The Best Direct Drive Wheels for Sim Racing: A complete guide

Simucube 2 Pro
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Featured image: Still the king of direct-drive wheels, the Simucube 2 Pro


High-end direct drive wheels intended for sim racing were once priced upwards of £1000 for a complete (and advanced for the time) kit. So now we’re a few years on from the very first wheel developed for sim racing, direct drive wheels are getting cheaper and more prolific on new sim racing setups all the time. In fact, by this stage, it’d be highly unusual for a rig *not* to have a direct drive wheelbase installed. As we now journey through 2024, there are lots of options, with Fanatec’s CSL DD being (in my opinion the best lower-budget wheelbase and the Simucube 2 Pro is the more expensive but higher-end best choice. To this day I’ve run a Simucube 2 Pro on my simulator since migrating from a Fanatec DD2.


So, what’s on the market, and what’s the best direct drive wheel for your level of skill, budget, and experience?

Skip to the wheelbases in the list below (in approximate order of budget) or read on to learn more about how direct-drive wheels work. Our “daily driver” is the Simucube 2 Pro, which remains priced at close to the “top of the range”. Simucube also sell the Ultimate; which offers a marginal level of improvement for a significantly higher investment in price.

So, there are plenty of options to get into the direct drive universe; which direct drive wheel could you choose? In the list below I’ve tried my best to balance pure force feedback performance and price. My view is that the choice should sit with either the CSL DD or preferably a Simucube 2 Sport or Simucube 2 Pro.

What are the best-rated direct-drive wheels for sim racing?
  1. Fanatec CSL DD
  2. Simucube 2: Sport / Pro / Ultimate
  3. Moza R5
  4. Fanatec GT DD Pro
  5. Fanatec DD2
  6. Simagic Alpha Mini
  7. Simagic Alpha
  8. Simagic Alpha-U
  9. VRS DirectForce Pro Wheel Base
  10. MOZA Racing R12 Direct Drive Wheelbase
  11. MOZA Racing R16 Direct Drive Wheelbase
  12. Fanatec Clubsport DD

Today, we’re taking a deep dive into the subject of all things direct drive sim racing wheels.

What direct drive wheel is best for sim racers?

Before I get started, I’d like to tackle the default discussion among sim racers. If you ask for a recommendation in the majority of the forums, you will end up with a bit of a competition amongst owners to declare their wheel the best. I for example think the Simucube products are “the best”, Asetek products are based on Simucube, Simagic is very impressive and Fanatec has very good FFB, particularly at that price. But is inevitable that some will disagree. The differences in Good direct-drive wheels are so miniscule, most drivers would probably fail “The Pepsi Challenge“.

How Mercedes’ AMG Esports Team uses Simucube 2 to be the best

The truth is that with force feedback properly set up, there is rarely any significant difference between wheels that would fundamentally affect your enjoyment or performance in the simulator. That’s not to say those different manufacturers have their own characteristics, but they’re such subtle differences that few of even the most professional and particular drivers would be bothered by them.

If you want to skip straight to the wheels, use the links directly below. Otherwise, read on!

Much of the development in the wheel technology is actually in the drivers and onboard DSP algorithms – the technology that interprets the output from the simulation package into force feedback, and the inputs coming from the driver’s actions. This is a fluid thing, software and drivers are updated all the time.

With all of this said, my “go-to” direct drive wheelbase is the Simucube 2 Pro. You’d have to prize that wheelbase from my cold, dead hands before I gave it up! The Simucube family of products are frankly as good as it gets for now; if budget wasn’t an issue. If budget is an issue, in my view you can’t beat the Fanatec CSL DD at the lowest price level and in the mid-tier, the Simagic Alpha.

Simucube's TrueDrive Software
Simucube’s TrueDrive Software

So, there’s no such thing as a “best” DD wheel for sim racing. You could waste a lot of time trying to decide in fact. You could be singularly unimpressed by a wheel because it wasn’t set up by the owner correctly. You could waste more time lusting after a “better” wheel which would be time better spent on your own technique and tuning setup.

