- - Smart Tire's NASA-Inspired "Metl" Airless Bicycle Tires Finally Hit the Market

Smart Tire’s NASA-Inspired “Metl” Airless Bicycle Tires Finally Hit the Market

After two years of reporting on, the Smart Tire Company has finally brought its NASA-inspired, airless Metl bicycle tire to market, offering roadies and gravel grinders alike a choice of 700 x 32c, 35c and 38c rubber that’s design to withstand the rigors of planetary travel right here on Earth. 

While the description suggests the Metl is airless, the tire’s hollow nature does in fact utilize air. However, unlike a traditional pneumatic tire, the Metl doesn’t have to be pressurized, so there’s no pumping required.

At the core of Metl is a Slinky-like spring that runs all the way around the tire, relying on a nickel-titanium material called NiTinol that’s design to maintain “memory shape”, allowing the tire to regain its structure after deformation, just like how a traditional tire returns to its original shape after compression and rebound.

Additionally, the spring is encased in a poly-rubber material that forms the tire’s transparent sidewalls and replaceable tread, giving the Metl a robust life span of up 8,000 miles. 

According to Smart Tire, the first version of the Metl will have a “fixed” firmness, while future models might one semi-pneumatic, whereby air can be added in order to increase firmness, but the design will still prevent the tire from going completely flat.

The Metl is once again the subject of a crowd-funding campaign, with a pledge of US$500 getting early-backers a set. Smart Tire is also offering dedicated aluminum and carbon wheelsets for pledges of $1,300 and $2,300, respectively, with an estimated delivery time of June 2024.  

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