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Sim Racing Product Guides » Fanatec CSL DD vs ClubSport DD: Which Wheel To Buy?
With the release of the Fanatec ClubSport DD, it poses a whole new decision. Is the CSL DD good enough to stick with, or should you upgrade to the ClubSport DD? Also, which wheel is best if you are buying for the first time.
Fanatec has recently released the ClubSport DD and DD+ to fit perfectly into the gap between the more budget-friendly CSL DD and GT DD Pro, and the performance-orientated Podium range that includes the DD1 and DD2.
With the ClubSport DD sitting above the CSL DD, does it give us all a reason to upgrade from the cheaper CSL DD to the new ClubSport DD? On the other hand, if you’re purchasing a new sim racing wheel, which wheel represents the better pick?
I plan on comparing the Fanatec CSL DD and ClubSport DD in this guide. I’ll highlight the important differences, and compare the price to see which Fanatec racing wheel offers better value. All with the goal of helping you decide if either of these wheels is the best option for you.
The first thing I want to do is look at both of these wheel bases, showing you the key differences right away. Looking at both wheel bases side by side may be enough to help you decide which is right for you, without the need to delve into more detail. But don’t worry, after this quick comparison, I’ll look at both the CSL DD and ClubSport DD in detail and compare various aspects.
Below, you can see the key features of both the CSL DD and ClubSport DD. In this guide, I am primarily focusing on the Xbox and PC-compatible ClubSport DD. There is another model called the ClubSport DD+ which is €300 more expensive and adds PlayStation compatibility. I will discuss this version in more detail below.
|CSL DD||ClubSport DD|
|Performance||5Nm – 8Nm||12Nm|
|Compatibility||Xbox, PC||Xbox, PC|
|View more||View more|
The Fanatec CSL DD is very much designed to sit as the most accessible Fanatec wheel base you can buy. It is the least powerful of any Fanatec wheel base with 5Nm of peak torque as standard. However, you can increase this via an additional boost kit. This will raise the performance up to 8Nm.
In comparison, the new ClubSport DD sits considerably higher on the performance front with 12Nm of peak torque. As I mentioned, there is another version, the ClubSport DD+. This increases the performance to 15Nm.
The two wheel bases occupy the beginner-friendly and mid-range spaces within sim racing, and their prices reflect this. The CSL DD is exactly half the price of the ClubSport DD. But the question is, does the ClubSport DD offer enough to justify the extra cost?
Now I want to look at the Fanatec CSL DD in more detail. I’ll do the same for the ClubSport DD a little further down. And then I’ll compare both wheel bases in much more detail.
The Fanatec CSL DD has been around for a few years now. It was one of the very first small form-factor direct drive wheel bases ever launched, paving the way for many other brands to follow.
The idea of making a small and accessible direct drive wheel base became the standard for many. It offered fantastic performance from the direct drive motor whilst keeping costs low enough to still be considered affordable.
The CSL DD comes with two different strength numbers. The base version which costs €349.95 produces force feedback with peak torque of 5Nm. This is very comparable to other wheel bases within a similar price range and is strong enough to offer a good sensation of how your car is behaving.
If 5Nm isn’t enough, you can opt to buy an additional Boost Kit 180. This is essentially a higher powered PSU which allows the wheel base to run at 8Nm of peak torque. You can also pick up the Fanatec CSL DD with the Boost Kit 180 included to save some money compared to buying them individually.
Having raced with the CSL DD in both 5Nm and 8Nm forms, I can safely say that the 8Nm is the sweet spot. At 5Nm, the force feedback just feels ever so slightly underpowered. I was always longing to increase the strength up past 5Nm. At 8Nm, the CSL DD really sings.
When it was launched, the CSL DD really redefined force feedback performance. It allowed for much finer details to be portrayed than the more powerful, but older DD1 and DD2 bases.
Moving on a couple of years from the launch of the Fanatec CSL DD, we have another new and long-awaited racing wheel. The Fanatec ClubSport DD has been a long time coming after Fanatec discontinued the ClubSport V2.5 years ago.
For a few years, there was no middle ground between the CSL DD and DD1. If you wanted a direct drive wheel base with between 10-15Nm of torque, you either had to opt for the expensive DD1 and turn down the strength, or look at other racing wheels such as the Logitech Pro wheel, or the MOZA R12.
The ClubSport DD fixes this problem and serves as the middle product between the affordable and premium. Is this the perfect racing wheel, the sweet spot?
Being two years newer than the CSL DD gives the ClubSport DD an advantage in the performance category, more than just the increase in power. Fanatec has tapped into internal technology and has produced a wheel with class-leading slew rate, and a new form of force feedback called FullForce.
FullForce is designed to deliver a new range of force feedback, creating vibrations for much more immersive effects. The slew rate ensures that the force feedback is delivered as soon as possible. The moment your car reacts in game, you’ll feel it through the wheel.
