By Mike Smith
MOZA Racing has entered the growing mid-tier sim racing hardware market. Here is my review of their R9 wheelbase and GS wheel.
MOZA Racing are targeting the entry-level direct drive market with their R9 wheelbase and GS wheel. They are designed for the emerging market of sim racing hardware aimed to bring direct drive technology into a lower price tier.
GS Wheel Features
Spoiler: GS Wheel video reviewMOZA’s GS wheel is a GT-style wheel loaded with many features sim racers seek out. A 5mm thick carbon fiber face is flanked by two Alcantara hand grips. Magnetic shift paddles and dual analog clutch paddles join a heavy-duty wireless quick release at the rear of the wheel. The front of the wheel is equipped with 10 lighted buttons, two rotary dials, five 12-position knobs and two joysticks.
The wheel measures 300mm in diameter and includes a tachometer light bar across the top of the face. Colours for the light bar and the lighted buttons can be customized in the included Pit House software.
R9 Wheelbase Features
Spoiler: R9 Wheel Base video reviewThe R9 wheelbase is MOZA’s newest PC-only base. Its motor features a peak torque rating of 9Nm and is housed in a black or white aluminum casing measuring 240mm x 157mm x 124mm.
Bolts are included for hard mounting onto a wheelbase plate, but MOZA also offers desk and side mounting accessories for the R9 via their website. The Pit House software allows you to control the force feedback strength and detail, plus save individual game profiles. In addition to the PC software, the wheelbase can also be controlled from a phone app.
Driving with the R9 and GS wheel combination is an impressive experience. While the 9Nm motor won’t allow the wheelbase to reproduce the sharpness of upper tier bases such as the Simucube or Fanatec Podium units, the force feedback detail is still excellent and there is enough strength to keep most sim racers happy.
Tuning the force feedback feel to your liking is easy with the Pit House software. Effects and strength are tuned using a slider-based GUI, and custom profiles can be saved. Additionally, firmware updates are completed with a single click in the software.
Games may need to be configured for full functionality, which can be accomplished with one click in Pit House. I tested the R9 and GS across a variety of racing sims including Assetto Corsa, Assetto Corsa Competizione, Automobilista 2 and rFactor 2. In each case the level of force feedback detail available was impressive. From a soft rumble of a road surface to strong, staccato jolts of hitting walls or launching over high curbing, the MOZA solution performs well.
The wheelbase remains cool and quiet, and shaft showed no flex even under heavy use. The 4 bolts used to mount the base to my wheel plate kept the unit firmly planted. Its wireless power and data transfer to the wheel is impressively latency free, and there was no indication of lost communication or missed inputs between the wheel and wheelbase.
The GS wheel feels rock-solid under race conditions. Its heavy-duty quick release nicely complemented the overall robust build quality of the wheel and gives an impression of being an automotive product rather than a gaming accessory. The lighted tachometer bar is bright and gives a clear indication of when to shift even in a well-lit room. The ten backlit buttons on the wheel are softer to depress than I’d like, but they do offer a pronounced click when fully pressed. The dials, knobs and joysticks are similar in grade to the backlit buttons; the clicks are definite and audible, but the action going between settings on the dials and knobs feels less pronounced.
The best and worst points of the R9/GS experience both relate to the pricing structure. On a positive note, the R9 is an impressive value. The peak power to cost ratio ranks among the best available in all of sim racing. With a suggest price of $439, the R9 is far from the cheapest wheelbase option in sim racing, but relative to the entry-level direct drive market the R9 is an outstanding value.
However, the pairing of the R9 with the GS wheel in marketing is a strange step for MOZA to take. The GS’ feature-rich design and corresponding $499 price tag make it overqualified it for the budget minded sim racing consumer. A more cost-conscious wheel offering to pair with the R9 may have turned a lot more heads in the budget direct drive market. Similarly, those looking to use MOZA Racing pedals with their wheel and wheelbase will be facing a $499 price for the only set currently available.
MOZA Racing’s R9 and GS products are a great option for sim racers looking for the added strength and force feedback detail offered by direct drive technology without spending the money necessary for a Simucube or Fanatec Podium grade solution.
The R9 can’t compete with higher-end direct drive products, but it comfortably outperforms gear and belt driven options from Logitech and Thrustmaster like the G923 and T300. It offers great force feedback quality and excellent customization options thanks to the Pit House software.
The GS wheel has a very solid build quality and impressive features. The feel of the buttons, dials and knobs is only average, but the carbon fiber face, Alcantara grips, magnetic shifters and bright tachometer bar easily outshine any shortcomings of the button feel.
There is an evident mismatch between the target market of the R9 wheelbase and the GS wheel. Consumers on a budget will find the R9 a tempting option relative to its competitors, but will likely experience some sticker shock from the supported MOZA wheels. Let’s hope to see an entry-level wheel come to market soon.
The MOZA Racing R9 wheelbase and GS wheel were provided free of charge for this review, though no script or required talking points were provided.
- FFB quality
- Wheelbase price
- Tuning software
- Feature-rich wheel
- Wheelbase / wheel price point mismatch
- No console compatibility
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MOZA Racing Brand Store
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