Yay... it is here! My ClubSport Pedals. ^_^ Shipment: They arrived today 20-10-2011 at 12:30 and I ordered them on 18-10-2011 at 21:30. Damn, what a fast delivery. Didn't get a track&trace code in the mail though, even though it was promised when it would leave the warehouse. =/ I hope I will get one when I order an even more expensive CSW. Tuning Kit: Anyhow, first impressions. The tuning kit was the first thing I opened and saved the best for last. The springs are of good quality and tried the tension out in my hand to feel the difference for future reference if I wanted to change something. As in that way I can better estimate if a 30% increase/decrease would be too much or not. One thing I questioned myself while looking at the extra pedal in there though. What if you order a color kit, does it come with an extra colored normal pedal as well? Cause otherwise you either have to buy 2 color kits or just can't use a normal pedal in the same color as the rest on the gas pedal. So I head over to the Fanatec store to look at all the colors and what these packages contain. To my relief I found out that the colors come with 3 normal pedals (like the ones already on the gas and brake pedals) and a bigger gas pedal plus a nice heel rest. To my surprise I also get a allen key to replace it all with. So the answer to the question is a definitive "yes!", you can get the different pedal colors and still be able to convert from a big gas pedal to a smaller or normal one. So the one in the tuning kit is only there for the current aluminum grey color. Besides, it would've been quite silly if we had to buy a whole set of those pedals just to replace one, wouldn't it? The Pedals: Well, after taking a quick look at the tuning kit I couldn't resist but to look inside the box of the pedals themselves. They were boxed with lots of air and foam surrounding them that even in the worst of shipments they would still survive. Unless it ended up in the sea or in a fire or something like that. In the box was a little paper saying I should get the latest drivers from Fanatec (which everyone should always do with any product anyway). A bag of cables. One being the PS/2 one for connecting the pedals to the wheel and the other a normal USB cable (some like to call it a USB printer type cable), and also there were 6 small screws included. As I understood from Thomas these are for when you want to remove the small blocks from under the pedals. And of course the ClubSport Pedals were in the box. It would be a shocker if Postman Pat stole them, right? Although I wouldn't blame him seeing how nicely build this pedals are. When I took the pedals out of the box the first thing I noticed was their weight. They were much heavier then I imagined and felt just as heavy as my T500 RS pedals. This for me was a direct comfort as I knew the pedals wouldn't move under any circumstance, unless you would want to push the pedal through the load-cell maybe? Anyhow, the pedals are a bit lighter when I compared them 5 kg vs 7 kg for the T500 RS pedals. However, this doesn't make much of a difference due to the construction of the Clubsport Pedals. You have to use about the same about of force to kick either of them away in a panic moment when slamming on the brakes. After having removed the foam I tried the pedals out by hand and then by foot. The clutch is really nice and feels like it gets weaker all of a sudden at around 3/4 of the way to fully pressing it. Just like how you push the clutch in a real car and suddenly feel that the clutch has been disengaged and then the pedal gets a bit lighter. Although this does differ per car and wear of the clutch plates a lot! The gas pedal felt far too weak in my opinion just by hand alone, and it was even worse when I pressed it down with my foot. It doesn't even feel that weak in my Lancia Delta HPE. So I started to play a bit with the adjustable spring tension nuts of the gas pedal and ended up setting them as far as they could go. Now they feel a bit better but I still have a slight "meh..." feeling with it. I might replace the spring with the +30% one from the tuning kit at some point, for now I just wanted to try the pedals out as stock as possible. Another thing I noticed was the huge throw of the gas pedal. I feel like I have to stretch my foot completely and have to push the pedal down on the ground (although thats not the case). I wish I could just have about 1 cm less throw, but I dunno if that's possible. I'll have to watch Thomas's video again about tuning the pedals. When I compare these two pedals (gas and clutch) to the T500 RS pedals there is a noticeable difference. The biggest and foremost being that the pedals of the T500 RS for the gas and clutch are identical. It is true that this will make them easier to switch around, but I do feel that Thrustmaster could've made a bit more effort into making it possible to have different feel in both pedals and making them switch. The throw on the T500 RS pedals are a little smaller. I reckon about half a centimeter difference between the two clutches, and almost a centimeter from a feeling point of view for the gas pedals. I haven't actually measured this so be aware these are just my estimates. Another point I want to talk about is the angles of the pedals, the ClubSport Pedals are about 3 to 4 degrees more upright then the T500 RS pedals. Which depending on the height of your seat can make a difference. I used a normal desk chair with a seat height (so from the floor up to your buttocks) of around 44 cm. At this height my legs were at about 135-140 degrees measured from my buttocks till my feet with the knees as the center point of the arc. My feet were at a 90 degree angle with my lower legs when resting on the pedals (not pressing them) of the T500 RS. On the ClubSport Pedals they were at more of a 75-80 degree angle (so the tip of my feet point up more). I don't know how much this will matter when racing including endurance races, but I thought I'd mention it for future reference. The other comparison and final one I will do is the use of magnets (ClubSport Pedals) versus the potentiometers (T500 RS) that I believe were used by Thrustmaster. Both are accurate as the potentiometers used in the T500 RS are also of good quality. However! The biggest difference between the two would be the dead-zone. The T500 RS pedals have a dead-zone of around 4-5 mm (half a centimeter!), where as the ClubSport Pedals don't have any dead-zone at all. Also the accuracy is of the ClubSport Pedals is almost if not twice as high as the T500 RS pedals. I noticed this by hooking both up via USB to the PC and going into the configuration panel of both. Whereas the ClubSport Pedals were smooth with no dead-zone from start to finish, the T500 RS pedals seem to start at 5% when it starts detection of pedal movement and then ups this in noticeable on screen little steps. One thing extra I noticed which was not in any of the videos i've seen online, and