A Few Words with Jeff "Mr. KDX" Fredette

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THE name Jeff Fredette is synonymous with the KDX and if you've been involved in off-road riding for any length of time you've likely heard tales of his accomplishments. JustKDX recently had an opportunity to ride and hang out with a legend in our sport and took the opportunity to ask him a few questions.


Jeff Fredette is the owner of Fredette Racing Products and a U.S.A. ISDE racing legend.

Born January 16th, 1958

Carrier highlights:

  • 22 years of ISDE competition resulting in:

10 ISDE Gold Metals

11 ISDE Silver Metals

1 ISDE Bronze Metal

No DNF's in ISDE Competition

  • Numerous Ice Racing Championships

  • Multi time AMA District 17 Enduro Champion for the past 3 years

The Interview:
JustKDX – Do you remember your first bike?

Jeff – a Hodaka Ace 90. I was 12.


JustKDX – How did you get involved in off road riding?

Jeff   – Like many people Dad got us involved. Dad did it and the family went to all the enduros. We would go to all the spectator places and would help the riders through. . . . Dad got a little better help though. LOL


JustKDX – What originally attracted you to enduro racing?

Jeff   – I like the fact that its you against the others and the elements yet you’re not bar to bar racing.



JustKDX – When did you decide to make racing a career?

Jeff   – I don’t really know when it became a career it just happened.


JustKDX – I’ve heard you called deceptively fast. What’s your secret to speed?

Jeff – SMOOTH, you can go fast for a short amount of time but a smooth rider will always come out on top in the long run.


JustKDX – You own and operate Fredette Racing Products, how did it all get started?

Jeff   – It was a better mousetrap thing. It started off with hand guards. I thought I could build a better pair and for less. I did and sold some to a few friends. Then a friend at Hallman Racing wanted a lot of them and off it went. The ads brought the KDX guy with questions and it just evolved from there.


JustKDX- You're a Team Green supported off road rider. How did that get started?

Jeff   – In 1982 I was riding with partial support from Suzuki when their off road effort fell apart. Jones Goggles wanted to field an off road team and enlisted Fritz Kadlec and myself to ride Kawasaki’s sponsored by Jones Goggles and Metzeler Tires. At first I wasn’t too thrilled . . . some of the Kawasaki bikes had bad reputations of breaking down in those days. I opted to ride the KDX200 and have been on KDXs ever since. In 1987 Kawasaki stepped up with full factory support and I’ve been on Team Green ever since.


JustKDX – You’ve done some development work as well. Can you talk about that?

Jeff - In the early 1990ís I raced a KX125 chassis with a KDX200 engine. With some encouragement I talked  Kawasaki's engineers into adding a KX style perimeter frame on the next generation KDX (1995). I also worked with a few after-market companies like FMF. FMF was going to drop the torque pipe for KDXs but I was able to convince them there was a market for both.


JustKDX – What tips do you have for new KDX owners?

Jeff   – GREASE. Make sure to go over your new bike and grease the steering head, swing arm and linkage bearings. Other than that ride the bike for a while before making any modifications. You might like it stock and when you add upgrades you’ll definitely see the difference.


JustKDX – Any tips for individual bike set-up?

Jeff   – Take the time to correctly jet the bike and tune the suspension to your needs. If you weigh more than 150lbs you’ll need to upgrade the fork springs.


JustKDX – What tips do you have for new riders?

Jeff   – Don’t take it too seriously. . . . this is supposed to be fun. When riding be courteous to other riders and landowners property. Enjoy the friends you make on the trail and the experiences of off roading, who knows how much longer we’ll be able to ride.


JustKDX – 20 years of ISDE racing, what keeps you coming back for more? What’s the enduring attraction?

Jeff   – Well I guess the thing that keeps me coming back for more is the event itself. These days I take it more as a trail ride in a different country each year and the chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones, that and the fact I’ve always liked and done better at long distance racing.


JustKDX – What’s the hardest day ever at an ISDE. At what point did you say, " I don’t know if I can keep going "?

Jeff   – There were a couple of tough ones that ring a bell. 1980 in France, 1983 in Wales and 1993 in Holland. In Holland (1993) I had a great first day. A lot of riders dropped out and the mighty 200 went great. Day 2 I noticed a little knocking sound that was troubling and I did a top end in the 15 minute work period at the end of the day and finished it up the next morning. Things went down hill fast from there and in Holland there are no hills! The bike ran terrible, something hadn’t gone according to plan. . . . I could only get half throttle. It was a tough day with rain and a tight schedule. I got in almost 45 minutes late and thought this is it I quite, then something inside me said " no way" and I held on and went through the remaining checks as early as I could and got back on time. In the ISDE you loose points for being both late and early at 60points/ minute. Then I was off on lap two with the same stuff to look forward to. While on the second lap I figured out the problem . . . the top end I put on had no reeds in it and to make matters worse the KIPS arm just fell off from the mornings frantic operation. I was stuck in second gear for a while but luckily it freed itself up somehow and worked ok for the rest of the day. I got in late, 30 minutes this time, but by the end of the day got back on time. In the pits I took 55 minutes to get the bike ready for day 4 with a total overhaul, new reeds and a KIPS arm, tires, chain and sprockets and called it a day. I woke up to find I was disqualified. Wrong! " Check your books!" I lost some 9000 points and they just figured I had houred out. I was right and they allowed me to continue. The days didn’t get any easier to ride but I had a great running bike and by day 6 it was running good enough to win the final moto.



JustKDX – What does it take to be successful at the ISDE?

Jeff – I believe it takes three things: endurance, a good tough bike and good mechanical skills to keep yourself going for six days. You need to keep your mind on what you’re doing, what the bikes is doing and have the ability to keep your bike going. If you’ve got those 3 things going for you you've got a good shot.



JustKDX – You’re a person a lot of off road riders look up to. Who are some of your heroes?

Jeff – There are a few guys on the national level like Malcolm Smith, Dick Burleson and Ty Davis . The local level though is were the real off road riders are and I get the most enjoyment out of watching and helping these guys where ever I can.


JustKDX – What’s your most memorable moment?

Jeff   – The 1981 ISDE in France. I came in with 7 minutes to work on my bike before impound. I changed both the front and rear tire and a set of grips in 7 minutes and made it to impound just before puking from exhaustion.


JustKDX– You have a number of ice racing championships under your belt. Tell us about that.

Jeff   – Up north the riding season is cut short by Old Man Winter so when the going gets cold I go ice racing. Ice offers the ultimate in traction. Ice is much more consistent that dirt. Any time I can spend on the bike helps with off road riding . . . ice racing has helped my cornering immensely.


It never fails to amaze us how down to earth Jeff is.  He's a super friendly, approachable guy who's committed to the sport of off-road riding.  Jeff thanks for sharing some of your life with us.



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