The competitive market of sim racing wheel bases has seen an exponential growth throughout 2021. With so many different brands and products available on the market, it’s hard to grasp which racing wheel base is suitable for you. In this article, we’ve conducted in-depth research and testing to provide you with a concise breakdown of the best sim racing wheel base in 2022.
In order to determine the best sim racing wheel base in 2022, there are many considerations to make. Some of the categories we’ll be looking at throughout the article includes build quality, force feedback performance, upgradability, software and price. We believe that these are the most important aspects to consider for us to determine which sim racing wheel bases deserves a podium position.
Similar to any other peripheral purchase, one of the most important aspects to consider is the build quality of the product. Depending on the price of the sim racing wheel base, the build quality may vary. An entry level wheel base such as the Logitech G29, is constructed using a lot of plastic material. This means that the wheel base is more susceptible to flex when used aggressively. On the flip side, more premium wheel bases such as the Fanatec Podium Wheel Base DD1 has an all-aluminium housing which adds to the quality and durability of the product. However, you’ll expect to pay a heavy premium when looking for wheel bases that are built solely from heavy duty material.
The build quality usually has a direct impact on the performance of the product as well. For example, wheel bases that are build from plastic are more prone to flex and unexpected movement when mounted, especially under heavy force feedback output. What we’ve noticed when using the Logitech G29 is that when driving off-track on rubble, the wheel base will rumble aggressively and the table clamp will come off gradually throughout the race. Hence, it’s important to take the build quality of a product into consideration when making a purchase of your sim racing wheel base.
Force Feedback is described as the delivery of true to life feeling from the actions that are happening in the simulation. Undoubtedly, force feedback is the most important component of a quality sim racing wheel base. With cheaper wheel bases, the force feedback is usually diluted and the authenticity of the race seems to be diminished compared to higher end wheel bases that operate using direct drive technology. There are even some entry steering wheel bases where there is no force feedback at all. We highly recommend you avoid a wheel bases that has no force feedback as the immersion and fun of the drive is not there without force feedback.
Force Feedback is generated with the help of several electric motors from inside the steering wheel base. There are three types of force feedback technologies. Each of these technology has a significant implication on the performance of the force feedback and the price of the peripheral as well.
- Gear Drive: A gear driven system is the most inexpensive way to experience force feedback. A series of gears are attached to the motor to generate force feedback. However, with gear driven systems the force feedback can often be clunky due to the metal on metal contact.
- Belt Drive: A belt driven system utilizes a belt and pulley system coupled with a small motor. The small motor generates the force feedback and is transmitted through the belt to the wheel rim. Overall, belt driven systems provide a much smoother force feedback compared to gear drive.
- Direct Drive: In a direct drive system, the wheel is directly mounted to the motor shaft. This means that there is no gears or belts that dilute the feeling of the force feedback, providing for the most accurate and authentic drive in sim racing. Furthermore, direct drive wheels are capable of delivering high torque, perfect linearity, and incredibly low inertia. In simple terms, this means that the fidelity and force feedback on the wheel is incomparable to a gear/belt driven wheel base.
Upgradability & Ecosystem
Usually, with higher end wheel bases, the wheel rim and the wheel base is sold separately. This ensures that the wheel base and wheel rims are future-proofed and can be compatible with future product releases. For example, companies like Fanatec and Simucube offer a broad range of wheel rims that are compatible with their wheel bases. This means that if you’re looking to drift or race in a GT3 car, you will be able to do so using different wheel rims to suit each driving style. On the other end of the spectrum, racing wheels like the Logitech G29 do not offer upgradability and can only be used as a standalone peripheral.
The Fanatec and Simucube ecosystem work flawlessly and integrates seamlessly with their proprietary peripherals or even some offered by after market companies. For example, Simucube offers a wide array of after market wheels that are compatible including those from Cube Controls, Ascher Racing, etc. Regardless of the style of the wheel rim, there will be one that caters to your needs!
Finally, the last consideration to make when determining the best sim racing wheel base in 2022, is the pricing. With so many different sim racing wheel bases available on the competitive market, you will be able to find ones that are entry level and ones that are enthusiast grade. However, what we’ve realized when testing all the different racing wheel bases, is that sim racing products are usually priced to what they are worth. If you’re paying big bucks for a wheel rim or a wheel base, then you can expect the quality to be at the higher end of the spectrum too. Our recommendation is that, if you’re starting off your sim racing journey with a racing wheel then start with something affordable.
