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Asetek Forte Bundle : Test & Review

Sim Racer

E-sport driver & Sim Racing enthusiast, I decided to share my passion on this website.

Bundle Asetek Forte

Benefits

  • Exceptional build quality
  • Complete control and management with software
  • Ultra-immersive force feedback

Disadvantages

  • No base adjustment from the steering wheel
  • A crankset that can prove uncomfortable over long sim-racing sessions
  • Only 2 pallets
  • No steering wheel display

Custom PC aficionados will certainly be familiar with the brand Asetekmainly those revolving around watercooling. This manufacturer is more or less legendary in the field of radiators, pumps and all liquid cooling systems for CPUs and GPUs.

The company holds numerous patents that are used by CoolerMaster, Corsair, NZXT as well as other brands in the watercooling segment. I imagine you must know that developing a water cooling system for a CPU (block) is expensive, and it’s better to use a patent to minimize costs. It’s more profitable to pay dividends to a third-party company than to spend several million euros at once on product development.

In short, Asetek is a major player in the PC industry, and more specifically in the watercooling segment. Except that the company boss is a racing fan, and so is his son. As a result, Asetek has stepped in to help automotive and simulation enthusiasts around the world by offering very premium sim-racing peripherals. In the following, I will introduce you to the bundle Strong which represents the middle of the Asetek range, and consists of a base, steering wheel and pedals. Of course, you can purchase each product separately if you wish.

 

Main and technical features of the bundle

  • Direct Drive base for 18 nm of torque
  • 22-bit encoder based on
  • F1/GT-style carbon-fiber steering wheel with 29 cm diameter
  • Crankset with 2 Load Cell pedals, including a brake pedal capable of withstanding up to 180 kg of pressure
  • Constructed from premium materials, including carbon fibre and aluminium
  • 12 buttons, 6 rotary switches, 2 switches and 3 encoders on the steering wheel faceplate
  • QR on rear identical to that of Simucube

 

Design

Let’s start with the design of this bundle’s steering wheel. The wheel is typically F1/GT, open at the bottom. This means that the handles don’t join the frame, which helps the steering wheel’s overall ergonomics, as we’ll see below. The carbon-fibre front end gives the steering wheel a unique design, very similar to that of the competition, and the whole is embellished with a few orange elements tending slightly towards yellow. There’s no screen on the faceplate, and frankly, at the price this peripheral is sold at, it would have been the least we could have done.

The base is a large piece of metal. The beast is 30 cm long, with a height of 13 cm to encapsulate the engine, which delivers no less than 18 nm of torque. The design is sober, with a metal case sandwiched between plastic plates. The entire surface of the Forte base features fins to dissipate the heat generated by the motor, and the shape is pretty standard, I’d say. Asetek has opted for simplicity rather than the extravagance of Moza, but then, design is subjective.

Let’s finish with the bundle’s pedalboard. This peripheral is certainly greatly inspired by those found in Pagani or Koenigsegg, with a breathtaking design. The pedals are all in black, with bright orange accents for the Load Cell systems. It’s still beautiful as far as I’m concerned, but I think there’s a bit too much logo on the main plate.

Bundle Asetek Forte

Customized assembly

The Forte steering wheel uses a QR identical to Simucube’s, so the wheel slots into place and doesn’t move at all afterwards. The base can be fastened from the front or from below. You’ll need a chassis that supports Asetek’s front-mounting system, or you can purchase the bracket sold by Asetek. Make sure you do your research, as the brand is rather young in the sim-racing world.

Please note that the base fixing slots will suffer a little during long sim-racing sessions, so you’ll have a slight gap due to the plastic used. This is purely aesthetic, and in no way compromises the structure.

The pedalboard is designed for installation on a galley frame. This little jewel can take no less than 180 kg of pressure on the brake pedal, and that’s a lot. All the peripherals in this Forte bundle are designed for easy mounting on a modern, robust chassis.

 

Manufacturing and finishing

Now, the story is a bit mixed. As for the crankset, it’s 100% aluminum of the highest quality, with an almost exemplary finish. I say almost, because there are a few pieces with slightly protruding edges, but from what I understand, this is intended by Asetek to give it perhaps an industrial look. Nevertheless, it’s premium in terms of build quality and finish.

The base is aluminum, but the front and rear covers are plastic. The overall finish is very good, but the front mounting system pulls heavily on the plastic of the cover, leaving a slight gap that is purely aesthetic.

Let’s finish with the steering wheel. The Forte is superbly finished, with particular attention to detail on all the steering wheel components. Carbon fiber enhances the wheel’s premium look, and we’d expect nothing less from a wheel that costs more than a Fanatec bundle. But it’s composite: plastic reinforced with carbon fiber.

