SimSteering Wheel – Review + Videos

Giovanni Scala has managed to get his hands on Leo Bodnar’s recently unveiled spectacular SimSteering wheel.

Luckily for us, Giovanni has captured lots of videos of the device in action and provides an extensive review below!

The SimSteering Wheel is available in two versions, a kit version for those who want to assemble a wheel with their own rim and a complete version with the GT wheel rim you can check out below, alongside the impressive specs.

Unfortunately, all the fancy tech comes with quite a price tag attached as the kit version sells for 2400 British Pounds + tax while the complete package is available for a hundred pounds more.

The wheel is compatible to all major simulations currently on the market, videos of the unit in action are expected to be available soon.

Features

  • 16nm peak torque
  • 10,000 PPR Encoder
  • 20,000Hz internal update rate
  • Used by professional driver training centres and race teams since 2010
  • Powered by mains 100 – 240 VAC
  • Works on every sim race game we’ve tested including, rFactor 1&2, iRacing, DiRT 1,2&3, F1 2010,2011,2012, P. C.A.R.S, Assetto Corsa, all SimBin titles plus many more.

Guest Review By: Giovanni Scala

Hi guys, someweeks ago thanks to my friend and colleague Stefano Pianoterra I had the chance to try the SimSteering, I state that due to my work I was able to try almost all steering wheels on the market, so following a little review of the device combined with photos and videos, trying to be as objective as possible.

How does

The steering wheel is made in two different sections, one section is a box that houses the power supply and connections, the other one is the engine of the steering wheel itself, connected together.

The appearance

Forget the conventional steering wheel, as described above the steering wheel is divided into 2 parts, the box is a ‘simple’ black box to which you connect the two wires of the motor, the power supply, the USB and the panic button (!). The engine is very compact and rather heavy, in this case, Stefano has built ad hoc support for his position, always with an homebuilt adapter fitting on 30 cm OMP steering wheel. Unfortunately there is no paddleshift, something to take into consideration (it depends if you are formula enthusiast or if you like GT cars with sequential shift lever or H one) and no buttons. In summary I would describe the look simple but definitely functional.

The quality

The simplicity of the SimSteering is equal to the construction quality, materials and construction techniques gave me the impression of absolute solidity and durability, the cables that link the two sides are long enough, and then allow to position the control unit virtually anywhere. Another very positive thing is the low noise, it’s like 0!

Settings

The functionality and simplicity are the masters here, the steering wheel is operated by a panel that allows you to center it perfectly, set the damping, the degrees of rotation, which are handled differently by commercial steering wheels, the general strength and individual values . Every time you change something you have to assign it, the steering wheel disconnects and reconnects accepting the change. Note 1 welcome (for me!), the steering wheel does not calibrates itself like most of the commercial ones. Note 2 welcome (I think for everyone!) the steering wheel does not have a limit, you can set any degree of rotation, which allows you to simulate any vehicle, from a kart to a bus!

The test

Leo Bodnar already provides some settings , I want to clarify that global forces have never exceeded 30/35%. You may wonder why .. the answer is simple, if more it literally splits over your arms! But it is not just pure strength, but it is all the force feedback that will affect! I tried several software that I’ll list below, but apart from that the first impression of the SimSteering is the ‘easy to drive’ feeling and the feeling of having a real steering wheel in my hand. Everything becomes intuitive, there are no jerks, the steering wheel communicates in a very defined way what the car is doing, and ‘covers’ the FFB that you can have with some simulators. Oversteer is immediate and very natural, understeer feels immediately and in a very defined, everything happens with more and less with all the simulators. In a few words this wheel gives new life to everything!

The sim

I state that I have tried all the sim without intrusive aid, only with automatic clutch (laziness!) and invulnerability (necessity!). My impressions are of course influenced by the potential of the software, so I came to dwell also on a normal indirect feeling that can give this wheel and the affinity between HW and SW.

rFactor

The first tried is rFactor with a GT3 RS @ Imola developed for one of our customers. Previously I had tried it for several hours and the memory on the FFB was quite vivid in my mind and in my hands.

