There is more choice when it comes to direct drive wheels than ever. The last 12 months has seen plenty of new releases, and the latest is MOZA's R12 wheel base.
Sitting between their R9 and R16 base, this new base seems primed to take on the recently released Logitech and Thrustmaster direct drive wheels. Along with the new base comes a new wheel rim too. The KS wheel has arrived to add even more choice to MOZA's extensive offering of sim racing products.
We have been lucky enough to get our hands on both the R12 and KS wheel and have taken them for a test drive. So are they worth adding to your rig? Or should you avoid these new products? Let's take a look!
R12 wheel base
Let's start with the wheel base. As my first experience with a MOZA product I was very pleased with the sleek packaging and ease of setup. I've tested plenty of wheels that are a fiddle to get onto my GT Omega PRIME cockpit, but the R12 bolted onto the wheel deck with no issue.
Connecting it all up to my PC was a breeze, and while a little daunting at first the MOZA Pit House app makes adjustments to the wheel's output pretty simple too. The only drawback I had when setting it up was the power button being on the back of the base, forcing you to fumble around a little to switch it on and off.
The R12, as the name suggests, kicks out 12Nm of torque. It slots very nicely into the MOZA family of wheel bases and is very similar in aesthetic to its baby brothers the R5 and R9.
There are plenty of other technical talking points about the R12 according to MOZA. From a next-gen force feedback algorithm to a military-grade conductive slip ring, but how does all that translate to the driving experience?
We tested the R12 across a range of games and always felt connected to the car. All the expected detail was there be it in a high-downforce single-seater or a normal road car. There is a little bit of bumpiness in the force feedback compared to the wheel I usually use, but that jarring sensation faded as I got used to the extra torque.
Speaking of added power... Those that race competitively and at the higher end of the sim racing scene have often said that you only really need about 12Nm in a sim. So the R12 delivers just the right amount of power in a smooth, predictable, and crisp fashion.
For those that race on a 5Nm or non-direct drive wheel though, the R12 will feel like it is about to bite your hand off for a good while before you get used to it. At full power it is a more physical and punishing wheel than its similarly benchmarked rivals.
There is always a bit of personal preference in comparisons, but when put next to its competitors the Logitech G Pro and the Thrustmaster T818, which sit at 11Nm and 10Nm respectively, I much prefer the R12.
Maybe that extra Nm is making the difference, maybe it is that refined and improved FFB algorithm. But the experience is just a bit cleaner with a more precise feel across every title I raced on. Aesthetically the wheel base, even with its awkwardly positioned power button, is wonderful and the ability to just bolt it straight onto my rig without additional mounts or clamps was a huge plus point against its competitors.
The R12 absolutely feels like the best middle-of-the-range direct drive wheel base at the moment. You are also buying into MOZA's broad and exciting range of peripherals with this base. Which brings us to the new wheel...
The latest in MOZA's wheel rim collection, the KS wheel is a butterfly design that bears some comparison to what Williams currently run in Formula 1. The ultra-light wheel rim comes with the usual array of buttons, joysticks, and dials that are all in good reach of your thumb when driving. There are also two rotary selectors just above the grips for you to quickly change a setting.
The layout of everything is great, but one issue we had is mapping buttons. The KS wheel doesn't have any labels on the buttons when you start up. So you have no idea what you are pressing to select stuff at first.
Instead, it comes with a sheet of stickers and a set of tweezers so you can customise the button layout and look. This is a great touch if you only race in one game or in one category, but the moment you start bouncing around between games can become a bit of an issue. Your F1 23 DRS button might be your ACC ignition button, so what sticker do you put on it? While it might not matter in the long run, it felt like a little oversight on our part.
Speaking of buttons, each one on the KS wheel is very good. They are highly tactile with a raised rim around each and they require a bit of force to press. You won't be accidentally pressing any of them in the heat of battle.
There are two paddles per side on the back, allowing you to set a clutch if you wish. The gear paddles aren't as firm as I like and are a little small, especially if you aren't used to having two paddles there.
Then there are the grips. This is definitely the most subjective part of this review as I did not get on with the grips of this wheel rim at all. Made of a moulded thermoplastic elastomer, the firm ridges of the grip dictate exactly how you should hold the wheel, and if you aren't comfortable there you are a bit out of luck.
The material itself feels like it would provide an excellent surface for those that use racing gloves, but as someone that doesn't it felt overly grippy and uncomfortable.
Objectively, the KS wheel is great. Its lightness means you aren't losing anything from the FFB of the wheel base, and the button integration is lovely. But there are a few choices in the wheel rim that just didn't vibe with me during this review.
So how much does this new kit cost you? Well the R12 is £589, while the KS wheel is £279.
That price point for the R12 wheel base is outstanding. It means you can get both of these products for less than the 10Nm Logitech G Pro and the R12 base is a hair cheaper than the Thrustmaster T818 base.
The KS wheel is also very competitively priced for a high-end wheel rim. MOZA continues to be one of the best bargains in sim racing when it comes to price, and everything feels built to last.
So is it worth buying? Well, if you have aspirations of competing at the top level then the R12 wheel base is an excellent option. It sits in a sweet spot of power. You won't be using the full 21Nm of the ultra-powerful wheels very much, which means the money saved over those wheels is a sensible choice.
If you are already on a baby direct drive base though, it might not be for you. The step up from a 5Nm base to a 12Nm one isn't going to magically improve your lap time, and changing manufacturer is always pricy. If you do want a more realisitic feel to your sim racing experience though, the R12 is a terrific option. With its deep customisation via the MOZA Pit House and a sleek design that fits any rig setup it's a winner with us.
The KS wheel isn't one I personally would recommend just due to the grips of the wheel. Everything else about it is solid and any small unfamiliarities, like with the gear paddles, definitely get easier over time but despite putting in the laps I just couldn't get comfortable with it. That may be very different for others though, allowing the strengths of the rim to shine a bit more.
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