Direct Drive Wheels – When a fancy Toy Steering Wheel costs more than putting your ass in a Real Car

Forgive me if this post is all over the place, but there’s a few topics I want to address here and I’ll try to cover everything I can under one roof.

To kick things off, Darin Gangi of InsideSimRacing uploaded what’s basically a review of the SimXperience Accuforce Pro Direct Drive Wheel. We have openly voiced our dislike for InsideSimRacing on numerous occasions, but we have to give credit where credit is due – this review kicks all sorts of ass from a viewer standpoint. It was just the right length, covered every single detail about the wheel, and answered every single question that could have possibly popped up when it comes to a relatively new and expensive technology in consumer Sim Racing wheels.

Watch it first if you haven’t already:

I don’t like Darin’s choice of games he used to test the wheel, but I think it’s obvious from reading other entries in this blog that we don’t particularly care for iRacing or Project CARS. What did catch my eye though, was the wheel’s insane price:

priceSim Racers are no strangers to spending money; iRacing’s content and subscription packages can see users shell out upwards of $800 to own all tracks and cars within the popular online racing sim, on top of a yearly $99 subscription fee (but we do have to mention it goes on sale regularly). rFactor 2 has a $40 online subscription, R3E’s content is separated into different packs and “Experiences”, and on the console side we see games like Forza Motorsport 5 allowing you to spend real-world money to cheat a bit and buy cars for your virtual garage if you can’t afford to unlock them the honest way.

So a nearly $2000 toy steering wheel is seen as a bargain by the people who can afford it – they are already used to spending money on everything else and are either too old or out of the loop to realize that’s fucking insane and video games normally don’t cost that much. Nobody seems to acknowledge that at the end of the day, it’s still a toy steering wheel, and you’re still playing pretend race cars. In fact, you’ll even start to see some guys, and Chris has been telling me about this in the Hardware section of iRacing’s forums, that early adopters of these wheels are claiming they’re receiving a performance advantage and “you aren’t a true simmer if you haven’t seen the light of this technology.”

Yet, no cars on iRacing aside from the IndyCar – which lacks power steering, and Dario Franchitti wrote a nice piece breaking down the whole thing here – even warrant a steering wheel with that much torque. In fact, there’s a very real chance people might hurt themselves on these things if they’re not careful.

And you’ll also see in several different forums – the main argument I’m going to make with this post – is that Sim Racers justify these strange pricing models for  both hardware and software as cheaper than real racing.

It’s not.

2015-07-29 16.15.42

For $650, or a third of the price of an Accuforce Direct Drive wheel, you can put your ass in a Stock Car and get a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competition license. Not one of those Richard Petty Driving Experience deals, not one of those SuperCar Ride-A-Long’s you’ll see at your local road course the handful of rich dudes put on with their Ferrari 360 Modena’s the real deal.

And this gets better.


We don’t have a big auto racing scene in Western Canada, as and we lost our IndyCar event because nobody went to the races and people got mad when they found out we used our taxpayer dollars to fund it. Regardless, our lone NASCAR sanctioned track in Alberta has a date on the schedule and there indeed are a group of dedicated drivers who race under the lights every Saturday night once the snow melts.

For $750, you can join them in a car appropriate for a rookie driver, and that’s if you don’t have a couple buddies willing to split the cost of the car and take turns driving so you have a crew, basically bringing your grand total of the whole venture to $1400, $50 cheaper than the Do-It-Yourself Accuforce kit – you know, the “cheap” option:

DIYI ain’t here to tell y’all how to spend your money, but you gotta understand, the more hype I see generated for these expensive Direct Drive wheels, the more I shake my head. If you’ve got the $1700 for a top of the line sim wheel, be sure to explore every other option first. It may be fun to rip around the Nurburgring in a Lotus 49 with the pinnacle of force feedback technology firmly attached to your desk, but for a couple hundred dollars less, you’ll have an infinitely cooler story to tell and an excuse to leave the house on Saturdays.

14 thoughts on “Direct Drive Wheels – When a fancy Toy Steering Wheel costs more than putting your ass in a Real Car

  1. Well, to someone with limited funds, yes, this seems like a foolish way to spend money.

    I’m single with no dependents (unless you count my cat), and I make decent money. I will be buying a DD wheel as soon as I figure out which option is for me, because I can afford to do so without breaking the bank/cashing out my life savings. I think people who make enough money to have some expendable income are the intended market for these wheels, not struggling young adults who may or may not still live with their folks, and are looking to upgrade from a DFGT or G27.

    No offense to any of those types meant at all, I was one for longer than I care to admit…

    LikeLiked by 1 person

    1. Anonymous says:

      People who make enough money to have some expendable income are the intended market of short track racing too.

