I posted this thread earlier in "bicycle mechanics" forum, then C&V, then thought I might find more experienced Phil Wood customers in Track Cycling forum.
I'm considering building a rear wheel with a 7 spd/135mm OLD/36h Phil Wood FSA hub. By building with a velocity rim with 2.5mm offset spoke holes, according to SpoCalc i should be able to achieve an essentially dishless rear wheel. My objective is to achieve a stronger, better spinning rear wheel, for use in commuting, recreational riding and touring - a nice strong all-around rear wheel. I ride mostly 9 speed drivetrains but have been thinking i don't really need all those cogs.
My questions are:
1. Are Phil bearings really better than other cartridge and loose ball bearing alternatives, as far as smooth spinning / low friction goes? No hype please, I need some thoughtful answers to this $500 question - it's a really expensive proposition to me. Are they worth it?
2. I have no recent experience with threaded hubs and freewheels. Are good quality (ie pawls and bearings) freewheels available at low cost? So far I've found the QBP shimano listing, and interloc's defiant freewheel, as well as various ebay listings. http://www.interlocracing.com/freewheels_steel.html
3. Are most 7 spd freewheels spaced the same as a 7 spd shimano cassette, so that I can use older 7 speed indexed shifters? I suspect they are/I can.
Thanks in advance for any helpful advice.