Guess the UCI has Nothing Better to Do? – Lawyer Lips

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I was reading the other day about the UCI making it illegal for Professional teams to be competing in events without the “lawyer lips” on the forks of their bikes.

I’m not even sure where to begin with this. For one, doesn’t the UCI have better things to do that try to make the sport more complicated. I’ll filed more tabs off bikes than I can count. 100’s at a minimum.

Does the UCI realize that racing bicycles aren’t your everyday, run of the mill, bicycles. And that the tabs do nothing but make it much harder to replace a wheel (or put your bike on a car rack). They must realize that virtually every person involved in the sport of bicycle racing, at even the most basic level, realizes that having your front wheel properly attached to you bicycle is really important.

What is this rule for? Protecting us against ourselves. I read that in France it is illegal to file the tabs off your bike. So, in theory, if France teams remove their tabs, then they break French law. Is there someone in France that actually enforces that law? Wow.

There are rumors that everyone is going to be riding new skewers that open wider to clear the tabs, so the tabs are valueless anyway. Boy, that makes a lot of sense.

There better not be a trickle down effect to this rule. I have dozens of forks that would become virtually valueless if the USAC somehow would try to enforce this stupidity.

Here is a link
to the history of lawyer tabs and the proper way to deal with them.

I've personally done this on 100's of forks.

35 thoughts on “Guess the UCI has Nothing Better to Do? – Lawyer Lips

  1. JimW

    You don’t file them off MTB forks do you?
    What resists the hub twist from the disc brake.

    Tabs are necessary with disc brakes.
    You’ll see them on cross bikes and that fancy Colnago will have them too.
    The Clix skewer will allow for clearing the lips though so they may sell a fair bit of those now that trek and co aren’t interested like they were before.

  2. steevo

    I think that this rule would then be enforced at all USAC championship events (ie masters nats?)

    The high end colnagos dont even have them, like they are made without.

  3. AP

    Im thinking that keeping the tabs may actually be less safe than getting rid of them. A wheel change is always a frantic time, and now with the added focus needed, i think more mistakes may be made when attaching a front wheel. There is a chance it wont get inserted all the way, or that the skewer will be resting on the lawyer tab and not the dropout.
    Also, why dont all teams just not follow that rule? Is the UCI going to not allow any bike to be raced? No race, no money. Teams have been standing their ground regarding the radios, why not do the same with the lawyer tabs, something that has way less of an impact than radios.

  4. Andy

    UCI is nuts. One of the rationales they cite for mandating lawyer tabs is that filing them off would invalidate the warranty, which is ridiculous.

    Virtually any consumer warranty you can find for almost any product has listed in the legalese that one of their exclusions for coverage is the use of said item in racing or competition. By definition, after rolling off the start line in a race, the warranty already is invalid, lawyer tabs or not.

  5. -kw

    Tabs aren’t necessary with disc brakes.
    But even if the builder of your fork has the dropouts facing the wrong way (straight down and/or backward), those little tabs would never really resist the twisting forces you’re imagining, Jim W.

  6. SterlingS

    What about dork discs? They are required just like lawyer tabs. Pro teams running dork discs. I can’t wait.

  7. Knower

    UCI has to regulate something. They clearly can’t regulate doping within cycling. Lawyer tabs and sock height it is then……

  8. Jim D

    Steve, I have a confession to make, I have filed off my lawyer tabs on all my bikes, even my mountain bike with disc’s. Never once have I had a wheel come off . The rules that the uci impose on a bike racer have become obsurd. Lawyer tabs are for the people whom purchase bikes from wal-mart. For the French and the uci to impose this rule is just stupid. The first race that I show up for and some official tells me I cannot race because my LT are filed, will be my last race. I just ride for fun and health and these rules are too much. These rules will lead to a drop in racer’s numbers as entry fees are as well. Who can afford any of this. Master skiing is just about over with and bike racing soon will follow . Jim D.

  9. K

    I’m actually in favor of this. Hopefully, the effect will be manufacturers finding a better solution to wheel retention. I hate filing down my lawyer tabs and perhaps if the industry is forced by the UCI, they’ll come up with a way to have easy wheel changes without modifying every fork.

