Featured Image: Brake hydraulic master cylinder and reservoir on the CPP Lite Pedals
Established since 2020 in the Chinese and Japanese markets, Conspit is a relatively unknown brand to us in the US and UK. In fact, my friend Manny from VPG introduced me to Conspit, recommending I reach out and test their pedals. There’s so much going on in the sim racing scene that it has taken me a while to make contact and get the pedals installed on my setup. Still, today I’m pleased to report on my experience with the Conspit CPP Lite, a CNC machined pedal set with a fully hydraulic brake system, a nice clutch and throttle and haptic feedback, all running from its own driver/calibration software. So today, we’re going to take a look at these surprisingly inexpensive, high-end pedals.
The first thing you need to overcome is that Conspit isn’t a very familiar brand over here in the UK and US. They are, however, very well known in China and Japan. They Partner with globally renowned racing events such as PCCA (Porsche Carrera Cup Asia), they are in Collaboration with McLaren Customer Racing and have developed a partnership with ASUS ROG to develop their upcoming F1 cockpit.
Conspit make pedals (of course), racing cockpits, and a surround screen system in use by racing teams, automotive tech companies and sim racers. Automotive technology and racing technology development are their background, with the name Geely (who provided the platform for Polestar 2 and the Volvo XC40) to name just one. In summary, this is a serious business and they have a timeline up to 2026 to furnish the sim racing industry with their equipment.
As I write this, their website feels a little underdeveloped, in that you can’t buy anything through their main site, but you can contact them or buy some of their gear on their soon to be live commerce site. But that’s just how business is done in that part of the world. If you can get over that, and be happy to watch them improve and grow, I think you’re in for a big surprise.
And on that note, I think we should get on with the review…Test Drive: Conspit’s CPP.Lite Sim Racing Pedals
As you’d expect the pedal kit comes in a medium-sized package. You’re greeted by an illustrated print of the key points in the instruction manual, which is a really nice, artful touch.
I’ve noticed Conspit likes to use their original concept drawings in their marketing materials which is just a novel thing to do.
Inside the box you’re treated to the throttle, brake and clutch, and a base plate (with the controller mounted underneath).
There are some heavy-duty bolts included for mounting and two nice Allen (Hex) keys with their size printed on each tool. The Allen keys are of high quality, you can put a lot of torque through them without them feeling like they might slip. Thankfully, they’re ball-ended so that you can easily access the centre mounting position drilled into each individual pedal chassis.
Installation is easy; mount each pedal one by one and route the cabling to the controller. There are several different mounting options per pedal on the base plate; so to some extent you can play with individual pedal proximity:
The manufacturer advises you to make sure all cables, including power and USB, are connected to the controller before you think about mounting the plate to your rig. I mounted the complete unit to my aluminium profile rig, and when I buy a set of these pedals (they’re very much on my radar) I’ll most likely transfer the individual pedals directly to my profile base, and find somewhere else to mount the controller.
As you may see from the installation pictures later on, I’ve had to let go of cable tidiness, which I’m planning to sort out (again!) after this review season finishes. It’s been busy – as my regular readers have noted! Fortunately, all “internal” cables are hidden away once the pedals are installed:
Each pedal has two cables: a Haptic motor cable and a RJ12 connector. The Haptic channel numbers are there for you to correctly assign Haptic events to the correct pedal.
Conspit Link covers all aspects of managing the pedals. Drivers, Pedal calibration, Haptics and Launch control setup are all very clearly laid out and the UX is very clear (as soon as you switch the software to EN mode!).
Calibration is simple, once you understand how. Click the pedal (left) that you want to adjust. Then, with your foot off the selected pedal, click “MIN”. This sets the 0 point of the pedal. Wait 3 seconds, click “MAX” and put your desired pressure on the brake, then release and wait another 3 seconds.
You can see the usual curve settings but on the left, is the data telemetry widget that you can have running in real-time as an overlay – similar to RaceLabApps, but free. And developing quickly I might add.
There seems to be a trend with in-house software coming from Manufacturers. As a manufacturer, it must be a drag to rely on a third party to enable support for every new device, so, I can see why proprietary software development has been so prevalent this year. Fanatec and Sim-Lab’s Race Director are the platforms I’m most familiar with and Conspit Link compares very well to both platforms on a UX and features level.
- A novel, software-derived Launch Control system
- Fully Hydraulic Brake Pedal with leak prevention
- The controller mounted to the pedal plate
- A pair of ball-ended Allen (Hex) keys and fixings provided
- Concealed non-contact Hall Sensors in the Throttle and Clutch
- Native software called Conspit Link
I mentioned that the engineering team specialise in hydraulics and consults with some very large car manufacturers. If you think for a moment about EV cars (I own a Polestar 2). EVs are at least in part a simulation of a car – from how they handle differing grip conditions to pedal and wheel feel. You don’t know that the car is essentially a computer and a collection of motors – it “just” feels like a car! This is automotive simulation and it’s highly advanced stuff.
On that note, You get used to the brake pedal very quickly. That’s because it just feels right, a proper hydraulic system which, out of the box seems to be adjusted perfectly. We can look at the adjustment potential later, but for now, I honestly don’t feel inclined to make any changes. They have lovely compression and rebound, which is smooth but critically, the hydraulic system emulates a real car brake pedal feel brilliantly.
Inside the brake cylinder, the closed space is filled with hydraulic fluid, forming a viscous and damping sensation during the process of applying and releasing the hydraulic brake (hydraulic fluid as the medium to transmit pedal force).
