Many professional simulation racers agree that a high quality crankset is bound to make you faster than if you only have a very good wheel. It also makes your gaming experience incredibly more realistic, as having a great pedalboard really makes you feel like you’re driving a real car.
In this article, we’ll give you our selection of the models we think are the best cranksets by range, and explain what criteria you should take into account when choosing your crankset.
The best pedalboards for less than €300
Fanatec and Thrustmaster compete side by side in the sim-racing market, and some of their entry-level pedalboard models are among the top favorites for first-time gamers. This is the case of the two models we are going to talk about here.
Fanatec CSL Elite Pedals LC
The CSL Elite LC pedalboard is a set of 3 metal pedals then coated with a matte metallic powder for a longer life. The crankset also includes removable rubber pedal sleeves that are easy to remove and provide additional comfort.
Its brake is equipped with a load cell that supports up to 90 kg of adjustable force. All pedals can be individually adjusted in height and spacing to make the ride as comfortable as possible.
You also have the option of using the Fanatec setup menu to adjust the parameters of your Load Cell, or fine-tune with the Elastometer springs on the back of the brake. You can also remove all the pedals from their base and mount them separately in your cockpit.
The Fanatec CSL Elite LC crankset is a great blend of technique and simplicity, easy to use for both the more experienced rider and the novice player. For the price, you’ll get a pedalboard that you won’t get tired of, especially if you’re good with adjustments!
We have written a full review of the CSL Elite 2-pedal version, to find out more read our review of the CSL Elite Pedalboard
The Thrustmaster T-LCM pedal board
The T-LCM crankset is Thrustmaster ‘s first award in the load cell pedal market. This is a model that is reasonably priced but still offers a high quality design.
It is made of 100% metal with a sturdy frame and textured footrest. The T-LCM’s pedals are adjustable for height, tilt and spacing and all 3 pedals can be individually adjusted.
One of its biggest assets is the Load Cell brake pedal, which can handle up to 100 kg of pressure, allowing you to get a lot of force through the pedal, just like a real brake pedal.
Six different springs are included to ensure you get the pedal feel that’s best for you. With this, the gas pedal and clutch are also equipped with Hall Effect magnetic sensors.
Combined with a Thrustmaster family steering wheel, it is compatible with almost all devices, from consoles to PCs.
If you’re looking for an entry-level Load Cell pedal set, look no further than the Thrustmaster T-LCM pedalboard.
The best pedalboards between 300 and 700 €.
Until the advent of pedals with hydraulic mechanisms, Load Cell pedals in this category were considered top-of-the-line models. Even if this does not take away from their qualities, they are now on the market with the mid-range label.
Fanatec ClubSport V3
The Fanatec ClubSport V3 crankset is currently one of the most popular and widely used models on the market, and for good reason. This set features 3 pedals finished in a striking black metal color that blends in well with most simulation rigs. The metal structure keeps the pedals rigid and secure during the race and gives the crankset strength and durability.
The Fanatec ClubSport V3 offers a multitude of adjustment features that allow you to adjust the pedals to your liking. The pedal faces can be adjusted in a wide range of configurations, enabling all drivers to find what suits them best.
This crankset includes a Load Cell brake, capable of handling 90 kg of force, which can be adjusted to give you the firm feel of a formula car or the progressive feel of a road car pedal.
For its value, the Fanatec ClubSport V3 pedalboard is a great place to start. It offers enough feel and sensitivity to last you for years in your racing simulations.
Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Sprint
The Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Sprint 3-pedal crankset is crafted with absolute precision, usinglaser-cut steel to deliver both light responsiveness and a truly rugged feel.
It features Load Cell technology on all three pedals , which doesn’t wear out over time and accurately reproduces the force you apply to them.
This model is truly remarkable for the tech-savvy rider as all pedals physically adjust, but you can also program pedal resistance and loads, configure dead zones and output curves to suit your needs. This model is also compatible with SmartControl.
