- Incredibly detailed force feedback
- Responsive force feedback
- Excellent quick release design
- Well priced
- Upgradable over time
- Some strange design choices
- Too much plastic in its design
What is the Asetek Forte Wheel Base?
We recently released our review of the impressive Forte formula wheel, and it’s safe to say it was a bit of a hit. Now, we’re going to take a look at the Asetek Forte Wheel Base, to see if we like it just as much as we liked the steering wheel.
The Forte wheel base I’m looking at today is just one of three wheel bases that Asetek currently offer. The Forte sits slap-bang in the middle of this lineup and is capable of producing 18Nm of peak torque.
The other two wheel bases include the La Prima, which is Asetek’s more budget-orientated wheel base capable of up to 12Nm of peak torque. Then there is the Invicta which is the top-of-the-range wheel base which can create a whopping 27Nm of peak torque.
Personally, I believe that the Forte is the wheel base you should be looking at, and I’ll tell you why later in this review.
But before I jump into the review, I wanted to disclose that this wheel base was sent to me for review by the guys at Asetek. With all reviews, this does not impact the outcome of this review in any way.
Who are Asetek Sim Sports?
I looked into who exactly Asetek are, and why you should be interested in them as one of the more impressive sim racing companies in our Forte steering wheel review. If you’re after an overview, I’d recommend going ahead and checking out our Forte steering wheel review.
For now, I’m going to jump right into the price of this Forte wheel base. As I mentioned this wheel base is the middle of the road when it comes to performance in the Asetek wheel base range. And it occupies that middle ground in terms of price as well.
While the La Prima wheel base can only be purchased in a bundle, and the Invicta costs north of €1,300 or $1,500. The Forte costs just a little over the $1,000 and just under €900.
To put that price into perspective, the Simucube 2 Sport which is relatively comparable on performance is priced higher than the Forte at €1230 or $1200. And the Fanatec DD1 costs €/$1200.
That comparison makes the Asetek Forte look pretty reasonably priced, undercutting two of its direct competitors.
- Buy the Asetek Forte Wheel Base – $1,049.99 / €882.34
The design of the Asetek Forte Wheel Base
However, there are a few areas of this wheel bases design that I don’t think are quite as nice as the two other wheel bases I just mentioned. The design really is an area where some people will really like it and others not so much.
I’m really in the kind of middle of both categories. There are parts of the design that I really like such as the inclusion of LED light strips. These bring a real sense of cool to the wheel and they tie it together nicely with the Forte steering wheel and the pedals, both of which feature similar LED lighting.
You can change this LED light strip to any colour to match the lighting across the rest of your sim rig, or if you’re not a fan you can turn it off completely.
The rest of the design of the Forte wheel base is relatively standard for larger direct drive wheels. It’s a rectangular-shaped black box with grooves carved into each side, not too dissimilar from the grooves found in more recent small form factor wheel bases.
These grooves are a small piece of design flare, as is the gloss black logo plate across the front of the base. There is a fine but noticeable line that runs through the middle of this wheel base almost slicing it in half.
I’m not quite sure why all pieces weren’t constructed as a single piece, instead being split in half, but it does look like a weird crease down what should be a long elegant piece of metal.
The majority of the wheel base is constructed from aluminium, however, the part of the design which I’m not as keen on is the choice of plastic over metal at both ends of the chassis.
And the front part of the wheel base is the part which you’ll be able to see when sitting behind the wheel. I’m unsure whether this is for cost saving, or because it’s easier to mould the strange shape at either end of the wheel base. But whichever it is, it does detract some what from the overall premium feel that this wheel base should have.
Other than that, this is a relatively sleek looking wheel base, and to be fair, you’re not going to be spending too much time staring at it while on track.
Asetek Forte Wheel Base Build Quality
Overall, the build quality from the exterior seems pretty decent. The casing is nice and sturdy thanks to the aluminium design, although it’d be nice to see some of the small niggles addressed on future products. The line that runs all the way around the wheel base and the plastic across the front and back detract a little.
Now, I’m not going to take the wheel base apart and dive into the internal build quality as that’s not what I do. But if that sort of thing tickles your pickle, I’d highly recommend checking out Will at Boosted Media as he does some fantastic deep dives into the more technical side of sim racing products.
Around the back are a good number of connection ports. You’ve got your usual power port, but then you have a huge number of USB-C ports. These allow you to connect your pedals, and I’m presuming in the future there’ll be used for additional peripherals such as handbrakes or shifters.
