MOZA R12 & MOZA KS Review and comparison
The small form Moza wheelbases have proven themselves to be a massive hit with first time Direct Drive users. This is the FIFTH DD wheelbase offering from Moza. That’s more DD offerings than any other manufacturer. They’ve also just released this unbelievably affordable KS wheel which is aimed specifically at GT driving. This is going to be a good one! I’m Laurence, welcome to the channel
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With the introduction of this KS wheel, Moza now offers 6 steering wheel options. If you count the mods for the ES wheel, there are 8 steering wheel options. They have 3 pedal options, a h pattern shifter and a handbrake too. If I was one of their competitors, I’d be extremely intimidated by the speed at which they’re moving and the traction that they’re gaining.
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. The links to this product and its competitors in the description are affiliate links and if used will earn this channel some money at no extra cost to you.
- First Impressions
This wheelbase feels familiar. It really just is a larger motor version of the R9. That being said, it looks almost identical to the r9. On closer inspection you can see that it has a different shaft size. The power supply is also different. The R9 has a 180W power supply where the R12 has a 216W power supply. A part of me is tempted to plug the R12 power supply into the R9 to see what happens. But common sense got the better of me. I think that 12-13Nm of torque is the sweet spot for Direct Drive, so this will be a forever wheel for many of you watching right now.
The KS wheel is great. I had to double check the price because this is incredible value. The nice buttons from the other Moza wheels are replaced with clicky buttons, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I do prefer the buttons with a bit of travel, but that’s a personal preference. The clicky buttons on this wheel are almost identical to Cube Controls’ buttons, which is high praise. The wheel rim looks like carbon fibre but at this price, that would be a bit much to ask. That being said, I had to look closely at first. The shine off this plastic housing is very convincing and those carbon weaves all line up really nicely. There’s plenty of rigidity and you could be forgiven for assuming that this wheel cost twice as much as it does.
Honestly I’m a bit blown away by this double product release. This is a mid range DD wheelbase with a mid range wheel, at excellent prices.
The pricing of these products is extremely reasonable. The base comes in at $589 USD, €649, £589, $999 AUD or JPY89900. For perspective, making it identically priced to the Simagic alpha mini which until now, was in a league of its own. With the Moza software being miles better than the Simagic software currently, I’m afraid the Alpha mini has some work to do.
That brings us to the wheel. This new KS wheel is a GT style wheel which sits at an incredible price point of $279, €309, £279, $459 AUD or JPY42900. Yep, the figures you’re seeing on your screen are correct.
I know that for most of us this is still a lot of money. But what you get in this case is exceptional value. I honestly don’t know how other companies can compete with Moza’s pricing, quality and pace.
- Installation – Hardware
Installation was a breeze. My wheel deck has the holes I need for installation and 4 bolts secure the base nicely. Even though the base comes with mounting hardware, the bolts were not long enough to reach through my sim lab universal base mount plate. I’m lucky I have spares here but if you’re mounting it like I did, ensure that you have some m6 bolts that will reach, but also aren’t too long. I’d love to see a front mounting option but installing the bolts underneath is fine, just not as nice looking as a front mount.
The KS wheel required no installation or assembly whatsoever other than applying some stickers. I did note that the stickers are relatively difficult to center and even the stickers themselves are not properly centred. You do get a tweezers with the sticker pack which is nice. Again I have to stress that other than the quality of the stickers, this felt exactly like applying stickers to a cube controls wheel. Those buttons really are identical. You can’t configure the light colours in the software but if you move the two 5 way hats towards one another and hold one of the shifters, each button click allows you to change the colour. There are enough colours to make it customisable but not too many to make this a difficult process. Other than an unintuitive key combo to unlock this, I quite like this functionality.
- Installation – Software
This is where things cranked up a notch. Moza seems to really care about the software. I hooked up these two brand new devices and launched the software. Firstly my Moza Pit House software was out of date so it automatically prompted me to update. I didn’t need to know about version numbers or anything and did it all from within the app. No fresh downloads. One or two clicks and it was done and it automatically restarted the Moza software.
