Best Direct Drive Racing Wheel: Our Complete 2024 Buyer’s Guide

In this direct drive wheel buyer's guide, I'm going to show you my favourite recommended direct drive wheels for sim racing, including budget and premium options from brands such as Fanatec, SimuCube and more.

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Asetek Forte direct drive Wheel base in use

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Direct-drive technology has long been king of the pinnacle of sim racing wheels. Racing wheels using this technology, such as my Asetek Forte wheel, are among the most powerful and advanced wheels capable of producing the most immersive sim racing experience.

In years gone by, direct drive racing wheels haven’t always been the most accessible sim racing product. They used to command a high price tag, often stretching over £/$1000, and they could be especially cumbersome to set up and configure.

In recent years, this has all changed. Sim racing brands such as Fanatec and MOZA Racing have released much smaller and cheaper models. Modern direct drive racing wheels such as the MOZA R12 that I often use in our SimRacingSetup studio are often incredibly easy to set up. They are compatible with Xbox and PlayStation consoles and are much more budget-friendly. The choice now for the best direct drive wheel is much larger than in previous years, meaning choosing the best option for your sim racing setup at home is a trickier choice than before.

In this direct drive wheel buyer’s guide, I’ll share my thoughts on what makes direct drive wheels the best racing wheels on the market. I’ll also show you the best direct drive wheels to buy, from the best budget wheels to the highest-performing ones.


What direct drive wheel is best?

When it comes to defining the out and out best direct drive wheel, it can be hard to nail down what “makes the best overall wheel “best” actually means. Is it the best-performing direct drive wheel? Or the wheel that is compatible with the most consoles? And how much is the price factored in to our buying decision?

Choosing the best direct drive racing wheel is highly personal to each sim racer’s own preference. For me, my recommendation for the best wheel has to be one which combines these elements. It needs to perform well and has to be reasonably priced.

Below are three of the best direct drive wheel bases that I’ve used on my own sim rig and would recommend. Each of these wheels is the best in class at a different price range. I’ve included my favourite cheap direct drive wheel, a good mid-range option and my recommendation for the best high-performance wheel.

Best Budget Wheel

MOZA R5

Best Mid-Range Wheel

Fanatec GT DD Pro

Best Premium Wheel

Asetek Invicta

MOZA R5
Fanatec GT DD Pro
Asetek Invicta

TORQUE

Up to 5Nm

TORQUE

Up to 8Nm

TORQUE

Up to 27Nm

COMPATIBILITY

PC

COMPATIBILITY

PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox

COMPATIBILITY

PC

PRICE

£/$320

PRICE

From €/$599.95

PRICE

€/$1,399

My recommendation for the best cheap direct drive wheel is the MOZA R5 wheel base. It houses an internal motor that creates 5Nm of peak torque, which is around the same as the Fanatec CSL DD. However, it can be purchased for a cheaper price than the Fanatec wheel, and performs equally well.

When looking at the best mid-range direct drive wheel, my recommendation has to go to the Fanatec GT DD Pro. It wins over the CSL DD due to its expanded compatibility with PlayStation 5. It has 8Nm, which is 3 more than the MOZA R5, and puts that performance to good use, creating excellent force feedback in games such as iRacing, ACC and F1 24.

If you are after one of the most powerful direct drive wheels you can buy, both the Simucube 2 Ultimate and Asetek Invicta wheels are great options. The Simucube 2 Ultimate is more powerful than the Asetek wheel, producing up to 32Nm of peak torque.

However, the newer Asetek Invicta racing wheel is priced better and produces force feedback that is just as good. I have spent a lot of time with the Asetek Invicta and its less powerful sibling, the Forte and they are both incredible.

Asetek Forte Wheel base LED Lights

Overview of the best direct drive wheels

Below is a list of the best direct drive wheels for sim racing across a range of budgets. Now more than ever, sim racers have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing a direct drive sim racing wheel. However, each of these direct drive wheels differs in force feedback performance and compatibility. So choosing the best direct drive wheel for your needs can be tricky. Click on any of the wheel bases below to scroll down to a more in-depth overview of each racing wheel.

WheelTorquePrice Range
Fanatec CSL DDUp to 8NmBudget
Fanatec GT DD Pro8NmMid-range
Fanatec ClubSport DD12NmHigh-end
Fanatec ClubSport DD+15NmHigh-end
Fanatec Podium DD1 & DD2Up to 25NmHigh-end
MOZA Racing R33NmBudget
MOZA Racing R55NmBudget
MOZA Racing R1212NmMid-range
MOZA Racing R16 & R21Up to 21NmHigh-end
Asetek La Prima, Forte & InvictaUp to 27NmHigh-end
Logitech Pro Racing Wheel10NmMid-range
Thrustmaster T81810NmMid-range
Simucube 2 Sport, Pro & UltimateUp to 32NmHigh-end
Simagic Alpha15NmHigh-end

What is a Direct Drive Wheel?

