For those who don’t know Heusinkveld yet; Heusinkveld is pretty much the most famous pedal developer in the sim racing world. The foundation for the company was laid in 2013. Niels Heusinkveld and Svend van der Vlugt shared their enormous passion for sim racing and had the ambition to professionalize sim racing products. The rest is history. The Heusinkveld pedal sets are world-renowned for their excellent quality and durability. Almost every sim racer has heard or seen the name Heusinkveld at (large) events and fairs. They are also the official supplier of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team and the Williams Esports program. In addition, they are an official partner of Team Redline, which includes Max Verstappen, among others.
A few months ago, Heusinkveld started to excite the community through the various social media channels with a number of teasers. It quickly became apparent that an upgraded version of the classic Sim Pedals Ultimate was coming. When we were approached by Heusinkveld to review the Sim Pedals Ultimate+, we naturally didn’t say no. Although we had known for a while that we were allowed to review this pedal set, we could barely contain our enthusiasm and it was very difficult to keep our mouths shut to our readers.
The Sim Pedals Ultimate+ are available at the time of writing at €1079 for the 2-pedal set and €1329 for the 3-pedal set. You can buy a separate clutch pedal for €250 and the Sim Pedals Ultimate+ Baseplate for €94.
Packaging & Content
In our case, because we were allowed to receive both the pedal set and the baseplate, the UPS delivery person came to our door with one large box containing the two beautiful boxes that only made us more curious about what’s inside. We always like it when attention is paid to packaging, this point has already been more than successful. In the box of the pedals, in addition to the pedal set and the controller, we also find some extra tools, mounting materials and various elastomers. In addition to the baseplate, it’s box also contains mounting material and two sets of brackets, one for horizontal mounting and one for mounting at an angle of 15 degrees. All in all, an extremely well-maintained and complete package, as we are used to from Heusinkveld.
Technique & Quality
The Sim Pedals Ultimate+ are an updated version of the classic Sim Pedals Ultimate. The construction consists of 3mm thick, precision, laser-cut parts with a bead-blasted finish. All edges are neatly finished and there are no sharp edges to feel, which is nice when you are driving wearing socks. The pedals are strong, stiff, compact and durable.
The adjustability is very good, all pedals are infinitely adjustable at an angle of 15 degrees at the back of the pedal, and by moving the foot plates you determine it’s height. On the throttle and clutch pedal you can adjust the travel, force and pre-load. You can also adjust the force curve on the clutch pedal. On the brake pedal you can adjust the pedal resistance and the preload of the spring.
While the overall geometry of the classic Sim Pedals Ultimate has been retained, most of the sub-assemblies have undergone an overhaul and/or redevelopment. Below is a summary of this.
New progressive elastomers
With the Sim Pedals Ultimate+, Heusinkveld has moved away from using standard PU springs on the brake pedal. The new injection molded thermosetting elastomers that are now installed on the brake pedal are a specific development of Heusinkveld. These elastomers provide an unprecedented progressive braking feel, are smooth and responsive with firm bump and rebound properties. Using the tests and measuring equipment developed by Heusinkveld in-house, the conclusion is that these elastomers have no performance degradation, even after a million operating cycles.
Hard and soft elastomers of different lengths are included. You have a total of 9 possible resistance settings on the brake, ranging from extremely hard to very soft. Heusinkveld has also added a knurled knob (as known from the Sprint pedals) on the axle for the elastomers for easy adjustment of the pedal preload.
Improved smoothness and durability
A number of plain bearings have been added to the main load bearing pivots (spring bar pivots) to improve pedal smoothness, reduce unwanted noise and significantly improve pedal durability.
Customized hydraulic dampers
Custom 1-way (throttle) and 2-way (brake, clutch) dampers have been used to simulate the hydraulic damping effect. This form of damping is regularly used on real clutch, brake and (sometimes) throttle pedals. The ability to adjust the amount of damping is still there like on the classic Sim Pedals Ultimate. These new dampers, which have been subjected to extreme durability tests, further increase reliability and maintain their maintenance-free properties. Even in the unlikely event of a damper failure, because Heusinkveld uses a separate load cell to measure force or position, the pedals still retain their core functionality.
