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PCD & Quick Release: a complete guide to QR hubs and adapters for Fanatec, Simucube and OSW wheels

There is a huge array of options for QR (Quick-Release) hubs in the sim racing community. You might have felt a pang of jealousy looking at the latest “Xero-Play” item, with the red anodised finish and the incredibly neat QR lever. Or you might just be wondering how to mount your new sim steering wheel to your Fanatec, Simucube, OSW, Logitech or Thrustmaster wheelbase.

Sim Lab QR Hub
Sim Lab: QR “Xero Play” (also sold under the HRS name)

It’s a really good idea to do some pre-purchase research because many wheelbases are different and have a proprietary or very unique way of mounting a QR hub to the wheelbase side. So for those new to sim racing, there are some useful things to know before you buy. Specifically, compatibility.

How will you mount your “6 x 70mm” PCD QR hub to your Fanatec DD2? And how does the Simucube 2 Pro work? A lot of the mainstream wheelbase manufacturers have a unique way of fitting QR to the wheelbase, so you’ll need an adapter to get started (most likely!).

Contents

What you’re going to learn from reading this in-depth article on QR adapters will help you decide what adapter you’ll need to mount a QR hub to the wheelbase and what the measurements mean when we’re discussing mounting a wheel rim or complete sim steering wheel.

What does “6 x 70mm” PCD mean anyway?

The PCD measurement is the way steering wheel fitment is descried. There are usually 6 bolts mounting your steering wheel and most commonly they are arranged on a diameter of 50.8mm or 70mm PCD. PCD stands for Pitch Circle Diameter and it’s the common way to describe a stud pattern:

PCD Stud patterns
PCD Stud patterns (source)

So in the case of 6 x 70mm PCD, we’re saying there are 6 bolts placed on a diameter of 70mm. And just so you know, most of the time those are M5 (5mm) bolts!

Match the steering wheels to the hub to the adapter

Steering wheel bolt patterns are relatively standard, in that there are very few to choose from – and they’re influenced heavily by competition steering wheel manufacturers such as MOMO, Sparco and OMP who use the “6 x 70mm” PCD bolt pattern.

So, when you’re mounting a brand new rim or sim steering wheel unit, you will most likely come across a hub that is pre-drilled for 6 x 70mm bolt patterns. But you might also find that the hub is 6 x 70mm (wheel end) to 3 x 50.8mm (wheelbase end) and so on.

Next, there’s the issue of how the wheelbase end is actually mounted to the wheelbase. Simucube, Fanatec, Logitech – they’re all different.

This is how it all fits together:

Steering Wheel > Hub > Adapter > Wheelbase

With some careful thought it’s easy to match one end to the other: match the wheel to the hub, match the hub to the adapter. The adapter fits the wheelbase and you can get going!

Mounting Fanatec wheels on non-Fanatec wheelbases

Fanatec wheels use a 52mm x 6 hole PCD format which means you will need an adapter like the Fanatec QR adapter from Sim Racing Machines. This adapter will convert the Fanatec wheel to accept 3 x 50.8mm or 6 x 70mm PCD M5 tapped holes for more or less every quick release hub on the market:

Fanatec QR adapter
Fanatec QR adapter

USB Conversion for Fanatec wheels

Unfortunately, newer Fanatec wheels have built-in security to prevent you from mounting your Fanatec wheel on a non-Fanatec wheelbase. There’s now a “handshake” between wheel and base on power-up, which determines the encryption for the game port data – so wheels such as the Formula Carbon V2 and later won’t allow the USB conversion board to work because the USB conversion can’t decode the data. Uncool.

To take an early wheel such as a Formula Clubsport Fanatec wheel out of the Fanatec ecosystem, you’re going to need a USB conversion. As Fanatec wheels use the Fanatec QR hub to connect the wheel as a game controller, you will need to convert the wheel to a USB device with this board from Leo Bodnar.

Fanatec USB conversion (pre-soldered) fits neatly into existing pins on the board
Fanatec USB conversion (pre-soldered) fits neatly into existing pins on the board

The Standalone USB conversion is a simple PCB that connects to the electronics in a Fanatec wheel rim using the PCB mounted connector to convert it to a standalone USB joystick controller.

Mounting a non-Fanatec wheel to a Fanatec wheelbase

Fanatec wheelbases, like the DD2, will not activate Force Feedback unless it thinks there is a Fanatec wheel attached to the hub. This means if you’re using a non-Fanatec wheel like the rather beautiful Cube Controls Formula Sport (my personal favourite), you’ll need a special Fanatec hub.

There are a few options. The Fanatec Podium hub is the OEM hub from Fanatec and will accept all third-party rims using a 6x70mm or 3x50mm bolt pattern. Cube Controls wheels all come with a Cube Controls universal hub which will also accommodate 6x70mm or 3×50.8mm bolt patterns.

cube controls wheel mounted to fanatec podium hub
Cube Controls wheel mounted to Fanatec Podium Hub

It’s mildly fiddly to mount and adds 20mm or so in additional hub length, but it does work.

My only gripe with the Fanatec Podium hub is that it doesn’t have the tuning button to modify wheel settings while you’re driving. Thats why, when I’m mounting a rim only (for example if I’ve bought an OMP, Sparco or MOMO wheel rim) I’d always choose the ClubSport Steering Wheel Universal Hub for XBOX ONE.

If you’re dealing with a complete sim steering wheel then clearly the XBOX One hub won’t be for you, but if you don’t fancy the expense of the Fanatec Podium hub, try the Fanatec Emulator from SRM.

