Sim Racing Wheel Base Guide 
, by Alex Myastan, 57 min reading time
, by Alex Myastan, 57 min reading time
A simple comparison of every sim racing wheel base on the market in 2023.
Last updated: 17 November 2023. See the update log at the bottom of the article.
This article contains every sim racing wheel base on the market in 2023.
A wheel provides resistance when steering in the form of force feedback. It communicates under- and over-steer, as well as the texture of the road. Your wheel rim is then attached to your wheel a.k.a. wheel base. (The rest of the article will use the term wheel base.)
It’s important to choose right. In a poll I did, wheel bases were voted as the second most important piece of equipment for improving your pace and consistency in sim racing. The takeaway is that you can’t not have a wheel, but you don’t need the best.
In this article you’ll see extensive comparison tables that pit all of the wheel bases against each other in four spending brackets:
At the very end of the article, you will also see the ultimate comparison table, which includes all the wheel bases compared in a single table. Just click the link the contents below to navigate there directly.
There are several facets that make a good wheel base. Do you want a belt-driven wheel or direct drive? Are you going to drive on PC, Xbox or Playstation? And what about the price!?
There are 3 main types of force feedback systems:
TORQUE GENERATING TYPES
The average joe in the average car will experience around 7-12 Nm of torque when driving. When racing, your torque may peak at around 20Nm, but will still average around 10-15 Nm.
Sometimes it may be higher. I recall learning to drive in my Mother’s ford pick-up, before power steering had hit the market. My forearms would bulge when I took turns with it! Most racing cars have power steering, even F1, although some people enjoy fighting with the force feedback.
Over the last year, direct drive wheel bases have become easier to entertain as prices have dropped. However, you should note what type of motor the direct drive uses:
DIRECT DRIVE MOTOR TYPES
Servo motors are generally considered to be the best choice since they have the smoothest feel when you turn the wheel.
A side note: most motors are inrunners, where the inside turns and the case is static. The alternative is an outrunner motor, where the opposite happens. Only some Fanatec products use outrunner motors, although it won’t impact your driving much.
You can find yourself in a web when trying to find out what hardware is compatible with which games and with what platform. In each of the comparisons, you will see platform compatibility and a link to a list of compatible games.
In the comparisons, you will see which platforms the different wheel bases work on: PC, Xbox and/or Playstation.
Note that compatibility for consoles depends on whether the sim racing equipment have security chips in them. Playstation requires a security chip to be placed inside the wheel base. Xbox works differently: they require a security chip inside the wheel rim.
In both cases the manufacturer must pay Playstation or Xbox a license fee. That means that wheelbases are often only compatible with one console - it’s cheaper for the consumer that way. This also means that manufacturers will often have two models that are practically the same except one is for Playstation, the other Xbox.
Most of the wheels are compatible with most of the big simulation games: iRacing, Assetto Corsa, Gran Turismo etc. However, with each comparison, you can click a link to see precisely which games are plug-and-play (see the Notes on the Comparison Tables below), which require advanced setup and which are incompatible.
You can’t underestimate the value of plug-and-play. Instead of spending thirty minutes setting up a game, you spend thirty minutes actually playing it!
Lining up your path of progress can save you time and money. Time because hardware, firmware and software from the same brand will work well together; money because you don’t need adapters between this and that and this again.
The Fanatec ecosystem is world class. (Image from Fanatec.)
This is particularly pertinent for wheel bases because they are usually the hub your peripherals go through. Your pedals, shifter and handbrake all connect to your wheel base.
If you have incompatible peripherals, you can connect them directly to your PC or console, but then you may not have enough ports and may require adapters. The cost and complexity begin to tally up…. Thirty minutes after you sat down to start playing, your wife set a task on you and you hadn’t yet seen a patch of tarmac.
So, when you begin to invest in equipment ask yourself: is this an ecosystem with legs?
A minor concern for most. Since most setups require 900° or 1080° of wheel rotation, almost all wheels will suffice. There are a couple of instances where you may want more freedom, however.
If you are driving trucks around the countryside, you may need to increase the limit when you are parking and have to wiggle your way in. The other case is drifting, where you need a massive counter steer.
