- Magnetic hall effect sensors
- Supremely well priced
- Very adjustable to find correct position
- Option of two or three pedals
- Load cell performs well
- Plastic face plate
- No baseplate included
- Non load cell pedals feel too light
What are the Fanatec CSL Pedals LC?
The new Fanatec CSL Pedals are Fanatec’s entry-level pedal kit. They have replaced the older CSL Elite pedals which have now been discontinued.
The CSL Pedals have been designed to bring a host of improvements over the older CSL Elite pedals. While Fanatec look set to have achieved this improvement, they’ve also lowered the cost, making them the cheapest pedal kit Fanatec have ever sold.
In my review below, I’m going to look at the Fanatec CSL Pedals in detail. I’ll assess areas including design, build quality, performance and value for money. All with an aim to help you make a decision as to whether this pedal kit is the right one for you.
How much do the Fantec CSL Pedals cost?
The newest CSL pedals from Fanatec are without a doubt the most cost-effective pedal that Fanatec has ever released. They are somehow better and cheaper than the older CSL Elite pedals which these pedals are designed to replace.
You can pick up the CSL Pedals in a couple of different formats. You can buy the two-pedal set which comes with throttle and brake. Or you can buy the three-pedal set which comes with an additional load-cell pedal. This load cell pedal replaces the brake pedal, with the old brake pedal moving over to become your clutch.
There is also the option of buying a clutch kit, which is essentially a very similar pedal to the original brake pedal. This will give you a three-pedal setup without the more expensive load cell brake pedal.
- Fanatec CSL Pedals (two-pedals only) – €79.95 / $79.95 – Buy from here
- Fanatec CSL Pedals LC (three-pedal set) – €199.95 / $199.95 – Buy from here
- Fanatec CSL Pedals Load Cell Kit (load cell pedal only) – €139.95 / $139.95 – Buy from here
- Fanatec CSL Clutch kit – €/$39.95 – Buy from here
If you were to opt for the base two-pedal CSL Pedal set, this would only set you back €/$79.95. This makes the CSL Pedals one of the cheapest pedal sets on the market, not just the cheapest that Fanatec sell.
You can opt to purchase the CSL Pedal Load Cell Kit separately at a cost of €/$139.95. This additional load cell pedal can be added to the CSL Pedals at any time. You can try the two-pedal set first, and decide whether or not to purchase the load cell pedal after some time racing.
If you know that you definitely need a load cell pedal in your life, you can save a bit of money upfront by purchasing the CSL Pedals LC at €/$199.95. This kit includes both products mentioned above giving you a three-pedal set with a load cell brake pedal included.
The third option is our pick of the bunch as the load cell pedal is a marked improvement over the two-pedals brake. Purchasing the whole kit in one will save you €/$20 compared to purchasing the items individually.
The design and build quality of the Fanatec CSL Pedals LC
The difference between the new CSL Pedals and the older CSL Elite pedals is quite apparent upon first viewing them. While they take on a very similar form factor to the older pedals, the construction and materials used are very different.
While the older pedals were constructed entirely from Aluminium and finished in black, these new CSL Pedals feature a bare metal aesthetic. The entirety of the CSL Pedals other than the pedal plates themselves is constructed from steel.
Much like the previous CSL Elite, the heel plate is finished in black, although this time around Fanatec has gone for a much smoother black finish.
The rest of the pedals themselves aren’t finished in any particular colour and has been left as bare steel. This does give off a very motorsport vibe, as many premium pedals such as those from Heusinkveld often take this approach.
The pedals themselves are all attached individually to the heel plate, and there isn’t a baseplate that sits under the pedals included. This shouldn’t be a problem on many sim rigs as you can mount the pedals directly to your rig from underneath.
We did however have a little trouble mounting these to our Aluminium profile rig. With an Aluminium profile right you can’t insert a bolt through and into the mounting points at the bottom of the heel plate.
Instead, we had to fashion a makeshift baseplate to allow us to hard mount it to our rig. As mentioned above this wasn’t a problem with the GT Omega rig we also tested these pedals on.
With most Fanatec products you get a large amount of customisation and adjustability included. That is also true of these CSL Pedals. When you first open the box and remove the pedals, you’ll notice that they are all individually packed.
This gives you the option when assembling to position your CSL Pedals wherever you want on the heel plate. The heel plate itself features a run of pre-drilled holes along its top side, there are 11 in total.
You can connect your individual pedals to the baseplate in any of these pre-drilled holes. This allows you to distance the pedals to suit your driving style, giving you a great level of control over your heel and toe technique.
There is also a good range of adjustability in the pedal plates themselves. This is the part of the pedal with which your foot comes into contact.
You can move these pedal plates up and down which in turn will help to shorten or lengthen the throw of the pedals. It also helps to accommodate sim racers with different feet sizes.
As a whole Fanatec has allowed for a good range of customisation within the hardware. But there is also more customisation you can make once you have connected these pedals to your wheel.
Through your steering wheel, you can adjust a range of settings related to the pedals, from sensitivity and linearity to deadzones and more. We played around with a range of settings here on a few different racing sims such as Assetto Corsa Competizione and iRacing.
