After spending the day at Lotus’ test track, driving home in my Toyota Auris and sticking to the speed limit was odd after blasting around the twists and turns of the test track at 140mph – there was only one thing for it – set up the Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback racing wheel and take a Lotus Elise for a virtual spin around the tracks of Forza Motorsport 6.
The wheel is of great build quality and has a good weight to it – this must be down to the belt-pulley and gear system the wheel uses to create its force feedback. The TMX is no Fisher Price toy, it looks and feels so good that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was part of a race simulator kit.
The TMX clamps onto the edge of a desk via a clasp located in the base of the wheel. Two small plastic suckers, which are part of the clamp, offer additional grip, which is perfect for keeping the wheel in place once the clamp has been tightened with the adjustment lever. It’s a shame the same stability can’t be said of the pedals.
While far from cheap but like so many other racing wheel bundles, the pedals are the weak link in the TMX Force Feedback. The plastic of the pedals may be durable but it doesn’t have any weight, shifting about the floor under the strain of heavy braking and accelerating. A tweak to the design of the pedal base or including swappable floor studs that could be used on different carpets could surely help ease this problem.
If you can get the right angle of force over the pedals then they will stay firm under your feet and you can even adjust the angle of the pedals for maximum comfort, although you will need a Philips head screwdriver to remove the small screws and adjust each pedal to one of three angles. What is rather unique about the pedals was the progressive resistance of the brake pedal. The further you press; the more feedback is given – and while nothing beats the real thing – this resistance really adds to the experience of racing.
The wheel itself has a 900 degree angle of rotation and while that may sound impressive, it didn’t help much when racing in Forza because the full lock of the wheel didn’t match that of the game. There is an option to change the wheel’s angle of rotation but I found it made little difference while playing Forza. When racing in cockpit view, I could see when the car was at full lock and while it would have been desirable to have the option of matching the full lock via the motor system of the wheel, I instead just paid attention to what I saw onscreen.
The TMX’s button layout is set neatly within easy reach of your thumbs and with a rubberised grip located at either side, the wheel is not only sturdy but also super comfy with a wheel circumference that is perfect in size. The star of the show though is the belt-pulley and gear system.
At times, the motor will fight back giving you an immersive experience of fighting against the car as the road puts pressure on the tyres – it’s an incredible experience and the rumble feedback accentuates this. Rather than settle for a one vibrate fits all, the TMX has plenty of variation in feedback to make you feel every bump, knock and tyre screech while racing around the track.
Minus the odd moment when the pedals move across the floor, the TMX Force Feedback is an awesome piece of kit and at an RRP of £169.99/€179 /$199.99 it’s an absolute bargain. To top it all off, the system is compatible with Thrustmaster’s modular system so you can add a shifter or replace the pedals.
This wheel has changed the way I play racing games and given me far more immersion than I thought would be possible – I wonder if I could fit a full racing cockpit in my man cave?