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MCUSA

Question about Higher End Wheels

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MCUSA   

Ok, I have a question for you all... I recently purchased a Fanatec Turbo S but unfortunately shipping issues look like I may have to get a refund. I'm also selling my ECCI 6000 steering wheel as the pedals are all that I could ask for but the wheel just won't cut it for me. I'm looking to upgrade to a higher-end FFB wheel (not right away), more specifically, within the $400-750 range and something that would give better FFB than a Logitech G27 but that would last a long time as well.. My ECCI pedals are here to stay so I'm just looking to upgrade the steering wheel really. So far I've found these options:

1. The Thrustmaster TX - This Xbox One wheel is PC-compatible and 'only' $400 - might be similar to a T500 RS but not 100% sure as of yet.

2. The Thrustmaster T500RS - It is about $600 and is known for its quality FFB but Thrustmaster's customer service I've heard is mixed reviews.

3. The Fanatec Clubsport wheel - I've heard people say is insanely good but $1,000 with both rims, shipping and tax is giving me shivers down the spine as we speak.

4. Wait for the SimXperience Accuforce Wheel that is probably going to be I would guess $750 or more unless somehow it is within the $600 range.

I had posted this on Facebook and only got arrogant and unnecessary comments from other racers implying that I was getting a higher-end wheel to compensate for a lack of drivers' talent and saying that I haven't dialed in my settings so I figured I'd ask you guys since you all have been very helpful in the past. I've dialed in every wheel I've had to suit me although some (like the ECCI) just never quite worked despite this which is why I'm selling or have sold a few of the wheels I've had before. Just to make this clear, I'm not looking for a wheel expecting it to bring me to victory lane every week - I just want one that has even better FFB (and possibly even more intuitive FFB if that is possible) than a G27 to add to my sim racing experience. Anyways, sorry about that bit of a rant there but thanks in advance for your comments!

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Hey Marc,

Always a tough choice this one. I can't comment on the SXA as it's not out yet, and I suspect the TX will be similar to the T500. But I can give you an opinion on the G27 vs T500 vs CSW. I own all three, and have previously owned a Fanatec GT3 as well as several others. I've also driven with an ECCI and a Frex so I have a decent point of comparison.

It's no secret round here that i'm a big fan of the G27, despite being surpassed in terms of FF realism by both the T500 and CSW it still has a certain rawness that you only get from a gear driven wheel. Belt drive takes some of that away, but adds the ability to provide massively more torque and realistic effects.

The CSW is outstanding, but also has it's share of niggles. I found the rims a tad too heavy, and the wheel needed constant tweaking to get the best from each sim. The FF is quite dampened due to the heavy duty belts and weight of the rims, It also has a small FF deadspot in the centre which never went away despite several firmware updates. All these points aside - the CSW will provide the most 'realistic' driving feel and that's largely down to the build quality. It's hard not to like something which looks and feels so sturdy. Then there's the QR rims and LED display which are so cool. I'd class the CSW as a true enthusiast product. It's expensive, needs frequent tweaking and has it's niggles. But when you get it right it's arguably the best in class.

The T500 lacks the build quality of the CSW. Much more plastic, no LED's, but it delivers where it matters. IMO the FF of the T500 is very close to that of the CSW but with a lot less natural damping. I liked that because it gives a much snappier response. Not as sharp as a G27 but I was amazed how close it gets, largely down to the huge amount of torque. The rims are changeable but not QR. Big downside for some is that it has static paddles. I use an external shifter so it doesn't affect me at all, but might be a deal breaker for some. The 458 and F1 addon rims both have their own paddles however.

It also has a very loud fan which can be annoying (i changed mine for a more silent variety) and the T500 base unit is BIG so you need a decent amount of desk space. The rims also feel more toylike than the CSW, more plastic and rubber than metal and Alacantara. There's also those playstation like buttons on the standard GT rim. I was worried all this would bother me but it didn't, it's all remarkably sturdy and functional.

Both wheels have their niggles, it's just a question of where you are prepared to make the compromise. Currently I'm running running a T500 with the standard GT rim and quite honestly I couldn't be happier. It has FF almost on a par with the CSW but a snappier response which i prefer. It also takes a lot less day to day tweaking. It doesn't have the uber realism, or cool features of the CSW though. Also the two biggest gripes of the community (static paddles and noisy fan) are not an issue for me due to the reasons i mentioned above. I'm of the firm belief that what works in the real world doesn't necessarily translate well to a sim environment and the T500 follows the same philosophy. It sacrifices a little realism to try and deliver a better experience.

