Until not too long ago it was quite difficult to buy a solid sim rig in formula style. Fortunately, today the range of rigs with a formula position is a bit wider than it was at the beginning of 2020. Previously, as a big fan of formula cars, you quickly ended up with the Playseat or putting together a rig with a formula position yourself. But a sturdy rig made of aluminum profiles was not really there yet. And if you are not that familiar with aluminum profiles yourself or are just not such a handyman, then that wish for your own formula rig soon stopped.
One of those formula fans who ran into this problem was Jordi Bouman, the mastermind behind Formula Sim Rigs (FSR) and the FXU. Luckily for the rest of us, Jordi is a Mr. Fix-It and got some extra time to put into his new project thanks to the COVID pandemic.
Formula Sim Rigs (FSR)
Despite Formula Sim Rigs being from The Hague in the Netherlands, it has a huge Italian vibe about it. How this happened? That can be summed up in two words, which are “Pure passion”! We from SRB were invited to visit the workshop. Here we met a very passionate man who wants to go for nothing less than perfection. And to be honest, the FXU is a real beauty to see, but we’ll talk about that later. Like many large companies today, FSR started in a small garage/storage room. Here Jordi mainly sawed the profiles himself and packed them for shipment to the customer. This sometimes caused the demand to become too great to be able to deliver quickly. However, in addition to passion, customer satisfaction is also very important and as a result of this a temporary order stop was introduced, so that the people who ordered could still receive their rig on time and new customers were not surprised with unnecessarily long waiting times. Fortunately, things are much smoother these days. Thanks to the success of the rig, FSR has moved to a larger location and more staff are available to make sure every FXU gets out the door on time and in good shape.
Because Formula Sim Rigs wanted SRB to be the first to review the rig, the FXU was made available to us. When you see the FXU, the first impression is nothing less than just “wow”. Due to the low seating position combined with the Luso RCC MK8-1S Formula Seat, this cockpit has a very aggressive appearance, especially emphasized by the black aluminum profiles. However, it doesn’t quite stop there. One of the unique features that gives this rig an extra charm are the colored accents. In addition to the standard gray corner brackets, there is the option to have them delivered in black, red or blue for to create your own look.
However, it is not only the looks that give the FXU its special character. If you take a closer look you will quickly discover a few nice features that show that this sim seat has been developed with the customer’s experience in mind. If the black aluminum profiles are chosen, it is immediately apparent that they do not have the same smooth structure as the standard profiles. The profiles of FSR are provided with a strong layer of powder coating. While building and adjusting the rig you may occasionally scratch or damage your brand new profiles, preventing your new rig from having the flawless look you had hoped for. By means of this extra protective layer the chance of damaging the aluminum profiles is minimized with the FXU, so that you can be sure that it is in top condition when you finish building. This scratch resistance does not only apply to the aluminum part of the rig, there is also an option for extra protection of the seat itself. The Luso RCC MK8-1S Formula Seat is undoubtedly one of the nicer formula style seats on the market. However, since this is a chair without any padding or cushioning, there is a chance that it can eventually get damaged by, for example, the metal pieces of your jeans. FSR gives you the option to get the seats covered with Line-X. With what? Line-X, it’s a protective coating that is often used to protect the trunk of a pick-up against damage from tools and brute force. Besides the fact that your seat is extra protected by this, it also creates a matte finish that fits nicely with the profiles. If you prefer the glossy seat, it is of course also possible to order the chair without Line-X.
The last feature that is standard on all FXUs is perhaps the most beautiful feature. This feature is the built-in seat slider. Using a proprietary system, it is possible to position the seat at different intervals from the pedals without having to put in any effort at all. This sliding system is equipped with 9 positions that have a 2 cm spacing between them (so 18 cm in total). So if you often have friends over, then in combination with the Pedal Slider you can ensure that everyone is in a comfortable position (and make sure they can’t blame the seating position for disappearing in your rear view mirror). If you don’t feel comfortable in either of the 9 positions, the bracket can be moved forward or backward seamlessly to a position that suits you.
The FXU is available starting at €847.00 for the gray model without seating and €1243.88 with the seat. However, we do recommend that you take the seat with it because the rig is specially built around it. Then there is a whole list of options that you can choose from to configure the rig completely to your liking. Think of the previously mentioned powder coating, colored brackets and the Line-X coating for your seat. However, you can also choose between the height adjustable feet or caster wheels carrying the rig, the type of wheel deck you want, the size of the seat and whether you want the headrest included.
