GS-5 Review
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Hi guys. So, it's finally time to write my review of the GS-5, I have really been looking forward to this one. First up, a bit of background. I have owned my old GS-4 for 4 and a half years, and I have been lucky enough to be able to have the new GS-5 for the last 6 months as one of the alpha testers.

Testing the new GS-5 has been really great. I have been putting a lot of miles on it over the last 6 months and I have a lot of great feedback to share with you all. As I have been testing it for so long then this will be quite a lengthy review, so I am going to break it down into little chapters.

1. Overall impressions

As a GS-4 owner I really love my GS-4 and I was dying to see what SimXperience came up with for the next version, and I am happy to tell you that they hit it out of the park on this one. They have improved on every aspect that made the GS-4 great and went above and beyond. It performs, looks and feels orders of magnitude better than the old GS-4. Where the GS-4 has an industrial look and feel, the GS-5 feels like such a polished and perfected product. You can finally see why the long wait, you can tell that they wanted to take the DNA of the GS-4 and evolve and perfect it in to the GS-5


2. The Seat in general 

The seat itself is still a Kirkey seat but instead of going for a custom Series 16 Economy Drag seat like they had on the GS-4, they have stepped it up to a custom Series 47 road race seat. This is a massive step up in both looks and comfort, I will cover the comfort more in its own section. The GS-5 is now a full-on road race seat complete with side supports and shoulder supports, and it has to be one of my favourite seats I have tried, seriously, I was tempted to by a pair for my road car. I think it was a really good move to upgrade to a much nicer seat. 


3. The motors 

The motors have taken a drastic step up in spec. The GS-4 was using 16 small RC servo motors but the GS-5 has upgraded to 4 massive stepper motors with planetary gearboxes. So instead of the 4 small motors per panel that all needed to me synchronised, they have switched over to one big motor per panel. This give you a ton more power and torque, and it feels a lot more direct. It really is like going from something like a G29 up to a Direct Drive wheel, except you have 4 of them in your seat.

The motors are a high torque Nema 23 SM57HT82-3004 stepper motors which clock in at a massive 1.2kg each, without the gearboxes


Here is a ruler for scale


And compared to the GS-4 Servos


4. Mechanism

The mechanism for moving the panels has also changed. Before it was just a lever arm and push rods which always looked flimsy to me. They have replaced this with an ingenious cam and roller bearing type arrangement which gives you much smoother movement. It allows for really efficient use of the space under the panels. The little motor pods are pretty much entirely taken up by the motors and the lift mechanism takes up barely any room, this allowed them to put such big motors in.

It is quite packed under the panels


This is the cam lift mechanism


And the bearing that rolls along the cam profile


Compared to the old GS-4 lever arm and push rod which looks flimsy.



5. Panels

The panels have changed a lot since the GS-4, they are now longer and are curved so they make much better contact with your back and legs. Because of this it doesn't feel like you are sitting on panels like it did with the GS-4, it feels just like a standard seat. A little know feature of the GS-4 was that it had mounting holes for 4 Dayton bass shaker pucks. The GS-5 also has these mounting holes. If anyone is keen on seeing some of these installed on the GS-5 then I will buy a set and do a little review slash how to guide.

This is what you have all come for, the first shot of the GS-5 naked. R18 NSFW :)



The mounts for the Dayton bass shaker pucks, who wants to see me install a set?


The panels are now curved to match the contours of the seat and your back now


Compared to the flat panels of the GS-4


6. Power and torque

With the increase in both the motor size and elegant lift mechanism you get an amazing increase in the power and torque of the panels. You can quite literally turn it up to the point where it will legitimately give you sore ribs like you would get driving a shifter kart or something like that. But there is no way you would want to run at that level, but it's good to know it's there if you feel like a bit of a workout. Under normal conditions I like mine reasonably strong, the old GS-4 feels like a gentle press now. Much like with the Accuforce, in SimCommander you can not only auto-tune the seat from recorded laps, or while you drive. They also have power mode settings, like soft, default and extreme. This lets you quickly and easily pick the power level you want. Normally I run the default strength on normal cars, and if it is a really high G-Force car then I will switch it up to extreme, just so I can really feel all that cornering force. 

