Can you imagine driving a car without a steering wheel? No? Then you know how important it is for the experience, and it holds the same significance in sim racing. But the matter isn’t as simple as getting a steering wheel for the job. You need to ensure the steering wheel you buy has all the right components; hence, it begins your quest of finding the best sim racing wheelbase.
A wheelbase is the main power source for the steering wheel, providing the force feedback, dictating the level of rotation, and generally connecting the game to the player. That should give you an idea about why it is such a core part of the sim racing equipment.
We have bought readymade wheels and built a few DIY styles, so we are confident in our knowledge on the subject. Therefore, we have created this guide to help you choose the best options and give some recommendations.
How to Select the Best Sim Racing Wheel Base
Choosing the best sim racing wheelbase comes down to six key factors. You can always look at more considerations, but the following are instrumental to the decision.
1. Know Your Budget
Firstly, you need to know your budget. Sim racing components tend to be expensive, so do some research, check your affordability, and set a price limit. Remember that a wheelbase is ONE of the essential components, and you need to ensure you have enough money to buy the rest.
If you already have everything else and are upgrading the wheelbase, you will likely have a far easier time. However, we still recommend that you set price limits and follow them.
2. System Compatibility
PC is compatible with all steering wheels and their components, so those of you with gaming PCs can move ahead. However, consoles are incompatible with all steering wheels, so check the internet and the seller to know which wheelbases get automatically disqualified.
Fantech, Thrustmaster, and Logitech all have products compatible with PS and Xbox. Therefore, getting a wheel for them will ensure you can use it with either console. But by the recent models because some pre-2014 models had compatibility concerns.
Your wheelbase can’t be too heavy or too light. It would help if you had something light enough to rotate it without difficulty but heavy enough to remain stable. The last thing you want is a lightweight wheel that responds to the slightest touch and sends you in a different direction or a heavy wheelbase that’s impossible to mount.
Weight also affects the power the wheelbase generates that affects force feedback. Usually, the heavier the wheelbase is, the more powerful the motor, the better the force feedback. Hence, you’ll need to be careful during the selection process.
Torque affects how powerful a motor is, with higher torque numbers meaning the motor is more powerful. Generally, this power affects how realistically the wheel responds to gameplay. Realism is a double-edged sword unless you are an experienced player who can control the car despite the realistic vibrations and responses.
It is okay to choose a standard wheelbase if you’re starting because that will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. Choose the more powerful engine after gaining sufficient experience and being confident about your sim racing skills.
5. Force Feedback
Force feedback is the sensation in the wheels that emulate realistic vibrations that you’d feel when driving a car. The more accurate the vibrations are, the better the experience, so try to choose a wheelbase that optimizes force feedback.
However, as mentioned above, take your time and choose the better wheelbase after gaining some experience.
6. Rotation Range
Rotation range is the maximum circular motion your wheelbase allows and significantly affects your driving performance. Steering wheel rotation is critical because it helps drivers make sharp turns accurately and keep their cars on track. The same rule applies to sim racing.
We know it will require significant investment, but try finding wheelbases with a 1,000+ rotation range. It makes it easier to enjoy various sim racing games requiring extra rotation degrees to pass certain performance benchmarks.
Best Sim Racing Wheel Base Recommendations
So far, we have talked about the factors you should look at to choose the best sim racing wheelbase for your rig. Now, we want to give a few recommendations based on our gaming experiences.
Please remember that the options below belong to the best brands in the market, so they incline towards the pricier side. However, you can always look for second-hand versions or consider options with most of the required features without the added cost.
1. Fanatec Podium Racing Wheel F1®
This wheel is at the top of the list because it checks several factors. It offers incredible force feedback, the kind that makes it difficult to remember you aren’t in a car. The wheelbase is compatible with PC, PS, and Xbox, so you won’t have to worry about it failing to match your console.
Additionally, it gives unlimited rotation, making it the perfect base for people who like to try different games. The best detail is that this product is officially licensed by Formula 1, the biggest name in the racing industry.
It comes with a high price tag. However, you get all the accessories and promises of incredible performance for that price, making it a worthy buy. It is the kind of product you buy after you hone your virtual driving skills through consistent practice.
2. SimSteering 2
SimSteering is only compatible with PC, which means console system owners can’t use it. But that aside, SimSteering 2 is a wheelbase we enjoyed using immensely. It offers 1,500° of rotation and has a 20.5Nm torque, making it quite the powerhouse among its peers.
The greater power means it also offers incredible force feedback that improves the overall quality of the sim racing experience. Despite the power, the SimSteering 2 is the perfect fit for people learning the basics of sim racing.
It is easier to manage due to its lighter weight, creating the optimal effect for practice. The only con is its exorbitant price, which is even higher than the first option.
3. Simucube 2 Pro
Simcube 2 Pro understood the assignment because it offers 2,160° rotation, making it popular among sim racing players. It also has a significantly powerful motor with 25m torque; therefore, you can expect to feel each rattle and bump when your car drives along an especially rough surface.
The wheelbase completely immerses you into the racing experience, making it one of the most enjoyable gaming moments. The brand went all out with this design because it is fairly good-looking, albeit heavy.
The price range is similar to the offering from Fanatec, so you’ll find it a little difficult to decide which option to choose.
We hope you liked our guide for choosing the best sim racing wheelbase for your gaming experience. Our recommendation may not fall under your budget limit, but you can always use the guide to ensure you get the right product.