Could the bicycle tyre of the future be inspired by NASA's lunar and Mars rover wheels?
A company called SMART think so. Co-founded by Survivor champ Earl Cole, they are developing the first consumer application of NASA's shape memory alloy tyre technology, a futuristic bicycle tyre called METL™.
Based in Los Angeles, the SMART Tire Company are partnering with NASA to bring their airless shape memory alloy (SMA) tyre technology to cycling.
Originally invented by NASA for use on lunar and Mars rover missions, the SMA tire is made from advanced, lightweight materials known as NiTinol+, creating a tyre that is said to be "elastic like rubber yet strong like titanium, exhibiting perfect shape memory without ever going flat."
The metal mesh will be coated in a poly-rubber material, resulting in a tyre that SMART claim will last the lifetime of your bicycle with long-lasting tread and grip in all weather conditions.
"Cyclists will not be able to wait for these very cool-looking, space-age METL™ tires that don't go flat," says 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."
The SMART Tire Company LLC was founded in 2020 by Cole and blockchain engineer, Brian Yennie. Together with former NASA engineering intern and cycling enthusiast, Calvin Young, the SMART team has consulted with NASA Glenn Research Center inventors Dr. Santo Padula and Colin Creager to bring the power of shape memory alloy tire technology to the general public.
According to the company, SMAs exhibit thirty times the recoverable strain of ordinary steel; the tyres also use long-lasting materials that reduce rubber waste. SMART are confident their advanced research will establish METL™ tyres as "the premier high-tech component for the modern cyclist across road, gravel, mountain and e-bike applications."
"Shape memory alloys look extremely promising in revolutionizing the entire terrestrial tire industry," says Santo Padula, PhD, Materials Science Engineer at NASA, "and that's just the tip of the iceberg."
The SMART Tire Company has partnered with Felt Bicycles to develop their tyres.
"The SMART Tire Company's METL™ tires show an exciting new frontier and we're excited to provide our bikes to support their testing," says Eric Sakalowsky of Felt Bicycles.
Launch of the METL bicycle tyres is anticipated in the first quarter of 2022, with plans to expand in the automobile and other markets after that.
Investors interested in owning a piece of this new technology are encouraged to visit wefunder.com/the.smart.tire.company.