Best Direct Drive Racing Wheel 2023: Which Should You Buy?

Direct drive is the pinnacle of sim racing hardware. But which is the best direct drive racing wheel. This guide compares the best offerings from brands such as Fanatec, Logitech, SimuCube and more to find out.

The best direct drive racing wheel
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When it comes to the pinnacle of sim racing wheels, direct drive has been king for a long time. Direct drive wheels utilise the most powerful, and advanced technology to produce the most immersive sim racing experience.

However, for years a direct drive sim wheel hasn’t been the most accessible sim racing product. In the past, some direct drive sim wheels have required a relatively high technical knowledge to set up and utilise fully.

That all changed when manufacturers such as Fanatec and SimuCube released plug-and-play direct drive wheels. But which direct drive racing wheel is best for your sim racing setup?

In this guide, I’ll run through what makes direct drive wheels the best racing wheels on the market. And I’ll also look at the best direct drive wheels to buy. I’ll show you the best direct drive wheels for a variety of sim racing setups, such as console setups and DIY options.

What sim racing direct drive wheel is best?

When it comes to defining the out and out best direct drive wheel, it can be hard to justify what makes the best. Does it mean the strongest direct drive wheel? Or the wheel that is most compatible with consoles? Or does the price factor into the best wheel?

Choosing the best direct drive wheel is highly personal to each sim racer’s own preference. For us, the best wheel has to be one which performs incredibly well, is reasonably priced, and beats out the competition within its own specific area of the direct drive playing field.

Below are the three best direct drive wheel bases that we would recommend for different scenarios.

Best Budget Wheel


Best Mid-Range Wheel

Fanatec GT DD Pro

Best Premium Wheel

Simucube 2 Ultimate

Vertagear SL5000
noblechairs HERO
Razer Iskur


Up to 5Nm


Up to 8Nm


Up to 32Nm




PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox






From €/$599.95



The MOZA R5 wheel base is currently the cheapest direct drive racing wheel available to buy today. This wheel base creates just 5Nm of torque, which is around the same as the Fanatec CSL DD in its least powerful form.

Both the Fanatec CSL DD and GT DD Pro deliver amazing performance without asking for a huge sum to buy either one. The GT DD Pro wins over the CSL DD though due to its expanded compatibility with PlayStation 5.

If you are after one of the most powerful direct drive wheels you can buy, the Simucube 2 Ultimate has you covered. This racing wheel can produce up to 32Nm of torque, which is more power than you could ever ask for.

Which direct drive wheels are the best for sim racing?

Below is a list of the best direct drive wheels for sim racing in 2023. As you can see, 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.

What is a Direct Drive Wheel?

A direct drive wheel differs from other racing wheels by mounting the internal motor directly to the motor shaft.

In comparison, other racing wheels utilise smaller motors with a series of gears or belts which link the motor to the steering wheel.

When you add gears or belts in between the motor and the steering wheel, you will always muddy the force feedback detail. This is because you are adding moving parts which will interfere with the force feedback.

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.

How does a direct drive wheel differ from other racing wheels?

Many popular racing wheels across the past 10 years have utilised gear or belt technology. This allowed sim racing manufacturers to essentially upscale the force from the motor with the internal gears and belts.

This was often more cost-effective to manufacture and therefor allowed the price of racing wheels to be less than powerful direct drive alternatives. However, over the past few years, product designers have been able to produce cheap direct drive wheels allowing them to become much more accessible.

Fanatec CSL DD Wheel Base
Stronger motors and higher 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. This allowed direct drive wheels to 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.

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.

More detailed force feedback

Another benefit of removing internal belts and gears is that less of the detail created by the motor is lost in translation.

Gear-driven racing wheels often felt rather clunky. With wheels such as the Logitech G29 or G923, you could regularly feel the gears interacting with each other. This made it tricky to decipher the force feedback from the feeling of the internal gears.

Logitech G29 Inside

Belt-drive wheels were often looked upon more fondly, as you rarely feel anything from the internal belt. This makes them much smoother to race with than gear-driven racing wheels.

However, the compromise with a belt-driven racing wheel is that some of the force feedback fidelity is always 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.

