Richard Macnaughtan wrote a huge and massive review about his new and improved DSD pedals. It’s worth to read.Derek Speare is a well known in the community by offering better products and customer service. I would like to have some Derek’s hardware but european customs tax heavily everything coming from outside.
As many of you may know I have been the proud owner of a set of DSD wilwood pedals for the last year. Recently Derek has released a new and improved version of these pedals and he offered to upgrade my old pedals to the new standard. These changes were based on customer feedback over the last year of production and represent a huge step forward.
In this review I will first start with the changes from the old version to the newly revised version, then I will continue on to the feel and operation of the pedals.
These are my newly upgraded DSD pedals, although they may look similar there are significant changes with makes a vast improvement to the pedals as a whole. The throttle has been completely revised, there has been some changes to the clutch and also a new controller box and wiring.
I will start with the most significant change, the throttle pedal. The whole throttle pedal and spring mechanism has been entirely replaced, one of the most common complaints about the old throttle pedal was that it was too light and had no adjustment. Derek has fixed this by replacing the flimsy factory Wilwood throttle pedal with the much beefier clutch pedal and manufactured a new spring and back plate. This significantly increases the heaviness of the throttle and also increases the travel of the pedal but quite a lot. This means you can apply the throttle more smoothly and with better control.
This is a shot of the new improved throttle mechanism.
Compared to the old throttle pedal. The old pedal used one small spring at the front and another one under the pedal. It did have an adjustment screw at the front to adjust the resting position of the pedal but nothing to adjust the end stop of the pedal, it would just stop when the lower portion of the arm hit the base plate.
Also the throttle pedal itself is stronger, you can see in this photo of the old pedals that the throttle pedal design was a lot less substantial, the new pedal is now as heavy duty as the clutch and brake.
The throttle is connected via a linkage arm back to a potentiometer.
Adjustment of the throttle can be done via the adjustable stop that you can see in the first photos and you also have some adjustment of the resting position by winding this bolt in or out.
Another improvement that was highly requested was to the pedal face itself, many people found that the stock wilwood grip tape was too abrasive, personally I didn’t mind the old grip tape but it did wear through my boots pretty quickly. The new pedals either come in bare metal so you can apply whichever grit of grip tape you prefer or this new rubber pad. Personally I really like the new rubber pad and it looks the part.
Moving over to the clutch.
Nothing that much has changed with the clutch but Derek had addressed one of the things that used to bug me, which was the metal on metal clutch stop. It would used to clang against the stop which really bugged me, I came up with my own mod for the old pedals which was to use a rubber bumper. It is good to see this has been changed now.
This is the new clutch stop with the built in rubber stop. It is also the same stop that the throttle uses.
And this is the old stop with my DIY rubber bumper mod.
The clutch operates in a similar way to the throttle using a linkage arm and potentiometer.
The next improvement is the new 3D printed controller box. This bolts directly on to the top of the brake assembly so it backs the pedals much more compact.
This also makes the cabling a lot cleaner, they just drop down and disappear under the pedals
This is a shot of the old controller box. As you can see, the new version is much tidier.
There is still the load cell amp on the top but the USB port has been moved to the side and it comes with a 90 degrees USB cable.
One of the benefits of mounting it controller box on the brake assembly itself means that you don’t need to use a base plate. This makes the pedals much more compact and easier to mount.
Here you can see how compact the new pedals look compared to the old ones.
The pedals come with a template for the holes that you need to drill.
It only uses 5 bolts, the one under the clutch isn’t used.
The brake is mostly unchanged and uses 2 springs and rubber bumpers which are connected to the balance bar and push against a load cell in the rear of the pedals.
Another feature which has been added to the new version is the ability to run in wide or narrow spacing between the brake and throttle. All of the new pedals will ship in the new wide spacing of 4.86″ but they will include a kit to return the pedals to the standard Wilwood spacing of 3.62″. This will give the pedals an almost spacing between each pedal, this can be useful if you find that the standard Wilwood spacing is too close for heel’n’toe.
This is the new wider spacing.
And this is the original narrow spacing
The kit that it comes with for the conversion is fairly simply, only 2 parts and a hex tool for the pots arm.
The conversion process if fairly straight forward. Firstly you removed the black arm that protrudes from the side of the pedal where the linkage arm connects to, next you loosen the pots arm with the hex tool supplied and side it hard up against the collar of the pots shaft. Next you remove the safety nut at the front of the spring at the pedal end. Now you are free to unwind the bolt that runs through the spring. After that the pedal will hang loose, undo the big bolts at the bottom of the pedals and replace the wider brass shaft with the narrow shaft.
Once this is connected back up move the spring and bolt over to the narrow hole on the back plate and tighten the bolt until the throttle pedal is in line with the brake pedal or at the angle that you prefer. Next replace the safety nut to unsure the bolt won’t unwind itself and connect the linkage arm back up to the new black pedal insert.
Here is a shot of the spring sitting in the narrow configuration.
