Leoxz XF1-Sport Sim Steering Wheel Review

Leoxz XF1-Sport

Today we’re taking a close look at the XF1-Sport sim racing wheel from Leoxz. Leoxz, founded by Leo Evans and his team in 2020 are a sim racing equipment manufacturer producing an offering of sim racing wheels, a brand new DDU and various accessories. The XF1-Sport is their mid-range product, available in a 2,4 or 6-paddle configuration. As you can see from the photos, I’ve been sent the 6-paddle wheel by our friends at Raceanywhere.


Initial impressions

I’ve opened up many new sim racing wheels for review in the last few months. I think first impressions really count – made the moment you lift the wheel out of its box, you realise how compact the main chassis is and, how little it weighs.

Leoxz XF1 Sport installed and ready
Leoxz XF1 Sport installed and ready

It’s small and light and looks very neat and tidy. In fact, the wheel diameter is 275mm which is the smallest diameter racing wheel I’ve tried in the sim.

Ergonomics

Holding the wheel, you notice the ergonomics immediately. The thumb rotaries are so ideally positioned (for me) – Leoxz couldn’t have got this more right. While I mentioned the wheel is small, the polyurethane grips are nice. They have a silky smooth feeling but they’re very grippy my sim racing gloves on.

XF1 in use on my sim setup

I like the grip design, particularly the way the design incorporates a slightly raised “rest” for your thumb that you can lean on while you’re using the paddles. You notice how useful that tiny design detail is, especially while shifting and using the top “option” paddles.

Leoxz XF1 Sport rear paddle view with SQR hub fitted

The shifter paddles have been positioned so that they line up with your 2nd and 3rd middle fingers, leaving your forefinger free for the “option” paddles at the top of the wheel. I found myself preferring the option paddles for the clutch rather than the lower paddles. As I understand it, some modern F1 cars have a clutch paddle above the shifter paddle too.

Features and Pricing

The wheel comes standard with a pair of magnetic shifter paddles, and optionally, you can equip it with a pair of clutch and two additional “option” paddles. These are all hall sensing and feel good to use. If you add more paddles, the price increases – so at the base package level, this wheel retails at approximately €499.95. For what this wheel is, I think that is a very good budget option. If you want to spend less, the XF1-USB is available at approximately €399.95.

Leoxz XF1

Reaching the 3 momentary buttons at the top of the wheel is comfortable, as are the two buttons directly under the thumb rotary. Further down the wheel, the remaining buttons below being a slight reach – although I found I got used to this very quickly. There’s a nice little 4 axis joystick that also acts as a push button for the right hand.

How it Looks

As I mentioned earlier, the design is very compact but neatly arranged and tidy. The back cover and paddles feature black anodized CNC machining, while the front panel is fashioned from 5mm 3K carbon fibre. The paddles are made from 3mm 3K carbon fibre.

There are 15 momentary push buttons, 1 x 5-way switch (4 axes + push), 3 pressable rotary encoders, and two metal blue anodized thumb knobs, which as I mentioned earlier are really nicely positioned.

The thumb rotaries and nearby momentary buttons are nicely positioned
The thumb rotaries and nearby momentary buttons are nicely positioned

Mounted in the centre of this wheel is a 4.3″ IPS screen, with a resolution of 480×272 pixels rendering at 60fps. The screen hosts 15 built-in dashboards, each displaying various telemetry signals.

in-pit screen
in-pit screen (my camera added the patterning!)

Installation and Use

The screen is bright and clear and offers a crisp, colourful display that is easy to read, navigate and configure. In fact, I say “configure” but this version uses the Leoxz SimBridge plugin that comes with Simhub – so it actually needs no configuration at all – you can page through the various dashboards with the little buttons mounted on the front of the wheel. Very easy!

Button diagram
Button diagram (from user guide) with “change” and “setting” buttons highlighted for dashboard use

Leoxz Simbridge takes care of the device setup including managing the display screen which means that there’s no need to install device drivers of any sort. As a Formula wheel with a built-in display, this is quite a refreshing feature – usually, every wheel requires a driver and Simhub configuration.