I’ve compared (extensively) the Simplicity SW20 vs the Fanatec DD2 vs the Simucube 2 Pro (the DD2 and SC2 I own). I can honestly say that the strengths and weaknesses in each product are more driven by external factors like the hub, wheel compatibility, driver software, and tuning menu intuitiveness.

Factors that are important to the typical sim racer

Critically, I want my DD wheel to work! If you’ve spent enough time in the sim, you’ll know that from time to time, things can go wrong.

If you’re quite technically inclined (perhaps you build your own OSW wheels or you’re just interested in the software and technology), then occasional problems aren’t a big deal. But if something stops working just before qualifying, it can be frustrating.

Around the back of a Simucube 2 Pro
Around the back of a Simucube 2 Pro

Mainstream equipment providers like Fanatec and Simucube are well-developed and ultra-reliable.

That’s because they’re not, particularly niche and offer good support. They’ve sold enough volume to iron out the problems. By comparison, we’ve found it difficult in the past to get support for lesser-known / smaller manufacturers, although some smaller manufacturers have better customer service out of the whole lot.

Hub compatibility might be an issue, too. As I own several Fanatec wheels, they’re only compatible with Fanatec wheelbases. My Simucube Formula Sport wheel is wireless (see our favourite sim racing wheels here), which is only supported by the Simucube 2. In particular, the stiffness of the Fanatec hubs bothers me when I compare them to the Simucube SQR hub. So much so that I found a modification for the Fanatec hub, called the Z-Ring, that fixes this problem.

What is a direct drive wheel?

A direct drive wheel is a sim racing wheel where the wheel itself is directly mounted onto the motor via a quick-release hub.

This is unlike belt and gear-driven systems where invariably there is a mechanism between you and the motor.

Belt and gear-driven systems generally have lower-quality parts and don’t have the ability to deliver the same forces (some up to 30nm) that direct-drive systems do. In fact, the lowest budget systems barely have any force feedback at all.

MiGE 130ST-M10010 20Nm
MiGE 130ST-M10010 20Nm

Direct drive is simpler, mechanically, but the wheels have far more complexity in their electronics. They tend to be heavier and built from what often feels like industrial-grade metalwork. They’re more expensive but offer advantages over low-budget systems.

Why is direct drive better for sim racing?

Direct Drive wheel motors have no lash…. that momentary, if subtle relaxing and tensioning on a belt within most conventional belt-driven sim steering systems. The absence of lash in a direct drive wheel results in the ability to crank the steering weight up without losing any of the feedback quality. With sufficient time we can fine-tune the steering to achieve any level of expected feel.

To understand why direct-drive wheels are potentially better for sim racing, it’s a good idea to look at what makes a sim racing wheelbase, good.

Precision

All of the wheel movement is as intended by the simulation software. There’s less lag in the system and no mechanical play. The speed at which a direct drive wheel can deliver feedback means you can respond more quickly to slides, so you’ll feel like you can handle slides and sudden events quickly and competently. Once you’re used to the forces involved with a DD sim wheel, you’ll likely feel more confident, make fewer mistakes and eventually find a sweet spot where you’re really enjoying the driving.

Rotation

All wheels go beyond 900° of rotation which means that your steering input matches the simulated wheel rotation precisely. This has been a feature for a long time now.

Wheel rotation setup in iRacing set to 900° of rotation
Wheel rotation setup in iRacing set to 900° of rotation

Force Feedback strength and Force Feedback effects

Direct-drive wheels can deliver higher peak and nominal (holding) torque levels. The Fanatec DD2, for example, has a holding torque of 20 Newton meters (Nm) and a peak torque of 25 Nm. That peak figure is a lot – almost 5 times higher than the belt-driven Fanatec CSL Elite.

The availability of torque does open the opportunity to give more concise force feedback effects (see: what is FFB?) – as a driver, I like to feel when the car is losing its available grip, and I like that sensation to manifest itself through an opposing force, especially in the mid-corner. Direct-drive wheels do this exceptionally well, whereas something like a Logitech G29 would barely let you know you were sliding by comparison.