After a few turns my smile is getting wider! The reason I’ll explain it, I had never tried that car with a definition and density of FFB so impressive and especially realistic! First impressions are very positive, the drove comes with a naturalness never had with any sim, the car was a CAR. The FFB is never jerky and is very progressive, understeer and oversteer are very clear and defined. After about 15 laps I stopped and I did a shocked expression to Stefano. After I said in my mind that I could not feel any better …
In a word: regenerated!

Project Cars

I started the game by choosing a Z4 GT3 @ Monza (Milan). Unfortunately, after a few seconds I realized that there was something wrong, the FFB was strong but the information received from the steering wheel were thwarted, as if he understeer and oversteer at the same time! I stop and wonder immediately Stefano who promptly tells me that there is something wrong in the settings, changing things a bit but no improvements.

Unfortunately, Stefano did not remember the settings that were going well and as a result I decided to quit the test and try again when I could do it in the right conditions.
In a word: to try again!

Assetto Corsa TP

Here the choice is mandatory, Elise @ Magione. Like rFactor the feelings you get with this wheel are very defined but unlike ISI title they are much more immediate and rich! It seemed to really have an Elise in hand, the curbs, the understeer, oversteer were something that I’ve never tried on a sim.

I have not tested too much because of ‘boredom’ coming for driving the same car on the same track , because it’s been months since we ride it! But in summary, the prevailing feeling is the simplicity of driving, the car does what I tell him to do, on a naturally way.
In a word: very promising!

Ferrari Virtual Academy

Let me say that this is an ultra underestimated SIM (as NetKar-PRO from which it is derived). The choice for the test went immediately on the 458 Challenge @ Mugello for obvious reasons, the first is that the steering wheel having a crown of 30 cm and does not lend itself to an F1, the second is that Mugello, in laserscan, is simply sublime ! Just out of the pits, this time, the smile quickly becomes giant, a thrill pervades, I’m driving a Ferrari, again! (Note, some time ago, in a day of madness, I went to Maranello to try a 458 street road …).

The feeling was like to find myself in that car again, but much more naughty! The FFB is very strong, ultra defined and natural, I had the feeling of being part of the car! The oversteer can be controlled just like the brain and hands suggest to do, every corner and braking is a crazy pleasure! Tested for 20 minutes in a row and a smile on my face was always there to remind me the combination SimSteering and FVA is the most realistic I’ve ever tried … and exhausted with my arms numb I leave room for Stefano that engages som fantastic oversteers.
In one word: fantastic!

iRacing

The test track is SPA, one of my favorite and demanding track. The cars I choose were Radical SR8 and the Corvette C6R, the first for his chronic understeer, the second for the accentuated oversteer. Here Stefano corrects some things in the small panel based on suggestions from Bodnar, settings that have been given from what I know, from the same community (the best, in my opinion, regarding simracing). Staretd with the SR8 and my first feeling remember my G25 but after steroids treatment !

Even here outweighs the ease with which the steering wheel communicates what the car is doing, understeer feels a lot but unlike my trusty Logitech, now is much nicer and ‘easy’, it is easy because finds himself immediately to drive fluently and progressive, without mixed feelings. After about 10 minutes drive I changed for the C6R. The first thing that the SimSteering makes to note is how the two cars are different, there is a distinct difference in the FFB, which I had never noticed with this definition. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with this car, but with the SimSteering I immediately tacked to love! As for the Radical FFB is sharp and very well defined, with a simplicity and progressivity never felt with iRacing.
In a word: smooth!

Kart Racing PRO

I must say that karting is not really my thing, but Stefano insists to try it. My expectations were not great. The first sensations are to get your hands on a direct and precise steering wheel, with a power that this time I would say devastating! I really struggled to keep the pace of the combination Lonato / kart / SimSteering, after about 5 minutes I felt really tired, I stopped and Stefano changed the tires by setting the soft ones, telling me: try it now! I do the first few corners and I notice that the kart had a double grip but also that the steering wheel was a real rock! The feelings of FFB remain unchanged but the suffering I endure has increased dramatically, the feeling is just what you would expect from a kart that mounts a very soft tires. A gym equipment.
In a word: convincing!