A direct drive racing wheel differs from other racing wheels by mounting the internal motor directly to the motor shaft. The internal motor is the part of any wheel base that creates the force feedback.

In comparison, other non-direct drive racing wheels utilise smaller motors with a series of gears or belts which link the motor to the steering wheel. These designs allow for smaller motors which reduces cost and makes them more accessible to a wider audience.

However, when you add gears or belts in between the motor and the steering wheel, you will always distrub the true force feedback that is produced. This is because you are adding moving parts which can interfere with the force feedback.

Generally, gear and belt-driven racing wheels like the Logitech G923 and Thrustmaster T128 will produce much less force feedback strength and the detail won’t be as crisp as a direct drive wheel.

By mounting the steering wheel directly to the motor and removing any gears or belts, you get the clearest force feedback sent directly through the motor shaft and into the steering wheel.

This makes the force feedback created by direct drive wheels much more detailed, and in most cases stronger. direct drive wheels often utilise larger, more powerful motors which are capable of producing stronger forces.

Why are direct drive wheels better?

Direct drive wheels represent a much more well-rounded sim racing experience compared to belt and gear driven wheels. This is due to the improved internal technology allowing for greater forces and more clarity in those forces. Quite simply, even the best belt-driven racing wheels cannot compete with a good direct drive wheel in terms of raw performance.

Where non-direct drive racing wheels do have an advantage is in their price, compatibility and accessibility. Belt and gear-driven racing wheels like the Logitech G923, and the majority of Thrustmaster racing wheels are generally cheaper than direct drive wheels.

While brands like MOZA and Fanatec are making the price gap smaller by introducing cheaper direct drive wheels, they still remain a more premium option in most scenarios. Also, many direct drive racing wheels have limited compatibility with consoles compared to much wider console support among Logitech and Thrustmaster wheels.

Direct drive wheels produces more peak torque

By removing any additional internal parts such as gears and belts, you could utilise a stronger motor without as much worry of something internally breaking. By opting for this route, direct drive wheels can be much stronger than gear or belt-driven wheels.

Direct drive sim wheels such as those from Simucube have pushed the strength of direct drive wheels above 30Nm of peak torque. And some extreme direct drive wheels can reach dizzying strengths of over 40Nm of peak torque.

When compared to popular racing wheels such as the Logitech G923 which is one of the best-selling racing wheels, you can see just how impressive that 30Nm+ figure is. The Logitech G923 creates just over 2Nm of torque, and Thrustmaster wheels only increase this slightly to 3 or 4Nm without jumping to direct drive technology.

More detailed force feedback

Another benefit of removing internal belts and gears is that less of the force feedback detail created by the motor is lost in translation. Gear-driven racing wheels often feel rather clunky. With wheels such as the Logitech G29 or G923, you can regularly feel the gears interacting with each other. This made it tricky to decipher the force feedback from the feeling of the internal gears.

Belt-drive wheels are often looked upon more fondly, as you rarely feel anything from the internal belt. This makes them smoother to sim race with than gear-driven racing wheels. However, the compromise with a belt-driven racing wheel is that some of the force feedback fidelity can be lost due to the belt translating it from the motor to the steering wheel.

Direct drive is the perfect solution, as you have a true 1:1 connection with the internal motor. This means that detail loss can only occur through the wheel shaft or the quick release, and this is rarely a problem.

MOZA R21 Internal Direct Drive Motor
Direct drive wheel compatibility

With the introduction of much lower-powered and cheaper direct drive wheels throughout 2021 and 2022, console compatibility has also been expanded. This fixed one of the main downsides of choosing a direct drive wheel.

Before 2020, there really weren’t many direct drive options for sim racers who raced on Xbox or PlayStation. The Fanatec DD1 and DD2 were the only real options for a long time, and they both cost over €/$1000.

Since the launch of the Fanatec CSL DD, GT DD Pro, Logitech G Pro Racing Wheel and MOZA R3, there are now many more options for console-compatible direct drive wheels.

The Fanatec Podium F1 (now discontinued), GT DD Pro and Fanatec ClubSport DD+ are all PlayStation 5 compatible direct drive wheels. While the Fanatec DD1, DD2, CSL DD and ClubSport DD are all Xbox-compatible.

