- Incredibly strong force feedback
- Lots of adjustability with Pit House
- Easy to mount
- Quiet during use
- Remains relatively cool during use
- Compatible with all current MOZA wheels
- Not the sleekest exterior design
- Requires a little fine-tuning out of the box
- No additional peripheral ports
Since those early days, MOZA has gone on to produce more and more sim racing products, including a new batch of smaller direct drive wheel bases. But this R21 has remained the top dog in MOZA’s product lineup.
It is still the largest and most powerful wheel base MOZA has produced to date, and it has really been designed to rival the big boys such as Fanatec and Simucube.
It’s now 2023, meaning we’ve had a few years to really form an opinion on MOZA’s sim racing credentials and their lineup. And I have to say that it has been a good few years for MOZA, improving their products and expanding their ecosystem with each new entry.
But where does that leave the original wheel base, the big boy, the MOZA R21? Should it be forgotten about, is it outdated now, or does it still remain as the very pinnacle of MOZA’s sim racing lineup?
In this review, I’m going to take a pretty deep dive into the R21. I’ll review its design, compatibility and most importantly its performance. With the aim of helping you decide whether it’s worth upgrading to in 2023.
Now before I go any further, I want to disclose that this unit was sent to me for review by MOZA. That, however, certainly won’t stop me from mentioning any areas I don’t like as you’ll see in this review. As with all of our reviews, they are completely unbiased whether I bought the product or not.
What is the MOZA Racing R21?
So kicking things off at the beginning, what exactly is the R21 wheel base, and what does it offer?
The MOZA Racing R21 wheel base is the most powerful direct drive wheel base that MOZA offers. It produces a whopping 21Nm of torque, which beats out the 16Nm of the R16 and the 9Nm of the R9 wheel base.
While it may look almost identical to the MOZA R16 wheel base, it does produce 5Nm more peak torque than that wheel base. And that is reflected in the price.
The price for this wheel base starts at £1099 / $1199 / €1299. The strange thing is that this wheel base comes in two colourways. You can get it in all black with a few bright yellow stripes, which is the version I have here. Or you can get it in an orange and black version.
- Buy the MOZA R21 (United States) – $1199
- Buy the MOZA R21 (United Kingdom) – £1099
- Buy the MOZA R21 (Europe) – €1299
- Buy the MOZA R21 (Australia) – $1899
If you are buying this wheel base in North America, the price for the orange and the all-black versions are the same at $1199.
If you’re buying from the UK or Europe though, the price for the orange version is £100 / €100 more expensive.
I didn’t realise that there was an additional cost of sending orange things to the UK or Europe compared to the US, but there must be right. Why else would the exact same wheel base with a couple of orange parts cost more?
All joking aside, the all-black wheel base is without a doubt the one to purchase as it looks much more high-end and grown up than the orange and black version.
The Design of the R21 wheel base
And that brings us nicely to the overall design of the R21 wheel base. MOZA states on its official website that the R21 features a unique supercar-inspired design, and you can kind of see what they mean.
The wheel base itself swoops backwards, and there are angled lines where ever you look. On each side of the main body are two air intakes which wouldn’t look out of place on a car or plane.
But, the problem is, all of the swooping lines and overly aggressive styling looks a little immature. And in my opinion, it devalues the wheel a little. When I’m spending upwards of £1000 / $1000 on a serious piece of hardware, I’d rather it looked more premium.
I know there would be some that argue against me here, and that’s fair enough, design is incredibly subjective. But for me, looking at a direct competitor such as the DD1 or the Simucube, the precision design and understated look appeal to me much more.
I think the direction that MOZA has gone in with the newer R9 wheel base is much more on point. The R9 looks understated but still remains aggressive with the fins that act as a heat sink. And this shows nice growth and development from MOZA as a whole.
Going back to the R21 wheel base, the part of the design I’m least impressed with are the two large air intakes on either side. They both have a gloss finish to them, which makes them look like plastic despite actually being constructed from metal. And it’s a prime example of the design actively cheapening the look of this wheel base.
Despite my lack of love for the overall design, I do think MOZA is about spot on with the size of the wheel base.
