RD Tech Review | Passing Judgement On The Fanatec Podium Wheelbase DD2 Direct Drive Wheelbase

In our latest hardware tech review, we take a look at the current Fanatec Podium DD2 wheelbase, to find out for ourselves if all the fuss around the flagship Fanatec offering is truly is justified.
  • Fanatec top level direct drive wheelbase.
  • Retails around 1500 Euros.
  • Compatible with past, present and future Fanatec wheel offerings.


Direct Drive wheels - once the folly of a distinct few sim racers looking to tool themselves up with what was generally considered to be significantly overengineered hardware for the virtual racetrack, recent years have seen the rise of these impressive pieces of gear, so much so that mainstream sim racing brands like Fanatec have (reasonably) recently entered the marketplace - bringing this type of technology more and more into the homes of the average sim racer.

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I say average sim racer, and to be honest that is probably a little wide of the mark as even the most entry level of direct drive wheels cost well north of £500, but let's use some artistic licence here, as certainly compared to recent years the level of choice, and cost of ownership, is without doubt much more attractive in 2021 than just a handful of years ago.

Fanatec | Podium Wheelbase DD2: Purchase HERE

In this review we are taking a look at the flagship Podium wheelbase offering from German manufacturer Fanatec, one of the more recent and popular additions to the direct drive range of products, and a product that has been adopted in great numbers by the sim racing community.

Fanatec Review 4.png


I suppose the main question many people will have is- why is the Fanatec DD2 different to most other wheelbases within the direct drive marketplace?

One of the main points of interest for the Podium range over the competition is the Fanatec ecosystem of wheels. Traditionally direct drive bases offer a variety of quick release mechanisms to bolt your chosen wheel rim onto the base, and then the rim is connected to the PC via USB to allow buttons and shifter functionality. While this is a good thing to widen the scope of which rims are available to purchase, it does bring into play the downside of a USB lead interfering with the wheel rotation - something Fanatec have overcome by developing their own range of wheels that connect via the Fantec quick release connector directly into the base.

Fanatec Review 7.png


Fanatec | Podium compatible wheel rims: More info HERE

Frankly, these wheels are often works of art in their own right too, with many benefiting from official licences with brands such as BMW, McLaren and Porsche to bring really nice details and functionality to the experience. Downside to this is with the Fanatec DD you are locked into that exact same ecosystem of hardware - however thanks to backward compatibility to older releases, you still have plenty of choice to pick from, and many after market wheel designs now come with the specialist Fanatec adapter included for an additional cost.

The DD we are using for this review retails for around 1500 Euros, and for that price you get the motor itself, an emergency stop button (trust me, you'll be glad of it when things get frantic!) and all the associated cables - so you'll still have to find the funds for a wheel itself, however as previously stated, users certainly have plenty of choice when it comes to designs in the impressive Fanatec collection of wheels, a collection that seems to be steadily growing in choice in recent months.

In terms of performance, this is where a direct drive motor really shines through. The Podium DD2 is capable of achieving 25Nm of from the custom build outrunner-type motor, the wheelbase is capable of easily reaching high levels of both force and feedback detail, without heading into the dreaded zone of clipping and potentially losing the finer force feedback sensations.

Fanatec Review 9.png


Another nice touch on the Fanatec base, that again sets it apart from the majority of its rivals, is the inclusion of a build-in 2.7" OLED display within the base itself - something that is both aesthetically well-designed within the unit itself, and also exceptionally useful for both setting up different calibration options within the wheel software, and the telemetry output that offers real-time motor and force feedback data such as power output, FFB clipping and other useful bits of information.

Fanatec Review 8.png


So, in summary, it looks good, it's solid as a rock, it's as powerful as you are ever going to need, it comes from a reputable and established company, it's got loads of choices for wheel accessories and software updates.. it looks good, it's solid..... yeah, you get my point.

This really is an outstanding piece of engineering hardware, and if you are in the market for a direct drive wheel experience, I'd imagine for this sort of price it would be very difficult to look further than this.



