I posted a question: "If you buy and install a brand-new chain, but never clean or lubricate it, what will happen?"

It was closed as "primarily opinion-based". For now, unfortunately, nobody can post any more answers.

I edited it and added this text near the bottom:

You need not back up your answer with references now. But, upon request, please be prepared to provide a reference backing up any point which gets challenged.

I, as well as another user, have cast reopen votes already.

If you think I haven't yet succeeded in editing it to comply with the subjective-question guidelines: How could we edit it now, to make it comply?

  • My vote was, as I recall, based on the feeling that the question is largely hypothetical and it's hard to see what answer you're expecting beyond "unlubricated moving parts suffer more friction and abrasion." Jan 15, 2018 at 21:25
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    Hypothetical? I really truly don't remember when's the last time I lubricated my chain. And I've definitely never bothered to clean it. ❧ I'm reluctant to lubricate a dirty chain. ❧ I do have some brand-new master links lying around. Eventually I may remove the chain, clean it, lubricate it, and install a master link. But this isn't high on my priority list. The chain seems to be working fine even though I haven't lubricated it in a long time. Jan 15, 2018 at 23:14
  • OK, so it's the opposite of hypothetical -- it's a question you already know the answer to from your own experience. Now it's even less clear to me what kind of answer you're looking for. Jan 16, 2018 at 12:58
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    Well, so the bike seems to be working. The reason why I posted the question was to learn why I should lubricate the chain. And krzyski's answer clarified things for me. Jan 17, 2018 at 3:53

2 Answers 2


I've given it a lot of thought and have decided to cast a vote to reopen the question. Because of my moderator status, this means that the question was immediately reopened.

My reasoning is that the initial closure as primarily opinion based is incorrect. There is a factual, real world consequence to what the OP is asking about. However, as RoboKaren indicates, it is a difficult question to answer and it could possibly be closed as "too broad." I can see a case for and against.

I have also removed the various edits from the question that revolved around the discussion of whether or not to close the question. If you would like to add any of those comments back in, feel free. Just try to keep the post focused on the question and leave the discussion about closure to comments and, better yet, Meta.

I would also like to note that I do not take lightly the decision to override votes from five community members. There were two votes to reopen, indicating that there was certainly some controversy about the issue.

If the community decides to close the question once again, I will not override that decision.


I’m one of the close votes. My thought was that as initially conceived, the OP asks for a hypothetical that was too both broad while asking for specific citations. Thus I agreed with the opinion close option.

It’s still a difficult question to answer. Certainly there are hundred of thousands if not millions of BSOs and department store bikes out there that have never seen a lick of chain lubrication or cleaning.

The only real answer is “increased chain wear” (that’ll then lead to increased cassette and chainring wear) but the relative value of this wear has to be gauged against the type of chain, shifting system or lack thereof, mileage, road conditions, weather, how the bike is stored, etc.

It’d be nice if we could just say “+10.357 percent more wear” with just the factory lube and no cleaning but we can’t. So I’m not sure what answer we can give that would satisfy the question as posed.

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    In truth, I don't really need citations. I only requested citations after closing, in an an attempt to help make sure that my question didn't violate the subjective-question guidelines. Jan 30, 2018 at 0:30

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