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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Bike tires comprised of NASA’s weird shape-shifting metallic at the moment are available for purchase

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The Metl bicycle tire is the primary shopper product we’re conscious of to make use of nitinol, a NASA-developed shape-memory alloy product of nickel and titanium that may be skilled with warmth to recollect its form. In contrast with conventional bicycle tires, Metl tires won’t ever go flat and can final a lifetime — not less than that’s the promise made by The Smart Tire Company, hailing from Akron, Ohio, which can be dwelling to the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Firm.

Simply watch out: the tires are being offered through a crowdfunded campaign on Kickstarter and that brings alongside danger, which I’d fee as excessive for one thing as leading edge as this from a small startup. You’re additionally taking a look at a pledge of $500 for a pair of blue or clear Metl tires (weighing 450g with an equal dimension of 700x35c) which might be “DIY straightforward set up” onto commonest highway or gravel bike rims. That’s about 10x the worth of fine bicycle tires, with costs exceeding $1,300 when choosing a pre-assembled bundle that features aluminum rims, or $2,300 in the event you favor carbon rims.

Right here’s a Verge video that gives a deeper dive into nitinol and its NASA origins (and future):

Regardless of their memory-metal development, the tires do present grip due to an built-in all-weather tread that provides “medium low” rolling resistance, in line with the marketing campaign. The tread is rated for as much as 8,000 miles with retreads priced at $10 per tire. The Metl bicycle tires are stated to supply a “light-weight, clean trip, with superior dealing with and sturdiness” that may additionally “improve traction” in comparison with typical air-filled tires. 

Estimated supply of the Metl bicycle tires is listed as June 2024. As of proper now, the marketing campaign already has 128 backers, incomes triple its purpose with 28 days nonetheless to go. Stretch objectives (if the marketing campaign earns sufficient) embody making wider Metl tires for eBikes and mountain bikes, and extra highway/gravel sizes and tread patterns.

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