The Logitech G Pro Racing Wheel is also compatible with both PS5 and Xbox consoles. Although there are two versions of the Pro Racing Wheel, so you do have to choose between either Xbox or PlayStation compatibility. And MOZA is also starting to introduce console compatibility with their MOZA R3 direct drive wheel for Xbox.

Cross-brand compatibility

When purchasing a direct drive wheel, you also have to think about compatibility across different brands. Racing wheels from Fanatec for example are generally only compatible with Fanatec steering wheels. Luckily there are a large number of Fanatec steering wheels to choose from, but you will still be locked into their ecosystem.

Direct drive wheels such as the Simucube 2 Sport, Pro or Ultimate offer their own quick release design, which is compatible with a variety of different brands. You can use third-party branded steering wheels with the Simucube 2, including their own wheel, the Tahko GT-21, wheels from Cube Controls and more.

It’s worth noting that there are some third-party ways to get around this compatibility, but some options can be tricky to implement!


Best direct drive wheel for PS5

When it comes to direct drive wheels for PlayStation 5 and PS4, there is a pretty clear winner. Only Fanatec and Logitech has really embraced the PS5 console with their direct drive wheels. Other brands are yet to enter this market.

Fanatec however has two great wheel base options for PlayStation 5 sim racers.

The Fanatec GT DD Pro is their mid-range offering. This wheel base creates up to 8Nm of peak torque and is fully compatible with PlayStation 5 and PC. It is also compatible with Xbox consoles if you pair it with an Xbox-compatible steering wheel.

The other option is the Fanatec Podium F1 racing wheel. This is a much more premium direct drive wheel. It includes the DD1 wheel base which can produce up to 20Nm of peak torque. This is over double the strength of the GT DD Pro.

Logitech also has a PlayStation 5 direct drive wheel in the form of the Logitech Pro Racing wheel. This sits in between the GT DD Pro in terms of performance and price. However, when comparing directly, the GT DD Pro offers better bang for your buck, and a much wider ecosystem of steering wheels and other peripherals.

For a much more detailed breakdown of the best PlayStation 5 racing wheels, read our ultimate PS5 racing wheel guide. In this guide, we compare all of the very best PS5 racing wheels from a variety of sim racing brands.

The Fanatec GT DD Pro remains incredibly hard to get hold of. Check our Fanatec stock checker to see if the GT DD Pro is in stock in which region.

Winner – Fanatec GT DD Pro

While the Podium F1 does include a Formula 1 branded steering wheel, and the much more powerful DD1 wheel base, the GT DD Pro offers fantastic performance at a much more accessible price.

For this reason, we would always recommend the GT DD Pro wheel for PlayStation 5 sim racers who are looking for a direct drive wheel.

Racing Wheel – Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro
Compatibility – PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox Series X|S
Price – From €/$599.95
Where to buyBuy from Fanatec EU / Buy from Fanatec US


Best direct drive wheel for Xbox

Being an Xbox sim racer also means that currently, Fanatec is your best bet for a direct drive wheel. Much like the current PS5 racing wheel environment, Fanatec and Logitech are the only companies to have released an Xbox-compatible direct drive wheel.

And again, there are a few options for Xbox sim racers to choose from. There is the Fanatec CSL DD wheel, which is very similar to the GT DD Pro. It is available in both 5Nm and 8Nm strengths, and produces fantastically detailed force feedback given its small form factor.

Then there is a couple of higher-powered Fanatec options. Both the DD1 and DD2 wheels are Xbox-compatible and produce 20Nm and 25Nm. These are great options for sim racers who are looking to opt for the most powerful racing wheel they can.

Read our head to head DD1 vs DD2 comparison, for more detail on how the two most powerful Fanatec racing wheels compare.

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    There is also the Logitech Pro Racing Wheel which has an Xbox version. This racing wheel is incredibly impressive, especially with its Trueforce technology. It sits in between the CSL DD and the DD1 in terms of price and performance.

    Winner – Fanatec CSL DD

    If we were to pick just one of these direct drive wheels for Xbox sim racers, it would be the Fanatec CSL DD. When comparing performance to cost, the CSL DD really wins out across the board.

    This racing wheel is incredibly popular across the sim racing community and remains one of the hardest sim racing wheels to actually buy. The stock numbers have been incredibly limited throughout 2022 and that continues into 2023. Now we’re in 2024, stock levels are much better with the wheel being much more available globally.

    Check our Fanatec stock checker to see which Fanatec wheels are currently in stock in which region.

    Racing Wheel – Fanatec CSL DD
    Compatibility – PC, Xbox Series X|S
    Price – From €/$349.95
    Where to buyBuy from Fanatec EU / Buy from Fanatec US


    Cheapest direct drive wheel

    If you are looking for the outright cheapest direct drive wheel, then you will be looking at one of the newer drive racing wheels from Fanatec or MOZA Racing. Cammus is another notable brand who have entered the market with a radical direct drive wheel design that is another choice for a budget direct drive wheel.

