Guide: Sim Racing Steering Wheel

In Ulvespill we have gamers that like playing racing or car-related games on different levels. Some of us have taken this to the next level, by buying steering wheels to use as our preference in racing games. I alone have owned three different types of wheels each in different tiers.

My last upgrade was switching from Logitech G29 to Thrustmaster T300 RS, which gave me an idea to compare those two, pros and cons side to side. To maybe help you to decide what you want if looking for an entry-level sim wheel.

To begin I should start with why you should switch over to a steering wheel to play racing games, how beneficial it is and how it takes it to the next level. (Disclaimer here, we are not saying that you have to use a wheel to enjoy racing games or that people that uses wheels are better gamers)

It is a lot of fun, obviously, it is a completely different feeling holding a steering wheel between your hands than a controller. It allows for much more accuracy than a controller ever could and brings an immersion that lifts the gameplay massively. The steering wheel gives you information with its force feedback that the vibration controllers often have can’t replicate. From the traction, understeer, and surface it changes how you drive. For me at least, it changed massively how I drive (not saying better) and how much car setup actually makes a difference in games, and is essential in the more sim heavy racing games. But, also how I changed in the way I would use the car. If I use the Forza series as an example, which is one of the most entry-level sim racing with more roots to an arcade racer.  Usually, I would heavily rely on e-brake and drifting to come through corners and make the cars as insanely as fast as possible. Drifting is easy with a controller since the steering is done with a joystick and can easily go from lock to lock with just your thumb.

But with a wheel, it is a completely different ball game since now everything the cars want to do makes you fight the wheel. The first month I had to learn the game again, oversteering happened all the time or I just spun out. I simply couldn’t control the car and felt my favorite game become too difficult to play. But after months of practice and tweaking of settings (which I will come back to later) and learn how to make the car behave well it made me love it even more.

But now it is time for the actual wheels.

So I’ve chosen the G29 and T300 RS, because firstly those are two of the wheels I have owned or currently using but also because both are a great wheel, to begin with. Much of the things I will be talking about applies to the G920 and TX also as they are the Xbox equivalent of the same wheels. While G29 and T300 RS are compatible with PS3, PS4, and PC.

Price

There are some differences between them and what you get in the package.

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This is all in the G29 box

Logitech wheels sell for around 170 – 200$ but often can be found on sale, what you then get is the wheel and 3 pedal set (acceleration, brake, and clutch) For 50$ extra you can buy the Logitech shifter add on that is compatible on both G29 and G920. It is definitely worth it and in my mind is essential to the package.

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T300 RS standard edition

On the Thrustmaster side, there is a lot of options but could end up a bit more expensive. You have the base T300 RS selling for 290$ which contains The wheel and a 2 pedal set (acceleration and brake) A strong benefit with Thrustmaster is that almost all parts are a part of the Thrustmaster Cycle, which makes a lot of the add ons available to be switched and used on each other. So for 100-160$, you can buy the T3PA or T3PA PRO add-on which then gives you a 3 pedal set, while the PRO version gives you the option to switch between F1 (standard for both) or GT style (upside down). Then if you want a shifter you can buy the TH8A shifter for 160$ that can be used as a 7 gear H pattern or sequential shifter.  But it doesn’t stop here, there is a ton of wheels that you can buy to switch out. Everything from wheels with different logos, to the button layout or F1 style. But that I would rather put in the category luxury extra rather than essential. There is one more base package and that’s the T300 RS GT edition which contains T300 RS wheel Gran Turismo Edition (cosmetic changes) and the T3PA with special plates on the pedals. It sells for about 320-350$ which in a way gives you the same package as the G29.

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Thrustmaster T3PA Pedals

Verdict

To summarize from a price point the T300 RS GT gives you the most value if you want Thrustmaster, but if talking about price the G29 is much more affordable while getting the same in the box.

So winner by simply a price point and what you get Logitech gets the point.

Specification Comparison

Model Logitech G29 Thrustmaster T300 RS
Mechanism Gear Drive Belt Drive
Degrees of Rotation 900 1080
Rim Grip Leather Rubber
Shifter 6 gear + R H-pattern  7 gear + R H-pattern and Sequential
Amount of Buttons 20 15

How they are to use

G29: This was my first sim graded steering wheel, which I used for one year and gave me a lot of hours with enjoyment. It is a pretty solid steering wheel, with its leather grip it feels sturdy. The crank gear gives strong steering, but also have a lot of cranking sounds (clipping) if settings aren’t optimized. And there lay one of the wheel’s biggest flaws, it takes a lot of fiddling with the settings to make it feel good. I didn’t play one game where I wouldn’t have to use hours on tweaking and fix settings to optimize. Some games make the wheel so hard and notchy to use that it feels like it will break. But if you take your time, really customize to its fitting it will be a really smooth and great wheel to use. 

Pedals are pretty good and well made, comfortable to use. There is a brake mod to deliver a more realistic feel, but it can make the brake a bit too hard at times. If you don’t have hard mounted it or have something placed behind it to keep it in place, you will often press the pedal so hard that you push the pedals back away from you. So I quickly invested in a wheel stand, so I didn’t need to struggle with the wheel or pedal moving anymore. Put all the struggles aside, and I have to say it is a really good wheel. It is a great place to begin your sim racing adventure, it lifted the experience massively. 

