Trakracer FS3 Wheel Stand Review
There comes a point in your sim racing upgrade path where your desk setup simply isn’t good enough anymore. Rather than upgrading to a fully solid rig, many opt to use a wheel stand. Wheel stands usually come with compromises, but when I saw this Trak Racer FS3 wheel stand it impressed me visually. I’ve spent some time with it and have had almost 100 people put it through its paces over the past few weeks. I’m Laurence, welcome to the channel!
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Usually for my reviews, I use a product for all my competitive league races. However, with this wheel stand, I had to take a different approach as I simply don’t have the space for a spare rig, even if it folds up. So I did what anyone would have done in my position. I set up a sim rig at work. I didn’t hold back either. I put a set of load cell pedals on it and I also attached the ever so impressive Simagic Alpha mini 10nm direct drive wheelbase. There was no way I was going to make the FS3’s job easy.
- First impressions
The box was pretty heavy, as you’d expect. This is, after all, a partial rig. The metal tubing showed lots of height adjustment was possible. The corner bracket assemblies appeared substantial although I quite soon realised that tightening the bolts actually cause the bolt to shave off some of the corner bracket material as they are actually made of plastic and not of metal. This is obviously to keep the weight down but it did lead to some other issues which I’ll explain later.
It had been so long since I used a wheel stand and my expectations were pretty low, to be honest. As soon as I had the whole thing assembled, the first thing i checked for was side to side wobble and to my surprise, there was none. I couldn’t wait to get a DD wheelbase mounted on there with some load cell pedals.
At €141 or $135, this is pretty impressive value. The normal price is closer to €200 / $200 as they’re on sale at the moment. This allows you to mount a wheelbase, pedals and even a shifter. It seems an ideal option for turning your work desk into a sim rig, or those who need a temporary moveable setup in front of the TV. I’ve included links to the product in the description below. These prices are subject to change as always. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the review, but this is definitely the wheel stand I’ll be recommending to people from now on.
Although this unit comes largely assembled, there’s still some additional assembly to be done. The instruction sheet was nice and clear though and it didn’t take me that long to get all the parts assembled. At a glance, adjustment seemed plentiful and quite easy. I did note that in order to fold the unit up, you need to undo at least 8 bolts. This isn’t the end of the world, but in a smaller apartment setting, being able to setup and remove a temporary rig quickly is vital if you want to avoid arguments or even worse, give yourself excuses not to join your community for a quick race. I’d love to see a set of quick release bolts for folding the unit away.
Setup took longer than I expected. There are a lot of bolts which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The way the wheel mount attaches to the rig was something that worried me at a glance but knowing what I know now, it seems to be the strongest part of the whole rig. It had no issues with my DD wheelbase.
The shifter mount can be put on either side. It’s good and solid and gives a good level of adjustability. It is well attached to the frame and does a good job. I couldn’t expect any more from it really. Attaching the shifter to this wheel stand actually increases the rigidity of the product as it is a solid metal bracket. As you can see, the fanatec shifter is quite large and I didn’t have any issues using it while base mounted. The shifter was a little high, but it didn’t impact its use. In fact, it was actually nice and close to the wheel, which is what you want for quick gear shifts.
As I say, I gave this setup quite a workout. I set it up in multiple places with high footfall over the space of 4 days. Once set up, it was lovely and rigid and impressed me greatly for what it is. However, as the hours passed, some of the bolts did loosen slightly and noticeable side to side wobble got reintroduced. This is where the issues with the plastic corner brackets comes in. You see, the bolts were nice and tight and I did notice that the plastic was being shaved as the bolts got tighter. It seems that the relatively small amount of movement caused by let’s face it, pretty significant force, had a similar effect and allowed the bolts to work themselves loose slightly. It is a simple case of just tightening the bolts again, but each time, a small amount of the plastic gets shaved away. I’d like to see them use metal washers here, or even better, fully metal brackets.
The pedal plate has decent adjustment, both forward and backwards and also an adjustable angle which is really nice to see on a product in this price range. However, the pedal plate has significant amounts of flex as you can clearly see in the video. Again, bear in mind that these are pretty decent load cell brakes. They’re heavier than the Fanatec Clubsport V3 pedals, for example. I don’t know if the metal would fatigue over time but wherever there’s considerable flex, you could be losing time on track. That said, while using it, you don’t feel this flex as it just becomes a part of your braking feel. The brakes were still predictable and I often forgot that I was using a wheel stand.
The biggest reminder was of course my desk chair. Desk chairs come with massive tradeoffs. The most obvious being the caster wheels which meant that I had to hang onto the steering wheel while smashing the brake to prevent the chair rolling backwards. Although there are clever and ingenious ways to prevent this from happening, it would be great to see a product from trak racer which would address this.
When under strain, there was some creaking and noise from the assembly, which is understandable. It’s not enough to annoy you if you’re using it, but it may be enough to annoy your room mate or partner. However, this is more of a problem the more powerful your wheelbase is as it’s directly related to the force feedback and the weight of your wheelbase.
This frame is at its most rigid when the angle of the legs is fully extended, but this may not suit people of all heights. When I ran the frame in a slightly more acute angle as shown, I noticed a lot more wobble.
- Final thought
All in all, the performance surprised me. It actually suited the job perfectly and pretty much everybody, including the countless sim racing and F1 enthusiasts who used it, were impressed and asked me where they could buy one. During my use, I wasn’t deterred in any way by its performance. When everything was tight, it impressed me greatly. We have to bear in mind that I didn’t go easy on this wheel stand. I put a 10Nm wheelbase on it, which arguably has a peak rating of more than 10Nm. I used load cell brakes which are quite heavy.
At €141, this is pretty decent value. In fact, considering everything I put it through and how well it coped, it’s actually very good value. Its portable form factor is very handy, but do remember that it’s probably a lot larger than you imagine it to be in your head. Even if you buy this, you’re not going to just slide this under the bed. It still takes up space. But that’s also a good thing. It’s sturdy enough to give a very enjoyable experience. The bolts working themselves loose is a little worrying but also bear in mind that I had many many people using this rig all day long. Many were very heavy handed and throughout the 4 days, I only tightened the bolts twice.
The use of plastic for the critical brackets which hold the whole thing together is a clear area where they’ve saved money during the manufacturing process. This also makes the whole assembly a lot lighter but I’d love to see at least the areas where we need to tighten bolts being made of metal. The stand is quite adjustable in height and the angles of the equipment you install on it. I was able to find a happy medium where people of all heights were able to comfortably reach the pedals and complete laps.
I have to see this wheel stand through the eyes of a potential customer. And through those eyes, it’s about as much as you can expect from a wheel stand in this price range. When I look at it through the eyes of someone who is fortunate enough to own a pretty high end rig, I’m actually quite impressed. It has opened my eyes up to the benefits, both financially and from a portability point of view. During the intense testing of the FS3, the only thing that wasn’t really good enough was the desk chair that kept sliding away, and I can’t blame the FS3 for that. Yes there was some flex in the stand and the pedal tray. There was some side to side wobble after intense abuse from heavy handed people who had never sat in a sim rig before and were trying to wrestle the car. But I wanted to see how far I could push this unit. At €141, this is a complete bargain if you’re in the market.
Finally, I’d like to thank Trak Racer for sending me this unit for review. Where I could probably have asked them for any product in their range, I specifically chose this wheel stand as it is something I often get asked about. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this review. I stream every Tuesday and Thursday at 20:00 UK/Irish time. I’d love to see you on stream and answer any of your questions. For now, I’m Laurence and I’ll chat to ye later.