Leoxz SimBridge – very easy to use

SimBridge is remarkably powerful in its simplicity – if you can’t see the SimBridge plugin active in your left hand menu in SimHub, you can activate it via settings > plugins:

SimBridge activated in Simhub settings
SimBridge activated in settings > plugins

The wheel can come with no QR hub or QRs to fit most of the popular direct-drive wheels including wheelbases from Fanatec, Thrustmaster, Moza and Simagic. For Fanatec and Thrustmaster users, the correct QR hub draws power from the wheelbase, so provided your gaming PC supports Bluetooth, you can go completely wireless. That’s an extremely attractive option, particularly for a Fanatec user who wants to buy a wheel from outside of their ecosystem.

SQR fitted to XF1 Sport
SQR fitted to XF1 Sport

As you’ll note from the photography, I’ve installed an SQR hub and for reference, the drilled M6 bolt holes are 70mm PCD on the rear of the wheel.

The RGB LEDs are preset controlled too. There are 12 fixed colour RPM LEDs (4 each of green, red, and blue) and 6 RGB flag LEDs. Four additional status LEDs are included, specifically designed for indicating ABS and TC. This is ideal, leaving only spotter lights missing from the list – which you can easily solve by adding standalone LED eyebrows.

Conclusion

For the price, this wheel is incredibly competitive compared to similarly priced gear from other, bigger manufacturers. If you’re solely interested in Formula racing then this wheel is compelling – the narrow diameter definitely lends itself to Formula racing. I think especially if you’re looking for a wheel that will work quickly and easily with a Fanatec DD wheel, but you don’t want to buy your next wheel from Fanatec – this is a very interesting option.

Pros:

  • Compact and Lightweight Design: Both reviews highlight the compactness and light weight of the wheel, making it easy to handle and ideal for formula racing.
  • Ergonomic Grip and Material: The wheel’s grips are made from a comfortable material that provides a good hold, even with gloves.
  • Customization Options: The wheel offers various paddle configurations and quick release options for different setups.
  • Built-in Display and LEDs: Features a 4.3″ IPS screen with built-in dashboards and various LEDs for RPM, flags, and status indicators.
  • Quality Construction: Constructed with high-quality materials like carbon fibre and aluminium, ensuring durability.
  • Ease of Use with SimHub: Integration with SimHub via the SimBridge plugin simplifies setup and use, requiring minimal configuration.
  • Adjustable Paddles: Paddles are adjustable in width and equipped with Hall Effect sensors for a smooth experience.

Cons:

  • Limited Space for Larger Hands: The compact design might be too small for users with larger hands, potentially making it uncomfortable for long sessions.
  • Paddle Depth Non-adjustable: While paddles are adjustable in width, their depth is fixed, which might not suit all hand sizes.
  • Joystick and Button Feedback: Some input controls like the joystick and smaller buttons could offer better tactile feedback for more precise operations.
  • Limited Software Customization: The built-in LEDs and display dashboards offer limited customization options, which might not satisfy all users’ preferences.
  • Firmware Updates Required: Initial issues with connectivity and software were noted, requiring firmware updates to resolve.

Issues Other Reviewers Found:

We looked at what the other reviewers are saying about the Leoxz XF-1 Sport wheel:

  • Compactness and Ergonomics: While the compact design is generally seen as a positive, it was noted that the wheel might feel too small for individuals with larger hands, potentially leading to discomfort.
  • Paddle Design: The optional top paddles have a long travel and lack feedback, making them less ideal for use as regular buttons. Additionally, there were observations about the double clutch system not always returning to 0% input correctly, which could affect performance.
  • Software and Customisation Limitations: The inability to individually control LEDs or fully customize the display dashboards through SimHub was seen as a drawback, limiting the ability to personalize the wheel to specific preferences or requirements.
  • Initial Firmware Issues: The simrace-blog.nl review mentioned that some initial criticisms were addressed with a firmware update, suggesting that early adopters might face some issues that require updates to resolve.

At this price, the XF1 Sport is an impressive and quite adventurous offering, and well worth a look if you’re looking for functionality on a budget.


Leoxz XF1-Sport Sim Steering Wheel Review