Before I really compare each wheel, I want to show exactly where both the CSL DD and ClubSport DD fit into the whole Fanatec ecosystem. Below is a table showing every racing wheel that Fanatec currently sell.
You’ll see that the CSL DD is by far the cheapest racing wheel you can currently buy. Moving up from there, you have the CSL DD with the Boost Kit which gives you an 8Nm racing wheel. Then the GT DD Pro has a premium attached due to the PlayStation compatibility.
From there, you have both the Clubsport DD and DD+. These are the true mid-range Fanatec wheel bases. Although the ClubSport DD+ sits incredibly close to the DD1 in terms of price. Finally, the Podium wheel bases are easily the two most expensive.
|CSL DD + Boost Kit||8Nm||€449.95|
|GT DD Pro||8Nm||€599.95|
Now we’ve looked at both wheel bases individually and what they offer, we can start to compare them both in more detail. With the Fanatec CSL DD topping out at 8Nm and the ClubSport DD offering 12Nm of peak torque and newer force feedback technology. It is hard to really argue for the CSL DD as being the best pick of the two wheel bases.
While the CSL DD cannot compete in terms of performance, it does have accessibility on its side. The cheapest you can buy a ClubSport DD wheel base currently is €699.95. And Fanatec rarely run sales and discounts, so picking up this wheel base any cheaper will be very hard to do in the near future.
Choosing a new racing wheel involves a few big decisions before settling on your next wheel of choice. You have to take into account the ecosystem you’re buying into, the performance on offer and the price.
Costing exactly half the price of the ClubSport DD, the CSL DD has a huge advantage if price is a big decision factor. Even the upgraded CSL DD with the boost kit included costs half the cost of the upgraded ClubSport DD+. Below are the costs in more detail.
The Fanatec CSL DD costs from €349.95 / $349.95 / ¥47,900 / $599.90 AUS.
The ClubSport DD costs €699.95 / $699.95 / ¥92,900 / $1299.95 AUS.
With the CSL DD coming in at half the price, the ClubSport needs to really deliver double the performance to justify its price tag. Breaking down the price to performance on offer, the ClubSport DD does achieve this.
Of course, measuring the cost per 1Nm isn’t really a good way of deciding whether a racing wheel is good value for money. However, it does give us a very literal comparison of both the CSL DD and ClubSport DD, and does a lot to justify its price.
As well as a big strength advantage, the ClubSport DD delivers thanks to its new FullForce feature. The added vibrations and force feedback detail really improve the overall immersion and feedback. When you factor in the increased force feedback performance thanks to the new technology, the ClubSport DD really does deliver.
Another notable difference between the CSL DD and ClubSport DD is the quick release technology. While this isn’t an issue that will be around for too long due to Fanatec phasing out the QR1 across the next couple of years. When buying either of these racing wheels in 2023 or 2024, this will be a consideration.
The older CSL DD comes as standard with the QR1 adapter. This is fine if you want to continue using the QR1 for the foreseeable future. However, if you do want to upgrade to the new quick release design, you’ll need to purchase an additional QR2 base-side adapter which costs €69.95.
Buying the ClubSport DD is a different story. As it is the first racing wheel released after the new QR2 became available, it comes with the QR2 adapter as standard. This can save you some money if you do plan on switching from QR1 to QR2. All you will need is a wheel-side QR2 adapter for your steering wheel.
Again, if you do want to stick with the QR1 system, you will be able to purchase a QR1 adapter for the ClubSport DD at some point in the future.
With everything analysed, choosing whether the CSL DD or ClubSport DD is the better option comes down to your budget and personal preference. There is no doubt that the ClubSport DD is the superior racing wheel in almost every way. However, the large price tag may put some off or put it out of reach.
If you are buying your first Fanatec wheel base and currently don’t have any Fanatec products, the ClubSport DD would be a great choice. It gives you stunning performance and you automatically get a QR2 adapter which future-proofs everything.
If budget is a main consideration when choosing a new racing wheel, the CSL DD is a better pick. At half the price, you can spend the additional money that you save on the wheel base on a steering wheel or other accessories.
In fact, you can pick up a complete Fanatec CSL DD bundle which includes a pedal set and steering wheel for less than the price of a single ClubSport DD base!
If you already own a CSL DD, I wouldn’t rush to buy a ClubSport DD. Your first stop should be to ensure you have the boost kit. This increases performance to 8Nm which is a good amount.
If 8Nm feels too weak, you could consider upgrading. However, upgrading to the ClubSport DD at 12Nm, you may not notice a huge difference in strength. In this scenario, it may be worth making a bigger jump to the ClubSport DD+ which offers 15Nm of peak performance.
Below are links to the Fanatec web store for the CSL DD and the new ClubSport DD. I’ll add links to the DD+ when it becomes available to pre-order.
You can use the links below to shop for your favourite sim racing products, or for any products that we may have recommended. These links are affiliate links, and will earn us a small commission, with no additional cost for you.
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