Simucube SC2 Sport Review
Product affiliate links
SC2 Sport : https://digital-motorsports.com/products/simucube-2-sport?aff=2
SC2 Pro: https://digital-motorsports.com/products/simucube-pro-2-direct-drive-wheel-base?aff=2
Simlab P1-X: https://digital-motorsports.com/products/p1-x-sim-racing-chassis?aff=2
Simlab front mount: https://digital-motorsports.com/products/front-mounting-bracket-set?aff=2
These days, we accept that direct drive is the gold standard for force feedback. Our only issue is balancing the hardware we want, with the hardware we can afford.
Simucube is synonymous with exceptional force feedback, so today I look at their entry level offering to try to work out why it’s not more popular. Is it too expensive, or is it just living in the shadow of its more powerful sibling, the SC2 Pro?
I’m Laurence, welcome to the channel
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Anyone who is considering upgrading to a Direct Drive wheel will come across the Simucube brand within minutes of beginning their research. All signs lead to the fact that Simucube makes some of the best Direct Drive wheels on the market. This is the 17nm Simucube SC2 Sport. This is the ‘entry level’ (in quotes) Simucube wheelbase, yet it may be the last wheelbase most of us will ever need.
I have already reviewed the 25nm SC2 Pro and I loved it but I wanted to figure out if the SC2 Sport was significantly different. On paper, the only difference is the power. The Pro sports 25nm of torque and the Sport has 17nm. The Sport is also shorter, which appeals to me, but everything else should in theory, be on par with the Pro. You get full Simucube Wireless functionality, it uses the same software, same mounting pattern and has the same quick release. All in all, on paper, it’s just a slightly less beefy version of the Pro. Long story short, I wanted to find out how substantial the difference is between the two wheelbases, and why the Sport is often overlooked by people.
- First impressions
This is an unusual ‘first impression’ as it all felt extremely familiar from my SC2 Pro review. You can already tell from this review so far that I have been comparing this wheelbase to the Pro from the moment I got it, so the bar is very high and the Sport, other than having a more compact form factor and weighing less, has a hell of a lot to live up to.
The Simucube packaging is subtle and effective. The design and finish is beautiful. You get an emergency stop button with it as a reminder that although we may think of this as a toy, it really is a serious piece of equipment. I still don’t like the clunky exposed antenna but am happy to see that it only requires a single power supply, similar to the latest Revision 2 Pro wheel bases.
The main reason to get this wheelbase over the Pro, is the price difference. The SC2 Sport costs around €1,250 which is €200 less than the Pro. On the face of it, I think that this may be the biggest problem that the Sport has to deal with. when spending this kind of money, an extra €200 is minor when you consider that it will get you an extra 8nm of torque. For perspective, the new Fanatec CSL DD comes in at €350 for 5nm and €480 for 8nm. The upgrade of 3nm in the fanatec costs €130 so getting 8nm for €200 with the Simucube, sounds like a bit of a deal.
For further perspective, and just in case you thought your mind was made up; €200 is a lot of money that you could put towards a fancy wheel rim. I know this isn’t the right section for me to mention this, but in a blind test, I would struggle to tell the difference between the Sport and the Pro. I’ve used and reviewed both of these and a lot of other DD systems now. This talk may seem cheap, but what if I told you that I originally borrowed this unit from Digital-Motorsports.com and liked it so much that I actually decided to buy it at full retail price? I own the Sport, and not the Pro. I will admit that the Pro provides slightly better force feedback, but only if you get the settings right. I’ve tried both for extended periods and still bought the Sport over the Pro, but if you have a spare €200, I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to buy the Pro.
- Installation – Hardware
Mounting this wheel is relatively easy with the right mounting hardware. You will need some sort of bracket. A bracket which is not included with the wheelbase and this wheelbase can only be front mounted. This is an extra expense which you need to allow for as there are no side or base mounting holes on this wheelbase. I eventually decided that I need to be able to mount square pattern wheelbases like this in future and I took advantage of Sim-Lab’s really nice front mount adapter which fits any small mige motor, SC2 sport or pro and even fits my Simagic Alpha. I’ve put a link to this mounting solution in the description below. Once you have any compatible front mounting bracket, it’s just a case of installing 4 m8 bolts and you’re ready to go.
You do need a sturdy rig for this though. It’s incredibly powerful and needs to be kept in place by something very rigid. I use the Sim-Lab P1-X and again, I’ve put a link to that rig in the description below. One welcome improvement that Simucube have made in the past year is the fact that they now issue only one power supply with their wheelbases. There’s a big emergency stop button with this wheelbase and I advise that you keep it nearby at all times while sitting in your rig. 17nm is a huge amount of torque that could cause debilitating amounts of damage to your hands or arms if anything were to go wrong.
I’m still not a fan of the Simucube quick release. Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfect from a functional point of view but as Marie Kondo would say, it does not “spark joy”. The pin is clumsy and industrial and slotting in my wheel from the top or side just isn’t the same as clicking it on from the front. I prefer to use this NRG style quick release and have retrofitted one to the SC2 Sport.
The wireless antenna still scares the hell out of me. These wheelbases are seriously heavy and I can only imagine setting the wheelbase down only to discover that I’ve crushed a vital part of it, rendering my wireless functionality useless. The antenna is detachable but the connection still sticks out. I feel like this was an afterthought in the design of this product.
- Installation – Software
The real party piece of this product is not the price… It’s not even the power or quality. It’s the TrueDrive software. From seamless automatic firmware upgrades to the ability to fine tune details that other wheelbase manufacturers don’t even expose to you, this software is about as good as it gets. That said, I found that the base profiles provided for different sims were only average but force feedback is an incredibly subjective thing. As in, one person’s settings may not suit everyone. For instance, I found the base Dirt Rally 2.0 settings quite good when combined with my existing in game settings from my simagic alpha. However, the iRacing profile didn’t do it for me BUT iRacing’s force feedback can be a dark art at times so maybe the base profile is fine with the right corresponding in game settings.
