Direct Drive Wheel: Buying Advice and User Reviews

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Paul Jeffrey, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

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    hey guys,

    I’ve very, very recently upgraded to a Sim Labs P1 rig with a view to going down the Direct Drive wheel route.

    Before I get into the detail of what I’m thinking about purchasing, I wondered if anyone here has any recommendations and personal experiences with DD they would care to share?

    Basically I’m looking for the best current offering, and although all have good and bad points, I’d like to know what you all think!

    Cheers,

    Paul
     
  2. DowntownSIX

    DowntownSIX
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    I can't help you with ownership but I recently went through the purchase process and concluded anything based on IONI/Simucube was the way to go:

    - It's highly available, which is great for purchase options and parts
    - It's mature technology so compatible with almost everything and has loads of community support
    - It has a demonstrable history of reliability

    In the end, where I purchased my wheel from came down to; the price, stock availability, the build (encoders, shielded cabled etc), the suppliers reputation and if it comes with any parts like a quick release thrown in.

    My short list was; Sim Tech Racing, Simplicity, Sim Racing Coach and Sim Racing Bay.

    Simplicity are in the UK, which was a plus for me, but appear to be transitioning from Simucube to their own drivers. This isn't a problem in and of itself but the support and distribution process is all over the place and their remaining Simucube unit was more expensive than the competition. So Simplicity were out.

    Sim Racing Coach almost got my business. The control box is compact and beautifully designed and the price was good. The website however, was not - no automated checkout, you fill out a contact form and SRC get back to you whenever to confirm the order. They're based in Spain but have a bit of a foot print in the community so I wasn't concerned about their legitimacy, just the process I'd have to go through to get a unit.

    Sim Racing Bay - most people's go to. My only issue here was the price. They offered nothing extra over the other guys but charged a good 200EU more than anyone else.

    I ended up going for a Sim Tech Racing 20NM unit. It's as good as any equivalent package out there but I liked the idea of UK support and had read good things about Jed, the chap that runs Sim Tech Racing. After a quick phone call Jed, he is absolutely an enthusiast and I have no doubt he'll pick up the phone to me if I need help.

    Bit of a brain fart. Enjoy.
     
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  3. Ceolmor

    Ceolmor
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    Very happy OSW user here.

    Good points:
    • Excellent forcefeedback, detail and strength.
    • Excellent build quality. Rock solid with no problems or faults with the OSW in the almost 2 years I have had it.
    • Excellent service from Simracingbay (I purchased from UK, no problem.)
    • Easily upgradable to keep the OSW bang up to date. I have already replaced the original encoder at 40,000 cpr to one at 4.2 million cpr!! I could also easily change the servo if I wished.
    • Ability to now buy the servo, "computer" parts, power supply, encoder, cables etc together in one package, whereas initially you had to source all the various parts and build & wire it yourself.
    • Totally free upgrade in the firmware since I purchased the OSW, due to the introduction of the SimuCUBE firmware which although still in beta, is excellent and and a marked improvement on the Mmos which I used initially.
    • Plug n Play. Setting up the OSW is nowhere near as complicated as some suggest, with most sellers providing instructions, videos and in some cases one-to-one sessions. It was no more difficult to set this up than the Fanatec CSR it replaced.
    • Once set up, the OSW is easy to start up each time. Just switch on the box of tricks, open the firmware, choose your profile and away you go.
    • Huge range in the settings in the firmware to enable you to tune the OSW for different sims, cars and tastes.
    • Lots of advice on RaceDepartment and other forums.
    • Very cost-effective option of steering wheel, paddles and button plate from Simracingcoach compared to some much more expensive options. I had a problem with the build quality of paddles and wheel I received, but these were immediately replaced with upgraded versions.
    • Easily attaches to an 80/20 rig and again is rock solid.
    • With a quick release you can easily swap rims. (N.B. If you intend to always use the same rim you do not need a quick release. My rim is bolted directly to the adapter you receive with the OSW. As I use VR I do not see the need for multiple rims.)
    • Works with all serious sims, as far as I'm aware.
    • Great value for money.
    • That warm, reassuring feeling you get from knowing that you have the best.
    Bad points:
    • You have to source separately the OSW, including deciding which of the many servos you want, the wheel rim and the paddles/button plate.
    • It's not cheap.
    • Not all sims automatically support the OSW and you sometimes have to use a workaround to set them up in the first instance, but what is required is well documented and after initial setup everything is good.
    • Doesn't work with many 'arcade' sims.
    • There are so many settings and options within the firmware and such a wide range in the force feedback you can achieve, that you do have to spend some time understanding and and getting to grips with it.
    • Because everything is easily upgradable you can easily be sucked into spending money on new encoders, servos, wheel rims, button plates etc.

