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Simracn Custom Wheel Review

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Brian Clancy, May 24, 2011.

  1. A little while ago, I was introduced to a guy in the states called Charlie Visscher. Charlie had been creating quite a bit of a fuss with his wheels in the iRacing Forums, with a lot of people crediting him with great work and just as importantly great customer service. That introduction led to this review.

    CV1.jpg
    Partly assembled / finished Review wheel

    For this hardware review we are going to be looking at a rather special, hand finished wheel for Logitechs G25/7. The format for this particular item will differ a little from the usual one as each wheel is custom made to the client’s specs, so I am going to try and focus as much on this part of the process as the wheel itself. I think first off, I should point out that Charlie makes a large range of wheels, from F1 styled (as the Redbull F1 wheel I am reviewing today) to GT and touring style wheels in various states of completion. Charlie can supply the bare wheel ready for you to build up right through to a custom built plug n play unit. The customer can specify numbers of buttons and type along with rotary encoders and switches etc and placement, in short a bespoke building service!

    CV3.jpg

    The process starts with selecting a basic wheel type, be it GT, F1 and so on, although Charlie can help you design a one-off too. The next step is to decide if you want to use a shift light board such as Leo Bodnars SLI-Pro or SLI-M integrated in to the design along with types and numbers of buttons and rotarys etc. Charlie keeps you up to date on the process and allows for your input to get the design just how you want it, E-Mailing you CAD drawings with the proposed layout and keeping you involved in the design process.
    Once you have settled on the design, the build takes place. The wheel is cut from 1 inch thick Plexiglass on a CNC router to its basic shape, then the hard part begins! Charlie hand shapes and polishes the wheel to a very high quality finish. At this point you decide if you want the wheel in its natural clear or to be painted or trimmed with a Carbon look film. For the review wheel Charlie and I decided on the ‘Polished clear’ finish as its most striking and shows the best detail in the pictures! There are many options as far as finish goes, enough that I can’t sensibly list then here.
    For a lot of hardware fans, charlie’s work would be done now, sending the wheel on to its new owner for them to fit the electronics. But if you’re not keen on doing that yourself, he can build the wheel up to a fully plug n play state at quite reasonable prices.

    CV2.jpg

    THE WHEEL ITSELF!
    Okay, we have covered how the Process of how creating a custom wheel is done, now for the good part, testing! Upon receipt of the wheel I was amazed at the quality and finish, the polishing is near flawless and the clear finish is truly striking. More surprising is how nice and also warm the Plexiglass feels in the hand, it’s an oddly comfortable medium for a wheel (much to my surprise). The ergonomics of the wheel are excellent, grip dimensions, button placement and paddle shifter reach are spot on. The SLI-Pro mounting is a perfect fit as were the cut outs for the buttons I specified and the rotarys. Another nice touch on the wheel is that the 6 mounting holes are slotted so the wheel can fit a G25 or a G27 wheel (very handy if your running a G25 currently but may wish to upgrade to a G27 later). Unfortunately I have not been able to wire up the wheel currently as I’m waiting on some connectors to be delivered. However, I can still drive with the wheel and must say its been a pleasure to use. On a clear wheel like this, wiring will be quite visible, but with some care and thought I think it will be quite easy to make a feature of it, however, you can of course specify a painted or covered wheel.

    Williams style.jpg
    One of Simracn's finished F1 Wheels (Williams inspired)

    9f1f4b08046f820d7c07d8111569380d_image_733x550.jpg
    and a GT Styled Wheel

    PRICES:
    Prices vary enormously depending on the wheel type and its spec, but a RedBull inspired F1 wheel like the review wheel, bare and ready to build without electronics is around $250 dollars U.S. Considering the labour time involved and the bespoke nature of the product, that’s pretty reasonable.

    CONCLUSIONS:
    A beautiful, bespoke product mixing the best of modern CNC skills with hand crafted care to create a unique and rather special product. If your looking for something different that can add to the immersion of your rig and make you smile every time you use it, go see Charlie and tell him Brian sent you :) You can find Charlie’s site HERE.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Thank you so much for the review, I have been really waiting for this review.
     
  3. Its a Pleasure Georgios :D I really enjoy doing the reviews and the feedback I get from them. Glad you enjoyed it.
     
  4. oh wow that is epic
     
  5. Amazing that it's finished by hand. I would still spray it black though if I had one for a more typical wheel look :)
     
  6. I think if you speak to Charlie, you will find there will soon be a number of other colours other than clear :)
     
  7. Kris Vickers

    Kris Vickers
    Hardware Staff

    Nicely written old man :)

    And the wheel looks even better now with the bits in.

    Gonna put a video up of it when you get the connectors?
     
  8. Thank you Brian, very good read! Looks purty darn awesome all clear!! :)

    I made a note in the simracn thread in hardware concerning the paint and colors available.
     
  9. Wow they look ace!
     
  10. Great review Brian, Charlie and myself are currently finalizing the design of my wheel and then the fun starts for him LOL. Can't recommend Charlie enough, he has the best customer service I have ever seen and he is a genuine top bloke.
     
  11. I'll have to take your word on how it feels in the hand, but they do look nice.
     
  12. Cant agree more, its been an absoloute pleasure working with Charlie and his products speak for themselves!:D
     
  13. Bram

    Bram
    Roaring Pipes Maniacs | #27 Staff Premium Member

    As I mostly do longer endurance races when racing online I would like to know from somebody who has a simracn wheel if you still have grip with sweaty hands in the heat of the battle.

    If so sign me up for one of those beautiful GT wheels. Looks smashing!
     
  14. Yep, I have both the F1 open top, GT wheel and the SLI PRO plate from Charlie. They've made driving the road cars in iRacing and other racing sims that much more immersive for me.

    As for your question Bram, I have no problem with sweating and losing grip while racing with these wheels. I'd say 6 hrs in the IndyCar last weekend proves it. :)

    If you guys have a chance to get any wheel from Charlie you will not regret it. Top notch craftsmanship and great customer service.

    Great review Brian!
     
  15. Thank you very much for the compliments all. I really appreciate them and makes making the wheels and things even that much more enjoyable.
     
  16. Nice one Brian :)

    The wheel looks really nice and reasonable price indeed. Saw a custom wheel at gamescom last year and absolutely loved it. Only downside is that custom wheels aren't functional in most commercial games (i.e. F1, Dirt, GT5 etc.)
     
  17. Clear grips is awesome to look at and to feel. No sweat problems while racing.

    I say it all the time, when I got my wheel, didn't know if I was going to use it or frame it and hang it on the wall.

    You can get other "custom" wheels, but nowhere can you get a custom art piece for a wheel.