The rig we have in our photos is the black powder coated version with red brackets, fixed “height adjustable feet”, an ultimate wheel mount for the Simucube base, an XL seat with Line-X coating and without the headrest. At the time of writing, this setup costs €1572.92. Furthermore, the FXU in the photos is equipped with the Simucube 2 Pro Direct Drive wheelbase with the Cube Controls Formula Pro steering wheel in combination with the MECA CUP1 pedals.
Delivery and contents
In total we received 2 seperate FXUs. In our case, both FXUs were delivered to home by Jordi himself. Wayne received his FXU pre-built, so it was already assembled by Formula Sim Rigs, and was able to lift it from the bus and install it. Robert received the FXU in parts and was to assemble it himself. This delivery included one long box with the beautiful, black powder-coated 40/160 side profiles that form the base for the rig, and also one very large box containing the other black profiles, red brackets, mounting materials, wheel deck, pedal deck and of course also the Luso RCC MK8-1S Formula Seat.
When opening the boxes, the first thing that you notice is that everything is packed as tightly and, from a spatial point of view, as efficiently as possible. Most boxes are labeled so you know what’s inside, or simply speak for themselves. All aluminum profiles are wrapped with packaging film and bubble wrap and are also numbered, which proves to be very useful later on when building. Smaller separate boxes contain all the necessary brackets and mounting materials. Bags with mounting parts for the wheel deck, pedal deck, the seat mounting and extra cover caps for finishing are all separately labeled, which provides a great overview in an enormous amount of materials. Last but not least, there are two bags that are filled with t-slot nuts and bolts. With all the boxes unpacked and all materials and parts in sight, we could start assembling the FXU!
After printing out the construction manual that FSR sent us, we started preparing for assembly. What we would’ve liked was an overview, prior to the actual building instructions, which shows which numbered parts and materials you should have available, including how many units you should have of each part, et cetera. Similar to a Swedish assembly kit, so to speak. This would give you the opportunity to double check that everything is complete before you start assembling, so that you don’t run into surprises later if you do miss a part. This would not have been a luxury with a (relatively) complex rig like the FXU. Also a short bit on how to assemble profiles together and how to fit and remove t-slot nuts would’ve been a nice bonus for those who have not worked with aluminum profiles before. Fortunately, one text to Roy, who has of course already built the necessary simrigs, was enough to get this question answered so that the assembling could start quickly. It soon became apparent that assembling aluminum profiles is actually not rocket science.
The manual itself is divided into several chapters. With each chapter you will first see an illustration of which part you are going to assemble. Then it follows which numbered profiles you need and where a bracket should be placed. The nuts and bolts are not mentioned here, which can be difficult at first if this is your first build and you don’t know how t-slot nuts work, but after that it will show itself. You start by assembling the base frame, followed by the four vertical 40/120 profiles for the wheel and pedal deck, these are all easy to prepare and put together. This is followed by the assembly of the two-piece frame with slider for the Luso seat. It took a while to figure out where exactly the parts of the sliders were meant to go, since no distances or indications are mentioned in the manual. Fortunately, the illustrations were accurate and it was possible to deduce where they should go, after which we measured a few things ourselves so that we could fix it symmetrically on both sides. This turned out to be a good guess in our case. Then you slide the frame, on which the actual seat will be mounted on later, into the frame below. After this it becomes one adjustable frame. An extra pair of hands would come in handy when placing this seating frame in the base frame of the rig, but it is also doable on your own if you use a few thick books to support the profiles that need to be mounted higher up. Then place a nut everywhere, a bolt through it to keep it in place and then tighten everything.
Placing the Luso RCC MK8-1S seat in the frame was a first small challenge. This needs to be secured with six bolts, which means that we had to place and remove the seat a number of times to determine where the t-slot nuts had to go and continue to align and measure them until all six were in the correct position. For this, a measurement or indication in the manual would have been a nice bonus, but with a little insight it works itself out. Once everything was aligned, mounting the seat was a breeze.
After placing the seat, two things remain; the wheel deck and pedal deck. The pedal deck is put together easily and mounting the, in our case, Fanatec CSL Elite pedals went fine, which is best done before you put the pedal deck in the rig. Here too, a number of thick books is not a luxury. At first it is a tad difficult to determine where the pedals should end up. This was reason enough for us to first move on to the Universal Wheel Deck to determine where the wheel will go and adjust the pedals afterwards. From here on out it is mainly trial & error so a lot of sitting, adjusting the wheel and pedals, and sitting again to finally determine a position that suits you. The great thing is that you can adjust everything, in our case this means that we eventually tilted the pedal deck rather than keep it horizontally to create a good position with the CSL Elite pedals, which lean back a bit by nature, and also mounted the wheel deck at an angle to compensate for the sloping base of the CSL Elite Wheelbase so that the steering wheel is pointed straight at you.
