Simucube 2 Pro Direct Drive wheelbase


Granite Devices, the parent company of the well-known Simcube wheelbases, was founded in 2006 and is based in Finland. It all started with an enthusiastic hobby project from co-founder M.Sc. Tero Kontkanen. Tero Kontkanen was working on a project to build a seriously strong CNC mill / router and wasn’t able to find a suitable servo drive. After a while, he realized that a fully competent AC servo control was possible with just a handful of the latest electrical components and using advanced real-time algorithms. The current Simucube wheelbases were created from this idea and the company is now an established order in the sim racing world.

The Simucube 2 wheelbases are the improved versions of the already popular Simucube wheelbases. They are Direct Drive wheelbases designed by Granite Devices. The Simubcube 2 platform consists of three different models: the Sport, the Pro and the Ultimate. The Sport has a torque of 17Nm, the Pro a torque of 25Nm and the Ultimate a torque of not less than 32Nm. At the time of writing, the recommended retail prices are € 1270.- for the Sport, € 1470.- for the Pro and € 3170.- for the Ultimate. Granite Devices has made the Simucube 2 Pro available to us for testing and reviewing, and we will happily do this with lots of love and fun.

We have extensively tested the wheelbase for over 4 weeks before we started writing this review. This is because we want to make the best possible judgment on the wheelbase. Our test setup consisted of our Sim-Lab P1-X with front mounting bracket and the Cube Controls Formula Pro steering wheel. As software we used rFactor 2, ACC, RaceRoom and F1 2020.

Packaging and Contents

Box to box to box! You read that right, the Simucube 2 Pro is packed in no less than 3 outer boxes. No problem, of course, we like to unbox nice things and this gem arrived well protected. The package was sent on Friday via TNT (the postal service, not the explosive) and we already received it the following Monday. This is very fast from Finland to the Netherlands! In the box we find the power supply, the Simucube 2 Pro wheelbase and a box containing the Quick Release system, the emergency stop, a wireless antenna for the use of a wireless steering wheel, a bag of bolts for mounting and the necessary USB cable to connect the wheelbase to the computer. A nice complete package to get started quickly.

The Simucube 2 Pro wheelbase

The Simucube 2 Pro is a high-end wheelbase. It has a direct driven servo motor without the intervention of a transmission mechanism (gears and / or belts). It is a 10kg heavy device with a housing made from aluminium . The Simucube Pro 2 is really a serious unit with its torque of 25 Nm.

The wheelbase itself is quite simple, once mounted on the front mount you don’t see much of it. That is not bad at all, after all it is about the performance. At the back you will find the power button and connections for the power supply, emergency stop, USB input, antenna connection and an accessory port. In comparison to the previous version of the SC2 Pro, there is 1 power connection less.

For most simracers, the double power supplies with too short cables on the Pro models were always a problem. Granite Devices has listened carefully to the community and provided the most recent model with a single (heavier-duty) power supply with a longer cable. This way you can neatly conceal the power supply under your rig and you will hardly be bothered by the bundle of cables.

The standard supplied emergency stop (kill switch) is a must in our opinion. Due to the enormous amount of power that the SC2 Pro delivers, safety is paramount. If you end up in a crash and the wheelbase would run wild as a result, you can easily cut the full torque from the motor with 1 push of a button.

The Simucube 2 Quick Release

The Simucube Quick Release supports most 70mm bolt pattern steering wheels. It’s a relatively simple design, but it feels very sturdy and solid without any flex or slack. The supplied manual is well illustrated and describes in which situation you should use which parts of the Quick Release. Mounting the QR is fairly simple and only takes a few minutes. There are many different QR alternatives on the market but we have to say that the Simucube QR system works fine and until now we see no need to switch to an alternative.

A new addition to the Simucube 2 is built-in support for the Simucube Wireless Wheel system. The Simucube Wireless system allows you to use a compatible steering wheel to connect to the wheelbase, without the need for a cable or a second USB port. There are already various compatible steering wheels on the market from, for example, Cube Controls and Ascher Racing. We have not tested the Wireless Wheel system ourselves because we do not have a compatible steering wheel. If we can believe the different experiences within the simrace community, this system works flawlessly.

Simucube True Drive software

True Drive is a driver and configuration software for all Simucube 2 devices. True Drive is required to configure and use Simucube 2. Simucube’s software has a nice and simple user interface. The software does not need to be installed either, you download the package and unzip it in a folder of your choice. After that, you just need to run the .exe file, that’s all to use the software.

When the wheelbase is turned on, you will immediately be notified that a firmware update is required. This is pretty self-explanatory, follow the instructions and let True Drive install the firmware. Once the firmware is installed, the wheelbase will reboot and you will need to recalibrate the center of the steering wheel. After these steps, your Simucube wheelbase is ready for use.

To get some power, activate the high torque mode by clicking “Enable High Torque Mode”, read and agree to the terms and conditions. This is not a one-time action, but if you check the box as shown in the image below, high torque will remain on until you turn it off again.

