The invention of the pneumatic tire revolutionized transportation. Since then, manufacturers have constantly innovated the technology, materials, safety, and features of their respective products. Across all platforms that rely on these rubber components, a puncture can ruin anyone’s day. Thankfully, there’s a company working on a solution and they’re calling the METL.

You’ve likely seen some of the most promising proposals presented over the years. Although run-flat tires are already available, there are still limitations that need to be addressed. Lately, airless tires are gaining serious traction (pun intended), particularly the ones from Michelin dubbed the TWEEL are now commercially available.

Meanwhile, the METL comes from a startup called SMART Tire Company. Instead of the typical non-pneumatic options, their product reportedly uses a system developed by NASA. Moreover, instead of catering to larger vehicles, their aim is to supply cyclists with a rugged and reliable alternative.

What was originally intended for rovers was scaled down to benefit bicycles. The team is crowdfunding the METL via Kickstarter and has already amassed $124,212 from 237 backers as of this writing. With 24 days left, you can still make a pledge and be one of the first individuals to use advanced technology on their two-wheelers.

METL leverages the unique properties of Nitinol – a cutting-edge alloy that can flex and stretch like rubber yet is as durable as titanium. As such, SMART aptly stands for Shape Memory Alloy Radial Technology. Its production uses 50% less rubber and is the “world’s first re-treadable bicycle tire.” The service will be available at a much later time after launch.

We’re genuinely excited to see how well the METL tires perform in real-life scenarios. So far, it’s undergoing rigorous testing and exceeding expectations. It seems space-age technology finally trickles down to consumer-grade products. It makes us wonder what innovation would follow something this cool.

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Images courtesy of SMART Tire Company