Editor's note: The Minnesota Business team was saddened to hear that Steve Hed passed away as our December issue went to press. Our thoughts are with Steve Hed's friends and family.
Many cyclists hang their wheels this time of year. Others say “frozen beards be damned” and switch to fat bikes, which sport oversize tires optimized for snow.
“[Fat bikes] started in Alaska, but then in Minnesota, with all the snow, they became really big,” says Steve Hed, co-founder and president of wheel maker HED Cycling. “A lot of riders are getting off their mountain bikes and switching out to fat bikes.”
One downside of fat bikes: the extra weight makes them relatively slow. With that in mind, Hed’s company (hedcycling.com) recently began making the Big Deal, a wide rim made entirely of lightweight carbon fiber. Besides being lighter and faster, the sturdy rim features Inflatobam, Hed’s patent-pending tubeless system for more easily installing fat bike tires.
Priced at about $2,240 per set, the Big Deal is just one of many circular creations from HED, which caters to professional cyclists and serious recreational riders around the world. In addition to a wide assortment of high-end rims, the company makes handlebars, stems, and various accessories.
With about $10 million in revenue and 45 employees, most of whom cycle avidly or even compete in races, the company manufactures all of its products in Minnesota — from start to finish.