Now you will have to create a preset for your game (s) where you can configure all specific wheelbase settings. We found this quite difficult at first because we had to Google the settings for some games until we found the right basic settings. You will also be busy fine-tuning your profiles for a while. Fortunately, this can be done during racing by switching back and forth between the windows, making adjustments, saving your settings and continuing racing. There are reports that Simucube will come up with an online database in which users can save their profiles so that they are available to every Simucube user. It also took a while to find the function of a number of settings, but with the help of the Simucube forum that was quickly resolved.

Simucube also invests a lot of time in the development of True Drive and they listen carefully to their community. To get you started, Simucube has made a number of tutorials which are available on YouTube. We have collected these for you in a Simucube 2 True Drive Tutorials playlist on our YouTube channel. You can click here to view it.

Assembly and use

You need a decent cockpit to be able to use the Simucube 2 Pro wheelbase. You can’t just mount it on any cockpit because the wheelbase only has a front-mount option. For most cockpits you will therefore need to purchase a separate front-mount set or something similar. We own the front-mount bracket for the P1-X, which makes mounting a lot easier for us. Just tighten four M8 bolts in the front, connect the necessary cables, click the steering wheel on and we can start racing.

For our tests we used rFactor 2, ACC, RaceRoom and F1 2020. For each game and / or car we have made a suitable preset which is comparable to the preset we use on the Fanatec DD. The options in True Drive are enormous and we have a nice reference point. Now we can put the Simucube 2 Pro to the test. As mentioned before we have activated the ‘high torque’ mode. By default the SC2 Pro feels a bit weak and activating this ‘high torque’ mode reveals the true nature of the wheelbase.

What is immediately noticeable is the enormous playful ease with which the SC2 Pro transmits its force feedback. The subtle track details are really excellent. Even under heavy load you can still feel those subtle details. Of course this is the power of a Direct Drive wheelbase, but with the SC2 Pro this feels more pronounced in our experience. It is also striking how smooth and fast the SC2 Pro is, and how easy you can make corrections while driving on the track.

If we zoom in a little deeper and look at FFB of the games, we notice a few things.

The FFB in F1 2020 was already better than in F1 2019, but still not very high. We believe in this game that the SC2 Pro displays this just fine, you can feel exactly what the car does! Especially the details on the curbs stand out and the SC2 Pro really lets you work. The disadvantage of the F1 games is that there is no basic preset. So you really have to search and fine-tune before you have found the right settings.

We always find Assetto Corsa Competizione a bit mild in terms of FFB. We have increased the power on the wheelbase for a bit here. You immediately notice in this game that you do not sacrifice the quality of the FFB with more power. It makes the experience of driving GT cars a lot more complete. With ACC you can easily work with the standard preset however you will have to set it to a little bit more power.

In RaceRoom and rFactor, the FFB is always on ‘heavy’ mode, in our opinion. And by heavy we do not mean in a negative way. You notice that in these sims that they pain a lot of attention to the FFB and this comes across very true to nature with the use of the SC2 Pro. In these games we found the wheelbase to perform very well and in our experience we got to see the most of the true nature of the SC2. For these sims you have to make a preset per car, this can be a very time-consuming job. We mainly drive open-wheel and that made it a lot easier.

In our opinion, the power of the Simucube wheelbase(s) lies in the software. The True Drive software is just developed very well, having made a big step ahead of the competition. You can also make presets per game / car in the software, which benefits the ease of use. However, the SC2 Pro needs more attention to the FFB settings to get the feel just right for any car or game you use. It requires a little more knowledge about the settings, so using it can be a bit complicated. If you like it more plug-and-play, there are a number of basic presets available to get you on your way.

Conclusion

The Simucube 2 Pro is really a high-end wheelbase, you can see and feel that in everything. We are very impressed with the power and precision this wheelbase delivers. A question that we will certainly get is: “How does this relate to the Fanatec Podium DD?”. There will be another 1 to 1 comparison with the Fanatec Podium DD, but we can certainly tell that they are really closely matched to each other. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

We are thrilled with the Simucube 2 Pro! If you are looking for a real next-level wheelbase, then you should definitely include the Simucube 2 Pro in your considerations. It is a very powerful wheelbase with tremendous detail and precision. The FFB is direct and feels good. The track details are excellent and are reproduced with many subtle details. The True Drive software is easy to use but requires a lot of attention for the correct settings. By default, basic profiles are available for almost all racing softwares, but sometimes we had to search for the right settings first.

Are there any drawbacks? Yes, there are. Simucube is not an ecosystem like Fanatec, for example. This means that Simucube may be slightly less accessible. However, this is negligible in practice because you can connect any device separately using a USB cable. In addition, the price can also be a disadvantage, with a good (wireless) steering wheel and front mounting set you will pay around € 2500 or more and that is not bad. However, if we look at the experiences in the community, most of those who purchase this are quickly forget about the price because of the quality it delivers.

Simucube wheelbases can be ordered through various resellers. Look at the Simucube website for a reseller near you.

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