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  1. #1
    Senior Member cnkjr's Avatar
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    Getting Rid of Lawyer Lips

    I am about tired of having to half unscrew the "acorn" on my quick release skewers to actually remove the front wheel from my bike. The only thing quick about the whole affair is that I don't have to get out a wrench.

    I've heard about people filing off the lawyer lips--those tabs on the end of the dropouts that keep the wheel from coming off unless the QR is half unscrewed. But can you file them off on a carbon fork?

    Any suggesions would be appreciated.

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    My suggestion is to check out

    http://www.ne.jp/asahi/julesandjames...ase/index.html

    if you have disc brakes.

    Then if you still want to file them off, make sure you have good medical insurance.

    Al

  3. #3
    Senior Member cnkjr's Avatar
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    But I don't have disc brakes. I'm riding a road bike with Shimano wheels and caliper brakes. No disc at all. With the reduced clamping force of rim brakes and the different direction I don't think I have much risk of a wheel being ejected.

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    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    File them off. Don't let paranoia ruin your experience. I've been without lawyer's lips on all my bikes for 16 years.

    A course file is probably the best way to go about it with aluminum dropouts, though I have carefully used an angle grinder before on steel forks. I usually leave the lips just barely proud of the dropout's face (I don't want to even touch the working face).

    If you leave the lips on, stop turning the QR nut!! You should hold it in place when you release the cam, then rotate the cam exactly two full turns (or three). Then when you replace the wheel, you hold the nut again, and rotate the same count on the lever side. You'll never have to go trial and error again.

    I'd still file them though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnkjr
    But I don't have disc brakes. I'm riding a road bike with Shimano wheels and caliper brakes. No disc at all. With the reduced clamping force of rim brakes and the different direction I don't think I have much risk of a wheel being ejected.
    I agree. But, for me personnally, I'd go to the extra bother of the lips.

    Al

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    One problem with filing off the lips is it will void your warranty. I asked both Easton and Kestrel about removing the lips and they both told me they would refuse to honor the warranty if I did.

    In the past I filed them off several steel and Al forks but, because of the warranty issue, have left them on my carbon forks.

  7. #7
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    our fit guy at the bike shop, a CAT rated racer, files the lawyer lips. during one race, his wheel fell off.multiple times, ensuring both a poor finish time and a concussion.

    do it at your own risk. maybe you could switch over to a bolt on axle with your carbon fork.

  8. #8
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    our fit guy at the bike shop, a CAT rated racer, files the lawyer lips. during one race, his wheel fell off.multiple times, ensuring both a poor finish time and a concussion.
    do it at your own risk. maybe you could switch over to a bolt on axle with your carbon fork.
    So how did this guy's quick-release come loose in a race, pray tell?
    Look, there are always stories like this, but if you tighten your quick-release when putting the wheel on the bike, you have nothing to worry about (unless the skewer itself snaps, in which case it won't matter that you have lawyer lips anyway). I've ridden thousands of miles without lawyer lips, and so have lots of other people here. Lawyer lips are an extra line of defense against user error, I guess.
    Last edited by TallRider; 12-18-06 at 08:17 AM.

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    I've never seen lawyer tabs on rear dropouts, and rear wheels seem to stay put just fine, despite all the torque and gear shifting and weight shifting going on back there. Odd, isn't it?

  10. #10
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by same time
    I've never seen lawyer tabs on rear dropouts, and rear wheels seem to stay put just fine, despite all the torque and gear shifting and weight shifting going on back there. Odd, isn't it?
    I'm totally in agreement. Although a rear wheel coming out ain't nearly as likely to make you crash as a front wheel coming out. But still, it never happens.

    I think the lawyer tabs for the front wheel are more of a barrier against user error. They remind you to tighten the Q/R carefully. And you remove the front wheel a lot more than the rear.

