Those who have already used a force feedback steering wheel know it well: its correct installation is crucial for driving pleasure. Here is an overview of the solutions available to sim-racers, from a hundred euros to nearly 1000 €.
You can buy the best steering wheel and pedal assembly in the world, it will not be usable in good conditions without a suitable support. So unless you are good enough handyman to create your own custom support, it is better to turn to real equipment designed for sim-racing and thus take full advantage of its equipment. Since not everyone has the same budget or the same space constraints at home, we present here a range of 4 pieces of equipment representative of what can be found on the market: the Wheel Stand Pro Deluxe V2, the Playseat Evolution and the RSeat RS1 and S1.
Wheel Stand Pro: compactness and low priceWheel Stand Pro V2 Rating TechnologiesTips Give your opinion read the test
- Amazon Warehouse 100,17
- Amazon Marketplace 139,00
- Fnac.com marketplace 139,00
- Darty Marketplace 139,00
- Cdiscount Marketplace 139,00
- Amazon 144,55
- Materiel.net 158,90
- LDLC 161,90
- eBay 139,00
Designed by the Polish manufacturer Abitech, the Wheel Stand Pro V2 is the cheapest and least bulky support of our selection. Designed to be used with any wheelchair, it allows you to fix the steering wheel as well as the pedals and the gear lever, keeping the ability to fold in a jiffy.
The Wheel Stand Pro V2 with a Thrustmaster T300 RS equipped with an Alcantara wheel, used with an office chair.
The Wheel Stand Pro V2 seemed to us to be a good compromise between practicality, stability and size.
If it does not offer the stability of a real cockpit, the Wheel Stand Pro V2 proves to be well suited to entry and mid-range wheels, which do not develop too high a torque or too brutal effects, as well as classic cranksets that do not require lumberjack braking. Because, inevitably, the support not being attached to the seat, too much force exerted on the steering wheel or on the pedals risks making it move, despite its non-slip pads which we found very effective. However, for classic use with steering wheels recommended by the manufacturer, this Wheel Stand Pro V2 seemed to us to be a good compromise between practicality, stability and size.
In terms of installation, nothing too complicated, the Wheel Stand Pro V2 offers good compatibility with steering wheels from Thrustmaster, Logitech and Fanatec. It is nevertheless necessary to take care to choose the correct version of the support and to check that the steering wheel is in the list of compatible models. The steering wheel is then simply screwed to the support and the crankset is, depending on the model, either screwed or held by a metal bar which sandwiches it.
Playseat Evolution: a real racing seat on a budgetPlayseat Evolution Rating TechnologiesTips Give your opinion read the test
- Amazon 283,32
- Amazon Marketplace 285,00
- Cdiscount Marketplace 299,00
- Cdiscount 303,97
- Rue du Commerce 306,36
- Rakuten 321,47
- Darty Marketplace 329,46
- Fnac.com marketplace 329,98
- Fnac.com 343,99
- Top Buy 369,94
- LDLC 424,90
- Materiel.net 424,90
- ManoMano 534,08
- eBay 342,66
The PlaySeat Evolution is a good entry into the world of racing cockpits.
Obviously more cumbersome, the PlaySeat Evolution is a good entry into the world of racing cockpits. From 299 €, we then benefit from a steel structure accommodating both the steering wheel and the pedals, and also integrating a real bucket seat, for a better driving position and more rigidity of the whole. Moderate budget obliges, it is necessary all the same to make some compromises. The axis of the steering wheel support thus passes between the legs, which is a bit inconvenient when depressing the brake pedal in particular, and the seat is not adjustable in depth on the basic version (you have to move the central axis to away from the pedal board). The slides allowing this adjustment however only cost 20 € more. This option can be practical in the event that several people of different sizes are required to use the seat, or for more comfort in general.
Installation is particularly simple, all you have to do is adjust the depth of the steering wheel and the pedals and fix with simple thumbscrews the various metal elements that slide relative to each other. The height of the steering wheel is adjustable, but not its inclination. The seat is not reclining either, only the pedals are entitled to a tilting system. A gear lever support can be acquired for €20 (attachment at steering wheel level), or €50 in its Pro version (attachment to one side of the seat).
The rigidity of the whole is quite correct with mid-range shuttlecocks, but shows its limits all the same if you tend to appreciate force feedback and powerful effects. The countersteers, in particular, remind us that we're using an entry-level racing seat. Demanding pilots may be disturbed by these few parasitic movements, as well as by the somewhat light padding of the seat. Likewise, the pedalboard support tends to bend if you use a pedalboard with a brake pedal requiring strong pressure. However, for purely playful use, this PlaySeat Evolution already seems convincing to us.
In terms of size, it is obviously more complicated to hide it than a Wheel Stand Pro, but the back of the seat can be folded down against the seat, reducing the height of the assembly for a little more discretion. Practical if you want to hide it behind a piece of furniture or a sofa, for example, especially since you can also reduce the length by having the central axis go completely under the seat.
