Wheel Stand Pro

Again, not a very long post today. I recently got a wheel stand for my racing wheel. It is made in Poland and it’s called Wheel Stand Pro. Here is a video of it in action.

Let’s rewind. Back when Gran Turismo 4 got out I thought it would be interesting to try a more serious approach to this game. I have been playing Gran Turismo 3 for a long time, even though I never reached 100% in it. I liked the game a lot. So I got a Driving Force Pro wheel from Logitech. It was an upper mid-range wheel with force feedback and made specifically with Gran Turismo 4 in mind.

I liked it a lot. There was only one problem. It was a bit cumbersome to set up. There were a lot of wires and that whole thing had to be mounted on a surface. I had to play it at my desk. Luckily, my apartment was set up in such a way, that I could re-position my TV so I could see it from my desk. It wasn’t a very comfortable setup, though. The TV was very low and far away. The chair I was sitting in had wheels and it tended to roll away. Not like in a car at all.

But it was nothing compared to the problem I faced after I moved to my current flat. Now my desk is a different room. In the living room, there is no table I could attach the wheel to. I tried using small tables to play it on the couch. It kinda worked but it was even less comfortable and the tables were not even stable enough for more outrageous driving maneuvers.

All these small issues led to a rather depressing result. I ended up not using the wheel as much as I hoped. I also ended up playing GT4 even less that GT3.

So now with GT5 it was time to take it to the next level. I looked for a lot of solutions. There are tons of racing seats out there but I don’t have the room for an entire seat in my flat. They are also quite expensive. So I was looking for some kind of stand or table I could mount the wheel on. I decided to go with the Wheel Stand Pro. It looked good in the videos and was at the upper limit of what I was willing to pay (100 EUR). It was also from Poland, that’s alway a bonus in my book. On the other hand, the wheel is being held by just one bar in this one so I was worried about stability issues.

It arrived recently and I’m glad to report that my worries were unfounded. It’s an incredibly sturdy product. It’s made of thick, rock solid metal tubes. There are rubber pads everywhere to ensure that the stand doesn’t slide around on the floor. It would be difficult anyway since that thing is heavy. But that doesn’t mean it’s ugly. The tubes are either powder-coated or polished. There are two stylish, minimalistic logos placed on unconscious places. The entire look and feel of the stand reminds a lot of some well-done, professional weight training equipment.

The two biggest advantages of the stand are that it is fully adjustable and foldable. You can adjust the height and angle of the bar the wheel sits on simply by twisting two fasteners. You can operate the fasteners by hand and you don’t need any tools at all. You can also use the same fasteners to simply fold the whole thing together with the wheel and the pedals still attached to it. You can stow away that construction more easily. And you can set it up again in just seconds. They even provided plastic straps to fasten the cables to the stand.

The thing I was most worried about was that the stand would tilt sideways when I made turns. Even though the wheel is held by only one bar, this is not happening at all. The frame construction is too sturdy and tight to allow that. There is some play when you push the wheel forwards or backwards. This is probably due to the fact that the bar is attached to the rest of the stand on a pivot. It’s perhaps most noticeable when using the shift stick. So it’s perhaps not 100% rock-solid but it’s good enough so you stop caring and start whipping the wheel around like a pro.

The effect of using the stand is profound. I own this wheel for a couple of years now. It’s the first time I had such a pleasurable experience using it. Of course I have been using real racing seats on trade shows already. But they were in a crowded place and made for playing some boring demos. The setup really starts to shine once you attempt longer sessions. I got really comfortable with the way GT5 feels now. Even my girlfriend agrees that it’s getting very close to sitting in a real car. Of course, the G-Forces and vibrations are still missing. But at least the hands and feet are in a familiar position.

I don’t want to turn this into a sales pitch. All in all, I’m rally glad I got this. I regret I haven’t done it earlier. If you are looking for an excellemnt wheel stand, I can wholeheartedly recommend this one.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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