Drift pilots will tell you that an integral part of racing is the effective use of a handbrake, as it allows for more complex maneuvers that will save you precious seconds. The same can be said for the virtual world. The Fanatec Clubsport Handbrake V1.5 presents itself as a top-quality addition to your racing set-up.
What to Consider Before Buying a Handbrake
Handbrakes are peripherals that will either give you one of the largest increases to immersion or do very little for you. There tend to be two different types of racing sim aficionados: those who wish to race F1 cars and those who wish to race sports-cars. If you find yourself to be in the first category then handbrakes are almost completely useless to you. We recommend you look for a higher quality wheel and some great pedals (you can find our guides here and here). If you’re a sports-car sim racer then the question becomes more granular. Certain games benefit from a handbrake like few others. Rally games (like the excellent Dirt 4) make the use of a handbrake an almost integral experience.
A few things to keep in mind when purchasing a handbrake are resistance and build quality. The first is simply due to their nature. Good resistance translates to a genuine and responsive feel.
The ClubSport Handbrake V1.5
The Clubsport Handbrake V1.5 from Fanatec is a highly compatible and high-quality handbrake. It can be used with Xbox, Playstation, and PCs, as well as being compatible with non-Fanatec products. It promises a high level of realism, great build quality, and unparalleled precision. When compared to the TSSH it battles it out neck and neck. It’s more affordable and performs laudably, but unfortunately lacks the multiple functions of the TSSH.
This product is an excellent addition for those looking for a top-quality handbrake for their racing games. We would not recommend you buy this (or any handbrake) if you only plan on racing F1 games. Moreover, if you are a beginner, it’s advisable that you first purchase a good wheel and pedal set.
Features & Benefits
Here are some of the features and benefits to bear in mind when considering this shifter.
The inbuilt analog sensor has to be one of the most exciting features of this product. Differently many other handbrakes on the market, the V1.5 comes with a full analog axis to determine the effect your breaking would have. Unlike what would happen with a simple on/off switch, you can now initiate drifts while the wheels are still rotating rapidly. If handbrakes are a big part of your racing experience, this feature will have you enamored with the V1.5 in no time.
Though it’s a blanket statement, it’s very true. You can screw and hard-mount the V1.5 from the left/right side or the bottom of the handbrake to your cockpit. You can couple it with non-Fanatec products (PCs only, and you require the USB adapter), and, as if this wasn’t enough, you can choose whether to have your handbrake be vertical or horizontal. For this type of product, this level of customization is incredible.
Fantastic Build Quality
As mentioned before, the V1.5 is completely metal-made. What we failed to mention was that this is a 1:1 replica of handbrakes you would find in rally cars. It looks elegant, it feels (and is) sturdy, and overall will have you more than satisfied.
When we say approachable we don’t mean cheap. The V1.5 is still not inexpensive, but it comes at around half of the price of the TSSH. If what you’re looking for is a solid handbrake and nothing else, then this is product is for you!
There are, of course, a fair few alternatives to the Fanatec handbrake. These include:
A well-built handbrake made from authentic materials, that can also double as a sequential shifter
We can’t but mention what is perhaps the best handbrake out there. It’s a hard choice when paired with the V1.5, as they both excel as handbrakes. The Thrustmaster TSSH has the added bonus of also functioning as a shifter, but this raises the price significantly. If you only need a handbrake, maybe stick with the V1.5, if you need both a handbrake and a shifter, head over to our review of the TSSH here.
An excellent multi-shifter which doubles as a great handbrake.
The most multipurpose choice, the Thrustmaster TH8A Add-On Shifter couples as an H-shifter, sequential shifter, and handbrake. It has a stunning and resistant aluminum build which is coupled with Thrustmaster’s H.E.A.R.T. technology. This means that, no matter how much or how hard you plan on utilizing the TH8A, it will not lose accuracy as time goes on. It’s also quite affordable, making it an alluring choice for many. As a final note, however, is the currently limited game compatibility. We recommend you check on the Thrustmaster website to make sure that it will work for you. Overall we’d recommend you consider this more for its excellence as a shifter rather than a handbrake, however.
Generic USB Handbrake
A solid choice for those that are looking for a handbrake, but prefer to invest serious money elsewhere.
This is the budget option. This generic handbrake is surprisingly well built, entirely made of steel, giving it a genuine feel. It’s also considerably smaller than the other members on our list, which can be a benefit if you’re cramped. That being said it only works on PCs. If you’re looking for an affordable handbrake then get this one, it will satisfy you plenty when you plan on dusting off a good rally racing game. If, however, your interests lie in the heavy use of handbrakes, then purchase a higher quality one.
The Clubsport Handbrake V1.5 is an excellent peripheral, fighting tooth and nail for the top spot on our list. It will allow you not only to get the extra immersion that having a physical handbrake gives, but also to coax you into attempting more and more audacious maneuvers. It’s beautiful, had great responsiveness, and will have you testing your limits over and over again. If you’re interested in getting a handbrake at all you should check this out.