Lenze is one of the multiple options available to configure an OSW. It has more resolution, it is more refined and more detailed than the chinese servos and it is unavoidably more expensive.
Mik Dahl Nielsen was one of the first customers to test and taste what a Lenze servo motor was capable of. This is a review of the first hours with the beast.
So I figured I’d do a small review here of the OSW with a Lenze motor for those interested.
I waited for this for about 5 weeks, and had it all put together by Dennis Reimer. In the beginning I wasn’t too sure what I should choose, but after a lot of consideration, and reading, I decided to go for the Lenze; thought being, bigger is better, and I really didn’t want to end up with an OSW kit, where I for one second would think “oh damn, should have gotten the bigger motor”.
I came from using a T500 – and I had never used an OSW before, so basically I was buying blind, like I know many of you are/will.
Apart from some minor setup issues (Dennis is working on a better step-by-step guide now for getting started), it all more or less worked out of the box. Installation took me about 2 hours, including mounting it all – all of which could have been done in about 25 minutes, had the instructions (to me) been clearer. But again, Dennis is working hard to rectify this.
For my first taste, I chose the RUF on Gilles Villeneueve (sp?) – I knew the track and car very well, and figured this might be as good as any.
My VERY first impression was “Hmm…”. I had high expectations, and VERY high hopes for this – and it just felt sort of .. “ok”. I could definitely feel the controller was more precise than the T500 – but the car itself felt tame – I didn’t feel “connected to the road” like I’ve read so much about, and to be honest – the force feedback “feel” was just.. dim. It was clear, but I didn’t feel any more info was given to me than I had bef AND THEN I HIT A CURB.
Holy mother batman – that curb honestly just gave me a shock I’ll remember for many years – it honestly felt like I was in a real car, and hit a curb – it just went BOOM and then it was gone.
Then I exited iracing, and searched for some more info on MMOS tool (the tool for setting up forces) – after making some changes there (minor things), and after setting the app.ini (documents/iracing) displaylinear from 0 to 1, I booted up iracing again, this time with the L79 on Sebring.
Before actually going onto the track, I put the slider at 20 NM in iracing – as it was my understanding this would mean the car would be portrayed in 1:1 (?)
With a bit of nerves, I hit the throttle full on, and there it was; all I’ve read about just came to life.
The tire, the rubber, the air, the road – it all came together in a demon-infested-lava-spewing-rubber-inferno that just made me feel like I was going so much faster than I ever had before – and I hadn’t even excited the pit yet.
Once I turned onto those big concrete slabs, I knew I was in for a treat – every slab could be felt, and the violence was amazing; I really felt as if I was in a car, and what I did, mattered 100% in order to keep that car on the road, and not in a wall.
The second I hit the tarmac, all the violence disappeared, and it just felt.. well good – the same feeling as driving on the freeway in a bad spot, and going to a newly laid, nice tarmac – that feeling of hovering, but still being able to feel whats beneath you.
The first turn; I hit the brakes – too hard – and felt the whole car becoming so heavy that I had to use all my physical strength to turn the car in that corner – once out, I hit the throttle, and could feel the nose lift up, making the car light and enjoyable again.
Then – THEN – the biggest moment for me came; as I increased my speed with a huge smile on my lips, I suddenly realised just how much pain I would be in, if I hit the wall – and I honestly got scared – I felt fear, but the kind of fear that you enjoy – stuff that makes your toes tingle – and that was when it really hit me; this was no longer a game – it was a simulation, that was so believable that my entire body, and mind, obeyed it.
Of course, then I crashed – cause that was way too long a thought for anyone to convey while racing down Sebring, but even the crash felt good (I think; I let go of that wheel faster than a rat on fire ).
So after this mind blowing experience, I had to sit and think about one thing; is it worth it?
And this, actually, is a difficult question – I’ll explain;
No. It’s not worth it, if you cant afford it, or if you have to stretch your money. I’ve tested all day now, and can honestly say that i personally enjoy driving at 1:1 – but for racing, its too much – you simply have to scale it down a bit (which will still be much harder than anything else you’ve tried).
