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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    A question about lawyer lips

    or lawyer tabs, or what ever you call the annoying things on the forks dropouts that prevent the quick release from working the way it should.
    When did they start appearing on bikes?
    Is it mandatory for the manufacturers to put them there?
    If so, when did that become mandatory?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member tzracer's Avatar
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    Not sure they are required. I bought a Waterford (frame and fork) last year, the fork has no lawyer lips.
    2007 Waterford
    BF-STL-00078

  3. #3
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    In the 1970s, bicycle manufacturers started to push "racing" 10 speeds on the public that were equipped with quick releases on the wheels. Before that, most bikes had bolted on wheels, which are very secure and which most people knew how to put on and take off.

    Many people did not know how the quick releases worked and there were several incidents of front wheels coming completely off the bike because the quick release wasn't properly secured, leading to serious injuries.

    The lawyers for the bicycle manufacturers told them to design the front fork with some kind of mechanism that would keep the wheel from coming out of the front fork, even if the quick release was not properly tightened, hence the term "lawyer lips".

    I don't know that there are any laws which require that bikes have lawyer lips, I think it's just prudence on the part of bicycle manufacturers to avoid liability.

    If you don't think proper quick release use is a problem, just do a search on quick releases here and you will see many posts where people are asking for instructions on how to use them.

    I always file off the lawyer lips, but I'm a lawyer so I can do this.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
    1990s Raleigh M20 MTB--2007 Windsor Hour (track)
    1988 Ducati 750 F1

  4. #4
    Junior Member drummer5359's Avatar
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    "I always file off the lawyer lips, but I'm a lawyer so I can do this."

    This must make it tough for your "significant other" to kiss you. lol.
    -Mike

    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA

  5. #5
    Senior Member Kurt Erlenbach's Avatar
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    I don't know anythng about the fork thingies of which you speak, but I know a bit about PI lawsuits. Assuming San-R's explanation is correct, the lawyer lips innovation is a perfect example of how and why product liability lawsuits are a good thing.

    Bolting on a wheel was a good way to connect the wheel to the fork, but a quick release greatly increases the functionality of the bike. It made it much easier to transport, easier to change a tube or a tire, and otherwise was a very good innovation. I also understand how they would be easy to mis-use, or to at least install incorrectly. No need to bash the end user who does it wrong as an idiot who deserves to be hurt - from the manufacturer's perspective, someone out there was going to do it wrong, the wheel was going to fall off, and the guy was going to be hurt, maybe seriously. So, why not make a simple change and fix it, and thereby make your product signficantly safer?

    So the manufacturers make a small, almost costless change to their forks and the problem largely goes away. It's true that it makes it a bit harder to get the wheel on and off, but that price is inconsequental when compared to the people who are not hurt when they don't use the quick release properly, but whose wheel does not fall off. Making a small change results in a signifcant increase in safety at almost no cost. All thanks to the threat posed by personal injury lawsuits.

    Remember this story the next time someone starts bashing ambulance chasers. It's because of them that the world is much safer than it would be otherwise.

  6. #6
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drummer5359 View Post
    "I always file off the lawyer lips, but I'm a lawyer so I can do this."

    This must make it tough for your "significant other" to kiss you. lol.
    Yeah, the vision of San Rensho filing off his lips is painful.

  7. #7
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post

    I always file off the lawyer lips, but I'm a lawyer so I can do this.
    Oh dear, I filed mine off (the forks that is) and I'm not a lawyer. Am I in trouble? Oh CRAP! I also ripped the tag off my pillow! <looks around nervously>

    What would you, as a lawyer, charge to file these off for me? (Just some fun lad, no harm intended).

    Seriously though, I always file mine off, wheel has never popped out on me yet.

    You think the LBS would show people how to do this, or ask if they know how.
    Originally posted by Bones_McBones: Wow Digger, wow! You've earned my respect.... I know ashoposo got werked up. You are the gutter pig of Trollheim.

  8. #8
    benter
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    The thing I don't get about the CPSC with regard to bicycles is why so many violations (that the bike shops & customers don't really care about) slip by, then there's a recall.

    Here's the law on hub retention. Strangely, it seems like retention for loose solid-axle nuts is required, but not "lawyer lips."

