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Review: T500RS F1+320 mm rim, TH8RS and CSP V2 on Nixim Racecraft GT

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Pär Öqvist, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Hi!

    As I feel my simrig is finally getting quite complete (minus the 24" monitor. I felt I could do a write up about this.

    I want to list what I have experience with first so you know my references. The last items is what I currently own except the G27 which I still have in the inventory.

    Playseat Classic
    Playseat Evolution
    Nixim Racecraft GT

    Steering wheels
    Logitech Driving GP
    Logitech Momo Force red
    Logitech DFP
    Logitech G25
    Fanatec GT3RS
    Fanatec Turbo S
    Logitech G27
    Thrustmaster T500RS

    Apart from the ones supplied with the wheels.
    Frex GP pedals
    Clubsport V1
    CST pedals (GT)
    Clubsport V2

    SST lightning Shifter

    Simulations used during testing in no particular order
    PNG 3
    Race 07+all exp
    Netkar Pro
    Tiny bit of GT5

    Gearhead much?

    Starting with the cockpit.

    NIXIM Racecraft GT Mark 2

    Excuse the mess

    After having the Playseat Evolution for a couple of years and getting frustrated that the pedal tray, chair and also the tubing underneith bent after applying the nixim brake mod to my G25 I started to looking for a more permanent solution. Obutto Ozone was a fresh concept back then but had no suppliers overseas and I got a feel I would be starting to feel it was not solid and adjustable enough too. I was looking for such a concept a cockpit that could be done for more then just racing though like the Obutto. I ended up finding the Nixim RaceCraft and it appeared to be the most solid construction I could find at the time. And I can´t say I found anything that appear to be as solid since.

    I ordered the polecat initially with the flight sim bar you see in the pics from Dave a true English gentlemen. There was delays and it arrived several months later. Without knowing it though I got some hints it was upgraded to GT status with enhanced steel and extra speaker bars... Talk about customer service never seen anything like it!

    Also I might say that there is differences between mark 2s. Newer revisions of the Mark 2 is wider. I got an option to upgrade If I so wished though I would never call mine slim. It does dominate a room.

    As for the Nixim Racecraft mark 2 the pictures don´t lie it´s all steel through and through. Heavy steel. Big bulky and heavy more suited for a garage then a living room. The wheels don´t look to good but for practical reasons when you do want to move it around you are greatful you have them. The bolts supplied are first class I am still using the stock despite all my tampering with them! There is no play anywhere you can run into it with full force and you can´t sense anything giving way except the wheels. This was very special to me as it felt my cars got side walls. To bad you quickly get spoiled but it certainly do give a greater immersion than my previous setups that was never truly stable even when there wasn´t any obvious wobble. The seat I chose was a Cobra Daytona which when I got it felt a little bit tight while not racing but with a bit of use got just like I wanted it and show no sign of wear still to this day. Recliner but still feel solid. Same goes for the cockpit it´s lacquered in a professional way.

    Adjustability. The wheel plate you can adjust forward and backward and of course tilt.You can lower the cockpit or make it higher though this is a better job for two if you have a bad back. It´s quite some weight to hold up on your own but it´s doable. The flightsim hotas arms can be had in just about any position you can imagine and you can swing them out on the way to make entry or exit easier. I like to climb into my cockpit a bit so I don´t use that function and lock them extra tight instead. No problem fitting the G25, TH8RS or SST Lightning shifter on them. May be a tad small for some flight sim controllers but the ones from Saitek and CH I tried does work well with some of the isolation pads I put on them. Using them with a keyboard replacement as shown in the pictures and mouse on the other it´s very comfortable for regular gaming again using a hard mousepad to increase the surface area.

    The chair can be mounted in two positions. It can also be tilted. You can´t raise it without adding more bolts. Which mean with minimal effort you can raise the seat up more.
    I have no doubt a 220 mm simracer could fit very well in this cockpit as well as a puny f1 driver though they may not be able to hot swap :)

    The pedal tray is adjustable as in you can get it in any angle you want and move it forward or backwards there is nothing to improve here. I had my CSP V2/T500RS at well over 45 degree angle and they do stick in place on this metal floor. Good for T500RS which you can´t hard mount as easilly in GT position and for my benchmarking.