Sim Racing Machine's Fanatec Wheel Emulator
Sim Racing Machine’s Fanatec Wheel Emulator

The SRM emulator makes the Fanatec wheelbase think that a Fanatec wheel rim is attached, thus enabling FFB. It’s compatibe with the Podium DD1 and DD2, Fanatec CSW all versions 1, 2 and 2.5 and the older CSL / CSL Elite wheelbases.

There are pin headers provided in the emulator for “limited” wheel functionality, so you could connect the setup button individually if you were technically inclined. Of course, going this route would mean that the wheel you’re mounting would always need to be connected to your PC via USB to have the full functionality of the wheel.

Mounting to a Thrustmaster wheelbase

Compatible with Thrustmaster T300, T500, TX and TS-PC bases, the Thrustmaster wheel side QR allows any wheel with a 6 x 50mm bolt pattern. If you’ve got a Cube Controls wheel, you can mount that to your Thrustmaster with this mount. Cube Controls wheels have a unique 3 bolt pattern on their chassis so you’ll always need a cube controls specific adapter.

Thrustmaster adapter for Cube Controls wheels
Thrustmaster adapter for Cube Controls wheels

Mounting to a Simucube Wheelbase

The Simucube wheelbases come with an SQR hub supplied. The SQR hub kit will accommodate any 50.8mm or 70mm PCD wheel (the wheel side mount is tapped with M5 threads.

Simucube 2 Pro with SQR hub (wheelbase side) attached
Simucube 2 Pro with SQR hub (wheelbase side) attached

Mounting any other QR hub to the wheelbase side of a Simucube is the tricky bit, as they have a unique 3 bolt pattern. If you want to use an alternative (non-Simucube) QR mount, you can mount it to the existing SQR components or (better) take the wheelbase side SQR system off entirely, and mount an Ascher Racing 70mm SQR adapter in its place.

The Ascher adapter will allow a 70mm or 50mm bolt pattern item to mount directly onto the Simucube shaft from which you can attach any QR hub or spacer directly to the wheelbase.

Simucube 2 Pro with SQR mount removed to reveal unique 3 hole mount (non standard, non PCM)

Here’s a useful explainer from Barry at Sim Racing Garage:

Mounting to a Logitech Wheelbase

If you’ve got a Cube Controls wheel, you’ll need a Cube Controls specific adapter, owing to the 3 bolt pattern on the back of a Cube wheel. Here’s one available on the G-Performance website.

Cube Controls Logitech Adapter
Cube Controls Logitech Adapter

To mount a 70mm PCD wheel to your Logitech wheelbase using the Logitech QR, try this adapter from 3d Works on eBay.

Mounting to a MiGE OSW Wheel

Most MiGE or similar OSW motors (like the Simplicity SW20) have a 24.5mm shaft, upon which the QR mounts directly with a quick-release cammed lever much like the one you might find on a quick release wheel hub for a cycle.

MiGE QR hub from SRM

The mounts tend to be very simple but extremely effective and can attach on the wheel side to either 50.8mm PCD or 70mm PCD rims.

It’s worth noting that Simucube use the same diameter output shaft as a MiGE motor, meaning you can mount the SQR quick release system to your OSW kit.

Our recommended QR hubs

Now you’ve got a good idea of compatibility between wheels, adapters, hubs and wheelbases, let’s take a look at some of the QR hubs out there, as recomended by sim racers.

Buckfink Q1R

The Q1R has kind of been the standard QR hub for most well known sim racers – many swear by this “no play by definition” unit, which has quite an industrial look to it:

Buckfink Q1R (source)

This is the base side of the QR hub, so for every wheel you own you’ll need an extra wheel side item. But that will make changing wheels quick and easy, as you’d hope. There are 50mm & 70mm PCD fitments for the wheel side available (both fit the same base side).

Cube Controls QRX hub

This is a Cube Controls specific item and takes the USB connection off the wheel and moves it to the back of the hub, which can reduce distraction from a USB cable flapping around underneath the wheel:

Cube Controls QRX hub

The hub is made from high grade 7075 alloy and uses a conical shaped self centering mechanism that features spring loaded locking rods for a quick and precise attaching and removal of the wheel.

Universal QR from Cube Controls

Much like the Buckfink design, the Universal QR from Cube Controls fits any base or wheel with either a 6 x 70mm or 6 x 50mm PCD bolt pattern.

Universal QR from Cube Controls
Universal QR from Cube Controls

Like the Buchfink, the item comes in a wheel side and base side configuration, so make sure you’re ordering teh right bits!

Simucube’s SQR hub

This is a favourite of mine, as I use it with my Simucube 2 Pro:

Simucube SQR Hub
Simucube SQR Hub

As I’ve written before, Simucube’s SQR quick release hub is a very high-quality item indeed. The machining at the factory must be almost perfect because the QR adapter slots together perfectly. There’s absolutely no movement in the hub (unlike the proprietary Fanatec system that flexes and has “play”) – it’s by far the best, stiffest hub I’ve ever tested.

HRS Xero-Play V3 Quick Release (Red)

Beutifully made and finished, the exceptional HRS Xero Play Quick Release is really quite an engineering work of art. A very pretty red anodised finish, wit ha QR level that sits flush with the hub body itself:

HRS X-Play
HRS X-Play (source)

This is a 6 x 70mm PCD to 6 x 70mm PCD hub, and comes with 6 x M5 20mm black bolts for mounting, an HRS hex key tool for adjustment and instructions.

When you’re choosing a QR hub (and there are many more than the ones we’ve covered in this article) don’t forget to check the PCD sizes at each end of the hub. Make sure you know the sizes of the adapters you’ll need (if you do need an adapter) and you should find yourself having a pretty easy time adding a brand new QR hub upgrade.

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