It’s finally here a direct wheel drive, No more no less than the from Simucube – Their Pro 2 model. This review is long overdue, but one of the main reasons for that is that I wanted to give a thorough run down, besides waiting on this beast to come in, will also cover it in the future, so I’ve been trying this puppy out for around 4-5 months, so let’s just jump right into.
The first thing I’ve noticed pulling it out is how heavy this thing was, it could probably bust a couple of floor levels if you would drop it. The build quality is exceptional, completely metal, and so clean looking that you would mistake this for something else rather than a wheel, a sophisticated flux capacitor for the Starlords ship. Kidding aside, it gave me a fresh perspective compared to another more mainstream-looking wheel, but that’s also because of the form factor which brushless motor setup provides, but more on that later on.
As you all probably know, getting a direct drive wheelbase is far, far, far away from what you’ve would call affordable. Just the wheelbase itself will set you back around 1500€ for this Simcubue 2 Pro model, let alone when you factor in everything else that’s needed to complete the setup, from the wheel, pedals, and of course, the fact that you need some kind of rig because you can’t mount it to the regular desk as it would probably break with you driving through the Nordschleife’s Carousel. Why do I enjoy this so much? Anyhow, the only way you can mount it is with a front bracket, which is somewhat of a limiting factor, but certainly not a deal-breaker.
Speaking of the price, just as I was wrapping up this review, Simucube has set up their own brand webshop, so you can buy directly from that. It’s only meant for the EU, but they’ve already made a promise they’ll have an implementation shipping in place soon, so thumbs up on this.
Besides the wheelbase, in this simple and minimalistic-looking product box, bringing no additional fuss to the table, you’ll also get your accessories, cables, this huge power brick, emergency stop switch and wheel installation adapters and brackets. Wait, what? Can’t I just hook it up? Well, you can, but not until you do this thing first.
As you can notice there’s no connection on the wheel shaft itself, just a hub, and this is one of the party tricks that this wheel has. Wireless wheel connection. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my hands onto one, literally and figuratively, so I used the Fanatec’s Alcantara Vulgaris wheel rim so my setup ended up being as clean as possible. Most of the direct-drive wheels is done like that, as the wheel shaft is rotated completely freely in any direction, making it technically very challenging to have one that’s directly connected to the shaft, which is why you connect it separately via USB cable or wirelessly. Although it can be considered as a downside, it’s understandable why it’s done like this. What’s cool about this particular setup is that it has the next best thing to quick release, that being this locking pin, which just pulls out and the wheel can be removed from this sung and very particular locking pattern.
Speaking of the connections, besides the on-off wheel, on the back you find a USB port, accessory and torq off the port, this PEG-like power connect tor seen on the graphics cards, accompanied by a 300W power-brick. My biggest question was how you go about connecting the pedals to it, how would that actually work. Since I have Fanatec’s CSL pedals, they have a USB connection option, so they can be connected separately from the wheelbase, or to better say not through it. The wheelbase itself doesn’t have that options, at least not with those so to speak more mainstream add-on using that just mentioned D15 accessory port, which is not a surprise since this is not an all-in-one solution, was never meant to be, plus as it’s an enthusiast-grade piece of hardware, they, well we, love to have everything under separate control in terms of choosing what we can pair with it.
Simucube Wheel Support
Speaking of pairing, I plan to do a lot of content with this wheel, from comparing it to regular belt-driven wheels, to other direct drive wheelbase competitors which are coming out soon. You know who you are (wink). And yes, the review of the SimLab’s P1X is also coming out next week, and I’m also in the process of assembling the Trak Racer. Oh, yeah, the CSL DD also arrived, as well as the Moza Racing model, So, yup, I have a lot on my plate, be sure to subscribe to it, I’ll be doing all kinds of comparisons!
Setup and software-wise, it’s the same as with any other, you download it, install it and you’re good to go. Besides the obvious wheelbase controls, like changing a multitude of different hardware parameters for the wheel, here you can also connect the supported wireless wheel you have, and control its separate functions.
Getting back to the wheelbase control, there are plenty of options for it, some would say even too many, especially for a newcomer, it can get a bit overwhelming. Thankfully the community feedback was helpful here. The thing is, with this wheel you really need that granular level of control in order to represent the feedback from the racing game that you’re playing as precisely as possible. That is why we have different profile options which go along with a lot of tweaking that needs to be done to get to that near-perfect feedback. Before all, you need to figure out what kind of settings will you use both in-game and in the software, so they can coexist and give you the best possible feedback and what you think, or feel is the right amount. And basically, you have to do this with every game, which is why I recommend you take your time and set up your favourite games properly because, after that, you’re good to go for a long time.
Thankfully, just as I was finishing my review, Simcube released an update for their software which added a so to speak sharing profile function between users, where you can just filter out your game, the car that you’re driving, and load the Simucube 2 Pro based on the already tried and true setup. Take notice that users also share their in-game settings, so be sure to configure those too. It also has a ranking system, so it’s much easier to see what actually works and whatnot.
I won’t go too deep into it right now in terms of the settings, especially now with this option, I’ll make a dedicated video on it later in the year, as well as for other wheels, because this is something a lot of you out there are always in search for.
Be extremely careful when you’re about to do your first lap in because this wheelbase can catch you off-guard easily with 25 Nm of torque. This high torque mode is by default disabled, so it’s not that likely something will go wrong, plus the wheel cuts off automatically if it detects a sudden spike in its movement. That’s also the reason why you’ll get this big red and yellow emergency switch, which removes all the torque from the wheel and you begin to sail as smooth as a butter on a hot morning toast. It was extremely amusing pressing it while my friends were driving around, their faces were priceless when the wheel became zero-G, plus it also helps disable the wheel from time to time when you go and grab a bite from the kitchen because it beeps at you if you leave inactive.
Yes, I know it’s jerry-rigged, let me know in the comment section down below if there are 3D printed brackets that could mount onto these aluminum profiles.
Performance Delivery of Simucube 2 Pro
Putting aside the raw power, the feedback resolution that it provides is greater than anything I’ve tried so far, incomparable basically, which is not a surprise since I haven’t tried any direct drive wheelbase system. I’m extremely eager to cross-compare it with some of the other direct wheelbase models, as well as some of the latest belt-driven systems, hopefully, the T248 from Thrustmaster.
As I mentioned earlier, you’ll have to fine-tune it per game, because this wheel gets so precise with the output that it receives from the game, you’ll have to have an individual approach. And you should, because if this wheel can’t give you the next to real-life experience, nothing else can. In practice, I would use it with anywhere from 40-60% of total power in most of the sim racing games, because otherwise, you’ll feel like you drove a go-kart for 2 hours straight. It’s a proper forearm workout.
The feel of the surface you’ll get is extremely granular and convincing, it would be interesting to try this in a virtual environment, just to see how much it can mess up with your brain in terms of persuading you that this is the real thing, not because of the graphics, but rather because of the feedback that complements it alongside. Again, that’s all if you properly set your in-game and hardware wheel configuration, although thankfully now we have those pre-configured and pre-tried wheelbase profiles from other users that can just be loaded in from the cloud.
So, yeah, I was properly blown away with this experience, and although I was somewhat limited on the wheel side of things, there’s still a lot of things that I want to try with it, especially comparison-wise, and in terms of having a proper full-blown wheel, let’s say a GT3 wheel, I can’t wait to make more content with this one. There’s a chance I might do that soon, Simcube just recently release their first wheel ever, so be sure to stick around for that too, because I’ll do everything to get my hands onto one, as well as others that are compatible with it.