The hydraulic pressure sensor is extremely sensitive, so it might make sense to set a small deadzone post-calibration, especially if you find yourself resting your foot lightly on the brakes. The sensor is a hydraulic pressure sensor with a range of 25 MPa and an accuracy of 25% FS, ensuring no loss of any detail regarding brake pedal inputs. That sensitivity, though, really helps your drive. I’ve literally just jumped out of an F4 race with a smile on my face – and genuinely that brake pedal has given me a renewed interest in developing my technique and the actual racing (balancing owning a sim racing website and actually racing are two entirely different things!).
The throttle is nice and smooth and really at this level it’s difficult to articulate the difference between a Conspit throttle and some better-known manufacturers (who, as you’ve seen I’ve been reviewing a lot recently). Like the brake, it’s sensitive which is useful for very fine throttle control adjustments.
The clutch is quite special. It simulates the non-linear force-travel relationship that you feel in a real car’s clutch. “Non-Linear” is because in a real car, the clutch pressure plate is spring-loaded, and often these are diaphragm springs which have a non-linear spring characteristic.
This means the force required to compress the spring isn’t a simple linear relationship (i.e., double the distance does not mean double the force). While I’ll cover the Haptics later – the built-in Haptic motor on the clutch pedal dutifully tells you where the bite point is. Again, just like a real car. This pedal features some carbon components too.
The team at Conspit took me through the adjustability of the pedal set. Firstly, once installation and calibration are complete, adjustments can be made without tools.
Similar to the new Sim-Lab XP-1 brake pedal, the CPP.Lite has a large purple hydraulic preload adjuster (which is very obvious in the photography) and a clevis shaft pivot point can be changed on the rear of the pedal shaft to immediately change the stiffness of the pedal. Just knock off the pre-load on the pedal and the pivot shaft comes straight out.
I found that running at 560N was more to my preference, with upper adjustments making the system far stiffer:
Pedal angle can be changed by adjusting the pedal plate on all 3 pedals while throttle and clutch preload are adjustable via the spring dampers.
“Stiffness” is a very sim racing industry discussion. In real life, you get in a car and you adapt to whatever the car’s designers intended you to. Yes you can move the pedal box and bleed the brakes but that’s about it. So, being able to adjust these settings in the simulator is powerful, as you can tune the pedals to how you prefer to drive or, how a real car should feel.
Bear in mind I’ve never expressed dissatisfaction with a racing car pedal box unless there’s a problem – long brake pedal, stuck throttle and so on. These aren’t the issues a sim racer will ever need to tackle. I much prefer to adapt to the car rather than making the car adapt to me. That’s what professional drivers do.
Dave Cam demonstrated the launch control in exquisite detail, take a look at Dave demonstrating it here).
Using the start analysis widget that can be activated in the Conspit Link software, he carried out a series of start tests, (single clutch, dual-clutch, Conspit Launch Control) with the 0-100KM/H widget and a timer to measure the time it took to get over a fixed point on the circuit, some 300M down the road.
His result was a two-tenths advantage with the Conspit-powered launch control.
The start procedure: Clutch in, hold the assigned button down (I assigned a steering wheel button rather than a hotkey), fully release the clutch and let the software handle the start based on real-time telemetry data. Once you’ve launched you can let go of the hotkey. This system works with the right dedication to the settings, and I think Dave demonstrated perfectly well the additional 2 tenths he found at launch in his Carerra Cup race.
The Launch Control system is quite an innovative idea, but does take some time to master the settings. And, those settings are slightly different for every car. Hopefully, Conspit will include some setting defaults, perhaps a little like Simucube’s Paddock Profiles. I’m yet to get this working as well as Dave did – but Conspit is very helpful when it comes to settings. No doubt a Discord will appear with settings for all of our favourite cars.
At the moment, the range of events that the Haptics feature supports is much less feature-rich than say, SimHub running SIM3D’s pedal rumble kit. It is, however in development as beta software – Conspit’s engineering team have given the system the name: “M-DVF” (Multi-dynamic Vibration Feedback), and as I understand it they’re developing in this area very quickly.
At the moment there’s a Haptic alert on the brake and throttle channel for traction control (TC) activation, Anti-lock braking system (ABS) activation, Wheel spin/power slide/skid, Wheel lock and “Clutch semi linkage”. I have the throttle on “CarSlip” (as F4 cars don’t have TC or ABS), the brake on “TyresLock” and the clutch on “ClutchSemiLinkage”. You can really feel the clutch bite point – so whether you’re using launch control or not, you can make a good start off the grid if you use your clutch pedal for launches.
When the haptics are triggered, they work well. In the software it would be nice to be able to tune these haptic feedback events, by increasing or decreasing amplitude, response filters, gamma factor gain and threshold – much like SimHub already does.
The Haptic system is going to stay inside Conspit’s software only (as I understand it, no SimHub compatibility) because they plan to release more equipment which will also be configured via Conspit Link.
The Haptic system does compliment my Buttkicker, but the software just needs to be adjustable enough so that I can integrate this more seamlessly into my Formula Racing setup.
As I write this I’m getting no sort of payment or commissions on sales with these pedals. Conspit doesn’t have any sort of affiliate program or whatever. I wanted to write this review so emphatically to get across that these pedals are just so surprisingly good. I haven’t felt Hydraulic braking make this much sense before, which really does challenge the existing, “high-end” status quo with the likes of Heusinkveld, SimTrecs and Asetek.
The brake really brought back a sense of joy to my racing, such is the breadth of the control you’re given. I drive various racing cars (when I get the time) and the feel from each one, from the Radical SR3 to my Lotus Elan 26r can be configured to closely approximate the real feel of a racing car’s brake system. I see Conspit making a big impact on this side of the planet.
Great work, Conspit and hope to see you more active on the scene in 2024!