Formula Wheels comparison: Fanatec – Cube Controls – Ascher Racing

Formula Wheels comparison: Fanatec – Cube Controls – Ascher Racing

Prices and order

Ascher Racing F28-SC

Price: 669€ + shipping

Ordering is possible via Ascher directly or various third-party suppliers. In the meantime, there is a successor with the V2 with some innovations.

CC Formula Pro

Price : 899€ + shipping

Ordering is also possible here both via Cube Controls directly and via third-party suppliers.

Fanatec F1 2021

Price : 399€ + shipping

The steering wheel was available in a limited version exclusively from Fanatec.

Diameter, weight and materials

The steering wheels all have a similar form factor. The Cube and Ascher models are slightly larger at around 280 millimetres each (Cube Controls gives a width of 282 millimetres) than Fanatec’s F1 2021 Wheel at 270 millimetres. With the V2 of the F28-SC, Ascher has meanwhile raised the diameter even slightly to 285 millimetres.

When it comes to materials, the three manufacturers go different ways. Ascher relies entirely on aluminium, which is very well made and leaves nothing to be desired in terms of stability; here the F28-SC is probably the front-runner. The steering wheels from Fanatec and Cube Controls, on the other hand, are equipped with a very nice solid front plate made of carbon. In the case of the Formula Pro, this is complemented by a housing made of aluminium, while Fanatec uses plastic.

The three steering wheels weigh around 1400g each with Quickrelease (Fanatec QR / Simucube QR), there are no major differences here.

Rating:

  • Ascher Racing: 5/5
  • Cube Controls: 5/5
  • Fanatec 4/5

Grips

Ascher Racing relies on smooth leather when it comes to grips, Fanatec on Alcantara. Although these materials each offer very good grip, they are very susceptible to wear and tear and, in the case of leather, are also not advantageous for sweaty hands. Cube takes a different approach with their grips, which they themselves call “elastomer moulded grips (via Cube Controls proprietary Technology)” and thus clearly offer the best grips of the three manufacturers. Meanwhile, Ascher has also jumped on the bandwagon with the second version of the steering wheel and now also offers rubber grips.

The shape of the grips also differs, with Cube standing out somewhat here with its very voluminous design. In the end, however, this is more a matter of personal taste; personally, I like this shape very much (this subjective opinion has not been included in the rating).

Rating:

  • Ascher Racing: 3/5 (V2: 5/5)
  • Cube Controls: 5/5
  • Fanatec 4/5

Shifter

All three manufacturers rely entirely on magnets when it comes to shifters, thus enabling an excellent shifting feel. Fanatec and Cube use carbon paddles, while Ascher uses aluminium again. However, this is irrelevant for the shifting process, which only differs slightly in terms of the force required, with the Cube version requiring the least pressure. However, since this can be adjusted as desired using magnets with a different strength (Ascher includes these), this is not a point of criticism.

The aspect that makes Fanatec the winner here is clearly the range of functions. Instead of relying on just two shift paddles, the Advanced Paddle Module was installed, which also offers two freely assignable analogue axes (for a dual clutch or throttle and brake, for example) and two additional paddles for DRS and Kers, for example.

Rating:

  • Ascher Racing: 4/5
  • Cube Controls: 4/5
  • Fanatec 5/5

Buttons

Probably the biggest difference between the steering wheels can be found in the function buttons. The F28-SC V1 from Ascher Racing offers the following input options:

  • 12 x buttons
  • 2 x 7-way switch (up/down/left/right/twist/click)

The next candidate to come into play is Formula Pro Wireless from Cube Controls. This steering wheel offers much more variety in the function buttons and offers the following buttons:

  • 12 x buttons
  • 4 x rotary encoder on the front
  • 2 x thumb encoders (knobs near the thumb)
  • 2 x toggle switches

Totally, both Simucube steering wheels thus come to 26 functions each (the toggle switches of the Formula Pro Wireless trigger the same button press in both directions), whereby the Cube steering wheel has a clear advantage in my opinion due to its clearly more versatile arrangement. What it lacks, however, is a 7-way switch, which is a real relief, especially in menu navigation. The F1 2021 combines the strengths of the first two steering wheels and offers by far the greatest variety of functions:

  • 11 x buttons
  • 2 x 12-way position switches with rotary encoder function
  • 2 x thumb encoders
  • 1 x 7-way switch
  • 1 x analogue joystick
  • 2 x 2-way toggle switch

The Fanatec F1 2021 Wheel decides this chapter clearly for itself, here no wishes remain open.

