The Simucube 2 Ultimate’s philosophy is a simple one: “only the best is good enough”. When you decide to make a switch from normal force feedback wheels to direct drive ones, this is something that you should definitely keep in mind. Seeing as direct drive wheels can be pretty expensive, you want the best possible product available for the best possible price. For this reason, we’re reviewing a real heavy hitter in the world of direct drive wheels for racing simulators. Will the Simucube 2 Ultimate be worth a purchase in 2021?
What to Consider Before Buying Direct Drive Wheels
Direct Drive wheels are marketed towards expert virtual racers. This is both because these are expensive products and because they require a good driver to truly take advantage of them. Much like non direct drive wheels, there are some key considerations to keep in mind before making a purchase. First is how authentic the wheel feels. Essentially this is force feedback on steroids. A good direct drive wheel will make it so that you’re able to tell what kind of surface your wheels are on at any given time just by feel. Second, comes the input accuracy. You want your every action faithfully translated into the game to make sure that your car behaves exactly as you intended it to. Lastly comes how much and how easily its options can be adjusted. Much like a mechanic would look to tailor the wheel and car to the racer, your Direct Drive wheel should be able to be molded around you.
The Simucube 2 Ultimate
The Simucube 2 Ultimate is the third in the Simucube 2 line, and the most advanced model (you can find our review for the Simucube 2 Pro, the mid-ranged option, here). The Ultimate takes all of the features from the Simucube 2 Sport and Pro and dials them up to 11. Everything is tried and tested to be better so as to not only outclass the other models from the same line but also models made from different and well-known companies like Fanatec. When comparing direct drive wheels we usually take a look at the Accuforce Pro V2 due to its excellent performance and competitive price. When comparing these two products it’s hard to make a final call. The Simucube 2 Ultimate is an incredible piece of machinery and has a lot of great features that the Accuforce doesn’t. Having said that, the Simucube 2 Ultimate costs more than three times what the Accuforce Pro V2 does, and we don’t really know whether this difference in price is worth the increase in performance.
Regardless, we can’t but say that the Simucube 2 Ultimate has to be a product aimed for the most serious and experienced racing sim pilots out there. Even when visiting their homepage you can clearly see that this is a product aimed for professional drivers training on simulators and/or professional Esports sim racers. We’d say that, unless you fall in these categories or have a lot of money to spare, this product is likely not for you.
All in all the Simucube 2 Ultimate offers one of the best racing sim experiences in terms of fidelity and accuracy that money can buy, but money is precisely the issue here.
Features & Benefits
When considering whether to purchase a product or not, certain features (or occasionally drawbacks) will come up as more important than others. The following five are features we’ve selected for the Simucube 2 Ultimate to help you decide whether this wheel is tantalising enough for you to consider purchasing it.
Best torque we’ve ever seen
In the review of the Simucube 2 Pro (once again, here’s the link) we lauded the great torque it was able to generate, saying that you might forget you’re not driving an actual sports car. Well, the Ultimate took our expectations and shattered them. This incredible wheelbase reaches a peak torque level of 70Nm, though the recommended dynamic range it functions at is 32Nm (a whole 7Nm more than what wheels such as the Simucube 2 Pro and the Fanatec DD2 can offer), and it does so with a breeze. This is coupled with a max torque slew rate of 9.5Nm per second, again a notable increase. If the Simucube 2 Pro is going to “leave you smitten” then the Ultimate will easily make drop your jaw in disbelief.
Specialised force feedback
Talking about torque and not mentioning how this relates to force feedback is a severe mistake. The Simucube team took special care of those wishing to buy their premium product, once again falling back on their “only the best is good enough” ideology. Their team built 40 different iterations of the Simucube 2 Ultimate motor, hand-tested a variety of them, picked the best one, and still made modifications to make sure it was up to scruff. The force feedback is powerful and precise, especially thanks to the Natural Sign Processing it makes use of. Finally, to make sure that the motor would deliver a flawless professional drive, each and every model is calibrated individually to iron out any measurable torque error and ripple.
