A new bicycle tire built from NASA-developed alloy could completely revolutionize the bike industry with a tire that never goes flat.
The space agency’s airless shape-memory alloy has never before been used in a consumer product, but the NASA Technology Transfer Program — an initiative that sees the agency bring space-exploration technologies to the consumer — is working alongside SMART Tire Company to change that.
SMART Tire Company’s METL™ bike tire will be made from this metal-mesh material that is “elastic like rubber yet strong like titanium,” increasing the durability of the bicycle’s most important component. The company claims that its forthcoming tires will be physically unable to go flat. And, once you install them on your bike, the hope is that you’ll never have to buy another set of tires.
NASA invested over 12 years of research and more than $10 million in the technology, originally designed for Mars rover missions, so you know this stuff is the real deal.
“Cyclists will not be able to wait to get their hands on these cool-looking, space-age METL™ tires that don’t go flat,” said Earl Cole, CEO of SMART Tire Company, in a press release. “The unique combination of these advanced materials, coupled with a next generation, eco-friendly design make for a revolutionary product.”
METL tires are expected to be lighter and stronger than current tires, and will not require air pumping. The company is currently raising investment funds to bring this product to scale. It’s not known how long it will take SMART Tire to fund and develop these new tires, but one thing is certain — their development will put a large nail in the coffin of the oft-loathed and frequently-popped tire tube.