If you are looking to take your sim racing to the next level, a direct drive wheel is the way to go. They provide exceptionally accurate force feedback and can lead to some incredible immersion. However, there are lots to choose from, and they can be very expensive.
The 5 best direct drive wheel bases are:
Each of these wheel bases has their own advantages and disadvantages, and they are the best on the market for those that want to get the most realistic sim racing experience possible. But in order to pick which one is right for you, you need to know what to look for in a direct drive servo base.
What To Look For In A Direct Drive Servo Base
You need to consider compatibility when it comes to direct drive steering wheels, as if you are playing on a console you are quite limited in terms of choice. Most direct drive wheels are catered towards PC gamers, and a lot of them require extensive setup that consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One just cannot support.
This brings us onto the setup of the wheel base, which is a very important factor that relates to your experience level. Some of the bases on this list require some complex setup in order to get the most out of them, so if you are a beginner you might want to go for an option that is a bit more on the basic side of things. However, complexity often means the base offers you more control.
The weight of the direct drive wheel base is also worth considering. This is important for two main reasons. The first of which is due to the force that direct drive motors can offer, and the heavier the base the more power they tend to produce. So, if you are looking for a high level of force feedback, a sign of a powerful motor can sometimes lie in the product’s weight.
The second reason that the weight is important ties in with the general size of the base. You need to have somewhere to put it. The power of these bases can be immense, so you need to make sure that your rig can support the weight of the base. Your rig also needs to be big enough, as some bases are quite large and need a big, solid platform to support them.
This leads onto the power of the motor, which is often quoted instead in terms of the torque that it produces. These values can range from single digits up to the high 30s, and which one you choose depends on your experience level and how realistic you want it to feel. A high amount of torque will be difficult to master as a beginner, but low values might not be enough for more experienced racers.
Range Of Rotation
Range of rotation is another aspect of the sim racing wheel that is often overlooked. Typically, most gear and belt-driven wheels will offer up to 900° of rotation, which is usually adequate. However, some sim games such as truck simulators might require higher degrees of rotation, and a lot of the direct drive wheels offer much more.
The first thing that a lot of people consider when buying any product for their sim racing rig is the price. Price should never be the defining factor for your equipment, as you definitely want to prioritize quality. Nonetheless, prices vary a lot between brands and between types of equipment. Direct drive wheels in particular can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand.
Another aspect that some people might consider when choosing a direct drive wheel base is whether or not it comes with a rim. This is similar to the price aspect, as it should definitely not be the driving force behind your choice. Only one of the options on our list come with a wheel as is, but they are all compatible with a wide range of rims on the market.
The beauty of a direct drive wheel base is that you are not limited to just one rim and you can choose which one you like best after you choose your base. This is in contrast to most belt and gear-driven sim racing wheels out there, that do not allow for interchangeable rims. This means that if you buy one and don’t like it, you can just swap it for another one without needing to buy a new base.
There are a few other aspects you might want to consider when choosing a direct drive wheel base, including the way the base looks. For the purposes of our list, we value the functionality far more than the aesthetics, although we have brought it into consideration for a few of the options.
Nonetheless, you might want to pick one that fits in aesthetically with your current setup, and you might be interested in the finer details of the wheel’s capabilities. You can bear these in mind alongside all of our other considerations to make sure that you pick a wheel base that suits you the best. So, what are the best ones on the market?
The 5 Best Direct Drive Wheel Bases
1. SimSteering 2
Range of Rotation: 1500° | FFB Motor: Brushless Servomotor | Max Torque: 20.5 Nm | Platform: PC | Weight: 7.5 kg
In first place we have the SimSteering 2 from Leo Bodnar, which is a truly magnificent piece of sim racing machinery. This wheel base will offer 20.5 Nm of torque, which is well above average. The base is only compatible with PC setups and is definitely geared towards more advanced sim racers. However, it far exceeds most other direct drive wheels in terms of quality.
