NEXT LEVEL RACING WHEEL STAND 2.0 Review flexibility and stability?

 For racing game enthusiasts, a steering wheel is a must, as is a decent frame, after all, the expensive device should be rock-solid and not bend the desk when you turn it in heated races. But what if you don't have the space for a permanent rig? Constant assembly and disassembly including pedal wiring? No, that's way too annoying! The best compromise is a portable solution that folds up in seconds to fit in the corner. The Wheel Stand 2.0 from Next Level Racing promises exactly that with maximum flexibility and stability. We have checked whether this brand new frame can live up to its expectations.

NEXT LEVEL RACING WHEEL STAND 2.0 Review flexibility and stability?

The appendix 2.0 states that this Wheel Stand has a predecessor. That's no secret, after all a lot of racing game friends trust it. One of the first foldable models ever in 2011, it not only offered full legroom thanks to the lack of a center bar, but also flexible rails for frame height and pedal removal. Not a matter of course for a mobile rig.


But as is the case with the first drafts, new desires arose over time. Small inconsistencies became more and more obvious as the wheel of steering wheel technology turned. Some customers are asking for extended support for new steering wheel models (in other words: more pre-drilled holes on the carrier), others complained about the lack of flexibility of the rather narrow carrier plate, which could not be adjusted in angle, which is the case with the new direct-drive wheels is particularly important. In contrast to typical belt drive steering wheels, these are aligned bolt straight, which in the long run leads to an uncomfortable bad posture if you don't shift your racing seat to a half-reclined position in Formula 1 fashion.

Logitech G29 Driving Force Racing W...
Logitech G29 Driving Force Racing Wheel


Next Level Racing took these and other points of criticism to heart. Wheel Stand 2.0 was announced in October 2021 and has finally been available in Germany since the first week of January 2022. The old model can still be found in stock at various retailers. After ten years, it still costs around 210 to 230 euros – just as much as the new one. But that won't stay that way, because Wheel Stand 2.0 is supposed to be better than the debut in every respect.


Having extensive experience with version 1, we know this isn't quite the case. Although many things have been improved, the manufacturer could not achieve an increase in quality in two aspects. To be precise, the new variant even performs slightly worse in these two aspects. We'll clarify what exactly it's about in a moment.


A rig for (almost) all models


First of all, we should clarify which steering wheels the new Wheel Stand 2.0 is suitable for. The answer is simple: for almost all Thrustmaster, Fanatec, and Logitech models. Possibly also for less common brands like Simucube and Simatic, but unfortunately we could not test that. In any case, there are enough drill holes on the carrier, and the frame also leaves little to be desired in terms of stability, as long as you stay below the magical limit of 20 Newton meters of torque. The manufacturer does not want to guarantee anything above that. So if you want to max out the 25 NM of a DD2 or operate other machines of this caliber, you should rather reach for the next larger frame from the manufacturer, which is not called Wheel Stand DD for nothing. However, this even more stable rig is not collapsible.


We pushed the Wheel Stand 2.0 to its limits with a Fanatec DD1 steering wheel and have no complaints. If you tighten all Allen screws properly, nothing bends even with extreme effort. And this is despite the fact that the carbon steel plate on which the steering wheel sits is more flexible than in the previous model. It can be tilted about 80 degrees - 40 degrees up to compensate for the straightening of direct-drive wheels, but also 40 degrees down to accommodate inherently beveled belt-drive wheels for Formula 1 configuration can.


Basically, we are enthusiastic about the quality of the rig. All of its components appear to be of higher quality and more precisely tailored than on the predecessor. And it looks even better in its full black coating, too. You have to plan around forty minutes for the first assembly because the individual components are quite heavy. The assembly instructions are provided with large, easy-to-understand drawings, so that each step is clearly conveyed. It is embarrassing, however, that the instructions via QR code promise a video tutorial for assembly, which is not (yet) available. That will probably be delivered later.


So it might be. The rig is easy to put together without a video, including all the new extras. Including, for example, a support rail for anyone who has a gaming chair on wheels. If you put the front feet of the chair in this holder, then you can also step on the brake with full force without rolling the chair in the opposite direction.


More flexible? Yes, but not only for good.


