SMART, NASA reveal METL airless tires

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Tang, memory foam, cordless tools, invisible dental braces — space research is a gift that keeps on giving. Now, the SMART Tire Company has unveiled a new eco-friendly consumer airless bicycle tire derived from space science and technology.

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What’s good enough for rovers on Mars and the moon can certainly handle the roads and bike trails of Earth. The SMART Tire Company and NASA partnered to develop airless shape memory alloy (SMA) tire technology for bicyclists. The new METL tire is made from NiTinol+, an advanced, lightweight material that’s both elastic and strong. Best of all, its perfect memory shape keeps it from going flat.

Related: The Great American Rail-Trail to offer bike access from coast to coast

Plus, these are some highly attractive wheels made of silver, gold and metallic blue. “Cyclists will not be able to wait for these very cool-looking, space-age METL™ tires that don’t go flat,” Earl Cole, former Survivor champion and CEO of The SMART Tire Company, said in a press release. “The unique combination of these advanced materials, coupled with a next generation, eco-friendly design make for a revolutionary product.”

airless tire with iridescent lettering that reads "METL"

SMAs are a whole new material. Because they are able to undergo phase transitions at the molecular level, they boast 30 times the recoverable strain of regular steel. They are also eco-friendly. They last so much longer than ordinary bike tires, so they will reduce rubber waste. SMART is planning to establish METL tires as the leading high-tech component for road, mountain, gravel and e-bikes.

Cole founded the SMART Tire Company LLC in 2020 along with Brian Yennie, a blockchain engineer. Calvin Young, a cycling enthusiast and former NASA engineering intern, and NASA inventors Dr. Santo Padula and Colin Creager were also instrumental in developing the technology.

“Shape memory alloys look extremely promising in revolutionizing the entire terrestrial tire industry,” Padula said, “and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

+ SMART Tire Company

Images via SMART Tire Company


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