Detail at high frequencies

I love feeling the track detail as I’m driving. Kerbs and rumble strips are there to tell you you’re on the track limit with your car. To feel the vibration through the wheel is great. By their nature, the motor and motor control electronics can operate the motor at very high frequencies. High enough, that the Simucube 2 Pro can beep at you simply by sending a high frequency through the motor.

Simucube 2 Pro DD wheel
Simucube 2 Pro DD wheel

This availability means saw effects like vibrations and track detail are reproduced in exquisite detail. Side note: if you want to feel every exquisite detail coming from your FFB, go for something stiffer than aluminium like this one from VPG; It’s amazing!

Rigidity and build quality

High torque loads and heat mean plastics are more or less out of the question. A proper direct-drive sim wheel will have at least 4 M6 threads for mounting into an aluminium cockpit. Everything has to be strong and tight to deal with 25nm peak torque.

Most DD wheels feel heavy, industrial by design, and as a result, feel like they’ll stand the rigours of time.

Defining Torque Characteristics

Torque is the most important aspect when it comes to direct drive systems. Manufacturers tend to talk about two types of torque values:

  • Peak torque
  • Holding or constant torque

“Peak torque” refers to the maximum output of the wheel motor in short bursts. You might experience peak torque when you drive over a high curb, during a high-speed direction change, or in a crash.

“Holding torque” refers to the strength of the motor in resisting rotation.

In sim racing the driver is regularly resisting the car’s self-aligning torque through a corner, causing the motor to heat up. High holding torque performance is crucial to a consistent driving experience.

“Torque ripple” is a very subtle vibration you would feel in the steering wheel during constant rotation

What’s inside a Direct Drive Wheelbase?

Most of us would never dream of unscrewing our wheelbase cases to find out what’s inside. Fortunately, YouTubers like Barry Rowlands at Sim Racing Garage do so regularly! Here he is taking a Fanatec DD2 apart.

In any DD wheelbase, fundamentally, you have a motor, a power supply, a motherboard, a digital motor drive and a USB converter:

Types of motor

You’ll encounter a few different types, arrangements, and manufacturers of the motor in a DD wheelbase. Here’s what you’ll commonly come across.

The back of the outrunner motor in a Fanatec DD1.
The back of the outrunner motor in a Fanatec DD1.

Inrunner motors

Conventional in-runner motors have stator coils on the inside of the case, and the magnets are attached to a rotor in the centre. The shaft rotates with the magnets. This is a typical motor arrangement found in a DD wheel.

Outrunner motors

Outrunner motors have their magnets attached to an outer casing that rotates around the stator.

The motor shaft when spun would also spin the outer motor case. The permanent magnets on the outrunner are placed on the rotor and the rotor spins on the outside case. On the inside of the motor are the stator windings which do not rotate, they are fixed in position.

Outrunners can produce more torque but have a lower RPM per volt. The Fanatec DD1 and DD2s use outrunner motors as their preferred component choice as they feel the outrunner can deliver more torque at low RPMs.

fanatec dd2 hub with z-ring installed
My Fanatec DD2 with Z-Ring installed

Stepper Motor

Stepper motors are DC motors that move in discrete steps. They have multiple coils that are organized in groups called “phases”. By energizing each phase in sequence, the motor will rotate, one step at a time. The advantages of step motors are low cost, high reliability, high torque at low speeds and simple, rugged construction that operates in almost any environment. The main disadvantages of using a stepper motor are the resonance effect often exhibited at low speeds and decreasing torque with increasing speed. (source)

Servo motor

A servo motor is not a motor type per se, but a motor that has an encoder built into its casing to measure position, torque and rotation. This is critical for fine control of the output rotation and sensing the driver’s inputs (resisting forces, steering inputs and so on) through the digital motor drive.

