You know, this thread wasn't drifting nearly as much as an oil thread should, but the irrelevant turn towards bicycle chains just might do the trick, if we hammer on it hard enough. Opinions about chain lube are like bicycle seats - everyone has one.
Not surprisingly, I do, too. And, as is befitting thread drift, my opinion is based strongly on narrow, personal experience. No science. No control groups. No double-blind testing. No impartiality. I just know what I know and am convinced. And that is the stuff that quality thread drift is made of.
I've been cycling, off and on, for about 40 years, not counting my adolescent Schwinn years. OK, it's been probably more off than on, but still. I've done some cycle touring in Europe. I once crossed Ireland in one day (please, don't look at a map to see just how far that is - it's only impressive if you think of it as crossing a whole country in one day.)
But my most intensive cycling was in the late '90s, when I was cycle commuting to work - about 35 miles round trip a day, or 175 miles per week, plus club rides on the weekends. So, maybe 1000 miles a month, for about eight months a year - more miles than I was putting on my Miata.
That kind of riding, in a hot, dry climate, means you should be cleaning and lubing your chain (and sprockets) a lot. Which I did.
It was the Age of White Lightning, so I tried that for a while, but didn't like the wax buildup I was getting, so I worked out my own routine, using Tri-Flow. Which everyone knows you shouldn't use as a chain lube. But I did. And it worked.
The thing about bike chains is that keeping them clean - on the inside where it counts - is almost more important than keeping them lubed. It's the abrasion of the dirt that does them in. And sticky lubes attract dirt, which is counterproductive.
My routine was to soak down a dirty chain real well with Tri-Flow and then to hose the whole thing off with water under pressure. Yeah, water. The goal was to get as much of the dirt and crud off the chain as possible. After 15 minutes in our sun and our 12 per cent humidity, a wet chain gets pretty dry. Then, I applied another blast of Tri-Flow to do the actual lubing. But the key to the whole process was finishing off with a really good wipe down of the chain until it was bone dry - on the outside. The only parts of a chain that need lube are the pins and the inner surfaces of the plates that slide across each other.
This worked for me for thousands of miles, with no chain stretch and virtually no sprocket wear. So, this must be the only correct way to lube and maintain a chain.
I'm as certain of it as Musbjim is sure that the best Speedster oil is whatever's on sale at Walmart this month.