 

Getting started with the bundle

The Forte steering wheel is 29 cm in diameter, which is average for its category. In terms of ergonomics, it’s really well thought-out, with all the controls close to your fingers. And the same goes for the 2 rear paddles, which are perfect for racing. However, some encoders and switches proved rather hard to use, and I don’t know if it’s a problem of adjustment or burrs in their construction.

As for the crankset, you can adjust the settings on the 2 pedals, but I found it rather uncomfortable on long sim-racing sessions. The 2 pedals are almost vertical, and this is not at all a natural position for your feet, except perhaps on an F1-type chassis with your legs raised.

Bundle Asetek Forte

Sensations during play

The base

The base is excellent, as long as you’ve taken the time to configure it properly using Asetek software. The motor is not only powerful with its 18 nm of torque, but is also capable of producing weak and very weak effects, and strong and very strong effects, all at practically the same time.

The base is very dynamic when it comes to retranscribing force feedback, and adapts perfectly to your riding style, even if you prefer granular sensations or the right amount of power directly in your hands. What’s more, heat management is just perfect, even after several hours of use. This Asetek base won’t drop in power after a while, and that’s pure bliss.

The steering wheel

I switch to the Forte steering wheel. From your very first turns, you’ll feel that this steering wheel is rather heavy (over 1.3 kg on the scale), especially if you’ve already tried the carbon-fiber ones from Fanatec, for example. Nevertheless, this wheel, coupled with the Asetek base, gives us a very good dose of in-game feel. The driving position is fairly standard for the category, at 09:15, and the buttons are easily accessible, even if some are a little hard for my taste.

A big plus over Fanatec‘s competitors, however, is the diameter of the handles on Asetek’s Forte steering wheel: they’re much larger, which makes for a much more pleasant driving experience. You’ll have a much better grip on the wheel, improving your lap times and ergonomics.

The pedals

Let’s finish with the Asetek pedalboard. Naturally, both pedals are adjustable in terms of feel, stroke, resistance, end-stop position and all the rest. It’s a premium device, let’s not forget, even if it’s uncomfortable in the long run due to the vertical position of the pedals.

In terms of feel, the accelerator pedal proved to be excellent after fairly long use. Once the limit stop has been set, the throttle is very linear, precise and pleasant to use, despite the vertical position of the pedal, which can be uncomfortable over time. The brake, on the other hand, is another story altogether, and I was frankly expecting something exceptional given the asking price.

The Load Cell is a two-stage, rather standard design with a preload zone (1st floor). Settings are possible on the 2 floors, but I didn’t really find my happiness with them. The first stage felt too soft, despite the hours spent tinkering with the spring and software/sensor. It was a lost cause, and another disappointment.

The elastomer was no better. It’s swappable, but the “stop” zone comes too quickly, and you’ll soon find yourself trying to push your foot against a concrete wall. There are software settings for braking interpolation, but this will distort your reflexes with other Load Cell cranksets if you have more than one.

 

Compatibility

Needless to say, Asetek’s 3 Forte peripherals are only compatible with the PC platform for the simple reason that the brand is young on the market, and it will be a while before Sony and Microsoft give him chips for his products. But the manufacturer has clearly stated that it intends to offer console-compatible peripherals.

As for sim-racing titles, they are virtually all compatible with this Forte range, as is the case with the sim-racing peripherals manufacturer’s other products.

GT DD PRO

Value for money

So, I warn you, the bill is going to be high. The Forte base costs around €1060, the steering wheel is priced at almost €660 and the pedal set can be purchased for around €560, and over €600 for the S version.

All in all, you’ll be paying between €2020 and €2070 for this Asetek bundle, which is a very high price in my opinion, especially as the quality/price ratio doesn’t work in its favor, with a lot of plastic used on the steering wheel, for example.

 

My verdict

So, my verdict on this mid-range bundle from Asetek. I really liked the steering wheel, its ergonomics and its grip. I really liked the base, which is superbly superior to the competition(Fanatec DD1 and Moza R21), even if on paper it’s less powerful than the others. It’s just that the force feedback is dynamic, very communicative, well granulated and packs a lot of punch. The feedback is just better than that from the Fanatec and Moza bases, that’s all.

But the Forte crankset doesn’t come anywhere near the asking price, and if I were you, I’d pass. My recommendation is to take the base and the steering wheel, even if the latter isn’t exactly premium with lots of plastic, and go for a ClubSport V3 standard or Inverted.

gt dd pro

Bundle Asetek Forte

Highly immersive bundle, exceptional quality.

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