Asetek Forte Formula Steering Wheel – Review
In line with our recent review of the Forte Wheelbase from Asetek, this time the matching steering wheel has to prove itself. We take a close look at the Forte Formula Steering Wheel and give it a thorough test.
Ordering and shipping
Like Asetek’s other products, they can be purchased from the manufacturer’s shop as well as from various distributors. The prices are usually identical and differ only slightly, if at all.
The Forte Formula Steering Wheel is currently available for 649.99€ plus shipping and comes with two paddle shifters in the standard version.
- Exquisite, radical, and minimalistic Danish industrial design
- Made in Denmark
- 49 Total programmable ARGB LEDs
- 15 aRGB RevLEDs
- 6 aRGB FlagLEDs
- 12 Button ARGB LEDs
- 12 aRGB LEDs for backlit rotary switches
- 12 Push buttons, 2 two-way Toggle switches, 2 seven-way Kinky switches
- 3 twelve position Rotary encoders, 6 Thumb encoders
- 2 Contactless Magnetic shifter Paddles with additional optional paddles being upgradable
- Injection molded Carbon fiber reinforced composite chassis with laser etched forged carbon structure
- 2 mm woven carbon fiber front face
- Possibility to change to XL handles at a later time
- Easy-to-use, no-play quick-release. Ensuring stable data and power transmission without the use of cables, batteries, or wireless signals.
- 290mm diameter with default configuration. 294mm diameter with XL handles.
Scope of delivery
The steering wheel is delivered in a neat package and the following components are included in the box:
- Forte® Formula Steering Wheel
- Button Label Sticker Sheet
- Anti-static Carbon Fiber Tweezer
Additionally, Asetek adds some stickers as a goodie.
Compatibility and upgrades
Asetek itself currently states compatibility with the following products:
- Asetek Simsports® Invicta Direct ™ Drive Wheelbase
- Asetek Simsports® Forte® Direct Drive Wheelbase
- Asetek SimSports® La Prima™ Direct Drive Wheelbase
This also corresponds to Asetek’s entire Wheelbase line-up, to which the operation of the Forte Wheel is simultaneously restricted. Use of the Forte Wheel on third-party systems is therefore not possible at present and is not expected to be possible in the future.
A positive feature is the modularity of the steering wheel. An optional (double) clutch as well as additional paddles can be mounted. The assembly is possible in each case without plugging in a single cable; the add-on parts only have to be screwed onto the back. The paddles can be pre-ordered now.
- Magnetic Input Paddles: 44,99€ + shipping
- Clutch Paddles: 44,99€ + shipping
Asetek has also hinted at offering interchangeable grips with different degrees of hardness in the future.
Scope of functions
In addition to the paddle shifters, the Asetek steering wheel has the following function buttons
- 12 Push buttons – These are fitted with plastic button caps and acknowledge actuation with a light click. Qualitatively and haptically, they rank in the midfield.
- 2 two-way toggle switches – These are rarely found on current steering wheels, but are a successful addition, for example for switching through the dashboards.
- 2 seven-way Kinky switches – Known for years by Fanatec as Funky switches, the comparable Kinky switches from Asetek also offer seven functions per switch and can be used very precisely. By placing them closer to the handles, it would have been possible to prevent the user from having to change their grip when operating the switches.
- 3 twelve position Rotary encoders – The encoders can optionally be configured as 12 individual buttons each and offer a pleasant trigger feel.
- 6 Thumb encoders – Four of the encoders can be used very comfortably without having to change grip and are predestined for frequently changing parameters, such as brake balance or traction control.
Overall, the Forte Wheel offers more than enough functions, so there should be nothing left to be desired. The situation is somewhat different when it comes to the materials used. At a price of 650€ for the basic version of the steering wheel, less plastic could have been used. It dominates the appearance at the front and makes the steering wheel look a little less high-quality.
LEDs and stickers
The LEDs, which can be freely configured in colour and brightness via the software, can be divided into four categories:
- RPM-LEDs consisting of 15 aRGB-LEDs
- Flag-LEDs consisting of 6 aRGB-LEDs
- 12 aRGB LEDs for the rotary encoders
- 12 Button ARGB LEDs
The LEDs of the buttons can be fitted with the enclosed stickers and then serve as a corresponding label (see manufacturer’s image below). The supplied tweezers are supposed to help with the application, with which the small stickers are meant to be transported into the corresponding recesses. However, this only worked to a limited extent in the test and requires a great deal of sensitivity, as otherwise light can shine past the edges.