The force feedback resolution of the SimSteering 2 wheel base is exceptional, and the detail that you will feel when using this base is unlike anything a gear or belt-driven wheel can provide. Although that is a given with direct drive wheels, the SimSteering 2 provides more detail than its direct drive counterparts as well, thanks to its Kollmorgen AKM53 servo motor.
In terms of setup and compatibility, the SimSteering 2 is actually ideal for a lot of beginners to intermediate sim racers. This is due to the lack of drivers or plugins required, as all you need to do is plug it into your computer and you are ready to go. It works with DirectX, a system used in a lot of racing simulators, meaning you shouldn’t need to go through much in terms of setup.
The high range of rotation of 1500° is less than some of the others on this list, but still much higher than most gear and belt-driven wheels. You can actually contact the manufacturer if you require higher ranges of rotation though. If you require less torque you can choose a 16 Nm version, or the 26 Nm one if you need even more.
Lighter Than Most
The SimSteering 2 wheel base weighs 7.5 kg, making it the lightest base on our list. Even when combined with the 4.5 kg control box it is still several kilos lighter than the other bases here. This makes it convenient for less sturdy racing setups, but it still requires a strong support for the torque that it provides.
In terms of price, it is quite expensive. However, for the quality of the build and the detail of the force feedback that can be felt, the SimSteering 2 is definitely worth the money if you are willing to spend it. It is aimed for those with a lot of sim racing experience, and provides a lot of realism.
- Highly detailed force feedback
- Plenty of torque
- Lighter than the rest
- Very expensive
- Only compatible with PC
- By default, it has a relatively low range of rotation
2. Simucube 2 Pro
Range of Rotation: 2160° | FFB Motor: Brushless Servomotor | Max Torque: 25 Nm | Platform: PC | Weight: 11.1 kg
Up next we have the Pro edition of the Simucube 2. With the joint highest maximum torque available of any direct drive sim racing wheel setup on our list, the Simucube 2 Pro offers a completely unique experience for advanced sim racers. This wheel base is guaranteed to give you a super immersive experience, and the detail you will feel as you race is unbelievable.
Lots Of Rotation
The higher price point should not put you off if you are really looking for the best equipment in the game. It does offer a superior range of rotation to the SimSteering base, and so there is more room for those that want to be able to turn it that bit further.
The Simucube 2 Pro is made from high-quality materials and has an anodized metal finish. This does mean that if you are looking for something that is highly aesthetically pleasing, this could be the wheel base for you. However, it is a heavy one, coming in at just over 11 kg, so you will need to make sure that your rig can handle the weight and the power.
One of the other selling points of the Simucube 2 Pro is the built-in quick release system. This allows you to quickly take off your racing wheel and replace it with a new one if need be, or simply to save some space when you are not using it. You can also take advantage of the wireless wheel capabilities which allow you to change the wheel rim even faster.
The Simucube 2 Pro is the ideal choice if you want the most power for your money, and so comes in second place on our list of the best direct drive servo wheel bases.
- Huge amount of torque on offer
- Great looking design
- Simple process to change rims
- Quite heavy
- Only compatible with PC
3. AccuForce Pro V2
Range of Rotation: 4500° | FFB Motor: Servo-Stepper Hybrid | Max Torque: 13 Nm | Platform: PC | Weight: 16.3 kg
In third place we have the AccuForce Pro V2. This wheel is slightly on the lower end of the torque scale with just 13 Nm on offer, but if power isn’t your main driving force then this could be the option for you. It offers one of the highest ranges of rotation on this list, with 4500° available to you if you need it.
The AccuForce uses a servo-stepper hybrid motor, which essentially combines two uniquely engineered motors into one for a very efficient torque generation process. It also utilizes an integrated motor controller/PC interface, which allows for lower latency and a more rapid response time. This means that your movements can be even more precise.
The AccuForce could arguably be one of the more beginner-friendly wheel bases on our list, as it comes with several easy-to-select modes of use. These modes allow you to have fine control over your experience with just the touch of a button. There is even a child mode, which really turns down the torque making it ideal for families.
