Fanatec CSL Universal Hub Review

Final thoughts on the CSL Universal Hub from Fanatec. I was taken by surprise by this new entry into the Fanatec line up. They already have a pretty good universal hub unit in the Clubsport Universal Hub. Although it is prices at 350.00. Which 200.00 higher that the CSL’s 150.00 price. So, what do you get for 200.00 less. First impression out of the box is a big piece of plastic. It is sporting the new tooless quick release hub. I have reviewed that before and still think it is a much better system than the old metal band solution used before on the Elite line of wheels. Around front, we find a plastic plate with metal threaded inserts for attaching wheels. There is a standard70mm PDC bolt pattern and a 50.8mm bolt pattern. I was able to try both positions with the two wheels Fanatec sent me with the CSL Universal hub. The button pods have buttons on both sides that have a very good feel to them. Nice spring pressure to actuate them and no wobble on the button tops that I see in a lot of buttons I have reviewed in the past. There is a 7 way joystick on the right side button pod that feels pretty good. A little wobble in it but not enough for concern from me. I operated quite well. There is a rocker switch on the left button pod that didn’t feel that good to me. It worked but had a dull feel when I used it. There are also two momentary toggle switches on pods. They have a nice rubber coating on them but felt very loose around the center and felt vague when using them. They did work well though. The button pods have the ability to move out from the center hub to accommodate both small and large diameter wheels. This is a pretty slick system that is easy to use. However, when I adjusted the pods to accommodate the 330mm Fanatec wheel, there was a lot of flex in the pods when using the buttons or shifters. This caused the buttons and shifters to feel a bit mushy when used. The reason this happens is there is not enough support in the plastic arms that make up the sliding mechanism. The left side pod flexes a bit more than the right side when fully deployed. This because it has even less support than the right side
assembly. There is a major dampening effect in this position. And the already mushy feeling shifter paddles feel even worse. Speaking of which, these are the worse feeling shifters I have ever felt from Fanatec. They had a lot of flex in them unless you hit the very middle of the paddle when shifting. When I first stared using them I had to constantly look at my cars gear indicator to make sure I had made the shift. They were that dull feeling. I was ok once muscle memory set in but a just disappointing experience for me. The good news is, that when using the hub with the small
diameter wheels a lot of the button pod flex went away. This made the buttons and shifters feel much better in use. Still the shifters need more help than that to get them to a level of the metal spring units used in a lot of Fanatec gear. I know I have to maintain the proper expectation levels at the 150.00 price point, but there certainly is room for improvement on this CSL Universal hub.

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