I’ve been playing racing games on the PC for years and for most of that time I have used the Logitech Momo Racing wheel. The Momo wheel is what I’m used to, so when I recently purchased and Xbox console and the Microsoft Xbox 360 wheel I was excited to compare the two(Sony Vaio VGN-FZ battery). My Momo wheel is a few years old. The 360 wheel is new. Computer and gaming peripherals just keep getting better and better, right(Sony VGP-BPS8 battery)?

The Microsoft Xbox 360 wheel is, in a word, disappointing. I was hoping it would be an upgrade from the Momo. What I’m comparing here is the use of the Momo wheel on games like GTR2 and GTR Evolution with the Xbox 360 wheel on games like Forza 2 and PGR4(Sony VGP-BPL9 battery).

Wireless vs. Wired

The Xbox 360 wheel is wireless. The Momo wheel is wired. Let’s look at what this means:

The 360 wheel has a wire between the wheel and the pedals. It also has a wire to a wall socket for power. You can plug a wired headset into the wheel. There is no wire connected directly to the Xbox console(Sony VGP-BPL11 battery).

The Momo wheel has a wire between the wheel and the pedals. There is a wire for power and a USB cable connected to the PC. There is no connection for a headset(Sony VGP-BPL15 battery).

So, what is the difference? One cable. If you were using this on your lap across the room from a large screen television this might be significant, but attached to a table right next to the console there is no real benefit(Sony VGN-FZ460E battery).

The Wheel Mount

The Xbox 360 wheel is designed to be used on your lap or mounted to a table. I’m interested in a more realistic experience so I mounted it to the table. The mount on the 360 wheel is tight but, unlike the Momo wheel, is reliant on one clamp centered beneath the unit(SONY VAIO VGN-FZ4000 Battery). Because the wheel is contoured to sitting across your lap, it touches the table at 3 points on top of the table and one beneath (see picture). In the heat of a race this is not secure and moves around(Sony VGP-BPS13 battery).

The Pedal Set

The Xbox 360 wheel comes with a brake/throttle pedal set. The problem of securing pedals so that they don’t slide around is a difficult one. Logitech has chosen to address this problem on the Momo wheel with a carpet grip system that snaps into place. The Momo system works well enough on my carpet(Sony Vaio VGN-FZ21M battery ). Microsoft has dealt with the problem by creating a slot in front of the pedals in which you hook your heels (see picture). Your heels keep the pedals in place. This system works, but it forces you to drive in a foot position that I don’t find particularly to comfortable so I’ll probably mod the pedal set with some home-made carpet grip system(Sony VGN-FZ150E battery).

Overall Construction

The Microsoft Xbox 360 wheel looks good and the wheel is slightly bigger than the Momo which I prefer, but there is a lot of play in the steering column. There is so much play that it makes the device feel flimsy. By contrast, the Logitech Momo wheel feels well constructed and has no play in the steering column(Sony VGN-FZ15 battery).

The pedals use simple springs. Unlike a real car, the spring tension on the 360 wheel and the Momo wheel is unnaturally light and even. They both could be a lot better in this regard(Sony VGN-FZ15L battery).

Vibration and Force Feedback

I could forgive a lot if vibration and force feedback were good. Granted, this depends a lot on the game code, but I have found the Xbox 360 wheel to be weak and inconsistent. The 360 wheel feedback is smooth and driving over a rumble strip seems ok, but feedback on collisions and during hard turns is poor(Sony Vaio VGN-FZ18M battery). As a test, I drove around a track in Forza 2 and deliberately crashed into everything. On wall collisions, there was no feedback whatsoever. The Momo wheel has much stronger feedback and the Logitech Wingman software allows you to tweak settings much more than any 360 wheel settings I have found(Sony VGN-FZ15T battery).

Conclusion

I have been spoiled by the Logitech Momo wheel. The two cost the same, but the Momo is better in just about every area. Microsoft does not have much competition against their wheel because the Logitech Momo wheel does not work on the Xbox. The 360 wheel construction seems poor(Sony VGN-FZ61B battery). The mount system is seriously lacking. The pedal set is ok, but the no-slip system is not to my liking. The force feedback is weak and inconsistent although this may be due to the game code in Forza 2 and PGR4(Sony VGN-FZ31E battery).

Finally, I tried using the Xbox 360 wheel wireless PC adapter. I tried it with GTR2 and GTR Evolution. Using the 360 wheel in this way is really the worst of both worlds. You get all the negatives noted above AND there is no force feedback available. Setup was easy, but the PC games do not address the force feedback capabilities of the wheel(Sony VGN-FZ340E battery).

The bottom line is, we need a much better wheel for the Xbox. We need an Xbox 360 wheel with a stable clamp system, more realistic pedal springs, a better carpet grip system, a solid steering column, and much stronger force feedback and vibration. We need a better Momo wheel for the Xbox. We need the Logitech G25 wheel made compatible with the Xbox. See our G25 review for a contrast with the Momo wheel(Sony VGN-FZ180E battery).




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