The deciding factor! If we could all afford a private island, we would each have one. With a bungalow, and in that bungalow a triple monitor screen in front of a setup to drool over.
Alas, here we are.
This article categorizes all the wheel bases on the market in 2023 into 4 spending brackets: budget, entry-level, mid-range and high-end. Let’s see which sim racing wheel bases are the best in each bracket!
Simplace is an online store for sim racing and flight sim equipment that ships globally. We pride ourselves on having a wide array of products and excellent customer service.
We also have a second-hand sim marketplace which is global, has no listing or ad fees and uses a built-in escrow system.
Table 1: All characteristics of the five budget wheel bases.
* Torque not specified but gear FFB systems are usually 2-3 Nm.
If you just want to jump in on a limited budget, these are the wheels you should consider.
The Hori Apex/Overdrive is truly budget, but it only runs on a bungee cord, meaning there is no force feedback at all. The same goes for the Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider. The Hori DLX is a step up, but doesn’t compete in price with either of the Thrustmasters.
The Thrustmaster TX: a 3.9 Nm belt drive for $230… amazing.
The belt-driven TX/T300 really is a stand-out in this bracket with twice as much torque at the same price as its T150/TMX cousin. It is also the only option in this bracket that has a swappable wheel! That means you can always upgrade your wheel rim.
The TX is for the Xbox and can rotate 900, while the T300 is for Playstation and can rotate 1080. Both are compatible with PC and most racing sims on PC and console.
Table 2: A comparison of the twelve entry-level wheel bases.
Logitech makes its entrance and exit in this bracket, while direct drives arrive and declare they are here to stay!
The three Thrustmaster variations are each 6Nm belt-driven wheel bases, but for different platforms and with different wheel rims attached. The Logitech has a third of the force feedback and is gear-driven, but it makes the list because it is compatible with PC, Xbox and Playstation and because it is bundled with pedals. Both are solid entries, but neither compares with the direct drives in this bracket.
The Moza Racing R9 comes in cheaper than the Fanatec CSL DD when you include the booster kits that take them up to 8 Nm, while the R9 matches their fidelity. The Moza R3 Bundle is an excellent option to get into sim racing, especially considering it includes both a steering wheel and pedals in the bundle rim.
The Moza Racing R9 with an equally great steering wheel rim.
The Moza Racing R9 is the new kid on the block that arrived in April/May 2023. Following in the footsteps of his R21 and R16 brothers, he brings incredible value for money.
We were certain the CSL DD would take the cake here, but after looking closer at the Moza Racing R9, we can’t refuse! With 9 Nm of direct drive force feedback at $460 it even beats the CSL DD 8 Nm booster that comes in at around $540. It’s smooth, it’s quiet, it’s a joy. Deserved.
The Moza Racing R9 is in high demand. It is currently available for pre-order on Simplace, with stock estimated to arrive in the 3rd week of June.
The Logitech G923 and G920/G29 just don’t hold up when it comes to torque. The Thrustmaster TS-PC offers triple the force feedback at exactly the same price, a smoother belt-driven system beating the notchy gear-driven Logitech system and they have swappable wheel rims. However, Thrustmaster is known to have issues with long term endurance of its products.
It is worth noting the Logitech G923 TRUEFORCE Sim Racing Wheel comes with a good pedal set, but you can still pair up the 4 Nm Thrustmaster TX/T300 and the T3PM pedal set for a total of $360. That’s still twice the torque, a belt-driven system, swappable wheel rims and it’s 10% cheaper.
Their internal force feedback systems are similar: each one is belt-driven with 6 Nm of torque. Each one is between $400 and $500. Note that the TS-PC is PC only, TS-XW is Xbox and PC, while T-GT II is Playstation and PC. Their steering wheel rims also differ.
Table 3: A comparison of the eleven mid-range wheel bases.
This is that awkward teenage phase. You’re not quite ready to take on the big, wide world, but you’re working up to it.
