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Featured RDTV: Leo Bodnar SimSteering2 Direct Drive Wheel Review

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Paul Jeffrey, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

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    We get some time behind the wheel of the Leo Bodnar SimSteering2 direct drive wheel.

    I’ve been fortunate enough to have had plenty of experience with direct drive wheels in my time, in fact I’ve got the SimCube OSW device attached to my rig right now, but I’ve never had the opportunity to spend much quality time with the Leo Bodnar SimSteering2 wheel... until now.

    Having taken hold of the most current in the range of direct drive wheels from Leo Bodnar just prior to Christmas, I was excited to get it bolted to my rig and put it through its paces in a number of both old and new racing sims. From golden oldies like Race07 by SimBin, right the way though to the latest and greatest on offer from Kunos Simulazioni, the benefits of the DD really did shine through right from the very start.

    Immediately before one even spends any serious time within your sim of choice, you are struck by the simplicity of setting up the wheel software. Unlike the OSW devices of which I’m more familiar, the SimSteering2 presents the user with a relatively sparse amount of customization opportunities within its own software. Initially this caused me some concern, as I understandably feared that lack of options would equate to minimal opportunity to tweak the wheel to my liking within my sim of choice - however these fears would prove to be unfounded once I took to the virtual circuit, and very quickly the minimal amount of tweaking and editing required would become one of the strongest features of the wheel. Without having to spend hours making adjustments and researching on the internet, I found a very solid and satisfying experience almost straight out of the box. Anyone reading this who’s gone down the rabbit hole of wheel adjustment testing with other manufacturers, will no doubt share my beliefs that driving is far more fun than near endless tweaking and testing...

    With setup now quickly and easily taken care of, it was time for the fun to start. As I said earlier, I’ve given this a good test in many of the key sims, and in each and every one the improvements were noticeable and impressive, none more so than with rFactor 2, where using a DD wheel like this lifts the simulation into a brand new range of greatness... pretty much reason enough to go out and join the DD bandwagon all on its own...

    Now I’m not going to spend time here discussing the wheel in more detail, you can check the video out at the head of the article for that, but what I will end on is this:

    The Leo Bodnar SimSteering2 is very expensive, but cash is all relative to your own situation and expectations. After all, what price can you put on love at first sight?


    Find out more about Leo Bodnar SimSteering2 Direct Drive wheel HERE.

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  2. Amir Vodokotlic

    Amir Vodokotlic

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    Great review.

    But price is ridiculous.

    Other DD wheels on market have driven prices down to $1000-1500.
    DYI kits are below $1000.

    You could get heusinkveld pro pedals and DD wheel and still be ahead.

    Bodnar is not worth $5500+ once you add few addons.

    No matter how good you may think that Kollmorgen AKM is.
     
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  3. UNREALARCLIGHT

    UNREALARCLIGHT

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    Yea the price is defo overkill, you can get most other DD wheels with mostly the same stuff.

    Saying that never will I use a belt/gear wheel again after I played with direct drive.

    Therefore a decent DD setup with good cockpit and all will be about 2k so you basicly getting everything you need for
    DD setup for the same price as an LB.
     
  4. Denis Betty

    Denis Betty
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    So, would you say that you liked it then Paul? :roflmao::roflmao::roflmao:

    Seriously, if LB don't let you keep it after giving it that review, then they are a right bunch of ungrateful tight wads (IMO). ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2019
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  5. MarkR

    MarkR

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    So the Fanatec DD2 wheel base with a 5 year warranty which is also cross platform and 18nm holding 25nm peak should be a bit of a 'bargain' - when it launches in April.

    DD wheels are currently far too DIY and pricey to appeal to a wider audience, that looks set to change soon though. If these manufacturers were so sure of the transformative value of DD I think we might see a lot more around for the paying public to experience. I'm not 100% convinced yet but let's see what the next 6 months brings.
     
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  6. GuitarTech

    GuitarTech
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    € 5500 ? stone me, I've owned cars that were a lot cheaper than that :confused:
    That is a bit over the top, IMHO
    How rich do you have to be before you can splash so much cash, just for a wheel ?
    My whole rig cost less, including the computer to run it :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
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  7. billymitchell

    billymitchell

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    Always wondered about the smoothness, accuracy, and extended detail that DD offers, and now I see why the Leo Bodnar is held in such high regard! Looks like it bridges the gap between industrial applications and the hobbyist, at the high end.

    Personally, the power of my CSW1 is good enough for me! Also, if I were to drop that kind of cash, I'd go for a motion cockpit because I think that would better leverage the VR simulation experience.
     
