Sim-raceurs the world over have found themselves faced with this situation: what to buy to start shopping? This is a very tricky question, given the abundance of peripherals on the market, as well as the number of brands. It has to be said that the sim-racing segment is a lucrative one, especially if you’re a company offering a wide range of products and peripherals.
Even though sim-racing is a fairly customary discipline in terms of peripherals, manufacturers have noticed that many racers find it hard to make a choice, or buy the wrong products altogether. As a result, a new trend emerged several years ago: bundles. Many brands are now offering bundles of even their most premium products.
In what follows, I’m going to introduce you to the most popular Fanatec bundles. I’m going to tell you what products are bundled and what you should choose if you’re looking for a specific setup.
The most popular bundles
Each brand has its own bundles, and this choice is mainly dictated by the target market. Some players only offer base + flywheel and crankset bundles, while others try to have a fairly complete catalog, with a bundle for every rider.
At the moment, I have to admit that the most popular bundles are bases, flywheels and cranksets, as many riders aren’t sure what to buy, especially if the manufacturer has a vast catalog of products (Fanatec, for example). These bundles (base, steering wheel and crankset) allow racers to focus on their times and avoid compatibility problems between peripherals, as is the case with some products from Thrustmaster (especially for bases and shuttlecocks).
As I said earlier, Fanatec is a major player in the sim-racing industry, and has been for over 20 years. The German manufacturer is a premium one, even if it offers products that are often not too expensive for what you get in return; in other words, with very good value for money.
Fanatec is also a manufacturer of sim-racing peripherals with a high level of customization, and a highly-developed ecosystem. To put it simply: practically all Fanatec products work together, and I can assure you that few manufacturers of sim-racing peripherals can say the same.
In Fanatec’s vast product catalog, the German manufacturer offers 2 bundle options: standard bundles, which allow customization of peripherals, and Ready to race bundles, which include the essentials for sim-racing.
Fanatec’s best Ready to Race bundles
Fanatec‘s ” Ready to Race ” bundles all include at least a steering wheel, pedals and base. These bundles are prepared by the German manufacturer to satisfy the demands of new sim-breeders who don’t know much about the field, and will therefore be looking for ready-to-use kits.
CSL DD Ready2Race Bundle for PC (5 Nm)
As its name suggests, this bundle is designed to satisfy novice runners new to the discipline. In this kit, you get a 30 cm diameter CSL P1 steering wheel with two large paddles at the rear, a small screen on the top of the wheel, a polymer structure and a rubber finish. The QR of this steering wheel is made of plastic, and will therefore have a slight gap in the center. To be honest, this steering wheel is pretty basic, but it does the trick for those looking to get started in sim-racing.
The bundle also includes the CSL Pedals, Fanatec‘s entry-level pedalboard. You have 2 very simple pedals, in metal and without Load Cell. Here too, it’s a very basic peripheral that’s not intended for seasoned pilots.
And finally, the main course: the CSL DD by 5 nm. In fact, it’s this base that’s most important in this bundle. Developing 5 nm of max torque, the CSL DD will provide you with an excellent dose of realism, surpassing anything the competition can do in its power and price range. What’s more, this database opens the door to Fanatec’s entire catalog of sim-racing peripherals.
This bundle retails for almost €550, but can often be found on special offer for €500. Again, no savings on items, but this is the cheapest bundle offered by the sim-racing peripherals manufacturer.
Gran Turismo DD Pro (5 Nm)
The GT DD Pro bundle is normally exclusive to Playstation, as it is officially licensed for Gran Turismo. However, the base is a CSL DD and can therefore run on Xbox and PC. So, on this bundle we have a basic CSL Pedals, a 5 nm CSL DD and a specific Gran Turismo plastic steering wheel, all for €699.95.
The steering wheel is handsome, but the build quality leaves a little to be desired. You can feel that Sony has dictated the specifications for this steering wheel, and Fanatec has had to follow suit to keep its price more or less reasonable. The base is the 5 nm CSL DD, but an 8 nm version is available for €850. On the latter, nothing changes, except for the addition of the boost kit, which increases maximum torque to 8 nm.
The feel is excellent, whether for the 5 or 8 nm CSL DD. Everything is precise, you feel everything the car does down to the smallest detail, and it’s just perfect. The only downsides to this bundle are the pedals, which are very basic, and I’d advise you to get the Load Cell version, and the steering wheel, which frankly isn’t up to the same standards as Fanatec’s other wheels, as well as having a plastic QR.
Nevertheless, it’s still a good bundle for not too much money if you take into account the base and the Gran Turismo-licensed steering wheel.
CSL DD Forza Starter Kit (5 Nm) – Xbox & PC
This bundle takes wheel quality up a notch, even though it’s still the same base and crankset. The steering wheel is the ClubSport Forza from Fanatec’s mid-range range. Made of aluminum, the wheel is 33 cm in diameter and has a flat bottom. It’s a little big, but you soon get used to it. The wheel cover is made of high-quality leather. This gives it a premium look, and the design is very sober: all black, with just the logos in white and a banner at the top.
Attached to the wheel is Fanatec’s Hub V2. The latter includes buttons, paddles and a small LED display above. This hub can be used on virtually all the German manufacturer’s steering wheels and bases and is just excellent, making you feel like you’re in a racing car.
