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Specialized licenses Hed’s patent for aero rim shape

Published February 17, 2016

ROSEVILLE, Minn. (BRAIN) — Specialized and Hed Cycling announced that the two companies are collaborating on product development and that Specialized is licensing Hed’s patent for aerodynamic rim shaping and design.

The patent, No. 8,888,195, was filed by Hed in June 2009 and was approved by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office in November 2014. The patent allows designers to predict and design in a stall angle to the wheel in order to optimize the wheel for certain wind angles.

“We can predict the angle the stall will happen based on the tangent angle between the rim edge and tire edge. What it’s predicated on is having the widest area of the rim being wider than the tire. With traditional road bike wheels, that’s not the case, the tire is wider than the rim. This patent applies to bulge-shaped rims where a rim is wider than the tire. That’s what we use to predict stall angle in a wind tunnel,” said Greg Kopecky, who handles PR for Hed Cycling.

Kopecky said it’s a wheel and tire patent, and only covers rims that are wide enough to create a tangent angle to the tire. “In a nutshell, this patent is the reason that Hed started to pioneer wide rims in the first place,” he added.  

The patent covers both clincher and tubular aero wheels in all different rim depths.

For now, Specialized is the only brand licensing Hed’s patent. The company's Roval CLX64 wheels spec’d on the Venge ViAS are currently subject to the license agreement.

Hed Cycling expects other brands to follow suit. “We hope other wheel manufacturers that would require a license will enter into a similar friendly business relationship like Specialized has done,” said Anne Hed, owner of Hed Cycling. 

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