Manufacturer: Next Level
Release Date: 11/17/2017
Having a good wheel setup is important for racing sim fans, but taking it to the next level is something very few do. While there are a ton of crappy and cheap wheels out there, there are almost as many shoddy cockpit setups that cut corners. Next Level is one of the top racing sim cockpit makers out there and for those who want to be between a solid setup and not hacking to turn your room into a virtual race car, the Wheel Stand Lite is for you.
I have to talk about the assembly process here. Once you open the package the stand it nicely folded in half with most of the bolts in place. All you really have to do is mount your hardware. I had some assembly issues mainly due to poor instructions. The booklet just shows some photographs of the stand, that are of poor quality, with red lines and comments about what is what, but everything is hard to see. It also doesn’t help that there is no wheel setup on the stand in the photos so I actually had no clue how the stand was supposed to be oriented. I wound up setting the whole thing up backward with the vertical bar farthest away from me and ran into an issue with my screw holes on the Thrustmaster T300RS not lining up. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how it wasn’t lining up until I had to watch a YouTube of it being assembled. I then spent another hour reversing everything and it all came together nicely.
Despite the poor assembly instructions, I also had an issue with the U-bolt clamp being bent and I had to re-bend the prongs with a hammer. The piece of metal that the vertical bar locks onto was bent outwards either in shipping or manufacturing. Once you lock the vertical bar into a place you can adjust the height with two large thumbscrews. I was able to attach my Thrustmaster TH8A shifter with four bolts to the shifter addon and the petals fit nicely on the bottom bracket. The wheel plate allows for some tilting and so do the petals. You can tilt them down as needed. It’s kind of a pain because multiple bolts need to be adjusted for this tilting. A pull-down locking bolt mechanism would have been much more convenient.
Once everything was set up I used cable ties to secure the cables down and I plugged everything in. When I put my feet on the pedals I noticed the first issue: the brake pedal is behind the vertical bar if you have three pedals. This isn’t a huge issue as your leg is slightly bent sideways, but you can’t have your legs straight or you will never reach your brake pedal. The last issue I ran into is folding the stand down it rests on the brake pedal and can’t lie flat I don’t know if this is an oversight, but it doesn’t fold up quite like advertised and stays open about 45 degrees, so don’t expect to store it under anything. I personally bought this as I was tired of attaching everything to my desk when I wanted to play. I can now drag this over and just plug everything in.
Overall, the medal is nice, there weren’t any weird smells, oils, or sharp edges that I noticed, but the thing weighs a ton and isn’t easy to transport or move around, or store. This is mainly for the simple convenience of having everything bolted to one unit. I highly recommend having a large enough room to stick this in a corner somewhere. At least the build quality is up there and when heavily racing there was little wobble and everything stayed in place. For the price, this is surely worth the purchase if you want a solid stand-alone setup.