Wet traction depends primarily on two factors: tread design and rubber composition. Now although both tires showcase excellent designs with abundant siping and soft tread rubbers, the General Altimax Arctic 12 still outperforms its counterpart in this aspect, (by a small margin, though).

The advantage of the Altimax tire lies in its extensive network of straight and interlocking sipes, which possess supeiror water absorption capabilities, resulting in superior grip on wet surfaces.

The multi-angled structure of these sipes further contributes to excellent cornering and braking abilities.

In contrast, the Gislaved Nordfrost 200, with its single siping design that is also less angled, fails to provide equivalent overall traction, leading to longer wet braking distances and handling times.

However, when it comes to hydroplaning resistance, the Nordfrost 200 performs notably better due to its wider grooves and sweeping arms. These design elements facilitate higher float speeds in both curved and straight aqua tests.

Verdict: The General Altimax Arctic 12 excels in wet grip, while the Gislaved Nordfrost 200’s tire exhibits superior hydroplaning resistance.

Snow Performance

When it comes to traversing fluffy snow conditions, both tires exhibit impressive performance, but it is the Gislaved Nordfrost 200 that slightly surpasses its competitor.

The tire basically offers a distinguishing feature in the form of a greater number of tread voids, particularly in the shape of in-groove notches. These notches skillfully capture snowflakes, leading to improved contact between the tire and snow particles. This phenomenon allows the trapped snow to interact with the ground as the tire rolls, thereby enhancing grip since snow adheres better to itself than to rubber.

Furthermore, due to its relatively higher weight, the Gislaved facilitates deeper penetration of snow, making it easier for the snow to be pushed aside and lodged within the tire’s treads.

Additionally, the tire is equipped with expansive V-shaped lugs that excel at displacing heavy snow. As a result, the thrown snow clears the path for the tire’s roll, leading to forward propulsion. This exclusive characteristic marginally improves the tire’s acceleration times.

On the contrary, the General Altimax Arctic 12 demonstrates slightly less efficacy in terms of braking and handling on snowy surfaces. Its design is more enclosed, featuring a continuous central rib and smaller in-groove notches.

Despite having a directional tread pattern that somewhat resembles its rival, the Altimax lacks the extensive sweeping arms found on the Nordfrost 200, resulting in reduced snow plowing capability.

Verdict: Overall, in terms of snow performance, the Gislaved Nordfrost 200 takes the lead with its superior design elements and ability to tackle snowy conditions with greater efficiency.

Ice Performance

On icy terrains, the General Altimax Arctic 12 takes the lead, where the tire showed us with significantly shorter braking distances, surpassing its counterpart by 9 feet.

Note, that this was calculated on average.

What makes this tire better is its intricate biters spread across the tread, where you can see incisions of varying widths, combined with more aggressive siping in comparison.

On the other hand, the Gislaved Nordfrost 200’s wider tread voids fail to grip ice as effectively. The absence of notches and multi-angled siping on both the central and shoulder lugs contributes to longer average braking distances and handling times on icy surfaces.

Verdict: Overall, the General Altimax Arctic 12 WS90 exhibits superior ice performance compared to its counterpart.

Comfort Levels

The comfort of a tire is largely influenced by factors such as road noise and vibration dampening. These characteristics are dictated by the tire’s construction, materials used, tread pattern, and sidewall design, which primarily determine the smoothness of cornering.

When it comes to noise generation caused by air particles hitting the tread, the General Altimax Arctic 12 takes the lead with its less voided tread design. With less space for air particles to collide with the tread walls, noise is reduced. It is important to note that the overall difference in noise levels between the two tires is not substantial.

On the other hand, the Gislaved Nordfrost 200 provides a slightly smoother ride due to its superior shock absorption over bumps.

Verdict: Considering all factors, both tires offer similar comfort levels.

Dry Traction

Efficiency in dry grip largely depends on the tire’s contact area with the ground, with directional grip and lateral traction playing significant roles, and here, the General’s tire takes the lead.

The “narrower” central grooves of the Altimax Arctic 12 allows for better and more consistent ground contact, particularly on highways, which leads to shorter braking distances and quicker acceleration times.

Additionally, where the above factor provide superior directional grip, the lighter weight of the tire contributes to its superior handling.

As with a lighter structure, it produces faster steering response.

Verdict: The General Altimax Arctic 12 exhibits better dry traction performance.

Tread Life

Tread life is heavily influenced by rolling resistance, particularly for these two tires. In this aspect, the General Altimax Arctic 12 holds the upper hand.

Its lighter weight places less strain on the tread blocks as they make contact with the road, resulting in reduced friction and slower rubber wear.

In contrast, the heavier Gislaved Nordfrost 200 concentrates its additional weight onto a smaller rubber surface due to its wider tread voids. This puts more strain on each lug, accelerating tread wear and reducing its overall lifespan. However, it’s worth noting that the performance difference between the two tires in terms of tread life is relatively small, which is why there are no significant warranty variations.

Verdict: Altimax provides longer tread life.

Take Home Points

Let me end up, with easy to understand following points.

Gislaved Nordfrost 200 excels in:

  • Snow Performance: The Nordfrost 200’s superior design elements, including a greater number of tread voids and expansive V-shaped lugs, improve snow handling and acceleration times.
  • Hydroplaning Resistance: The tire’s wider grooves and sweeping arms provide superior hydroplaning resistance in wet conditions.
  • Ride Smoothness: The Nordfrost 200 offers a smoother ride, owing to superior shock absorption over bumps.

General Altimax Arctic 12 excels in:

  • Wet Traction: The Arctic 12’s network of straight and interlocking sipes provide superior water absorption capabilities, resulting in better grip on wet surfaces.
  • Ice Performance: The Arctic 12’s intricate tread biters and more aggressive siping contribute to shorter braking distances and better handling on icy surfaces.
  • Dry Traction: The Arctic 12’s “narrower” central grooves and lighter weight contribute to superior directional grip, quicker acceleration times, and better handling.
  • Road Noise: The Arctic 12, with its less voided tread design, generates less road noise.

Tread Life: The Arctic 12’s lighter weight results in less strain on the tread blocks, thereby reducing friction and slowing rubber wear.

Areas for Improvement:

  • Gislaved Nordfrost 200 could improve in terms of wet and ice traction, dry grip, and tread life, given its single siping design, wider tread voids, and heavier weight.
  • General Altimax Arctic 12 could perform better in terms of snow performance and hydroplaning resistance. Its more enclosed design and lack of extensive sweeping arms reduce snow plowing capability.

Note: The overall comfort levels offered by both tires are similar, and differences in tread life between the two are relatively small.