Steve and Anne Hed are the
inventors of the modern aerodynamic wheel as we know it.
The little company in White Bear Lake, Minnesota revolutionized
the way a bicycle wheel looks when Hed developed the first
deep section wheels as a result of research at the Texas
A&M wind tunnel.
Since then the Heds have come up with many
innovative performance enhancements. One of the more unusual
was a “leash” or strap used by Mark Allen
at Ironmanin the '80's that tied his hips to the handlebar
stem in an attempt to increase pedal leverage.
More recently the Heds have been at working
turning out the usual assortment of excellent wheels and
their new, excellent aerodynamic handlebar which was used
by David Millar, among others, in the 2003 Tour de France.
Rumors circulated at the 2003 Interbike
Trade Show in Las Vegas that Hed would be releasing a
very limited quantity of a bike frame based on wind tunnel
research conducted at Texas A&M. The development of
the frame was shrouded in secrecy and was actually never
meant to be sold to the public. It started life as an
aerodynamically “inert” design to isolate
the drag characteristics of wheels and other components
being tested. The result was a bike with drag numbers
so low it made even minor changes in aerobar design or
wheel configuration become more apparent.
The rumors are true: Hed has built a number
of the very unusual frames, dubbed the “VO3”.
We acquired one of the very few bikes and have some early
photos of ours here. We shot the photos the day the bike
arrived and passed them on to our friends at www.timetrial.org.
We haven’t built a HED VO3 yet or ridden one. The
one example we received is a size “medium”.
We also ordered a “small” which, “May
be produced again at some time” but has already
been sold through the very limited production run for
Here is a sneak peek at the extremely rare,
new HED V03:
||The seat cluster area
is solid and innovative with two forward facing binder
bolts. The proprietary carbon seatpost is very nice
and fits smoothly in the frame. Fit and function of
all the frame elements are very good. HED paid attention
to functional details when this bike was made. It
is all go and no show based on our first examination.
are gigantic. No “Taiwan dent” needed
for chainring clearance. This is perfect for an FSA
Carbon Pro Team Issue cranks and their excellent new,
lenticular solid chainrings. The derailleur hanger
is a production, off-the-shelf replaceable model.
The adjustable front derailleur hanger facilitates
chainrings ranging from 53 tooth up to a possible
55-tooth knee buster.
||HED had a
new aerodynamic, bladed carbon fiber fork designed
and made to go with the frameset. It features an aerodynamic
“dimple” like the Cannondale Slice aerodynamic
fork. This is an interesting and attractive design.
We look forward to riding it.
routing for both derailleurs passes through the head
tube for a more aerodynamic profile. Threaded barrel
adjusters for minor “on the fly” gear
adjustments are included. This design enables the
cables to “draft” neatly behind the head
tube. It will also force the cable housings up, out
of the boundary layer of air as they make their way
back from the shifters mounted at the tip of the aerobars.
Weld quality looks good but unremarkable. This bike
is about function and speed. It may not win many beauty
||A very deep
wheel cutout is incorporated into the seat tube. This
is a “Cerveloesque” design element meant
to make the rear wheel ride in the draft of the seat
tube and eliminate any trailing vortices. The monostay,
wishbone seat stay assembly is not only aerodynamic
but the carbon fiber material provides ride comfort.
We can’t wait to ride this bike. Bikesport Owner
Tom Demerly ordered a size small for testing but further
production of frames is uncertain and no delivery
date has been specified. “This is likely to
be the only one we ever see” said Demerly.
||The Hed VO3 is a
700c wheel design, 73.8 degree seat tube angle
(depending on frame size) time trial specific
frame. According to HED it is a time trial specific
frame designed from wind tunnel test prototypes
and sold primarily for the club time trial circuit
popular in England. The frame features relatively
neutral time trial geometry and dimensions.
It may be an alternative for triathletes with
a very long femur bone also. Graphics are basic
and stark, black is the only color and the frameset
with fork and carbon seatpost sell for a seemingly
inexpensive $1200.00. The entire project is
reminiscent of something out of Area 51.