These last months have been very exciting with all these new steering wheels being released.
Only a real “mass production” system has landed the market but there are at least a couple of serious competitors. They’re all using direct drive engines, which offer a more detailed FFB and are more reliable.
Berney Villers from Simexperience made this statement:
“In a direct drive system, the steering wheel is directly coupled to the motor shaft. There are no gears or belts. Direct Drive wheels typically use larger motors to compensate for their lack of belts. […]
Belt drive is best suited to budget force feedback steering systems while Direct Drive is better suited to the high end wheel market where realism and accurate detail reproduction is required.”
Therefore, let’s take a look at each.
Leo Bodnar’s SimSteering – £2400
The ancient and venerable god of the racing sims electronics. Leo Bodnar’s system is the most accurate, expensive and awarded. A dream for the simracers, a reality for professional teams.
Barry Rowland made an extensive review about the whole system.
You can check it in these four videos:
and the rest:
AccuForce Steering System – $1750+
Simexperience, have recently released its steering wheel. The first entire system under 2000 dollars. Seems to be a great acquisition and there are good reviews all around the web.
“The direct drive system reports force feedback from sims on an entirely new level, and above and beyond from how wheels with reduction systems that use gears or belts do. It is also significantly cheaper than competing direct drive wheels from other vendors. Since the performance of this wheel already exceeds the current capabilities of many sims and games to report force feedback, any additional improvements on hardware should return marginal results. While it’s possible to build your own direct drive system by sourcing your own industrial strength motor, controller, and open source software, the cost of the components alone is not much less.”
“There is no other production wheel which can match it on power, fidelity, feel, or construction. The components are all made to a high standard, and are sure to be long lasting. This really could be the last wheel you ever need to buy.”
EC Sim PRO – 2500€
There is no much information about this system. Seems a similar approach as Leo Bodnar’s and we can be sure about the quality of the product. Almost artisan and personal service with each of the orders from EC Sim Hardware.
I know there are other alternatives like FREX, OpenSimWheel, RFR-Wheel, etc. There are also upcoming projects with different approach in Europe like DEM steering wheel. I will try to stay up to date with new items.