Then I was met with a screen showing my newly attached devices, each with a button to activate the device, or one button to one click activate all of them. I took the activate all approach and hey presto, everything was up to date and ready to go. That’s what a software user experience should be like.
The software has tonnes of features from adjusting the fine detail of the force feedback to setting the brightness of the LEDs. If you have pedals and other Moza devices you can control them from in here too.
The software needs to be running if you want the rev lights to work, but closing the software will not affect your wheel or wheelbase settings.
- Shipping, Support and RMA
Moza has quite a few resellers these days and even sell through traditional brick and mortar outlets like Micro Center in the USA.
Their packaging is great quality I must say. I have received lots of Moza items directly from China and they arrived as good as new. They use strong packaging materials and put plastic corner protectors on the boxes for extra rigidity.
Quality seems to be a priority for them and I have seen excellent customer service from some of their resellers. I would recommend buying through a local reseller as buying direct from Mozaracing.com can lead to expensive shipping, so do check that out before deciding where to buy from.
Online communities for Moza seem great including their discord and Facebook groups.
- Quick Release
This QR is amazing. It is the same NRG style QR that competitors like Simagic and Cammus also use. The main difference is the electronics that transmit both power and signal through the quick release. For the R12, Moza has decided to ditch all wireless communication which is an interesting step. We saw this done on the r5 but I can imagine it becoming the norm for wheelbases going forward.
What this does mean is that in order for a wheel to work with this base, it must be a v2 wheel. V2 wheels are very easy to identify as they have two intersecting lines of connector pins in the quick release. V1 wheels only have one line of pins.
However, this KS wheel will still work with v1 bases as it does still include wireless capability. It’s slightly confusing but here’s a compatibility chart just in case you want to mix either of these with v1 hardware.
The Quick release has absolutely no play in it and the KS wheel, despite being a relatively budget offering, has no noticeable flex in its housing.
- Steering wheel options
This is one of the feathers in the cap for Moza, but this r12 has a nice bump in power which sets it apart from the r5 and r9. While the r5 and r9 can struggle with turning Moza’s relatively heavy round wheel offerings, the R12 has absolutely no such issues. there’s PLENTY of power. Let me start off this section by addressing the 5-way hats on Moza’s wheels. Honestly this is the weakest part of their Steering Wheels. There is no clear direction for the sticks and they are more like analog sticks from a game controller than they are accurate navigation and selection tools. If I could change one thing about their products it would be these funky switches. There’s no click when they engage the input and they’re a bit unrewarding to use, not to mention easy to press my accident. There’s also no click down on the face plate rotaries on most Moza wheels. Only the round wheels offer this functionality. That being said, the rest of this section is about to get unbelievably positive.
Also note before we get started that you can buy a Moza universal hub which allows you to connect a Moza steering wheel to any wheelbase, not just Moza. I will slot straight onto a Simagic wheelbase for example. You will need to use a wire for connectivity though.
The first wheel we’ll look at is the closest competitor for the KS featured in this video and arguably the jewel in the crown of the Moza eco system, the Moza GS rim. It is also 300mm in diameter which is a great sweet spot for formula and GT style driving. The GS comes in at €499 which is excellent value. It has real crushed carbon fibre, luxurious buttons, clutch paddles and Alcantara grips. This wheel has been heralded by many as the perfect sim racing wheel, both with or without VR. It’s incredible and it’s a must have for Moza owners in my opinion.
Next up is the FSR which is a 280mm version of the GS but it contains a great big screen in the middle. It is exceptionally nice to look at but the Moza dashes leave a lot to be desired. Until Moza improves their dash layouts and game telemetry compatibility, I don’t really recommend this wheel to anyone despite it being a visually stunning piece. Its €689 price tag is just a little too saucy for me given the incredible value of its siblings. I recommend getting the GS or KS and just buying a standalone simhub compatible dash.
