A company called The Smart Tire Company in Akron, Ohio, USA recently launched a bicycle tire called Metl on the Kickstarter platform. The tire is the first consumer product to use Nitinol, a NASA-developed shape-memory alloy made of nickel and titanium that can remember its shape through heat treatment. Compared to traditional bicycle tires, the company promises Metl tires will never puncture and will last a lifetime.
Metl tires are expensive, costing 500 US dollars per pair (currently about RMB 3640), weighing 450 grams, equivalent to 700x35c size, and can be easily installed on most common road cars and On the rim of a gravel road bike. If you opt for a package that includes aluminum wheels, the price goes up to $1,300 (aluminum wheels) or $2,300 (carbon fiber wheels). Metl tires will be delivered to backers in June 2024, the company said.
Metl tires, although constructed of memory metal, are also grippy because they have an all-weather tread built into them that provides low to moderate rolling resistance. The tread is rated for up to 8,000 miles and retreads are priced at $10 per tire. The company claims that Metl bicycle tires provide a “lightweight, smooth ride with superior handling and durability” and can also provide “increased traction” compared to typical pneumatic tires.
The company currently has 128 backers on Kickstarter, raising three times its goal and still has 28 days to go. If fundraising reaches higher levels, the company also plans to launch wider Metl tires for e-bikes and mountain bikes, as well as more road-bike sizes and treads.