So that pretty much brings me to the end of the changes. As you can see it is quite a dramatic overhaul of the pedals. Now I will talk a bit about the feel of the pedals and how they are to use. I will also go on to talk about the durability of the pedals and what they looked like after a years worth of racing.
The throttle is a heavy with a nice amount of resistance and spring back. It has a really good range of movement which means you can have a lot of throw if you like that, it is really great for subtle throttle control because the longer pedal movement gives you better control, essential for more powerful RWD cars.
The brake pedal doesn’t have that abrupt hardness that I have felt in like the HE’s or similar where it feel like you move the pedal and inch and then hit a brick wall. The brake pedal in the DSD has quite a lot of movement and it feel progressively harder as you compress the springs and bumpers more. It feels much like the brakes did in my old race car which was a Chrysler Avenger and other rally cars I have driven like a Rover P6 with non-boosted Wilwood brakes. That car had the same type of Wilwood pedals so it felt very similar, I haven’t raced anything fancy like a GT3 car so I can’t vouch for how they feel, they probably feel more like the HE’s which felt really foreign to me. The DSD’s felt more like the kind of cars that I am used to racing so it felt more natural to me.
The load cell amp is really great for tuning the sensitivity of the brakes, I usually set them so I have to stomp on the brakes very hard to get them to lock, much like in a real car. That way I really have to go out of my way to push extra hard, like I can just make it to 100% brakes but I have to make a really strong effort to get it there. This means in normal racing then if I push the pedal hard I will get around 60-70% braking, to get more I need to really push hard. This makes it really easy to feel how hard hard is and then muscle memory kicks in and you just know how hard you can push before lockup.
The brake takes a bit to get used to but when you do you find you can get right on the edge of locking easier. While my pedals were away getting upgraded I borrowed a friends G27 pedals, he has used my DSD’s so they first thing he said was don’t break my brake, and first lap out I almost did. I totally forgot how much braking force is needed for the DSD so I stomped on the poor little G27 pedals so hard that they almost snapped off. For the 2 weeks that I was without my DSD pedals I tried as hard as I could to get used to the G27 but there was no way I could, no matter how lightly I pressed I would just lock up. Then going back to the DSD’s was another shock, again I forgot how much force was needed for the DSD’s so it took me a week or so to get my muscle memory tuned up again to the DSD’s
The key thing I have found was turning the load cell amp to your liking, You can have them super sensitive where the smallest pressure will lock the brakes or super hard so you would need super human strength, if I turn the amp right down there is no way I can max it out. So there is a lot of flexibility in how hard you want the braking to be.
The clutch is smooth and no frills, it doesn’t have any fancy degressive clutch or anything like that. It is just nice and simple. Now this is where I differ from a lot of sim racers. I don’t like that whole degressive clutch feeling, I have driven a lot of manual cars and I have never felt that much of a degressive feeling in a clutch. My old race car had a really heavy clutch but it felt pretty linear, just heavy through it’s whole movement, same with my rally prepped Avenger daily driver. Again, I am sure GT3 cars are different but all the race cars I have driven didn’t have an extremely degressive clutch so it is more like what I am used to so I like it.
Before I sent my pedals back I stripped them down and had a good look at the wear and tear. All the linkages and pots were in prefect condition, all the nuts and bolts were still tight. They use Nylok nuts everywhere so there was nothing to vibrate loose. I have a lot of vibration going on in my rig with the SimVibe and motion so if I don’t use Nylok nuts then they will shake them selves loose after a week or so. The only signs of wear that I did see was a bit of chipping in the powder coating on the front side of the pedals, this was from my boots rubbing against the pedals but it was only cosmetic. Other than that and a bit of dust the pedals looked perfect. Derek replaced all the pots, load cell and electrics while he was upgrading them so I will have many more years of trouble free racing out of them. In the year that I have owned them I haven’t had any trouble with them. They are built like a tank so I can’t see anything going wrong with them. Mine shipped with a spare wiring loom and instructions for replacing them if needed. Derek is well known for his great customer service and he really stands behind his products. So in the unlikely event that something does break on the pedals then you can rest assured that Derek will be able to send you out replacement parts pronto.
Craftsmanship and aesthetics
I love all the attention to detail that goes in to these pedals, I like all the shiny custom made plates and brackets. Little things like the carbon fibre top on the controller box with the etched DSD logos. One of the things I really like about these pedals is that they look like they belong in a race car because they use real world components, some of the race cars I have driven use this exact pedal set so they feel very natural to me.
I really like the new changes to the DSD pedals. Derek has listened well to the customers feedback and has improved all of the aspects that needed a bit of tweaking. I think the new throttle is a huge steep forward and I really like that now we have the option to use narrow or wide spacing. I am still not sure which I prefer, I tested the wide spacing first before switching back to the narrow spacing. I am so used to using the narrow spacing that I did like that just because it felt familiar. I am going to run them for a few more weeks at the narrow spacing before switching back to the wide spacing to give that another try.