I just bought my first road bike a year ago and now the chain is worn out and needs replacing. All of the components on the bike are pretty basic (Its a fuji newest 2.0), so, while I'm at it, I'd like to upgrade to a better chain. I know that I need to get a 9-speed chain, but are any other compatibility issues I should know about? Any recommendations?
Also, if theres any wisdom you would like to impart on me about changing a chain (good chain tools, etc) it would also be appreciated.
Personally, I prefer SRAM brand chains, with the Powerlink master link. The beauty of the Powerlink feature is you can install/uninstall the Powerlink only using your fingers - no tools needed. Thus making it easier to remove and clean your chain properly. SRAM chains are high quality, and I've been using them for over 10 years on both mountain and road bikes. They are Shimano compatible. I'd recommend the PC 991 (http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...9Sp+Chain.aspx. I am not sure if I could tell the difference between this and the cheaper 9xx chains, but I do like its looks.
You will need a chain tool to remove a pin and size the chain originally (as you would any new chain). I like the Park CT-5. http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...ain+Brute.aspx It's not top of the line and not for everyday shop use, but for gets the job done. I may use it twice a year.
Depending on the severity of your chain stretch, your cassette may be damaged. If the stretch was excessive, the cogs on the cassette could be worn to match the stretched chain. When you put a new chain on, it will not match the worn profile of the cogs, and cause skipping under load.
As far as picking a chain, you will get many opinions. I am partial to SRAM chains myself and run them on both my mountain and road bikes. I buy the mid-range chains and have always been happy. Plus the powerlink design makes getting the chains on and off easy.
As far as a chain tool goes, you can order one online, or just go to your local bike shop and ask them for a recommendation from their stock. Most decent multi-tools also include a chain tool, so maybe you already have one (if you don't already have a multi-tool it's a handy thing to carry).
It's not a tool that you will generally use a lot so no reason to go overboard buying a fancy one.