For more hardware reviews and general sim racing goodies, head over to the RaceDepartment YouTube channel today (don't forget to like and subscribe!)

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RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief, occasional YouTuber, commentator and broadcaster, with a passion for motorsport on both the real and virtual racetrack.

TheRealCeeBee

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good device, driver situation is a bit of a laugh though, I figure they are challenging studio397 UI devs to see if they can have the longest ever "nearly finished" beta in the history of sim racing. Outside of the "known issues" lists that seems to following every beta release its a good bit of kit though. Hope they get the ITM sorted some time. In my case the jolts are quite severe.

  • Podium wheel base jolts can happen on ITM or analysis screens of the wheel base display. A workaround is to use the default screen with “Fanatec” logo while driving.
 

VernWozza

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Jeez, that was like an extended advert! No mention of the several well known issues/flaws with this wheel. I've seen some popular youtube channels shill but this was next level.
I'm guessing you were told you can keep the wheel? or you are hoping they will let you after this "review"
Mate. I have had it for about 2 weeks. I'm an average sim racer, not someone who knows all the ins and outs of all the technical stuff. This was my honest view on the product. I'm coming from a CSL Elite to a DD2, I think it's fair to say I am going to be impressed.

Why has everything got to be conspiracy.
 
May 30, 2015
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Hej, this is an advert. Only positive things summed up. Nothing bad about failing or broken parts, or the quality control, or the driver-situation, the knocks, and many more. Or even neutral findings. Yep.. this is an sponsored advert.

Edit: A good review has everything covered; bad, mixed, positive. This is not a review.
 
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dave kirk

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Mate. I have had it for about 2 weeks. I'm an average sim racer, not someone who knows all the ins and outs of all the technical stuff. This was my honest view on the product. I'm coming from a CSL Elite to a DD2, I think it's fair to say I am going to be impressed.

Why has everything got to be conspiracy.
Just giving feedback, everything about this came across as a extended review, even the higher than usual production value and especially the parts where you mocked comments of people critical of DD wheels etc. I think you will get this same feedback from quite a few people.
And in the interest of honesty do you get to keep the wheel base?
 
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VernWozza

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Hej, this is an advert. Only positive things summed up. Nothing bad about failing or broken parts, or the quality control, or the driver-situation, the knocks, and many more. Or even neutral findings. Yep.. this is an sponsored advert.
This wasn't sponsored or an advert. I asked if I could try one. They said yes. Hell, we don't even have an affiliate link.

I haven't had any failing parts, any issues with drivers or knocks so i'm not sure how I am meant to report on that stuff I haven't experienced.
 

VernWozza

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Just giving feedback, everything about this came across as a extended review, even the higher than usual production value and especially the parts where you mocked comments of people critical of DD wheels etc. I think you will get this same feedback from quite a few people.
And in the interest of honest do you get to keep the wheel base?
I'm grateful for the feedback, thanks for taking the time to comment.
 

TheRealCeeBee

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This wasn't sponsored or an advert. I asked if I could try one. They said yes. Hell, we don't even have an affiliate link.

I haven't had any failing parts, any issues with drivers or knocks so i'm not sure how I am meant to report on that stuff I haven't experienced.

Read the driver release pages, a lot of unhappy people.. and you only find these if you start digging around after wondering why you wheel is flaky.

these bugs have been in the ecosystem forever, and the reply is always "well, dont use it", beyond the ITM issues, if you ever get the "notchy" feel like you are using a knackered logitech g25, do the recommendation by manufacturer to simply delete wheel calibration data aswell, the anger is not about the quality, its about the fact that the manufacturer keeps farting out drivers that dont fix things or add value, and the last half dozen drivers simply have footnotes to the tune of "ya, we know its broken, deal with it"

 

VernWozza

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Just giving feedback, everything about this came across as a extended review, even the higher than usual production value and especially the parts where you mocked comments of people critical of DD wheels etc. I think you will get this same feedback from quite a few people.
And in the interest of honesty do you get to keep the wheel base?
Sorry missed the bit about keeping the wheel base. No, I don't own this and i'm just waiting to see if we can try the BMW wheel before sending on.
 

