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Playseat Challenge

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Bazooka_Joe, May 27, 2016.

  1. Bazooka_Joe

    Best of the worst, sometimes worst of the worst. Premium

    I'm planning to invest a little into something more sophisticated for my sim-racing attempts and need some advice, perhaps confirmation of my thoughts before splashing out.

    I'm currently using my desk and standard office chair which isn't just cutting it for me. The chair keeps going backwards every time when I'm braking and pressing clutch at the same time (or during an emergency braking procedure with no clutch), then to regain position I'm pulling myself back by holding the wheel. This process is repeated few times a lap. On top of that my better half is not happy as the wheel is always attached to my desk (lack of spare room so in lounge) as I can't be bothered to pack it to the box every time after each session.
    I was looking for a chair, or a wheel stand (especially Wheel Stand Pro V2) but I don't think this will work as my sofa is quite far from TV and PC screen is only 23in, plus I'll have no way to prevent that from going away from me during the braking either, apart from chaining it to the sofa :)

    Playseat Challenge chair
    Then by accident I came across this seat.


    It was like a love at the first sight :) Most important feature - it can be folded and put into storage easily, still with wheel attached, so after playing it's literally 1 minute to clear the room completely. Watched/read plenty of reviews and everyone seems to be happy with it. My wife likes it visually too, so it sounds like it might be it. The only thing is £140 for a racing looking deckchair sounds like a lot. I still quite like it, but at this price the decision is not a no-brainer. Add the gearbox attachment cost another £25 bringing it over the cost of the wheel itself (although I'm thinking of a home made attachment for it).

    Since plenty of my friends are involved in social marketing I have very little trust into the overall verdicts (watching mostly to see the features/unboxing to know what to expect and trying to judge it myself) so I just wanted to double check before purchasing as I'm sure that in this wonderful community someone would have some first-hand experience of using it.

    The questions:
    I have some technical questions I couldn't find the answer for, targeting those who experienced this piece of kit:
    1. On the scale 1 to 10 - how much would you rate it. I'm expecting a budget chair, not Vesaro £30k system with seat vibrations etc. so 10 is the best racing-deckchair ever :) ?
    2. How large is it folded with a wheel (G27 here) - trying to find out whether it'll fit in preferred storage place?
    3. Long term use - does it have some common faults - things to look at/prevent?
    4. Is there any other interesting chair that would be better, or similar stuff but cheaper.

    Last edited: May 27, 2016
  2. there isn't much on the market for portable stuff.. is that a major requirement? otherwise diy for cheap.
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  3. PicoBp

    #26 | HSRC - Banzaaaiii Touring Car Crew Premium

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  4. Bazooka_Joe

    Best of the worst, sometimes worst of the worst. Premium

    Yeah, unfortunately I have no space for a full-time gear that's always set up, so something that can be installed quickly for some racing and put away after is ideal. Storage is also quite important, so portable solution sounds to me like a best option. But I might be wrong - hence this thread.

    I've been looking at stands too (mentioned the Wheel Stand Pro V2), but I'm concerned whether it can stay in securely place during that 'emergency braking' situations, the only difference would be that instead of my chair going backwards - the stand will move forward on my laminate flooring.

    Thanks to you both for your responses!
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  5. To be honest, if you shop around you will find deals come up in Playseat evolution/revolution that are marginally more expensive, but significantly more substantial. I sent a friend a link to an evolution project cars branded seat I found new for $263. If you are a regular racer it's a much sturdier and likely much more durable option. With the seat folding down in itself it's easily collapsed for easy storage. Not so portable as the one you mentioned, but not too different. For my money is shop around for an evolution or revolution. The challenge is just going to be a stop gap if you race regularly and i know I'd regret the purchase. Just trying to be objective here.
    Good luck in whatever decision you make
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  6. Bazooka_Joe

    Best of the worst, sometimes worst of the worst. Premium

    Thanks @Globespy - I've been looking at those as well, but never thought of them as portable. Unfortunately my storage space is VERY limited and even with the Challenge seat it was a challenge to make sure it fits neatly in the cupboard. What I like about the Challenge it folds into a reasonably thin piece that can be stored in similar way as ironing board.
    Luckily I'm sim-racing (or sim-driving I should say) occasionally only, so I never needed anything too sophisticated. Once I move to a bigger place (not planning in the upcoming years) then perhaps then I'll upgrade to something less portable and more solid.
    Once again - thanks for sharing your view!

    I've actually purchased the Challenge and will let you know how it goes once it arrives (hopefully before the weekend!).
  7. You're welcome. Sounds like the challenge may be right for your storage situation.
    Keen to hear your thoughts on the new seat.
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  8. Metalogic


    Hi @Bazooka_Joe - I'd be very interested to hear how you get on with this too, as I too have very limited space for sim racing (a small office that I share with my wife, though she only uses it in the week, and only during the day) and my desk is not suitable for mounting a wheel onto (deep lip underneath). I've mostly been considering the Wheelstand Pro v2, which seems to be a popular choice, though my two concerns with that are a) unless I can secure my office chair better, it's probably going to slide backwards when I brake (I think the chair is more likely to move than the Wheelstand) and b) whether I can still get close enough to my desk/monitor when using it (will likely only be using a 24" monitor).