MiGE Motors

MiGE is a popular servo manufacturer in the sim racing community, and their products tend to form the basis of most OSW wheel kits. This particular item comes with an optional Fanatec hub adapter meaning that with a USB conversion board like this you could make a start on building your own direct-drive sim wheel quite cheaply.

Early Simucube 1 setup
SimuCUBE-based OSW kit with Q1R hub and converted Fanatec Clubsport steering wheel

So, if you have the right motor to hand, what would you need to build a direct drive wheel for your sim?

Digital Motor Drives

A digital motor drive is designed for driving servo motors and stepper motors. This product from IONI allows controlling motors with position control, velocity control, and force/torque control which makes it an ideal component for a self-build project.

Motherboard with a built-in Force Feedback controller

Simucube Once offered a motherboard (to seat the digital motor drive board) with a combined force feedback controller for the Simucube 1:

Early Simucube 1 FFB DSP board
A Simucube complete force feedback controller for the Simucube 1 – very difficult to find these days

The Simucube board provided a slot for the digital motor drive, connectors for motor power, I/O, and USB adapter. With this device, you’ve got almost everything you need, except a power supply and a USB converter called a SimpleMotion V2. While this hardware is now sadly obsolete, it is how direct drive wheels first became more available to consumers and therefore it’s an important bit of history.

So, now we know how direct drive wheels work, let’s take a look at what’s available on the market today…

Fanatec CSL DD

Price: €449.95 (Base only)
Compatibility: PC / XBOX / Drivehub (advanced)

Fanatec rocked the sim racing industry just a few years ago with their new CSL DD wheelbase. As a sub $500 / 500EUR device, it plays directly in the usual stomping grounds of Logitech and Thrustmaster. As the CSL DD was launched, so was the Clubsport and CSL Elite range of belt drive wheelbases made obsolete. It’s both PC and XBOX compatible – making it quite a versatile device!

Fanatec rightly staked its future on direct drive-only equipment:

fanatec csl dd with QR2 QR
Fanatec CSL DD with QR2 QR

Fanatec is cleverly making direct-drive wheels more affordable, and, by getting to market earlier than its competition, there’s a good chance this little direct-drive unit will become the entry-level unit. If I were building a budget sim rig, I’d choose this wheelbase and a SimLab GT1 Evo sim racing rig making a strong starting point for barely more than $1000!

The idea of a $1000 wheelbase and cockpit would have been pure fantasy just a year ago. Yet, here we are. But, is the CSL DD any good? I had my doubts, but when I tried it I found it very smooth and surprisingly detailed for an 8Nm peak torque wheelbase. The new QR system “QR2” is really solid and a huge improvement over the original.

desktop setup for sim racing
I built a small desktop setup for sim racing with the CSL DD (see the review here)

This is a brilliant starter wheelbase – and comes recommended by me. If you’re on a budget but want (rightly!) the direct drive experience, this is a fantastic and very low-budget entry point to serious sim racing. The CSL DD doesn’t have Playstation compatibility, but you can set this up to work via Drivehub.

Connecting the CSL DD to a PlayStation 4:

Drivehub allows the console to recognize the console as a genuine (licenced?) wheel, enabling compatibility with PlayStation 4 games without needing an official PS4 wheelbase.

Force feedback in Dirt Rally 2 on PlayStation 5 is comparable to PC, offering minimal latency and a satisfying feel – so there’s plenty of scope to tune Drivehub to your liking.

This video provides a focused guide on configuring the setup specifically for Gran Turismo 7, catering to fans of the game looking for an optimized experience.

For the best experience in Gran Turismo 7, the Logitech mode is recommended, although Fanatec mode is also a working option.

There’s a noted issue with the refresh rate in the Fanatec mode, which can slow down the game, likened to playing in “matrix style bullet time.”

Drivehub's PS4 connection Wizard
Drivehub’s PS4 Connection Wizard

Understanding the mapping between your wheel and the game screen is crucial for a seamless gaming experience, ensuring that inputs are accurately reflected in-game. This can take a little time to learn, but there’s a setup wizard on the website itself which is a good starting point.