When I reviewed the SC2 Pro, I experienced the large Simucube community first hand and got settings from people which really suited me. In the meantime, Simucube have gone and stepped their game up even further. You will no longer need to share screenshots of settings with your mates as Simucube are rolling their new cloud based Paddock software to SC2 owners. This allows for the simple sharing of profiles via a link, and even the ability to browse the settings of other SC2 owners. Unfortunately, I’m not eligible to use this software yet as it’s only available for Revision 1 SC2 owners. This wheelbase that I’m reviewing is a Revision 2 model and the software is currently only available to revision 1 wheelbase owners, so for now I cannot show you or comment on this software other than to express my excitement. This software was actually one of the motivating factors in buying this wheelbase.
- Simucube wireless
The SC2 wireless system is really good. I didn’t experience any issues with it at all, and you almost take for granted that you don’t need an extra cable plugged into a USB port after a while. That said, I must say that there are a couple of things that I’ve experienced with other wheelbases that I’m missing greatly with my Simucube wireless system. I miss not worrying about battery life, despite some wheels like this Ascher F28-SC having up to 3 years of battery life on a single charge, it’s still something I was quite conscious of. I’d love to see a hybrid wired power solution via the shaft from Simucube. But battery life isn’t my main issue. It’s something a lot more superficial. I like steering wheels to have nice bright LEDs, and it seems that the only brand which offers backlit buttons is Cube Controls. I’d like there to be more choice on the market, including more affordable options which don’t cost €650. Maybe I’m in a minority, but I like to drive in a dark room and seeing backlit buttons gives a nice sense of luxury.
There are also some limitations on the SC2 wireless system which have long term implications. Firstly, due to the limited number of allowed inputs you are limited to 28 binary inputs. That’s actually a good number but there is no ability to use analog clutch paddles on any Simucube wireless wheels right now as the system simply doesn’t support it. I really hope that it will be included in the next iteration of this technology. Others have managed to make it work, so I expect Simucube to follow suit. I would love for them to build in a power transfer mechanism similar to the Simagic offerings and if they could incorporate wireless connectivity for screens and dashboards, then they would be likely to kill off the wired steering wheel market completely.
- Force feedback
In short, I don’t think there’s anything on the market that’s as clear and precise as the SC2 offerings. I was expecting a significant difference between the SC2 Pro and the Sport, but I would be lying to you if I said that I noticed a clear tangible difference. I notice subtle differences, namely the clinical precision that I remember the SC2 pro having when I reviewed it. However, when I reviewed the SC2 Pro I didn’t expect it to be as good. Reviewing this SC2 Sport, the bar is set pretty high by its more expensive sibling, so unless I do a blind back to back test, I cannot categorically say that the force feedback is better or worse on either one of them. I can confirm that the SC2 Pro had more power, that was quite easy to feel and reflected in the settings that I had to use. But even at that, I don’t run the SC2 sport anywhere near its limits. More power is not always better, especially when you already have so much power available. As far as clarity is concerned, they’re very evenly matched.
The force feedback is crisp, precise and rewarding. I firmly believe that there’s no better force feedback experience available in sim racing than the SC2 range. Perhaps that is simply because I haven’t tried it yet, but there’s not much out there that I haven’t tried, especially in the consumer market.
- Final thought
If you have the money to buy an SC2 Sport, do it. Don’t even hesitate. If you have the money for the Pro, get that instead. Not because I found that the Pro is so much better, but I know how it goes. You might buy the Sport and forever think to yourself that you could have had the Pro for just a few hundred extra. However, I’ve reviewed both the Sport and the Pro now, and I actually went and bought the cheaper of the two, the SC2 Sport featured in this review. There are a number of reasons that I bought it. Firstly, it has a very nice form factor. It’s relatively short, meaning that it will sit close to my screens. Secondly, it may be ‘only’ €210 of a difference, but for perspective, that’s 16% extra cost for a hardly noticeable amount of extra force feedback. I believe that putting that money towards a high end wheel rim or a sturdier rig is a better investment.
One thing I’ve also noticed is that the SC2 Sport seems to always be in stock, where the SC2 Pro can be quite difficult to get ahold of. I think this is largely due to the desirability of 25nm of the pro vs 17nm of the SC2 Sport. It sounds like it gives you a lot extra but from my experience, it’s mainly pub talk. Either of these wheels is an excellent purchase and as I always say for any sim hardware, buy the hardware you can afford.
I firmly believe that there’s no better force feedback experience offering on the consumer market than Simucube right now and that’s largely due to the excellent TrueDrive software that Simucube provides. Granite Devices, the company who runs and manages the Simucube brand, is no stranger to force feedback. They’ve been in the direct drive space for as long as direct drive in mainstream sim racing has been a thing. They know what they are doing, but honestly I’d love to see the Sport being just a little cheaper than it currently is. It’s still good value, but it’s living in the shadow of the SC2 Pro and it deserves a LOT more credit. Being priced so closely makes it more of a competitor, and less of a compliment to the Simucube product range.
If this review has been helpful in making up your mind about the SC2 Sport or the SC2 Pro, please consider using my affiliate links in the descriptions below when purchasing. There’s no extra work for you other than clicking the link. Digital-Motorsports.com ships worldwide within days and I will receive a small commission for each sale which really helps to pay the bills around here. Of course, there’s no obligation, all of my content is free and will remain so. I’m Laurence, thank you so much for watching, I’ll chat to ye later.