RSeat RS1: rigidity, robustness and more comfortrSeat RS1
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- Son-Video.com 859,00
- Son-Video.com 979,00
If you can afford to double your budget and have enough space to install it, the RSeat RS1 certainly takes you to another world. Here we really enter the world of sim-racing, with a complete cockpit that no longer has much to do with simple video game equipment. The cockpit here rests on a very rigid – and also very heavy – frame on which a fiberglass bucket seat is screwed, as well as the supports for the steering wheel, pedals and gear lever. We suspected it and the sight of its huge box confirmed it, the size of the RS1 is to be taken into account before the purchase, since once installed, it will not be fun to put it away after each use. .
Question assembly, it is no longer a question here of simply assembling a few tubes together, you have to arm yourself with the Allen key (provided). Nothing very complicated, except perhaps the fixing of the seat for which it is better to get help to align the holes correctly. The height and inclination of the steering wheel are adjustable and nothing moves once the screws are tightened. We would nevertheless have appreciated a system of cable passages, in the large tubes for example. In its absence, it is advisable to use cable ties, adhesive tape or even sheaths to group the cables.
The double arm of the steering wheel support is very rigid and the fact that it is offset to the right is very practical when it comes to getting into the seat.
In terms of settings, the seat can slide to get closer or closer to the steering wheel. The latter remains in the same position, it is the crankset that we adjust in depth according to the length of our legs. This adjustment is not as quick as that of the seat, since the bottom bracket is firmly held by screws. However, you can get slides to simplify this adjustment, which is especially useful if several people use the cockpit.
The RS1 is robust and offers a very appreciable rigidity.
We sensed it from the unpacking, the RS1 is robust and offers a very appreciable rigidity. A good point for precision and sensations. The finishes are of the same ilk, the RS1 seems very solid and the seat leaves a good impression in addition to offering considerable comfort. As for the aesthetic aspect, while it is obvious that not everyone will want to permanently display it in the middle of their living room, the cockpit looks great and makes you want to settle in - in general, the guests motor racing enthusiasts make no mistake about it!
RSeat S1: from car racing to flight simulatorrSeat S1
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- Son-Video.com 1
- Son-Video.com 1
- Son-Video.com 1
The S1 supports very torquey flywheels without flinching.
Just above the RS1 in the RSeat range, the S1 is aimed at both racing simulation enthusiasts and flight simulator enthusiasts. More rigid, its steering wheel support welded to a tube is this time screwed on either side of the chassis, like that of the RSeat N1. If the latter is intended to be even more rigid thanks to its reinforcements preventing any bending of the steering wheel support forwards, the S1 does not really have to be ashamed of the comparison since the main constraints apply to the axis of rotation of the steering wheel. . The S1 thus supports without flinching the flywheels with very torquey motors (direct drive models included).
There is also a pedal support fitted as standard on slides, like the seat support. Convenient for easily adjusting the cockpit if several users are required to use it. On the other hand, all the other supports are optional here, including that for gear lever and handbrake. The addition therefore climbs a little, since to the €958,80 of the S1, you must add €142,80 to afford such support.
However, we appreciate that it can also be used to attach a joystick. All you have to do is buy a second one to fix a throttle lever and thus transform the S1 into a cockpit for a flight simulator. The attachment to the chassis is particularly robust to avoid twisting, especially if a handbrake is used. The other side of the coin, everything being screwed, we cannot quickly pass from a racing simulator to a flight simulator. A quick hitch system would have been nice.
In terms of build quality, there's not much to complain about, it's tough! Very heavy, this cockpit will rather find its place in a fixed place, although it can be mounted on wheels to move it more easily. Its elegant design for equipment of this kind is clearly an asset when it comes to finding a place for it in our interior, although it is intended more to embellish a game room or an office than a living room. Assembly takes a good couple of hours, but is done without difficulty by following the paper instructions provided, thanks in particular to welded threads on the various parts which avoid having to resort to nuts and therefore greatly simplify the operation. . Then all that remains is to fix your equipment, which is done just as simply thanks to the numerous fixing holes provided to adapt to most equipment. Each element is adjustable in inclination, which makes it possible to find the ideal riding position. Only complaint, as for the RS1, no cable passage system is provided. We would have liked to be able to pass them through the tubes, for example, or to have a system to better hide them. Simple question of aesthetics, of course.
If we go further upscale...
Provided you have the means, there are even more advanced cockpits. At RSeat, the N1 is still positioned above the S1, with a reinforced tubular structure. Fanatec also offers its own hardware with the RennSport Cockpit V2, which is quite complete and seems very robust as well, while JCL SimRacing offers several industrial-looking chassis with a myriad of customization options. Like RSeat, the latter even offers to add cylinders in order to obtain a real dynamic simulator, for a bill that quickly exceeds €40! But passion is, it seems, priceless.
The complete JCL Racing V4, for those who can afford to spend lavishly or for a company that would like to offer this type of experience to its customers.