Stepping up to high-performing wheel bases such as this R21, you expect an increase in the overall size and weight. After all, inside there is the need for larger motors, cooling fans and everything else required to keep these beasts running.
With the R21, the size increase over say the smaller R9 isn’t as large as I would have expected.
The MOZA R21 measures 330mm from end to end including the motor shaft and quick release. It measures 170mm wide and 130mm tall. That’s just a little bit wider and taller than the compact R9 wheel base, and around 90mm longer from end to end.
It is also around 30mm shorter in length than the Fanatec DD1 and 25mm shorter in height. Plus the rear of the wheel base slopes downwards, opening up some additional mounting options, especially if you are trying to fit it snugly under your monitor like I have.
That isn’t a huge jump in size, and the R21’s dimensions certainly won’t cause any real issues when mounting it. You can see that when mounted to my sim rig, I barely had to change any positioning of my monitor, wheel mount or my seating position when swapping between the R9 and R21.
The only minor adjustment I did have to make was to the angle of my wheel mount as the R21 is positioned on a slight incline.
Where there is a larger jump though is in the weight department. The R21 is a heavy boy weighing in at around 9kg. That is around double the weight of the smaller R9 wheel base.
If you have a sim rig, this additional weight won’t really affect you too much. However, the extra 4.5kg that the R21 has over the R9 may cause some issues if mounted to a less sturdy wheel stand.
Talking of mounting the R21, this is relatively easy. On the underside of the wheel base there are four mounting holes which are spaced at around 65mm lengthways and 75mm wide.
This is the same mounting pattern that MOZA’s other wheel bases all follow, other than the tiny R5 wheel base. And it fits with most pre-drilled sim rig mounting platforms. Mounting to my Trak Racer TR8 Pro sim rig was a doddle with all holes lining up easily.
If you want to side mount this wheel base you will need an additional mounting bracket which costs an additional £60 / $60 roughly. This opens up a few additional mounting options for those who prefer side mounting to their sim rig.
There is no table clamp for the R21, and you really shouldn’t be looking at mounting a wheel base this powerful to a desk or table as it will almost certainly shake it to bits.
Around the back of the wheel base are a series of connection ports. These include a port for the power, a USB connection for your PC and an additional port to attach an emergency stop button. This emergency stop button isn’t included as standard but isn’t a bad idea to add down the line.
When racing with a wheel base capable of 20Nm + of torque, having that e-stop can prevent injury and damage if something does go wrong.
You’ll notice that there aren’t any additional ports to connect pedals or other peripherals. It seems that MOZA has gone down the path of requiring you to connect additional peripherals directly to your PC or a USB hub.
This is a little annoying in the fact that you have to use up additional USB ports on your PC, or USB hub when they could have been routed into the rear of the wheel base. But it certainly isn’t something worth complaining too much about.
Moving back around the front of the wheel base. The built-in quick release is fantastic, like all MOZA wheel bases. It uses an NRG style quick release system, and is fully compatible with all current MOZA steering wheels.
To attach a steering wheel, all you have to do is line up the circular pattern and push your steering wheel until it clicks. Once a steering wheel is attached, it certainly isn’t going anywhere as there is pretty much zero play in the quick release mechanism.
Then, to release the wheel, simply pull the quick release mechanism at the rear of your steering wheel, and pull the wheel away from the base. This is one of the best quick release systems around, and I really can’t fault it.
Now, let’s move on to the real talking point, the performance. And wow this R21 wheel base has some power. If you are upgrading from a smaller wheel base such as the MOZA R5 or R9, or even from a Logitech G923 or something equivalent. You are going to be blown away by the power on offer with the R21.
In fact, I would highly suggest running your first few outings using 40-60% max power. If I were to compete in a long-ish distance race using the R21 I would always set it to around 60-70% output.
Running this R21 wheel base anywhere above 75% for any decent amount of time will give you a bigger workout than trying to compete against strong man Eddie Hall.
The amount of resistance on offer when trying to wrestle your steering wheel through corners is extremely high. And at close to 100% strength, you almost have to lean into some corners, putting a lot of strength behind each turn.
But so far, all I’ve said is how strong this racing wheel is, and that’s pretty obvious to anyone who reads the 21Nm label on the website. So how does the force feedback actually feel?