    I didn´t get the monitor stand but have been quite fine with monitor sitting straight on it.

    All in all it´s hard to find anything to dislike or improve on this rig.. Some will say price but you get what you pay for and in my case I got quite a bit more. I am sure many generations after me can get full use of this cockpit which feels good. I will say that I would have liked to see a support plate for mounting a transducer on which was not available for me when I made my purchase many years ago. That is a con.

    Out of all the gear I tried there is nothing where I felt I couldn´t get an optimal driving position to the mm. if I get another profile for the front seat support and turn them upside down and change seat I know I can get a perfect F1 driving postion out of it. Even though it´s not designed for it and my preferred driving position is quite far from that.

    Full sized, steel through and through solid as a rock. Litterary.
    Adjustable to the max
    Quality materials which don´t age easilly. I would trust this cockpit to a gorilla.

    The solid rigid construction means that you adjust by using big sold allen key bolts. There is no quick adjuster handles that can sacrifice rigidity and make adjustments a bit faster.
    Big bulky nothing for your living room. WAF factor non existant.
    Need a truck or lorry to transport it if needed.
    No transducer fixation plate.

    F1 Integral T500 RS


    I bought this one in december when relatively cheap T500RS started to appear. Price payed 330 Euro thereabout for the F1 Integral version. As of now there is now wheel at Thrustmaster it appears so not sure what is happening with it as also the TH8RS is running out of stock everywhere.

    I feel I have a good grasp of the wheel right now and it has changed a bit with use.
    When I got it it got a center detent that has gone away with use. Initial impressions was not the best. I was a little worried when I noticed how much own resistance it had and notchy feel to it. My experience with belt drive wheels before is from the Fanatec porsche line which I remembered as a bit smoother.

    I have big hands but have no problem at all with the grip it feels great and secure. No problem using a separate shifter though this can deem a bit unorthodox for the purists. While the wheel has faked buttons the grip and shape and all certainly feel real enough. I feel no flex in the wheel. I like the feel of the buttons and paddle quite a bit more then those on the previous wheels I owned. There is however tons of reports on the poor quality of those. I am quite happy with the rim though it´s quite expensive. Still cheaper then getting a pimped F1 wheel from the lovely simgear shops that start to appear everywhere and so far it does the job as good as any I recon. No shortage of reachable buttons for me.

    Force feedback delivered from this is in an entirely different league of both the G25/G27 and the Porsche line. Particularly the G27 has big problems delivering clean ffb. At first this made the T500RS feel a bit naked as you didn´t get this oscillating effect and other forces that didn´t got delivered as they should. The precision of the T500RS was razer sharp in comparison. It´s twice as high torque did more then compensate for it´s high resistance that felt like less of an issue while actually driving the wheel. However the notchy feel I felt while dry simming is still there to some extent. It´s a lot quicker then the G27 to turn by ffb and endlessly quicker then the porsche line.

    I had no problems making my T500RS feel better then any wheel I owned before in any sim I tried. One exception oval racing the notchy feeling running the stock car in iRacing was not a pleasant experience. It was hard to overcome the notchy feeling when there wasn´t so many other pleasant ffb to dress it up. LFS also seem to put this trait forward a bit much. I will say I tried this quite early and it may be less of an issue currently but my iRacing subscription has expired. In a perfect world it would still be smoother though.

    Also the Specracer Ford at Limerock the sharp force feedback was working against me a bit much. Bumps in iRacing feel a bit exaggerated to me often. Every bump in the road would want to send my car off track. Had to lower it to what I perceived was G27 levels. Going back to G27 I realized I was still running stronger ffb though and realized my results with that was even worse. However it don´t have the torque capability of ever overpowering you so it was more manageable. When I tried the same car with the 320 mm rim that give me more leverage to withstand the peaks it was again more workable.

    Paddles on the F1 wheel and T500RS wheel is equally loud. May be an issue for neighbours. The wheel operation while driving is quite loud though it´s relatively even and don´t go from relatively stealthy to omg something broke G27 style.

