Asetek Forte Long Term Review
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Asetek Simsports caused quite a stir with their Hydraulic Invicta Pedals just a few months ago. Now that their introductory price has gone back to normal, many have been left yearning for another great deal. Asetek SimSports has responded nice and quickly with these, the Asetek Forte Pedals. In short, they’re identical to the Invictas except they feature a custom designed load cell brake instead of a hydraulic pressure sensor. I’ve been using these for the past couple of weeks and today I’m going to tell you all about it. I’m Laurence, welcome to the channel!
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I must say I’m a little surprised by the pace at which Asetek SimSports is working here. Only a few short months after releasing their flagship Pedals, we’re treated to these. Their momentum seems to keep growing too as they recently announced that they’re working with kevin magnusson to develop their products. How many other sim racing hardware companies actually have top tier drivers involved in their development process?
- First impressions
I can’t believe how similar these are to the Invictas. Pretty much everything other than the logo, pedal faces and the brake are identical, so although this is a relatively new pedal set on my rig, they feel reassuringly familiar.
The build quality is really nice. Everything you’d expect from a scandinavian company. The design is quite neutral, but also has character. This is a difficult thing to achieve but they are instantly recognisable.
The muted LED strip on the base plate is really beautiful. I love the way it looks and also the way it continues onto the clutch base plate. I do think that the styling is a little bit retro for me, but it’s very easy to appreciate the attention to detail and the immense craftsmanship that has gone into this product. The new pedal faces are a breath of fresh air too. Great with socks and even better with shoes! However, there’s no lateral adjustment in the pedal arms as they are fixed to the base plate and the pedal faces don’t have any left or right adjustment in them. However, the pedal arms DO have a little bit of adjustment as you have multiple mounting holes on them. This may be an issue for some people.
At the time of release, the price of these Pedals is €449 / $449 for the 2 pedal set and an additional €249 / $249 for the clutch. That puts the entire 3 pedal set at €698 which strikes me as a bit of a deal. I’ll explain that a little more soon.
After the introductory offer goes away, these Pedals will only rise by €50 to €499 / $499. And the clutch, well I’m DELIGHTED to inform you that the clutch price of €249 / $249 is now permanent. The reason for this clutch price reduction, which used to be priced at €349 / $349 is that Asetek SimSports have listened to customers and found a way to make it work. At the new permanently reduced price, this clutch is a great purchase.
These Pedals are well priced amongst the competition.
- Installation – Hardware
As these Pedals are pre assembled, installation is simple. The only thing you need to do is to attach the clutch pedal, plug it in and then attach the USB plug from the control box to your PC or powered USB hub.
Mounting holes are not based on existing industry standards so you will need to drill holes if you are not using a profile based mounting solution. For those of us with aluminium profile, mounting is relatively simple with 6 mounting points on the 3 pedal set. 4 on the 2 pedal set and 2 on the clutch. The mounting hole at the rear of the throttle is in a slightly awkward place but it’s relatively easy to access once you know how.
- Installation – Software
Software is often an overlooked part of our sim racing hardware. For Pedals, calibration is extremely important. Calibration allows you to set a specific range of motion based on your preferences and your physical pedal adjustments. The second you change your preload or pedal angle, your calibration gets thrown out. Ensure that you re-calibrate after every adjustment unless you’re confident about the affect your physical adjustments will have.
Asetek Simsports has done a cracking job with this software. You can set curves for each pedal which allow you to manipulate the amount of input your sim sees compared to the amount of physical input you exert. This is particularly handy for cars which are exceptionally sensitive to throttle or brake inputs, and also allows you to sync the clutch bite point with a dead zone or plateau, similar to what you would have with a real clutch. Although the curves are very useful for some, I tend to stick to linear activity with my brake and throttle. Maybe that’s just the way my muscle memory works.
With the Forte software, we don’t get that nice interactive 3d model on the screen which we saw with the Invicta. I’m a little disappointed about that. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t make me any faster on track to have an interactive graphic. But it really gave a sense of decadence that I feel these Forte Pedals also deserve.
Finally, I recommend removing the initial 2% of deadzone that the software enforces. If you see any fluctuation or jumps in signal after doing this, just put some deadzone back, but I feel that the Pedals perform even better with no software enforced deadzone at all.
The throttle on these Pedals is very functional and quite good. However, it’s a little but light for my preference. I like a slightly stiffer pedal but ideally, I’d love to be able to adjust it easily on the fly. I hope that Asetek addresses this need for a heavier throttle in the future.
The pedal faces are great. There’s just enough grip and just enough slip in them. The throttle pedal plate is a little bit short for heel-toe in its default configuration. With the limited adjustment on the pedal faces and arms, it may be difficult for some to get a clean purchase on the throttle when blipping during braking. I’d love to see a longer throttle pedal, or one which has a better shape for heel and toe driving. That being said, Heel toe is manageable as long as you set up your brake to sit proud of the throttle, as shown.
