GranStand Sim Racing Cockpit Review

HardwareProduct Reviews 5 August 9, 2017 by

The world of sim racing rigs can be a challenging one to navigate. Products come in all shapes and sizes — and prices can easily stretch into the four digits. If you’re looking to get into a full-on chassis, but are concerned about affordability and ease of use, GranStand has an offering you won’t want to overlook.

The GranStand racing rig provides a wide range of adjustability paired with a very reasonable price tag. While you may not have heard of the company, don’t let that stop you. The GranStand approach is modular, and that makes it a worthy ally in the sim racing world.

The folks at GranStand sent us over the full GranStand Cockpit. It arrived in two large brown boxes and came with all the tools needed to put the whole thing together. Thanks, Bill!

Quality & Finish – 

The GranStand definitely takes a function over form approach. That’s not a bad thing in our eyes, but it does mean the rig doesn’t wow at first glance. The T-slot bars that make up the chassis give it a bit of a DIY feel, but they’re also the main reason the rig is as richly customizable as it is. Really, that’s what matters.

It’s not all extruded aluminium, either: the wheel shelf and pedal base are powder-coated. On the recommendation of company founder Bill Kreig, we opted for the more subdued black versus the red in the featured image. It definitely pairs nicely with the Fanatec CSL Elite wheel that was attached for the review. Branding is tastefully minimal, with just an ace-looking cut-out of the GranSport logo on the front base plates.

The seat is a full-blown automotive item — a Procar Sportsman to be precise. It’s supportive, looks sporty without being too restrictive, and offers four-way adjustability. The seat is right in the Goldilocks range for this 5’10” writer, too.

Everything got to the GTPlanet Canada base promptly. As previously mentioned, GranStand includes all the tools and supplies needed. All the parts looked good, with only a few small scratches on the wheel base really marring the GranStand’s impressions.

The GranStand isn’t festooned with branding: just this bit on the pedal base.

Adjustability & Comfort –

Nearly every aspect of the GranStand is adjustable. The seat comes straight from the supplier with the afore-mentioned four-way adjustability. But if you’re short-legged like me, even the closest setting may not be enough.

No matter: so long as you’ve got the Allen key that shipped with the cockpit, you can tailor the driving position to your needs. A few simple twists and the pedal base can slide as much as you like. If you like your pedals on an incline, it’s the same solution.

Things are no different with the wheel shelf. Loosening the base supports lets you slide it anywhere you’d like. If you like your wheel fairly low and in your lap, the GranStand allows for that. You have the option of angling the wheel shelf too — handy if you want to replicate the bus-driver feel of an old Clio 172, for instance.

The GranStand’s strongest feature is its modularity, though. The seat module can be separated from the wheel base, meaning you’ve got a simpler, more portable wheel base as well. In addition, the wheel base portion is foldable, so it stores quite easily when not in use.

In terms of comfort, the GranStand scores well. The seat is supportive and doesn’t numb the extremities after longer stints. A few friends came over to try the rig out (ranging from about 5’3″ to a bit over 6′), and each one was able to get comfortable. Taller folks may find the seat lacking a little in thigh support, but I heard no complaints from the people present.

If you can figure these basics out, you can build the GranStand single-handedly within the hour.

Ease of Assembly –

The GranStand was a relatively painless build. As life-long students of Lego, Meccano, and K’nex, we found the T-slot system easy and intuitive. Laying everything out on a blanket in the living room, it was assembled within the hour. The instructions that come with it are simple, with diagrams showing exactly what you need to do.

The only small hitch was mounting the seat. The sliders were initially uncooperative, making it hard to move them to gain access to the bolt locations. It was a minor setback, and everything screwed together firmly in the end. Be careful: you will likely end up with a little bit of grease on you. It builds character!

Joining the seat and wheel modules was a cinch. Simply line them up, shimmy them together, and lock the join. All of this was done without another set of hands, and it never felt like that’d be required either. Which is probably for the best: significant others may not be as excited to build your racing rig as you are.

