Intro – One of the most powerful wheel bases around
When they came along, Direct drive wheels were a game changer in sim-racing. Remember when you jumped from a controller to force feedback wheels?
This is kind of the same experience you’d feel in accuracy as well as immersion by upgrading from a “normal” belt driven wheel to a direct drive system. With DD You will improve your realism and precision, overall It feels you make a transition from a toy into a real race car.
Since the arrival of cheaper options, such as the CSL DD and the Moza R9, the question is how much realism do you really want (or can afford)?
This is particularly true in the cases of the Fanatec DD1 base, which seats in the premium tier of Fanatec wheel bases, with an important price and interesting features we’ll try to analyse in our review.
in other words: is a product like the Fanatec DD1 still worth in 2023? Let’s check this out.
The Podium DD1 was released at the end of 2018 together with its more expensive brother, the DD2. At that time, it was the only option to upgrade from what it immediately felt an outdated tech such as belt-driven wheels, and a lot of users clearly broke their piggybanks and happily bought it.
It features 20Nm of maximum torque, a really high level that allows you to feel most of the feeling of a real race car. Do you need it? It strongly depends on your needs, and which car you are drive: for instance, most of the Endurance, GT, TCR, Nascar and formula 1 have a power steering that cuts the wheel strength so you won’t need anywhere near 20Nm to simulate it – most likely something around 8-10Nm should be enough, or even less.
If you want to replicate the feeling on an old formula car, or modern Indycar, then you’ll need much more so a DD1 or DD2 would be a good option.
And, this will allow you to get better feeling as you are much less likely to max the torque just by holding force. if you are on a corner and hit a curb, for instance, having a higher maximum torque will allow the base more room to create the relevant force feedback effect.
Another advantage is that with the DD1 you will be able to run wheels with higher weight and diameter as the built of the product is much stronger and also this wont’ have any effect in your experience, while this might create small issues with the CSL DD – as a rule, the bigger the wheel the less you will feel Force feedback.
Here a comparison between all Fanatec Direct Drive wheel bases:
|Fanatec DD1||Fanatec CSL DD||Fanatec DD2|
|Maximum Torque||Up to 20Nm||Up to 5-8Nm*||Up to 25Nm|
|Materials||All alluminium housing||All alluminium housing||All alluminium housing + carbon fiber cover plate|
|Display||2’7” Oled||No||2’7” Oled|
|Kill switch||Not included||no||included|
|Release year||End of 2018||April 2021||End of 2018|
|Price||1199$ / €||349-499$/€*||1499$ / €|
As you can see, Fanatec is covering most of the needs with these 3 bases. In the past, the big debate was about buying a direct drive or a belt-driven one such as the good old CSL Elite (how many memories..), but now all the products offer the same underlying technology type.
Is Fanatec DD1 a good buy then in 2023? That’s the big question here.
If you are not restrained by your budget, and are considering a high-torque base, the DD1 can be a great option. You can get 20Nm and basically the same product that has 5Nm of power less than the top Fanatec base.
Are you coming from a non direct drive base?
If you are planning a sim racing long-life career or planning just getting the best out there, the DD1 is a very good investment. Unless you prefer to save, in that case you could opt for a CSL DD or a Moza R5 or R9
Upgrading for a CSL DD or a lower torque wheel base?
We’re not sure it’s a great idea unless you do not worry about budget at all, or you want to drive a specific non-power steering car.
Some people report big improvement in game feeling going from 8 to 20Nm, some others are not really enthusiastic about that.
If you decide to opt for a Fanatec DD1 Wheel base (or any other product with 10Nm) we recommend to have your cockpit solidity figured out in advance.
These products can produce a lot of power and need a strong support to be placed on (possibly not a table or a weak wheel mount).
This is both for enjoyment and safety.
If you want to feel even more safe, other than paying attention, you could opt for the optional kill switch for 99$/€.
With this button you will be able to stop the base at any point in time should you be in a dangerous situation
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is Fanated DD1 worth it in 2023?
It does if you have the budget and will use the high torque (for instance, for Indycar simulation). Or you just want top-of-the-range product and you want to save 300$/€ compared to the DD2. Otherwise, you can save more than half the price with cheaper alternatives such as the CSL DD
or a Moza Racing R5 Wheel Base
Which is the best direct drive wheel?
Fanatec Direct Drive systems are not alone, and a lot of competition is coming to the market. But, if you still like a perfect Design, top customer service and being part of the largest product ecosystem in Sim Racing, opting for a Fanatec Wheel Base is a great idea as you will have access to a lot of plug and play wheels, pedals and accessories
Why are direct drive wheels so expensive?
The technology involved in producing these kinds of products is high, if you want to take force feedback realism to the next level you can’t cut down on anything.
Can i use other brand wheels on a Fanatec DD1?
It depends. In some cases, you will need a quick release adapter and a way to be able to connect it – check if your wheel can plug into the Fanatec quick release or the manufacturer offers some adapter for it. Please also verify you will be get data on the wheel display if you have one.
Isn’t the DD1 old? Should we expect a replacement soon?
We’re not sure about that. Fanatec has been working to replace components and chips for its products in 2022, to limit supply chain issues. This, according to their CEO Thomas Jackermeier, has slowed down the research of new products. So, a disruptive DD3 or a DD1.5 that is not just more than a small upgrade can come, but it’s not super likely to happen in the next few months according to that (written in April 2023)
Other Direct Drive alternatives
There are now a lot of potential alternatives to the Fanatec DD1, both inside the Fanatec ecosystem than with competitors.
- Fanatec Podium DD2
- Fanatec dd1 vs dd2
- Fanatec CSL DD
- Moza R21 Wheel BaseMoza Racing R21 (21 Nm)
- Simucube Sport or Pro (17 and 25Nm)
- Accuforce Pro (13Nm)
Brief Design Overview
- Outrunner-type motor engineered ( specifically designed for sim-racing )
- Built to last ( 5 Years Warranty )
- Wireless data and power ( Endless rotation thanks to the direct-drive motor ), all data is transfer into the wheel wireless
- First plug-and-play direct drive wheelbase
- Fully compatible with the existing Fanatec ecosystem
- OLED display for settings and telemetry
- FULL Backwards compatibility
PS5: No PS4: No PS3: No
Xbox: Yes Xbox Series X: Yes
- This wheel base is natively compatible with your personal computer (PC) in combination with all available Fanatec steering wheels.
- This wheel base becomes compatible with Xbox One® and Xbox Series X|S when used with any Fanatec Xbox-licensed steering wheel.
- It’s not compatible with Playstation systems (The Gran Turismo DD PRO is)
- All Fanatec Podium Steering Wheels
- All Fanatec ClubSport Steering Wheels
- All Fanatec CSL Steering Wheels
- All Fanatec Pedals
- All Fanatec Shifters
- RennSport Cockpit V2 (sold after Q4 2017)
- ClubSport Table Clamp V2.
Fanatec Podium Wheel Base DD11199.95 USD
- Next level Force feedback realism
- New specifically design motor for simracing
- Endless rotation
- OLED display
- compatibility with all existing Fanatec steering wheels
- Price is high
- Not in-built kill switch