    The Playseat Challenge obviously should solve problem a), though may not be any better than the Wheelstand Pro for problem b). The Wheelstand Pro looks a little more sturdy overall, though I guess as long as the Playseat Challenge is sturdy enough, it doesn't matter, though I'm not sure whether it'll cope with larger wheel bases like the Thrustmaster TX/T300 (which is what I've been looking at).

    Anyone, do let us know how you get on with it! I've been holding off buying a wheel up to now as simply haven't figured out how best to mount it in my limited space!
  9. Metalogic


    One possible issue I've read about is that the pedals are apparently only attached to the base by a piece of velco, which I'm not sure is going to be strong enough if using the G27/G920 Nixim brake mod, G920 pedals, T3PA conical brake mod or a load cell, all of which require quite a lot of braking force, whereas with the Wheelstand Pro the pedals are attached to the base with a plate that bolts onto the pedals. So I'd be interested to know whether this is an issue or not in use (or maybe the design has improved since I read that review?).
  10. Bazooka_Joe

    Best of the worst, sometimes worst of the worst. Premium

    Hey @Metalogic! Sounds like your situation is very similar to mine. I'll definitely keep you updated once the chair arrives (it meant to be dispatched yesterday - still showing 'Dispatching soon' message on Amazon). As soon as I'll have it set up and I'll post an update here, especially focusing on stuff that cannot be (easily) found on the internets. Potential longer term follow-ups are possible too.
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  11. Lars Hansen

    Lars Hansen
    RDs Ion-Engine....0-60 in six days. Staff Premium

    Shouldn't be a problem.
    Even with load-cell brakes a lot of the force is directed vertically instead of laterally, and judging by the picture there's some sort of skid-proof covering on the brake-base.
    Besides, even if it is a problem, it should be easily solved by using e.g. a couple of wide cable-strips to hold it in place.
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  12. Metalogic


    Good points. I guess my main remaining issue is whether either the Playseat Challenge or Wheelstand Pro is going to put me too far back from a desk-mounted 24" monitor to get close enough to the action, though I guess I could perhaps solve that by putting the monitor onto a clamp-on swing arm that I could move forward (and up or down) for racing.
  13. My experience With the Playseat Challange:
    I have a Playseat Challange and been using it around 217 hrs of gameplay. And the seat still looks like when i got it. I have never had an issue With the pedals moving. There is a strap that comes With the seat too hold the beddals in plase. There is some movement in the plate were to attatch the Wheel. But its so little you dont feel it as the Wheel is rotating and not going up and Down. :p

    Mods i recomend:
    Shifter plate: There is no Place too attach a shifter on the seat. I made a Mount that was Connected too the Wheel plate With some metal platings and stiffend it With some Wood were the shifter and E-Brake goes. I Attached it allso on the frame that goes from the wheel down to the seat so it does not sag.
    Cable management: This is my next step on my seat to becuase it Nice to have thise cables Nice and tid.

    I only have one Picture of it as im not at home right now. But i will post some more Pictures for you.
    The E-Brake is not that tall now. It was earlyer standing on a plate of Wood i placed the seat on :p.

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  14. Lars Hansen

    Lars Hansen
    RDs Ion-Engine....0-60 in six days. Staff Premium

    That has got to be the biggest handbrake I have ever seen! :D :p
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  15. Yea.. hahaha. Im in the process of making an progressive one as that the one I have is very weak.

    Btw it is still fully functional too fold up the playseat with the shifter plate mod.
  16. This was an issue for me on my desk. And the desk was to high allso. As I ended up making a monitor floor stand.
  17. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper

    I've had a Playseat Challenge for about four months, for exactly the reason you mention.

    I needed something that I could fold away or put away out of sight when needed.

    I'm not home at the moment but will put a few pictures up if this helps you.

    The pedals are Fanatec and will not sit on the base properly. So I cut out a 15mm thick piece of MDF, drilled a selection of holes in the base (in case I want to move the pedals independently of the frame), covered it in an alcantara style suede and this is held to the base by the Velcro strap. I've never had any issues with the base moving under braking but the seat does lift up slightly if you put a lot of pressure on the brake pedal. So I would imagine it's more geared towards G27, T500 style pedals that may require less force. The pedals are heavy so I usually remove the pedal frame separately when packing the seat away.

    The seat itself is top quality, nicely made and good detailing. Very comfortable as well which is problem if you're feeling tired! :sleep: The hammock style setup may not be for everyone, I'm about 77kg in weight and it fits me fine. Never had any issues with the velcro slipping.

    The wheel I use is a '99 Thrustmaster wheel and the G-Clamp style bracket would not tighten up enough to hold the wheel on the plate (it's really designed for bolt down wheels). I would imagine any sort of clamp style wheel would simply slide off with too much force.

