Fanatec CSL Universal Hub – review

Fanatec CSL Universal Hub – review

Ordering, Shipping and Unboxing

The CSL Universal Hub from Fanatec can currently only be purchased from Fanatec’s in-house shop (link: https://fanatec.com/eu-de/lenkraeder/csl-universal-hub*).

At the price of around 150€ there are also shipping costs of 6.95€ for shipping within Germany. The new hub is therefore priced well below the ClubSport Steering Wheel Universal Hub, which costs around €350. This test is intended to show which reductions have to be made for this.

The CSL hub is shipped in a Fanatec-typical brown box. Secured from impacts by foam and additionally packed in a plastic sleeve, it is safe for the customer. However, a suitable fabric bag is reserved for products from the CSW series onwards.

Scope of delivery

The following items are included:

  • CSL Universal Hub
  • Simplified toolless Quick Release Adapter (pre-installed)
  • 1 x 3mm hexagon socket
  • 1 x Wrench
  • Quick Guide
  • Various Fanatec stickers

Compatibility and Drivers

Fanatec’s official list of compatible wheel bases includes the following products:

  • ClubSport Wheel Base V2
  • ClubSport Wheel Base V2.5
  • CSL Elite Wheel Base
  • CSL Elite Wheel Base V1.1
  • CSL Elite Wheel Base + officially licensed for PlayStation™
  • Podium Wheel Base DD1
  • Podium Wheel Base DD2
  • Podium Racing Wheel F1®

In my case, there were no problems with the operation of the hub on a CSW 1.5, but I can’t give a guarantee for that. Xbox compatibility is excluded.

As usual with new products, an update of the Wheelbase to a current driver is required. To match this, Fanatec recently released the new Fanatec Driver 400. This offers some amenities, especially in combination with the newer products.

Functionality

Steering wheel pick-up

The main task of the CSL hub is of course to record your own desired steering wheel in order to use it for the simulation of its choice. For this purpose, the shifters and the modules with the function keys can be varied in width together to support a variety of (Fanatec) steering wheels. In principle, each steering wheel is compatible with a 3 x 50 mm or 6 x 70 mm hole circle. The width of the shifters effectively determines how large a steering wheel can be to be minimal and maximum (in order to be useful for use). The width of the shifters is adjustable from 214 mm to 274 mm (at the widest point).

Function

The CSL hub is equipped with a variety of function keys.

  • Eight standard buttons with snap dome activation that have a pleasant pressure point
  • 2-way rocker switch: Unusual but versatile for simracing steering wheels
  • Two 2-way toggle switches: Convenient for ABS/TC settings, for example
  • Menu button for the Fanatec tuning menu
  • 7-Way FunkySwitch™: Left, right, up, down, press and rotate in both directions. Very practical for menus of any kind, specialty of Fanatec

Quickrelease

The new, tool-free Quickrelease of the CSL series has been installed here again. With quick handles, it can be mounted in just a few seconds and provides a secure grip. In my opinion, it only makes sense to replace the Quickrelease with the €100 ClubSport Quick Release* if you want to use a system with Direct-Drive and unlock the high-torque mode. But then you should consider investing directly in the higher-priced Universal Hub.

Paddles

The shifters with snap dome activation are made of plastic and in my opinion can not keep up with the higher-priced articles from Fanatec. Due to the honeycomb pattern that requires visual habituation, they are sufficiently stiff, but offer a maximum sufficient switching feeling. So far, they cannot be upgraded.

Other / Technical Data

  • DataPort-C connection for future accessories: It is not yet known if and when such an accessory will be released
  • 3-digit LED display for displaying telemetry data (adjustable via fanalabs, compatible with all common simulations)
  • Weight: 870g including QRA, without steering wheel

Conclusion

Overall, the CSL hub is worth buying, especially because of its low price. It is the most cost-effective way to operate your own steering wheel ring on a Fanatec base without resorting to third-party products. Thanks to the many function keys, the LED display and the scarf rockers, it offers all the basic requirements for a hub for beginners. It would be desirable to be able to remove the buttonbox and the shifters as an option.

Pros

  • Value
  • Many different buttons
  • Improved tool-free Quickrelease
  • Light weight
  • Adjustability of width

Cons

  • Use of plastic as main material
  • Pressure point of the shifters
  • Honeycomb design of the shifters