Accessory Review: Xlerator Wheel Stand
With Gran Turismo 5 being released (which I will try to get a review up for next week), I had also purchased the Logitech Driving Force GT wheel, as well as a stand for it (since all I had to place a wheel on was a flimsy TV tray that I use for my computer’s keyboard).
The stand is called the Big Boy Xlerator (there’s also a smaller version for smaller and shorter people, which is $20 cheaper). The product shipped from within my state, so I got it in about a day or two after I placed my order on Amazon. Order processing is very fast (Amazon itself doesn’t carry it; you can either get it directly from the manufacturer, or pay more and get it from a third party supplier :P).
I received the box, and it comes in 2 pieces, wrapped in a foam covering (there is no retail packaging or anything). They say it might lose some of its shine from the packing material, but to use like a car wax to polish it if you so please. Although there weren’t any visual instructions of how it goes together, it was still easy to figure out. Now that I had a chance to use it, was it worth the purchase price?
In a word, yes. The outside legs that wrap around your lap are adjustable (all the adjustments are done with spring pins that you line up with the holes). Since I have a large lap, I had to extend the legs all the way, but it still sits comfortably. You can also adjust the length of the support beam (where the lap bar connects to it) to put the foot pedals either closer to you or further out. I like the design they have with this better than a lot of the wheel stands you get at retail stores and the like (since most of them have a support beam that goes between your legs; a less than ideal setup). The only drawback would be if you use a small chair, as the outside legs are best suited for wide chairs and couches (the Big Boy has a 22 inch spread for the lap legs).
With the main support beam going out and then over to the foot pedal base, your legs are free of obstruction, which makes the driving feel more comfortable. The foot pedal itself is a flat piece of metal that, surprisingly, really holds the pedal base in place quite well. While putting it together, I did lose my footing a little bit and stepped right on it (I weigh over 350lbs), and it morphed, but it was also easily bent back into shape (the metal is still sturdy, but I’m not surprised my weight bent it like that).
Keep in mind, the wheel stand was specifically designed for the Driving Force GT, but the manufacturer does have adapters to be able to use it on other wheels (including the G27 and the 360 wireless wheel). With that said, the stand allows you to pivot the main frame back so you can easily get in and out of your chair (the base and lap bars all have rubber feet, so it doesn’t slide around and is pretty stable, even in a vertical position), and to make the steering wheel setup easier. Slide the wheel over the flat wheel base plate and lock it in place.
As far as the actual racing goes and how well it works, the simple answer would be amazingly well. For being one of the cheapest stands on the market, I think it’s also one of the sturdiest. No matter how high you have the force feedback settings, and how hard you play, the wheel stand stays in place (it slipped on me once at the base, mainly because the carpet is so worn out that it carries little grip, so being able to find a little bit of traction like that was a plus in my book 😆 ).
Since it is easy to take apart and stand, storage is easily done, too. If you have enough room, you can have it rest in the vertical position in a corner, or you can take the steering wheel support/lap bars off and set those to the side to reduce space even more. Personally, I just either leave it in front of the TV, or move it into the corner of my room. The footprint is pretty small.
Even with my wide body and thick legs, the stand didn’t get in the way, nor did it twist and turn while I used the wheel. It’s surprising how sturdy this thing is based on how it looks (minimal parts, no flashiness). I think that alone (and being able to pivot the bars back to easily get in and out of your seating area) makes this one of the better, understated accessories out there (similar to PS3 RealTriggers, but this likely won’t catch on as fast since it’s aimed at a much smaller market).
Overall, though, for $120 ($99 if you get the regular sized one), this is quite a bargain if you’re big into racing games and want a very sturdy, and affordable (compared to others), wheel stand. I’m not sure if the company only ships within the states or also does international shipment, but if you are able to get one, and want one, do it!
This review is based on a retail copy Xlerator Wheel Stand provided by Xlerator Wheel Stands.