But there are just as many people who demand ultimate realism. For those the CSW is undoubtedly an engineering masterpiece and probably the closest you can come to having a real car under your desk. Having that extra level of authenticity that comes from the stunning build quality combined with excellent FF is hard to deny.

In terms of reliability, I have sever owned a single fanatec product that didn't require support or RMA at some point. Thankfully Fanatecs support has come a long way and most issues are sorted out quickly these days, but there's no doubt their products are quite highly strung.

I've never had cause to use Thrustmaster support but i've heard both good and bad reports. However, as the T500 is more of a mass market product I get the feel it's pretty robust.

Neither wheel made me faster (I consistently run faster times with a G27 than anything i've owned) but both will take FF to another level and definitely make your racing more realistic and enjoyable. CSW has an edge in realism, T500 in enjoyment. Just depends what you want out of your racing.

If you want to know anything more specific just ask smile

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MCUSA   
Hey Marc,

Always a tough choice this one. I can't comment on the SXA as it's not out yet, and I suspect the TX will be similar to the T500. But I can give you an opinion on the G27 vs T500 vs CSW. I own all three, and have previously owned a Fanatec GT3 as well as several others. I've also driven with an ECCI and a Frex so I have a decent point of comparison.

It's no secret round here that i'm a big fan of the G27, despite being surpassed in terms of FF realism by both the T500 and CSW it still has a certain rawness that you only get from a gear driven wheel. Belt drive takes some of that away, but adds the ability to provide massively more torque and realistic effects.

The CSW is outstanding, but also has it's share of niggles. I found the rims a tad too heavy, and the wheel needed constant tweaking to get the best from each sim. The FF is quite dampened due to the heavy duty belts and weight of the rims, It also has a small FF deadspot in the centre which never went away despite several firmware updates. All these points aside - the CSW will provide the most 'realistic' driving feel and that's largely down to the build quality. It's hard not to like something which looks and feels so sturdy. Then there's the QR rims and LED display which are so cool. I'd class the CSW as a true enthusiast product. It's expensive, needs frequent tweaking and has it's niggles. But when you get it right it's arguably the best in class.

The T500 lacks the build quality of the CSW. Much more plastic, no LED's, but it delivers where it matters. IMO the FF of the T500 is very close to that of the CSW but with a lot less natural damping. I liked that because it gives a much snappier response. Not as sharp as a G27 but I was amazed how close it gets, largely down to the huge amount of torque. The rims are changeable but not QR. Big downside for some is that it has static paddles. I use an external shifter so it doesn't affect me at all, but might be a deal breaker for some. The 458 and F1 addon rims both have their own paddles however.

It also has a very loud fan which can be annoying (i changed mine for a more silent variety) and the T500 base unit is BIG so you need a decent amount of desk space. The rims also feel more toylike than the CSW, more plastic and rubber than metal and Alacantara. There's also those playstation like buttons on the standard GT rim. I was worried all this would bother me but it didn't, it's all remarkably sturdy and functional.

Both wheels have their niggles, it's just a question of where you are prepared to make the compromise. Currently I'm running running a T500 with the standard GT rim and quite honestly I couldn't be happier. It has FF almost on a par with the CSW but a snappier response which i prefer. It also takes a lot less day to day tweaking. It doesn't have the uber realism, or cool features of the CSW though. Also the two biggest gripes of the community (static paddles and noisy fan) are not an issue for me due to the reasons i mentioned above. I'm of the firm belief that what works in the real world doesn't necessarily translate well to a sim environment and the T500 follows the same philosophy. It sacrifices a little realism to try and deliver a better experience.

But there are just as many people who demand ultimate realism. For those the CSW is undoubtedly an engineering masterpiece and probably the closest you can come to having a real car under your desk. Having that extra level of authenticity that comes from the stunning build quality combined with excellent FF is hard to deny.

In terms of reliability, I have sever owned a single fanatec product that didn't require support or RMA at some point. Thankfully Fanatecs support has come a long way and most issues are sorted out quickly these days, but there's no doubt their products are quite highly strung.

I've never had cause to use Thrustmaster support but i've heard both good and bad reports. However, as the T500 is more of a mass market product I get the feel it's pretty robust.

Neither wheel made me faster (I consistently run faster times with a G27 than anything i've owned) but both will take FF to another level and definitely make your racing more realistic and enjoyable. CSW has an edge in realism, T500 in enjoyment. Just depends what you want out of your racing.