  10. John Loomis

    Headed to France in June, I’ll make sure I bring my Ibis Ti Mojo w/ custom Steve Potts rigid forks that weren’t built w/ lawyer tabs and had nothing to file.

  11. channel_zero

    Stop for a minute and think about the issue like an adult for a minute.

    Like seatbelts, it would be nice if the tabs were never needed. But SOMEONE out there has been spared the health care expenses by the tabs. The social good outweighs the weird obsession with fast wheel changes.

    If the UCI forces every team to live with the tabs it affects all participants equally.

    Is it necessary for the few bicyclists racing in the world? No. The rule is not for you. Get over it.

    IF you want more people riding bikes, then this is a good way to get them in the activity.

  12. Doug P

    Looks like my ‘cross bike that stays in France is illegal ’cause I filed off the lawyer tabs! Ha! I see a possible solution in a line of “pro” forks for competition. Since the UCI seem to be basing this rule on “modification” of parts, let’s put “pro” forks on the race bikes, and everybody can be happy, especially the fork manufacturers.

  13. Sean YD

    I can guarantee that this will be a USA Cycling-mandated rule at the highest level of the sport (i.e., national championship events) by 2014, if not 2013. Mark it down.

  14. Sean YD

    I guarantee that this will be a USA Cycling-mandated rule at the highest level of the sport (i.e., national championship events) by 2014, if not 2013. Mark it down.

  15. channel_zero

    Sean YD,

    You should expect USAC to embrace the rule. That’s how their system works.

    Like some USAC rules, will it strategically/accidentally be sprung onto an unsuspecting event?

    Like very many UCI rules, will this one be enforced? Which events?

  16. Franz

    I have never once thought about filing off the “lawyer lips”. Seems hardly worth the trouble.

  17. Calvin Jones

    I was waiting for ST to comment on the tabs, and hopefully we will get a second post regarding the sock height. I cannot see USAC officials looking forward to enforcing this. Officials (for the most part) are not on a power-trip, just looking for more things to enforce. But while we are at it, why not bring back the pre-race safety inspection? They were fun, weren’t they? And accomplished…what, exactly?

  18. Phil

    First, Calvin is cool, he taught my 3 year old to build wheels at a class a couple of years ago. Healthy living by example. Thanks Calvin! Second, I too can’t waits read your take on sock heigh. WTF UCI?

  19. Mark S

    K ,they are called quick releases and they work great we don’t need a better way to hold our wheels on
    what we don’t need is lawyer tabs

  20. Randy L

    I’ve been racing since Wayne Stetina was a Junior and have never seen a problem or crash that might have been prevented by lawyer tabs, so what problem are they trying to solve? I suspect that the problem isn’t with lawyer tabs, it’s with lawyers.

  21. Curby

    My understanding is, they are not targeting lawyer tabs directly, they are targeting modifications. In the discussion I suspect someone said, “What about filing off lawyer tabs, isn’t that a modification”? and they all said Yes, I guess that would fall under the rule as well. So it’s not a safety issue as much as a modification issue.

  22. Rad Renner

    Channel Zero, you’re an idiot. You have no idea what you’re talking about, but you think you’ve made a clever argument. It’s obvious that you’ve never raced a bike, so maybe you should leave this discussion to people who have. Lawyer Tabs are NOT analagous to seatbelts; they do not prevent injury in the event of a crash. And if lawyer tabs were so effective at keeping the wheel in place, why aren’t they used for the rear dropouts? Lawyer tabs prevent lawsuits, not bike crashes. I have never heard of an instance of any racer’s front wheel coming out of the fork because that bicycle lacked lawyer tabs. As a point of logic, the use of “lawyer tabs” to increase safety is antithetical when applied to racing bicycles. Lawyer tabs require the quick release skewer nut to be loosened 3-4mm in order to remove the wheel, then re-tightened that same amount to fix the wheel in place. It often takes 2-3 attempts to reset the correct tension in the skewer. This takes valuable time and (more importantly) significantly increases the likelihood of incorrectly applying the skewer (i.e. too little tension) which can lead to the wheel moving in the dropouts, or coming out altogether. With lawyer tabs removed, wheels can go in and out of the droputs in seconds and the pre-adjusted skewer can quickly secure the wheel at exactly the right tension without adjustment. Mechanics don’t need to panic when changing wheels, reducing the likelihood that they’ll make a mistake. So you see, it’s not only about how quickly the wheel can be replaced, it’s also about eliminating a significant potential for a possibly deadly error. In a nutshell, it’s about safety. So, maybe the next time you feel like piping in about something you know nothing about – don’t.

