Flexible Metal NASA Robot Tires Now Available for Bicycles

NASA metal tires allegedly never get flat or… tired

A couple of the awards at this year’s CES mentioned a metal mesh tire, based on NASA research and missions.

Originally developed by NASA and now commercialized for terrestrial use by The SMART Tire Company, these superelastic tires are airless, durable and will never go flat. Made from a special advanced material, NiTinol+ (nickel titanium), a shape memory alloy (SMA) that’s elastic like rubber, yet strong like titanium.

Priced at only $100 it seems too good to be true.

Its primary claim is durability, since the metal lasts far longer than rubber and is puncture proof. This is huge news for military applications (such as this or this), not to mention other forms of disaster response.

Swiss book about a century of bikes used in war, which gets far less attention than it should.
This is the U.S. Army bike used in the 1890s to literally invent mountain biking by riding through the Rockies without roads. Source: Online Bicycle Museum

Makes sense I guess for anyone commuting on the surface of the moon, or a Google campus.

However, for the rest of us the tire seems to lack traction and performance data. NASA missions don’t typically deal with the environments and behaviors found on Earth. And what do they sound like, tank treads on pavement like the Battle of Singapore bikes?

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