If you want to know anything more specific just ask smile

Thanks Darren! Firstly, what exactly is natural dampening? Have you had any problems with your Fanatec CSW or T500RS? I read on Amazon that someone had problems with their T500RS F1 rim's paddle losing its 'click' and then double-shifting - have you had any issues like that with the GT rim? I'd also like to add, with my G27 in rFactor I have one basic setting that has suited me for over a year and a half with my G27 so you could say I'm not especially looking for a wheel that I have to tweak constantly :P

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Sorry for the late reply Marc. It's been a hectic few days round these parts.

Perhaps i should have said additional dampening. What i mean is, any extra factors outside software/profiler settings that affect how heavy the wheel feels. The CSW in particular uses some very heavy duty belts which provide a noticeable level of extra friction when you turn the wheel. They also absorb some of the forces as they are transferred through the base. The rims are quite heavy too, so the combination of the two have a smoothing or dampening effect on feedback and forces that make it through to the driver. It's not massive, but significant enough that i should point it out.

It's not necessarily a bad thing. A bit of dampening can hep control over corrections on track and give a more realistic feel to the wheel. If you consider what it's like turning the wheel in your road car, there's a significant amount of 'drag'. I know lots of sim racers who crank the damping right up because it feels more realistic.

Personally, i prefer not to have too much damping on a sim wheel. Unless you are lucky enough to own a full motion rig then the forces through the wheel are the only cues we have to know what's happening with the car. I'd rather not have that stunted by the slight wooly feel of an over dampened wheel. You'll notice it more coming from a G27 which has barely any additional damping (above what you set in the profiler), and it's precisely this reason why i use words like 'raw' and 'direct' when describing the feedback on a G27

The T500 gives a much bigger range in that respect. Because it's not dampened as much by default, it caters better for folk like me who like to keep damping to a minimum and prefer a lighter feel. The CSW does have a drift setting which essentially adds power steering to make the wheel seem lighter. It's OK, but felt a little too artificial for me to be able to get used to it.

If you play around with the damping slider in your G27 profiler, you'll get an idea how it affects the feel of a wheel, and it might help you decide whether you like a bit or a lot.

Never had any reliability problems with the T500. I own all three rims but find i stick to the stock GT rim for almost everything. It's pretty solid, and there's not a lot to go wrong. I have no doubts about it's longevity. I have heard of a couple of people having problems with the F1's paddle switch. But in each case a replacement was swiftly provided. It feels solid enough to me, but i can kinda see it would be a candidate for long term failure.

Aside from a few day to day niggles, the biggest problem(s) i had with the CSW was that it completely lost the ability to center itself. I also had another problem where feedback would randomly disappear then come back a couple of mins later. Pretty annoying during the middle of a multiplayer race.

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I'm More than Happy with the CSR Wheel Setup,

Even with the Rim being Non-Interchange-able, No Biggie, one less thing to have to constantly change.

The Rim Itself being mostly Plastic, Nothing a Lil Rubber Grip wrap didnt fix.

The Lack of Shifter LEDs on the Forza CSRs is not a problem for me,

a Cheap Android Phone/Tablet, Some Velcro and a App Later and I Have Shifting LEDs, RPM, Temps etc right on the Face of the Wheel. (for some Sims, iRacing Mainly).

The CSR Elite Pedals, are Far and away some of the best pedals I've used, I can only Imagine what the Clubsport Pedals feel like.

Only issue w/ Fanatec's Stuff is the CSR Shifter Set Components:

-The H Pattern Shifter has Resistance Issues,

-Some gears are easy to get too, while others you have to damn near break it off the mount to get to.

-Constantly has Issues with going to the wrong gear when quickly running through gears.

-The Seq. Shifter is cheap and feels weak.

-The Mounting Mechanism for both is weak.

The Clubsport Shifter is Far and Away better than the CSR Shifter set,

- Better mechanics and feel

- Better Mounting Mechanism

- Toggle-Able with H/Seq. (on the SQ Version), so no Swapping out shifters.

- Non SQ Version is Cheaper, I Personally just use Paddles for Seq Cars.

- Interchangable Shifter Knobs that is compatible with Industry Standard Shifter Knobs

(So you can goto walmart, advance auto, or just steal the shifter knob out of your own car if you want, comes with 2)

- Locked R and 7th Gear (Also, Cheaper CSR Shifter Set doesn’t have 7th).

The Thrustmaster Xbox One Wheel will have Separate 3 Pedal, 7 Point H Shifter, etc etc after launch,

So if you're going Xbox one and dont already have a decent wheel, that would prolly be your best bet,

Get the base version and upgrade / sell off components.

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zim2323   

T500 all the way for me. I'd be scared of the build/shipping/support issues with the Fanatec wheels. Nothing but horror stories and pissed off customers on the insidesimracing.tv forums for them.