  23. channel zero


    Take it easy with the personal attacks. I’m not taking your toys out of the pram. Not yet anyway.

    You are right. Lawyer tabs won’t/don’t do a thing for racers. That’s not the intended audience. My point was it is a safety issue for non-racers.

    If it’s such a big deal to you and other racers, start your own federation where filing lawyer tabs is okay. It’s not hard. Go here:

    Oh, but wait. That’s not the point is it? The point is you want your toys your way and that’s the Right Way. And when you don’t get your way and can’t see a way around it then out comes the personal attack.

    Having them on the bike is more about being an example to Joe 6-Pack who will actually not tighten the front wheel than wheel swaps.

    Next on the agenda is socializing health care with RomneyCare and taking away your second amendment rights! Muahahaha!

  24. WildCat

    Steve has already ranted about sock height.

    It was like a month ago or maybe a little more.

  25. Reid

    “You are right. Lawyer tabs won’t/don’t do a thing for racers. That’s not the intended audience. My point was it is a safety issue for non-racers.”

    The only relevant audience here are bike racers. The UCI explicitly and expressly governs racing. This rule is only enforceble in the context of racing- it has zero impact on non-racers.

  26. orphan

    I get the lawyer tab rule. It’s about modification. They don’t want any and taking off the lawyer tab is a modification. It’s the sock hight I don’t get. Whats the difference in a leg warmer and a really really long sock?

  27. channel_zero


    Steve and a few of the readers probably remembers when they demanded actual helmets be used for racing and all the sound and fury that raised. The lawyer tabs is a *very* similar thing.

    It is not about racers. Really. It’s about maintaining an image of a sport that is ‘safe’ and healthy and all that.

    Believe me someone will come up with a workaround and charge you tons of money for it laced to a carbon rim. It will be the next must-have at industrial park criteriums all over the the U.S.!

    Meanwhile, more than one person who didn’t fasten their front QR won’t have to deal with the awful, expensive consequences of a front wheel falling off.

  28. H Luce

    The use of PEDs renders the sport far more unsafe than the elimination of “lawyer tabs”. UCI seems far less interested – or able to – enforce its rules on PEDs, so this seems to be the usual thrashing about by an incompetent bureaucracy. They’ll make peoples’ lives hell until people walk away from them – which is what I suggest.

  29. Mark

    The teams will simply get forks directly from the manufacturers without the tabs, thereby they won’t have to “modify” anything. I’m happy that my current road fork came without them.

  30. Rad Renner

    Zero, your comments “think about the issue like an adult for a minute” and “I’m not taking your toys out of the pram” suggest a condescending and patronizing attitude, so you should not be surprised that I or anyone would have their hackles raised. Despite your ridiculous assertion, this is not an irrelevant or easily solved problem. Should the UCI actually insist on enforcing this rule, thousands, even tens of thousands, of racing cyclists could be affected. I personally do not have ANY bicycles that do not have the “lawyer tabs” removed, and I know plenty of people who have done the same. Will I be disallowed from racing if I don’t have these? Would I need to buy new forks to replace those which have had the tabs removed? That could cost thousands of dollars for myself alone. So, yeah, this is a big deal. And FYI, Zero Info, mechanics and bike racers modify their equipment all the time. We routinely cut down seatposts, trim handlebars, cut steerer tubes, etc.. Should the UCI make rules banning these “modifications” as well? And what purpose is served by mandating lawyer tabs? Absolutely none. Let me tell you, the UCI is getting under a lot of people’s skin with some of their latest decision and this latest announcement just seems to be that much too far. So when you show up with your condescension and patronizing attitude and begin defending a bad idea for a sport which you apparently know nothing about, yeah, I’m gonna be a little pissed.

  31. regsf

    I leave a TIME road bicycle in France. First thing I did to the fork was file off the tabs. If I get pulled over by the cops I’ll claim to be one of the three musketeers. « Un pour tous, tous pour un »


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