Adjusting the force feedback and FEI (Force Effect Intensity) settings will significantly enhance the wheel’s performance in GT7, so the usual safety rules around using a direct drive wheelbase always apply.


Simucube 2: Sport / Pro / Ultimate

Price: €1083.99 (Sport) // €1254.00 (Pro) // €3232.38 (Ultimate)
Compatibility: PC Only

If you can afford a Simucube 2 Sport, Pro, or Ultimate, this is the direct-drive wheelbase to own.

I’m a very happy owner of a Simucube 2 Pro, It’s my “daily driver” and I see no reason to change that anytime soon.

simucube 2 pro direct drive wheelbase
My Simucube 2 Pro view from the side

Simucube’s Direct Drive brushless torque motor is super smooth, and you can absolutely tell that the build quality and componentry in this wheel are of an exceptionally high standard. It’s a very weighty item (weighing some 20kg) and holding it, you feel like it’ll probably last forever! Driving it with the many profiles available in TrueDrive Paddock is a breeze, so setting the FFB up for your sim software is completely painless.

simucube 2 pro
Simucube 2 Pro

The SQR hub leaves absolutely no flex on the table, and there are just a bunch of amazing features including their latest ARM CPU and motor control electronics that make this thing so fast and responsive, it’s a surprise when you first start using it.

my simucube 2 pro
My Simucube 2 Pro with wheelbase-side SQR hub visible is installed and ready to go (read my Simucube 2 Pro guide here)

I use my Simucube as my only wheelbase after having sold the DD2. It just outperforms the other direct drive wheels I’ve tested on both the detail and smoothness of the FFB (Force Feedback).

Personally, it’s the SQR hub that does it for me. I’ve always found the Fanatec hub lacking in stiffness – there’s always a tiny bit of play between the wheel and the hub. The SQR quick-release system is literally rock solid, and I love it for that.

For more information on the Simucube 2 family, I’ve written a guide to this favourite direct drive unit including installation and setup. If you can afford one, a Simucube is still *the* DD wheelbase to own.

Moza R5

Price: €457.50 (bundle)
Compatibility: PC Only

The MOZA Racing R5 Wheel Base is a new direct-drive wheelbase that provides a PEAK torque of 5.5 Nm. It is MOZA’s latest entry-level, lowest-budget model, complementing the R9, which offers a peak of 9 Nm torque. It’s compact and a good starter choice if the CSL DD is out of reach, budget-wise. We’ve recently had the R5 in for review and for the money, it’s another great way to start sim racing – naturally price dictates quality and, on that note, I didn’t find the FFB to be as detailed or impressive, but perhaps being less harsh – I’m going to be picky because of the wheels I own.

The R5 would make a very, very good budget starter DD wheelbase, and the desk clamp is a lot better than the Fanatec equivalent.

Moza R5 with ES steering wheel
Moza R5 with ES steering wheel and SR-P Lite Pedals (the Moza “R5 Bundle” – review here)

The Moza family, though, will get you racing and there are plenty of settings to work with and tune your device.

While the R9 costs $439 for the wheelbase alone, the R5 is available as a complete bundle for $499. The R5 is built similarly to the R9, with an aviation-grade aluminium shell and plastic rear housing. The R5 is smaller than the R9, which is a plus, as it allows for easy positioning of the screen near the wheel, especially when using the included table clamp. By the way – the table clamp from Moza is really, really good and is quite superior to the one currently supplied with the CSL DD. We recently compared the CSL DD to the R9 here.

ES Steering wheel supplied in the Moza R5 bundle
ES Steering wheel supplied in the Moza R5 Bundle

The R5 features a surprisingly high-quality quick release, the same as on more expensive units from MOZA, Simagic, and Immsource. We believe this quick release to be the best currently offered by a wheelbase manufacturer, as it is of high quality, easy to use, and has no flex or play, outside of aftermarket options. It’s definitely a proper “Motorsport” hub, I’ve seen them at the track.