Hmmmm....Marc...I think a little birdie said something about you gonna' love the pedals but hate the wheel(no FFB). I just can't remember who that was....

hmmmm

/poke

LOL

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MCUSA   
T500 all the way for me. I'd be scared of the build/shipping/support issues with the Fanatec wheels. Nothing but horror stories and pissed off customers on the insidesimracing.tv forums for them.

Hmmmm....Marc...I think a little birdie said something about you gonna' love the pedals but hate the wheel(no FFB). I just can't remember who that was....

hmmmm

/poke

LOL

I was considering the T500RS Chris but now I'm waiting on the TX reviews considering the new brushless motor and F1 wheel compatibility which is something I'd just LOVE for the extra buttons. Regarding the ECCI, I really enjoyed the wheel since it was smooth as butter but missed FFB in the end although thankfully the pedals are what I would say are the best anyone can ask for. The fact that I can get at least $300 for the wheel still makes the investment worth it to me :P . It's funny though, people say load cells are better than potentiometers, but after trying CSTs on a racing simulator I would personally say ECCI nailed it with the PMBII although the CSTs (even if they are over $800 now from Five Star Simulations in Australia - YIKES) were also beyond words... Here's a crazy fun fact from me interviewing John Pribble (one of the co-founders of ECCI) - they tried load cells before Fanatec did!

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It's funny though, people say load cells are better than potentiometers, but after trying CSTs on a racing simulator I would personally say ECCI nailed it with the PMBII although the CSTs (even if they are over $800 now from Five Star Simulations in Australia - YIKES) were also beyond words...

I might have to head for the hills after this, but I think load cells are overrated. The key is to get the 'feel' of the pedal correct, weather you chose to do this with loadcell, springs, dampers, elastomer or whatever is irreverent but i've never found any advantage over a well engineered pot system.

In fact the best feeling and performing brake i've ever used was probably the G27 with the nixim mod & aftermarket pedal plates.

Probably my muscle memory just isn't refined enough lol

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zim2323   

For me a load cell made a huge difference. I added one to my T500 pedals. I have always wanted to try out the ECCI pedals. I've heard nothing but absolute love for them. If they add the brake stability with the proper gradiant pressure, then I could definitely see that being better. The only thing I miss with a load cell is the full movement. The load cell for my pedals is designed with about an inch of travel so it's still better then the others I've seen reviewed (but never tried).

muscle memory > positional memory

Ultimately, if I could get a 3-pedal set from ECCI, you bet I'd be trying them.

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MCUSA   
For me a load cell made a huge difference. I added one to my T500 pedals. I have always wanted to try out the ECCI pedals. I've heard nothing but absolute love for them. If they add the brake stability with the proper gradiant pressure, then I could definitely see that being better. The only thing I miss with a load cell is the full movement. The load cell for my pedals is designed with about an inch of travel so it's still better then the others I've seen reviewed (but never tried).

muscle memory > positional memory

Ultimately, if I could get a 3-pedal set from ECCI, you bet I'd be trying them.

If you can get a set on Ebay for $300-400 and add a clutch later on, that's one possibility. The PMB2 by the way does kind-of invoke muscle memory as it is that heavy point at the end of the braking cycle. I could still even now fine-tune them as I still get more lockup than I'd like but it's so hard to find anything better that won't make me broke..

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Oqvist   

Hi Marc and ECCI owners. I am investigating solutions för paddles on my osw and stumbled upon the ECCI paddles. How quiet are they in operation? Did you use them on a flat dish rim. Enough clearance you never got involuntary contact with them. Planning to use them on some 300-320mm rims primarily

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MCUSA   

Not sure about the clearance but those paddles are easily some of the best I ever used in sim racing. It is hard to describe other than the fact that they just work how you want them to with no nonsense. I'd highly, highly recommend them for your OSW, Oqvist. It will help make the driving experience that much better.

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Oqvist   

Yeah have no doubt they will do the work for many years to come. The wiring will be a problem though.

How much noise do they make? Don´t know if you used a T500RS paddles or have some other reference to noise level. It´s not for me it´s my neighbours. There is a wall in between but it hardly make a difference wink

Wish there was a plug and play usb solution for less then 200$ but that don´t exist it seems.

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MCUSA   

Not too much as far as I remember but for any price they kick some serious butt. You could reach John Pribble at ECCI about trying to get something plug-and-play for your OSW, he and Andy Cers really do what they can to stand by their products.

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Oqvist   

They have all the electronics on the circuit board so it will be expensive. Most custom stuff electronics on rims cost a lot though. it can easilly gets more expensive then a the wheel base part including the servo motor lol

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