Our Picks for Best Sim Racing Wheel Bases in 2022
High Performance: Simucube 2 Ultimate
The Simucube 2 Ultimate is a remarkable piece of hardware that has earned its position in our pick for the best sim racing wheel base in 2022. The Simucube 2 Ultimate boasts an abundant 32 Nm of torque. The 32 Nm of torque is will provide you with deep immersion with the combination of any car, track and condition. With the Ultimate, one might forget that they’re in a simulation. The wheel base will deliver the sharpest kinks at a clarity not seen in any other direct drive wheel base before. The high torque reserve enables the driver to receive all the detail and power that they need at their disposal.
From a build perspective, the Ultimate is based on Austrian-made maximally dynamic industrial motor optimized for simulation. The body of the Simucube 2 Ultimate is built from precision machined solid metal parts, meaning you won’t notice any flex even during heavy usage. Thanks to highly efficient direct-drive operation optimized motors and clever electronics heat guiding, the unit is able to maintain cool under heavy load without collecting dust as well. Overall, the pristine design of the Simucube 2 Ultimate has set the benchmark of what a high end direct drive wheel should look like.
Simucube is renown for its support of multiple different wheel rims available from after market sellers. This includes Cube Control, Ascher Racing, Simracingbay, Phoenix Racing, etc. With so many different wheel rims available for the Simucube, the customization is endless.
The evident downside of the Simucube 2 Ultimate is that it does not have any support on Playstation and Xbox, meaning that it’ll only be usable for PC users. If you wish to purchase a direct drive racing wheel base for console, then it’s best you consider wheel bases from Fanatec as they have officially licensed wheel bases for Playstation and Xbox. Additionally, given that this is a high-end wheel base with 32 Nm of torque, it’s definitely an enthusiast grade technology that’s not for everyone in terms of pricing.
Simucube 2 Ultimate
The Simucube 2 Ultimate is the choice of champions. Featuring 32 Nm of torque, it will provide you with the deepest immersion any retail direct drive wheel has to offer.
Runner Up: Fanatec Podium Wheel Base DD1
The Fanatec Podium Wheel Base DD1 is the runner up for the best sim racing wheel base in 2022. The Podium Wheel Base DD1 is packed with power. Its Outrunner motor is engineered without compromise for sim racing. The wheel base is able to achieve 20 Nm of peak torque, which is more than enough for the average user. Majority of sim racers with the Podium Wheel Base DD1 run their force feedback at 60-70%, hence the power in the Podium Wheel Base DD1 is more than sufficient. The ultra-low torque ripple ensures minimal mechanical distractions and the same smooth experience as in a belt driven wheel.
The Podium Wheel Base DD1 is a clear standout in terms of design. The heavy piece of solid metal is engineered with German precision and its built to last for years to come. At the front of the housing resides an OLED display. The display enables endless customization not only for tuning your wheel base, but also includes features for advanced users. This includes displaying real-time motor and force feedback data. Check the temperatures and torque curves on the fly, allowing you to focus solely on the race.
Given that the Podium Wheel Base DD1 is part of the Fanatec ecosystem, this wheel base seamlessly integrates with other Fanatec products. This includes full backwards compatibility with previously released wheel rims. This includes all Podium Steering Wheels, ClubSport Steering Wheels, CSL Steering Wheels, Pedals and Shifters. The Podium Wheel Base DD1 has arguably the best compatibility out of all recommendations on this list. If you are already in the Fanatec ecosystem, then you can save some money by leveraging your existing wheel rim, pedals and shifters.
There are multiple wheel rims that we recommend that pair well with the Podium Wheel Base DD1. This includes the Fanatec Steering Wheel Formula V2.5, Podium Wheel Porsche 911 GT3 R Suede or the ClubSport Steering Wheel RS.
If you would like to learn more about the Fanatec Podium Wheel Base DD1, then check out this article!
Podium Wheel Base DD1
The Podium Wheel Base DD1 takes force feedback realism to the next level. With 20 Nm of peak torque, the fidelity is unmatched. This wheel base delivers on every aspect.
Value to Performance: Fanatec CSL DD
The Fanatec CSL DD is simply the best value to performance sim racing wheel base in 2022. With 8 Nm of peak torque that’s achieve-able through the Boost Kit 180, the feeling of the force feedback is nearly indistinguishable from the top direct drive wheel bases on the market. We’ve tested the Fanatec CSL DD (8 Nm) for almost 5 months now, and it’s easily the best wheel base that we’ve used for its given price. The fidelity, smoothness and precision of the force feedback is un-matched at its given price point.
