Aiologs Shifter & Handbrake | Long Term Review
Once all our money is consumed by rigid rigs and newton meters, it can be tough to find budget for a handbrake and shifter. With more and more race cars using manual sequential as opposed to h-pattern, this duo from Aiologs has been the weapon of choice of many for many years. I get tonnes of questions about these devices and how they compare to others. I’m Laurence, welcome to the channel.
Product link: https://shop.aiologs.net/
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Aiologs is a Russian company with a basic mission to give a high quality and immersive experience, at a relatively affordable price. They are a proven brand with a good reliability record. They’re not their own words, they’re the words of thousands of happy customers to date. I gave these products absolute hell in this review and they’re still as good as new.
- First Impressions
I received both of these at the same time, in separate boxes and the similarities are very obvious. This worried be a bit as they are fundamentally different devices, however, it makes sense that they have re-used proven concepts to keep manufacturing costs low. They remind me of the heusinkveld sequential shifter somewhat in their appearance, albeit perhaps a little more polished.. literally. The assembly of interlinking sheets of metal is a tried and tested pattern that we see mainly in pedals, but also occasionally in devices like this. The blasted finish makes for an attractive aesthetic and the shiny handles and knobs complete their elegant design. I think they’re a nice looking set, but they stood out like a sore thumb on my rig in this world of ‘everything must be black’ sim racing rigs.
At $180 USD each, these products fall into the mid range of Shifters and Handbrakes as far as pricing is concerned. Ordering is usually done directly from Aiologs as although there are resellers, the reseller prices are usually a lot higher. Do bear in mind that you will be subject to import charges on top of your $180.
There are also some customisation options available like a longer handle, different sized knobs and even the top plate is customisable. I got all the options here and I must admit that I prefer these with the metal top place. This is mainly because there is a red LED inside the devices which is quite bright and cannot be switched off.
You get all the bolts you need with these devices. You can base mount them but you also get a little side mount bracket which I used. I was able to get the shifter and handbrake in a decent position on my rig. The mounts were rigid and simple. They’re clever and much much stronger than they look. They connect by reusing bolts which are key to the structural integrity of the products. There are loads of mounting holes so you should be able to achieve the angles and mounting solutions that you are looking for.
When I put the shifter on my bench and tried it, it felt a little bit soft and I wasn’t sure whether I’d get along with it. You see, I’ve been somewhat spoiled with Shifters and I have seen many people say over the years that you don’t need anything more complicated than the Aiologs shifter. So maybe I was a little underwhelmed as it’s not particularly clunky or noisy or stiff. But over time with this product I began to see so many positives to this too.
I plugged it in and went for it. At the end of the day this is a product with a simple binary upshift and binary downshift output. I tried both the long and short handles and preferred the longer handle. This does however dampen the feel a little due to increased leverage. This shifter is not a world beater and I don’t know if it’s enough to convince your real race driver friends that it’s not a toy. BUT, it’s really good. It is as effective as you need a sim racing shifter to be. It gives a pretty clear click on shifts although I think it’s mostly audible and not necessarily something you feel. As it’s just a shifter, you know that the end of the travel usually means that it has already engaged, so for some, the feel isn’t that important. When you couple this device with a bass shaker or a rumble motor for gear shifts then it becomes a different beast. I do recommend this shifter and it is one of the better Shifters/">Sequential Shifters I have tried. It doesn’t quite have the feel of a high end sequential shifter but it also doesn’t carry the same price tag. And ‘high end’ is a term that is subjective. I bet there are people queuing up in the comments to tell me that they feel that the Aiologs shifter is a high end product.
I’d be happy if this was my forever shifter. It’s compact on the rig and doesn’t wake the house while in use, despite being clinical and satisfying.
Similarly to the shifter, the handbrake felt a little light when I tested it off the rig. There are no elastomers in this device, just a simple spring and a hard stop which is caused by restricting the throw of the handbrake. I was less impressed with the handbrake than with the shifter. The feeling is somewhat like a good ebay handbrake. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just nothing like a real hydraulic handbrake. I actually think the linear feeling and the sudden end stop are the main causes of this. An elastomer could really help this handbrake to perform better but right now I have to put it just below the Fanatec handbrake which is significantly cheaper, but just feels a little better to me. Again, I’m anticipating disagreement on this in the comments but I am here to give my opinion. With the Aiologs handbrake you definitely get higher quality but there’s something missing for me.
That’s definitely not to say that this is a bad handbrake. The quality cannot be faulted and given what I have put it through the reliability has been great too. I was able to use this handbrake effectively and intuitively throughout this long term review.
- Final Thought
This review has been a long time coming. Every time I review similar products I get questions about how they compare to the Aiologs. Well, now I know. At their price point, the quality is certainly high end. The products are very functional and their use and reuse of parts between the products is clever. I feel like the cost savings are passed on directly to the consumer. The long and short handles as well as the clear or solid top plates are options which keeps the costs down and also the waste.
This is one of those examples though where you do not need a one to one replication of the real life counterparts in order to get a great simulation experience. The shifter is lighter than real racers would be used to but it’s effective and accurate. I found it quite satisfying. The handbrake is great for all levels of drifter or rally driver featuring a long throw and high quality materials. It will underwhelm those who have used a real life handbrake and are used to that aggressive movement but it’s perfect for learning or for those like me who understand that the forces you need to exert on your sim rig are far less than in a real race car.
Over the past few weeks the shiny metals did scratch quite a bit due to my wedding ring. The knobs got a little duller and I’m more of a fan of a brushed look than a scratched chrome look, so the looks dwindled a bit for me. The silver looked out of place on my black rig. I’d gladly pay extra for a black variation of these products.
All in all I would recommend the shifter without any concerns. It is the type of product that would be quite easy to resell if you choose to upgrade. As for the handbrake, it’s good if you have limited space or only use the handbrake occasionally but a frequent or real life user will be left wanting. Those looking for a solid sim racing experience without getting caught up in the hype of what real cars feel like will absolutely love these devices.
Thanks to Aiologs for sending these products for review. I have really enjoyed my time with them. I’m Laurence, I stream every Tuesday and Thursday, and I’ll chat to ye later.