Forget Fanatec — I just tested Nacon Revosim’s first racing wheel months ahead of launch

Revosim racing wheel
(Image credit: Future)

I’m a sim racing addict to the point that my team probably wish I’d shut up about it. That is why my interest was piqued when Nacon invited me out to BigBen Week in Paris for “something” related to this cherished esport.

Those in the know will have probably already read Nacon’s big news — the company is venturing into creating racing hardware with a new department called Revosim. On top of this, the team also announced that its first product will be a “direct drive premium steering wheel.” It is set to come with a GT steering wheel, load cell pedals and D-BOX haptic actuators, alongside a mobile app for showing telemetry data.

More is set to be announced at Gamescom, and that’s where the story should be over… But I managed to go hands-on with the world’s first prototype of this wheel, and ask the minds behind it some key questions. And after driving and talking, I must say I’m really hyped for this.

Disclaimer: This is just a prototype

There is one thing that Revosim by Nacon’s team wanted me to make very clear, which is that the hardware I used is a prototype of what is set to be announced at Gamescom — which is why I had to obscure the photos you see in this story, at the company's request.

Being completely honest, the whole setup looked as close to final as you could get. But things can change in the next few months. Speaking of “setup,” we’re talking about the wheel and pedals only. The seat and rigging system are from different companies. 

Pole position?

Let me break this down as best as I can, while talking in vague enough details so that Nacon doesn’t send the French police to my door. If you’ve dabbled with premium direct drive wheels in the past, you’ll feel right at home. The detachable wheel with quick release feels unmistakably upmarket with a combination of metal and vegan leather — packing more than enough buttons across the front of the GT-inspired wheel for even the most complex of car control systems. 

The base feels very weighty with adjustable screw points, the load-cell pedals are also adjustable, and every part of this wheel is built with modularity and upgradeability in mind. It’s a very similar proposition to its competition from the likes of Fanatec and Moza.

But the secret sauce here is its pricing. In talking to the Revosim rep while driving (and crashing) into a lot of oncoming traffic, he mentioned that this new wheel will indeed undercut similar competition by being priced at “less than 1,000 euros.”

So while this touts the premium direct drive construction of more expensive counterparts, the finely tuned feel of its force feedback (more on that in a minute) and the benefit of a uniquely positioned Nacon doing both gaming hardware and software, it could come in rather competitively priced too.

Feeling the road

Revosim race wheel

(Image credit: Future)

The force in the wheel represents what I feel is a sweet spot for direct drive force feedback, as it gives you that fully fleshed-out, intricate detail that you need to detect the slightest hints of oversteer/understeer. 

“But wait!” I hear some of you exclaim. “Isn’t a higher number here better?” There seems to be this newton-meter face-off akin to when every car company was trying to have the most cylinders in their engine block. But there’s definitely a diminishing return the higher you go — especially given the additional cost attached to it.

If you want to remortgage the house and feel 15 nm of force feedback send your arms numb for hours, you do you. But that 8-10 nm level is the happy medium between giving you some challenge and still feeling manageable to steer. That's where I think this wheel lands in my testing

Plus, I’ve had good friends in the sim racing community get pretty badly injured (sprained wrists and separated shoulders mostly) from holding onto a super strong wheel when your car takes a trip into the wall. Pro tip: if you’re about to go careening into a wall, let go of the wheel. Your health insurance will thank you!

I digress, though. I took the wheel for a spin while ragging a Lamborghini Centenario through the streets of Hong Kong in Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown. After a few minutes of getting acquainted with the car, I was quickly channelling my inner Fast & Furious and threading the needle through oncoming traffic at 180mph.

The game itself is a lot of fun — feels like Forza Horizon with the same arcade-yet-grounded handling system that was further emphasized by the synergy between the Nacon-built Revosim wheel and the Nacon-published game.

Reaching the checkered flag

In terms of sharing more information about it, we’ve got to wait for Gamescom to get our hands on the final model. But the prospect of Nacon getting into the sim racing game with Revosim is a mightily enticing one based on my time with the prototype.

Now it's just a case of waiting on the answer to three questions:

  • Will that price be a true undercut of its competitors?
  • What will the rollout of additional wheels look like for different sim racing types?
  • Will there be support for PlayStation and Xbox at that same rough price?

Fingers crossed that the answers are “yes,” “plenty of wheels to look forward to,” and a resounding “yes.”

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Jason England
Managing Editor — Computing

Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He has previously written for Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.