The clutch on this product is not overly complicated. It is functional and very adjustable. It serves its purpose well and has a decent weight to it to allow you to control your launches accurately. It features a cantilevered mechanism which is similar to the competition. At a glance, you can tell the engineering precision that has gone into this product. I did all sorts of h pattern driving with these Pedals from rally to drifting to circuit racing. In a previous review, I did criticize the price which was significantly higher than it is now. At €249 / $249, I actually think that this clutch is an excellent purchase. It’s worth spending some time adjusting this clutch pedal to make it feel the way you want it to feel. Don’t forget the vertical adjustment as this makes the biggest difference to your simulated bite point..
This is the biggest difference between this pedal set and its superior sibling, the Invictas. However, superior is a very subjective thing. They actually feel a little different to one another and I feel that the Forte brake pedal actually gives me more definition through my foot, than the Invictas do. Again, braking is such a subjective thing but the point that I’m trying to make here is that although this looks like an inferior product on paper, it’s actually very good and many will even prefer it.
There’s a single elastomer in the chamber and you get 2 spare elastomers of different strengths with it. This lone elastomer is physically limited in how far it can be compressed as the chamber sends 100% of your braking force to the load cell once the elastomer has done its job. This makes these Pedals ideal for vehicles with sensitive brakes, and even better for those which require a lot of precision when trail braking or balancing the car. At first I questioned whether I would get a good sense of progression with a single elastomer but due to the unique patent pending M.L.C.P.C. technology, it really seems like they’ve unleashed the maximum from this design, with the least amount of moving parts. You see, where many other pedal sets allow the elastomer to continue to deform, this system prevents excessive wear as well as not allowing the elastomer to get into a state where it is over compressed.
Do bear in mind that this brake may be quite heavy for you if you’ve never used a high end set of load cell Pedals before. If you are expecting a pedal set which you can set up to feel exactly like your road car, then this is not the pedal set for you. However, I’d still recommend going for them because for most people, the brake in their road car is nothing like a real race car brake and is actually a habit that needs to be unlearned. Road car brakes and brake Pedals are generally not efficient for track use.
- Base Plate
The heel plate is a clever design. It’s well thought out for mounting and cable management. The LED lighting is muted perfectly so that it’s not tacky and the software customisation allows you to completely switch it off if you don’t care for it. The base plate comes pre-attached with Pedals and you cannot use the Pedals independently, meaning that there are no means to change the spacing between Pedals or to invert these Pedals, The ridges and lettering on the heel plate are quite grippy and easy to get your shoes ‘caught’ on.
The little dip where the two heel plates meet was actually a nice comfortable resting point for h-pattern driving where there was a lot of clutch action required between left foot braking efforts. This is not by design I would bet, but definitely worth pointing out. This heel plate is very strong but lighter than many competitors which makes it an ideal candidate for motion systems where weight savings give performance increases.
- Final Thought
At this price point, I don’t think there’s much on the market that can compete. It’s amazing to see a European based company offer a European designed and built solution, especially at this price. I expected many corners to be cut when it came to cost savings. I expected a mid range product, but the Forte Pedals are nothing short of top tier. Perhaps it’s a little like buying a 5-series BMW instead of a 7-series. Just because the 7-series exists, doesn’t mean that the 5 series is inferior. It just serves a different market. If I was to try to summarise what I mean, I would say that the Invicta Pedals are professional grade equipment and the ideal training tool for real life conditions. These Forte Pedals are the ideal sim racing Pedals. the brake is slightly more granular and defined, which although less like a real race car, it allows us to mentally compensate for the fact that we don’t have g-forces to communicate if we need to brake more or less. Instead, the additional static feel in the pedal allows us to train our muscle memory without needing to have a strict leg training regime.
In the future, you will be able to upgrade the Forte Pedals to the Invicta T.H.O.R.P. system but right now, I would only recommend doing so if the M.L.C.P.C. system is not heavy enough for your needs. Don’t expect this upgrade to cost less than the difference in price between the Forte and Invica Pedals.
All in all, this is one of the best Pedals sets I’ve ever used and it is definitely one of the best value for money sets on the market, if not the best value for money. I know that value for money is subjective, and I would never recommend to buy any sim racing equipment unless you have the financial means to do so. If you have a spare €700 and are looking for Pedals, this is a seriously good option and you probably would never upgrade again. Thank you all for watching, I stream every Tuesday and Thursday at 9pm UK/Irish time so feel free to pop in and ask me any questions about this or any other hardware. I’m Laurence, and I’ll chat to ye later!