    Oh, and who do we have to thank for lawyer tabs? None other than consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Not saying that it wasn't well-intentioned, but there's plenty of lawsuit-driven manufacturers-CYA laws, or manufacturing habits, and lawyer tabs on the fork is certainly one of them.

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    Smart bike manufacturers wouldn't be upset if you filed them off, because they would not be liable for any subsequent injuries. One of the hot rod manufacturers leaves a big, ugly weld on their replacement axles for early ford cars. All the guys grind them smooth before having the axle chromed or powder coated. The maker loves it, no more liability. Of course, in the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you I'm a former lawyer. So don't be gettin rid of my lips, foo. bk
    Last edited by bkaapcke; 12-19-06 at 04:39 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timcupery
    I'm totally in agreement. Although a rear wheel coming out ain't nearly as likely to make you crash as a front wheel coming out. But still, it never happens.

    I think the lawyer tabs for the front wheel are more of a barrier against user error. They remind you to tighten the Q/R carefully. And you remove the front wheel a lot more than the rear.

    Oh, and who do we have to thank for lawyer tabs? None other than consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Not saying that it wasn't well-intentioned, but there's plenty of lawsuit-driven manufacturers-CYA laws, or manufacturing habits, and lawyer tabs on the fork is certainly one of them.
    I hit a nasty pothole the other day which knocked my rear wheel out of the dropout.....it does happen.....

  13. #13
    sch
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    One other minor advantage of the lawyer lips is the increased grip/safety in bike holders on tops of cars or inside them that rely on holding the front fork in a clamp with the wheel removed. Should the clamp not be quite tight enough the bike is much less likely to fall over or off. I got to buy a nice CF fork for my Teledyne because the bike fell over in the back of the van and broke off a fork tip. Despite grumbles and curses over the extra mess of tightening untightening the QR nut, a bit of thought over the hassle of buying a new fork quells the muttering.

  14. #14
    Videre non videri
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    The total time spent removing the "lips" probably equals a couple of hundred delays at removal if you leave them on. I estimate it takes no more than 2-3 seconds extra to unscrew that extra little bit.

    If you're in such a hurry that two seconds is too long for you, then I seriously suggest you take a chill pill! That kind of elevated stress is unhealthy.

  15. #15
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf
    The total time spent removing the "lips" probably equals a couple of hundred delays at removal if you leave them on. I estimate it takes no more than 2-3 seconds extra to unscrew that extra little bit.

    If you're in such a hurry that two seconds is too long for you, then I seriously suggest you take a chill pill! That kind of elevated stress is unhealthy.
    That's why I used an angle grinder on my steel forks. It took about 30 seconds total

  16. #16
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Even using a file only takes five minutes. Plus a couple of minutes for paint touchup using clear nail polish.

  17. #17
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timcupery
    Oh, and who do we have to thank for lawyer tabs? None other than consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Not saying that it wasn't well-intentioned, but there's plenty of lawsuit-driven manufacturers-CYA laws, or manufacturing habits, and lawyer tabs on the fork is certainly one of them.
    It might be a Nader-inspired thing, but it's not a law. My 2001 Ritchey Road logic came with steel forks and no tabs. It brought a tear to my eye when I pulled them out of the box. TR's like WTF? Tabs? Bah! My hero.

  18. #18
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnkjr
    But can you file them off on a carbon fork?
    I sure as hell wouldn't!
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  19. #19
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnkjr
    But can you file them off on a carbon fork?
    Quote Originally Posted by DMF
    I sure as hell wouldn't!
    Yes, you can file them off a carbon fork. If the fork dropouts were themselves made of carbon fiber, this would be a stupid idea. But carbon forks nearly always have aluminum dropouts, and these are easy and safe to file down.