7. Detail

As Pirelli says: "Power is nothing without control" and this is certainly true for the GS-5. Going from the GS-4 to the GS-5 this was probably the biggest and most immediate thing I felt. Just the awesome level of detail. Having used the GS-4 for so long I really didn't know what I was missing out on. I actually had to go have a look at the telemetry because I couldn't believe that there was that much bumps and twitches in some of the faster cars. The GS-4 just wasn't fast enough or powerful enough to react in time to recreate all the little bumps going on in the car. Like I said before, it really is like G29 vs DD wheel type feeling. Those guys with DD wheel will know this feeling, but if you remember when you first got your DD wheel and you do a track that you know well, then all of a sudden you start feeling all these bumps that you couldn't feel on the G29, it's like that. Some cars in fact are way too bumpy in real life to me comfortable in my sim. The HPD at Lime Rock was a good example, that thing has like no suspension and when you look at the telemetry it sort of skips and bumps through the corners fluctuating between about 3-4G. I never really noticed it on the GS-4 because it wasn't able to keep up with the rapid changes in G force, but the GS-5 can. I thought, surely something must be wrong, but it turns out that it really is that bumpy in real life, I recorded a video and you can see the car bouncing all over the show. So for really bumpy cars like that, sometimes I add a bit of smoothing just because IRL that car track combo is just too bumpy for me. Most normal cars are fine, and it is this detail that really gives you that feeling of how different each car is. With the GS-4 it just felt like pressure when you turn. But with the GS-5 because you feel all that detail, you can really feel the difference in the car you are driving, the formula Renault feels tight and agile, where the GT3 feels more big and lumbering. You can really feel the weight difference going between cars like this, which is something I never got with the GS-4. Because of this also, auto tuning is really important for each car, so you can tune it for that car so it feels perfect.

8. Build quality and robustness

The build quality is outstanding on the GS-5. It really feels like it is a tank, every aspect of it has been over engineered and you can tell how well thought out everything is. One of my biggest worries with the old GS-4 was that it seemed really fragile with those little servo motors and linkages, I used to be a big guy, so I was always worried about bending something or burning out a motor. With the GS-5 I have no worries at all about the robustness of anything, it literally is built like a tank.

9. The comfort 

I'm not going to lie, the old GS-4 was probably one of the most uncomfortable seats that I have used, but the GS-5 is the complete opposite, it is by far the most comfortable race seat I have ever used, like seriously, I have done 4-hour stints in it and it feels comfy as. The GS-4 literally had no padding at all, where the GS-5 has a ton of padding and it has this nice moulded leg support in between your legs, so your legs sort of fit in to these grooves. It is a slight bit wider than the GS-4. I have sort of also been luckily in that I have been able to test out the GS-5 at a whole range of body sizes. Back when I was using my GS-4 I was 167kg (370lb) which was pushing it for the GS-4, by the time I got my GS-5 I was down to 144kg (320lb) And I could fit nicely in to the GS-5, I continued to test it down to my current weight of 99kg (218lb) and it still feels comfy as, not too roomy, if I put my hands on my hips then they would be touching the side supports. I only have another 14kg (30lb) to go until I am at my target weight, so I will keep reporting in to let you know how the comfort is. That's the kind of quality testing I do, losing 68kg (150lb) just so I can test the seat at different body types for you guys :):):)

The increased padding in the GS-5 cover, you can see the really large legs and bum support section.


Compared the the GS-4 which had no padding, it is just racing on a cloud :)


There are the legs supports from the top. I never thought I needed them but it makes it so comfortable.


Compared to the old GS-4


10. The feeling of G forces 

The feeling of G forces is really the bread and butter of what the GS-5 does, and now with the increased motor size and better lift mechanism, it is able to deliver these G forces in a much stronger and more convincing manner. I used to think my GS-4 was great at G forces but the GS-5 is just next level, you feel every little change in G forces which other motion simulators can't do. Normal motion simulators are great for the initial turn in to a corner, but once you are in that corner then they can’t do anything to replicate that sustained G force pressure, they have already tilted as far as they can, and they can't tilt far enough to replicate the pressure of G force. That is where the GS-5 comes in. It is able to keep applying that pressure throughout the corner, and because of the better specs you can really feel all that detail of what the car is doing mid-corner.

11. Road bumps

This was the biggest surprise for me. The GS-4 wasn't that good at road bumps, it could do cornering okay but not road bumps. Now with all the extra power of the GS-5 then it is able to recreate all of those bumps, so much so that it does a better job of road bumps than either of my motion rigs do. Also, in the same category is vertical elevation changes. In the GS-5 these feel amazing, there is a few sections of the nordschleife track where you go down a big dip then up a steep hill, the pressure at the bottom, right when you start to come up feels awesome, it almost feels like you are being crushed down in to the seat as the panels squeeze you, and then as you crest the hill then the panels drop away and you almost feel like this moment of weightlessness.

