Subject: General Tech | March 3, 2017 - 01:48 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: xbox one, wheels, wheel base, rally, racing, PC, Fanatec, ClubSport V2.5, ClubSport V2
Stepping Up the Simulation Game
I don’t exactly remember when I first heard about Fanatec, but it likely was sometime after the release of DiRT 2. I was somewhat into racing games before that, but that particular title sold me on the genre and I have not looked back since. Before then I used a Microsoft Sidewinder FFB stick for my racing, but it was D2 that convinced me to purchase a wheel for the full fledged experience. The initial impression of Fanatec was of course “high priced, but really nice gear”. These were products that I did not think I would ever see in any personal capacity as they were out of my price range and my driving passion was just not amped up enough to rationalize it.
My dog is quite suspicious of the amount of boxes the set came in.
I know I probably talk about it too much, but the introduction of DiRT Rally really supercharged my interest in driving accessories due to the work they did on physics and Force Feedback effects. My older Thrustmaster Ferrari F430 wheel featured a meager 270 degrees of rotation and clunky FFB that did not translate well with this particular title. It may have done OK with older, more arcade based racers, but with the latest generation of sims that focus on accuracy in experience it just did not cut it. Purchasing a Thrustmaster TX based unit was a night and day experience for these latest titles.
The next few months after that I spent time with multiple other wheels and accessories and provided a few reviews based on them. My level of interest grew exponentially about what the industry offered. I was able to contact Fanatec and they agreed to put together a bundle of products based on their latest ClubSport V2 products. This would include the ClubSport V2 Base, ClubSport Universal Hub for Xbox One, ClubSport Pedals V3, ClubSport Shifter SQ, and the desk mounting hardware for the units.
Fanatec is not for the faint of heart when it comes to pricing. The total package I received is worth 1800 Euro, or about $2016 US. This is a pretty tremendous amount of money for racing gear, but it is about average for higher end products that exist in this market. People will question why it costs so much, but after my experience with it I now know why.
Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2016 - 02:46 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: wheel base, Thrustmaster, T500RS, T300, steering wheel, pedals, Fanatec, CSL Elite, ClubSport V2
This past Summer I was introduced to Fanatec products for the first time. Before that I had only handled some lower end Genius products, as well as low end and midrange Thrustmaster units. My review of the Fanatec setup will be posted here this next week, but my overall impressions of what Fanatec offers is overwhelmingly positive. The only issue, and it is a glaring one, is the lack of an affordable setup based on their designs. This past Friday Fanatec introduced a new series of products that aims to make their setups far more affordable than what we have seen so far.
The new CSL Elite Series of products offer many of the same features of the higher end ClubSport series of products, but at a much more affordable price range. This does not mean that they are skimping out on features and quality construction. The CSL Elite Pedals with Loadcell Kit offer a full aluminum build with a three pedal setup and the load cell on the brake pedal. This allows increasing resistance during braking that other spring loaded pedals may not offer. Fanatec claims that up to 90kg of pressure can be applied to the load cell. Having used their upper end ClubSport pedals, I can attest to what a difference such a load cell and a heavy aluminum base can do for the racing experience. Fanatec includes three different types of anti-skid pads that can be swapped out on the pedals.
The CSL Elite Wheel Base offers 6NM of force to the wheel. This is more than the ClubSport V1 base, but slightly less than the V2. In violent crashes, the wheel certainly can break the grip of the user’s hands. The base accepts a wide variety of wheels from Fanatec, but the bundle comes with the CSL Steering Wheel P1 for Xbox One. The base comes with the automotive grade quick release unit that easily swaps in and out wheels. The base also includes an RPM LED display on the base that is not included in the ClubSport series. The base also includes a built-in table clamp that is a $50 accessory for the ClubSport V2 setup.
The smaller motor, single belt design, and plastic construction of the wheel base allows Fanatec to shave a big portion of the price off of this part. It still features the metal drive shaft and metal quick release mechanism (something that Thrustmaster doesn’t have even on their high end T500RS base). The base still allows the connections for the optional shifter and e-brake.
Fanatec offers the bundle with a full version of Assetto Corsa for Xbox One for $639.85. This is a tremendous price point that puts it in range of the T500RS. Fanatec products have never been this reasonable for PC and Xbox One racers. It is still a chunk of change, but it is nowhere near the $1800 range where a full ClubSport V2 setup can be bought for.
The base can be upgraded with options such as a static paddle shifters.
I’m looking forward to seeing reviews of these parts and how they stack up to the V2 and other setups from competitors.