It’s paramount that the racing simulator and direct drive wheel communicate effectively, especially with regards to wheel angles. This is key when determining what natural effects and physics apply to the car (and thus your steering wheel). If it were even slightly off it would not only lead to your racing experience not being akin to what a real driver would have to go through, but it would also feel like a distortion in reality. This is when the Simucube 2 Ultimate hits you with numbers the like of which we’ve never had the pleasure to see! The Hiperface interface makes use of a resolution of 16 million counts per revolution at a steady 20kHz sample rate. In the words of Simucube, the “Ultimate has undoubtedly the most accurate angle sensors in all force feedback wheels ever”.
Built to last
The Simucube 2 Ultimate is certainly not an inexpensive wheel, but the build quality is a testament to just how crucial the money spent is. Let’s start with the “physical” components. The Simucube 2 Ultimate is almost completely built from incredibly solid metal parts. And when we say almost we completely mean it, as the only non-metal build we’ve been able to find on the entire wheel is the “radiofrequency window” for Wireless Wheel Receiver. Next, let’s look at what’s inside. The electronics for this excellent force feedback wheelbase have been entirely designed by Granite Devices, a Finnish company known for dependable motor drives. The Simucube 2 Ultimate is thus nigh indestructible. All of the metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFETs) in it are categorised as more than twice their requisite durability. All in all, when coupling the electronics and the heavy-duty build quality, it’s clear to see that the Simucube 2 Ultimate is built to last.
We’ve already made mention of this multiple times in the review, but this is the biggest drawback of this fantastic wheel. The Simucube 2 Ultimate offers a lot, but it also asks a lot from you… monetarily. It comes at more than three times the cost of the Accuforce Pro V2, and more than double the cost of the already incredible Simucube 2 Pro or the Fanatec DD2. From a purely technical standpoint, the Simucube 2 Ultimate stands above these competitors, but on a bang for buck scale, in terms of pure price to quality, we don’t know whether it’s worth this much. At the end of the day what you use this wheel for will by and large dictate whether the cost is worth it for you.
The Simucube 2 Ultimate is an excellent wheel but by no means the only one you should consider purchasing. Below we’ve listed some of its alternatives, and we encourage you to look at them all before you make a final deliberation on what you’d like to purchase.
Simucube 2 Pro
The “middle child”, the Simucube 2 Pro is a good compromise for those looking for excellence but not at the punitive price that the Ultimate asks of you. Generally speaking, it has a vast majority of the same features as its more prestigious brother It makes use of natural signal processing, passive cooling and comes at a much more affordable price. Unfortunately, being a less expensive model, it doesn’t reach the same torque levels as the Ultimate, nor does it have the same incredible angle sensor stats, but it’s still a noteworthy alternative. If you’re interested why don’t you take a look at our comprehensive review here?
Accuforce Pro V2
We must have mentioned this direct-drive podium dozens of times in this review, and there’s good reason for it. The auto-optimization feature which causes the wheelbase to change its settings to best mirror your driving style, your driving line, what track you’re on, what car you’re using, how all these interacts is downright sci-fi worthy. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s one of the best direct-drive choices out there and is considerably less expensive than the Simucube 2 Ultimate. For a third of the price, you’re going to feel as though you’ve reached the pinnacle of racing sim fidelity and gaming. If you’re at all interested, check out our complete guide over here.
Fanatec Podium DD2
Fanatec is a household brand for all racing sim pilots, and there’s obvious reason for it. In terms of their direct drive products, the Podium series is what you should turn to. If you’re interested in the Simucube 2 Ultimate, then we recommend you also give a look at the DD2 wheel. This excellent direct-drive wheelbase optimizes all that was great from the DD1 and expands on it. It doesn’t suffer from having heavier wheels mounted to it, and it achieves a great level of torque. It’s expensive, but relatively cheap when you consider that it goes for less than half of the Simucube 2 Ultimate. For a more in-depth look at the Fanatec DD2 find our guide here.
We started off this review by reiterating the philosophy behind Simucube 2 Ultimate: “only the best is good enough”. It’s clear to all that this guided the building process of this wheelbase. That being said, the second half of the Simucube 2 Ultimate’s introduction states that this is a product that is clearly aimed at professional users. We think this is probably wise to emphasise. The product is fantastic, and you’ll have a wonderful time driving with it, but the costs are so steep that you need to ask yourself whether you need this or you’d be happy with a less expensive alternative.
Either way, even if just for curiosity, we highly recommend you give the Simucube 2 Ultimate a look!
Last Updated on January 23, 2021