The solution is an interesting concept in theory, but in our eyes it is nowhere near as good as conventionally illuminated buttons. There is also the problem that it will probably be very difficult (if not impossible) to get customised stickers, as the selection provided is of course limited.
The magnetic shifters of the Forte Wheel work contactless and are positioned in a central position on the back. This makes them very easy to reach and very pleasant to operate. The pressure point is well chosen and, thanks to a slightly damped stop, they operate at a comparatively low volume. The chosen manufacturing is definitely not a disadvantage, disturbing flex does not occur at any time:
All paddles and associated mechanics are, like the wheel chassis itself, injection molded with an ultralight and stiff carbon composite material.https://www.asetek.com/simsports/product/forte-formula-steering-wheel/
The shape of the paddles is particularly practical, as it stands out from the carbon plates that are otherwise often used and offers a little more grip. The pictures in the Compatibility and Upgrades section show the design in detail.
The QR of the Forte Formula Wheel is solidly connected to the rest of the steering wheel and enables lightning-fast attachment and removal from the base. Power and data are transmitted via the six contacts on the underside, which meet pogo pins on the side of the base. The design of the Quick Release is based on the IP (intellectual property) acquired by Simucube and offers a connection without flex.
The only downside is that the permanently installed QR including proprietary data transmission means that the Forte Wheel cannot be used on other wheelbases.
Besides the very good quick release, the grips are definitely another highlight of the steering wheel. They are made of rubber and can be replaced in one piece. Asetek promises to offer alternative grips in the future, starting with an XL version for extra large hands.
The ergonomic handles are made with a comfortable, soft, and durable silicone rubber, that is easy to clean and disinfect, and will give you ultimate comfort and control, regardless of whether you are wearing racing gloves or not. You will have the option to easily change the handles to quickly implement future upgrades, including color, size, shape, and hardness.https://www.asetek.com/simsports/product/forte-formula-steering-wheel/
The small notches on the back provide a very good grip, especially when used without gloves. Asetek has really done a very good job here.
In RaceHub, the software from Asetek, various settings can be made that, in addition to switching the encoder modes, mainly affect the LEDs. The RPM LEDs can be adjusted both in their timing and in their sequence (left to right, centre to outside, outside to inside). A useful addition here would be storable profiles for e.g. different vehicles that are used regularly.
But even without this feature, the software does a very good job because it is very straightforward and easy to use.
Many manufacturers rely on a front plate made of carbon or aluminium, which is usually at least 4 millimetres thick, for the stability of their steering wheels. Asetek takes a different approach here and focuses on a housing reinforced by an additional metal frame.
Many wheels, sim racing or real-life racing, get their strength and rigidity from the front face plate and the handles, oftentimes in a closed construction (handlebars are in mechanical connection in both ends). Unfortunately, that also makes them locked in size and design. To achieve maximum stiffness we use an injection molded chassis with a carbon, glass, and plastic composite material, providing a very high natural rigidity and strength, and featuring a laser-etched forged carbon exterior.
To add to the overall anti-flex and a proper interface to the removable handles, the chassis features a metal spider interface inside, and altogether it yields a stiff, non-flexing steering wheel…https://www.asetek.com/simsports/product/forte-formula-steering-wheel/
In practice, this concept ensures a steering wheel without noticeable flex or creaking, even under high forces.
Overall, the steering wheel makes a high-quality impression, especially due to the 2-millimetre-thick carbon front plate and the housing in the Forged Carbon look, but could still take a significant step forward with an aluminium housing and higher-quality function keys.
If you need a steering wheel for your Asetek Forte or Invicta Wheelbase, then the Forte Formula wheel is the only choice at the moment. The wheel is packed with function buttons and configurable aRGB LEDs. It also has very good grips and an integrated quick release with data and power transfer. Less impressive, however, are the choice of materials for the function keys and the type of button illumination.
Overall, the steering wheel is rock solid and still a good choice, especially for fans of Formula and modern GT cars.
- Number of function keys
- Configurable aRGB LEDs
- Modularity and upgrade options
- Power and data transmission via QR
- Only compatible with Asetek wheelbases
- Material of the buttons and encoders