No, this wheel is not a new wheel, some of you already recognize that because of this wheel rim, but something else around in it is actually new, the CSL Universal Hub add-on, a more affordable take on their universal hub offering.
In a nutshell, what this lets you do is put additional functionalities onto those rims that don’t have any display, buttons, and switches, like this Fanatec’s ClubSport GT wheel rim, or for that matter on any of the other third party rims that have 6×70 or 3×50 mm bolt pattern, meaning you can use it with brands like Sparco, MOMO and OMP. Just have in mind that with larger dished wheel rims it will be hard to reach buttons and shifter paddles. Besides that, the only thing that needs to be covered compatibility-wise is that you have a compatible wheelbase for it, one from this list that I’m showing here, which is basically all of Fanatec’s current and a bit older ones. In terms of the platform compatibility, it’s completely compatible with Windows PC’s, it may vary depending on the game in terms of the default setup, it doesn’t support Xbox, while for PlayStation you’ll get limited functionality. For more details be sure to check Fanatec’s compatibility page.
Emphasis on the adjustability of Fanatec CSL Universal Hub
The way they made it compatible with a lot of different rims sizes is pretty simple, yet effective, the whole thing stretches out easily and evenly just by undoing a few bolts and nuts on the back, for which you’ll get this tool in the bundle. With that, the shifter paddle also adjusts from 214 to 274 mm at their widest point, and although they’re not made out of metal, they do use their honeycomb mesh pattern for better structural rigidity, which I’ve also seen on their latest McLaren GT3 V2 wheel and its clutch pedals, feel to check out my review of it later on.
Speaking of the build quality, the Fanatec CSL Universal Hub housing is also completely made out of plastic, but it does feel sturdy enough, and the fit and finish is up there with the rest of Fanatec’s products, even though that’s their more affordable take on this particular type of product, while still covering a lot of ground support wise, which is probably the reason why it carries this name. Installation on the wheel rim was as easy as it can be in this case, you just tighten through the rim 6 70 mm bolts into the hub and that’s it. Of course, if you need to, you can do some adjustments to the hub’s width, but in this case, its default closed position fits perfectly.
CSL Universal Hub with QRA
Flipping it onto its back you can see the tool-free simplified quick release adapter, which can be seen on a lot of their newer wheels. Because of it, the CSL Universal Hub installation procedure consists out of you lining up the wheel hub with the wheelbase, inserting it in, and hand-tightening the cap, and that’s it. You can also notice that the bolt pattern and that back frame can also accommodate the ClubSport Quick Release Adapter, and you would be right, it does support that too in case you want to use it. Speaking of connections, there’s a USB Type-C port on top of the hub for making a connection with some of the other additional Fanatec’s accessories, and can not be used with third-party wheelbase manufacturers or be plugged directly into a PC.
OK, what about the hub and its functionalities? In the middle of everything, we have a three-digit LED display for showing your telemetry data like speed and gears, and of course for tuning menu functions triggered with this small button on the right. Other than that right away you can recognize some of Fanatec’s unique solutions, like their 7-way FunkySwitch, 2-way toggle, and 2-way rocker switches, while there’s a total of 8 standard buttons in this skittles color combination, which also have that snap dome activation type of tactile feedback, and they’re different in shape and sizes, so you can easily recognize them by feel. Here’s how all of them actually sound.
Budget universal hub option
Seeing it in action, and getting to know it better by doing a couple of races with it, the CSL Universal hub left me with that familiar user experience when it comes to Fanatec’s products, very tactile and well thought out, the only thing that’s lacking is that cold touch from the shifter pedals. The left and right button islands are holding their act together when you press them, they don’t budge at all, which is impressive considering that some switches do need a lot of force to be triggered.
The flappy pedals do introduce some minimal amount of inward flex of the hub when pressed, but they also give a nice tactile click and have enough travel distance. As for the play of the steering wheel in relation to this particular hub, it’s a bit hard for me to determined it quite accurately since I’m using NextLevelRacing F-GT lite rig, it has some flex to it, but I don’t think there’s any noticeable play in the joint connection of the wheel hub and the wheelbase. I’m soon switching and trying the GT Omega Prime sim racing rig, which is much sturdier, be sure to subscribe for that one, and you can check the just mentioned one at the link in the top right corner of this video.
That’s it for this time, thanks for checking out my Fanatec CSL Universal Hub review, if you have any question feel free to hit me in the comments section of my YouTube video listed above, you can contact me via my social media channels!