Steve Hed was a a relentless tinkerer whose innovations in aerodynamics and wheel design set industry trends for three decades. Hed died Wednesday, he was 59.
Hed collapsed outside one of the HED facilities, last Thursday. CPR was administered on the scene and as he was rushed to the hospital. He was removed from life-support on Tuesday night and passed away Wednesday morning.
The all-caps HED logo became an icon of the cycling industry over the course of three decades. Hed’s toroidal rim shape set a new standard for wheel aerodynamics; his wider rims changed the trajectory of the entire industry; his one-piece aero bars were revolutionary.
Hed was a technical advisor to many of those at the top of the sport, including Lance Armstrong, who was fiercely loyal to HED wheels through much of his racing career. Hed became the aero bike fitter for Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, and others on that team.
“Such a loss. HED was the first sponsor I ever had,” Armstrong said. “I was 16. He called and said, ‘I wanna sponsor you.’ I was thinking ‘Cool, a free disc wheel.’ Then he says, ‘I want you to ride my wheels and I’ll pay you 500 bucks a month.’ This is in 1987. I thought I was a millionaire.”
Also, on Twitter, Armstrong said, “Shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Hed. I loved him dearly as did everyone who ever met him. We’ll all miss him.”