Here is my review on the Next Level Racing Wheel Stand Lite. This is a budget entry-level Sim Racing wheel stand, retailing for $149, meant for the space-conscious Sim Racer. This is my second wheel stand review, and this is a drastically different model than the Trak Racer FS3 that I just reviewed the other day. The way I am viewing this wheel stand from Next Level Racing is a tier BELOW the Trak Racer FS3, as the standard wheel stand from NLR is priced and specced more to compete with the FS3.
My first ever “Wheel Stand”!
In a sense, testing out this wheel stand brings me a bit back to my roots. In my early days of Sim Racing, I utilized a $10 tray table that I bought from my local Target. Mounting my Logitech G25 onto the wheel was BARELY workable, and it was unstable at best. Then, in 2011, I decided to by the Fanatec Rennsport Wheel Stand, which I used for nearly 3 years.
The design of the Next Level Racing Wheel Stand Lite is very reminiscent of the Fanatec Wheel Stand, but with a few solid improvements that greatly improve the experience of driving. The wheel stand was very easy to assemble out-of-box, and only required tightening a few bolts, setting the preferred height of the wheel deck, and attaching the shifter mount. I had my wheel stand assembled in less than 20 minutes.
The base of the wheel stand is more substantial than other stands, but it makes for a pretty sturdy unit!
Let’s address my first pillar of a good wheel stand, “Is it Sturdy?” In my opinion, it is a mix of yes and no. The pedal deck is rock solid, while the upright and wheel plate is a little less stable than I would have liked. The Wheel Stand Lite features a pedal plate that you can hard-mount your pedals on. Also, you have the ability to incline the pedal deck, which is something that you don’t really see in the $150 Wheel Stand price bracket. The base of the wheel stand takes up a little more real estate than other “Light Wheel Stands”, but it makes for a quite sturdy base! As mentioned, the wheel plate and upright has a little more flex than I’d personally like, but it is definitely useable.
The second pillar of my “Is it a Good Wheel Stand” mantra is “is it portable?” One of the main “features” of the Wheel Stand Lite is that it can “fold up” in less than ten seconds. I tested that claim, and they are definitely not exaggerating with that figure. The upright post clamps onto the base of the wheel stand via a clamp similar to a bike’s seat. Unclamp that, and the wheel stand folds up, and you can move it away! I didn’t exactly time my folding up the stand, but it was definitely less than ten seconds. So, yes, I’d say this is a pretty portable wheel stand! I feel you sacrifice a bit of stability to make it more portable, but I think that’s a valid trade-off.
The wheel stand is incredibly easy to fold up, and doesn’t take up too much space.
My third pillar is “Is it versatile? Can this be utilized with different hardware well?” Again, this is a solid “Yes!” The wheel stand is pre-drilled for Logitech, Thrustmaster, and Fanatec products. Again, with the pedal plate supporting hard mounting and also being able to be inclined, this would be able to easily handle load cell pedals, such as the Fanatec Clubsport Pedals V3.
Next up, “is it Ergonomic?” That’s the main gripe I have against this wheel stand. This wheel stand has the center post design, which I am personally not a fan of. It makes it a little difficult to heel-and-toe, in my opinion, and it’s even a little tricky to left foot brake too, because you need to wrap your leg around the center post.
Apart from that, the wheel stand is pretty solid ergonomically. You can move the wheel and shifter mount up and down to fit your personal preference, which is great. The shifter mount is in a little more of an ergonomic position compared to other wheel stands I’ve tested, but it would likely be more inconvenient for taller shifters than the G27 shifter I tested with.
Last, but certainly not least, “Is this a good value?”. I’m going to call this an easy yes. This wheel stand is available for $149, and I think it may be the best wheel stand in this price bracket. If we look at the Wheel Stand Pro, which retails for $164, it’s not as versatile as this offering. I would like to compare the Wheel Stand Lite to Fanatec’s CSL Wheel Stand, but unfortunately, that model is now discontinued. I think that, if you’re looking for a wheel stand under $200 (with Tax), this may be the best option right now on the market. If you have a slightly higher budget, I may recommend either the Trak Racer FS3 Wheel Stand or Next Level Racing’s full-size Wheel Stand. However, the Next Level Racing Wheel Stand Lite is a surprisingly good wheel stand for the price, and I could see this being a great entry point for a Sim Racer looking for a decent budget option.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Next Level Racing Wheel Stand Lite. What do you think of this budget offering? Let us know in the comments below!