When i first bought the my 1982 Suzuki G850GL shaft drive motorcycle about 4 years ago, i changed out ALL the fluids to Mobil 1 synthetics. The remaining 6 or so ounces i had of of the 75W-90 Mobil 1 Gear Oil was chosen as a possible bicycle chain lube, and a small amount seems to last forever in my container if applied as i will outline.
Not only is the viscosity (thickness) about perfect in this application, but it seems to last between re-applications and my chains have never been happier. Silence is golden.
I use it on every bike i own, and applied as follows VERY clean running!
I wait a week or two before re-lubing a "new" chain, both because the factory lube is great, and also because i want some of the old lube/grease to work itself out to allow room for a new lube to go. I just did my KMC gold 9 speed chain today, in fact. (using it on my 1x8 speed Serotta "commuter" -
I wipe down my chain after every ride anyway,....to avoid a heavy accumulation of crud,.....plus it's a lot easier when you do a more thorough cleaning every month or two if you've maintained a wipedown schedule. Before a re-lube is no exception. I rarely have to take the chain off to clean it prior to lubing. The regular wipedowns help a LOT in that regard! Occasionally i'll use my air compressor to blow out loose dirt between the links, but that's infrequent and usually because i've forgotten to do the wipedown after several rides.
Most of us can find a smaller "convenience" applicator to make it easy to apply new lube. I use and old Hoppe's #9 gun oil bottle with about a 1 inch skinny applicator. When i ran out of gun oil i repurposed the bottle and put a notation on the outside with magic marker to avoid any confusion. The appicator pulls out to refill with more Mobil 1 75W-90 Gear Oil when the time comes, but i have yet to do it after several years on this small 2.5 ounce container!
In a pinch just add a little into a clean bottle cap, and use a Q-Tip as a transfer applicator,.....just work close to the chain to avoid drips. The Hoppe's gun oil bottle is much easier,....or something similar. A cleaned out Visene bottle maybe,.....for a portable carry in your tool bag?
I usually do my lubing in my confortable living room,....carpeted floor, and i sit on the couch with the bike flipped upside down and the chain facing me at chest level. Easy to work the crank and rotate the chain as needed also this way.
I used to add a newspaper under the chain to catch any drips,.....but stopped long ago as i just don't get any! That's right, the Mobil 1 75W-90 weight synthetic gear oil stays put if you use just ONE DROP over the top of the chain in the center roller area. I do maybe 15 links and move the chain left to do another 15 or so links. The viscosity is near perfect, as you can see the drop spread out and obsorb INTO the roller links within 5-10 seconds or so. Gravity works great here.
I start at the quick connect link to know i have hit each roller. When you get around to it again you are done applying the gear lube,......but NOT done yet.
I then spin the crank for a minute or so,....to work as much lube into the rollers where it needs to go. At this point the chain is sounding great,...well,....more like not sounding much like anything but QUIET. All good there......
I then have a bunch of paper towels or napkins handy and SLOWLY work the crank while pinching a section of paper towel repeatedly against the chain to wipe any excess lube out. Keep fingers safe folks!
The paper towel quicky obsorbs the black-ish oil and i move onto a clean area of paper towel. Do this repeatedly until your paper towel remains fairly clean after running the chain through it.
I also use a clean paper towel on each of the rear derailleur pulleys and also any chainrings. This removes any fresh oil transfered there as well, and will help to reduce any future dirt sticking to those parts. Once the jocky wheels and chainring is clean,......i give a final wipe(s) to the chain until the paper towel is clean,....and then i'm good for a week or two of noise free riding. My chains last a LONG time this way......and while you're running them they'll be about as friction free as you can get.
Tired of spending gobs of $$$ on bike chain lube,......go this route and you'll find not only a cheaper way to go,....but imo a better result in chain performance and longevity. Spend your $$$ at your LBS for other things,....we need them for sure.
Oh,....it takes me all of 8-10 minutes per bike to do this, so certainly reasonable for the result you get.
......now if they could only improve the smell of the stuff!