The second innovation consists of an extension plate for hand brakes, which can be attached directly next to the gear shift plate. A practical matter in itself, but unfortunately also the first factor that causes a minimal deterioration compared to the previous model. The two plates for gearshift and handbrake hang on a metal arm that can optionally be screwed to the left or right main strut instead of hanging on the crossbar at steering wheel level as before. The leverage causes a noticeable vibration when shifting gears and pulling the handbrake or slight bending of the arm material.


Again, since this is carbon steel, there's no risk of damage, but the flexing gets a little annoying over time. This is certainly not a broken leg, at most a deduction in the B grade, because the increased flexibility of this new solution would be praiseworthy in principle. You now have more freedom in choosing the height at which you want to mount the gear stick. The screw seems a bit too tight. Unscrewing it quickly because you're switching to Formula 1 and don't feel like using the gear stick is no longer feasible because it involves five minutes of Allen action.


NEXT LEVEL RACING WHEEL STAND 2.0 Review

While we're at it, let's get straight to the second tweak, which is folding. Wheel Stand 2.0 weighs seven kilos more than its predecessor due to the better material. 22 kilos plus the weight of your racing gear are not for petite people, especially since the new non-slip nubbed feet, which are supposed to prevent slipping when braking, also prevent the rig from being pushed away. On top of that, folding requires two more handles than Wheel Stand Version 1. We don't necessarily want to mention the latter as a negative point since the new structure benefits general stability, but the bottom line is that Wheel Stand 2.0 is a little more cumbersome to use and because of its weight harder to put in the next corner. For a rig that should score with its mobility,


A point of criticism that shouldn't be weighed too heavily, because folding it up doesn't take longer than 10 seconds, even with the two other movements, and if it's in the corner, it makes itself wonderfully narrow. With the steering wheel and pedals screwed on, it's not narrow enough to fit behind a room door, but with about 22 cm between the two folded feet it still saves a lot of space.


Flexibility is the magic word that also works in the opposite direction. Should you eventually find room for a permanent build, you can grow the complete Next Level Racing ecosystem. For example, a full-fledged racing chair for around 500 euros or mounts for up to three large monitors for just under 200 euros or around 400 euros. You can also purchase a floor mat, a holder for a keyboard, and many other accessories. The credit card glows. Don't worry, after all you get decent material for the money.


CONCLUSION

Chic, black, stable

Next Level Racing has taken the wishes of the fans to heart. Wheel Stand 2.0 easily trumps its predecessor, which is more than ten years older, fulfills almost all expectations with flying colors and should therefore end up on the wish list of many racing game enthusiasts who cannot leave their setup permanently in the room. Many aspects have been reconsidered, starting with the now flexible tilt angle of the steering wheel plate, through better pre-drilling for increased compatibility, to small but fine highlights such as the mounting rail for rolling gaming seats. The fact that this rig remains stable even with the 20 Newton meters of a Fanatec DD1 says a lot about the material and the processing quality. And all of this comes without major compromises in size and handling. The distances and angles for pedals and steering wheel height can now be adjusted even more finely than before. Big kudos for that!


However, the new star in the Next Level Racing Line-Up does not come without flaws. I find the slight bending sensation when using the gearshift and handbrake to be unnecessarily annoying. It's tolerable but feels like an unnecessary weakness in the overall concept given the stability of the rest of the rig. The increased weight of 22 kilos without racing gear, on the other hand, is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I don't want to complain about the increased stability of the construction, on the other hand putting the rig away, which is the main argument for the purchase, literally mutates into a tour de force. With the appropriate muscles (which you train with a DD-Wheel anyway over time) certainly not a broken leg, so I'm happy to make a purchase recommendation.


Pros

  • Material quality is significantly better than the predecessor
  • excellent ergonomics
  • increased flexibility in setup
  • The angle of inclination of the steering wheel plate adjustable
  • new additional bracket for hand brakes
  • Compatible with many steering wheel models
  • very stable with steering wheels up to 20 nm force
  • folded in 10 seconds
  • space-saving storage
  • Assembly uncomplicated
  • lots of expansion options

Cons

  • annoying vibration over the holder for the gear shift
  • fiddly screw connection for the gear shift holder
  • quite a bit heavier than its predecessor

Post a Comment

0 Comments