    Below is a quick overview of some of the best budget direct drive wheels. Each of these racing wheels can be found for under £600. This is still a fairly hefty price tag, but is on the lower end of pricing for a direct drive wheel. The cheapest direct drive wheels can be picked up for under £350-£400.

    WheelTorquePrice
    Fanatec CSL DDFanatec CSL DD5-8Nm€349.95
    Fanatec GT DD Pro Racing WheelFanatec GT DD Pro8Nm€599.95
    MOZA Racing R3 BundleMOZA Racing R33Nm£399.00
    MOZA R5 Wheel BaseMOZA Racing R55Nm£319.00
    Thrustmaster T818 Racing WheelThrustmaster T81810Nm£599.99

    Fanatec has recently made huge strides in affordable direct drive wheel bases with the CSL DD and GT DD Pro. Both of these wheel bases sit over half the price of the higher-powered products such as the DD1 and SimuCube 2 Sport.

    These budget direct drive wheel bases are essentially the same product, just badged differently for their respective consoles. The CSL DD wheel base is Xbox and PC compatible, while the GT DD Pro is licensed for PS5 and PS4. Although, the GT DD Pro can become Xbox compatible with the addition of an Xbox steering wheel.

    Likewise, MOZA Racing has almost mirrored Fanatec by producing both the R5 and R9 wheel bases. The smaller MOZA R5 produces just 5Nm of torque, while the R9 produces 9Nm of peak torque.

    The two cheaper MOZA direct drive wheels are heavily designed to compete with Fanatec’s small direct drive lineup, and they do so incredibly well.

    We did create a detailed comparison of both the MOZA R9 and Fanatec CSL DD to see how both wheel bases stacked up against each other.

    In that comparison, we gave the win to Fanatec, but only just. Both wheel bases are incredibly good and would make a great addition to any sim racing setup.

    These products offer great performance within their price range and are without a doubt currently the cheapest direct drive racing wheel you can purchase currently.

    Both the CSL DD and GT DD Pro create 5Nm in their base form. However, both come with an optional Boost Kit which increases this strength to 8Nm.

    To put that in context, whenever I race with my Fanatec DD1 which is capable of 20Nm, I normally have the strength output turned down to around 50%. That means I’m normally racing with around 10Nm produced from the DD1.

    That means that the 8Nm of the CSL DD and GT DD Pro isn’t far off the strength I prefer sim racing at. That is mighty impressive for a racing wheel base that is over half the price of the DD1.

    All of these wheelbases are incredibly impressive given their size and cost. If I were to choose and recommend one budget direct drive wheel, it would be the Fanatec GT DD Pro. It offers the same performance as the CSL DD but with added PS5 compatibility. While it isn’t the absolute cheapest wheel, it is one of the most well-rounded budget wheels you can currently buy.


    Best overall direct drive wheel

    When it comes to buying a direct drive wheel for a PC setup, your options increase substantially.

    You could still opt for a console-compatible racing wheel such as the options above. All of the console-compatible racing wheels work with PC, and are great options.

    Or instead, you could look at other brands such as MOZA and SimuCube, who like Fanatec, offer a range of direct drive wheels, each with varying degrees of strength.

    Finally, you could look at buying into an Open Sim Wheel setup. This is where the technical barrier increases greatly. Open Sim Wheel setups have you purchasing the different components individually, and then creating a custom wheel base setup. This process is very similar to building your own custom PC.

    I won’t touch too much on Open Sim Wheel right here, as I don’t think it is necessarily the best option when looking for a PC direct drive wheel. I have included a more detailed section in this guide for the best Open Sim Wheel setup. Skip a little bit below to read more about it.

    When it comes to actually recommending the best direct drive wheel for PC, it has to be between the MOZA R12, Fanatec ClubSport DD+, and the SimuCube 2.

    MOZA R12 vs Fanatec ClubSport DD+ vs SimuCube 2 Sport

    By having a few manufacturers to choose from, your decision becomes a lot harder. Fanatec produces some of the best-licensed wheel rims on the market, yet they come at a price. SimuCube boasts much more customisability and a wider range of steering wheels to choose from.

    While MOZA Racing is relatively new to sim racing, but has produced a wide range of direct drive wheel bases and sim racing products over the past few years.

    In all honesty, each of these brands offers wheel bases that are fantastic options. The Fanatec ClubSport DD+ and Simucube 2 Sport are very comparable, offering similar levels of performance.

