When I bought the bike I rode on a daily basis for four years throughout college, the mechanic at the store insisted in a polite but matter of fact way (read: “I know more about this stuff than you ever will”) that I pick up a bottle of Tri Flow Lubricant to keep my bike chain running smoothly. Many years (and a few bikes) later, my chains are still in ship shape. Tri-Flow just works. Really well.
My routine involves cleaning the chain with a rag and reapplying with the drip applicator (but be sure to shake the bottle as it contains Teflon that will settle out). After that I wipe off the excess and I’m good to go. It’s also great to have around the house and I’ve used it anywhere metal touches metal. I’ve eliminated creaky hinges, and loosened up stiff tools with just a few drops.
What’s even more impressive is that I just ran out of the 2-oz bottle I picked up eight years ago.
[Note: It seems that folks who live in a dry and dusty environment might be better off with a dry lubricant for their chains as this does attract dirt and dust.--OH]
Here is the MSDS for Tri-Flow Superior Lubricant.--OH