    As I regularly use closed headphones. I would say even open headphones with the kind of pink noise you run through them act a bit as active noise cancellors I am not used to hear the wheels as much I may overstate this issue. But I don´t enjoy the sawmill sound of the T500RS when trying to run "speaker mode". The G27 when it go havoc goes through anything headphone or not. T500RS sound is more consistant and not of the something just got loose character.

    The T500RS has a relatively loud fan though but it doesn´t overpower my computer and is not to high pitched. What is annoying is that it can go for 45 minutes since you stop driving to keep the wheel cool. I would rather see it started running as soon as I start racing to cut this as short as possible instead of as often 20 minutes in. The fan don´t bring confidence since it like to change sound now and then and don´t appear to pull much air. I have however not yet noticed any ff degradation as you would expect from the ffb motor getting to hot. I am seldom running at 100 %. Or 60 % which is the 100 % for the T500RS and don´t do much drifting nor multi turn operations.

    The attachment lever or what to call it is almost enough to keep the wheel 100 % stable. Still feel I will have to hardmount it to get the last percent. Wheel base is huge due to the big ffb motor. More then double the size of the CSW motors and the wheel mounted a bit higher up as a result. However with the F1 rim it don´t occupy noticable more screen space then the G27. Will make it easier to add touch screens for telemetry or hud if you so wish as the F1 wheel don´t come with leds and gear display sadly.

    RMD Malaga 320 mm wheel

    Being able to change rims with relative ease was a big selling point for me. Changing rims on the T500RS is a 2 minute operation tops which is easy enough. Quick release while cool isn´t something I feel I absolutely needed.

    Found myself a relatively cheap 320 mm rim with suede. It weighted in at around 1 KG like the F1 rim. Difference in feel between it and the f1 integral wheel was in the beginning intense. With the supplied bolts I couldn´t tighten them enough which gave mushy force feedback as a result though the connection appeared tight. It also meant I could feel less of the internal construction of the wheel so it was not entirely without positive side effects. But fast effects like curb effects wasn´t rendered correctly. I changed to allen key type bolts which I could tighten better and got it considerably better. One bolt was bad and it was not enough 5 out of 6 all I possibly could with my prolonged allen key. When I finally got a replacement bolt and tightened that I finlly could sense it was the same ffb. Slightly muted still by the suede I believe and possible due to some centrifugal effect at times with more mass around the edges. Possible it could get even better but I cannot tighten them anymore

    Being used to the 270 mm G27 rim this was much harder to adapt to then the F1 wheel. It´s a bit on the bulky side of things and as seen on my picture make my 24" monitor shrink considerably. Put on my 32" tv and it did feel significantly more comfortable due to better ratio between wheel and dashboard. It does give you considerably more leverage. I mentioned the Ford Specracer earlier where this come in handy and it still help making the wheel turn smoother. The higher precision you can say go lost a bit as I feel I can compensate by more steering lock on the smaller rims. I put force feedback level to what I am comfortable with not looking for real torque.

    Overall I am really impressed with the wheel. For the price I payed it´s an incredible improvement over the G27 and also the Turbo S which I hold as the best wheel I owned. I haven´t had any issues with it worth mentioning so far. Hasn´t touched the pedals which will be in the next post
    The only disappointment I had with it was the smoothness of it. I am sure there is reasons for the toothed belt and maybe also the big ffb motor cause more resistance. It´s supposedly easier to turn one way but I haven´t really noticed this. I do love how it can bite and how sharp the ffb effects come through. Really a higher definition then what I experienced earlier. The speed of it make it possible to let the wheel recenter but it could go even faster in an ideal world.
    Fans is always slightly annoying but that is inevitable. Wished they could have fitted a bigger fan on it that allows it to switch off faster at cost of a db or two that also didn´t sound so cheap.
    F1 rim great in hand but expensive considering there is no leds or display just cheapest buttons possible. And some painted. Pay a lot for the Ferrari license I recon.
    RMD Malaga rim is by far the highest quality rim I put on a simracing wheel and relatively inexpensive on it´s own. If you can live with button boxes on the side or make your own. Happy to report the paddle shifters work superb also with this diameter. 320 mm rim is for me personally to big for an allround wheel though by limiting steering lock both F1 and Rally is entirely possible.
    • Like Like x 4
  2. Pedals. T500 RS pedals
    The pedals is labelled V5 like the wheel so I believe I have the torsion springs they at some point changed to?
    Pedal set is heavy around 7 kg in weight and has sheets of metal,making them feel relatively solid compared to the G27 pedals which really feels plasticky after using these.

