Jeff Bales Builds a NoCom Clone
     Jeff Bales Builds a NoCom Clone
My goal with this bike build is to create a lowracer splitter-bike to compete against the NoCom and NME bikes that are doing well in recent races. The bike will conform to the WRRA racing rules pertaining to splitter bikes. The splitter plates will help to reduce turbulence behind components, frame
and wheels contributing to a greater speed.

With exception of the seat, this will be a mold-free construction. I'll use a combination of carbon fiber and fiberglass over balsa wood for the construction. It should be incredibly strong and fairly light, though probably not as light as a NoCom. It will be cheap and easy to build.

I'll be using materials that I have on hand, some of which were left over from the Lunatic Fringe Streamliner construction. I have: carbon fiber donated by Hexcel, isophthalic polyester tooling resin (tons of it), fiberglass, bike parts partially donated by Ajo Bikes, and other goodies.
I'll be building custom wheels as well.

The reason that I chose the bike name, Kraken, was to take advantage of the look of a splitter-bike's somewhat nautical appearance. Also, I liked the Kraken monster in the 1981 movie, "Clash of the Titans". I joke around a lot in my factory when I'm muscling something heavy around, like one of my
waterfall molds. I yell out, "Unleash the Kraken!" It tends to lend itself to my riding style as well. I'm a sprinter and enjoy giving it my all over a short period of time.

The Kraken was known to destroy entire cities, menacing all who got in its path... 
"Unleash the Kraken!"

This is the "clincher" seat from the Lunatic Fringe Streamliner build. The mold for the seat didn't survive a fire that heavily damaged the streamliner
and destroyed all molds. I smoothed the seat and made a mold off of it.
The mold was made by flanging the edges of the seat with cardboard, then laying up putty and fiberglass. I also imbedded some 2x4's into the
fiberglass mold to make sure it didn't warp. The mold was then treated with PVA mold release.
The seat was laid up with 4 layers of 2 oz. carbon fiber then pulled from the mold. I added balsa strips formed to the back side of the seat using the "cut and crunch" technique and bonded them using a polyester and micro-balloon putty. All corners were rounded for an easy lay-up. Sure, I've
got a vacuum to bag and pull out excess resin, but I'm not going to use it. This will be a low-tech, high-tech build. I'm not concerned with having the
bike be slightly heavier than it could be. I'd rather have more fun building it, and get to riding it sooner. Besides, the steps that you'll see in this
build can be done by anyone! No fancy equipment needed.
This shows the balsa wood captured under a 3 oz. layer of fiberglass. After it cures, I'll sand off the fibers that stick out past the edges. The seat
will be incredibly strong... it needs to be, since it will be part of the bike's frame! The bullet shaped section in the middle will be where I cut a hatch to access the hollow area under it to store a water bag, tools, phone, and wallet during rides. The seat edge around the outside will have more
carbon bonded to it later to create the supports for the rear wheels and front part of the frame.
I bought my supply of balsa from They have decent prices
and you can order online. They shipped fast! I'll be going to a local wood-working shop to have them plane the boards straight before I use them
for the frame. The pieces are very slightly curved, but this is normal for raw materials. They're 2" thick. By the time they are planed, they'll be
around 1 7/8" thick. These will ideal to sculpt with.
The red line represents the target frame shape. The blue lines represent the positioning of the balsa 2x4 boards. These will be notched and glued, then shaped to fit the frame's profile. Additional balsa and foam will be used to fill in the remaining areas prior to sanding to final shape. The frame will be designed to utilize custom 20" wheels and tires, front and back.
Pictured is the front-wheel-drive fork with mid-drive and 72 tooth chain ring. I got the fork slightly used from Garrie Hill at a good price. I got the mid-drive slightly used from Steve Delaire ( with a new titanium gear at a good price.

The 72T chain ring is left over
from the Lunatic Fringe Streamliner build and was purchased from Warhawk Industries ( Total cost for these 3 go-fast goodies... about $400.

This photo shows Garrie's head tube on the FWD fork that he made for me. It's a PERFECT fit' thanks Garrie!

The epoxy that I'm using is PolyPoxy structural epoxy from Aircraft Spruce. It's $95 for 1 gallons. It's easy to use and saturates the carbon well. It's really strong after a second cure at 140 degrees for two hours.

Since I'm going with epoxy I went ahead and ordered some to make some custom wheels. I'm a heavy fellow and don't want to be poppin' tires as I try to chase Warren, Rick, Sean or Alan, so I opted for a 20' wheel that'll hold a wide slick. I made a mold off of a rim and made my own in carbon fiber and epoxy. It's REALLY strong! It's not finished yet in the picture. It'll get finish sanded, then spoked onto my Pantour hubs, front and back. It'll be a
cushy luxury racer. Race in comfort!

More later!

jeff *AT*

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