    The MOZA Racing R12 is a much more similar product to the Fanatec CSL DD and GT DD Pro. It has less peak torque than both the ClubSport DD+ and Simucube 2, but the force feedback that it does offer is still strong and detailed. In fact, the R12 produce some of the crispest force feedback of any direct drive wheel with an especially impressive array of vibration effects.

    When looking at the two stronger wheel bases, the Fanatec Clubsport DD+ isn’t quite as strong as the Simucube 2 Sport. It creates peak torque of 16Nm compared to 17Nm of the Simucube 2 Sport.

    But when it comes to my best overall pick for PC, I would actually recommend the MOZA Racing R12 over both the ClubSport DD+ and Simucube 2 Sport. The R12 features 12Nm of peak torque, and you have an ever-expanding choice of steering wheels.

    MOZA produce one of the best steering wheels we have ever raced with within their respective price ranges. I’m looking at the FSR Formula steering wheel here! And that steering wheel alone is worth considering MOZA when purchasing a direct drive wheel base for PC.

    Racing Wheel – MOZA R12
    Compatibility – PC
    Price – €589/$589
    Where to buyBuy from MOZA


    Best high-performing PC racing wheels – Fanatec DD2 vs Simucube 2 Pro

    If you want to step towards higher performance levels, both Fanatec and Simucube have you covered. The Fanatec DD2 and Simucube 2 Pro are both premium wheel bases that offer a lot of force feedback power. The Simucube 2 Pro and the Fanatec DD2 create the same peak torque at 25Nm which is incredibly impressive for any racing wheel.

    Again, both models are similar in terms of performance and price, so your buying decision comes down to the wheel rims you plan on using or whether you have a preference for either brand.

    Simucube does allow for more wheel rims to be used with its wheel bases, including Fanatec wheel bases, as long as you have an adaptor, so Simucube certainly wins out there. However, Fanatec DD1 and DD2 wheel bases both let you race with Xbox consoles, so they are a little more cross-platform compatible.

    It is also worth noting that the Fanatec DD1 and DD2 wheel bases have both been out of stock for a very long time. It appears they have been discontinued and replaced with the ClubSport DD+ wheel base.

    If you are looking for ultimate power from your sim rig, there is only one option: the Simucube 2 Ultimate. This direct-drive racing wheel sits at the top of Simucube’s lineup and produces an eye-watering 32Nm of torque!

    If you’re a power junkie and simply want the strongest wheel possible, go for this wheel base. It boasts the same great software and customer support as all other Simucube products, meaning you can’t go wrong.

    Racing Wheel – Simucube 2 Sport
    Compatibility – PC
    Price – €1233 / $1199
    Where to buyBuy from Simucube


    Overview of the best wheel bases

    Below, I will discuss in more detail each of the direct drive wheel bases that I’ve recommended in this guide. Each of these wheels would be a great choice in its own right, as each offers good performance within its respective price range.


    Fanatec CSL DD

    The Fanatec CSL DD is a budget-friendly direct drive wheel base compatible with Xbox and PC. It reduces the form factor and overall torque strength to create a wheel base that is much more accessible.

    While the DD1 and DD2 produce over 20Nm of torque, the CSL DD produces just 5Nm in its base mode. You can purchase it with a Boost Kit to bump the torque output to 8Nm, and I’d highly recommend doing just that.

    The CSL DD is around half the size physically of the larger DD1 and DD2 and much smaller than Logitech’s direct drive wheel base. This makes it incredibly easy to mount to any sim rig or a table using the Fanatec table clamp.

    Racing Wheel – Fanatec CSL DD
    Compatibility – PC, Xbox Series X|S
    Price – From €/$349.95
    Where to buyBuy from Fanatec EU / Buy from Fanatec US


    Fanatec GT DD Pro

    The Fanatec GT DD Pro launched shortly after the CSL DD, and very quickly sold out due to its popularity. Check Fanatec GT DD Pro stock. It incorporated the technology and force feedback fidelity that popularised the CSL DD, and added much-requested PlayStation 5 compatibility.

    The GT DD Pro is the cheapest direct-drive wheel on PlayStation 5, replacing the Podium F1 racing wheel. Unlike the CSL DD, which is available individually in 5Nm form, the GT DD Pro is only currently available individually at 8Nm.

    This isn’t too much of an issue, as I would always recommend opting for the 8Nm version of either the CSL DD or GT DD Pro. At 8Nm, the force feedback is more than strong enough to sim race for hours without causing any aches or pains that can occur from using higher powered direct drive wheels.

