Skip to main content

NASA rover tech looks set to revolutionize the humble bicycle tire

The humble bicycle tire could be about to undergo a dramatic transformation after a California-based startup this week unveiled a durable space-age tire that never goes flat.

Called METL, the design of the next-generation bicycle tire is based on technology developed by NASA that is aimed at enhancing the resilience of future lunar and Martian rovers.

SMART Tire Company

The SMART (Shape Memory Alloy Radial Technology) Tire Company was formed last year with the central aim of commercializing a new category of airless tire invented for future space missions.

Made from a nickel-titanium alloy called NiTinol+, SMART describes its new tire as a “light, flexible, space-age metal that never goes flat, but still rides smooth.” It believes the material can become a permanent part of future bicycles, with design variations making it suitable for other kinds of vehicles, too.

The special shape-memory material gives the tire the ability to expand, contract, bend, or unbend at a rapid rate before quickly regaining its original shape. Even better, there’s no prospect of a puncture, and you’ll never have to inflate it.

Made in gold, silver, and metallic blue, the METL bike tire features a futuristic look and feel.

“Cyclists will not be able to wait to get their hands on these very cool-looking, space-age METL tires,” Earl Cole, CEO of SMART, said in a release. “The unique combination of these advanced materials, coupled with a next generation, eco-friendly design make for a revolutionary product.”

The METL tire will be available for cyclists in early 2022. Updates regarding the launch can be found via the company’s website or Twitter account.

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

Indeed, SMART says it’s intent on taking on the $250 billion global tire market with the aim of becoming the next great American tire company, “bringing smarter and cleaner solutions to the future of transportation.”

SMART’s METL tire comes out of a partnership with NASA’s Glenn Research Center as part of an initiative geared toward commercializing some of the space agency’s innovations.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Air New Zealand reveals cost of its comfy sleep pods
Air New Zealand's Skynest sleep pods.

Air New Zealand has finally revealed the approximate cost of booking one of its economy-class sleeper pods on a long-haul flight: $400-$600 New Zealand dollars ($250-$380) -- plus the cost of your seat.

Passengers will only be allowed one pod session per flight, so you’ll have to remain crammed in coach for the rest of the time.

Read more
A massive data breach has left Intel scrambling for solutions
A render of an Intel Core HX chip.

A security breach in March robbed MSI of up to 1.5TB of sensitive data. However, MSI is not the only company impacted.

As a result of the breach, Intel is now investigating a major leak of Intel Boot Guard keys. The extent of the damage is still unclear, but the worst-case scenario is that the security feature is now useless on compromised devices -- and that's a pretty lengthy list.

Read more
Please let these rumors about Quick Resume for PC be true
The SoC inside the Xbox Series X.

Quick Resume is a beloved Xbox Series X feature, but despite a lot of overlap between Xbox and PC, Microsoft still hasn't been able to bring it to Windows.

However, it seems that gamers don't need to give up on it just yet. A recent comment made by Roanne Sones, head of Xbox devices, gave us a glimmer of hope -- but Quick Resume might be harder to achieve than it seems.

Read more