Next-Gen Bicycle Tires Use Same Tech as NASA Rovers

A new alloy offers a promising design option

Bicycle tires
It's not bicycling on Mars, but it's not far removed from it, either.
The SMART Tire Company

Lately, a lot of attention being paid to advances in bicycle technology has focused on electric bikes. That isn’t surprising, especially considering the pandemic — people are looking for ways to get around safely, and riding a bike is a perfect solo activity. But not all of the technological breakthroughs happening in the world of bikes involve the ways in which they’re propelled. For one company, arguably the most intriguing feature of their work isn’t how the bike travels, but the tires it’s traveling on.

To put it another way, you might not think that the bike you ride around town has much in common with a rover NASA uses to explore space. And yet, when it comes to the work being done by The SMART Tire Company, that’s exactly what’s happening.

A new article by Jeremy Korzeniewski at Autoblog explores how this company’s tires echo tire designs suitable to cross the surface of Mars. At the heart of these tires is an alloy called NiTinol, made up of nickel and titanium. It was initially designed for use in Mars rovers, but the same durability makes the alloy useful for tires for use closer to home as well.

According to the article, the first tires made with this technology are scheduled to go on sale in early 2022. While their design mean that flat tires are not a concern, they may need to have a coating re-applied occasionally. For bicycle enthusiasts already looking for a high-tech leg up, this could be a game-changer.

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