    So as before I had to make a 50mm thick spacer which screws to the wheel plate. The wheel then clamps to it. Works fine for me. The only issue is because of the way the wheel is fastened and the size of the base of the wheel, the wheel itself is very close to me, my elbows are touching my sides. You can of course adjust the seat but my TV is quite high on my eye line (I'm looking "up" rather than ahead so any lower and I'd give myself neck ache!)

    It's a good starter seat, it was between this and the Fanatec version but I see that's now gone. So this is your only option.

    I have tried a steering stand but it tended to slide around or I had to sit on the end of my bed which made you feel like you were driving a truck! :laugh:

    Bad points? Well it could be made of slightly better materials. Mine is staring to rust on the black paintwork (only if you look closely). The pedal base tends to slide across over a period of time (I guess due to the brake force I'm putting on it). Lastly if would be better if it was a bit more solid in construction but then it would start to become heavy so just one of those things.

    The only other option I took advantage of was the custom mat for underneath, saves marks on the carpet appearing and stops the seat sliding around.

    I certainly prefer it though to a wheel stand, having used both.
  18. alexSchmurtz

    SpeedyMite Racing Staff Premium

    Thanks a lot for your feedbacks guys! :thumbsup: I'm also considering buying one myself; and it is very useful to read the pros and cons, thank you!
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  19. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper

    Yes it's a good option, it's a shame it's not around the £100-£110 mark as I think they would sell a lot more. Having said that though when you look at the chair closely you realise a lot of the brackets are custom made and I think things like that add to the overall production/design costs. Obviously the quality of the seated part is high too. As I mentioned above it would be nice maybe for the tubing to be a slightly thicker gauge (or even solid for the main part of the frame) but that would make it more weighty.

    We need to open our own sim-racing store with try before you buy! :laugh:

    The following video is in Dutch but gives you an idea of seating position, etc.

    You can see some flex in the upper frame but you don't notice it.

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  20. Bazooka_Joe

    Best of the worst, sometimes worst of the worst. Premium

    So mine was delivered yesterday - initial thoughts after ~3 hours of play are that it's a good purchase, but it's not perfect. First of all, despite the factory packaging the seat felt like it's been used before - there are some marks on the frame (could be from transport) and seat material had some dirt on it (could have been from factory or something, hoovered immediately and no stains or anything). Maybe it is totally genuine, but that's not what I'm expecting from a brand new item. Might have been a repackaged return too...

    Piece of cake really - add seat to the already made up frame, adjust some velcro straps - done.
    My only concern is that the seat top, once inserted to the frame seems to be lose on one side and you can see uneven length of frame on either side. Hoping it's because of somewhat uneven straps on the sides - will play with them later.

    Adding wheel (G27)
    Obviously the seat doesn't come with any sensible place to put the shifter (available as a separate extra), but I already knew about it so no surprises there. I've temporarily added a spare shelf that sits between the built-in table and the wheel and held in place with the wheel's clamps. Planning to get some brackets from DIY store and sort something out in a near future. Thinking of attaching it at thigh level instead of the wheel shelf to make a bit more like in road cars.
    I like nice tidy cables, but unfortunately I couldn't get them all tied up - the one for the pedals is too short to be put 'as it should' and I had to left it dangling to reach the wheel. It's not in the way or anything, just annoying. Considering purchasing a serial cable extension lead that would solve it. Shorter folks should be all right though.

    Adjusting seat position and finalising setup
    Playseat Challenge allows plenty of opportunities to find the right position. Seat have two sets of velcro straps that can be adjusted to make it deeper/shallower, straps on the side allowing to adjust the back angle (also affecting the wheel position since it's interconnected) and pedals can be moved back too.

    It takes a while to find *that* right position, but the back support is great and the seat feels comfy. Chair, G27 and pedals don't feel separate, but more like a complete cockpit (I know it's nowhere near proper sim-rigs, but unlike separate wheel stands - this one feels like a one thing).

    A bit of a letdown - the part that holds the wheel is not attached firmly enough to the rest of the base and causes the wheel to move a little bit forward/backwards. Not a big move, but definitely there (at least 0.5cm).

    As I've mentioned before - it feels solid - no more drifting away chair and pulling myself back by the wheel at the nearest straight. The other bonus is that since the wheel is attached to the seat the FFB from G27 are transferred to the seat too. Not a FFB chair, but I can clearly feel extra vibrations on curbs etc. Nice.
    Once in the race - the whole experience is seamless - there's just me and the car. I'm not being distracted by the hardware and can focus on the racing itself. Might make me faster driver (lol).

    This was one of the key things for me - and it's brilliant. It can be stored in literally couple of minutes - unplug the cables, throw them in the seat bucket, change the wheel angle and fold the seat. Secure it with attached velcro strap and secure pedals with another strap. That's it. Ready to be shoved in the cupboard and keep my better half happy. That feature alone makes up for all the 'issues' and imperfections. Seriously happy with it.

    At £140 it feels a bit overpriced, but in the end it does what it says on the tin - it's a good (not great) solid seat that you can easily fold and put into storage. The only downsides from my perspective are the slightly wobbly wheel tray and some marks on the pipework. Other than that - it's a perfect entry level setup for Sunday Cup drivers like myself :)
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