heard some remarks about in said videos, is that they now have fitted aluminum caps over the magnet sensors to protect them from breaking off somehow. This was a huge reinsurance that I wouldn't have to be afraid to break off a delicate PCB/magnet sensor. Load-Cell vs Brake mod: Now then, on to the brake pedals. In the left corner we have the Fanatec ClubSport Pedals with the load-cell brake, in the right corner however we have the Trustmaster T500 RS with the brake pedal with brake mod (in standard position). Who will win? First let me talk about the ClubSport brake. After having tried the pedals when I got them out of the box it felt really comfortable, although I had no clue as to how they would respond. So first thing I did was hook both pedals up to the PC (getting the latest drivers before hand). After opening up the configuration screen I was made at ease by the fact that the load-cell didn't have such a huge dead-zone as I expected at first. I thought that I had to push it down all the way first until I felt some real pressure first. But in reality it doesn't have more of a dead-zone then my T500 RS brake pedal's potentiometer (maybe a 1 mm or so more, but as I said... these are estimates of mine). So that is about 5 mm of dead-zone for both. With the difference of nothing in that department, I felt quite confident in the fact that I could handle a load-cell equipped brake pedal. Putting the longer brake bar in might make the dead-zone a bit smaller of the load-cell, as the throw is shortened. So you'll put faster pressure on the load-cell. As of yet, I have not used the tuning kit, so I can't give you an answer in that department. To me though, that sounds logical. After fiddling a bit with the load-cell adjustment knob I started to get it to feel a bit more like a real car, and didn't have to push idiotically hard to achieve maximum braking force. And I think this knob is a must have for every load-cell equipped pedal out there, as not everyone likes the same pressure needed. Now when I compare the brake pedals, they both brake differently. I tried C.A.R.S., LFS and Dirt 3 so far. The T500 RS brake with mod (standard position) has the disadvantage that when you have a car that needs little pedal pressure to lock the brakes, that you don't even hit the brake mod before you actually lock them. Making them in fact useless as you still need to find the right point in the "air", cause simply the pedal without mod is only a little stiffer then the other two. The load-cell on the other hand lets the pressure build up slowly from the earliest point it's actuated, so you'll never have to guess much how much pressure you need to give. But the load-cell has a whole different amount of pressure built up, so getting a feeling for it will still take me a bit of time. The T500 RS's brake mod only hits the spring about half way in. So first there is a bit of standard pressure and then there is a wall. This spring is about 1cm long and as stiff if not a bit stiffer then the +30% clutch spring from the ClubSport tuning kit. Also with both of these brake pedals there is the same difference as with the gas and clutch pedals. The load-cell beats the potentiometer of the T500 RS by accuracy, even though there is no difference in dead-zone. Actually the load-cell doesn't have a dead-zone since it simply doesn't feel pressure right away, it doesn't register anything. One thing I forgot to mention is a negative point of the T500 RS brake pedal with the brake mod. If you plugin your wheel with the pedals into your PC or PS3 the brake pedal will automatically use the full range of the pedal. Only if you stand on the brake so that the wheel registers a certain resistance range from the potentiometer in the brake pedal, it will give you full braking with the brake mod. However that was not the negative yet, standing on the brake alone to make it register the mod. It is the fact that after you enter a race and you brake really hard with more force then you stood on the pedal in the beginning after you plugged in the wheel to register the brake mod, then the upper limit will shift. This will increase the range/throw of the pedal. So when you come to the next corner and want to brake light, you brake too light since the braking point has shifted due to the range increase. Or in simple terms you now have to push harder on the brake pedal to achieve the same amount of braking force that you did in the previous round. Conclusion: So after that technical talk let's sum it up a bit. Having looked, hold and played with these pedals for a bit I can honestly say that both pedals are really well build. Both are heavy and sturdy with anti-slip feet that won't let them get anywhere in a hurry. However since Thrustmaster is so proud about putting their H.E.A.R.T. technology (magnetic sensors) into their wheel, one would think they would have done the same with their pedals. Oddly enough... they didn't! This results in dead-zones being present and the accuracy that the wheel does have, not being there with the pedals. It's a real shame, especially since they had the greatest example of all in front of their noses for a while already, the ClubSport Pedals from Fanatec. This doesn't mean that the pedals of the T500 RS are rubbish, they are still very accurate. Also they are far better then any Logitech set of pedals on the market (I personally own a G25 wheel which I can compare them with). Where as a Logitech G25 pedal feels squishy with the same force all the way, there is a little but noticeable increase of pressure with the T500 RS. This means you can feel out your increase in throttle much better. So much better in fact that the G25 pedals and the ones of the T500 RS are worlds apart in driving experience. Coming back to the ClubSport Pedals the load-cell is seemingly better then the brake mod on the T500 RS, simply because the load-cell is something that acts on increasing pressure and that darn spring of the brake mod is just there in a rather unexpected instant. The fact that there is a difference between the clutch and the gas pedal and the pedals being fully tunable to your liking, makes the ClubSports Pedals a superior beast overall. My advice: My advice to people who play a lot of Gran Turismo 5 on the PS3 and barely any sim on the PC, don't get these pedals unless you have too much money. If you're more of a Sim Racer then by all means, these are the pedals to get for any rig you might have (unless you have hydraulic systems on your pedals). If you have a Thrustmaster T500 RS wheel then I would recommend you to not upgrade to these pedals, unless you are convinced that you have the 200 euros to spend on just pedals alone and play more on the PC then on the PS3. Now if only I could hook up the ClubSport Pedals to the T500 RS wheel so I can play Gran Turismo 5 until the ClubSport Wheel is out there... p.s. I thought I just wanted to write a mini first impression, but in my enthusiasm it became a full review.