Well, I was pleasantly surprised at just how detailed the force feedback feels despite the extreme strength. The much larger torque range on offer from this R21 allows much finer details to show through.
You can notice small nuances from your car interacting with the track surface. Minor bumps, a rough patch of asphalt, and small road imperfections can all be felt in between the heavy bumps and strong force feedback.
When you do get up onto a kerb, the wheel base is very finely tuned in how it puts down its power. You don’t just get a large hit of force feedback, instead, you can feel the individual bumps and actual differences between the track and kerb.
Some larger bumps, such as those on bumpy tracks like Oulton Park or COTA did feel a little heavy-handed. A large hit felt a little artificial and over-exaggerated at times,. But these moments were few and far between.
I did have to play around with the settings in the software a little, as I felt that the damping was set too high. The wheel felt a little sluggish at slow speeds. But with a few adjustments to the many options in the Pit House software and this was rectified.
One thing that did really impress me was just how quiet this wheel base is during use. There are no internal cooling fans, meaning the noise is almost none existent.
That is even more impressive when you notice how cool the wheel base stays during use. You would think that a wheel this powerful could potentially run quite hot. But even after hours of use using relatively high force feedback strength settings, the wheel remained lukewarm to the touch at most.
When it comes to adjustability, the MOZA Pit House software is capable of tweaking almost any part of the R21 wheel base.
You can adjust a variety of settings from the overall force feedback strength, behaviour and intensity at different frequencies, and just about anything else you would want to change.
The software itself is very user-friendly. There are explanations of how each setting affects the wheel behaviour and there are advanced menus for those who want to delve a little deeper.
What’s even better is that most games recognised this wheel as soon as it was connected. As with all wheels, I had to go through my own button configuration on the steering wheel itself. But I had no real issues with game compatibility. Other than Forza Horizon 5, which for some reason requires a really awkward set-up procedure with any MOZA wheel.
Much like all of MOZA’s current products, the MOZA R21 is only compatible with PC and is not compatible with Xbox or PlayStation consoles. This is no real surprise as it is the direction that MOZA has gone down since entering the sim racing space a few years ago.
If you’re looking for a 20Nm + console-compatible direct drive wheel base then for now, you still need to look elsewhere. I’m sure that given a bit of time, MOZA will look to incorporate console compatibility into a new product eventually. Well, fingers crossed anyway.
The beauty of this wheel base being PC compatible only. Is that it makes it compatible with almost any other sim racing product on the market. While there are only connection ports on the back for the USB, power and an additional emergency stop. Any other sim racing products can be directly connected to your PC via USB and used alongside the R21.
In terms of steering wheel compatibility, the R21 is compatible with all of MOZA’s current lineup of steering wheels. You’ve got a good choice in this department, with the GS and FSR formula wheels ready to go if you often race F1 or GT cars. And there are also circular wheels such as the CS and RS V2 if you prefer a round wheel rim.
All of these steering wheels mount directly to the wheel base using the built-in quick release and can be attached and removed very quickly to swap wheels.
Should you buy the MOZA R21 Wheel?
So that brings us to the conclusion of our MOZA R21 review. And leads me to the question that I asked at the beginning. Is the MOZA R21 still worth buying in 2023?
Well, let’s break it down a little before answering. If you are looking for direct drive racing wheel on a budget, then this isn’t the wheel base for you. You should be looking at the MOZA R5 or R9.
But if you’re looking for extreme power and to push the limits of sim racing hardware, the MOZA R21 is certainly on the way to doing that. There are stronger direct drive wheels on the market. But in reality, unless you really like to punish yourself. Most sim racers won’t be pushing 20Nm+ during long races.
The 21Nm peak torque from this wheel base really hits a sweet spot. It’s certainly strong enough to really give you a workout. And it produces some of the most detailed force feedback available at this price point.
The build quality on offer is very good. The lack of noise during use is brilliant, and the performance is top-notch.
Yes, the design could have been smartened up a little in my opinion. But I’m sure others will love the aggressive styling. And some additional side or front mounting points would help make it easier to mount to a wider range of sim rigs.
But overall, I’d have no problem recommending the R21 wheel base to anybody looking to upgrade their sim racing wheel.