One thing worth pointing out, firstly that all Moza products feature on our Moza Buyer’s guide, and that given the R9 compares well to the CSL DD, the R9 would in our view be a good buy, but Fanatec does have the edge on FFB quality and software.

Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro

Price: €699.95
Compatibility: PS4 and 5, PC, Xbox Series X|S

Just in time for the commercially busiest time of the year, our friends at Fanatec have released a complete direct drive system, CSL pedals included, for PlayStation 4 and Playstation 5. It’s called the GT DD Pro:

Fanatec GT DD Pro is compatible with Playstation 4 and PS5
Fanatec GT DD Pro is compatible with Playstation 4 and PS5

Our console-owning friends are almost always last to receive the latest tech, largely because of licensing issues. Fanatec is currently struggling to move their DD+ units because of licensing delays at Sony.

With all that said, the GT DD Pro is a game changer for our console racing friends because it’s the first direct-drive wheel on the market that is less than £1500 that supports the PlayStation (The Fanatec DD1 is also PS compatible but carries a higher price tag). It comes with a button layout on the steering wheel that will feel very familiar to PlayStation owners – and it has been specifically developed with the developers of Gran Turismo, so it will feel great out of the box with that software.

There are caveats, unfortunately – primarily that Sony has delayed approving the unit for PS5 use. So, they’re on pre-order until that little administrative problem is cleared up. While we’re on the subject of compatibility, read this article on XBOX compatible wheels. It may save you some anguish.

Fanatec DD1 and DD2

Price: €995.95 // €1499.95
Compatibility: DD1 – works seamlessly with all PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®4 Pro systems. // DD2 PC Only

When I owned one, I was a huge fan of my Fanatec DD2. The DD2 is extremely easy to install and set up making it ideal for the first-time DD wheel user. In fact, I upgraded from a CSL Elite to the DD2 and have always felt that this was a good choice.

The DD1 is pretty much the same device but de-tuned to deliver a peak torque of 20nm. It’s also console-compatible and significantly less expensive, priced at €995.95.

Fanatec Podium DD1 with Dash Display Unit (DDU)
Fanatec Podium DD1 with Dash Display Unit (DDU)

Fanatec’s outrunner-style motor is unique in sim racing and allows for a really convincing torque delivery throughout the torque range.

I think their drivers, in particular, are very strong too. There’s a sense of realism I get from my DD2 which I find hard (not impossible!) to replicate in other wheels, especially in the MX5 and Ferrari GT3.

If you’re new to sim racing and want simplicity and a high-quality experience overall, Fanatec equipment (for me) is still the best way to enter sim racing.

Simagic Alpha Mini

Price: €500.95
Compatibility: PC Only

Hot on the heels of the CSL DD release is another circa £600/$650 direct drive wheelbase: the Simagic Alpha Mini. The Alpha mini is the “baby” of the Simagic family, who, throughout 2022 has been extremely busy improving and developing their ecosystem. They now offer wheels, steering wheels, handbrakes and sequential shifters. This is the Alpha Mini:

Simagic Alpha Mini
10Nm of torque from this Simagic Alpha Mini in a very neat little package with (optional) wheelbase side QR attached

The Alpha Mini offers a CSL DD beating peak torque of 10Nm and offers wireless functionality through a 2.4 GHz WLAN connection. As with most direct drive wheelbases, the Alpha Mini relies on a servo motor. The case dimensions are pretty tiny at 110mm x 167mm!

Configuration is managed via Alpha Manager - including firmware updates for the wheelbase
Configuration is managed via Alpha Manager – including firmware updates for the wheelbase


Simagic claim to have developed their already excellent physics models to improve the authenticity of their Force Feedback including an AI (artificial intelligence) feature for force feedback optimisation! This might be the go-to choice for those interested in drift racing too as Simagic provide “Exclusive settings for drift and rally mode”.

Technically speaking, for the money I think the Alpha Mini is among the best budget direct-drive wheels you can buy for sim racing. And, there are plenty of bundles available now for you to choose a wheel you like and still get a slight discount.

