Just when you thought tubeless bike tires are the best thing on the road for your bicycle, the next revolution has arrived. The very technology that NASA uses in its Mars rover and lunar mission, has now made it through to the consumer-oriented arena in the form of METL tire developed by the startup Smart Tire Company, who’ve licensed the technology to bring to the bicycle lanes in the near future. The airless METL bike tires are crafted out of the Shape Memory Alloy Radial Technology (SMART) – made from strong (like titanium), lightweight yet ultra-elastic material (like rubber) known as NiTinol+. This magic material according to Smart Tire Company, “rearranges its molecular structure when you bend it, but instantly goes back to its original shape, perfectly.”
In fact, these tires are so good, they can last your bicycle’s lifetime – meaning you don’t ever need to bother about flat, tires, or ones with the tread wearing – needing to change to a new one. They are basically, shape-memory tires that have almost 30 times the recoverable strain limit of the steel, thereby making them ideal for any kind of rough terrain. The metal of these tires will not come in contact with the tarmac as they will be coated with a new kind of rubber-like material called Polyurethanium, which’s crafted for all king of weather conditions and has a long-lasting tread and grip for superior handling.
Since the tires are going to be targeted towards next-gen buyers, the design is as important as function. Therefore, Smart Tire Company has made it a point to embellish them in white, gold, silver, and metallic blue colorways. They plan to bring the METL tires to the consumer market in early 2022, but there is no word about the cost of these tires yet. As per Earl Cole, CEO of The Smart Tire Company, “The unique combination of these advanced materials, coupled with a next-generation, eco-friendly design make for a revolutionary product.” This shape memory alloy technology looks promising and will make it beyond just the bicycle tires for sure.
As Santo Padula, a materials science engineer at NASA pointed out, “Shape memory alloys look extremely promising in revolutionizing the entire terrestrial tire industry.” In fact, that’s just a starting point and these could make it to the four-wheelers and commercial vehicles – changing the landscape of commuting to another dimension. After all, who doesn’t want to fit their bicycle, car, or truck with wheels that will never go flat or need to be changed in a lifetime!
Designer: Smart Tire Company