We were able to use the FXU for a while to get a good sense of it. Due to the fact that we are built different, we have tested 2 separate configurations of the FXU. One rig had fixed height adjustable feet and an XL seat, while the other rig had caster wheels and the standard sized seat.
Wayne, 1.85m, 80kg and chest circumference of 102cm had the rig with the XL seat and the fixed height adjustable feet. At 1.85m, adjusting the FXU was a bit of a challenge. For the real formula position your legs are almost straight in front of you while you have the steering wheel relatively far towards you, which meant that quite a distance had to be covered. Because you lie down, the steering wheel is approximately at the height of your chin. This combination turned out to be a great puzzle where Wayne’s knees kept touching the wheel deck. After a few hours of trying and adjusting, he was finally able to find a position that was authentic and comfortable without pinching the knees. However, the setting options are set to the maximum possible setting. Although we are convinced that this is partly due to the current pedals attached (Fanatec CSL Elite), we do have our doubts whether this rig will suit the taller fellow man (2.00m +). Fortunately, customer service is very well organized and you can shoot them an email and ask if you could get a longer profile to increase the distance between pedals and wheeldeck without a hassle.
Robert has tested the standard/medium version of the seat being 1.70m and 65kg. When configuring the FXU, you receive a message that the standard/medium seat is not suitable for pants sizes above size 31 in width, and we can confirm that. Robert has exactly this size, together with a chest circumference of 96 cm, and the chair actually fits perfectly across all points and offers good fit and support all around the hips, lower back, upper back and towards the shoulders without pinching or causing any pressure points . The fitting is comfortable but tight enough that we would also advise you to go for the XL version of the seat if you have a wider pants size or chest size.
In Robert’s case there were very few hurdles during the adjustment of ther rig. The pedals, steering wheel and seat were all easily adjustable within range of the FXU and there was plenty of room left to move all the parts closer together or further apart. The only downside if you are a bit shorter is possibly the wheel deck, in Robert’s case it is a Universal Wheel Deck with the Fanatec CSL Elite v1.1 wheelbase. The wheel deck is flat, and because the Fanatec CSL Elite has a sloped bottom, you have to mount the wheel deck at an angle to make the steering wheel come straight at you when you sit in the seat. When the steering wheel has to be lowered to be able to look over it, the space for the knees becomes a lot smaller, so there is a chance that you will end up with your knees against the wheel deck. It seems that knee room is always a challenge when setting up a rig with such a hardcore Formula sitting/lying position. Regardless of your height, it’s always a slight struggle to find the perfect adjustments for you that allows you to drive comfortably, but fortunately there are plenty of options to do so.
Once properly adjusted to personal preference, the fun can begin. Despite the fact that there is no padding in the seats, it is actually very comfortable. In both the normal and the XL version you can drive around for hours without suffering from fatigue or pain in your bottoms. In fact; the only downside we could find about the seat is that once you’re in, you don’t want to get out. So you can even enjoy reviewing your own race or just watching F1 on Sunday from the comfort of your seat. Due to the low seating position, it is also possible to put your drink, keyboard or mouse next to you on the floor. However, this low sitting position also presents a small challenge. Certainly for people who have not been in the FXU before, it can be a bit of a struggle to get in. As you get in and out more often you do get the hang of it and you slide into the seat without any effort. A small tip is to slide the seat all the way back to create some space, position yourself in the seat and then slide yourself forward and lock into the desired position. Wayne himself has chosen to raise his cockpit on a podium to make the entry even easier. Robert has caster wheels under the FXU so that it can be rolled under a desk. At first we were a little hesitant that the caster wheels would roll or give way when getting in and out and during heavy braking and steering actions. However, this turns out not to be the case at all. The wheels are surprisingly stable when you put them on the brakes and make the whole FXU feel very solid and sturdy, and it also stays in place while sitting down or getting out. At the same time, the wheels glide over the floor effortlessly when you don’t have them on the brakes and these are therefore an ideal option if you occasionally want to move the rig.
We unanimously agree that the FXU is definitely a great rig. With a starting price of € 1243.88, it is a bit on the more expensive side compared to other cockpits. However, you also get a lot in return! Besides the fact that this cockpit looks absolutely fantastic, techniques have also been applied to ensure that it can take a slight beating. The fact that the rig can be completely customized to your own taste thanks to the various options certainly adds to the appeal that the FXU has. I think we can honestly say that the FXU can be considered the Ferrari of formula style sim rigs. FSR’s service is also excellent and you can always contact them with special wishes or requests. Finally, the position in the seat combined with the seating comfort ensures that this rig should be on the wish list of every lover of formula sim racers.
Want to configure your own FXU Rig? Then you can do so on https://www.formulasimrigs.com/.