Fanatec democratizes direct drive with its CSL DD simracing base


Until then reserved for high-end steering wheels, direct drive transmission is becoming more democratic at Fanatec. The specialized manufacturer indeed introduces its CSL DD base at 349.95 €, giving a good kick in the anthill.

Appeared at the top of Fanatec’s force feedback flywheels range with the Podium DD1 and DD2 bases (sold respectively € 1199.95 and € 1499.95), “direct drive” technology was previously reserved for enthusiasts with of a well-filled wallet. Powerful motor, power supply and cooling dimensioned accordingly, materials that must offer more robustness … These are all elements that justify higher prices and allow to produce a level of performance and sensations that cannot be achieved by technologies with gears or belts, such as found in more affordable force feedback steering wheels. However, Fanatec has apparently found a way to save money to make its “direct drive” technology more accessible, beating the pawn of its competitors in the process.

With its CSL DD base, Fanatec therefore prides itself on offering direct transmission at a price barely higher than that of certain belt transmission bases (Thrustmaster TS-XW, for example). No plastic here, the CSL DD gives pride of place to aluminum, used in particular for its chassis acting as a radiator in order to directly dissipate the heat emitted by the engine without resorting to liquid cooling.

The engine, in fact, is developed specifically in Germany for this flywheel, according to Fanatec. If it is not necessarily as efficient as expected for “direct drive”, since it only develops 5 Nm – we rather expect more than 10 Nm when we mention this technology -, it should nevertheless be capable of producing sufficiently powerful effects with such a torque. What to compete in any case without problem with its competitors with belts on this point, even if one should probably not expect as much character as with the Podium DD1 and DD2 which develop maximum torques of 20 Nm and 25 Nm respectively. Fanatec does, however, offer a more powerful optional power supply, allowing the torque of its CSL DD to be increased up to 8 Nm.

Regarding compatibility, Fanatec is proud to announce that this new base can be associated with all of its products. There are two ports reserved for the shifters, a port for the crankset and a port for the handbrake on the back of the chainstay. The power socket and two USB-C ports complete this connection. The steering wheel is attached to the brand’s specific quick-release system. Also in aluminum, it could subsequently evolve into the manufacturer’s new QR2 system.

The CSL DD is compatible with all manufacturer's steering wheels. © Fanatec

The CSL DD is compatible with all manufacturer’s steering wheels. © Fanatec

Regarding the fixing, we take advantage, without surprise, of the screw thread on the underside for installation on racing cockpits, but Fanatec has also thought about players who would not yet be equipped with such a set and offers an optional imposing clamp for attaching the CSL DD to a desk or table.

Obviously PC compatible, the CSL DD also offers Xbox One and Xbox Series X / S compatibility. PlayStation compatibility point announced for the moment, but Fanatec is working on it. The PlayStation 5 should thus be entitled to its version of the CSL DD.

If the price of 349.95 € concerns only the CSL DD base, it will probably not be necessary to wait long to see the arrival of a first set also including the steering wheel and the crankset, for a total price that can be estimated around from 700 €. What to overshadow Thrustmaster and its TS-XW, in particular. We are therefore awaiting the response from the French competitor, if indeed he has a “direct drive” steering wheel in his boxes. For now, CSL DD’s availability remains unknown, giving it some time to respond.

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