Are Sim Racing Wheels Worth It?
Sim Racing Wheels are a game changer and completely superior to a controller/keyboard...but be careful which type of wheel you buy.
Nowadays we're really spoilt for choice when it comes to racing wheels - whatever your budget, there are likely many racing wheels available for you to choose.
Some racing wheels are better than others however, so it's important to understand what makes a good racing wheel such. Like all technology, sim racing wheels have come along way in recent years, and manufacturers have invested more into materials, build quality and the software that ultimately determines how the wheel drives and feels in your fingers. This all means that there are some seriously impressive racing wheels available on the market today.
We all remember playing on arcade simulators like these:
...as fun as they were, it was a totally arcade experience - there was no realism. The wheel didn't behave like a normal car wheel and there was no feel to it, and equally the pedals often had no resistance or feel; they were like a binary on-off switch. There was no realism, but they got the job done back in the day.
Now, it is completely different.
Contemporary sim racing hardware has progressed so much from these arcade simulators, the difference is night and day.
We now have racing wheels that feel like you are driving a car, which transmit the road surface and car behaviour through to your finger tips. When the front or rear axle of the car becomes loaded/unloaded, the wheel gets correspondingly heavier/lighter, communicating with you the weight transfer just like in reality. What this enables is for an authentic and highly immersive sim racing experience.
We have sim racing pedals that have been specifically engineered to replicate the behaviour of road and race car brake systems, and even to replicate the small amount of initial travel between the brake pad and brake disc initial contact. Brake pedal feel has been carefully designed and engineered to allow modulation of the pedal, so you can consistently and precisely brake at full force and maximise your braking. Clutch pedals for those who want to drive a stick shift have been designed to replicate the bite point to help with getting a consistent race start. The attention to detail is second to none, all with the objective of bridging the gap between simulation and reality.
The more you spend, the more authentic and realistic your racing wheel will be, but there are a wide range of sim racing wheels available for all different budgets.
Upshift partners with only the best brands in sim racing, and so we have a selection of high end sim racing wheels that are highly realistic and authentic - click here to browse our sim racing wheels.
In our Getting Started in Sim Racing Guide, we categorise all wheels into four different types, with 1 being the cheapest racing wheels and 4 being the most expensive racing wheels:
- Wheels with NO Force Feedback
- Wheels with Basic Force Feedback
- Small DDs / Wheels with Powerful Force Feedback
- Large Direct Drive wheels
Click here for more information in our Getting Started in Sim Racing Guide.
Steering Wheels for Direct Drive bases
Most Direct Drive wheelbase like the Simucube 2 will also require you to purchase a steering wheel, as they are sold separately. There are a variety of steering wheels of different construction, shape & features, all intended to suit the range of racing categories. For example, steering wheels for rallying/circuit racing are often round and moderate-large diameter, whereas steering wheels for single seater/formula racing are often smaller diameter and open-wheel shaped (i.e. cut off top).
Premium steering wheels come with carbon fiber and integrated LED displays and rev lights add a touch of elegance to any simulator setup and are truly beautiful products - an example is the Cube Controls Formula CSX-3 below:
Hopefully this has given you some insight into the vast array of sim racing wheels on the market, and convinced you that definitively a sim racing wheel is a worthwhile investment, and in particular any of the high-quality branded wheelbases on our storefront are an excellent choice.