Frank Rico of Ricmotech has kindly offered to allow me to exclusively report on his soon to be released ‘’RealGear’’ sim racing pedals! This pedal set, aimed at the higher end of the sim racing market, is a no-compromise design, using only the best and most robust components in its construction. Ricmotech has conceptualised and constructed these pedals for sim racers that are looking to fit real world styled pedals to their sim racing rigs! In fact, these are real world pedals!
During our chat, Frank Rico revealed to me that he has gone to extreme lengths to ensure all three pedal interfaces received special attention to detail, allowing for a compromise free design.
Because of their proven track record in real world applications, Ricmotech chose the Tilton 600 series pedal frame as the basis for his design. According to Ricmotech, this frame offers perfect geometry and adjustability to enable it to be fitted to most any sim racing set up. The pivot points for the pedals are set back far enough to give one’s heel room whilst braking heavily. The pedal faces themselves are vertically and laterally adjustable and are machined in such a way as to provide constant contact with your feet. All in all, Ricmotech believes this frame is the perfect foundation for their new pedal set.
“When we designed our pedal sets, we didn't simply attempt to make pedals that felt realistic. Instead, we looked into the mechanics in a real car that contribute to the feel of the pedals and replicated the mechanical aspects. The result is a pedal set which has the most accurate sensations of any sim-racing pedal set . . . period." - Frank Rico, Ricmotech
Here is a quick rundown of the methods and philosophies involved in the construction process, which is a testament to Frank's commitment to realism.
The Tilton throttle pedal already had a factory fitted return-spring, but lacked the resistance of a carburettor or throttle body return-spring. The pedal is re-machined to accept a secondary return- spring to provide the correct amount of resistance to the throttle pedal. The pedal has adjustable throw, catering for varied driving styles.The throttle actuates an industrial duty Honeywell state-of-the-art Hall-effect sensor for lifetime fidelity without any moving parts.
The most critical pedal for all sim racers has been designed to replicate the real world mechanics of braking systems. Based on Ricmotech’s testing, the slave cylinder has been uniquely modified, by analysing the forces at play on the master cylinder, brake lines, brake hoses, callipers, pads and disks. The result is a compact system which not only generates the sensations of the mentioned components under stress, but more importantly the reactions of these components when the stress is relieved.
The master cylinder uses hydraulic fluid to interact with the specially modified slave cylinder and an all-stainless steel industrial pressure sensor reads the hydraulic pressures in the braking system and sends this information to the ECU for further processing. There will be two load options for the brake pedal, 80 kgs or 175 lbs and 160 kgs or 350 lbs. Adjustability is also built into the pedals by means of interchangeable resistance modules on the slave cylinder assembly which gives you the feel of a modified street car all the way up to an F1 car’s brake feel. In fact, this makes the pedal infinitely adjustable for feel, and will allow it to transmit every nuance of the braking cycle to the driver.
Perhaps his biggest achievement and one of which he is most proud, the clutch pedal has been designed to replicate the mechanical feel of a real world racing clutch. Frank explained that a road car’s clutch is fitted with a complex mechanism to assist the driver in keeping the clutch pedal depressed whilst the vehicle is motionless. In a race car, the only force acting on the pedal is the clutch pressure plate spring. This diaphragm-shaped spring gradually requires less effort the further the pedal is depressed. Depressing the clutch pedal actuates a pneumatic master cylinder which utilises a pressure sensor, rather than a position sensor to uniquely determine clutch engagement the way a real hydraulic clutch system operates. According to Ricmotech, this unique solution has resulted in an extremely realistic racing clutch feel.
The pedals interface with the PC via an in-house built ECU, no third-party software is required to run on your PC to perform any calibrations or adjustments to your pedals. The ECU receives all the position readings from the pedals and processes them prior to sending them to the PC over the USB port, using its internal 16mhz micro-controller at its core. The ECU is capable of performing over 15,000 pedal reads per second and analyses this abundance of information to extrapolate the smoothest and most accurate pedal position information possible.
All the main features of this upcoming pedal set are listed here for you below:
• Built on Titlon 600 Series Floor Mounted Pedals
• All Metal Construction
• Magnetic Hall Effect Sensor on Throttle Pedal for Accurate Position Readings
• Real Master Cylinder on Brake and Clutch
• Real Racing Clutch Feedback
• Pressure Sensor on Master Cylinders Reads Pedal Force
• Adjustable Pedal Positions
• Micro-controller based ECU
• Up To 15,000 Pedal Reads per Second
• Up To 1,000 Pedal Updates per Second (PC Limitation)
• Fast and Smooth Pedal Response
• Only Updates PC as Necessary to Conserve Bandwidth
• Adjustable Dead Zones for All Pedals
• Selectable Linearity Curves for All Pedals
• Can Disable Clutch to Optimise Processing
• Stores Five Profiles in Internal EEPROM
• All Settings Stored In Black Box EEPROM
• Powered by USB
• For PC only
• Compatible with Win XP, Vista, 7 & 8 (32- and 64-bit)
• Simple Installation
• Unlimited Life-Cycle
• One Year Limited Warranty
• Free Technical Support
Pricing and availability will be appearing shortly over on Ricmotech's website.
I am looking forward to receiving a set of these pedals shortly to review for you all here on RaceDepartment. I will be fitting them to my HyperStim styled rig and can’t wait to see if all this great sounding info stacks up in practice. They certainly have me excited at the prospect of feeling real world racing forces via these very business-like looking pedals. My thanks to Frank Rico from Ricmotech for making himself available to be quizzed on his upcoming release.