The one hard part we encountered during the build process was with the pedals. It wasn’t to do with the GranStand, however: it’s the hard-to-access front mounting holes for the CSL Elite pedal set. To avoid scratching anything like we did, we recommend mounting the pedal set to the base before it’s connected to the seat module. That way, you can tip the stand over and secure the screws from there.

Stability – 

The GranStand is solid. The only weak part of the full cockpit would be the join between the seat and wheel base modules. That said, that area should never be receiving any serious pressure unless you’re lifting the whole rig up from there — and if you’re doing that, we have serious questions about your mental fitness!

The CSL Elite puts out a surprising amount of torque, yet the GranStand shrugs it off with barely a wiggle. Down under foot, the pedal shelf gamely resists repeated stamping. It’s set at maximum angle right now, yet hasn’t shown a hint of movement. That’s after weeks of near-daily use, and a whole evening of non-stop driving. This is all the more impressive when you consider the Fanatec Load Cell brake kit requires a lot of pressure to fully depress.

If you’re attaching a shifter, GranStand provides multiple solutions. We had the sizeable Fanatec ClubSport SQ V1.5, which we’ll have a review for later this week. After Bill pointed out the right way to mount it — that’s what we get for skimming instructions — it was hooked up without issue, falling nicely to hand.

Given the chunky nature of the CS SQ (it weighs almost 10 lb), it does introduce a noticeable amount of shake when banging home the gears. This is exacerbated by it hanging off the side of the rig, whereas the torquey wheel sits smack in the middle of a well-supported shelf.

That said, you’ll only notice the shake if you’re not currently racing (nor sat in the rig, to anchor it). In the heat of the action, it never affected the experience.

The ClubSport Shifter attaches easily (and firmly). Review coming soon!

Value – 

Sim racing isn’t cheap. Luckily, the GranStand is very reasonably priced. The full cockpit comes in at $425 USD, but you can also purchase modules individually.

The basic wheel stand lists for $225, and the seat portion at $210. If you’d rather source your own racing throne, the seat base can be had for only $65. The wheel stand price may be a little higher than something like a WheelStand Pro, but for some, the move away from the central-pole design is worth the price of admission alone. The base isn’t quite as portable as the WSP, but it’s by no means unwieldy.

In its price bracket, the GranStand faces tough competition from the Obutto Ozone and GT Omega stands. Both look nicer, and the former is cheaper. Neither one offers the range of adjustability that the GranStand does, however.

The GranStand’s other big advantage is the pedal plate. With pre-drilled holes for the big three wheel companies, it offers an incredibly solid base for your pedals.

The ecosystem includes other add-ons as well. There are shifter mounts, plus monitor supports (including triple-screen).

 

The Verdict

When all is said and done, how does the GranStand stack up? It’s a rig of consistency: you may have noticed a pattern with the star ratings for each category. That’s no accident, as the cockpit is a solid four-star deal. The GranStand didn’t utterly bowl us over, but it never set a foot wrong, always subtly impressing. It shrugged off anything we threw at it, and feels just as sturdy a month later as it did the first day.

The GranStand feels true to its creator’s roots. Bill is an engineer, and it shows in the design of the rig. It’s solidly-built, easily adjustable, and free of frills or gimmicks.

With the summer drawing to a close, and a bevy of racing games on the horizon, you may be looking to finally make the jump to a full rig setup. We’d recommend the GranStand unreservedly: it’s an exceptionally robust platform that you can count on.

The GranStand cockpit is available on the official GranStand site

GranStand Sim Racing Cockpit
The GranStand is an affordable, highly-customizable entry point into the world of racing rigs.

Learn more about how our rating system works.

Quality & Finish
Short on frills, the GranStand is a workmanlike sim racing solution. It isn’t flashy, but it feels like it’ll outlive your actual car.

Adjustability & Comfort
A full range of adjustments lets you tailor the experience to your needs. Should be able to fit just about anybody shorter than the NBA average.

Ease of Assembly
Requires nothing that doesn’t come in the box. From pieces on the floor to complete rig in less than an hour.

Stability
The GranStand’s four-square stance means it’s rock-solid. Happily accepts the high FFB of modern wheels.

Value
Rings in at a very reasonable price, especially when you consider it can be bought piece-meal.

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