12. The feeling both as a standalone and to compliment an existing motion simulator 

One of the really great things about the GS-4/5 is that it can be used as a standalone system, or to enhance an existing motion simulator. I started off with just the GS-4, I brought it in April 2014 and used it standalone until I built my DIY motion rig in 2015. I got my GS-5 back in May 2018 and originally, I used it on my DIY motion rig until I got under the weight limit for the SimXperience Stage 4 motion rig, so now I have the GS-4 on my DIY motion rig and the GS-5 on my Stage 4 motion rig. I did my testing of the GS-5 in a combination of just the GS-5, just the motion, and both combined. As a standalone it is great because G forces are probably the most informative motion queue you get and is probably the one that is going to make you faster, because you can feel exactly what the car is doing mid-corner and under braking. Anyone with a DD wheel or high-end brakes know how important these are, and just like with high end wheels and pedals, you can feel what your car is doing by the feedback you are getting. It also can do a really convincing rear traction loss, normally when you are in a corner then the outside panels will be pressing hard against you, but when you lose traction then they will drop off the pressure as the back starts to come around. You feel that instantly and you are able to react far quicker than you can with just a FFB wheel, in fact most the time I will know I'm stepping out from the seat before the wheel. On the other hand, when you combine it with a full motion simulator, especially a seat mover then it really compliments the strengths and weakness of a full motion rig. Where full motion is really good at is initial turn in, and those big vehicle movements, and where it lacks is mid-corner and sustained G forces, which is exactly where the GS-5 shines the most. So much so that now days, if I turn off my GS-4/5 then my motion just feels wrong, so much so that if you gave me the choice of either full motion or GS-5 then I would pick the GS-5. The funny thing is that before I have been asked that about the GS-4 and my answer was different back then, I would have said full motion over GS-4, but now the GS-5 has tipped it the other way. But because I am spoilt, and I have 2 full motion rigs and 2 GS-4/5's then I don't have to choose :):):) they really are the perfect combo.

Here is the GS-5 on my old DIY rig


13. A brief comparison to the GS-4 and what it has improved on (Spoiler alert: It has improved everything)

If you are interested in a more in-depth breakdown of the differences then I might do a full write-up on of the GS-4 vs GS-5 but as you can probably tell from all the above points, it is pretty night and day. They have taken the GS-4 and improved every single aspect of it, and I have no hesitation whole heartedly recommending this as an upgrade for anyone who has a GS-4, it is that much better (Sorry for hurting the resale rate of your old GS-4) and for anyone who doesn't have a GS-4 then you owe it to yourself to try one, there is nothing else on the market that does what the GS-5 can do.

A couple of shots of the GS-5 and the GS-4 side by side



14. Looks 

I just love the looks of the GS-5. With that murdered out black look, and the carbon fibre GS-5 panels on the back of the motor pods, it is one sexy looking seat. The GS-4 had a very industrial, almost DIY look to it, where the GS-5 looks polished and professional. It is a physically larger seat, due to the bigger headrest and shoulder supports so it does look more impressive on your rig.


Some shots of the new motor pods



And the beautiful carbon fibre GS-5 logo


15. Controller box

With the GS-5 they have switched to a separate controller box, it is the same size and layout as SimXperience use for the SX-4000 on their motion rigs and the AF V1/V2, which is good because they are all the same mounting holes. At the moment I have it just sitting beside my Stage 4, I have the floor boards for the Stage 4 coming next week, so I will mount it to that when it arrives. There is plenty of cable length, so you can mount the controller box where you have room on your rig


16. Noise

Anyone who has used a GS-4 will know the buzzing of the RC servo motors. I am happy to say that that is gone now. When stationary there is no sound at all, when you are driving there is some noise, but I can’t hear it at all over my rift headphones, and speakers at normal volume will easily drown out any noise from the motors.

17. Harnesses

One recommendation that I feel enhances the GS-5 is to install a set of harnesses, they really pin you down to the seat, so you feel the pressure of the panels squeezing you against the belts just that little bit more.


I use a little seat belt tensioning system, but if you have a static rig then you can just hard mount them.


18. Sim Commander 

Last but not least is SimCommander. As with the Accuforce and SimVibe, this is an incredibly powerful piece of software that allows you to quickly auto-tune your GS-5 but also gives you the power to go in and add extra effects or tweak to your hearts content. Basic tuning is as easy as running a few laps and then auto-tuning off that lap. This will look at what kind of G force your particular car is pulling and then map the panels to match. Much like a wheel, you can get something akin to clipping if you say tune for a low G force car and then drive a high G force car, because it is tuned for a low G force car then it would just feel way to strong on a high G force car. You can create a new profile in a few clicks and also duplicate profiles and tweak them.

19. Summary

So, in summary, I can’t really think of anything bad to say about the GS-5, it has easily improved on everything that made the GS-4 great, I can’t wait until the public beta testing starts and then it won’t be long until you guys get a chance to buy one and try it for yourself. The GS-4 has always been one of my favourite bits of Sim Racing hardware, and I am so happy that it is back and better than ever in the GS-5. 

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Thanks. I just got a SimXperience Stage 4. I still have my old motion simulator so I have the GS-4 on the DIY 3DOF and the GS-5 on the Stage 4 3DOF. 

Now that I’ve lost over 70KG I am well under the weight limit of the Stage 4. The DIY rig was designed from when I was really big so it’s a bit overkill now. 

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Hi. Could you give me an idea how this thing assembles/disassembles. I’m looking to pick one up on a trip to the states and then split it over two suitcases for the flight home. Thanks. Rod. 

Edited by Rodny

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