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Bike tires made from NASA’s bizarre shape-shifting metal are now available to buy

A green prototype of the METL tire with the tread applied. You can see the coil of nitinol through the transparent tire. | Image: The Smart Tire Company

The Metl bicycle tire is the first consumer product we’re aware of to use nitinol, a NASA-developed shape-memory alloy made of nickel and titanium that can be trained with heat to remember its shape. Compared with traditional bicycle tires, Metl tires will never go flat and will last a lifetime — at least that’s the promise made by The Smart Tire Company, hailing from Akron, Ohio, which is also home to the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

Just be careful: the tires are being sold via a crowdfunded campaign on Kickstarter and that brings along risk, which I’d rate as high for something as cutting edge as this from a small startup. You’re also looking at a pledge of $500 for a pair of blue or clear Metl tires (weighing 450g with an…

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