In practice, these settings work well, and the calibration is pretty accurate. The amount of input you are applying to the individual pedals is the amount that is reflected in the game. Much like with the older CSL Elite pedals, I typically ran my pedals at around 70% force which was my sweet spot.
What they’re like to drive with
I’ve had a look at the design and the setup of the Fanatec CSL Pedals, so now let’s look at the part of the review that matters most. I’ve broken this section of the review down into a section for each pedal.
I’ll look at the throttle, clutch (brake pedal) and load cell brake pedal all individually. All three of these pedals are set up differently so I think this approach will let me discuss each pedal in much clearer detail.
The Throttle itself uses a magnetic Hall effect sensor, which is an improvement over the older and more expensive CSL Elite pedals.
Those older pedals used a potentiometer instead, which does degrade slightly over time. The new magnetic sensors are completely contactless meaning you won’t have any wear no matter how much you race with them.
While racing with these pedals the throttle worked well. It was smooth and silent throughout my testing, and I couldn’t ask for much more out of a throttle pedal.
I do wish I had access to the upgradeable pedal faces though as they feature a metal finish rather than plastic. Feeling the plastic with my feet rather than metal was the only downside, but unfortunately, the upgradeable pedal plates/faces weren’t available while reviewing these.
The Load Cell Brake
The brake I’m going to look at in this section is the optional load cell brake pedal.
If you are only buying the two-pedal set, the load cell won’t come included. But I will review how the second pedal (the original brake pedal) feels being used as a brake pedal just below this load cell section.
The load cell pedal is truly where this pedal set shines. If you are after a budget-friendly racing pedal but still desire strong realistic braking performance, then the load cell add-on is definitely for you.
The load cell pedal uses a 60kg load cell which adds a lot of pressure to the brake pedal. This also changes the way the brake pedal feels dramatically. The in-game brake pressure is now measured much more realistically, based on force rather than pedal distance.
The 60kg load cell felt too much for me initially, especially after using the original brake pedal which is a touch on the light side. I turned down my brake pressure to around the 70% mark. This gave me less of a workout and instead allowed me to focus on consistency under braking.
In comparison to the other pedals in this kit, the load cell feels incredibly heavy thanks to its load cell. This almost makes the throttle and clutch feel too light when all used together. This may not be an issue for many, but the pedals felt a little imbalanced when used alongside the load cell.
The Brake/Clutch pedal
The original brake pedal is very similar to the older CSL Elite brake pedal. Although it has also been upgraded to a magnetic Hall effect sensor, making it better than the older CSL Elite brake already.
It features a large foam wedge that aims to replicate pressure as you apply force. The idea is that the harder you press on this pedal, the firmer the foam wedge becomes. This foam wedge is slightly softer than the older CSL Elite foam.
While you will never be able to emulate an overly realistic braking feel from the use of a foam or rubber stopper, the braking feeling with these pedals is decent. In-game brake pressure is determined by how far you press the pedal rather than how hard like in a real-world car.
But you can build up good muscle memory and therefore consistent braking with this pedal. There is a firm metal rod under the pedal which stops the pedal travel past a certain point. This allows you to feel when you are at 100% brake pressure, allowing you to then feather off the brake pedal from there.
My main disappointment when using this pedal as a brake was that it felt too soft and too easy to depress. If I could, I would have opted for much firmer resistance. The pressure does increase the more you push the pedal, but especially at the start of the depression, the pedal feels a touch light.
If you have the optional load cell brake pedal, this pedal can be moved over to become your clutch pedal. To stop the resistance found when in its brake pedal form, you simply remove the foam insert and this pedal then becomes linear, much like a real clutch.
Durability – The long term review
During my review, I used all three of these pedals for a good few months. I tested them attached to a few different sim rigs, across a range of racing sim titles. And I’m happy to announce I really didn’t come across any durability issues.
The only minor thing I noticed was the throttle pedal became a little squeaky after around a month. But a quick squirt of lubricant at the hinge quietened it down again, and the noise didn’t return.
Switching from potentiometers to magnetic contactless Hall effect sensors was a good move by Fanatec. It reduces the number of components that wear over time, meaning you should get the same performance from the CSL Elite pedals session after session.
Fanatec CSL Pedals LC compatibility
The Fanatec CSL pedals and the load cell kit is widely compatible, that is as long as you own a Fanatec wheel base.
These pedals attach to your Fanatec wheel base using an RJ-12 cable and then they become instantly compatible with your platform. This means that as long as you have a Fanatec wheel base that is compatible with your platform of choice, be that Xbox, PlayStation or PC, your CSL Pedals will be compatible across the board.
Conclusion – Should you buy these pedals?
The Fanatec CSL Pedals offer a wide range of customisation across a varied amount of budgets. For a two-pedal set at under $100, these CSL Pedals are a fantastic option, and you won’t find many (if any) alternatives at this quality for less.
You have a few different options in terms of upgrades, from the more expensive load cell brake pedal or the much cheaper clutch kit. Both of these options turn this pedal set into a full three pedal set.
But for €/$199.95, you can buy the ultimate pedal set, the CSL Pedals and load cell kit. This is the option that I would go for if I was buying them again, as the load cell brake is truly where this pedal set shines.
Whichever option you opt for, the Fanatec CSL Pedals offer great value, very good build quality and a lot of adjustability and customisation for a range of sim racers.