Let’s hop on into the world of “racing WITHOUT a keyboard or controller” – We’ve all been there, I played Microprose GP2 with a keyboard, dark times my friends, dark times… But if you want that authentic sim racing experience, pedals, a wheel base and a wheel rim is what you want, so let’s check some out!
Degrees of rotation
Degrees of rotation is one I’m sure most know about but for those who don’t, what is it? Well basically, it’s how much the wheel turns from left or right. I personally use 360 degrees of rotation for Formula 1 and open wheel racing games but a lot of people only use 270 degrees of rotation so if that’s you mean deal, paying extra for a wheel with 1080 degrees of rotation would be a waste.
Bits of resolution
The second thing is optical reading of the wheel, or more specifically how it’s measure (in bits) and what that means. Let’s take a 12-bit resolution wheel which has 4,096 values on the wheel’s axis, what that basically means is that there are 4,096 points of optical reading for when you turn the wheel. The more points the smoother, clearer and more specific it is for that movement to reflect in game… or in Sim.
So we’re going to be taking a look at three different wheel/base/pedal combinations today and two different add-ons. Just a quick note, there will not be any Fanatec hardware in this video due to the price and experience level – This is a what you need guide for beginners and novices. If that’s something you’d like to see in another video, let us know down below.
Thrustmaster T150 PRO
The first wheel we are looking at today is the cheapest one and is a great, proven wheel in the beginner and budget space is the Thrustmaster T150 PRO. This wheel is compatible with the PS3 and PS4 and of course the PC. It features a realistic force feedback effect thanks to its smooth, precise and silent wheel featuring a mixed belt and gear system. The rotation can be set from that open wheel 270 degrees right up to what you’re used to in your car with a huge 1080 degrees. It will be great in game thanks to the 12-bit resolution we mentioned earlier with its 4,096 values on the wheel’s axis. The sequential shifters are built to last as they are 100% metal and mounted just behind the wheel – as you’d expect. The wheel is realistic 11 inches or 28cm diameter and all controls on the wheel are within reach while pounding around the track. Being a Thrustmaster, it fits in their ecosystem so you can add other pedals and a shifter if that’s what you need but the CON with this one is you cannot replace the wheel rim. It’s a great wheel and very very popular especially when it can be had now for just $240.00 – there is a non pro version with basic pedals which is $40 cheaper but trust me, for that price, you want the T3PA pedals!
The second, and mid-way point of our wheel look is the Logitech G29/Logitech G920. Two wheels, basically the same but one is for PS4 and one is for Xbox One – both work on PC. I have chosen the bundle that comes with the shifter as the one without just isn’t worth it in my opinion. This wheel features a dual-motor force feedback system and 900 degrees of rotation and an impressive 16-bits of resolution on the wheel with 65,536 values. The wheel has 14 actions buttons, a d-pad and dial and comes with a 3 pedal set along with that shifter. The CON with this one is the wheel can sometimes slip and judder when the forces are being maxed out but most won’t notice this. You can go ahead and pick up this nifty little bundle or just $299.99 at the time of filming and that is a great price for what you get in the box!
The final wheel – don’t panic, we have some add-ons to look at after this one, is the Thrustmaster TS-PC wheel for, you guessed it, PC – This one isn’t for console. This is the flagship Thrustmaster wheel which replaces the T300/TX which I currently own and love. Now before we start, this one does NOT come with any pedals… Why you ask? I think they see this as an upgrade path piece of hardware so they expect you to already own a set of their T3PA pedals. If you don’t, you can get those separately so don’t panic! Back to the wheel – The servo base, or wheel base features 270 to 1080 degrees of rotation, an industrial class brushess second gen motor and an external turn power supply. It comes with an open wheel rim with suede grips, 2 cast aluminium metal shifters, 6 buttons and 1 rotary selector with 3 positions. Back to that brushless servo-motor. It provides 1.6 times higher force than the TX and T300 bases which is very impressive. This wheel base if fully compatible with the ecosystem so you have your choice of pedals, wheel rims, shifters and hanbrakes. The CONS here are the fact you don’t get pedals and the price, well, sort of, this one comes in at, what I think is a fair, $374.99 but you really are getting the best of the best here without going to direct drive – which is another level of wheel base which we’ll save for potentially another video!
Thrustmaster T3PA Pedals
The first one we’ll check out ties right in with the last wheel, the TS-PC. These are the T3PA pedals, a three pedal set which feature a conical brake mod. This is little rubber stopper which goes behind the brake pedal to simulate real braking forces. It can be adjusted from soft to hard (around 15kg to 25kg) and can be removed altogether (around 10kg) if you don’t like it. They are a “wide pedal set” and 100% metal pedals and internal structure. They’re fully adjustable with 3 position spacing and 2 position angle settings and the accelerator pedal has a 2 position height setting. These pedals are a great upgrade from the basic 2 pedal set you used to get with the TX/T300 and can be yours for just $99.99.
Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Add-on Wheel
The final thing we are going to check out today is something that I love, something I use every single day and honestly, for F1 sim racing, I could not do without, the Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 add-on wheel. This wheel is a MUST if you sim race Formula 1 or any open wheel formula racing. It’s a collectors item based on the 2011 Ferrari F150 wheel used by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. The wheel is a full size replica of the actual real life rim and is licenced by Ferrari. It’s construction is a reinforced scratched-brushed compound and is heavier and more solid compared to normal plastic and features a rubber-textured wheel offering a realistic and comfortable grip. Above all else, it’s amazing to look at and even better to use – If you have the chance to get one, do it – Even if you’re not a Ferrari fan, you can usually pick up replacement centre part with another team’s logo on it from eBay for cheap. You won’t regret it. This can be bought right now at the price of $147.50 – Yes it is quite pricey but again, I cannot express how worth it this thing is!