Fanatec Releases New CSL Elite Products - Affordable Racing!

Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2016 - 02:46 PM |
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Click here to read the entire release and pricing.

Full Press Release

Landshut, Germany – 26.08.2016 – Fanatec today introduced three new products of the CSL Elite Series, expanding their product range priced below their high-end ClubSport Series.

The CSL Elite products are introduced together with the European Launch of Assetto Corsa for Consoles and in partnership with this title, as it is the perfect match. Therefore, the new product launch comes with a great bundle, the CSL Elite Wheel Assetto Corsa Edition. It comes with a free Assetto Corsa Xbox One version hard-copy as a bundle discount in EU, USA/Canada and Australia for the first pre-order customers. The Bundle contains the CSL Elite Wheel Base, the CSL Elite Pedals, the CSL Elite Pedals Loadcell Kit and the CSL Steering Wheel P1 for Xbox One. It is compatible with PC and Xbox One®.

The CSL Elite Wheel Base makes Fanatec High-End functionality affordable. Positioned below the ClubSport Wheel Base V2, but more powerful than the V1, the CSL Elite Wheel Base is certainly powerful enough to handle all CSL and ClubSport steering wheels.It comes with the automotive grade quick release system ​established by Fanatecs ClubSport series and therefore is compatible with all CSL and ClubSport Steering Wheels. The powerful brushless servo motor in combination with the single belt dr​ive, delivers incredibly smooth and super-fast Force Feedback effects with instant acceleration, eliminating dead spots. The turning maximum is 1080° of rotation, adjustable in the wheel tuning menu during gameplay from 90° to 1080°. A new feature are the rev lights built into the top cover of the Wheel Base allowing RPM information, and other functions (depending on the game), like fuel level. In addition to the hard-mount points, the racing Wheel Base comes with a table clamp right out-of-the-box allowing a stable and toolless attachment to your desk or table.

The CSL Elite Pedals come in a solid full-metal Aluminium design, delivering the same technology and materials as used in high-end pedals, even at the mid-range price. The new electronics feature potentiometer sensors with metal gears on the two pedal arms for throttle and brake, that provide the same 12bit resolution as the ClubSport V3 pedals. Each pedal´s (gas, brake, optional clutch) horizontal position on the heelrest is individually adjustable, and can even be separately mounted onto your customized cockpit without the heelrest plate. The detachable rubber pads on the pedals give you the choice between grip or a slick surface.

The human body memorizes muscle tension much better than foot position. This is why all car brakes measure the pressure and not the travel. The CSL Elite Pedals Loadcell Kit adds the loadcell brake unit as third pedal to your CSL Elite Pedals. The former brake unit gets equipped with a new limiter pad and ​becomes the clutch pedal. The exchangeable electronics unit adds USB connectivity and a Handbrake port. If you have to hit the brake hard, the load cell takes up to 90kg pedal pressure. The sensitivity can be adjusted during gameplay in the wheel tuning menu from very gentle to ultra-heavy, like in a Formula car. The completely new design of the brake allows for adjustment of the resistance and travel of the brake pedal without using any tools. Just change and arrange the various brake buffer components to generate a huge variety of combinations of resistance. There are three anti-skid pads included with this kit so you can decide between blank, rubber pad or anti-skid pads for each pedal.

Pricing and Availability

·       The products will be available exclusively for online purchase in the Fanatec Webshop, available for pre-order immediately. Shipping to customers is planned to begin late October.

·       Prices:

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Source: Fanatec

Video News


August 27, 2016 | 04:35 PM - Posted by quest4glory

I'm in the market but don't want to spend more than $500 on a kit unless I'm assured it's going to work great with F1 2016, DiRT Rally and Project Cars. I also play GRID Autosport from time to time. I'd go for this kit if it came with the F1 wheel. Looked at their configurator (which is slightly confusing) and it seems to *add* additional wheels instead of swapping out the default. Ugh.