Useful Extra Features
There are also some useful quality-of-life features such as automatic firmware updates and optimizable force feedback that really make this wheel base a good choice for those that want some extra control over their sim racing experience. This base is a very good option for those on a budget.
- Cheaper than a lot of other direct drive wheel bases
- Huge range of rotation
- Lots of customizability
- Less powerful than the rest on our list
- Only compatible with PC
- Quite heavy
4. Fanatec DD2
Range of Rotation: “Unlimited” | FFB Motor: Outrunner Servomotor | Max Torque: 25 Nm | Platform: PC & Xbox One | Weight: 13 kg
Next we have the Fanatec DD2, which is the first option on this list that is compatible with a console. Although only compatible with an Xbox One – and PC of course – the Fanatec DD2 brings direct drive to those that can only, or prefer to, play racing games on their Xbox.
Fanatec is one of the biggest names in sim racing, and they offer plenty of great belt-driven wheels to choose from as well. However, this direct drive wheel base provides users with something truly above and beyond the capabilities of those wheels. Offering up to 25 Nm of torque, the DD2 is up there with the most powerful direct drive wheels on the market.
The wheel base is designed with a carbon fiber finish, which makes it look stunning as part of any setup. The base also offers an unlimited range of rotation, which makes it appropriate for any game you can think of. It also utilizes a wireless data transfer system, which helps to keep the surrounding area tidy and also eliminates the possibility of cables falling out or becoming damaged.
The DD2 also comes with a simple setup procedure, which makes it highly accessible for beginners, while also being ideal for anyone that doesn’t want to spend ages setting their system up. Other nice features include a handy quick release system that is compatible with all of Fanatec’s existing and future rims, and a nice OLED display built-in as well.
The Fanatec DD2 weighs in at 13 kg, which means it is quite a heavy piece of machinery. However, it needs to be to offer the huge amount of torque that allows for some of the most realistic force feedback available, with arguably the best FF on consoles at the moment. The DD2 is a little expensive, but well worth it for the power and compatibility.
- PC and Xbox One compatible
- Plenty of torque on offer
- Looks great
- Quite pricey
5. Fanatec Podium F1
Range of Rotation: “Unlimited” | FFB Motor: Outrunner Servomotor | Max Torque: 20 Nm | Platform: PC, Xbox One & PS4 | Weight: 16 kg
In fifth place we have the first direct drive system to be compatible with the PlayStation 4, and arguably one of the best-looking systems on the market. The Fanatec Podium F1 is a fully licensed F1 edition of their Podium series of racing wheel bases, and it offers a massive 20 Nm of torque to those racers that have been missing out on direct drive for so long.
Excellent Build Quality
Again, with Fanatec’s unlimited range of rotation and high level of craftsmanship, the Podium F1 is a good choice for any sim, not necessarily just those on PS4. This is one of the heaviest options out there, coming in at 16 kg. This means that you definitely need to have a proper, sturdy setup before you purchase this wheel base.
Another selling point of this wheel base is that it comes with the F1 wheel rim as well, which means that you have your wheel base and your wheel without having to pick one to match your base. Although perhaps marketed towards F1 fans, you can be a fan of any kind of sim racing to enjoy the sheer power and accuracy of the force feedback from the Podium F1 direct drive system.
Direct Drive For PS4
To add to the realism, while also being a practical and fun addition, the Podium F1 also comes with a torque key. This allows you to limit how much torque it produces quickly and easily. From the looks and the feel to the brilliant quality of engineering involved, the Fanatec Podium F1 is a great way for PS4 gamers to experience the power of direct drive sim racing.
- Highly compatible with consoles and PCs
- Lots of torque available
- Comes with a wheel
- If you don’t like the wheel, you can’t just buy the base (at the moment)
Our list of the best direct drive servo wheel bases contains options for those on consoles and even for those on a budget. However, as we have already said, you should not be motivated to choose a cheaper direct drive option as you always want to go for quality. For the best quality of racing experience and the best force feedback, we recommend the SimSteering 2 wheel base as our top pick.