Moza Racing exploded onto the sim racing scene out of nowhere with a complete ecosystem including pedals, wheels, wheelbases, and accessories, all at a price point which takes aim directly at Fanatec’s market share (at least for PC users).
We were recently sent the Moza R9 “entry-level” Direct Drive Wheel Base, providing 9NM of peak torque, along with the GS Steering wheel. Both of which look to be direct competitors to the Fanatec CSL DD, GT DD Pro wheelbase, and Fantec Formula V2.5 wheel
Due to its obvious similarities to the Fanatec CSL DD and GT DD Pro, we’ve gone into huge detail in this review series to see just how the MOZA R9 and GS wheel compare to their Fanatec counterparts.
Beginning with a close look at the hardware, we’ll take you through the features and build quality, including an inspection of the internals.
After having a look at a pre-production unit of the stronger R16 back in November 2021, we were a little concerned about a few quality control issues that we came across, such as a pinched wire in the back of the motor assembly.
However, we were instantly impressed by the R9 wheelbase and GS Steering Wheel as soon as we took them out of the box.
The R9 is a small unit with high build quality. While sharing a similar design to the CSL DD it is considerably smaller. This is a great benefit when it comes to mounting, especially for those planning to use the optional desk mount. The small footprint and absence of cooling fans at the rear, allow you to get your monitor nice and close to the wheel. Depending on your monitor setup, this can add a huge amount of immersion to your system compared to larger wheelbases.
Fanatec CSL DD vs Moza R9
MOZA GS Steering Wheel Circuitry
We would however like to see a more versatile solution for mounting the R9 wheelbase, such as a front or side mount directly incorporated into the unit itself.
A close look at the internal build quality of both the R9 Wheel Base and GS Steering wheel reveals a very good build quality with good components, sensible design choices and refined execution. The internal build quality of these MOZA units is very similar and at least equal to that of the Fanatec CSL DD and GT DD Pro.
Another big pro for MOZA is their superior Quick Release system to that of the Fanatec ecosystem, which is derived from the NRG style quick release system found in many real life race cars. MOZA Racing have used the same style Quick Release as you find with SimMagic which is our current favorite OEM Quick Release system of any current ecosystem with its ease of use and proven reliability and strength, and the MOZA implementation is equally as good. With only the slightest amount of flex apparent when intentionally forcing the wheel up and down you can be sure this quick release will be rock solid while driving and provide a very simple way of hot-swapping wheels, with no risk of damage to any of your gear.
The GS Steering wheel is a similar build quality to what you find on the Fanatec Formula V2.5 wheels. There is no significant twist or creaking in our sample, and the overall finish is refined and attractive, making it a bit of gear you will be proud to have front and centre on your rig.
At 300mm in diameter, it is an extremely versatile wheel that will suit GT3 and Formula cars equally well. You will not struggle to drive any genre of vehicle with this size wheel unless of course, you need the wheel to spin freely in your hands as in drifting or rally.
This is another tick for MOZA against Fanatec as the only Formula style rims currently in the Fanatec range are significantly smaller at 270mm. In our opinion that is too small for anything but very high downforce fast cars like Formula 1.
Fanatec does have the 300mm McLaren GT3 V2 wheel which is well suited to Formula and GT3 cars. It is also significantly cheaper, and hence is not nearly as high quality as the MOZA GS Steering Wheel.
The buttons and encoders have a high quality construction with a nice feel and it is great to see 2 thumb encoders included, which have a nice solid click to them to ensure you will never change a parameter in-car unless intended.
We did run into 2 issues when it came to the wheels implementation in-game.
Firstly the analogue joysticks, while definitely an anolgue stick mechanically, were not detected on the PC as an analogue stick. You can switch between button mode, meaning the game detects them as a regular button, or D-Pad mode, meaning the game detects it as a D-Pad, but both modes are digitial in that they are either on or off with no gradient. This could be a problem depending on what you intend to use them for.
We also found the analogue paddle to be quite glitchy in-game, with what appeared to be a very low sample rate causing jumpy detection. This did result in it being a little difficult to use the paddle as a dual-clutch, or throttle and brake as you do not have the precision required for those functions. We presume these issues can be fixed in future software/firmware updates.
The Moza Pithouse software is a neat and tidy package that is simple to use and gives intuitive control of all your MOZA Racing gear in one place.
While there are not as many parameters available to dial in your Force Feedback as some other brands, what we have is very effective. This makes Pithouse a very approachable piece of software that is not as intimidating as some more complex wheelbase packages. This gives you the confidence to play around with settings and dial in your FFB to your liking without feeling overwhelmed. The mobile app is a helpful tool to make adjustments on the fly without the need to alt-tab across to the pithouse software from your Sim.
Our initial impressions of driving the MOZA R9 with default settings were somewhat underwhelming as the Force Feedback was quite vague. In very little time we were able to fine-tune the wheelbase, which completely transformed the experience. We found that we were able to match the feeling of the Fanatec CSL DD and GT DD pro very closely with similar characteristics of smoothness, responsiveness, texture and detail. This was also pleasingly consistent across a range of sim titles including iRacing, Assetto Corsa, Assetto Corsa Competizione, Automobilista 2, Dirt Rally 2 and F1 2021.
The GS steering wheel feels very solid when driving. the 300mm diameter suits a large range of driving styles, and the layout of buttons and encoders works intuitively and comfortably so you can keep your eyes on the road at all times.
The only real problem we experienced while driving with the GS Steering wheel was the choppy input from the analogue paddles. This definitely had an impact on the in-game use of the paddles to the point where they are not really usable as analogue controls. Hopefully, this can be resolved through a software update in the future, but we can not be sure of that at this stage.
Make sure you watch part 3 of our review series to get a complete understanding of exactly how we think the MOZA ecosystem compares to the Fanatec range, and whether or not the R9 Wheelbase and GS Steering Wheel are worthy alternatives to the Fanatec CSL DD, GT DD Pro, and Formula wheels.