Next Level Racing Wheel Stand 2.0 review: The best first step into sim racing?
We review the Next Level Racing Wheel Stand 2.0 and found it to be the perfect step up from a desk, but for those without the full space or budget for a cockpit.
Picture the scene: you’ve been happily romping about your favourite racing games using your desk-mounted Logitech G923, Thrustmaster T248, or even the Fanatec CSL DD/Gran Turismo DD Pro, but you’re sick of having to dig it out of a cupboard, mounting it to your desk, plugging it in, and then get racing. What a faff.
That’s where something like the Next Level Racing Wheel Stand 2.0 comes in.
In short, it’s pretty much just the front half of the GT Track cockpit we reviewed a while ago. Same sturdy metal construction, mounting plates, and colour scheme. Mounting a wheel and pedals to this is far more comfortable than having them on a desk, plus you get the added bonus of your peripherals not shifting under heavy braking or wild steering.
This is particularly pertinent if you’re looking at a load cell pedal kit, such as the Fanatec CSL Pedals with the optional upgrade, as for those, the floor alone won’t necessarily cut it.
Building the wheel stand is straightforward, very similar to the GT-Track as mentioned, but a couple of things are different thanks to it being only a stand instead of an entire rig.
For example, mounting the pedal plate is done with knobs instead of bolts, so adjusting or even removing the plate to get underneath to mount pedals is far easier – something Next Level Racing should keep in mind when designing a new rig or updating the GT Track rig.
Mounting your wheel and pedals is basically exactly the same as it will be on a full sim racing cockpit, with screws, washers, and nuts included.
Perhaps the most welcome feature of this updated wheel stand is the little tray in front of the pedal mounting plate, which you can put your chair wheels/feet into so you don’t roll backwards when racing.
There are four sturdy feet on the base to not totally knacker your floors, and finally, the Wheel Stand 2.0 can be folded up and stowed away somewhere, still with your peripherals attached.
The idea is they are permanently affixed and once you’ve finished racing, you move the Wheel Stand instead of unscrewing the wheel from your desk.
A handful of knobs keep everything secure, one of which moves the pedal plate down for racing or upright and ready for storage.
Then the main construction folds like a common folding chair before you stow and tighten the wheel tray – which funnily enough doesn’t have a knob to make it nice and easy. The instructions say to use two normal bolts on either side, but I ended up with a knob leftover (either I had one extra in the box or I’ve missed something), so I put that on one side of the wheel tray to make it a little easier to stow.
However, there are a few things that aren’t so great about the Wheel Stand 2.0, but nothing here is a dealbreaker in my humble opinion.
Regarding cable management – a very important thing to be aware of in my book – you receive some nice Velcro straps with the full-fat GT Track cockpit. The Wheel Stand 2.0 however comes with plastic clamps that sit over the thicker part of the construction, so if you wanted these higher up towards the wheel plate where the metal narrows, they’re not going to stay put.
I was quite excited at the prospect of these, keeping cables flat and in line, but unfortunately, they’re pretty flimsy. They don’t clamp tight enough around the stand, so you’re definitely better off using Velcro straps or normal cable ties. Bear in mind, this stand doesn’t come with any of those.
Also, since this isn’t something you would assumedly have set up at all times, the convenience of folding it to shove it wherever is great, but the unit is heavy. Like, really heavy. As mentioned, it’s literally the front end of the GT Track which is built like a tank, so while it is reassuringly sturdy, it’s also tough to move alone.
I’m not saying I would have preferred it to have been made from a cheaper material, but having some specific lifting points on it, preferably with a grippy rubber handle or two would be a huge improvement.
Those negatives shouldn’t put you off this product if you’re tempted, however, and if you are wanting to make the step up, there’s one more thing that basically makes this product a no-brainer.
If you’re wanting a full rig at some point in the future and were keen to pick this up, you don’t have to shift it before buying an entire rig, as Next Level Racing offers a GT Seat Addon, which bolts onto the Wheel Stand 2.0 and it becomes a pseudo-GT Track.
Funnily enough, this works out cheaper than just buying the GT Track in the first place at the time of review.
So as a stop-gap purchase, it’s perfect. Priced at £179/$249, while there are much cheaper options on the market, I would doubt that anything sub-£100 would have build quality anywhere near as good as the Wheel Stand 2.0, nor the ability to turn it into a rig in the future.
You need something solid for the current crop of direct drive wheels, and this is it.
I’m confident in saying that the Wheel Stand 2.0 has turned heads here at Traxion.GG. Those of us without the budget or space to pick up a full rig are now very tempted by this setup, either to have it at our desk or in front of the TV.
It’s well-built, it’s great that we can stow it away somewhere since it can fold, and the fact it has an upgrade path makes it all the more unique. It’s a solid, literally and figuratively, purchase if you choose to pick one up.
Reviewed using the Logitech G923, Thrustmaster T248, and Fanatec DD Pro (pictured).
Full disclosure: This product was provided by the manufacturer for review purposes. Here is our review policy.