Direct Drive Wheels

Direct drive wheel
There has been a lot of buzz about the direct drive wheel for Sim Racing, and it is a relatively new but expensive type of Sim racing wheel that gives more accurate force feedback than its gear and belt driven wheel counterparts. The real question is? What makes the direct drive wheel so different and much more powerful? A direct drive sim racing wheel is the type where the wheel is directly mounted to the motor shaft. Unlike the belt drive, which uses a belt pulley system to generate more force, the direct drive will use a larger motor to prevent any lash that causes loss of feedback to give a faster response than any other type of wheel. Some low budget wheels don’t even give force feedback at all, relying only on rumble.

Direct driving wheels are expensive, and they mostly start from a thousand dollars. Because the wheel is directly mounted, it relies on the motor’s lower only to give feedback response faster, which means that slides and turns will come more easily to you. Yes, a wheel can make some of the most difficult racing sims easier for you to enjoy the full benefits of the sim finally. It also helps that all direct drive racing wheels will offer at least 900° of rotation. There are many things to consider before committing to buying a direct drive steering wheel. These advantages and disadvantages will let you know the upsides and downsides.

The advantages

  • No wear and tear of belts

Because of the direct connection, there are few moving parts in the direct driving wheel, which allows for little maintenance to keep the wheel going. There are no gears or belts that may become worn out due to overuse; you will also be sure that it will last a lot longer this way. If you intend to take sim racing professionally, this is a clear advantage that cannot be overlooked.

  • Gives high-frequency details

Along with stronger force feedback, you also get accurate force feedback from a direct drive wheel. There is no absorption of feedback from the motor or other mechanical parts, so all the high-frequency details like feeling every bump on the way, is assured. These details will go a long way in fully immersing you in the simulation. The wheel will pick up even the little details and transmit them to the players, and you will feel every vibration of the car.

  • Strong motor

A direct drive wheel’s power comes from the connection to its motor, and the motor is the main force driving the wheel to give faster and stronger feedback. Although belt and gears are the main force behind other wheels’ torque, it reduces the force feedback because the connection is not direct. When you want to buy a direct drive steering wheel, you have to make sure that the rest of your rig (your cockpit, seat, pedals, and shifter) is of high quality. If you use a rig made with low strength materials, the force feedback from your wheel may be strong enough to break your seat. Of course, this will cost more money, but it is way better than replacing your rig.

  • Good build quality

When it comes to building a direct drive wheel, plastic is out of the question. A proper direct drive wheel will be made almost entirely of metal and will feel heavy. It produces a high peak torque, almost five times more than some belt-driven wheels. The wheelbase has to be strong enough to handle this. You can be sure of a good build quality that will last years when you get a direct drive wheel.

The disadvantages

  • It is expensive for a starter

Because of the extra perks that come with the direct drive wheel, it is very expensive. Most people will say it is worth the expenses because of the realism it adds to racing, but it is not ideal for a sim racing newbie. You will have to buy a sturdy cockpit along with the wheel to complement its power, so you cannot invest thousands of dollars for your rig yet. Start with a cheaper wheel, another alternative is to build this type of wheel yourself, but you need to have some mechanical skills to do this.

  • Requires extensive setup

You will have to set up the wheels software for it to work exactly the way you want it to, this will not only take time, but it will also be stressful. This is a very important process because there is a chance that if it isn’t properly set up, your direct drive wheel may experience some technical issue.

 

Fanatec Podium F1 Racing Wheel Review

Fanatec Podium F1 Racing Wheel Review

This is the first direct-drive racing wheel to be compatible with PlayStation, and honestly, it has one of the sleekest looks a wheel can have in the market. The Fanatec podium F1 is a licensed version of the F1 type of podium wheels, it weighs 16kg, so it isn’t the lightest wheel. It has an unlimited rotation range, and it also comes with a wheel rim, which is not typical of direct drive wheels. You will have to search for a compatible wheel rim for your direct drive racing wheels in other cases. Another cool thing about the podium F1 is that it has a torque key, which allows you to set a limit to how much torque it produces. Fanatec company  did this wheel’s design brilliantly, and you can tell that a lot of work was involved in making a masterpiece like this.

You can also configure the wheel with the various settings available, and the cross-compatibility sets it apart from other wheels. Podium F1 costs about 2000 dollars, yes a bit pricey, but if you are a seasoned racer, you will understand that when you consider everything it brings to the table. It is worth the price. The downside is that, when purchasing it, you can’t buy the base only if you don’t like the wheel.

