- Smart design
- Brilliant build quality
- Good resistance between each shift
- Interchangeable gear knobs
- Easy to mount
- No sequential mode
- Can’t side or rear mount
- Slightly loud during use
The MOZA HGP review & unboxing
MOZA has just released their first-ever shifter, and it takes the form of a 7-gear H-pattern configuration. This joins the recently released handbrake to finally form a complete lineup of sim racing products including wheels, pedals, a handbrake and a shifter. Check out our review of the recently released MOZA handbrake here.
To quickly summarise what we have here, this shifter features 7 forward gears and 1 reverse. Both reverse and 7th gear are locked and require you to push the gear lever down to engage.
The body is an all-aluminium design, leading to this sleek external aesthetic. And inside, there is a patented shock-absorbing damping system which is designed for a realistic shifting feel. And there is also an auto-throttle blip system in there.
So yeah, as you can see, this shifter is pretty enticing straight off the bat.
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The design of the MOZA HGP Shifter
Now, I’m not going to stray away from the obvious comparison, and that is towards the Fanatec ClubSport shifter. This MOZA HGP shifter takes on a pretty similar form. The shape and size are both very close to the Fanatec model, and this has kind of been a trend with some of MOZA’s products. I’m looking at you R9 wheelbase!
But MOZA Racing has obviously seen what works in the past and has used that as a baseline to work from. The Fanatec shifter has been one of the most popular sim racing shifters for years now, but that shifter is starting to show its age a little.
So in comes the MOZA HGP shifter. While this shifter may look similar to other products that I’ve just mentioned, it is slightly smaller. The ClubSport shifter measures 127mm wide and deep and the base sits 148mm tall.
In comparison, this MOZA shifter is around 140mm deep by 100mm wide, so slightly deeper due to its protruding mounting plate, but slightly skinnier. And the base sits at just 110mm, shaving off around 35mm in height.
So it’s slightly more compact, and a little lighter, but the build quality is top-tier. The entire base is constructed from CNC-machined aluminium. And it feels like it could survive a drop from a pretty tall height.
The gear shaft is also constructed from aluminium and allows for customisable shifter knobs due to its screw functionality. The knob included is perfectly adequate. It’s smooth and finished in a black powder coat and feels nice in your palm.
The H-pattern slots blend seamlessly with the top plate and there is a dust cover just underneath to prevent any wear or tear over time due to dust entering the internal mechanism.
Overall, this is a very smart-looking shifter, if not a little bulky in its overall design. There are larger shifters on the market, but there certainly are smaller ones as well.
How does this shifter perform?
So let’s take a look at just how this H-pattern shifter performs. And I have to say I really enjoy using it every time I jump into a manual car. Straight off the bat, you can feel how well made this shifter is. I mentioned it in my design review earlier, but the all metal construction really helps this shifter shine. And that echoes through to the performance.
Each gear throw feels pretty heavy, meaning you do need to put a little bit of force into moving the shifter. This replicates a real world car fairly well, and is a feeling that many sim racing shifters fail to replicate.
With this MOZA shifter, the resistance is higher than most, and that’s a good thing.
When you engage a gear, there is a really satisfying clunk as the lever slots into place and each engagement feels smooth rather than clunky.
There is a rather loud audible sound at the peak of each shift, which is a combination of the gear mechanism engaging and the metal gear lever making contact with the top plate. I would have liked to see some form of additional damping at the very peak of the gear lever travel to reduce the sound a little.
Moving through the gears feels really nice. You can feel when a gear is disengaged and there is progressive resistance as you move the gear lever from side to side. Over time, I really got a good sense of where the gear lever was thanks to this progressive resistance.
In total there are six forward gears, which all feel really positive to use. Then there is an additional seventh gear to the top right, and a reverse gear to the top left. To access both of these you need to push down on the gear lever.
This is a solid feature that prevents any embarrassing moments on track of accidentally selecting reverse instead of first gear. And the pushdown mechanic isn’t intrusive enough to stop me from using these two gears when required. Although to be honest, I very rarely used either of them in the heat of a race.
My one big issue with this shifter is the lack of any sequential mode. There is only a H-pattern mode available out of the box, and this is a big miss. Especially as direct competitors do feature both H-pattern and sequential modes.