JimLee

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Yes, I too thought the review was somewhat thin (did not learn anything new) :( . That being said I guess I have been fortunate (Purchased DD2 07/19 - have approx 1400hrs plus on it), as I have had no issues with it so far :thumbsup:. Come think of it, I have no issues with any of my Fanatec Gear (Just lucky????) :):)
P.S. I only drive 16-22 hrs a week (retired ... have the time) :D
Sidenote: still on PC Driver 356 WB Firmware 670 WB Motor 38 ... Since I have not purchased F1v2, Porche Endurance Rim nor do I use Fanalabs. I am happy with Streamdeck/DSD Box/Simhub dash/overlays
 
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Slapped

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Sorry missed the bit about keeping the wheel base. No, I don't own this and i'm just waiting to see if we can try the BMW wheel before sending on.
No, you're not just waiting, you've gone silent, hoping that Fanatec forget about it. In fact if I was in your position I wouldn't be pushing for the BMW wheel lest Fanatec remember there's an expensive of their stock currently residing with you ;)
 
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Mr Latte

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Personally, found this enjoyable to watch, a fun intro, well-shot video too.
Laidback approach, relaxed and it all appeared honest and genuine to me.

What became clear is the extra detail and immersion these offer. That once you go with a DD wheel it's hard to go back to something else. The question remains and maybe will be answered in a future video if the CSL gets replaced with a Fanatec DD or another brand?

I am confident, had there been issues with installing, drivers or malfunction then it would have been mentioned.

So many reviews go into the technical specs but I want to hear about the emotion it conveys the excitement the user had for it and then if the product lived up to its expectations for the user.

Thanks for this video, now if only Fanatec would offer PS5 compatibility on all their DD wheelbases. Some will not want the blue rim and blue carbon look, we need more options for GT7 and PC usage.
 
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VernWozza

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Personally, found this enjoyable to watch, a fun intro, well-shot video too.
Laidback approach, relaxed and it all appeared honest and genuine to me.

What became clear is the extra detail and immersion these offer. That once you go with a DD wheel it's hard to go back to something else. The question remains and maybe will be answered in a future video if the CSL gets replaced with a Fanatec DD or another brand?

I am confident, had there been issues with installing, drivers or malfunction then it would have been mentioned.

So many reviews go into the technical specs but I want to hear about the emotion it conveys the excitement the user had for it and then if the product lived up to its expectations for the user.

Thanks for this video, now if only Fanatec would offer PS5 compatibility on all their DD wheelbases. Some will not want the blue rim and blue carbon look, we need more options for GT7 and PC usage.
Thanks. That's what I was aiming for. This is only my second review so I'm sure I'm not the best out there but I thought I'd focus on what I know and that's how it made me feel.
 

Mr Latte

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Thanks. That's what I was aiming for. This is only my second review so I'm sure I'm not the best out there but I thought I'd focus on what I know and that's how it made me feel.

I find some leading review channels a bit dry and robotic, not much emotion or sense of excitement from them. In this, we could see what it meant for you to finally get to properly try one out. That was well conveyed in the intro and I had to laugh at your humor at some of the cutaways relating to people's comments or how serious they get with sim aspects.

You did an excellent job, sorry you liked the wheel, sorry it has to go back and sorry you get aggro for sharing with us something you are passionate about and enjoy.
 
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guidofoc

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Is there any viable cheaper alternative DD wheelbase on the market that doesn't require you to spend 1500+ euros for wheelbase + wheel? I'd definitely make the move but the price gap with my current equipment (T500RS) is really steep. I hope somebody like Thrustmaster or Logitech finally decides to make DD mainstream. Is there any possibility?
 
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