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  8. InsaneOzzie

    InsaneOzzie

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  9. Craig Dunkley

    Craig Dunkley
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    Thanks for the review Paul, it was very interesting.

    I heard you mention that you would only need the FFB at 50% or even less, you mentioned 30% ..that would suggest that it is actually an overkill? would it not? .. because there is at least 50% of FFB that it not required? and will never be used..so maybe a wheel at half the price would suffice? ..maybe I am totally looking at it wrong?

    I think you would need to be a very wealthy person, to spend that sort of money..
     
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  10. d69morpwr

    d69morpwr

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    They are so far beyond diy now. Just get out your credit card and its here in a few days. There are multiple suppliers that have ready to go setups. If you ever tried one there would be no question. It really takes a week or so for your brain to understand all the information you suddenly get with one.
     
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  11. Andrew_WOT

    Andrew_WOT

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    SimuCube is very mature product with very little tinkering required.
    Fanatec DD, we need to see how well it delivers on the promise and most importantly how reliable it is, which is no secret not a Fanatec products strong suite.
     
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  12. billymitchell

    billymitchell

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    This begs the question, is a wheel at half the price, with a 50% less powerful motor, going to deliver equatable performance/endurance when it must work at 80-100% it's operational capacity? Within electronics, the general answer is: no.

    Furthermore, it's not just the 'size of the motor' but the quality of the entire kit that enables the SimSteering2 to perform on a different plateau than the competition.

    Having listened and seen Paul's review, and just taking my F3.5 for a spin around COTA... I'm really left wondering what a DD wheel would provide in feedback over my CSW.
     
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  13. smasha

    smasha

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    Alot of whales will buy it for the showoff factor.
     
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  14. Shovas

    Shovas
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    Don't make that mistake. DD's are really and truly next level stuff. Anybody will tell you going from any belt/gear wheel to a DD is game-changing. Paul is coming from a Fanatec, too.

    Can't say whether or not the Bodnar is worth its price when you can get an OSW with everything for under $2k.

    I also think we're not really the target audience for Bodnar. I think they're really for professional racing teams and they're just being nice making them available to the (sim racing) public.
     
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  15. Andrew_WOT

    Andrew_WOT

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    Leo was a pioneer of DD wheels.
    He still delivers highest quality product except competing on consumer market with OSW is a challenge now, guess he still gets his share of enterprise sales serving professional racing teams and those who wants best of the best/price not an issue.
     
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  16. Richard Hessels

    Richard Hessels
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    This setup is actually mostly used by professional automotive and simulator applications. Than 5500 is not much money. On a 100.000+ rig.
     
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  17. RobertR1

    RobertR1
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    The rest acts as overhead to avoid clipping. Example; when you hit a curb or big bumps, there will be a spike in the resistance to the wheel. On a non DD wheel, once that impact exceeds the limits of the output the signal gets clipped or cut off. The DD wheel with its overhead will process that change and feed it back to your hands via the wheel. An example of this is why I was complaining that the my DD was difficult to handle at Zandvoort in a GT3. The bumpy nature of the track creates a lot of spikes which gives jolts to the wheel and tries to knock it out of my hand. A G29 will simply not process those jolts because it can’t extend its range that far.
     
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  18. Fanapryde

    Fanapryde

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    @billymitchell : this....
    I (also) made the switch from Fanatec V2 (as last of several steering wheels) to DD (small Mige) and the difference is HUGE, honestly.
    I was tempted to go for a LB setup (mostly because of the said simplicity setting it up) but I just could not justify buying it at those prices.
    In the end the DD set from Simracingbay was not that hard to set up either, but does need some info gathering.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2019
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  19. Jeremy Ford

    Jeremy Ford
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    I have the Leo Bodnar Sim Steering 2. I bought mine a few years ago when the OSW was in its infancy and wasn't sold as complete pre-built kits. But If I were to buy a DD today, an OSW would most certainly be first my choice. The only thing you're paying extra for with the Leo Bodnar these days is the simplicity of the software set-up which is super easy.

    Their customer support is also pretty amazing too. My control box died a while back and they repaired it out of warranty and didn't bill me anything, not even the return postage. That what really cool of them.

    upload_2019-3-20_11-14-47.png
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2019
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  20. Beef36

    Beef36

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    This helps show how far Sim Racing hardware has come in recent years.

    Remember back to mid 2014 and Direct Drive systems were limited to something like Senso Drive, Leo Bodnar's SimSteering and some DIY stuff.

    Fast forward to 2019 and we now have a much wider range of DDs to select, at much reduced prices.

    The same is happening to motion, sim rig chassis and all sorts of other hardware.

    Innovation and competition is good for all sim racers....
     
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