This means that if you want a sequential and H-pattern shifter, you’ll either have to look elsewhere or purchase a sequential shifter separately.
Auto rev-matching function
Now I want to quickly touch on the intelligent downshift function which acts as an auto rev-matching feature that is a big part of this shifter’s marketing. But as of the launch day, which is the day I’m releasing this review, I haven’t been able to test it.
MOZA hasn’t enabled this functionality yet but will do so just after launch, so it will be ready by the time customers receive the first shifters.
Due to not being able to test this feature, I won’t spend too long on it. But I’m told it is designed to automatically blip the throttle as you downshift. This negates the need for you to use a heel-and-toe technique every time you downshift.
In theory, this sounds great for those who haven’t mastered the technique, or sim race in socks and therefore find throttle blipping incredibly painful to do.
I will look to update this review, either in the description or via another video once I have had a chance to try the feature out, to let you all know exactly how it works in practice and whether it’s a good addition. But for now, I’ll move past it.
Mounting and compatibility
And I’ll move right on to the mounting and compatibility. To start with, there is a serious missed opportunity in terms of the mounting. Whether it was for aesthetic reasons or for more technical reasons, there is no in-built way of side mounting or rear mounting this shifter to your rig.
Quickly touching on the Fanatec ClubSport shifter again, the body of that shifter featured a pretty cool design allowing you to side and rear mount it with ease. But that functionality is missing here.
Instead, you have to bottom mount this shifter, which was fine with my sim rig. But if you’re racing on an 8020 rig, or you are short on bottom mounting options, you’re kind of a little stuck. There is a desk clamp available but I’ve not seen this so I’m unsure if it would solve this problem. My guess is that it won’t.
Other than the lack of side or rear mounting options, the bottom mounting options are actually quite good. There is a range of slot gaps and holes allowing you to mount this from the top down. Or there are plenty of additional threaded holes underneath if you want to mount from underneath the shifter which is the route I’ve gone for here.
Once mounted, this shifter isn’t moving anywhere, so I’m perfectly happy with this aspect.
In terms of compatibility, around the back of the shifter, there are two options for connecting this shifter to your PC or sim rig. I say PC because, like all MOZA products to date, there is no console compatibility.
There is a USB connector and an RJ connector. You can use either of these to connect the shifter to either your PC directly, or to the MOZA hub, which is what I’d recommend. This route essentially reduces the amount of USB cables running to your PC.
Once you’ve mounted your shifter, the setup couldn’t be easier. Simply install the free Pit House software which can be found on MOZA’s website. Then run through the shifter calibration. You’ll just have to wiggle the shifter from far left to far right to complete this.
It is important you do this, as the shifter won’t fully work in game without doing so. I had an issue where it thought first gear was third gear, but a quick calibration sorted this out.
So now we get to the price. This HGP shifter will cost you $149, £139 or €159. When you think about that price compared to other products, it’s pretty mega.
The Fanatec ClubSport shifter costs around $100 more than this, but it does have a few additional features. And the ever-popular Thrustmaster TH8A costs $20 more.
In comparison with the TH8A shifter at roughly the same price, this MOZA offering looks and feels much more high end. Ultimately, I think that price represents pretty good value for what you are getting.
Should I buy the MOZA HGP Shifter?
The MOZA HGP Shifter is an exciting prospect. It certainly looks pretty smart and striking with its all-black aluminium design and sharp angles. And during use, it holds up extremely well.
While there are a couple of additional features that I would have liked included, mainly a sequential shift mode. The H-pattern provides a really nice experience thanks to its design, meaning it’s almost impossible to miss a shift.
I believe at around $150, it does represent relatively good value. While it certainly isn’t the cheapest shifter available, its direct competitors do all cost more than this MOZA shifter. This allows it to slot into a relatively large gap which hasn’t seen a new shifter product for a good number of years.
This shifter can be used with any other sim racing wheel or product, but it fits perfectly into the ever-expanding ecosystem that MOZA Racing is building. If you currently own any of MOZAs sim racing products, or you simply like the look of this shifter over other offerings, then this shifter will slot seamlessly into your sim racing setup.