AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame | Where Heroes Live On
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Jeff Cole


Created C&J Frames that have been raced to countless AMA Grand National victories and championships since 1970

Over a career spanning six decades, Jeff Cole has fabricated championship-winning frames for racers of many disciplines based on his understanding of geometry and rider feedback. His revolutionary frame designs influenced the racing landscape and made the industry think differently about frames.

Cole, 75, had what some might call a nontraditional start in the motorcycle industry. He worked on the family ranch in Santa Ana, Calif., and he didn’t ride.

After college, Cole “wasn’t doing anything to speak of” when his racecar-driving cousin, Don Edmunds—1957 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year—invited him to Indianapolis for a visit. Cole fell in love with oval-track racing, and Edmunds started teaching Cole everything he knew about chassis design and fabrication.

“At the end of the ’60s, I wanted to go into business on my own, but didn’t want to compete with my cousin,” Cole says. “Motorcycles came into the picture.”

In 1970, Cole and his high school classmate, Steve Jentges, formed C&J Precision Products. National dirt track racer Dallas Baker, also a classmate, helped him and Jentges better understand motorcycle design.

The company was located near Kawasaki’s research and development department, and the factory road racing team soon noticed C&J Precision Products frames.

“Kawasaki had us build their fuel tanks for their road racers, then started having us build chassis,” Cole says. “That led into building chassis for motocross racers.”

Cole says he did a lot of work with AMA Hall of Famers Eddie Mulder, who raced Triumphs, and Bill Werner, who worked at Harley-Davidson. He also worked on the RS750 frame for the factory Honda team.

The first engine Honda gave him was for the RS750, and the company provided him only a wooden model for a setup. Cole worked with Honda’s Jerry Griffith and future Hall of Famer Gene Romero to design the wheel base and head angle.
C&J frames have been raced to countless AMA Grand National victories and championships since 1970, including 20 AMA Grand National Championships during a 22-year span. Cole’s designs also proved to be successful in road racing, motocross, enduro and desert racing.

He built frames for AMA Hall of Famers Scott Parker, Kenny Roberts, Ricky Graham, Bubba Shobert, Chris Carr, David Aldana and Alex Jorgensen. Additionally, he built Hall of Famer Brad Lackey’s championship-winning KX450 frame.
Cole was recognized for his efforts in 2004 when he was awarded the AMA Pro Racing Award of Mechanical Excellence.
Cole says the geometry and material made C&J frames superior to stock frames.

“We used an aircraft tubing that had been used in the racecar world: 4130 chrome moly,” Cole says.
Jentges was involved with the business for only six years, but Cole continued it until 2004, when he sold the company. He still builds frames today as a hobby.

Looking back, Cole says, there’s not necessarily one thing he recalls as his biggest accomplishment.
“It all kind of adds up,” he says.

Even after all the years of work, Cole hasn’t slowed down and still likes tackling new projects.