Bicycle tires, which do not need to be inflated and do not puncture, were originally developed by NASA, for use in lunar missions, in particular by Mars' rover robots. 2017 idea, which now comes true.
The dream tire is flexible like rubber and, at the same time, strong like titanium. METL tires are made advanced and lightweight materials, known as NiTinol +, and manufactured in gold, silver and metallic blue versions.
They are used for space missions, on planets with rough terrain, they are being developed in a partnership between NASA and the startup SMART Tire Company.
"Cyclists will be looking forward to accessing these cool, space-age, non-puncture-looking tires," said Earl Cole, former Survivor: Fiji champion and SMART CEO, in a statement.
“The unique combination of these advanced materials, together with a state-of-the-art ecological design, makes the product revolutionary,” he explains.
SMART was founded in 2020 by Cole and engineer Brian Yennie.
Together with former NASA engineering intern Calvin Young, the SMART team consulted inventors at NASA's Glenn Research Center to develop the tire.
These alloys are different any other material.
In other words, according to TechCrunch's Darrell Etherington, NASA's key development has been “creating an alloy that can return to its shape at the molecular level, meaning it can deform to adapt to uneven terrain, including obstacles like gravel and holes, and return to their shape without losing structural integrity over time. "
What's more, SMART's METL tires are good for the planet, using long-lasting materials that reduce rubber waste.
The final plan? For these tires to become the main high-tech component for the modern cyclist in road, gravel, mountain and e-bike applications.
"It can revolutionize the entire land tire industry," says Santo Padula, NASA's Materials Science Engineer, "and that's just the tip of the iceberg."
On the market in 2022
METL tires will be available to the cycling community in early 2022, before reaching the auto industry.
And SMART also partnered with the leading micromobility supplier, Spin, to develop SMA tires for 'scooter' users.
Puncture-proof bicycle tires, even on the most bumpy roads? Raise your hand if you can't wait to take a ride with this new technology.