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Logitech Gear Shifter Add On

The Logitech Gear Shifter: While it is an addon I found it as an essential tool, this might depend on what your users are. If you will be driving games with cars that usually use paddle gear shift, it comes as no surprise it isn’t any important. But, if you will be playing rally games or want to be the new drift master it is essential. The shifter itself does what it is supposed to, it is a short shifter made of mostly plastic and rubber. How it feels is kinda mixed, like mentioned it works as it is supposed to. But, the material and the sounds it makes give you that toy-like feeling, and with its short spacing between gears you have to be precise to hit the right gear. It emulates the feeling of driving a manual car, but it can’t deliver something that feels like a real car.

Sidenote: If you own a Logitech G27 already or have at least the old G27 shifter it is also compatible with G29 and G920.

I’m driving like I stole the car, so I’ll definitely need a stable table or frame to keep everything in one place, but also a wheel that can handle all the abuse. the G29 offers this” – Kim

Thrustmaster T300 RS: This is my recent upgrade and the one I have my freshest opinion on. It is so much it does well, but also small details drag down the impression a bit. First off, right out of the box when first plugged in, it felt fantastic to use. The belt-driven gear system delivers a strong smooth and accurate steering. Opposite of its rival the G29, the default settings work well. Also when tweaking the settings it was so much easier to feel the difference, it simply made it more enjoyable to try out different games without worries using hours tweaking the settings on them all. One feature that I really loved was that you can switch the rotation degree on the fly on the wheel itself. Which also made it easy to switch game or even cars in the same game, like from a Toyota GT86 drift car to an F1 formula 900* to 270* degrees. But, the wheelbase itself has some issues with overheating, if using strong force feedback or playing with over a long time. I often felt the smell of warm almost burnt rubber or something, and the fans inside the wheel start to make a lot of noise. A fix for this was that I usually turn down the force a lot, or don’t drive too long sessions with it. The rim while it feels fantastic to hold when racing and gives a good grip, the material feels like it is breaking apart when you start to sweat in your palms (that will happen often) Again easy fix is to use some sort of gloves, it is fashionable, it makes you look cool and not try hard at all. Except for people that see this and think you take racing to serious when you are in fact only trying to take care of your equipment.

“The main reason I got myself a wheel, was to play F1 2019. And Thrustmaster T300RS offered an official Ferrari F1 2011 wheel as an add-on. Customizability is important, and being able to change driving wheels in a matter of seconds was the tiebreaker for me. Never have racing games been such a delight, and with the new wheel, I can finally channel my inner Kimi Räikkönen by the press of a button!” – Eira

If talking about pedals, the 2 pedal set that comes with the regular wheel sucks and should be replaced quickly so we are done talking about them. The T3PA, on the other hand, is just as good as the Logitech pedals, smooth and great to use. Braking is precise, with some tension and with an optional brake mode similar to the Logitech that brings more of the realism. They are an essential upgrade to enjoy the wheel.

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The great TH8A Shifter

TH8A Shifter: This is a shifter that looks and feels like a real shifter, made out of almost all metal. Big gates with a long gear lever deliver precise gear shifter that feels so great to use. With a change of a plate, it can be transformed into sequential shifter perfect for rally racing. There are so many options to how you want to set it up, you can turn the shifter itself 360 degrees. So it can be mounted in any position you want, and the clamps itself are enough to hold it in place but it is an option to hard mount it. It is simply a great gear shifter, but a pricy one. On PC it is actually compatible with any wheel since it uses a USB to connect, so you are not locked to use only Thrustmaster wheels with it. 

“As a guy that likes to go sideways in the corners, drifting like straight out of Ken Block Driving Acadamy. I need a wheel that is smooth and durable,  but also that easily can be used for games that need a little finesse. Rally, F1, GT and Drift you name it, Thrustmaster T300 RS delivers on all of this with its customization.” – Joakim

Pros and Cons

 

Logitech G29

 +Solid Wheel
 +Easy to use
 +Leather Rim
 +Great Pedals
 +More silent than Thrustmaster

 -Difficulty to optimize
-Cranking sounds
-Looking and feels kind of like a toy 

Thrustmaster T300 RS

+Solid and comfortable wheel
+Smooth and precise steering
+
So many parts to add or replace

-Base pedals are pretty bad
-It is an expensive wheel
-It gets hot and loud

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Verdict 

I feel kinda conflicted on this one, while the T300 is so much better in many ways it is simple to recommend that one. How it feels and is to use it is by far the winner, but with its price tag and how much it could end up costing you. It might not be for everyone, it depends on the usage. A good deal is if you find the T300 RS bundle with T3PA or the T300 RS GT if you have the money to use. But, the Logitech G29 that comes with great pedals and is much more affordable with almost half the price. It is the safest purchase if you just want a good wheel to use, without busting the bank. Add the shifter to your purchase, and you are ready to play all sorts of racing games with everything you need.

Winner: Logitech G29

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