Is Stella Yu the most powerful woman in the cycling industry? By many accounts, absolutely.
  • Curtis Gilker

    I have the Velo Senso VL100 on my bike (since 2011), and when the time comes, will replace it with the same.

  • MattHurst

    Interesting article, thank you.

  • Liam Hodgkinson

    I always had a feeling that a woman had me by the balls, quite literally

  • Larry @CycleItalia

    Interesting attitude. She says:” I pay for Mercedes-Benz, not Maxxis tire, or whatever.” Yet her company cranks out zillions of pretty-much-the-same saddles differing ONLY in the brand name stamped on them. So the buyer ends up paying for the Mercedes-Benz NAME, even if the actual product is cheaply made in Asia.

    • Margie Baldwin


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      two days ago new Mc.Laren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Hereo!416????? http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsJobs/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:::::o!416……

    • Peter

      I think the point made in the article is that the saddles are not pretty-much-the-same. Each customer has its own design team.

      • Larry @CycleItalia

        Yeah, right. Just like the bicycles themselves – all made in one of how many factories churning out pretty–much-the-same products? My issue is the attempt to paste artisan quality and high value onto mundane products produced mostly for the low price the maker can offer. Kind of the opposite of this –
        https://www.facebook.com/Sopwamtos-Society-of-People-Who-Actually-Make-Their-Own-Shit-184981991584053/

        • thepeasant

          Have you heard of Luxotica? Trust me, thats even more creepier than this one.

    • CapeHorn

      I think the point of those words were more looking at the idea from the bike companies that if they are going to sell a bike, they should be getting more of the total revenue of the bike, so not just making a frame, and then adding extras from a miriad of other companies, with large amounts of the sale price not going to your own bottom line, but if the bike company sells the bike with their ‘own’ product they can keep more of the total sale price.

      • Larry @CycleItalia

        Oh, I understand the concept and motives perfectly – I just don’t agree that slapping a brand-name (like Mercedes) on something NOT made by (Mercedes) the brand should merit higher profits due to perceived value. Would you buy a Chinese Ferrari?

        • CapeHorn

          I am not sure it comes down to percieved value to the company, but actual dollars, as for ‘just slapping a brand name on’ for many years, Ford Lasers came with Mazda engines (not fully the same, as ford own(s/ed) mazda), and currently, the Toyota FT86 is made by Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru), which while a business arrangement, not full ownership. Are you buying a Toyota or a Subaru if you buy a FT86?
          Or you may be more refering to Ms Yu’s beliefs. There was a guy I know of a few years ago that returned his Sony laptop because when he opened it up, he was mortified that the hard drive was made by Seagate, that the ram was made by someone else (note – Sony doesn’t make hard drives or memory chips), The guy then returned the laptop because it was not all made by Sony, so he claimed it wasn’t what he paid for. For this guy, it was a perceived qualitythat drove his actions, he believed that Sony made high quality equipment and that by having third party products, his laptop would be less than if all the bits were branded ‘Sony’ (ignoring the fact that Sony doesn’t make 90% of the bits that go into a laptop)
          Question – What would make a Chinese Ferrari? Would that be some random third party with no rights to the trademark sticking a prancing horse badge to a coupe and calling it a Ferrari? (if so, then no, I would not). If Ferrari outsourced production from Italy to China/Taiwan, spent a LOT of money on QA, and started selling Chinese/Taiwanese Ferrari’s with the full knowledge and approval from the parent company, then I would be just as likely to buy a Ferrari as I am now.

          • Larry @CycleItalia

            This lady doesn’t seem to care one bit about whether her car’s bits are MADE BY MERCEDES, just that is says “MERCEDES” on them. I assume this is the reason her company created an Italian-sounding name (Prologo) to market their saddles? If their quality and reputation is so stellar, why not just brand them VELO? Do you think Chinese-made Ferrari’s would hold their resale value like the Made in Maranello ones have?
            It’s the same as “Designed in the USA” or “Adrenalina Italiana” slapped on Chinese bicycles – they might be great in every way, but there’s a very deliberate attempt to mislead the customer – something I find offensive.

            • CapeHorn

              I will agree with the first part of your statement, but reality, for the vast number of consumers, They either don’t know the difference, or do, but don’t particulary care. Reality, something like two companies build something like 85% of bikes, either bikes of brands that the parent company owns, or they act as the manufacturer for other brands. Some large brands have their dedicated own manufacturing plants, but the plant is owned and operated by one of these two companies.
              Reality – this is just business, and there is not much that we can do about it. Even if you go and buy a nice custom bike, there are still going to be bits on the bike that were not made by the bike company.
              Personally – if you are going to be worked up about misleading the public, I think there are much more important things to look at – like Chinese produce being imported into NZ, packaged in NZ, then shipped to Australia. The some of the products are marked as Product of NZ, with no links back to the origin of the product, now this would be misleading the consumer. Marking a bike as ‘Designed in the USA’ I don’t find misleading. Now if Cervelo was to scream ‘Product of America’ on every frame, I would have an issue, but they stat ‘Designed in America’ – I don’t see this as misleading.
              And just because something comes from Asia doesn’t mean it is worse quality that if it comes from elsewhere. Some Subarus are made in the USA, and most are made in Japan. The ones made in Japan have a much higher build quality.