Now I know why people just go and pick up the two or three hundred dollar ThrustMaster at their local electronics superstore.

August 27, 2016 | 05:02 PM - Posted by Cody (not verified)

The configurator is far from confusing(at least for me). To unselect the default wheel or any wheel/pedals/accessories click on it and it will uncheck it. Anything that has a check mark next to it is selected and can be unselected by clicking it again. Also, I have had a Fanatec CSR with CSR Elite pedals for about 5 years now. It has been fantastic in every game/sim I have tried it in. I have played Assetto Corsa, Dirt Rally, iRacing, rFactor 2, Project Cars, F1 2012/2013, Forza 4, Need for Speed 2015, etc and it works flawlessly in every one. The new CSL can only be better and I'm going to be picking one up. Hope this helps.

Cody

August 27, 2016 | 05:05 PM - Posted by quest4glory

OK, thanks. Their UI is bad, that's really what leads to confusion. I'm sure if you've seen their page and design before, it's no so bad. Having said that, I'm a busy person, focused on many things at once, and playing around with their configurator wasn't something I was going to waste time on if I haven't heard from anyone who uses their products.

Thanks for the reply.

August 27, 2016 | 06:37 PM - Posted by quest4glory

OK, I took another look at the configurator and I have not changed my mind. If you start with a kit and then start to customize it, when you think certain pieces are removed from the BOM, they actually are not, even if they're not selected. It's just bad. There's no guide to indicate what you should choose, you're kind of on your own. Sure you can just pick something from each category, but if you're not setup for mounting some of the pieces, you're wasting money (most likely.)

They need to overhaul their configurator.

August 27, 2016 | 09:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I will confirm that it's bad.

August 28, 2016 | 12:59 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Yeah, I have been frustrated with it in the past as well.  Very confusing for a first time buyer.

August 27, 2016 | 06:25 PM - Posted by Anonymously Paranoid (not verified)

As a keyboard and mouse user in racing games, I'd like Josh's recommendations for a frugal upgrade.

Keyboard can be too digital and difficult to use in most car games, need something analogue, but at present just end up not playing those games instead.

All that is needed for me is analogue left right movement, the rest can be keyboard/mouse

No way I could justify a wheel, but somthing around 30-70 dollars that gets me buying and playing these games would be acceptable.

Come on Josh, don't forget your poor fans, that know the true meaning of affordability.

August 28, 2016 | 08:26 AM - Posted by Jann5s

I mostly play racing games using game controllers, especially Xbox controllers (360 or one) work very well in windows with any game no setup required.

The analog sticks and triggers allow you to more finely control steering and throttle/break, compared to a keyboard (which is just silly for racing games). That said, a controller is still very far from being comparable to a racing wheel, but I just don't have the space for a wheel, controllers are nice and tiny and much cheaper.

P.S. if I remember correctly there was a news post on PCper about a keyboard with analog keys.

August 28, 2016 | 01:08 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

There really aren't any good wheels in that price range.  You can find a Thrustmaster VG series for around $100, but those are not FFB and use bungee cords inside to provide centering force.  If you save your pennies then you can get the Thrustmaster TMX FFB wheel for $180 on sale now.  If you are limited to 30 to 70, then you are probably better off just getting an XBox controller over USB.  You will get some rumble effects so you can sorta know when you are losing grip, but you will have better analog control over steering and throttle.  Just gotta get used to a controller though, which I dislike.

August 28, 2016 | 09:52 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Paranoid: Something like this? http://shop.thrustmaster.com/en_gb/pc/steering-wheels/ferrari-458-italia...

September 1, 2016 | 04:42 PM - Posted by GRPeng (not verified)

Is the Fantech base supposed to work with a lot of games? It looks like I can pre-order a complete Fanatech shifter setup for $630, but I don't really want to wait for 2 more months. I also don't like that I have to order a xBone game that I will never use (PC master race). A complete Thrustmaster TX setup is a little more but I can get it by next week.

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