On to the round rims, The CS is a stunning wheel at only €299. As I mentioned in previous Reviews, the version of the wheel that I have is very heavy. Too heavy for an R5 but definitely playable and enjoyable on an R9. They have revised this and apparently it is now lighter than before, but luckily you don’t need to worry about weight with the R12 base. It’s a beast. The CS has lovely rotaries and an LED rev gauge like the other wheels. However, to cut costs it sacrifices backlit buttons, carbon fiber and clutch paddles. It’s an excellent option if those things are not important to you.
Its bigger sibling is the RS wheel. This thing is gorgeous. At €499 you’d expect it to be. It does have the clutch paddles and backlit buttons. The crushed carbon accents are glorious and on the rig, There’s no other round rim that I’ve used that looks as good. This is my round rim of choice for sure.
Finally and most importantly for this review, the KS Wheel. It comes in at a staggering €309 which for the functionality, quality and aesthetics, is BONKERS. It drives great. It performs great. It even has clutch paddles. While the shifters are basic compared to the other wheels, they are functional and accurate. The clutch paddles work well and are quite easy to configure although you need to do this in the software and can’t do it using just the wheel itself. The Thumb rotaries above the grips are lovely and perfectly suited to GT driving, as are the grips. They’re not rock hard but they’re not soft. The grips have amazing ergonomics and will be excellent for longer race stints. I actually prefer these scroll rotaries to the thumb rotaries of the GS and FSR. But please mark my words that this thing is exceptional value. If it was put in front of me without any branding on it, I’d be convinced that it came from the Cube Controls factory. That’s one of the highest compliments they can get.
- Force Feedback
You all know how fond I am of the Simagic Alpha mini. It punches above its weight and has been my mid range weapon of choice for a few years now. Until now… I don’t necessarily think that the R12 has better force feedback as I don’t think I’d be able to tell them apart in a blind test, but they are certainly trading blows and I had immense enjoyment once I dialed in a few settings on the R12. Couple those feelings with the nice Moza Pit House software and it’s a winning combo. I’m very very happy.
You feel every bump and every undulation. Kerbs are crisp to the point where you feel the high and low points of each rib even when you’re going 200kph. Most sim racers who try this base will not fathom how anyone could ever possibly want any more than it. I cannot praise it enough. Moza has raised the bar with this. It is my favourite wheelbase in the Moza lineup thanks to its tidy form factor.
I hope I’m getting across how significant this product is for sim racing.
- Final Thought
This is a massive moment for sim racing. In a time where companies are still releasing products almost weekly, it’s so difficult to make decisions. Well, the decision is simple here. For less than €1,000 you can get this wheelbase and steering wheel. I do describe this as a mid range steering wheel due to its power but make no mistake, this is high end force feedback. It’s clear and crisp, easy to set up and easy to enjoy. Moza has built in easy firmware and software upgrades that don’t involve cables or complex procedures. It’s absolutely incredible. They’re setting the standard for the competition. If you currently own an R5 or R9 and would like more power, I would highly recommend the upgrade.
Their wheel selection is pure eye candy and they also all perform. I’m lucky enough to have had many many hours with each of these products. Moza is making the decision to convert to their ecosystem easier and easier. If they become console compatible, I anticipate that Fanatec will no longer be the biggest brand in sim racing in a few years’ time.
The KS wheel is exceptional value. I had to double check the info I had when I first held it in my hands. On close inspection you can see where they’ve saved some money, but this thing is so well built that it really isn’t that much of an issue for me. To be honest, I don’t know how competitors are supposed to keep up with Moza’s pace and iteration. They seem to have their supply chain nailed and their quality control is really really good these days. This is one of the most satisfying Reviews I have done in a long time.
Should you decide to buy this product, I have included links in the description which when used earn some money for this channel. There’s no obligation to do so but your support is appreciated immensely. Details about other companies with similar benefits are also listed. I’m Laurence, I stream every Tuesday and Thursday at 9pm UK/Irish time. Thanks again to Moza 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