              • Larry @CycleItalia

                Thanks you make yourself very clear, especially with “Reality – this is just business…” the famous phrase countless greedy pricks have used while f__ing their customers and/or employees for centuries. The only reason I posted anything on this subject was that this person was being held up as some sort of example of how to run a great business.
                Marketing/branding when it’s little more than slapping a “designer” or expensive-sounding “brand” name on stuff doesn’t deserve a lot of accolades in my book.

                • david__g

                  Wow, you’re getting very wound up about this.

                  Think of it this way – Mercedes probably don’t make their steering wheels. They design them and spec them but the actual production is performed by a specialized steering wheel manufacturer in Akron, Ohio or something. Now, would you want the Mercedes logo on the steering wheel, or the logo of UNITED STEERING WHEEL MANUFACTURING HEAVY INDUSTRY GROUP?

                  Although I’m not sure why I bothered to make the effort to explain as you seem to want to deliberately misunderstand the whole issue.

                  • Larry @CycleItalia

                    It’s not misunderstanding the issue, it’s a difference of opinion. I dislike what the Brits used to call “badge-engineering” something you dismiss as “just business”. Same with putting an Italian-sounding name (like Prologo) onto something that’s made in Asia, for what other reason than consumers will pay more for a higher (but fake) perceived value? This lady’s company is certainly not the first or the only one to do this, i took issue with it only because it was presented as a sort of positive example.

                    • david__g

                      Your biggest problem is that you seem incapable of accepting that stuff made in Asia can actually be of high quality. Probably higher quality in many instances than stuff made in Italy.

                    • Dave

                      Very true. The level of quality control in Italian products is generally shithouse – largely as a result of most of the towns in the industrial heartland having been ruled by the Communist Party for decades.

                      Since Alfa Romeo shifted production to Thailand (also where Toyota build the Hilux) they have achieved quite decent build quality and reliability, whereas their former Italian-built cars were largely thought of as a good cars for women to buy if they wanted a long-term relationship with their mechanic.

                      With bike stuff, it’s best to go for a Euro design built in Taiwan if you want genuine quality. European workers are simply too lazy to achieve that sort of quality at prices ordinary people could buy.

                    • warnschild

                      ” European workers are simply too lazy to achieve that sort of quality at prices ordinary people could buy.”

                      First, “Europe” is not a country, but several, differing very much in industrial production, workers’ income and education. Second, more often than not the problem is not the quality, but the cost of workforce in an industrialized country that is too high.

                      Third, the majority of parts in cars – be it Mercedes, VW/Skoda/Seat, Opel/Vauxhall, BMW,…. – are built and designed by specialized companies like LuK, Bosch, Siemens and many smaller not so well-known specialists. Some of them deliver to virtually any well-known brand in the world: They are specialists and good at what they’re doing.

                      As with bicycles, the higher-quality brands use better parts and materials and do more of the designing job themselves. Also, they do more testing in advance and invest more into tailormade technical solutions.

                • thepeasant

                  all points understood. Sometimes though, its because one has a strong enough brand already. Imagine if you have a strong brand making bike frames one way to increase your revenue is to venture out doing other things other than frames. You wouldnt be building a new factory just for saddles or wheels would you? thats why factories like this exists. Look at Specialized, soon they will build Specialized groupsets :) and then one can buy a pure specialized bike :)

                  • Dave

                    Got to have a good laugh at the idea of the Merida Design Office actually building anything!

            • Dave

              Ah yes, that traditional Maranello quality…

              http://www.ausmotive.com/pics/2012/Ferrari-458-fire-Switzerland-01.jpg

    • CapeHorn

      I think the point of those words were more looking at the idea from the bike companies that if they are going to sell a bike, they should be getting more of the total revenue of the bike, so not just making a frame, and then adding extras from a miriad of other companies, with large amounts of the sale price not going to your own bottom line, but if the bike company sells the bike with their ‘own’ product they can keep more of the total sale price.

  • I love these kind of insights, James. Thanks, and please keep publishing more!

  • singlespeedscott

    An inspirational woman.

  • Velo quite simply is where you go to get stuff like saddles and grips done when you’re making in TW. The number of small brands and the like that go through Velo is astounding and the quality is like everything in life, you get what you pay for – so the cheap stuff, is, well cheap and the expensive stuff, is good/great.

  • warnschild

    I like her attitude somehow and envy her passion for her work. On the other hand, these kind of companies tend to cease with their leader’s death, and that’s a sad thing in my eyes. I really hope she is able to hand over her knowledge and experience, part of her gathered wisdom, to future generations

    • James Huang

      She’s already been grooming her niece to take over the reins when the day finally comes – although if Stella’s parents are anything to go by, that day is a long ways off. But yes, so many companies are essentially defined by the person at the top and it’s often difficult to maintain the formula when that person is gone. She seems to be planning well in advance so time will tell how it pans out.

  • Great article. Power can come in tiny packages. I like the fact that she is a morning person. So important to get in the time to ride, think, and create.

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