    [Code of Federal Regulations]
    [Title 16, Volume 2]
    [Revised as of January 1, 2008]
    From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
    [CITE: 16CFR1512.12]

    [Page 565]

    TITLE 16--COMMERCIAL PRACTICES

    CHAPTER II--CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION

    PART 1512_REQUIREMENTS FOR BICYCLES--Table of Contents

    Subpart A_Regulations

    Sec. 1512.12 Requirements for wheel hubs.

    All bicycles (other than sidewalk bicycles) shall meet the following
    requirements:
    (a) Locking devices. Wheels shall be secured to the bicycle frame
    with a positive lock device. Locking devices on threaded axles shall be
    tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.
    (1) Rear wheels. There shall be no relative motion between the axle
    and the frame when a force of 1,780 N (400 lbf) is applied symmetrically
    to the axle for a period of 30 seconds in the direction of wheel
    removal.
    (2) Front wheels. Locking devices, except quick-release devices,
    shall withstand application of a torque in the direction of removal of
    17 N-m (12.5 ft-lb).
    (b) Quick-release devices. Lever-operated quick-release devices
    shall be adjustable to allow setting the lever position for tightness.
    Quick-release levers shall be clearly visible to the rider and shall
    indicate whether the levers are in a locked or unlocked position. Quick-
    release clamp action shall emboss the frame or fork when locked.
    (c) Front hubs. Front hubs not equipped with lever-operated quick-
    release devices shall have a positive retention feature that shall be
    tested in accordance with the front hub retention test, Sec.
    1512.18(j)(3), to assure that when the locking devices are released the
    wheel will not separate from the fork.

  9. #9
    Randomhead
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    The original solutions bike manufacturers came up with were much worse. Front wheel retention came about due to the CPSC, not because of lawyers. The solution has changed over the years. The lips are actually a lot better than the early methods. I noticed Peter White advocates using lawyer lipped forks if you have a front disk.

  10. #10
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    Not everyone knows how to use a quick release. About 10 years ago on a racing club ride I saw a guy bunny hoppy some water at about 25 mph. His front wheel fell off, and his early shell-less styrofoam helmet exploded the second time his head hit the pavement. Off to hospital for him...

    You and me can file the wheel rentention bumps off, but some people need all the help they can get.

  11. #11
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerlenbach View Post
    I don't know anythng about the fork thingies of which you speak, but I know a bit about PI lawsuits. Assuming San-R's explanation is correct, the lawyer lips innovation is a perfect example of how and why product liability lawsuits are a good thing.

    Bolting on a wheel was a good way to connect the wheel to the fork, but a quick release greatly increases the functionality of the bike. It made it much easier to transport, easier to change a tube or a tire, and otherwise was a very good innovation. I also understand how they would be easy to mis-use, or to at least install incorrectly. No need to bash the end user who does it wrong as an idiot who deserves to be hurt - from the manufacturer's perspective, someone out there was going to do it wrong, the wheel was going to fall off, and the guy was going to be hurt, maybe seriously. So, why not make a simple change and fix it, and thereby make your product signficantly safer?

    So the manufacturers make a small, almost costless change to their forks and the problem largely goes away. It's true that it makes it a bit harder to get the wheel on and off, but that price is inconsequental when compared to the people who are not hurt when they don't use the quick release properly, but whose wheel does not fall off. Making a small change results in a signifcant increase in safety at almost no cost. All thanks to the threat posed by personal injury lawsuits.

    Remember this story the next time someone starts bashing ambulance chasers. It's because of them that the world is much safer than it would be otherwise.
    Actually a properly adjusted quick releases worked quite well... now with "lawyer lips," one has to constantly adjust the quick release and may actually clamp to the lawyer lips themselves, vice the drop out, thus complicating the problem that was only a problem when lawyers determined it was.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    This is the requirement for lawyer lips:
    1512.18(j)(3), to assure that when the locking devices are released the
    wheel will not separate from the fork.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
    This is the requirement for lawyer lips:
    1512.18(j)(3), to assure that when the locking devices are released the
    wheel will not separate from the fork.
    But note that according to 1512.12(c) that requirement only applies to front hubs that *do not* have quick release levers.
    AFAIK, the lawyer lips are not a specific requirement of the CPSC, but are a response to a costly lawsuit where there was supposedly expert testimony that even a properly adjusted quick-release mechanism could come loose due to vibration and shock while riding and result in loss of the front wheel if the bike then hit a big enough bump. Personally I can not see this happening with a properly used quick release with the possible exception of bikes that use a front disk brake where the calipers are behind the dropout resulting in a reaction force to braking that tends to push the hub down and out of the dropout. Even in that case a good quick release should provide adequate retention, but some models on the market do not.
    (None of my bikes have lawyer lips.)