Simagic Alpha DD Wheelbase

Price: €818.85
Compatibility: PC Only

At the slightly higher price range of £865.00 – £920.00 (approx $1000) Simagic’s Alpha is quite a favourite and it’s a good competitor to the Simucube 2 Sport with a 15Nm peak torque output.

Simagic Alpha DD Wheelbase
Simagic Alpha DD Wheelbase (Find out more)

This DD unit is larger than the Mini and offers an additional 5Nm of torque. Again, it’s configurable via Alpha Manager, so firmware updates and tuning settings shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

There are some advanced electronics inside this Aluminium cased direct drive unit: a “3 CPU” tri-core acceleration smart base, Simagic’s 3-phase servo motor, and a rapid refresh rate of 1000 Hz (or, 1kHz) for buttons and 40,000 Hz (40kHz) for force feedback. A high-performing unit, priced reasonably and a very nice thing to own indeed!

Simagic Alpha-U Wheelbase

Price: €1149.00
Compatibility: PC Only

This is Simagic’s flagship direct drive wheel, the Simagic Alpha-U. This is a feature-rich competitor to the best direct-drive wheels money can buy:

Simagic Alpha-U Wheelbase
Simagic Alpha-U Wheelbase (Find out more)

Technically, the Alpha-U is very impressive. 1 23nM peak torque, <1ms response time and an encoder resolution of 262144ppr. I don’t think you’ll miss much while you’re driving this thing!

The Alpha-U’s direct drive servo motor is a custom 5-pole item with virtually zero latency. It features a CNC-machined aluminium housing, which is polished using sandblasting and anodized black.

The Force Feedback electronics themselves are also very impressive, with Simagic’s CPU architecture, 262144 PPR encoder resolution, 40Khz response rate and a “3rd gen” filter with optimized algorithms. It supports wireless wheels and can be optimised in SimPro Manager.

Just to show you how good Simagic stuff looks, here’s one with the FX Pro wheel attached:

Alpha FX Pro wheel and Alpha U DD wheelbase
Alpha FX Pro wheel with Alpha U DD Wheelbase

VRS DirectForce Pro Wheel Base

Price: €899.00
Compatibility: PC Only

The new VRS DirectForce Pro Wheel Base consists of the VRS controller, a 20Nm Small MiGE motor, 3m motor cables, a high-quality USB cable and an AC power cord.

VRS Directforce Pro direct drive wheel
VRS DirectForce Pro Wheelbase

The VRS DirectForce Pro is a high-end, competitively-priced 20Nm sim racing DD wheelbase and has so far received strong reviews.

The unit is available to order here (UK) and via Advanced Sim Racing in the USA / Canada) and, I suspect this will be one of the most popular direct-drive MiGE-based wheels on the market over time. Since its original launch (now some 2 years ago) VRS has been working on improving the hardware and software thoroughly.

There is now also a VRS steering wheel which was released in mid-2023.

MOZA Racing R12 DD Wheelbase

Price: €649.00
Compatibility: PC Only

Just released, the Moza R12 Direct Drive Wheelbase carves out a niche for itself by offering a balance of power, performance, and price. Engineered with a peak torque of 12Nm running at a peak power load of 216W, it provides the force feedback detail and smoothness of a higher budget wheelbase.

MOZA R12 with KS Steering wheel
Moza’s R12 DD wheelbase and KS steering wheel combination

The R12 stands out due to its high-quality design, housed in aluminium, and an impressive set of features such as a limitless max wheel rotation, a USB refresh rate of 1000Hz, and online firmware update support via their Pit House software.

MOZA Racing R12 direct drive wheel
MOZA Racing R12 direct drive wheel

Notably, the R12 is enhanced by Moza’s “New generation force feedback filtering algorithm”, a testament to Moza’s attention to detail and commitment to advancing the direct drive wheel technology. This technology offers the user a significantly improved force feedback feeling, putting it at par with some of the best in its price range. Furthermore, it also features a high compatibility range with many popular sim racing titles, making it a versatile choice for those looking to upgrade their sim racing experience.

