STC originally launched in 2021 as a spin-out of the NASA Startup Studio, and has previously appeared in TechCrunch, Fast Company, Popular Science, and popular cycling sites featuring their unique, high performance airless tires. This announcement marks the first pre-sales availability of METL tires, the culmination of 2 years of intense development building the first ever sustainable, lightweight airless tire.
Tires are available exclusively through Kickstarter in common 700c road/gravel bike sizes, where the company is selling 1000 first-edition tires (500 sets). The standard clincher tires are tubeless and compatible with standard bicycle rims. For those looking for a fully integrated setup, there are a limited number of custom wheel sets available with the tires already preinstalled. STC has another surprise for mobility users as well: a set of SMART Tires made exclusively for electric scooters, as part of an overall strategy to make micro-mobility safer, more reliable and sustainable without sacrificing performance or ride quality.
In June 2023, SMART tires were featured at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the world’s preeminent motorsports festival, as part of the specially curated Future Lab exhibition. Other futuristic participants included NASA, ESA, IBM Quantum and the UK Atomic Energy Authority.
STC was recently featured on popular YouTube science channel Veritasium, where host Derek Muller enjoyed a ride over a bed of nails, as well as on a set of METL tires that had been shot with a rifle. The episode features a deep dive into the technology behind the tires at NASA, where shape memory alloys are used to develop rovers for extreme environments such as the Moon and Mars.
The technology has also drawn interest from Hyundai/Kia and NASCAR. Hyundai selected STC as the only US-based winner of the Accelerate the Future Challenge for future automotive tech, and NASCAR recently sponsored a lunar terrain vehicle team destined to transport astronauts on the moon, which features shape memory alloy tires produced by The SMART Tire Company.
In addition to being a novel new take on airless tires, the company also claims to have invented a much more sustainable solution to tire waste: re-treadable tires. Rather than discarding tires when they go flat, or have worn out, SMART Tires allow the rubber treads to be replaced. The tires already require about 50% less rubber, but with retreads and recycling programs, the overall CO2 footprint will be much less than conventional tires. In recognition of this advancement, STC is nominated for a 2023 Green Award.
Source: The SMART Tire Company, Inc.