Conclusions

After 2 hours of test this wheel I was exhausted and sweating, amazed by this fantastic tool that gives ‘life’ to any sim on the market. Unfortunately I hadn’t the time to try everything but I tried to do everything possible, RF2 is missing but as already explained the time and effort did not allow me to try it, I’ll do it as soon as possible, just liek Project CARS. Then, what to say more, SimSteering is a professional and very realistic wheel, allows brute force without ever going into clipping, for those who can afford it and is a big fan and especially wants the uncompromising realism is a must buy , the definitive steering wheel .

Pro/Cons

Pro: FFB, strenght, rotation degrees, noiseless, no startup calibration,

Cons: Price, no paddleshift, no buttons, not easy to mount on a rig, need a bit of electronic and mechanic knowledge

GTOmegaRacing.com

  • http://racingrenders.com/ F1Racer

    Hold on tight to the wheel and watch it spin your desk around :) ok maybe not :)

    I would if I had that as spare cash, I really would. Nice review.

    • Marcus Reynolds

      lol

  • http://s1.zetaboards.com/SimSkinsByDen/index/ PetrolheadDen

    VERY well done review! Thank you.

  • wajdi nujeidat

    WT?!!! so I pay 3432432432$ for a steering wheel and there are no paddles shift ?! then, how I supposed to shift with F1 cars, for example?! Dude, if you make a very expensive wheel and and pretend all that money, please make sure it will be complete, with paddles and buttons!

    • Justin Schmidt

      that is why this is aimed at professionals. they want to use the specific rims used in their real cars. that means that they have to custom fit them anyway.
      let’s say an f1 team orders the simsteering. do you really think it is necessary that bodnar has to include that 25.000€ wheel rim they need in that package? no, i don’t think so.

  • Anonymous

    Given how extremely expensive this is, can anybody comment on the more attainable wheels? Where does this stack vs. ClubSport Wheel vs. Logitech G27?

    Is the ClubSport wheel better than the Logitech G27 by (completely arbitrary number) 2x but this wheel is 4x better than the ClubSport wheel? Can a high-end, attainable wheel like the ClubSport offer basically everything that this wheel can but just without insane levels of strength?

    Seems hard to compare because of the strength, price and lack of reviews.

    • Anonymous

      i have not tried the clubsport wheel, but it seems to be only the same as the g27 for responsiveness (google skeijmel reviews and see his graphs). Clubsport just has much stronger force feedback, but you cannot turn the wheel quickly enough to react in game – Shaun Cole over at ISR mentioned this in their ‘review’.
      this is an inherent characteristic with all belt driven wheels.

      this servo driven wheel is a huge huge performance leap up. It will give you the ease of turning the wheel like a g25/g27 does + the immense ffb, which you really do need because you need the torque and power this wheel gives to simulate properly some of the forces from reality,

      especially when you need to quickly save the car on oversteer situations – in real life the steering will kick back the other way but then allow you to control perfectly how much oversteer you want to apply and fight it – the servo driven wheel should give you that option because its direct drive, free to rotate, and can respond insanely quickly with different directions of ffb.

      in short, this wheel is definitely a big step up from any CSW, and if youre going to spend 1k on CSW, you might as well spend 3k and get something thats of industrial quality, will last, and will give amazing useful ffb.

      • Niels Heusinkveld

        They (Logitech, Fanatec) can’t be compared, totally different league in both price and quality.

      • Anonymous

        Well, respectfully Neils, they can and Pastor did a great job of laying it out. I’m not sold on the ClubSport wheel being worth the price vs. different in performance (echoed many times in reviews) so I’ll keep my G27 and wait for something else to come along.

        Also, this wheel’s legendary FFB is cool and all but it’s not $1k for a ClubSport wheel vs. $3k for this wheel. This wheel doesn’t have anything but a wheel. I’d need to spend another $1k in parts, button boxes and aftermarket wheels plus wiring knowledge so it’s not just unattainable for me but rather unwanted.

