Sim Racing Quick Release Complete Guide
QR (Quick Release) Hubs are required for many sim racing wheels. Here is our complete guide to PCD (Pitch Circle Diameter) and Quick Releases for Fanatec, SimuCube & More!
What is a Quick Release Hub?
A Quick Release Hub is the name given to a hub that sits as the connection point between your wheel base and your steering wheel. It allows you to connect a variety of racing wheels from Fanatec, Cube Controls, Thrustmaster and more to various wheel bases.
Quick releases are a wonderful thing within sim racing. They act as the connection point between your steering wheel and your wheel base, and they allow for wonderful things to happen.
By picking up a quick release, you can start mixing and connecting different brands together. Want to mount a Fanatec steering wheel on a SimuCube base? No problem. Want to attach a Cube Controls steering wheel to a Thrustmaster base? Easy.
Almost everything is possible when it comes to quick releases and adapters. However, there are a few key things you need to ensure you get right before buying one. The main two things you need to check when buying a quick release are, does it connect to your wheel base, and does the PCD match your steering wheel.
What is PCD and why is it important?
PCD stands for Pitch Circle Diameter and is the measurement of the mounting points for your steering wheel. Every steering wheel, including those meant for real-world use, will be designed to a specific PCD.
The most common PCDs are 6 x 70mm and 3 x 50.8mm, but there are a variety of other sizes available.
To break down how a steering wheel bolt pattern (PCD) is measured. The first number indicates how many mounting points there are. With a 6 x 70mm PCD, there are 6 holes to mount your steering wheel onto the quick release.
The second number is the diameter. Again, using the 6 x 70mm PCD example, the diameter would be 70mm. This is the diameter of the circle which would pass through each of the mounting holes.
Below are some of the most popular brands and the PCD which each of them uses;
- Fanatec – 6 x 52mm PCD
- Cube Controls – 3 x 50.8mm PCD
- Ascher Racing – 6 x 70mm PCD
- Precision Sim Engineering – 3 x 50.8mm PCD
While a 6 x 70mm PCD is widely used as the standard across motorsport, you will often find brands like to do their own thing. Some brands stray away from the 6 x 70mm format, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fit different sized PCD’s together. You just have to be creative.
There is a wide range of adapters and hubs which allow for different PCD size fitments to come together. For example, the Cube Controls Universal Quick Release features both 50.8mm and 70mm fitments. This allows it to accommodate different sized fitments.
There is also a whole rack of third party adapters which combine fitment diameters allowing different brands to accommodate each other.
Do I need a Quick Release?
If you are trying to mount a steering wheel onto a wheel base of a different brand you will certainly need a quick release or an adapter. This is because most brands will try to keep you within their ecosystem. Or in the case of some of the higher-end wheel bases, they would like you to use their own quick release hub.
Quick releases also come in extremely handy if you have multiple steering wheels. They allow you to fully detach and interchange steering wheels relatively quickly.
How Fanatec Quick Releases work
Fanatec is one of the brands which likes for you to stay within their own ecosystem. They have a large number of steering wheels and a decent selection of wheel bases, as well as their own quick release product.
The Fanatec QR-1 quick release allows you to mount any compatible Fanatec steering wheel to any Fanatec wheel base. It is a wheel side quick release, meaning it hard mounts directly to your steering wheel.
The idea is that you hard mount the QR-1 to your steering wheel of choice using the M5 bolts supplied. Then your steering wheel is ready to be mounted to your wheel base. Simply line up the quick release with the steering column and connect.
This is an extremely simple to use quick release, and one which works well when you are using Fanatec and Fanatec together. But what happens if you want to use a different steering wheel with your Fanatec wheel base?
How to mount a non-Fanatec wheel to a Fanatec base
When it comes to mounting a non-Fanatec wheel to your Fanatec wheel base, there are a few methods. The first method is also the easiest and requires you to purchase another piece of Fanatec hardware, the Podium Hub.
Fanatec won’t simply allow you to mount any steering wheel to the QR-1 quick release. If the wheel base detects that you aren’t using a Fanatec steering wheel it simply won’t enable force feedback.
However, Fanatec released the Podium Hub to overcome this, and allow you to mount any steering wheel including real-world steering wheel rims. The Podium Hub handles the electronic side of the steering wheel detection which allows force feedback activation through your wheel base.
Simply connect your steering wheel of choice to the Fanatec Podium Hub, and connect that to your Fanatec wheel base.
Steering Wheel -> Podium Hub -> Fanatec Wheel Base
The Podium Hub includes the QR-1 quick release, meaning you won’t need to purchase that separately.
This setup will allow you to mount any steering wheel including those from Cube Controls and Ascher Racing to a Fanatec wheel base such as the DD1 or DD2. You could also mount a real-world wheel rim such as a Sparco or Momo rim.
How do I use a quick release with Fanatec?
As mentioned above, Fanatec quick releases are incredibly simple to use. Currently, there are two different types of quick release that Fanatec has.
You can purchase a QR-1 quick release which is their go-to quick release hub. But there is also a simplified quick release that comes with some newer Fanatec wheels. This simplified quick release is called the QR1 Lite.