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.

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 options for a long time, and they both cost over €/$1000.

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

The Fanatec Podium F1 and GT DD Pro are both PlayStation 5 compatible direct drive wheels. While the Fanatec DD1, DD2 and CSL 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.

Cross-brand compatibility

When purchasing a direct drive wheel, you do also have to think about compatibility across different brands. Racing wheels from Fanatec for example are 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 a variety of steering wheels with the Simucube 2, including their own wheel, the Tahko GT-21, and wheels from Cube Controls.

There are a few modifications and third-party quick release hubs that go towards solving this issue, and allowing further cross-compatibility. However, many of these mods aren’t first party.

Best Direct Drive Wheels for PS5 / PS4

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.

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.

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 €/$499.95
Where to buyBuy from Fanatec EU / Buy from Fanatec US

Best Direct Drive Wheel for PC

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.

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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 R9, Fanatec DD1, and the SimuCube 2.

MOZA R9 vs Fanatec DD1 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 12 months.

In all honesty, each of these brands offers wheel bases that are fantastic options. Both the Fanatec DD1 and SimuCube 2 Sport are very comparable, offering similar levels of performance.

The MOZA Racing R9 is a much more similar product to the Fanatec CSL DD and GT DD Pro. It has less peak torque than both the DD1 and SimuCube 2, but the force feedback that it does offer is still strong and detailed.

When looking at the two stronger wheel bases, the Fanatec DD1 does beat the SimuCube 2 Sport in force feedback strength, by putting out 20Nm compared to 17Nm of the SimuCube 2 Sport. However, the SimuCube 2 Sport does feature slightly better software, as well as better customer support.

But when it comes to my best overall pick for PC, I would actually recommend the MOZA Racing R9 over both the DD1 and SimuCube 2 Sport. The R9 features 9Nm 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 R9
Compatibility – PC
Price – £409/$439
Where to buyBuy from MOZA

High performing PC racing wheels – Fanatec DD2 vs SimuCube 2 Pro

But, if you are looking to step up 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. Both the SimuCube 2 Pro and the Fanatec DD2 create the same peak torque at 25Nm.

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 to either brand.

SimuCube does allow for more wheel rims to be used with their 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 compatible cross-platform.

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 really go wrong.

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 direct drive racing wheels from Fanatec or MOZA Racing.

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.

Both of these cheap 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’m racing at currently. 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 one, it would be the Fanatec GT DD Pro. It offers the same performance as the CSL DD but with added PS5 compatibility.

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 CSL DD

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

While the DD1 and DD2 both produce over 20Nm of torque, the CSL DD produces just 5Nm of torque 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 than 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 €/$499.95
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 replaces the Podium F1 racing wheel as the cheapest direct drive wheel on PlayStation 5. Unlike the CSL DD which is available to buy individually in its 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 Podium DD1 & DD2

If you are looking for more power than the CSL DD, then there is the question of which wheel base should you 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, which is normally a $100 / €100 add-on.

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

In all honestly, 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 really 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

Fanatec Podium Racing Wheel F1®

Typically, PlayStation gamers haven’t been overly spoilt when it comes to racing wheels. There are a lot of racing wheels for sale that simply aren’t compatible with PlayStation consoles, either the PS4 or PS5. And that trend continues with direct drive wheels.

At this time of writing, there is only a few fully compatible, plug-and-play direct drive wheel for PS4 and PS5.

There is a small Fanatec wheel, the GT DD Pro which offers a budget-friendly direct drive experience. And then there is the new Logitech direct drive racing wheel. And finally, there is the Fanatec Podium F1 which is a complete racing wheel bundle that is officially licensed by Formula 1.

Racing Wheel – Fanatec Podium F1
Compatibility – PS4, PS5, PC
Price – €/$1499.95
Where to buyBuy from Fanatec EU / Buy from Fanatec US

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. In fact, 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 is paired with 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 – £529/$529
Where to buyBuy from MOZA

MOZA Racing R9

MOZA’s R9 direct drive wheel was released shortly after Fanatec released their game-changing CSL DD. And it was clear from the outset that the R9’s goal was to compete with the CSL DD and GT DD Pro. And it does that well.