    Racing Wheel – Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro
    Compatibility – PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox Series X|S
    Price – From €/$599.95
    Where to buyBuy from Fanatec EU / Buy from Fanatec US


    Fanatec ClubSport DD & DD+

    The Fanatec ClubSport DD and DD+ are two of the most recent direct drive wheels to be released. The ClubSport range has always slotted in between Fanatec’s CSL and Podium products, and that is exactly where this ClubSport DD wheel fits.

    It is designed to be a step up from both the CSL DD and GT DD Pro wheels in Fanatec’s ecosystem, offering more peak force feedback strength as well as a new force feedback algorithm, which is designed to make the FFB more detailed than ever before.

    The ClubSport DD carries a price tag that is too high to put into the mid-range price point. If it was around £100/$100 cheaper, it would have been a strong contender for the best mid-range direct drive wheel.

    This new generation of Fanatec direct drive wheel offers incredible force feedback detail and quality. The fine levels of detail in the force feedback offer a new way of feeling how your car is interacting with the track surface.

    There are two versions of the Fanatec ClubSport DD. The base version produces 12Nm of peak torque and is compatible with both Xbox and PC. Then there is the ClubSport DD+, a PlayStation-compatible direct drive wheel with even more power. The ClubSport DD+ creates a peak torque figure of 15Nm.

    If you’re looking for the latest direct drive wheel technology and want to future-proof your sim racing setup, the Fanatec ClubSport DD is the perfect choice.

    Racing Wheel – Fanatec ClubSport DD
    Compatibility – PC, Xbox Series X|S
    Price – From €/$799.95
    Where to buyBuy from Fanatec EU / Buy from Fanatec US


    Fanatec Podium DD1 & DD2

    If you are looking for more power than the CSL DD, then there is the question of which wheel base you should pick up. On paper, the DD2 performs better than its little brother. It produces 5Nm of torque more than the DD1 and comes equipped with a kill switch, normally a $100 / €100 add-on.

    But, when you have a wheel base such as the DD1 already producing 20Nm of torque, do you need to go any further than this?

    In all honesty, the DD1 produces more than enough force feedback strength to give you a solid workout and really test your strength. Considering the substantial $300 / €300 upgrade price from the DD1 to the DD2, we wouldn’t recommend making the jump.

    Racing Wheel – Fanatec DD1
    Compatibility – PC, Xbox Series X|S
    Price – From €/$499.95
    Where to buyBuy from Fanatec EU / Buy from Fanatec US


    MOZA Racing R3

    The MOZA R3 is an incredibly impressive direct drive wheel, mainly because it is one of the smallest and cheapest currently available. The R3 is also Xbox-compatible, making it a really good choice if you’re looking to start sim racing or to try a direct drive racing wheel.

    When I say this is one of the smallest direct drive wheels available, I mean it. This thing is tiny, so much so that hard mounting it to a sim rig can be a little tricky due to its small form. Luckily, MOZA do include a desk clamp, which can make mounting this wheel easier, and the MOZA R3 bundle also includes a steering wheel and pedal set.

    This wheel is a fantastic choice for any sim racer after an all-in-one sim racing setup that is direct drive. It also carries a pretty low price tag, allowing it to compete with other budget direct drive wheels.

    Racing Wheel – MOZA R3
    Compatibility – Xbox, PC
    Price – £399/$399
    Where to buyBuy from MOZA


    MOZA Racing R5

    The MOZA Racing R5 direct drive wheel is one of MOZA’s latest wheel bases, and is designed to be one of the cheapest direct drive wheels around.

    The R5 wheel produces up to 5.5Nm of peak torque from its tiny form. This has to be the smallest direct drive wheel ever with force feedback created from an ultra-high power density servo motor.

    The R5 wheel base is available in the R5 bundle, which pairs a pedal set, a steering wheel, and a table clamp. If you are after the absolute cheapest direct drive wheel you can buy, the MOZA R5 takes the crown.

    Racing Wheel – MOZA R5
    Compatibility – PC
    Price – £299/$299
    Where to buyBuy from MOZA


    MOZA Racing R12

    The MOZA R12 is one of the best mid-range direct drive wheels. It followed the R9’s successful launch by improving the overall peak torque and introducing new force feedback technology to make your game feel more alive than ever.

    The R12 competes directly with Fanatec’s GT DD Pro and ClubSport DD wheels and does so incredibly well.

    The R12 produces 12Nm of torque, hence the name, which is more than the performance available from Fanatec’s similar-priced wheels and the same as the ClubSport DD. The force feedback is created from a direct drive servo motor, and the wheel base utilises zero-latency wireless technology to enable the steering wheels to work.

    While the R12’s force feedback is as powerful as that of the Fanatec ClubSport DD, it is cheaper than that Fanatec wheel, making it a superb option for PC sim racers. Unfortunately, this R12 wheel base doesn’t have console compatibility; however, it isn’t out of the question that future MOZA wheels will include console compatibility, just as the R3 has.