Underneath all of the USB-C ports, are two additional connections which are designed for the power button and the kill switch. Both of these additional buttons are included as separate items with the Forte wheel base.
They are designed to be mounted directly to your sim rig and allow for easy access to both turning the wheel on or off and pressing the emergency stop if something goes a bit sideways.
Both of these buttons come in their own individual housing with mounting points at the bottom. But they can also both be removed from the casing and mounted to your sim rig however you like.
And talking of mounting, there are a range of options when it comes to mounting this Asetek wheel base to your rig. And before I go any further, I’d highly recommend using a sim rig and not mounting this beast to a table or desk. I haven’t tried it, but it’s certainly strong enough that it’d probably break something.
You can choose between a variety of mounting styles, from bottom mounting which is fairly standard, to side or front mounting if you have an 8020 sim rig.
The wheel base itself features a couple of grooves on the bottom which include T-nuts. These aren’t too dissimilar from the way that some Fanatec wheels mount to a rig. Simply slide the T-nuts into a position which aligns with your sim rig mounting platform, and you can then screw in from the bottom.
This is possibly the way many will choose to mount the Forte wheel base, and is possibly the easiest. It’s important to note that the two T-nut channels are spaced 87mm apart which may not align directly with your sim rig. If that’s the case, you could either drill some custom holes into your wheel plate or look at Asetek’s other mounting options.
You do have other bottom mounting options. These include a tilting bottom mount and a static bottom mount. You’ll see I’ve gone for the static bottom mount as this gives an area where I could mount the two switches as well.
This option worked well for me. I simply attached the mount itself to the wheel base using the pre-drilled countersunk holes. Then flipped it up and mounted it from underneath into the wheel plate on my sim rig.
If you do have an aluminium profile 8020 sim rig, you could opt for this approach, or either the side mounts or front mount. All three of these would work well and are really down to personal preference of how your sim rig is set up.
Quick release design
I did talk about the quick release in our Forte steering wheel review, but I do want to touch on it again here. The design philosophy behind the quick release comes straight from the SQR, the Simucube Quick Release.
Asetek took the general design concept from the Simucube quick release with the two interlocking parts and tweaked it slightly to introduce a locking mechanism which is triggered by releasing a paddle on the steering wheel.
This works fantastically well, and results in a quick release that has zero play and is easy to use. You can remove your steering wheel completely one-handed with very little pressure needing to be applied to the quick release paddle.
While there is currently only one Asetek steering wheel that is compatible with this quick release currently, there is a quick release adapter in the works. This will allow you to use your favourite steering wheels from other brands with this wheel base.
Asetek Upgrade Path
And that adaptability of using a variety of different steering wheels with this wheel base carries over into the unique upgrade path that Asetek has laid out.
You may wonder why all three Asetek wheel bases from the La Prima up to the Invicta look practically the same. And that is to allow for upgrading of your wheel base over time. That’s right, you can if you want to buy a La Prima wheel base, and upgrade it to one of the more powerful wheel bases at a time that suites you.
Asetek are planning on introducing a range of upgrade kits that allow you to upgrade the power and performance of your wheel base without having to buy a new wheel base. This is a really neat idea, and one that will hopefully make upgrading simpler and cheaper and reduce wastage from older wheel bases that need to be sold before buying a new one.
Right. So with the design and feature set of this Forte wheel base well and truly discussed, it’s time to move on to what is possibly the most important part of any sim racing wheel base, the performance.
As I mentioned earlier, this Forte wheel base is capable of peak forces up to 18Nm of torque. And quite frankly that is more than enough for 99% of sim racers, me included.
I said at the start of this review, that I reckon the Forte wheel base is the best one to choose out of all three of Asetek bases. And that is partially because it has the perfect level of peak performance.
While running this wheel base at its maximum 18nm output, I was floored at just how powerful the force feedback felt. After a 20 minute session in Assetto Corsa Competizione, I could barely feel my hands due to the grip strength required at this peak level.
I can’t imagine how many people would be running this wheel base at 18Nm for prolonged periods of time. Or how many Inhumans could keep up with the extra performance from the Invicta wheel base.
The strength of force feedback is incredible, and even at around 12Nm to 13Nm of peak torque, which is where I settled on for my sweet spot, it still felt incredibly powerful. With 18Nm of performance on offer, there is plenty of room for sim racers to tune this wheel’s performance up or down from car to car or sim to sim.
And the power is just one piece of the puzzle. The detail of force feedback is incredible from this wheel base. Little details in the track surface, to the lightness of understeer, and sense of weight balance changes felt really nice.
