NAME: John Chen
TITLE: General Manager
The bicycle business runs in John Chen’s family. Chen, founder of pedal manufacturer Wellgo, is the brother-in-law of Stella Yu, founder of Velo saddles.
“I have been married to her younger sister, Shirley, for 27 years, but I’ve known Stella for more than 30 years,” Chen said. “She is a good friend and I feel that we have been a family forever!”
Chen founded Wellgo in 1979, and it has since grown into one of the biggest OEM manufacturers of mid- to high-end pedals for some of the top names in the business. It also owns Xpedo brand. In recent years, Wellgo has branched into cycling shoes. Other products include the Clicker step-in binding for K2 snowboards, housings for car headlights, and parts for farm machinery.
Wellgo makes magnesium and titanium pedals and recently introduced a carbon fiber pedal line. It recently launched its own clip system, the Speedy.
When he started Wellgo, Chen said he focused on pedals because they were “the most interesting and fun thing for me to play around with.”
Playing around with pedals has led to a $33 million a year business. Wellgo has 410 employees in three factories. One Taiwan factory specializes in magnesium fabrication. The China factory, in a suburb of Shanghai, sits next to a Velo factory.
Chen said he enjoys the business because it’s a green industry that makes healthy and environmentally friendly products. “The advantage of bicycles is endless, and you will feel it once you step on to a bike,” he said.
Chen enjoys gardening and time spent with his family. He and Shirley Yu have three daughters: Jennifer, Ann and Tina.