    Racing Wheel – MOZA R12
    Compatibility – PC
    Price – €589/$589
    Where to buyBuy from MOZA


    MOZA Racing R16 & R21

    Both the R16 and R21 wheel bases were among the first sim racing products that MOZA ever released. Both wheel bases are direct drive, and produce 16Nm and 21Nm.

    Both of these were MOZA’s first stepping stones towards the expanded sim racing lineup that they have now. Despite being the first wheel bases that MOZA released, both stand up well in the performance category.

    They both take on a rather extravagant design, much more reminiscent of sim racing wheels of past years than the serious design forms that brands like Fanatec and Simucube utilise.

    Both of these direct drive wheels are under the £/$1000 mark, cheaper than similar products from other brands, and worth considering as they sit in a unique space between budget and high-end wheel bases.

    Racing Wheel – MOZA R16
    Compatibility – PC
    Price – £799/$799
    Where to buyBuy from MOZA


    Asetek La Prima, Forte & Invicta

    Asetek, much like MOZA Racing are one of the newer brands to enter the sim racing world. A few years ago, they launched an incredibly impressive lineup of sim racing pedals and wheel bases. Since that moment, they’ve gone on to release a wider ecosystem of sim racing products, including sim racing steering wheels, wheel hubs and accessories.

    Their product lineup consists of the La Prima, Forte and Invicta ranges. Like Fanatec’s CSL, ClubSport and Podium range differentiate their products into different price categories.

    • Asetek La Prima: More budget-friendly focused products
    • Asetek Forte: Mid-range products
    • Asetek Invicta: Premium products

    Currently, Asetek has three wheel bases, all of which are direct drive wheels. One wheel base fits into each of Asetek’s product ranges. The La Prima wheel base is the cheapest and lowest-powered, although it certainly isn’t a budget-friendly or low-powered wheel.

    Asetek La Prima WheelAsetek La Prima12Nm
    Asetek Forte Direct Drive Wheel BaseAsetek Forte18Nm
    Asetek Invicta Direct Drive Wheel BaseAsetek Invicta27Nm

    The La Prima produces 12Nm of peak torque, which is stronger than many brands’ most powerful wheels. This makes it an incredibly enticing product if you are shopping for a mid-range direct drive wheel.

    Next up is the Asetek Forte wheel, which is an 18Nm direct drive wheel. The jump from La Prima to Forte requires around €250 and nets you an extra 6Nm of performance. This is the sweet spot within Asetek’s product range and would be my pick of the bunch.

    Finally, Asetek’s most powerful direct drive wheel is the Invicta which produces a mighty 27Nm of peak torque. This is naturally the most premium wheel that Asetek sell.

    All of Asetek’s direct drive wheels use the same internal technology just with different power outputs. This means that you’ll receive the same excellent quality of force feedback detail whichever product you opt for. And with Asetek’s growing ecosystem, their wheels are becoming an ever more exciting prospect.


    Logitech Pro Racing Wheel

    The much anticipated Logitech Pro Racing Wheel is Logitech’s first direct drive racing wheel. It has been requested for years, and was actually leaked a full year before it was announced. But now it is here, it was well worth waiting for.

    The Logitech G Pro Racing Wheel offers 11Nm of performance, which is around the sweet spot for a direct drive wheel. Any stronger, and sim racing starts to become a much more intense experience.

    Logitech also builds upon their Trueforce technology that they introduced with the Logitech G923. This time around, Trueforce incorporates much more than it ever did in the G923, allowing you to feel the vibrations through the car from the engine revving to the tyres scrubbing across the track.

    This additional layer of feedback adds to the impressive direct drive force feedback that the internal motor produces. And it all combines to produce a sim racing experience that is considerably unique to this Logitech wheel.

    Racing Wheel – Logitech Pro Racing Wheel
    Compatibility – PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox Series X|S
    Price – £/$999.99
    Where to buyBuy from Logitech UK/EU / Buy from Logitech US


    Thrustmaster T818

    The long-anticipated Thrustmaster T818, is the company’s first-ever direct drive wheel. That is a crazy thought when you consider how many racing wheels Thrustmaster has previously produced, and just how long competitors such as Fanatec have been producing direct drive wheels.

    The T818 is designed to create a consistent 10Nm of torque from its custom-designed direct drive motor. The current iteration of the T818 that has been revealed is only PC compatible, however, it has been confirmed that a console-compatible version will become available, more than likely in 2024 at some point.

    For those who are racing with F1 sim racing steering wheels such as the Thrustmaster SF1000 wheel, the T818 will be the perfect upgrade option.