    [Edit : Not sure now if you were looking for comparisons of DD systems (OSW, Bodnar, Fanatec) or suppliers of OSWs (Simracingbay, Simracingcoach, Sim-plicity, Simtechracing etc.) Think I've covered all bases though.]
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
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  4. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
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    Thanks chaps, some very interesting thoughts here... appreciate it.

    Love this:
    :cool::D

    That feeling is exactly the one I want :)
     
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  5. James Robertson

    James Robertson

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    They can be rather dangerous, I wouldn’t leave a kid unattended with one.

    I used to treat mine like the hind legs of a donkey.
     
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  6. metalnwood

    metalnwood

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    I built my OSW in 2014, its now based on a simucube.

    This is the way I would go to ensure that you are not locked in to anything if something nice comes down the track. Simucube, mige with biss-c are the basics of a really nice setup.

    I am the type that likes to build and know that if there is an issue I can deal with it myself and not have to rely on a business that might not be able to support me. The truth is that most of these businesses selling DD's are very small and could disappear overnight but one of the great things about a simucube setup is that it's all off the shelf parts, more than one firmware to choose from and open source.
     
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  7. Turvey

    Turvey

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    Ive been looking into one for a while ive been up and down like a yo yo
    Should i go fanatec? Should i go accuforce
    Or simfai.
    Yesterday i rang brett from hybrid racing simulations and had a chat to him i think it was @Jamie who put me onto him ages ago.
    He was on the phone for a good hour with me and explained a lot without trying to sell.he actually told me to go and continue my research and have a good think.
    My only suggestion is call him to have a chat , the end of the day its what you're happy with but explore as many options as possible
     
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  8. Jens Roos

    Jens Roos
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    Almost every pro & con about OSW have been mention here, but I will also recommend looking at the Augury build of the OSW, I have the previous version but now with an even better looking housing and biss-c encoder. https://www.simracingcoach.com/en/contenido/kit-augury-osw/

    Have been using it for over an year and as many other suppliers in simracing, SRC is both helpful and have an basic wheel for reasonable cost. I went for the Q1R quick release from Buchfink.

    You will never regret going OSW.

    Edit, the previous housing still available as version H, new is V.
     
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  9. Daniel oliver

    Daniel oliver

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    Got a 20nm v2 from simplicity myself and iam very happy with it. My advice would be to get a 20nm\30nm simucube model from where ever is the cheapest which seems to be sim racing tech at the moment.
     
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  10. RobertR1

    RobertR1
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    I got mine from Simracing Bay. COuldn't be happier with it. 20nm. The customer service was top notch and importantly for me, all of my questions were careful read, understood than then answered.

    I also go a sim racing coach GT wheel. For a VR user, it's perfect and I can map the buttons via content manager so no need for 3rd party software and tinkering.
     
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  11. bluey

    bluey

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    Hi Paul got my OSW from Simracing Bay 20nm VERY GOOD service Also i have Ascher button plate it is expensive but has 26 pre set buttons and great for VR .. Paul once you have OSW you will never need to buy another FFB system again .;) and the feeling of every little bump and undulation in the road that comes through the wheel is something to behold ...:thumbsup: PS if you drive RF2 Sebring hang on in the last turn :)
     
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  12. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
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    Thanks again guys for the feedback, really appreciate it!