Even though the Moza Racing R9 is under the $500 bracket, it still deserves to be here given the punch it packs. The Fanatec CSL DD and GT DD Pro are listed together because they use the same motor, while another Simagic appears: the Alpha Mini. This Simagic provides 10 Nm of torque with a servo motor.
The VRS DFP is excellent value, bringing you to 20 Nm of torque for under $1000. But the standout is the new offering from Fanatec, the ClubSport DD. They have improved their force feedback system, and this is the first direct drive to ship with their new QR2 system.
The new Fanatec ClubSport DD will deliver enough torque for 99% of sim racing enthusiasts.
Basically yes, they use the same motor. However, the CSL DD can be bought with 5 or 8 Nm of torque, while the GT DD Pro is only available with 8 Nm. The other difference is that the CSL DD is only compatible with PC and Xbox while the GT DD Pro is compatible with PC, Xbox and Playstation. That also means it’s around $100 more expensive than the 8 Nm CSL DD.
Table 4: A comparison of the eighteen high-end wheel bases.
Now we’ve entered the final stretch. These are the lands where your forearms grow strong and your GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) even stronger.
The Simucube 2 Pro is just the right mix between the brute strength of the Simucube 2 Ultimate and the tamer Sport version. The Fanatec Podium F1 takes second because its the only wheel base that caters to both consoles in this bracket.
The Fanatec Podium F1 is a DD1 wheel base bundled with a beautiful F1 wheel. Unfortunately, you can’t buy this Playstation compatible wheel base without the wheel, which is why they are listed separately in the comparison table.
The SimSteering Ultimate is not first, but it’s the king of this hill. It’s the best money can buy - even F1 teams use it for official training.
The Sim-plicity SW15/20 Esport and the VRS DFP make another appearance, despite being under $1000. Why? Because these offer 20 Nm of torque, meaning they are high-end, despite their price.
The Simucube 2 Pro and all its parts.
Simucube grew from the open sim wheel (OSW) movement, which is a DIY direct drive wheel movement. OSW started off where hobbyists would take units made from a company called Granite Devices and combine them with ever-stronger servo motors to create force feedback systems.
Granite Devices noticed this, so produced an item that would be easier for the OSW members to use. It did so well that the company decided to produce its own wheels. Thus, Simucube was born.
This wheel base smacks of engineers that do what they do because they love their work. Equipment that’s created by people that care has a tell: it’s really good. The Simucube 2 Pro is proof. With 26 Nm, all your sim racing needs will be covered.
All the Simucube 2 wheel bases are available on Simplace.
Table 5: A comparison of all forty-four wheel bases.
We have plenty of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, from a variety of manufacturers including Moza Racing, Cube Controls, Sim-Lab and more. Check out this article with tables that specify which products and brands have discounts, and how much those discounts are. It also contains some general tips for tactically approaching the Black Friday craze.
Well, that’s it. The above shows all the wheels in the market at present. The recommended wheels in each bracket ended up being:
We aim to create a comprehensive repository to help you make your sim racing gear decisions. Check out some of our other detailed articles:
> A Beginner's Guide to a Sim Racing Setup: This article provides an overview of your entire setup.
> Best Sim Racing Cockpits:
This article recommends the top ten cockpits for all budgets and
compares ~70% of all the cockpits on the market in a simple table.
> The Wheel Base Guide:
A comparison of every single wheel base on the market. We show the torque, platform compatibility, price and other relevant information in tables. We also have an article that analyses the value of entry-level direct drives, and one that recommends Xbox wheel bases.
> The Wheel Compatibility Guide: See the bolt patterns and QR Hubs of all the major wheel and wheel base brands.
> The Shifter and Handbrake Guide: A comparison of every sim racing stick shifter and handbrake on the market.
> The Pedal Guide:
A comparison of all the budget and entry-level pedal sets, and the most
popular mid-range and high-end pedal sets on the market.
> How to Earn Money in Sim Racing: An overview of the various ways in which you can get income from your favourite hobby.
We also publish sim related news, like analysing the value of the Fanatec ClubSport DD, reviewing the Fanatec QR2 or looking at the latest WRC updates. You can also find articles about us, like this article about our visit to the recent ADAC Sim Racing Expo.