    Racing Wheel – Thrustmaster T818
    Compatibility – PC
    Price – £599/$649
    Where to buyBuy Thrustmaster T818 UK/EU / Buy Thrustmaster T818 US


    Simucube 2 Sport, Pro & Ultimate

    Simucube has been a heavy hitter in the direct drive sim racing space for almost longer than any other brand on this list. Their range of Simucube 2 wheel bases offers a few options in terms of price and performance for sim racers looking for a PC-compatible direct drive wheel.

    The Simucube 2 Sport is the company’s entry-level direct drive wheel. It produces 17Nm of peak torque and sits just over the €/$1000 mark. This puts it firmly in the high-end category of wheel bases, but the cost justifies the company’s standing within sim racing.

    The Sport wheel bases, as with the other wheel bases that Simucube offer comes with a great track record for reliability and outstanding performance.

    Read our Simucube racing wheel buyer’s guide for more details on each of its wheel bases.

    The next step up in performance comes from the Simucube 2 Pro. This costs around €/$200 more than the Sport, but increases the performance to 25Nm of peak torque. That represents a large performance jump for a relatively small price increase.

    Finally, the Simucube 2 Ultimate is the strongest wheel base that Simucube offer, and one of the strongest on the market today. It produces a whopping 32Nm of peak torque, which is higher than you would ever want to run consistently.

    Racing Wheel – Simucube 2 Sport
    Compatibility – PC
    Price – €1233 / $1199
    Where to buyBuy from Simucube


    Simagic Alpha

    Simagic are a sim racing brand that offers a range of peripherals as well as a few direct drive wheel bases. Much like Simucube, Simagic currently offers three wheel bases that span a range of output strength and price.

    The Alpha Mini sits around the range of the entry-level to mid-range direct drive wheel bases from other brands. It produces 10Nm of maximum torque from its servo motor, and includes various modes such as drift and rally.

    The Alpha is the next step up, creating a maximum torque of 15Nm while costing less than £/$1000. This makes it a really solid choice for those looking for a bit more strength than the entry-level offerings from other brands.

    Finally, the Alpha-U is the top-of-the-range direct drive wheel base from Simagic. The U stands for unrivalled force, unmatched speed and unrestricted performance!

    The Alpha-U produces up to 23Nm of torque and includes three individual CPUs to ensure the fastest calculations for the most accurate and responsive force feedback.

    Racing Wheel – Simagic Alpha
    Compatibility – PC
    Price – From €/£/$605
    Where to buyBuy from Abruzzi


    How do direct drive wheels work?

    Direct drive wheels work by utilising a large internal motor mounted directly to your steering wheel via a shaft and a quick release.

    The configuration goes – Internal motor > Shaft > Quick Release/Hub > Steering wheel.

    Many steering wheels utilise wireless technology to enable the functionality of screens and inputs, while some require a hard USB connection to your PC or wheel base.

    Below is an animation of the breakdown of a MOZA R9 direct drive wheel base.

    MOZA R9 Motor Animation

    What motors are used in direct drive wheels?

    As with all technology, there are a wide range of motor types that can be used inside a direct drive wheel. The different types of motor include servo motors such as those created by MiGE, stpper motors or in-runner or out-runner motors.

    In-runner motors are one of the most standard for of motors in use. They refer to a series of magnets that rotate on the inside of a set of stator coils. This design allows the rotor to spin incredibly fast, but this comes at the expense of lower torque capabilities.

    With an out-runner motor, such as the ones used in Fanatec’s Podium wheel bases, the rotor is located on the outside of the stator. This allows out-runner motors to produce more torque at lower RPM.

    Other wheel bases such as many OSW wheels utilise servo motors, quite often created by MiGE. There are also stepper motors which are much lower cost option.


    Are direct drive wheels worth it?

    This brings us to a big question of… Are direct drive wheels worth it compared to other types of sim racing wheel? And the answer has to be a resounding yes.

    The increase in performance that is found in direct drive racing wheels provides a much more immersive sim racing experience in comparison to the lower-powered belt or gear driven sim racing wheels.

    It used to be that direct drive wheels came with a high price tag. But now with many cheap direct drive wheels becoming available, it is the best time to jump into the realm of direct drive sim racing.


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    Article written by Rich

    Co-Founder of SimRacingSetups.com

    Rich is the co-founder, and one of the main F1 setup creators and content writers for SimRacingSetups. With over a decade of experience as a graphic designer, marketing director, competitive sim racer and avid motorsport fan, Rich founded SimRacingSetup.com to share his passion and knowledge of sim racing and Formula 1 with other sim racers.

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