How to use the Fanatec QR-1
The QR-1 is Fanatec’s current quick release system, however, there is a QR-2 in development. But until then, the QR-1 does a decent job serving as a quick release.
- Hard mount the QR-1 to your steering wheel using the supplied bolts.
- Line up the quick release with the motor shaft of your wheel base.
- Slide the quick release onto your wheel base.
To release your wheel, simply pul the circular tabs towards you and then pull the wheel off.
How to use the Fanatec QR1 Lite
The QR1 Lite is a simplified quick release. It isn’t built as sturdily as the QR-1 and is a much more budget option. But it does the job just as well.
- Simply hard mount the QR1 Lite to your steering wheel using the bolts supplied.
- Then line up the QR1 Lite with the shaft on your wheel base.
- Slide the QR1 Lite onto the motor shaft.
- And finally rotate the quick release until you can no longer see the unlock symbol.
To remove your wheel, rotate the quick release until you reach the unlocked position, and then pull your wheel towards you.
Using a quick release with SimuCube
All SimuCube wheel bases come with their own quick release hub, called the Simucube Wheel Side Quick Release. This is a pretty rock solid quick release that will fit a variety of steering wheels. It has both 70mm and 50.8mm bolt patterns allowing for a wide range of compatible steering wheels.
You can use other quick release systems with SimuCube wheel bases, although it isn’t recommended. The SimuCube Wheel Side Quick Release is a solid piece of kit which allows for almost any steering wheel to be mounted.
Using a quick release with Thrustmaster
Thrustmaster wheel bases have a unique quick release system, much like Fanatec. However, you can easily fit steering wheels from different brands using a simple 3D printed adapter.
The Thrustmaster “quick and easy wheel changing system” as they call it, features four distinctly shaped slots, with one being larger than the other three. This is the connection point to where Thrustmaster steering wheels connect to Thrustmaster wheel bases.
To fit a third party wheel, you can simply purchase a 3D printed adapter that features this same internal mounting pattern. These come in a range of PCD sizes, most commonly 6 x 70mm. The adapter below accommodates 6 x 70mm and can be found here.
Which Thrustmaster wheels have a quick release?
Some Thrustmaster wheel bases aren’t compatible with their quick release system. Only their mid-level and premium servo wheel bases allow for use of the quick release. These include;
All of the Thrustmaster wheel bases above allow for add-on steering wheels to be attached. These Thrustmaster wheel bases also allow for third party steering wheels if you’re using an adapter like the one shown above.
Using a quick release with Logitech
Logitech wheel bases aren’t designed to be used with products from other brands. Their wheelbase such as the G923 comes pre-installed with a steering wheel. But this doesn’t mean you can’t connect a third-party steering wheel to your Logitech G923, G29 or G920.
Much like Thrustmaster above, you can purchase 3D printed adapters that feature both the Logitech attachment on one side and a 70mm PCD on the other side. While adapters like this aren’t necessarily quick releases, they do allow for the attachment of third party steering wheels.
Recommended Quick Releases
Below are a selection of quick releases that I’d recommend for various applications. All of the quick release below are great options. If you are looking for the absolute best quick release for most applications, I’d highly recommend the Xero-Play quick release.
HRS Xero-Play Quick Release V3
THE Xero-Play quick release is widely regarded as one of the strongest quick releases in sim racing. It is constructed from both 6061 grade billet aluminium and stainless steel which allows it to handle extreme forces from the most powerful direct drive wheel bases.
As standard, it comes with 70mm PCD, but you can request 50.8mm PCD when ordering.
If you are looking for a quick release allowing you to switch between various Fanatec wheel bases within the Fanatec ecosystem, there is no real need to look elsewhere. The QR-1 serves the purpose of allowing you to interchange various Fanatec steering wheels with all Fanatec wheel bases.
If you already have a Fanatec wheel base but would like to use a third party steering wheel, you can pick up the Podium Hub. This will allow you to use any third party steering wheel with your Fanatec wheel base.
SimuCube 2 Wheel side QR V2
I mentioned the SimuCube 2 wheel side quick release above in our SimuCube section. And I said how good it was. That is why it is one of my most highly recommended quick releases if you’re using a SimuCube wheel base.
It comes pre-packaged with all SimuCube wheel bases so if you are purchasing either the Sport, Pro or Ultimate you will receive the QR V2. And quite honestly you should have no reason to change it.
Not to be mistaken for the Fanatec QR-1, the QR1 is up there with the most popular quick releases for high-end direct drive sim racing wheels. You can purchase a QR1 with either a 50mm or 70mm PCD allowing you to mount it to a wide variety of steering wheels.
It features an easy to access lever which allows you to very quickly remove your steering wheel or lock it into place. And once it is in place, much like the SimuCube QR V2, you’ll feel no noticeable movement or play.
Cube Controls Universal Quick Release
The Cube Controls Universal Quick Release is very similar in appearance to the QR1. It features a widely similar design with an easy to use lever.
Unlike the QR1 however, the Cube Controls Universal QR features both a 50mm and 70mm PCD as standard on both the wheel side and base side. This gives you the ultimate compatibility out of the box.
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