Dropping Price Points for Wider Appeal
Fanatec needs little introduction for anyone that has seriously considered racing wheel and the corresponding components. It is a German based company that produces high quality and authentic feeling gear for PC and console racers. Their ClubSport products are their top end models which also commands a top level price. Solid construction, high quality materials, and sharp looking designs have defined the company since its inception.
Fanatec always features a classy design. The first portion of the 4-flap saying is on the top. Otherwise, a bit confusing if you didn't know that...
Last year I was given the chance to test out some of the latest, and highest end, Fanatec gear. The ClubSport V2 base and pedals were fantastic performers. The build quality, fit and finish, and functionality were all superior to anything that I had used before. The unfortunate part of the setup was the corresponding price. These parts were not inexpensive. Thankfully, most people who are familiar with Fanatec know that they cater to a more discerning crowd where price constraints are not the driving factor for this gear. Even though these parts are expensive, they are still far less than the direct-drive counterparts that typically cost two to three times more.
Like any company, Fanatec is looking to expand and attract new users. Their biggest hurdle with the ClubSport series is obviously price. To attract new customers Fanatec introduced a new, more cost effective design that provides much the same experience as the higher end ClubSport series, but at a more reasonable price tag. The CSL Elite series (ClubSport Lite) is aimed to address this area with more reasonably priced units that promise the same build quality and attention to detail as the higher end products in the ClubSport realm. Costs were cut throughout, but Fanatec hopes that the overall product will provide much the same gaming experience as their higher end products.
The packing is always well designed and copious when it comes to materials.
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.