Back in May, we claimed that the Moza R9 Direct Drive wheel base and GS Steering wheel were premium products that could compete with the big guns of the sim racing hardware industry. There were a few caveats, however, the most important being the need for cheaper wheel rim options.
This request extended to the Moza ecosystem in general. The lower cost of the new, entry-level, direct drive R9 base simply wasn’t matched by the premium peripherals.
A few months later, however, our prayers were answered. Moza launched a brand new wheel rim, the CS, and a brand new set of pedals, the SR-Ps, both of which act as “entry-level” or “budget” options within the Moza ecosystem.
So first of all, thank you Moza for listening to us. It truly was remarkable that you read our review and created exactly what we asked for in the matter of a few weeks…
The new CS Wheel Rim will cost you $279 or about £230, all of which excludes VAT, any shipping costs or any import duty.
So no, “entry-level” does not mean entry-level to sim racing as a whole. It means entry level to a direct drive and load cell ecosystem. To give you some more context, Moza’s other two steering wheels, the RS and GS, both cost $499, so the CS will save you over $200 straight away.
You are probably wondering where the compromises lie to justify that price difference. Well, compared to the GS Wheel we tested previously, you do not have as much forged carbon fibre involved.
The main plate material is aluminium alloy and the rim is coated with microfiber leather rather than Alcantara. You get fewer overall buttons and dials to work with, less LED RGB goodness, no additional clutch paddles and a more stripped-back, simplified, look.
In my opinion, that is pretty much where the compromises stop.
The wheel itself feels heavy to hold and well built. You get Moza’s fantastic quick-release system to mount it to the base, and once it is seated you can comfortably rest your fingers on the back of the rim thanks to the indentations on either side.
There are six standard buttons that feel identical to those on the GS, the same buttons that Rich described as “the best I have ever felt on a steering wheel.” The sound and feeling of a button should not be this exciting…
You also have two clickable dials or knobs (each with 20 different segments) and two small, clickable joysticks.
These all feel fantastic, there has clearly been no quality compromise here. Most of the buttons are labelled too, and I like this touch. It makes it straightforward to decide how you are going to assign your commands, and it is easier to remember.
These buttons will be more than enough for your basic racing game needs, but serious sim racers may well want to use an additional button box for specific scenarios. The customizable RGB rev strip remains from other Moza products, and this can be adjusted through the fantastic Moza Pit House Software.
One of the issues with the GS wheel was the paddle shifters, they were a bit too loud, and the actuation was too heavy. The paddles on this wheel are very similar on the face of it, albeit without the extra clutch paddles.
Whilst forged carbon fibre has been swapped for aviation grade aluminum alloy throughout most of the construction, the carbon paddles have remained. Moza has clearly done some subtle tweaking and I can now say that these paddles are amongst the best on the market.
They are slightly quieter, still giving that satisfying click without being as overwhelming. The magnet isn’t quite as strong either, meaning the forces required for actuation are ideal.
I would still say that the volume is a bit loud if your sim racing set up is in a shared space, but for the user with a headset on, it is ideal. The spacing between the paddle and rim is perfect for someone with my size of hands, but maybe a little big for someone with smaller hands.
Size is something I haven’t really touched on yet. It is not a compromise relative to the more expensive steering wheel options, and that is because, annoyingly, they all suffer from the same issue.
Moza has committed to a larger size of wheel rim for all of its products, with the RS and CS both spanning 13 inches and the width of the formula style GS wheel measuring in at a lofty 30cm. For me, it is just a bit too big. For some people, this will be the ideal size of wheel rim, but all of us here at Traxion.GG Towers agree that we would prefer the circumference to be just a tad smaller.
There are advantages to having a big wheel rim. It is ideal for the likes of drifting and rallying, and arguably could provide more pronounced feedback; a bit like how you will feel more movement sitting at the back of the bus than you would sitting at the front.
Of course, it comes down to personal preference, but in my experience the larger size made things a little more tiring and straining after prolonged use. Better get back to the gym I suppose.
It means that despite Moza now having more wheel options, they still do not have ideal options for those with smaller hands. It is also worth remembering that although the large circular wheel is a bit of a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ concept, it does not suit prototypes or formula style cars particularly well.
When you use this wheel, it genuinely feels great. The materials, the comfort, the satisfaction is all there. You do get used to the size and it becomes perfectly acceptable in shorter bursts, it also makes Fanatec’s Gran Turismo DD Pro Rim feel cheap and underwhelming in comparison.
But, I would still rather have a smaller alternative for my sim racing needs. In ideal world then, we need Moza to make three more ‘budget’ wheels, a formula style rim with the same width as the existing GS, and then slightly smaller versions of both styles.
If this happened in future, all of a sudden, Moza’s wheel range becomes a force to be reckoned with.
Full disclosure: The Moza CS Steering Wheel was provided by the manufacturer for review purposes. Here is our review policy.