Revised sensor mounts
New black mounts made of a more durable material for the load cell actuator have been implemented. These new fasteners replace the former acrylic fasteners and improve long-term reliability.
There are now black powder coated metal coil springs, black brake spring elastomers and black bearings on certain pivots. There is now less variation in color and there are more black accents in the pedal sets which makes the integration of this pedal set on most sim rigs look a lot better.
SmartControl compatible controller
The all-new controller has a new metal housing instead of a plastic housing. The complete pedal system including the electronics has passed the EMC compliance test and guarantees a stable output signal under all conditions. The Sim Pedals Ultimate+ are now powered by Heusinkveld SmartControl. You can easily calibrate the pedals, adjust output curves and deadzones and create, save and share multiple profiles using the Heusinkveld SmartControl software.
The pedal set and base plate are coordinated with good thought given to the design. For example, there is a small opening for the cables at the end of the base plate and you can run the controller neatly at the bottom of it. The cables therefore run neatly at the back of the pedal plate through the opening to the controller, so you have no cables in sight. When it’s all in place, it’s a matter of mounting it on your cockpit, plugging the USB cable into the controller and your PC and you’re ready to go. All in all, we spent a small 30 minutes adjusting the set of pedals and making sure the pedals were at the right distance so that we could operate them comfortably with our feet.
Adjust & Use
Driver installation is not necessary out-of-the-box, the pedals are plug-and-play. As soon as you connect the supplied USB cable, the pedals are recognized in Windows as game controllers without having to install separate drivers.
For configuring, setting and calibrating the pedals, you can download the aforementioned SmartControl software and possibly some standard presets from the Heusinkveld website. The software is not new, Heusinkveld already used this SmartControl for the Sprint pedals. The user-friendliness of this software was one of the reasons why these pedals are so immensely popular. By using the all-new controller on the Ultimate+ pedals, they are also fully compatible with the SmartControl software. Everything can be adjusted visually via the SmartControl software and settings are stored directly in the pedals without having to recalibrate them.
We are pretty much used to setting up pedal sets and so you would say that adjusting is a piece of cake. However, it turns out every time that each brand and/or type needs its own attention.
Because we mounted the Sim-Lab baseplate in combination with a slider with our Sim-Lab P1-X, we did use the Heusinkveld baseplate, but in the end mounted our own baseplate again. Basically, a baseplate is just a baseplate and Heusinkveld’s is especially useful since you can mount the controller at the bottom and leaving you having hardly have any cables in sight. With the supplied brackets you can also mount the baseplate horizontally or at an angle of 15 degrees, which is useful if your cockpit does not have the possibility to make adjustments. If you don’t have a baseplate yet, we can wholeheartedly recommend the included Sim Pedals Ultimate+ Baseplate.
As mentioned, every brand and/or type of pedals needs its own attention, the Ultimate+ pedals are no exception. That is certainly not a bad thing! On the contrary, properly adjusting the pedals will ultimately provide you with comfort and, if done correctly, also performance. Our big advantage is that we have already mounted a decent set of pedals (Heusinkveld Sprint) for daily use and that we were able to set the correct height and angle of the Ultimate+ pedals quite easily by holding the pedals next to each other. We took a few sessions for the rest of the adjustments.
The pedals are calibrated out-of-the-box as standard with a braking force of approx. 80 kg and will work after you assign them in your sim game. Recalibration in SmartControl is only necessary when you adjust the travel of the throttle or clutch pedal, when you make mechanical adjustments to the brake pedal, or when you swap the cables in the controller.
The brake pedal
The brake pedal always needs the most attention. Because the pedal simulates braking force, you want this to be as realistic as possible. In addition, you also have a personal preference, there is no right or wrong in this. In other words, you have to work with the elastomers to generate the right comfort and resistance for you. This ended up being the job that took the most time. By adjusting the resistance you have to recalibrate the pedal. Fortunately, in SmartControl you can only check the pedal that you want to recalibrate so that you don’t have to do all the pedals again. After calibration, you’ll need to do some testing to make sure it feels right and matches what you’re doing on the track.