The CSL DD features premium build quality that’s set to last for years. Its aluminium casing provides extreme rigidity under heavy force feedback output. Another impressive feature with the Fanatec CSL DD is its ability to sustain high levels of torque without the need for active cooling. Thanks to the CNC-machined aluminium casing, the structural chassis acts as a heatsink. Overall, the build quality of the Fanatec CSL DD is superior compared to its competitors at the given same price point.
Similar to the Fanatec Podium Wheel Base DD1, the CSL DD has incredible support with other Fanatec products. It also comes with integrated mounting that’s supported over major sim racing cockpits. Unfortunately, the Fanatec CSL DD is only supported on PC and Xbox. If you wish to have a similar unit for the Playstation, then you will need the Gran Turismo DD Pro Wheel Base, that’s officially licensed for Playstation consoles. However, there’s a premium to that for the same performance, because of the Playstation licensing. So if you intend to use it only on PC, then I’d suggest going with the Fanatec CSL DD.
If you would to learn more about the Fanatec CSL DD, then check out this article!
CSL DD (8 NM)
The Fanatec CSL DD (8 Nm) is by the the best value to performance wheel base on the market. From subtle sidewall flex to powerful self-aligning torque, you’ll feel everything with a heightened sense of realism.
Best Package: Gran Turismo DD Pro Premium Bundle
The Gran Turismo DD Pro Premium Bundle is arguably the best wheel package that’s available on the market. The raw power from the wheel base, the multi-functional wheel rim and the high resolution pedals offer the perfect combination for any sim racer. The 8 Nm of power from the Gran Turismo DD Pro Wheel Base is one of the best direct drive wheel bases that’s available on the Playstation console and it feels amazing when using it for the newly released Gran Turismo 7. The wheel rim also comes with a wide array of buttons and toggles that can be mapped to any in-game setting and the build quality is far superior compared to any other racing wheel package. Lastly, the high resolution pedals are fantastic for braking and throttling thanks to the built in contactless Hall sensors.
The Gran Turismo DD Premium Bundle is a fantastic choice for sim racers who race on both Playstation and PC, as the wheel rims are interchangeable between supported wheels as long as they are compatible for the console. For example, if you wish to race in a Formula-style car, you can change to the ClubSport Steering Wheel Formula V2.5. Unfortunately, this bundle is not available for Xbox users. If you wish to use a similar wheel base, then you will need to opt for the Fanatec CSL DD instead, that offers similar performance but is licensed for PC and Xbox only.
Overall, this is the best package that’s available on Playstation and should be heavily considered if you wish to have an immersive experience on the Playstation.
Gran Turismo DD Pro Premium Bundle
The Gran Turismo DD Pro Premium Bundle offers the best bundle that’s available on the market. With integrated connectivity between each of the peripherals, this is a fantastic choice for those who are looking for easy setup and superior drive quality.
Beginner Friendly: Logitech G29
The Logitech G29 is by far the most popular steering wheel set that’s available on the market, and it is for great reasons. This wheel set is super beginner friendly as it’s incredibly well priced considering the wheel comes with force feedback and it comes with a set of decent pedals. The wheel rim feels premium as it features leather grip and it also comes with a wide array of useful buttons and toggles. The force feedback is decent for its price and you’ll definitely be able to feel the track and car effects.
In terms of compatibility, the Logitech G29 supports PC and Playstation consoles. If you wish to use this on Xbox instead, then you will need to purchase the Logitech G920 which comes with native support on Xbox console. You can also upgrade the Logitech G29 wheel rim with aftermarket products such as wheel rims from Acelith. The aftermarket wheel rims are generally quite affordable and it can definitely improve the overall experience for virtual racing. The wheel also comes with an integrated table mount, so you can mount it securely to any table or stand. Additionally, the wheel and pedal set does come with some pre-drilled holes, so it can support a wide array of sim racing stands and rigs.
If you wish to learn more about the G29, then check out our article here!
The Logitech G29 is a renown beginner friendly steering wheel. With decent force feedback, the drive quality on the Logitech G29 is perfect for those who are entering the market of sim racing. The included pedals and wheel base mounting makes this incredibly easy to set up.
With so many different sim racing wheel bases available on the market, it was quite hard to determine which ones are truly deserving of a title. However, after considering all the factors such as build quality, force feedback performance, ecosystem and pricing, we’ve come up with a list that we’re very confident in. If you enjoyed reading the article and decide to pick one up, let us know which one you went with!