    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets
    It might be a Nader-inspired thing, but it's not a law. My 2001 Ritchey Road logic came with steel forks and no tabs. It brought a tear to my eye when I pulled them out of the box. TR's like WTF? Tabs? Bah! My hero.
    I know it's not a law, but I don't know the ins and outs of liability issues related to fork tabs. My guess is that if someone loses their front wheel from a fork that was manufacturered without tabs (of course because of the fault of the user) courts are more likely to award the user money from the manufacturer than if the fork had been built with lawyer tabs.
    So we'll mostly see high-end small-market forks (like Ritchey steel forks) without tabs.

    My Raleigh aluminum bike has a beautiful lugged Reynolds 753 fork with no tabs. My 1984 Centurion Comp TA also has a beautiful fork, with integrated investment-cast crown, with no lawyer tabs. Centurion had "wised up" by 1987; my Ironman Expert had lawyer tabs until I filed them off.
    Last edited by TallRider; 11-21-08 at 09:21 AM.

  20. #20
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    I used to file off the lips on all my bikes for many years, not really for the minor inconvinience of wheel removal (especially from bike racks), but mainly for the cool factor. The cool factor has moved on to other areas of my bikes over the years (like chopping brooks saddles, for one) so I no longer bother filing them off. Besides, I never raced so quick wheel removal has never been that important for me.

    As for disc brakes and lawyer tabs, most newer disc specific forks have somewhat forward facing dropouts so filing tabs off of these shouldn't make any difference.
    Last edited by roadfix; 12-18-06 at 10:07 AM.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member cnkjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timcupery
    Yes, you can file them off a carbon fork. If the fork dropouts were themselves made of carbon fiber, this would be a stupid idea. But carbon forks nearly always have aluminum dropouts, and these are easy and safe to file down.
    I knew they had aluminum or steel that the skewer bit into, but I wasn't sure about the depth of the metal. I guess my question was whether the drop outs are merely faced with metal or whether they are completely metal.
    --Body built for downhill--

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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets
    That's why I used an angle grinder on my steel forks. It took about 30 seconds total
    I doubt the total time was 30 seconds. Getting the tools out, putting the bike up on a stand or something, removing the wheel first and replacing it after. Even so, 30 seconds means you have to take the wheel off about 10-15 times until you actually begin to save time...

    Seriously though, I really don't understand why people bother. If you have to remove your wheels that often, maybe you should start to think about why you have to do it that often. I don't think I've removed and replaced wheels more than a dozen times total over two years, ~3900 miles and two bikes! And that includes changing from smooth to studded and back several times.

  23. #23
    Jonnys ilegitimate Father cavernmech's Avatar
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    Quick releases have been around for decades. Lawyer lips have been around since some litigious clown broke his face cause he didnt know how to tighten a Q.R. correctly. If you are unsure about the usage of a Q.R. or are worried about warranty then leave em on there. safety is only a concern because people dont use them correctly. I have filed dozens of lips off carbon forks for people and have never had someone come back saying this screwed their forks.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    our fit guy at the bike shop, a CAT rated racer, files the lawyer lips. during one race, his wheel fell off.multiple times, ensuring both a poor finish time and a concussion.
    "CAT-rated racer" wow! Maybe that's why the TDF guys have to have somebody else tune their bikes.

    I'm thinking that he had a problem other than just no "lawyer lips". I wonder if he filed his dropouts too thin so that the axle stuck out just a smige. That'll prevent your QR from clamping the dropout and produce the indicated result.

    For the record, "lawyer lips" are only about 15 or so years old. Prior to that time nobody had them and most folks didn't miss them. I keep them on my bikes because it's not a big deal to me but but I doubt filing them off is likely to cause an accident for an enthuiast-level rider either.

  25. #25
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnkjr
    I knew they had aluminum or steel that the skewer bit into, but I wasn't sure about the depth of the metal. I guess my question was whether the drop outs are merely faced with metal or whether they are completely metal.
    Yeah, the dropouts are all metal, it's not just a coating. Usually glued into the end of the carbon tubing. So you wouldn't need to worry about filing to deep and getting into the carbon.

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