  14. #14
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post

    I always file off the lawyer lips, but I'm a lawyer so I can do this.

    After explaining to a girl why they were called lawyer lips and laughing about it, she told me both of her parents were lawyers. oops.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  15. #15
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
    After explaining to a girl why they were called lawyer lips and laughing about it, she told me both of her parents were lawyers. oops.
    Can you explain the rationale of the enthusiasts who go to the bother of filing them off? Weight savings, micro second time savings when removing the wheel, or what?

  16. #16
    Primate Metzinger's Avatar
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    ^Changes it to a 'not-quite-as-quick release'. Feels regressive once you've enjoyed actual quick releases.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Can you explain the rationale of the enthusiasts who go to the bother of filing them off? Weight savings, micro second time savings when removing the wheel, or what?
    Some cyclists know how to use a quick release properly and a smaller group races. Wingnutting over lawyer lips is a delay and an annoyance.

  18. #18
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    File em off cause it's a pain in the ass to find that after flipping the QR lever, the wheel is not in fact free to remove yet; still have to mess with unscrewing the nut on the other end.
    So in a way they defeat the 'quick' aspect of the QR. Filing them down fixes the paradigm.

  19. #19
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    LAWYER LIPS:

    If a Lawyer's lips are moving, he's lying.


    ha ha ha.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  20. #20
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    Are those supposed to be on both sides? If so then I'm missing one on a jogging stroller we bought off of craigslist. I wouldn't worry about it but the spring on the skewer looks to be overly compressed on that side which makes me think it needs a spacer. rather than just putting a washer on I might as well put the original thing on so its there in a few years when I sell it.

  21. #21
    smatte
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    I used to have a fast bike with no safety quick releases. When my kids were little my wife noticed one of my releases was undone after the kids were playing near there. I got home sooner than she expected and went for a ride before she could tell me (mid 90's, no cell phone). I hopped out of the front wheel at a high speed, I still can't remember the crash. I smashed my helmet to bits, got a serious concussion, fractured 2 vertebrae, messed up my wrist, and lost a fair amount of face skin. I keep the safety things on my wheels now, and check them every so often. But that's just me.

  22. #22
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srmatte View Post
    I used to have a fast bike with no safety quick releases.
    There is no such thing as a "safety" quick release (unless you consider curved levers a "safety" Q/R) - only tabbed washers and extruded dropout edges.

    Neither is a bike itself fast - the rider determines the speed.

    Quote Originally Posted by srmatte View Post
    When my kids were little my wife noticed one of my releases was undone after the kids were playing near there.
    Is there no end to basic mechanical ineptness? If she had known how to tighten a Q/R skewer, a nasty accident would have been avoided.

    Quote Originally Posted by srmatte View Post
    I keep the safety things on my wheels now, and check them every so often. But that's just me.
    You're not solving the problem by relying on the stupidity clips (sounds to me as if you have tabbed washers) to compensate. Check your Q/R skewers just before you mount up, every time. Period.

    -Kurt

  23. #23
    Team Fat Boy SeattleShaun's Avatar
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    check them every so often. But that's just me.

    You crashed because you failed to check your QR skewers and now you only check them every so often?

  24. #24
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeattleShaun View Post
    You crashed because you failed to check your QR skewers and now you only check them every so often?
    - good catch.

    Some folks will never learn, eh?

    -Kurt
    Last edited by cudak888; 03-31-09 at 10:45 AM.

  25. #25
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Can you explain the rationale of the enthusiasts who go to the bother of filing them off? Weight savings, micro second time savings when removing the wheel, or what?
    My lawyers lips told me not to talk about it.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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