      LikeLiked by 2 people

  2. Quffy says:

    If you have the instant money for it yea, even if you save some months to get one. A wheel is always reusable every day and in all sims. If you want to upgrade to a better product and want to do DD types of wheel, why not spend this amount on such a package. Especially if you’re getting better pedals.

    These wheels have less heat? Because me spinning hardly the G27 for 10min, will already be hot on top.

    LikeLiked by 1 person

  3. Trimaz says:

    I could understand that if you’ve got the money for these wheels, then knock yourself out, but in reality, how many of the best iRacing members are using wheels like the DFGT, G27 or at best something from Thrustmaster or Fanatec. If these DD wheels are making people faster, then I’d hate to see what their lap times were beforehand.


    1. Quffy says:

      But is not about making you faster. Is to give you a driving experience with equipment closely similar to the quality and forces from a real car. Many iracers are just about clinical competition, their aim isn’t to enjoy the car, is to win win win.
      I play AC and sometimes SCE because I want to enjoy the cars and tracks.

      LikeLiked by 1 person

      1. Exactly. I don’t think for a second that a DD wheel will make me faster. I just want one. Easy. Let’s not overthink this, now…


      2. e123 says:

        Yeah, I don’t honestly believe that it can give a significant competitive advantage, if at all.

        I definitely see the draw in terms of immersion, which can certainly result in better driving. That’s partly a mindset/focus thing, though.

        That said, I doubt I could ever convince myself to buy one, simply because I’m a cheap bastard with regards to wheels.

        Actually, I would probably injure myself with a direct drive. I already get this twinge in my left shoulder after about an hour of intense driving, which results in me driving one-handed down the straights in long races while I stretch… The weird thing is that nothing else causes this twinge, only racing on my toy wheel…

        Hell, one of those wheels would almost certainly destroy my desk anyways, lol.

        So yeah… When you get your direct drive, you should sell me your g27 for my own safety/health.


  4. Chris says:

    I’d love to have one but not for the reasons that everyone wants them.

    1. Which is to run too much ffb because I can and lol no clipping(as stated no cars in iracing would warrant that unless it’s the Indy car)
    2. Pretend it will make them faster
    3. To show everyone else they have it

    I would want it for the 1:1 linearity.

    As I mentioned in my earlier article there is conflicting reports on if the feel is better or the same which is either driver software being too new or iracing so physics.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Every hobby has the gear snobs


  6. ls13coco says:

    It’s not necessarily cheaper to race for real, any series I’d like to get involved with would make laps around the price I pay for a DD wheel, hydro pedals, hydro ebrake, transducers, motion rig, G-seat, VR etc.
    Currently I’m drifting a car I bought for $2200 with a drivetrain I bought for a little over $8000.
    That’s cheaper, right?

    Gas, clutches, rebuilding coilovers, tires, entry fees, oil changes after every event, buying multiple rims for spares, replace rad hoses and I could go on and on.
    I’m already past $15,000 just on my drift car and getting out there drifting.
    I could’ve just used a stock 240 (which go for 3-4K usually now btw) and spent money on coilovers, seat etc but I don’t find joy without power.

    Not to mention my “street” car which will be spending a lot of time on a road course is getting all the upgrades you can shake a fist at to make it a beastly grip car, because not only do I like to race – I like to go fast and have the car look how I want, too.

    My cousin races stock cars and he’s well over that $15,000 price point as well after 6 years. Well over.

    So yes, if you want to be technical you can race for less than the Accuforce.. but there are many levels of racing.

    If you smoked like I did and quit – put the money you save away each month and that’ll pay for your dream sim racing setup in a matter of time, as you put your income towards your real cars.
    With sim racing I just drop in and get lost while I’m not in a real car, with no usage fee other than hydro, whenever I want, for such an unlimited amount of time as it seems these high-end parts are built to reflect their price.

    p.s greetings from western Canada ;)

    LikeLiked by 1 person

    1. Chris says:

      We’re talking about a beater short track street stock not a drift car.


    2. yeah, entry price =/= final cost.
      cars a long term hemorrhage of money. if you’re not replacing tires, your replacing parts you broke.
      that said, i’d prefer to do it then spend extra money on a fancy wheel.

      LikeLiked by 1 person

  7. ls13coco says:

    Oh we are, are we? I see that’s one topic but not all.
    Why was NASCAR Whelen All-American Series even mentioned then?
    It was never specified that putting your ass in a real car meant it had to be for less than an Accuforce.

    Shit, go-karting costs much more than an Accuforce and that’s on another level than a beater short track street stock.
    I also brought up the mini-stock that my cousin races, that purchase may not cost much but the parts, labor and fees sure beat down the cost of an Accuforce

    LikeLiked by 1 person


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