Rating:

  • Ascher Racing: 3/5
  • Cube Controls: 4/5
  • Fanatec 5/5

Quickrelease

When it comes to quickrelease, opinions differ. Fanatec relies on an internal pin connection and does not offer compatibility with third-party manufacturers. Occasionally there are damaged pins (RMA necessary) and the assembly is not completely free of play, but in my eyes this is absolutely not noticeable while driving.

Simucube takes a different approach here and offers a practically backlash-free connection with the Simucube-QR, which is plugged on and secured with a pin. An additional advantage is that you can switch to any third-party systems such as chaffinch, since no electronic connection is made to the base by the quickrelease. So individually, this chapter clearly goes to the steering wheels in the Simucube system, Fanatec promises to follow up with a revised Quickrelease in the future.

Rating:

  • Ascher Racing: 5/5
  • Cube Controls: 5/5
  • Fanatec 3/5

Data transmission and power supply

All three steering wheels come without an extra USB cable. Fanatec, as picked up in the last chapter, relies on an internal connection via the Quickrelease, through which both power and data are transferred. This means that neither a battery nor a rechargeable battery is required, and there is no need to worry about the signal strength.

Contrast this with the concept of the wireless wheels from Ascher Racing and Cube Controls. Here, they rely on a wireless connection to the SC2 base (one antenna on the back of each) and depend on an external power supply. Ascher has installed a 14250 lithium battery for this purpose, which, according to the manufacturer, should last up to three years with daily use and can then be replaced. Due to the illuminated buttons, the steering wheel from Cube Controls is somewhat more demanding (approx. 40 hours of operating time) in terms of power supply and relies on a rechargeable battery. For this purpose, a high-quality spiral cable was included to be able to charge the battery.

Overall, Fanatec clearly decides this chapter in its favour; a combination of runtime (Ascher) and rechargeable battery instead of battery (Cube Controls) would be desirable for Simucube models.

Rating:

  • Ascher Racing: 4/5
  • Cube Controls: 4/5
  • Fanatec 5/5

Extras

On the subject of extras, the steering wheels differ fundamentally. While the F28-SC from Ascher Racing has to do without anything at all, Cube Controls and especially Fanatec offer significantly more.

Cube Controls

  • Lit buttons, a clear unique selling point in this comparison
  • Toggle switches that are illuminated depending on their position (bottom on / top off)
  • The included high-quality spiral cable

Fanatec

  • Phosphorescent material for glow-in-the-dark button(s)
  • Two integrated vibration motors
  • RevLEDs with nine multi-coloured LEDs (adjustable via Fanatec software)
  • Two FlagLEDs with three multi-coloured LEDs each
  • White 1″ 128×64 OLED display to show telemetry data such as speed or gear

Rating:

  • Ascher Racing: 1/5
  • Cube Controls: 3/5
  • Fanatec 5/5

Summary

 Ascher SC-28 (V2)Cube Controls Formula Pro WirelessFanatec F1 2021
Gewicht und Materialien554
Griffe554
Shifter445
Funktionstasten345
Quickrelease553
Datenübertragung und Stromversorgung445
Extras135
Gesamt273031
Preis/Leistung7/106/1010/10

Conclusion

Ascher Racing F28-SC:

The SC-28 from Ascher Racing is probably the most solid of the steering wheels presented. Even if the steering wheel has to make concessions in terms of functions (the USB model from Ascher offers significantly more functions), it is still worth a recommendation. At 670€, the price is still at the lower end of the Simucube ecosystem.

Cube Controls Formula Pro Wireless

The Formula Pro Wireless from Cube Controls is subjectively the most beautiful of the steering wheels in my eyes. Its delicate design and the more versatile function keys set it apart from the F28-SC in this respect. Another plus point is clearly the illuminated buttons, the only drawback being the price of 899€.

Fanatec F1 2021

The F1 2021 from Fanatec is the clear price/performance winner in this comparison. The slight sacrifices you have to make in materials and quickrelease are more than compensated for by the built-in Advanced Paddle Module, the sheer number of function keys, the power supply via the quickrelease and the many extras. At 400€, it’s the cheapest steering wheel in the field without even having to stretch.

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