I haven’t tried the small or the big mige, or the kollmorgen; but after all I’ve read, I do believe if I had money issues, I would go for the small mige – and this is also what I would recommend my friends.
Because, any hobby you do, should make sense, even when it doesn’t.
If something is perfect, but costs so much that you often think about it – or can feel that cost in other parts of your life, then it isn’t perfect.
If something is really good, you can afford it, and it makes you smile; it’s perfect.
For me, the Lenze is perfect – its fast, accurate, and has all the forces I would ever want. I could have gotten the exact same sensation from a small mige – I’m sure of it. I only think it’s when you have them side by side you can truly appreciate the difference, and I don’t believe that running either of them at race levels (ie not 1:1) would still “mask” the lower resolution of the smaller mige, compared to the Lenze – so much so, that you just wont notice it.
But I could be wrong of course.
Another thing, I feel is worth mentioning is that I was hoping – of course – that this OSW would make me faster; not because I think it magically would, but because I always felt that my T500 was holding me back; maybe not in lap times, but in driving style, in saving the car, in feeling the track and car.
And it really is making me faster; I tried out 5 cars on 5 different tracks today; the third lap on ALL my attempts, I shaved a good second off all my previous times; with the GT 1, I shaved 1.5 seconds off. The reason for this is simply that the car now tells me things I’m doing wrong.
Example; if I go too hard into a corner with my T500 – I cant really feel how much “too hard” I’m pushing it, I can just feel it isn’t right.
With the OSW, I can feel it, so much that as I let go of the throttle, my steering and “right feel” of the car wakes back up – it really transforms how you think about driving.
So with all of the above in mind, I decided I’d try a race out, I picked the Skip Barber, on Oulton Park – I’ve driven the Skippy many times before and like it – I haven’t driven Oulton Park ever.
I set my forces at 24 nm, so it wasn’t true 1:1, but still had a heavy kick to it. I practiced for about 10 minutes, and then did 2 qualifying laps; I started in 10th or so I believe, and ended up in 6th.
But what I really find amazing, is that this is the first time I have ever had a full race, where i didn’t go off the track once, cause/receive damage, and actually was competitive in my driving style.
I felt so much in control, that I never really got into any danger – I could feel the tires get warmer, I could correct and fix problems as they arose, and with all the information I got, I never really felt uncertain at any point.
At one point, around lap 5 or so, I misjudged my speed, and made a hugeeeee power slide, which was so comfortable while doing it, that I with one hand on my wheel, reached out for my water bottle and took a sip – and then drove on. I didn’t realise I did this until after the corner was over – it just felt natural, and controllable.
But the best aspect of this race for me is that it felt fun; all 22 laps, were engaging, and I never found myself thinking “oh damn 11 laps left” etc; something I normally do in any race, at some point. I honestly never questioned the fact that I was in a race, and time just flew by.
So, if you’re someone who thinks about doing an OSW, I can only suggest that you do it. Not only do I personally feel it makes me faster, and a better driver, but I also feel that it transforms sim racing from something that is often fun, and sometimes a chore, into something that is a personal driving experience, where all of a sudden, you’re just driving because its so enjoyable, rather than racing and trying to beat your lap times; these things seem to come natural, and secondary as an effect of the wheels great immersion.
And the feeling of driving with other opponents online, is just enhanced 10x; Whenever you are about to pass someone, or they are about to pass you, you no longer just do those things, you really drive; cause you REALLY don’t want to hit them in any way, as this would not only cause damage or penalties, but it will most likely hurt you if you don’t let go of the wheel; and you don’t want to let go of your wheel.
The simplest way I can describe the overall feel, is that iracing for me, went from being virtual, to a physical experience; I can feel my car, I can feel the road, and I can feel the opponents.
And now… shower time. (why did I get my OSW in the middle of a damn heat wave)