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I recently had to take apart the headset of my Cannondale Caad 13 road bike due to some clicking noises I wanted to diagnose. Therefore I also pulled out the fork a bit to inspect bearings and integrated crown race of the fork. Two things made we wonder: 1. When cleaning off the old grease I noticed a few small aluminium pieces. Probably coming the milled bearing cups? 2. I noticed a scratch inside the crown race. I can't imagine I made this scratch when pulling the fork out or reinserting it (made this whole process for the second time). Also I can't imagine the aluminium pieces caused this. Attached are some images of the scratch from regular distance and up close with a magnifyer. I'm pretty sure the fork came from the factory like that and this shouldn't be a big problem because the carbon is so thick in this place and should consist of multiple layers building up the crown race?

Can anyone confirm if my assessment is correct or should I contact my LBS about this to be on the safe side?

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That scratch/indent looks absolutely tiny and harmless.

As for the aluminium pieces: As coincidence would have it I recently took my fork out because of creaking noises as well. I was quite surprised how badly machined and finished my FSA expander plug is. The lower cone had some big burrs. Maybe yours is the same and the aluminum particles are coming from there? Though they would have been inside the steerer tube.

If all the metal parts on the front look nice and smooth it could also be some random metal chips from the workshop where the bike was assembled (maybe somebody dropped a greased part and it picked up metal chips?).

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  • Thanks for the reply. I didn't take my expander out, yet. Although that's another thing I'd like to check because I couldn't eliminate the noises yet. But the expander is sitting inside the steerer, so I think metal pieces couldn't have fallen on top of the crown race. Probably just some remainings from milling the frame cups I think.
    – conste
    Aug 19, 2023 at 20:52
  • Oooh, somehow I had assumed the frame would be carbon as well, but of course the CAAD is aluminium. Yeah, then the metal chips are probably from milling/reaming work done on the frame. As for noises: Those are tricky to find, start by ruling out the saddle and shoe <-> pedal interface first and then go over headset bearing, wheels and bottom bracket (+crankset).
    – Michael
    Aug 20, 2023 at 6:11

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