    Pedals has a really nice feature that you can switch them around for GT or F1 style. Warning though they use the tiniest of bolts if you change around often but at least they shipped with extras. This also mean that the throttle and clutch design is the same. The pedal plates are quite small and the pedals spread wide apart so not sure how well it will sit for heal and toers being a left foot braker.

    Pedals appear to be designed primarily for desktop racers with a pedal angle of about 45 degrees so I have the pedal tray angled to get them more truly vertical. This helps both feel and ergonomics for me. For my 44 in feet size I would perhaps liked to be able to mount the plates a bit higher. They do however particularly in GT position integrate amazingly well with my feets. I can stomp or twist the ankel as I do in my real cars which is why I believe I preferr the GT position so much. I loved this with the CST pedals I owned previously to which is my benchmark regarding sim racing pedals everything has to measure up against.

    As always I find the brake all to soft in stock configuration. I need to be able to feel how much brake force I put out it´s not enough trying to measure travel even though in theory that gives you more precision. Thrustmaster supply a stiff brake mod adapter for it. It´s a piece of rubber and a spring attached to it. It improved things a lot and certainly gave a more familiar brake pedal compared to the real once I used. The spring that comes with it make a bit of noise and you feel it compress which is distracting though. Running without it just got mushy and not pleasant.

    This mod as advertised do give proper resistance that should be enough for most. If not if you don´t hardmount the wheel or put it against a wall it get seriously stiff. The pedals stay in place but the rubber feet gives way so that can be a solution for even stiffer brake. Talking of hard mount that is not available in the GT position sadly.

    However if it´s not enough or you just want an even smoother and a more evenly progressive brake there is the mrbasher stiff brake mod which exist of skateboard bushings you will find in skate shops.

    I got home a pair of Khiro 73s. Installing these instead of the stiff brake mod rubber and spring and I absolutely got a better feel for the brake and smoother travel. You can use only one though some guides may be needed for it to stick in place. It felt a bit to spongy with just one I felt wher two was perhaps a bit on the stiff side but gave a bit more of a solid feel to it. You can rest your feet on the brake and apply some pre pressure as the progressive resistance start from the beginning. With the stiff brake mod there was little feedback during light braking which though for my standard cars felt quite natural. the noise and feel of the spring didn´t however and I feel I get a bit more disc hugging with the bushings.
    I do run the nixim brake mod on my G27 but that don´t do this trick quite as well and is a bit to spongy for me.

    Throttle. There is certainly some resistance to the throttle spring. It´s not super soft as the CSPs. They say you should feel like you have an egg under the throttle I can really get that feeling with these. They do bind to my feet but it feels great to use and as of being melded to my right foot where it on the other hand is not quite as smooth as the CSPs throttle pedal as a result.

    Clutch. As mentioned same as throttle and totally non exiting as a clutch pedal.

    Conclusion: Great pedals that is a dream to operate. There is no fatigue apart from what heavy brake resistance give you. Feels solid more comparable to Clusports V2 then the G27 pedals. With cheap bushings it really give me a superb brake feel and there is bushings of various stiffness. You can drill them to make them softer and thus you can fine tune them higher then with just the supplied stiff brake mod.

    Fanatec Clubsports V2
    I got some days use of these before I suffered what I suspect is a throttle sensor/throttle sensor cable failure). Enough time to fine tune get used to them and hot lap them. I used the Clubsport V1s in the past. I recognize the throttle quite well though clutch and brake has an entirely new feel. The new pedals have a new glossy look and also feel more slippery then I remembered the V1. Slightly damp socks is key for me with these to fix this slight issue.

    Like the T500 RS pedals these do have heft. s the T500RS felt no desperate need to hardmount them they stick in place also at big angles. The adjustability of them was less then I expected and not really better then the T500RS. You can easier add springs to the CSP V2s and bushing for the T500RS but there is no throttle trow adjustments possible on either and just one setting for brake throw. The pedal plates are bigger and wider and the long and soft throttle pedal should do heal and toe operations considerably easier I believe. Not to mention there is actually some work done on the clutch.

