Last updated: September 6th, 2023
The Moza HGP shifter is, I believe, the lowest priced “premium” H-pattern sim racing shifter available at the moment. Priced at around $150 / €150 including delivery it’s a real bargain. It’s not perfect but it’s very good and, from a value-for-money perspective, it’s about the best deal you’ll find out there.
So, when I shift, I’ve been shifting with my Fanatec SQ 1.5 shifter. I’ve owned it since I started sim racing and in that time it only needed one repair. That design from Fanatec is, after almost 10 years, still available today. With a hall sensor and microswitch setup, there’s a pinned balljoint and a few magnets for the hall sensors at the bottom and the mechanical guides for the shift action above. It’s a simple design and has never been challenged at this price range.
With a price set around 60% of the Fanatec item, it’s hard not to want to compare the two. The design of the Moza HGP is very similar in some ways. It’s just as frugal as the Fanatec SQ, except there’s no sequential mode. It’s an outwardly simpler looking design, but perhaps more Motorsport inspired, with the clear-cut h-pattern gate forming a steel, rectangular black box with an RJ11 and USB port on the rear. There’s an internal gaiter that looks pretty authentic and will naturally keep dust and dirt out of the internals.
To run the Fanatec SQ 1.5 without a Fanatec wheelbase you’ll need the Fanatec USB dongle – to run the Moza HGP shifter, it’s a USB game device that needs no additional adapters. The Moza is simpler, and much less expensive which makes it an extremely attractive option for our budget simulator build.
The h-pattern-only shifter has a 7-speed gate with reverse, which you have to push the lever down to activate. You also have to push down to activate 7th gear too.
There are mounting points via threaded holes in the base plate itself and two mounting lips on the front and rear. I’m using those mounting lips today by combining the HGP with a Sim-Lab shifter mount.
Luckily the shifter mount comes with a nice assortment of mounting bolts, washers, and t-nuts which makes mounting far easier. I noted that Barry at SRG fabricated his own and used a combination of profile parts and brackets to mount, which might be a far stiffer way to place the sifter on the rig.
Installation is very trivial, using the M6 bolts and slide nuts provided with the mounting plate you can mount the base plate directly to the profile. Getting the bolts tight on the inside of the cockpit (where the seat is mounted) is a little more difficult but that’s a consequence of how I’ve chosen to mount my equipment. There’s always an easier approach if you look for long enough.
The Moza HGP shifter is managed via their proprietary software: Pit House. I had some problems on the software side which I’ve now resolved – there are some steps in the installation process that are not well documented, especially in calibration and Pit House’s own language settings.
Before you plug the shifter in, download and install Moza Pit House. I’d made (what I think is a mistake) the error of plugging the shifter into my PC before installing the software. If you don’t install Pit House first, Windows will recognise the HGP as a USB device, but it doesn’t have the driver available. Therefore nothing appears in USB Game Controllers.
The Pit House installation (just use the latest version) is very simple, although when installation is complete, the UI was all in Chinese. I managed to find the correct view for language settings – to my surprise, the software was already set to English. When I changed this to “English UK” the dialogue refreshed with a language I could understand. A small quirk with very new software.
Next, I couldn’t get Pit House to detect the shifter. I unplugged and reinserted the shifter but that didn’t help. It was a full restart after the Pit House installation that fixed the problem – restart the PC, plug in the shifter and it appeared in the Windows USB Game Controllers dialogue. Phew!
If you’re having calibration problems with the Moza HGP – try the steps below:
Calibration is a must before you use the shifter. What took me some time to realise is that during calibration in Pit House, you have to simultaneously push down on the shifter arm and move the whole arm from the extreme left to the extreme right position.
This took some Googling and a Reddit thread comment to solve. If the shifter isn’t calibrated correctly, you might find that putting the shifter into 1st gear puts the simulated car into reverse. Remember: calibrate by moving the shifter from left to right while holding the selector down.
Once calibration is done, the shifter becomes “plug and play” and doesn’t actually need Pit House running, or even installed on your machine for the shifter to work.
I found that leaving Pit House running slowed down my in-game performance drastically, so much so that I wondered if I’d picked up some malware – that wasn’t the case. I also got some strange errors telling me my machine had run out of USB com ports which I’d never seen before. I’m going to give Moza a pass on this as it’s quite new software and through following a process of elimination I got my sim racing PC running smoothly again. Uninstalling Pit House solved this problem and left my shifter working perfectly.
How Does it Feel?
As for the feel, for the money it’s great. It’s certainly a match for the Fanatec SQ in that the feel of the shift has the right amount of clackiness (is that a word?) and tends to index as naturally as a racing box. It’s stiffer than the SQ, by some margin. I wonder if this will relax over a period of use. In any case, the shifts just have to be thought out – you can shift very quickly with lots of certainty in your inputs and I had no trouble at all adjusting to it within a few laps.
As other users have noted – this shifter “only” does one thing, but as a H-pattern shifter, it feels pretty good. Once you’ve navigated your way through a slightly quirky installation process on the software side, the shifter feels heavyweight and solid enough to last a long time.
It’s a nice addition to the simulator and perhaps Ferarri fans (with the exposed gate) will really like the motorsport look and feel of the device. The new HGP Shifter from Moza. It’s a low-budget shifter that punches well above its weight.