If you’re looking for a pedalboard that helps you be both fast and consistent in GT style racing as well as F1 racing, the Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Sprint is an excellent choice. It’s ideal for true sim-racing enthusiasts and those who aspire to become esports professionals as it offers consistency and realism and is one of the best simulation racing pedals you can own.
The best pedalboards for more than 700 €.
Here we tackle the cream of the crop of pedalboards with models that are right at the top of the range. In this price range, we will tend to find crankset models with hydraulic shocks installed, the technology that offers the best sensations on the market today.
Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Ultimate
At the top end of the market, the Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Ultimate is a fantastic option for simulation enthusiasts. These pedals are mounted on an aluminum frame for maximum rigidity and strength, so you really feel like you’re driving in a real race car.
These Heusinkveld pedals are suitable for high-end professional motorsport simulators, and their robust, rigid, compact and durable design provides immediate and precise response.
This pedal board can be used in the most demanding environments and can simulate the pedal forces found in F1 and LMP vehicles. The bi-directional hydraulic dampers on the clutch and brake equipped with Load Cell offer, in our opinion, the best simulated pedal feel you can get on the market today.
If you’re looking for a truly high-end feel with your racing pedalboard, then the Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Ultimate are a surefire choice.
If money is no object and you are only satisfied with the best, then the SIMTAG Hydraulic crankset is for you! This model is currently considered by many Sim-racers to be the Holy Grail of pedalboards.
This is a set of 3 Tilton pedals known to be used in race cars around the world, made of forged aluminum.
The pedals have an adjustable ratio (5.29:1, 5.44:1, 5.75:1) and the original brake balance bar.
This crankset contains a hydraulic system, ensuring the most consistent and precise feel on any pedal. The gas pedal is equipped with a Bosch positioning sensor of the highest possible quality in terms of performance.
In addition to this, all sensors are produced by Cosworth and have a dust- and moisture-resistant coating to ensure that accuracy and precision never fade.
The SIMTAG Hydraulic pedalboard looks like it came straight out of a race car, with a few added improvements that will benefit Sim-racing enthusiasts. If you can afford to go all out to get the best simulation platform, we can only recommend investing in this model.
Choosing the right crankset
When choosing a pedalboard model, there are some essential criteria to keep in mind to make sure you make the right decision.
Price: your budget will determine the purchase of your pedalboard. Depending on the price you can afford to spend, you will be able to target the range that suits you and thus focus on models you can afford to buy and compare them.
Adaptability: the adjustability of a pedalboard should always be one of the deciding factors in your decision. Being able to control pedal spacing forwards, backwards, side-to-side and even brake sensitivity is essential to give you more comfort and make your racing simulation experience as realistic as possible.
Build quality: you don’t want a model that looks flimsy or cheap looking because it won’t measure up if you’re looking for realism and durability. You’ll want the best materials available within your budget, so always favor pedal assemblies made of metal with a solid surface to make them last longer.
Stability: It is best if the crankset has non-slip materials to ensure its stability, especially when you are in intense running situations. The pedals must also be able to withstand considerable pressure to offer realistic resistance when used, as if you were driving a real car.
Technology: the more advanced the technology in each of its components, including load cells and dampers, the higher the level of realism and performance.
Compatibility: Ideally, maximum compatibility with the most common consoles on the market (PlayStation and Xbox) and the PC.
All of these factors add up to an enjoyable experience every time you play your favorite simulation racing games.
In summary – Conclusion
Choosing the right pedalboard model is, as you have seen, essential to improve the realistic feeling of the game and your performance as a driver.
Fromentry-level modelsto hydraulic cranksets, the major Sim-racing brands are bound to have a pedal set to suit your needs.
We hope that you now have the keys to make your decision regarding the purchase of your pedalboard. No matter what your level in Sim-racing or your budget, you should be able to find what you are looking for among the different models we have proposed.