        I’m gonna go look up ARC Team G27 parts now…

      • Anonymous

        heres what i did to breathe some life into my g25. (bear in mind i tried a T500 and immediately returned it because it wasn’t as responsive as a g25)

        i bought a momo model 29 wheel – £180.
        JZ quick release system, by Juan Zapata – £170
        SLI PRo + Buttons – £160
        Wheel plate by simracinghardware – £70 (including wiring the Bodnar SLI pro + buttons)

        this allows me to hotswap between an f1 style wheel, and the standard g25/g27 wheel for road cars/drifting.

        i have used the ARC mod, they were here in the UK at the motorsport show and i drove an rfactor mod with it. It was definitely an improvement – i’m not sure whether ARC are still doing the mods though….

        for me, im just going to save up and go Bodnar style, as I’ll already have 2 rims to attach on to.

      • Giovanni Scala

        we are working on a new G25/27-E version, this new version will be a lot more different (and improved), allowing real time settings, we will post some news soon ;-)

      • Anonymous

        i didnt say they were comparable?

      • Niels Heusinkveld

        Of course, you did a good job as well explaining the differences! :-) (I have one and the best I can do is say ‘DAAAAAAAAIUUMNN’ which isn’t very informative :)

      • RemcoHitman

        Comparing the Bodnar wheel to a G27 is like comparing Sasha Grey to one of those Japanese girlfriend pillows. Just logic :)

    • GamerMuscle

      I think the key difference between G25,T500,CSW vs something like the bodner wheel is that the bodner wheel is the only one that can rotate the wheel at a realistic speed with realistic torque.

      In the end the T500,CSW,G25 and all those wheels are essentially “toys” despite fanatic claiming otherwise. Where as a servo motor wheel set up correctly is on a compleaty different level.

      Thats not to say people wont enjoy a G25,CSW,T500 or that they don’t work well with simulators I’d just be sceptical at droping down large sums of money on what are effectively game controllers.

      At least with the Bodner wheel or a home made servo solution you know that the money is largely going into the mechanical components and specific aspects of its performance.

  • Anonymous

    lol your erunning way way too much lock on the kart racing game. try it again and run about 60 degrees lock to lock instead

    • Giovanni Scala

      will do :-)

  • Anonymous

    Where to buy? Leo’s shop page shows nothing available.

  • Giovanni Scala

    thanks a lot guys for your comments, hope to do the rf2, pcars and rre review soon

  • Niels Heusinkveld

    As you’ve probably seen in my videos, I’ve had a Bodnar FFB system for a long time now, and in its most recent version it is even a bit better!

    The reviewer didn’t seem to run it at very high strength in the videos, or he is just a lot fitter than me. :-)

    There are inherent problems with FFB as Leo once described in a big PDF document. Sending a torque to a super strong low friction low inertia motor / wheel can VERY easily make it go somewhere where it shouldn’t. The wheel also has zero dead zone in the FFB near the center of steering, so if you run a Kart with micro steering lock, it will have full force available right form the center. This is awesome but can make it oscillate more violently than say a G25 does as it has no torque, a lot of inertia and friction and a FFB dead zone.

    To get the best out of the FFB system in general for the SimSteering wheel you have to balance the forces with damping. Damping prevents uncontrolled super fast wheel movements, giving you a much better feeling of ‘weight’ and the wheel will feel stable and safe.

    For each sim and even each car this may be a different optimum. Thankfully you can adjust damping in some sims. The tool that come with the wheel allows you to scale the damping effect and set an overall ‘always present’ damping. This should make it possible to find the sweet spot for most sims and cars pretty easily.

    Too much damping is when you let go of the wheel when the car is sliding and the wheel turns like the tires are stuck in glue. Too little damping is when you let go and the wheel doesn’t smoothly countersteer but sort of oscillates or notches the wheel. This isn’t the only test or the best one, but its at least something I found.

    I am amazed that despite many times the torque, with no real friction, you can get a very stable, safe yet responsive feel with the Bodnar FFB system. Leo may have said in the PDF that FFB is flawed, but you sure don’t notice any of that with the right setup on his FFB system! :-)

  • John Lyon

    Nice overview and Ducati mouse pad.

Back to top