Conclusions

Direct drive racing wheels are taking all the attention in sim racing right now. What makes the direct drive racing wheel so much cooler than the gear and belt drive racing wheels? A direct drive sim racing wheel produces force feedback from the wheel by a joined torque motor without obstruction from gears or belts.

Belt driven wheels are not directly connected to the motor of the racing wheel. Rather they use a pulley system to help generate torque from a small motor, this pulley system will most likely reduce the quality of detail gotten from the belt-driven racing wheel, and it is exactly what makes it different from the direct-drive racing wheel, which is directly mounted to a powerful motor. This makes it have higher frequency details that can directly positively affect your racing, low maintenance cost because of the lack of belts or gears, and a more precise racing experience. What you expect is what you get.

Sim racing has never been better since the introduction of the direct-drive racing wheels. The only problem with this wheel is that you have to be a seasoned payer to set it up accurately, failure to do this may have repercussions at the end of the day. You will also have to spend more money to purchase one of these wheels. Not only is it expensive (a thousand dollars and above), it gives so much force that your entire rig has to be of the quality build too. Getting a cockpit, seat, pedals made with quality materials along with your direct drive racing wheels will surely cost thousands of dollars. It would be best if you only bought this when you want to become a professional sim racer. Only expert drivers will be able to take full advantage of the cool features this wheel offers.

BEST DIRECT DRIVE RACING WHEEL PRODUCTS

BEST DIRECT DRIVE RACING WHEEL PRODUCTS

SIMCUBE 2 ULTIMATE

This wheel is targets professional sim racers or real-life racers as customers. If you are getting into sim racing, this product may not be for you. It is the predecessor of the Simcube 2 pro and the latest installment of the Simcube series; this means that there must be some positive changes that make it better than the previous models and products from other brands. One of the most awesome features about this cool racing wheel is that it goes beyond expectations to produce a whole 70Nm torque level. It mostly functions at 32Nm. This level alone is way higher than most direct drive wheels that produce along 20Nm.

Now that we know how high the wheel’s torque level is, we can confirm that it produces force feedback off the charts; sim racing aims to imitate the feeling of driving a real racing car. This driving wheel goes right ahead to achieve that; you can tell that the motor is of high quality and that the developers spent a lot of time to bring users the closest to real racing.

The Simcube 2 ultimate is built almost entirely with metal. This tells you that it is expected to last a very long time, it may be weightier than its counterparts, but you can feel the build’s quality and know that it will remain sturdy under the toughest situations. This wheel’s cost is relatively high, starting from three thousand dollars, it is a luxury piece of equipment. Although it will be perfect for racers who have an eye for detail, you can downgrade to the Simcube 2 pro to get a great racing experience.

Simcube 2 pro Comparison
You have already read about the latest installment to the Simcube series; this is what you will get when downgrading to simcube pro because of its cheaper price by more than a thousand dollars. Where ultimate produces a max torque of 32nM, a pro will only give you 25 Nm. Ultimate also has two power supply of 1000w and a warranty of 60 months, while pro has two 280w power supply and 24 months warranty. Torque’s slew rate for ultimate is 9.5 Nm/s while the pro is 8Nm/s. 2 pro stats are not bad; these are pretty good stats, ultimate is just better because The developers invested more money and time in creating it.

Fanatec Podium DD2

The DD2 is one of the best direct-drive racing wheels on the market. We already know how popular Fanatec is in the sim racing gear department, so we can always trust them to develop something incredible. DD1 and DD2 were released at the same time, with DD1 being the cheaper alternative. Many people praised the DD2 for its simplicity, mostly because it is easy to install. DD2 also has a max torque of 25Nm, which means that it gives very accurate force feedback. DD2 also has a carbon fiber finish, which is quite lovely when you look at it, it is also made with high-quality materials, and as an addition, it also comes with a kill switch as a standard.

Fanatec Podium DD1 comparison

The easy setup procedure exists in both DD1 and DD2 as it connects with a USB. This is one of the easiest direct driven wheels set up you can find on the market. The DD1 uses the same motor as the DD2 but has a lower max torque at 20Nm, and you can tell with the quality of force feedback. It also does not come with a kill witch like the DD2, and you will have to purchase it separately. Although the two wheels look similar, DD1 has an aluminum finishing instead.

When you look at the overall features, DD2 might not appeal to someone who wants to feel every single bump on the way, the easy to install feature they both have is very desirable, and they are also both built to last. The price difference between the two wheels is about 400 dollars, which tells you they have many similarities as opposed to the over a thousand dollars price difference between the Simcube 2 pro and Simcube 2 ultimate.

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