BDH H1 / Bazooka H-Pattern Shifter | Long Term Review
Manual gears, H-Pattern, stick shift, whatever you call it, It’s widely agreed that it is the most involved and enjoyable driving experience out there. The mechanical movement makes us feel like we are responsible for the achievements of the incredible machine we’re driving. In a world where we build virtual race cars out of aluminium profile in our spare rooms, we are all striving to replicate those feelings and this H1 Shifter from BDH Racing Sim Hardware, also known as the bazooka, looks like the exact tool for the job. I’m Laurence, welcome to the channel
Product Link: https://www.bdhracesim.com/where-to-buy
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When I first shared images of this shifter on my social media, people’s imaginations exploded. I was bombarded with questions. That’s not unusual for an obviously high end product, but what surprised me was the type of people who were asking me questions. When I examined their social media profiles, many were real life racers, drifters and rally drivers. Luckily I have plenty of real life high performance H-Pattern experience under my belt, so this review is right up my street.
All of the products in this review were sent to me free of charge for the purposes of this review and nobody other than me has had any say in the content of this video.
- First Impressions
Look at it… It’s absolutely gorgeous. The shiny brushed housing is very unique. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of such a beautifully engineered product and that’s usually exactly the effect that top end hardware has on me. There’s great weight in it but it’s also not as heavy as it looks. To be honest, it looks a little like a real gearbox, but scaled down. The black lever is very nice, but I’m not sold on the white shift knob. It does appear that they now offer a black knob too but I have not seen one in real life. I’d love to see subtle BDH branding on the shift knob too. A machined knob to march the casing would be incredible. Should you wish to source your own, the fitment of this gear knob is M10 x 1.5.
The USB cable is hard wired into the unit, which, other than ruining my fancy B-Roll footage, means that you need to be super careful with it. From my experience though, cables rarely fail but it would be nice to be able to plug in a custom cable in order to get the perfect length and to keep those cables tidy.
I’ll go through how it feels in a later section, but on the bench I did pop it into first gear and I was very very impressed.
This is a hand made, top end piece of kit. It’s made in the UK and it’s not cheap, as you can imagine. It comes in at €1080 excluding taxes. In Europe, that works out at around €1350 all in. That’s a hefty price tag for sure. Its main competition, the Pro-Sim shifter comes in at €1750 including the VAT. That’s a €400 difference.
Bolts for fitting this unit are not included. The fittings kit is an optional extra although I have seen some resellers simply include it and absorb the cost to keep things simple.
There is an option for a longer or shorter shaft which costs an extra €75 or so. This is not cheap, but for those looking for specific details in their gear shifts, shaft length does make a difference. The longer throw numbs the shift a little bit but is amazing for things like truck simulator. The shorter shaft really allows all of those details to be transferred to your hands.
While installation itself is relatively straight forward, the front and rear mounting holes are quite far apart, making this shifter best suited to custom rigs or those made of aluminium profile.
While at first I mounted it as it came, I soon learned that you are able to mount it to the side of your aluminium profile too. This is a really nice way to mount it and would be my long term mounting solution of choice. However, it wasn’t that simple for me to do. You need to take the brackets off and do a bit of fiddly manoeuvring to make it work. I even had to unplug and replug every single gear into the main board as some of the internal cables are shorter than others, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this.
The usb cable is not detachable as mentioned which is a pity. There is no software with these devices and they are plug and play. They also come calibrated from the factory.
- Build quality
These Shifters are hand built in the UK. Each one is meticulously checked and tested by the family run operation. It’s absolutely incredible to think that something that looks this incredible, comes from what is essentially a family shed. A family shed filled with expensive equipment and talented engineers, but a shed nonetheless.
It is beautifully machined. Even the images you are seeing here have been taken after months of intensive use on my rig. While it did lose some of its initial shine and sparkle, it still looks incredible.
I’m not one to take products apart. At least not in my Reviews. So let’s just start by highlighting that taking this thing apart makes me feel like James Bond about to defuse a bomb. It’s incredible. And so simple.
But, I took it apart because it had to. See, I had an issue early on in my review which resulted in missed shifts. After talking to the guys at BDH, they apologised profusely, explained that the batch that my shifter belonged to all had a couple of similar issues. But luckily, the fix was easy. They even did a little video showing the simple fix, so I did it, and never had an issue since. I’m not mad when issues happen, especially when the service is this good. Maybe it’s because I’m a YouTuber. But I don’t think it is… just search for BDH Shifter and you’ll see how people value their relationship with the company as much as they value the product. In fact, Dave from BDH joked that they purposely sabotaged my review device so that they could demonstrate their world class customer service. I still don’t know if he was serious or not.
Whilst this issue was a non-issue really, I still feel that I need to highlight it for you to maintain full transparency.
There’s a big bolt sticking up from the casing. Probably the least nice looking part of the unit, but possiblY the most important. This allows you to adjust the weight of the throw. Tighten it and the throw becomes stiffer. Loosen it and it becomes less stiff. With stiffness comes more noise, but at least you have the option to tweak it to your preference.
There is no ability to adjust the throw of the gears themselves, but this is not really an issue for me. If you want to adjust the perceived throw, I recommend buying the optional shorter or longer lever accessories.
- How it feels
This gearbox feels like it is doing real work. That’s because it actually is doing real work. They’ve incorporated a very simple mechanism and simple reliable switches. But it all just works well.
Sim racing hardware that feels tactile and mechanical is usually quite loud and if you’re expecting a super quiet shifting experience, this isn’t the shifter for you. That being said, it’s not incredibly loud but it’s too loud to use while someone in the next room is trying to watch TV in peace. The more resistance you add to the shift, the louder it gets.
But let’s be honest. Most people who want this shifter don’t care about noise. In fact… the louder the better. The shift is absolutely beautiful with this device. The gate is clear and crisp, intuitive and aggressive. I didn’t miss a single shift.
Honestly this is one of, if not THE best standalone H-Pattern shifter in sim racing. It feels like it was lifted straight out of an older Mazda mx5. It’s so good that if I ever clutch incorrectly and my sim gives me that gear grinding noise yet I still pushed it into gear regardless, I feel like I may have done irreparable damage to my sim hardware. That’s the level of realism we love, without the cost of repairs of course.
- Final Thought
When creative people who have incredible engineering skills get it into their head that they can do better than the competition, it’s difficult to convince them otherwise, especially in sim racing. And every now and then, products like this emerge.
It looks great. It feels great. It performs great. It’s a no brainier really. If you have the extra cash and want one of the finest h pattern experiences in sim racing, this is it.
I will be 100% honest and admit that if I wasn’t a sim racing product reviewer, I probably would never own this product. Not unless I was training for a specific car. For me, I would never have both a sequential and a H-Pattern shifter on my rig. It would have to be a combined unit and it needs to be ready every single time I decide to drive a random car. I know that a combined h pattern and sequential unit wont be as good as this, but I’m willing to make that compromise.
However, if I wanted to impress my friends with an incredible driving experience, a unit like this is top of the list. When coupled with tactile transducers and great force feedback, it’s one of the most enjoyable sim racing experiences possible.
I have utterly enjoyed my time with this shifter and consider it one of the highlights of my high end sim racing hardware experiences to date. I have no issues recommending this product and this company.
I’m Laurence, I stream every Tuesday and Thursday at 9pm UK/Irish time. Thanks again to <> for making this review possible and to you for taking the time to watch, hit the thumbs up or comment with your experiences or opinions. I’m Laurence, and I’ll chat to ye later