Moza R12 mounting dimensions
Moza R12 mounting dimensions

Technically speaking, the R12 is closer to the R21 than the R5 and R9. That’s because the R12 motor employs a “slanted-pole” design. With the rotor thoughtfully divided into three sections, each set at carefully determined angles, the motor’s design greatly mitigates cogging torque, torque ripple, electromagnetic (EM) disturbance, and noise levels in contrast to traditional motors. Check out the technical specs on the Moza website.

If you’re in the market for a mid-range direct drive wheel that delivers excellent performance, detailed force feedback, and high compatibility, the Moza R12 Direct Drive Wheelbase is a strong contender. Its solid design, coupled with thoughtful technical specifications, make it a noteworthy choice for both seasoned and newer sim racing enthusiasts seeking an upgrade from their current wheel setups.

MOZA Racing R16 Direct Drive Wheelbase

Price: €869.00
Compatibility: PC Only

The R16 Racing is an aluminium alloy direct drive wheelbase from MOZA that delivers an impressive 16Nm of torque, making it a formidable piece of kit. Overall, it has a rock-solid build quality, and all of the materials used combine to give the wheelbase a sturdy yet well-refined finish.

The sleek design of the R16 is inspired by modern supercars, and the outer shell features a two-tone paint finish with stylish MOZA branding on the sides and front of the base. In addition, an advanced cooling system provides temperature control throughout the unit, ensuring all the components do not overheat, even after prolonged use.

MOZA Racing R16 Direct Drive Wheelbase
MOZA Racing R16 Direct Drive Wheelbase

One of the best aspects of the R16 is its zero-latency wireless technology which allows you to connect a wheel rim to the base without having any annoying or troublesome cables getting in the way. It also speeds things up when you want to change to an alternative rim for different motorsport disciplines.

Another state-of-the-art feature which makes the MOZA R16 stand out from its competitors is its ability to support mobile cloud-based commands. This lets you make on-the-fly adjustments to things like your force feedback or pedal settings through the MOZA mobile app, making it simpler than ever to fine-tune your wheelbase.

Fanatec Clubsport DD and DD Plus

Price: €799.95 (Clubsport DD) // €999.95 (Clubsport DD)

While I’m waiting to get my hands on these units to test, I can easily summarise the reviews that I’ve read from people I trust – that the Clubsport DD and DD Plus are the natural next step for an organisation like Fanatec.

The new Clubsport DD by Fanatec
The new Clubsport DD by Fanatec (source)

What fascinated me about these two, very recent product launches is that they haven’t become successors to the higher-end Podium series of wheelbases. That leaves me to wonder if the technology that Fanatec has adopted in the DD wheelbases will eventually be developed further – the outcome of which may succeed the classic DD1 and DD2 Podium series. Who knows!

According to Fanatec, The Clubsport DD and DD Plus represent the “cutting edge in direct drive wheelbase technology” – but what are the differences?

Clubsport DD

Price: €799.95
Compatibility: PC, XBOX (with XBOX compatible steering wheel)

Its key features include a direct drive servo motor custom-designed in Germany, delivering 12 Nm of consistent torque. The motor utilizes FluxBarrier technology and an optimized skew angle on rotor magnets for enhanced efficiency and smoothness. The base is passively cooled, ensuring stable performance even under extreme conditions. It supports a full Fanatec ecosystem and is compatible with PC and Xbox (with an Xbox-licensed Steering Wheel).

Clubsport DD+

Price: €999.95 (Currently Pre-Order)
Compatibility: PC / Playstation

PC and Playstation licenced, you’re also getting an extra 3Nm of additional torque for your money. I suspect there’s no particular difference in the design internals, cooling and performance over time; as explained by this performance chart:

Clubsport DD thermal performance over time
Clubsport DD thermal performance over time (source)

I don’t recall ever feeling like my Simucube starts to degrade over time, it doesn’t even get hot! We’ll see what these wheelbases perform like in testing sometime in 2024.


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