    First thing I noticed was that these pedals where less adjustable then my V1s. The option for a really short stiff brake is not there this time but putting the brake one step up was about the sweet spot for me. The feel with the hydraulic braking was quite odd at first. Stock settings not being the way to go again. Lowering the brake sensitivity some after some days I started to feel good. Better then the T500RS? Uncertain it don´t do the disc hug thing but it also is a bit softer in the initial travel and has this slight delay. Different is the word. Being able to adjust the pressure needed is a very convenient way of getting things fine tuned.

    This hasn´t changed much since V1. However I seem to have gotten stiffer with the years. I had issues twisting my ankles that much to get to full throttle. Angle up the pedals to much I get to much pressure on my legs instead. It was hard to get every pedal plate lined up but changing the throttle and cluch angle adjusters I managed to get it right in the end as in optimal

    This is what I feel a bit smoother then the T500RS throttle. Very soft spring means you can operate it by your toes if you so wish.

    This really made me want to pick up LFS again. But it´s a desert.
    Feels great to operate and it´s hard to go back to G27 or T500 throttle clutch. However as a notorious left foot breaker it´s often a wasted effort.

    Clutch is the best I have used. Hopefully Fanatec will be quick about sending me replacement parts for the CSP V2. I will say these are very tiny cables laying out in the open.

    I got quite comfortable with the Porsche 911 RSR in Power and Glory 3 mod for GTR 2 at watkins Glen so decided to use this to try to get an idea if any of the wheels or pedals made any difference for me. This is of course not scientific by any means but I did hot lap for several days and tried to make sure I never started with the same set of pedals or wheel rim. I did not run the nixim G27 pedals only the CSP V2 and T500RS pedals

    G27 vs T500RS
    No sadly got no indication whatsoever that the T500RS helped me go any faster no matter how toyish the G27 felt.

    F1 vs 320 mm rim
    Here I ran 400 degrees on F1 rim and 900 degree 28,5 on the 320 mm rim. Nothing conclusive but it does felt that F1 rim had more potential. Particularly in race the less workload should pay off a bit. Talking perhaps a tenth of a second from the indications I got.

    CSP V2 vs T500RS pedals
    I was still playing around with bushings but here I just can´t say anything conclusive. I got my pb at 1,37,1 with the T500RS pedals but overall I couldn´t see any real pattern here. 37,4s was what I regularly hit with both pedals and I could sense a high 36,9 on a fluke lap on the CSP V2 as well. I have confidence in both set of pedals in a total other way than the nixim modded G27 pedals.

    Main reason I decided to get the CSP V2s was I liked to try a loadcell solution again and see how it would compare to rubber based pressure sensitive setups. I really enjoyed the V1s. I would not be desperate to upgrade to CSP V2 if I still was a V1 owner that´s for sure.

    I am still debating which set that I will go for in the end. I am not giving up on the CSP V2s but the ergonomics of the T500RS and that it actually perform admirably will set up for long confusing times to come regarding this. They are so different in feel.
  3. Bram

    Roaring Pipes Maniacs | #27 Staff Premium Member

  4. Haven´t seen that. Handy being able to send drafts. I am not much of a writer though but anything I write there I can copy and paste over here or where does it land if not published?
  5. Bram

    Roaring Pipes Maniacs | #27 Staff Premium Member

    Well you got a point there. If not published it goes into the bin unfortunately (bit of quality control).

    But of course you are free to post it here as well. Just thought I'd give you a heads up as it seems like quite an extensive review that people mostly like to read.

    Looks like a bad ass cockpit btw. Did you find a way to get rid of all the cables?
  6. Sorry for wall of text I might say. As I am no fan of wireless devices due to slow response and need to be able to switch gear that is a bit hard to get really well for me with my 8 usb connections or what I am averaging. The backside is a mess don´t see much of that in cockpit view and is of course a bit better when I don´t constantly switch gear.
  7. nice to see another Nixim Racecraft GT, although mine has got some different options on it, seat, pedal mount and monitor mount. Still remember when mine was delivered on the back of a car trailer lol