    You know it is kinda scary all this DD stuff.. I really need to put something together for RD at some stage when I'm more in the know for others to refer to that find themselves in the position I'm in now.

    So, so, so many different options, brands, configurations and suppliers are in the marketplace now, and with such a considerable drop of cash, it really is harder than buying a used car! lol

    Thank you all again, although I'm now even less sure than when I first started the thread :D

    BW

    Paul
     
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  13. Turvey

    Turvey

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    Lol i hear you , take your time.
     
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  14. Noel Spence

    Noel Spence
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    bluey is right on the money paul ,i got mine from sim racing bay and the service through tomo was the best ,unlike some other companys i have dealt with oops fanatec ,this motor runs stoney cold even after hours of use , so it should last until you drop dead ,and who needs a sim rig when you got one of these
     
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  15. Andrew_WOT

    Andrew_WOT

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    So many options?
    It's just Simucube, and Fanatec DD.

    AF is not really that attractive comparing to the other two.

    You can buy Simucube now based on solid trackrecord and feedback from multiple owners or wait for anorher 6-12 months before we know how Fanatec fares in a long term, reliability and such.
     
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  16. BhZ

    BhZ
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    What would you guys think would be the best rim (or a good one) to pair it up with the OSW? I assume @Paul Jeffrey will want to know soon as well ;)
    I've seen the Simulaje f1s, somehow it didn't convince me 100%, so i was wondering if there were other good options for about the same price.
     
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  17. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
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    I'm thinking a momo rim or similar, with a nice button box backing plate :) I'm mostly VR nowadays aside from making videos (which seems like the only time I drive actually!), so a super spectacular looking rim isn't imperative. BUT, I like my toys, and maaaaaaan do some good ones exist on the tinterwebs :D
     
  18. callumjtc

    callumjtc

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    This thread is turning out to be useful for me too, I am sure when my G27 dies DD will be the way forward for me, saving up already...
     
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  19. Beef36

    Beef36

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    I sold a couple of wheels recently and are now down to 5. I won't talk about specific wheel vendors but this is what I experienced:

    - A good looking wheel makes your Sim Rig look great and creates a real "wow' factor. Try and get a nice-looking wheel.

    - Having multiple rims looks cool, but I only use two. The rest just gather dust;

    - Beyond a stiff, strong wheel, grip comfort is very important. Some grips (e.g. Simulaje F1) are quite chunky and makes for uncomfortable driving experience if you have small hands. Other grips are skinny or not rounded, which I found uncomfortable.

    - I prefer leather or pleather grips. Alacantara or other suede like grips go hard and yucky over time. Leather / Pleather is much easier to clean and seems to last longer.

    - Shifters make a big impact on enjoyment. Don't skimp here. Get top quality magnetic shifters.

    - High quality buttons are really good, but if budget is an issue then I'd shift more priority into the magnetic shifters;

    - Wheel mounted button boxes are more useful in VR than rig mounted button boxes. I can use say 75% my wheel mounted buttons through muscle memory.

    - A LCD display inside the wheel looked cool but I didn't find it practical. The display was too small to read easily, exacerbated by the wheel jiggling around lots when driving. I eventually sold my F1 wheel with LCD display and went with a rig mounted tablet display instead.

    - My experience with a commercially sold 3D printed rim was poor. The F1 rim looked fantastic in pictures and perhaps it would be fine for Logitech level force feedback, however the rim flexed under DD load. I was scared it would break. For now, I steer clear of 3D printed wheels;


    [​IMG]
     
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  20. bluey

    bluey

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    HI PAUL i have a Asher Racing C26M button plate has 26 inputs with dual clutch paddles .great for VR and over the last 10 months i have had it. NEVER a missed shift or button press .the only problem is expensive but you get what you pay for ..quality.. jimmy broadbent has done a review on you tube if you want to check it out also simracing garage has done a in depth review on you tube..... and my wheel is Sparco 310;)
     
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