Also available are CSL Pedals and the 5 nm CSL DD. On these two peripherals, I have nothing to say, except that I’d advise you to get a better pedalboard if you want to improve your sim-racing. And if you really want to do that, Fanatec is offering an upgrade to this bundle with the 8 nm CSL DD, ClubSport Shifter and CSL Elite Pedals V2. This bundle is clearly better than the Starter, but also costs an arm and a leg: expect to pay €1,560 excluding special offers, and €1,460 with special offers.
Podium DD2 Formula Premium Bundle (25 Nm)
Now it’s time for Fanatec’s top Ready to Race bundle: the Podium DD2 Formula Premium. This bundle includes the Podium DD2 25 nm torque base, the ClubSport Pedals V3 with Load Cell, Podium 6-paddle module and ClubSport Formula V2.5 steering wheel. This bundle is clearly aimed at satisfying racing fans of F1 and GT in general, but it’s still the best the brand offers in kit form.
Basically, it’s simple: it’s the best you can find on the market today in terms of compatibility with titles and platforms, in addition to the sensations and realism it delivers. The 25 nm of torque are just enormous, and for all titles. Note that you’ll need a cockpit capable of handling this torque, otherwise it won’t work.
The crankset is Fanatec’s very best, with a 90 kg pressure Load Cell brake and 2 Hall-sensor pedals. The design is elegant and sober, with an all-metal structure. The carbon-fiber steering wheel is just as handsome and easy to handle, provided you have some F1 experience.
This bundle can be exchanged for the princely sum of €2,439.80, and it’s the first time you’ll be able to save money by buying peripherals in kit form. By the way, you also get a less “aggressive” version of this bundle with the 20 nm DD1 base and CSL Pedals in Load Cell for €2079.8.
Fanatec’s best standard bundles
These bundles are numerous and essentially add value to your setup. For example, you have a steering wheel and a paddle kit, a steering wheel and a hub, a steering wheel and a QR, a complete kit including shifter, clutch pedal and handbrake, and so on.
ClubSport Steering Wheel Formula V2.5 X Advanced Bundle
This bundle includes the ClubSport Formula V2.5 steering wheel Podium paddle module and a set of stickers and button caps, all for €609.85. I’m going to be frank with you: price-wise, you gain nothing. The aim here is to offer a ready-to-use kit, without too much searching for the products that will suit you.
The steering wheel is a Formula-type carbon fiber wheel 27 cm in diameter, with a small LED display and a RevLED just above it. The design is a success, and the build quality is second to none. There are a total of 11 buttons, 2 switches, 7 funky switches, a metal QR and analog joysticks. It’s more than enough to improve your setup. This bundle also includes a set of stickers to personalize your steering wheel controls as you wish, and a module of 6 Podium range paddles.
In my opinion, this bundle is perfect for racers who already own a Fanatec setup and want to add an excellent steering wheel for F1 or GT racing. To use this bundle, you must have a Fanatec base, otherwise it won’t work.
ClubSport Steering Wheel Flat 2 V2 for Xbox Advanced Bundle
This bundle includes the ClubSport Flat 2 steering wheel, the Xbox button hub and the Podium 6-paddle module. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is 27.5 cm in diameter. The covering is red synthetic suede. Frankly, I don’t really like this color, it’s too flashy for me. The wheel structure is in metal, with a silver anodized finish. Sold at €579.90 on special offer, here again you gain nothing if the price is not on special offer.
Along with this steering wheel, the bundle includes an Xbox button hub and a Podium 6-pallet module. These two products are screwed onto the back of the steering wheel for easy use. Once again, you’ll need a Fanatec base to make full use of this bundle. However, the QR does not come with the steering wheel, and you’ll need to purchase it separately.
CSL Pedals Ultimate Upgrade Kit
This bundle has been developed by Fanatec for racers who want to bring more realism to their sim-racing sessions. On the menu: Load Cell brake pedal, bottom bracket plate kit, ClubSport Shifter V1.5 with various knobs, ClubSport Handbrake 1.5, all sold for €644.75. As is customary, this bundle doesn’t save you any money, as all peripherals are sold at the same price.
Nonetheless, this bundle is sure to delight riders looking for new sensations and a good dose of realism to boot. Fanatec ‘s shifter is probably the best in its class, combining H Pattern and sequential gearboxes. What’s more, the bundle includes different knobs to suit all your preferences. The handbrake is also excellent, but not hydraulic. But then, in its price range, that’s perfectly normal. However, it does have a similar sensor, allowing you to dose the rear wheel lock during drifting sessions or rally stages.
And finally, a Load Cell brake pedal for CSL Pedals. Basically, it’s the best device in this bundle, especially if you want to upgrade your basic CSL pedalboard. The Load Cell provides greater immersion in sim-racing, especially during heavy braking.
Which one to choose?
Honestly, it all depends on your current setup and what you’re looking to improve. If you already own a Fanatec base (CSL DD or Podium DD), it would be a good idea to opt for a standard bundle that includes a steering wheel and paddles, or a crankset, shifter and handbrake kit. These bundles are ideal for those who have already set foot in the Fanatec ecosystem, and are looking to upgrade their setup.
On the other hand, if you don’t have any Fanatec peripherals and would like to set up a setup with this brand’s products, the best thing to do is buy a Ready to Race bundle, which includes at least a base, a steering wheel and a pedalboard.