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Thrustmaster TH8 RS shifter mini review

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Niels_at_home, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. Niels_at_home

    Reiza Studios

    I am hugely critical of sim hardware, so it is to my surprise that I can write a pretty positive review of the Thrustmaster TH8 RS shifter.

    I paid about 115 euro for it, and for that you get a solid piece of kit, that clamps very well to pretty much any desk I can imagine. When you remove the clamp, a few treaded holes appear, so you can hard mount it. I like how it uses some sort of magnetic sensor; no touching (or wearing) electronic parts, so it should accuratly register your shifts for many years. I've completely disassembled it and found a solid metal construction, it seems to be over engineered which is a good thing! The shifter can be rotated (in a top view) which I didn't understand at first but it is for the sequential mode which moves in the left/right direction, so you turn the thing 90 degrees so sequential shifting is in the more normal fore / aft direction!

    The H shift action is decent, requiring a lot more force to shift into the gears than the G25, though still not as much as I would like. It is enough however to move from a 'toy' feel of the G25 to a 'This could be a real mechanical thing" type of feel. A great feature is a strong centering spring, centering the stick in the second gate firmly. The effort to move it right into the 5/6 gate is quite different than moving it into the 7/R gate, so once used to it I don't really do any mis shifts. You can download a utility from Thrustmaster allowing you to adjust the 'gear detect zones' though I found the defaults to be good. You don't want it to engage the gear until it actually fals into the slot, so while you could cheat by increasing the shift detection zone, that would be a bit silly!

    The sequential shift action is surprisingly good as well. You have to remove 4 screws and the H gate metal plate. Then you turn the unit 90 degrees, insert the sequential plate and tighten the 4 screws again. It uses the firm centering spring of the stick, and adds another spring that is part of the sequential plate. This centers the stick a bit firmer than in H shift mode, and you have to overcome a noticable bit of force before the stick moves. This gives it a very positive action that is just about heavy enough to be a convincing type of mechanical thing.

    + no electronic wearing parts like pots or buttons, should last a long time!
    + critical parts all metal, should last a long time!
    + firm center spring for good 'gate awareness'
    + firm ish shift action, much more believable than the G25
    + mounts firmly with clamp or hard mounted
    + sequential shifting very positive and believably firm

    - switching H / sequential plate takes a bit of time, I feel that could've been done simpler
    - shifting in gear takes the same effort as pulling it out of a gear
    - no slack in front/rear stick movement, bit too clean / clinical feel
    - blingy gear knob, but you can at least replace it.

    So wow, H shift and sequential shifting work well, no electrical wearing parts, mostly metal construction and that for 115 euro! That is a fair price. I have a FREX shifter here that is just really bad. Unless that is some sort of bad prototype, I would say the Thrustmaster is about 10x better (works better, mounts better) than the FREX! Compared to my DIY CNC manufactured shifter, it feels more clinical and they didn't use a trick I did to make shifting even more accurate, but for the price, the Thrustmaster is a solid piece of simracing kit.
  2. Alex Ball

    Alex Ball
    Web Nerd

    How much for the frex? ;)
  3. Niels_at_home

    Reiza Studios

    You wouldn't want it really! I really really hope it is some sort of a prototype or something but I am afraid it isn't. I believe it is more than 400 euro new and really it doesn't compare to the G25 (flimsy but usable) or TM shifter (solid, firmer and usable) because the Frex I have is almost not usable. There is no preload on the stick so you don't have 'gate security', and centered it is right between the 3/4 and 5/6 gates, so you hit the gate separator if you just try to move the stick fore / aft in a gear.. But you can't feel the difference between hitting the gate separators or the 'shift bump' until you increase your efforts, by which time you're likely to slip into the wrong gear (if any)..
  4. Alex Ball

    Alex Ball
    Web Nerd

    oh that doesnt sound 'right'. I have a home-made effort similar to the frex, and it doesnt feel like that at all :(

    I have an SST already, I'll stick with that for now then.