Fanatec ClubSport Pedals V2 Review
I’ve been a long time user of the ClubSport V1 pedals, so when Fanatec offered to send over a set of the V2s for review I jumped at the chance.
I got my original pedals in the first batch back in 2009 and, after some initial teething problems with fried PCB boards and dodgy load cells, I really grew to love them. They have been customised with the Fanatec tuning kit, and I swapped the pedal plates for a set of Tilton style pedal pads. But it was really a pain in the backside to take the pedals apart (to put it mildly – I almost had a nervous breakdown trying to put them back together for the first time!) and so after endlessly playing around with the different springs and all the different pedal positions I settled on a set up that was comfortable and left them that way.
The first thing I notice after pulling the new pedals out of the box is how slick they look with the shiny silver pedal pads against the black brushed aluminium, although I kind of like the more functional, less polished look of the V1. And apart from the colour change the pedal sets look pretty much identical from the front.
Looking from the side I’m pleased to see that Fanatec have put some protection on thePCB boards attached to the sides of the pedals, and that the cables connected to them now point down, and out of the way, instead of sticking out and being an accident waiting to happen.
But it’s when you have a peek round the back that you get to see where the V2 stuff is going down. The accelerator is much the same, but the brake has now become a hydraulic brake with the addition of an oil filled damper system. I think for customs reasons the pedals aren’t sent out with the oil chamber pre-filled, but Fanatec do supply a bottle of silicon oil, and following the video online it was a doddle to set up the brake pedal. As on the previous model there is a knob to adjust the pressure required to apply the brakes, and a small motor to provide feedback through the pedal.
The clutch pedal mechanism has also been redesigned with a whole extra unit added on top of the original spring which makes the clutch degressive. And yes I had to look up that word to see what it means – basically the resistance reduces the further you push the pedal.
Mounting the pedals to the GT Omega wheel stand was easy as the base is identical to the V1. I decided not to mess about with the endlessly configurable pedals, but just to go with the standard set up because it felt comfortable out of the box.
My first time out with the V2 was in preparation for the RDWSR race in the rF2 Clio at Croft. Now this is one of my favourite combos and I’ve put in a lot of laps here, so when I was almost a second quicker than I was with the V1, after only 10 or so laps, I was gob-smacked. And I’m sure it’s down to the brake on the V2. The distance the pedal travels and the pressure required to press it are really similar in feel to the brake pedal on my real Clio. I find it much easier to apply full brakes and then slowly and consistently back off. I know a second a lap is a big bold claim but since I switched to the V2 I went from mid table mediocrity in qualifying to grabbing pole for the last race of the season. Unfortunately they haven’t improved my ability to avoid first lap incidents though.
The other big improvement is the clutch. The degressive mechanism has captured well the sensation of pressing a clutch pedal. The pressure required to press the clutch increases slightly initially and then, once you reach somewhere about where you’d expect to feel the clutch bite, the resistance eases off. As with the other pedals you can make it stiffer by adjusting the tension in the spring.
As you may have guessed I have been impressed with the V2 pedals and the only complaint I have is that they started squeaking quite soon after being used – in particular the accelerator pedal. I didn’t notice it at first because I race with headphones but it was bothering the other half while she watched TV! A constant squeaking with every movement of the pedal, and, as has been pointed out by others in the sim racing hardware forum, on pedals of this quality and price it’s disappointing that this kind of thing develops so quickly, and down to something as simple as the lubricant used. Fortunately the pedals don’t need to be fully disassembled to fix the problem – I was getting cold sweats just thinking about it! But it’s still a fairly fiddly job, and after using some Teflon dry lube on the squeaky parts and mounting the pedals back to the rig I inevitably discovered that I hadn’t put the pin back in properly and had to take it all apart again.
Since then the pedals have been trouble free and a pleasure to race with. They are a definitely big step up from the V1 pedals in terms of feel and performance. The new parts added to the clutch and brake have made using the ClubSport pedals feel a whole lot more authentic and I think it might be time to finally retire my trusty old V1 pedals.
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