A lot of that detail has to do with the encoder resolution, which has 4,000,000 steps in a single rotation. As I said earlier, I’m not the person to come to, to talk too much tech, but essentially the higher that number, the more detailed your force feedback can be. And 4,000,000 is a pretty large number!
One area of force feedback that really stands out is the responsiveness from this wheel base. The speed at which the force feedback can change when hitting kerbs, bumps or a quick direction change is impressive.
As you ride over a dip in the road, or put a wheel on a kerb or onto the grass, the steering wheel reacts so quickly in your hands. You’ll go from having a relatively tame steering wheel that is portraying fine details in the road surface, to a monster that is pulling hard to one side as your car reacts to the change in surface and force. The range of performance is incredible.
This responsiveness pairs with the smoothness during each transition. Every motion from the force feedback, each direction change and input you apply feels so smooth. You certainly won’t find any feeling of mechanisms or artificial deadzones while racing with the Forte wheel base like you can with some racing wheels.
Less premium wheel bases in particular, often have a sense of notchiness to them, and some more premium wheel bases can feel a little artificial in areas. There is absolutely none of that here. Turning the steering wheel is silky smooth, and feels just like it should on a real-world car.
There really isn’t any part of the force feedback performance that I could really find a fault with. If I was really trying to find fault, the detail in the force feedback when the car is heavily loaded felt a touch underutilised.
Mid corner, while the weight of the car is really forcing you to lean into the steering, the track surface detail wasn’t quite as prominent. But that could just be a small setting tweak within RaceHub to fix this.
Overall, I was blown away by the speed, responsiveness and overall detail on offer here.
Now, it’s worth talking about the RaceHub software a little, as this is where you’ll be spending all of your time if you want to tune your force feedback from game to game or scenario to scenario.
It’s worth noting that RaceHub is completely free to download, and should certainly be installed so you can at least update your wheel’s firmware before you use it.
But jumping into RaceHub, you have a few different areas of your wheel base that you can customise. Of course, you can change the RGB LED colour on the outside of your wheel base as I mentioned before.
But the real magic is in the force feedback settings. There are a range of settings you can change in the settings, but RaceHub portrays these in a really simple-to-understand way, and that’s definitely a good thing.
The technology behind force feedback is incredibly complex, but simpletons like me don’t want to have to read and understand Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, just to optimise my force feedback settings.
Some sim racing brands provide hundreds of different settings for you to change, half of which I don’t understand. The way Asetek gives you control is just right.
There are enough settings to allow us to optimise our force feedback using common and relatively easy-to-understand settings such as damping, friction and inertia. Yet these settings aren’t overwhelming.
RaceHub lets you save your settings as presets which you can load up quickly when jumping into different sim titles. And this is about everything you could ask from a piece of sim racing software.
I’ll touch on compatibility a little bit, but it’s going to be incredibly short. As of this review, the Asetek Forte wheel base is compatible with just one steering wheel, the Forte formula wheel. However, I’m sure it won’t be long before Asetek releases some more steering wheels, otherwise, there would be little need for the fancy quick release.
It is also compatible with all of Asetek’s range of pedals such as the Forte or Invicta. You aren’t just locked into using the same product range of pedals. You have the freedom to use lesser or higher-performing pedals if you wish. Whichever pedal set you choose, you can connect them directly to your wheel base to help with cable management which is always a tick from me.
And the wheel base itself is only compatible with PC, no Xbox or PS5 compatibility here which isn’t much of a surprise.
Oh, and there is a quick release adapter currently in the works, which should open up compatibility for third party wheel rims as some point in the future.
Should you buy the Asetek Forte Wheel Base?
With everything said and done, would I recommend the Asetek Forte wheel base? Well. Hell yea I would. The sheer force feedback performance on offer from this direct drive racing wheel is incredible, and I have to say, it outperforms the other direct drive wheel bases I’ve tested up until now.
Asides from the force feedback, there is a lot to love about this wheel base. It’s cheaper than its direct rivals, has one of the very best quick release designs of any sim racing wheel, it will have an upgrade kit available to unlock additional performance at some point in the near future, and it has bright RGB LED lights plastered all over it.
OK, that last thing is a bit of a joke and really shouldn’t affect your decision to buy this wheel or not, but it does add to the overall design, which is possibly the weakest part of this whole offering.
Asetek really is a sim racing brand to keep an eye on over the coming years, and buying into the ecosystem now, at this price point should be a serious consideration if you’re looking for one of the very best high-performing direct drive racing wheels.