In our opinion, a point of attention is the end stop (see photo) of the metal bracket that keeps the elastomers in place. In itself, if you just tighten things up properly, the amount of grip that is now present is enough, but for our peace of mind a few millimeters of extra grip would have been slightly better.
The 2-way hydraulic damper on the brake pedal ensures that the pedal can be pressed smoothly but also bounces back just as nicely. The control this gives you when braking to 100%, and then slowly releasing it again, is sublime. Due to the amount of elastomers that are included, the brake pedal of almost any type of car can be simulated. We did notice that the stiffer you adjust the pedal, the less influence the hydraulic damper has on braking.
The throttle pedal
The throttle pedal has undergone some adjustments besides the adjustments of the angle and height. Here we have adjusted the resistance angle, pre-load and travel. By adjusting the resistance angle and pre-load, the throttle pedal reacts nice and directly and presses in smoothly. Because we have reduced the travel, we only have to step on the throttle pedal a few centimeters to reach 100%. By then setting a bottom deadzone you have a little play with your foot and the pedal only responds after you have pressed it 2mm. By setting a top dead zone, you can hold the pedal down a little more comfortably without losing speed.
Unfortunately, Heusinkveld has not solved the bending of the spring, a problem that was also present in its predecessor. If the spring is not positioned correctly (see photos), it will bend to the side. However, this is fairly easy to solve by turning the spring a few degrees until it compresses straight (see photos) when you step on the pedal. Make sure to check regularly that the spring is still in place.
Adding the 1-way hydraulic damper makes pedaling feel smooth. The pedal gives a natural feeling and therefore very good control when accelerating with your virtual race car. Because we have made the travel a little shorter, you don’t have to press the pedal very far, but far enough to be able to dose properly. Together with the reduction of the resistance, this provides a very comfortable feeling, even after a long session.
The clutch pedal
Although we rarely use a clutch pedal ourselves because we prefer a 2-pedal setup, we are still very curious how this pedal performs. We mounted the pedal out-of-the-box and made no further adjustments beyond the pedal angle and pedal height.
The clutch pedal does what it’s supposed to do. The feel is very good, it gives direct feedback and the pedal is very smooth to operate. The pedal has a nice and smooth throw and is equipped with an adjustable mechanism to set the bitepoint of the clutch, which makes the weight fall-off while pressing the pedal, more or less present. With the addition of the 2-way hydraulic damper in the pedal, this delivers a very realistic feel in our opinion.
Although we are very excited about the Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Ultimate+ pedal set, the changes and feel compared to the Sim Pedals Ultimate are not huge. The biggest changes are in the newly designed elastomers and being able to use SmartControl through the newly designed controller. This improves the driving experience and ease of use the most and these are very valuable advantages in our opinion. The other upgrades (bearings, dampers, sensor mounts) mainly improve the long-term durability/wear and aesthetics of the product.
Unfortunately, as with their predecessor, a few points have not been addressed and we think that is a shame. For example, the throttle pedal spring will still bend to the side if it is not positioned correctly. Also, the end stop of the metal brake pedal bracket, which holds the elastomers in place, is still minimal and could have been a few millimeters more for peace of mind.
The Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Ultimate+ Baseplate fits in nicely with the design of the pedal set. The recess for guiding the cables and mounting the controller on the underside of the baseplate makes the whole look very nice and without having any cables in sight. With the supplied brackets you can mount the baseplate horizontally or at an angle of 15 degrees. Like we said, a baseplate is just a baseplate. If you don’t have one yet, we can wholeheartedly recommend the Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Ultimate+ Baseplate.
We said it before, we were very excited when we heard that we could review the Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Ultimate+ and we still are now that we’re done with this review. In our opinion, these are the ‘pedals to beat’!
Have you also become excited after reading our review?! The Sim Pedals Ultimate+ are available through the Heusinkveld webshop. If you already own the classic Sim Pedals Ultimate, you don’t need to upgrade to enjoy all the new features. Heusinkveld has an upgrade kit available for this, including a very good manual and assembly video. Unfortunately, you will not get the beautiful foot plates with the Heusinkveld logo in it.