The R9 produces 9Nm of torque, hence the name, which is just over the performance available from Fanatec’s offerings. 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.

The R9 also comes in cheaper than both 8Nm wheel bases from Fanatec, making it a superb option for PC sim racers. Unfortunately, there isn’t any console compatibility within MOZA’s product range just yet, which is the R9’s biggest downfall.

Racing Wheel – MOZA R9
Compatibility – PC
Price – £409/$439
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.

Sitting at under the £/$1000 mark, both of these direct drive wheels are cheaper than similar products from other brands, and are 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

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 performance on offer from the Logitech G Pro Racing Wheel is 11Nm. This 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 2023 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 – PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox Series X|S
Price – £599/$649
Where to buyBuy from Thrustmaster UK/EU / Buy from Thrustmaster 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.

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 – €1028
Where to buyBuy from Digital Motorsports

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

OSW direct drive wheel

What exactly is Open Sim Wheel? Well, Open Sim Wheel is the term given to creating your own wheel base by assembling individual parts.

Think of it like you are building a custom PC tower. You purchase a GPU, a CPU, a motherboard etc all separately. And piece by piece you configure your own personalised PC. OSW isn’t too dissimilar to this.

Creating your own wheel base can sometimes give you the absolute best performance for your investment. And it can be an extremely satisfying endeavour.

Once you close up the case, step back and marvel at what you have just created, you’ll get a huge sense of achievement.

But that feeling comes after a lot of hard work, and a fair bit of technical knowledge.

Jumping into an Open Sim Wheel isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure.

You can find kits available to purchase online for complete Open Sim Wheel setups, with just the final construction left to you.

For example, Sim Racing Bay sell some custom OSW kits which utilise the old SimuCube as a base.

These can be had for around $899 upwards, meaning they can be cost-effective compared to wheel bases from Fanatec and SimuCube directly.

AccuForce Pro V2

The SimXperience AccuForce Pro V2 is possibly one of the coolest-looking direct drive wheel bases around. While other brands have opted for subtlety in their design, SimXperience has opted for an aggressive design.

The shape of the wheel base is rather unique utilising some slanted sections, and the vents across the top look incredibly aggressive.

In terms of performance, the AccuForce Pro V2 is a plug-and-play wheel base that can sustain 13Nm of torque. As I’ve said before in this guide, this really is around the sweet spot of performance.

And the AccuForce V2 delivers this for under $800. This could be seen as expensive and puts it into the professional category, but it is relatively well-priced compared to other products that deliver similar performance.

Racing Wheel – Accuforce Pro V2
Compatibility – PC
Price – From $1,299
Where to buyBuy from Simexperience

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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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cheapest direct drive wheel?

In both the USA and Europe, the MOZA R5 wheel base is currently the cheapest direct drive wheel base you can buy.

Should I get a Fanatec DD1 or DD2?

Both the Fanatec DD1 and DD2 offer insane performance. However, the increased cost of the DD2 doesn’t match the increase in performance. Therefore I would recommend buying the Fanatec DD1.

Which direct drive wheel base is best?

Depending on your requirements, both the Fanatec DD2 and SimuCube 2 Ultimate are fantastic wheel bases. The SimuCube 2 Ultimate offers the best overall performance but the Fanatec DD2 offers a much better performance-to-cost ratio.

Does Logitech have a direct drive wheel base?

Logitech has recently released its first-ever direct drive wheel, the Logitech Pro Racing Wheel. This includes the steering wheel, and is compatible with PS5, Xbox and PC.

Does Thrustmaster have a direct drive wheel base?

Thrustmaster announced their first direct drive racing wheel at the end of 2022. The Thrustmaster T818 is the companies first direct drive wheel.

Does Fanatec have a direct drive wheel base?

Fanatec has been in the direct drive space for a long time. They currently have four different direct drive wheels, the DD1, DD2, CSL DD and the GT DD Pro.

Does MOZA have a direct drive wheel base?

MOZA has released four direct drive wheels to date. They have the R5, R9, R16 and R21.

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