Hey guys, todays review will cover Heusinkveld Engineering’s Sim Pedals Pro 3 pedal set. These pedals just may be some of the best sim pedals currently available in the sim racing world right now ! Let’s check out what Niels Heusinkveld’s creations have in store for us.
Small Box, Big Performance!
It was a compact and unassuming box that arrived at my front door, but it had the right words printed on its’ side……….Heusinkveld Engineering! This box contained Heusinkveld’s Pro, three pedal set, after what seemed like the longest time, I finally had them in my possession. Unboxing these pedals was something I had very much been looking forward to!
Upon opening said box, the first thing I was presented with, was a hand signed thank you note from Niels Heusinkveld (a nice personal touch). Instructions and a number of plastic bags containing cables, bolts, rubber bushes and some basic but necessary tools. Underneath these bags and wrapped in bubblewrap were the three pedals themselves. Finally, at the bottom of the box, was the optional mounting plate and accompanying adaptor brackets.
The pedal assemblies themselves are really something to behold, quite heavy in the hand and the word ‘’engineering’’ describes them to a ’Tee’! The CNC laser cut stainless steel construction of each pedal is almost a piece of industrial art in it’s own right! For better foot contact, the pedal faces now have a subtle curve to them (earlier models had a flat face). The mechanisms for the load cell equipped clutch and throttle have a spring loaded movement and the brake has a mixture of spring and stacked soft rubber bushes with the fifty five kilogram or one hundred and twenty pound load cell located at the rear of it’s housing.
Coming from a technical background, I have a deep appreciation for the time and effort that has gone into designing and constructing these pedals. So l took the time to sit a while and just gaze at them to take in the many fine engineering details that these pedals possess.
Pictured here are the contents of the Heusinkveld Pro’s packaging. From top left to right, you see the the clutch pedal, brake pedal, throttle pedal, a bag containing a USB type A to USB type B cable, a bag containing small wrenches, extra soft and hard rubber bushings and assorted allen keys, a bag containing nuts, bolts and washers, a bag containing a thin ground cable, a box containing the ECU unit and finally the optional adaptor brackets both parallel and angled. Pictured to the right is the optional mounting plate.
Attaching The Pedals To Their Mounting Plate
The first step in getting these pedals on to the Playseat® Sensation Pro is to position each pedal on the optional mounting plate. All the mounting hardware required is provided, the bolts have allen key heads and the nuts are all nylon lock-tights for solid fastenings. These nuts will not rattle loose, not even under the heaviest of vibrations. As I mentioned in the first part of this series, I had to tweak the mounting plate in order to have it positioned where I wanted it on the Sensation Pro. This necessitated four extra holes to be drilled and countersunk in the beefy ten millimetre thick aluminium mounting plate. I then proceeded to mount the optional angled set of mounting brackets to the underside of the mounting plate. This would compensate for the shallow angle of the Sensation Pro’s plate. Once this sub-assembly is mounted, the angled brackets will bring HE’s mounting plate closer to a horizontal position.
Following this, and as you can see in the top two images, I positioned the clutch, brake and throttle pedals one row down from the front of the mounting plate and at the outer limits of their respective slots on either side. The brake pedal is mounted off centre and closer to the throttle for heel and toe driving. Additionally I mounted the throttle pedal slightly more towards the front of the mounting plate. This was to ensure that whilst operating the brake, the two pedals are more or less parallel with each other, again to facilitate heel and toe driving (which as you know by now, I really enjoy).
I initially surmised that these pedal positions would be pretty close to ideal in terms of how I wanted them. However I later found that finding the ideal position was subject to a little extra tweaking, more on this a little later.
Moving on to the small twelve bit ECU, which is cleverly hidden on the underside of the mounting plate and out of harms way. With the ECU oriented so that the three RJ plugs are facing towards the front of the rig. It is bolted in place using four small bolts with plastic washers that sit between the mounting plate and the underside of the ECU unit. Additionally, the controller features connectors for 12 buttons and 4 regular analogue axes. This means that you can connect additional hardware such as button boxes, shifters and rotaries to the board.
With everything mounted, I then routed the wires exiting each pedal through an oval shaped hole at the front edge of the mounting plate. Being careful to not cinch or crimp anything whilst doing so. I plugged each wire into the ECU and used some left over plastic coated ties to tidy everything up underneath the mounting plate. The now complete and quite heavy sub-assembly was ready to be mounted to the Sensation Pro. This was a simple matter of fastening four bolts, one at each corner of the angled brackets under the sub-assembly, job done!
Almost Plug And Play
The one remaining cable is a USB type A to type B cable, which connects the ECU with your PC. The plug for this cable is at the opposite end of the ECU now located on the underside of the mounting plate. In my case I had plenty of room to access this plug so I could easily plug the cable in to the ECU after first mounting the sub-assembly to the rig. Had l used the parallel brackets, this access would have been quite limited and I would of plugged the USB cable in before mounting the sub-assembly to the Sensation Pro.
Time to fire up the PC and calibrate these pedals mate! Heusinkveld Engineering suggests using a small program called DIview (there is a download link for this software on their support page) to calibrate your pedals for use in all titles. With the exception of iRacing, which has you calibrating the pedals under ‘’Drive’’ in their ‘’Options’’ screen in-game. Once the software was installed on the PC, I read through HE’s support page calibration description. It was not immediately clear to me as to how I should go about calibrating the pedals. Conveniently, there is a short video of the calibration method on HE’s support page which guides you through the process.
However, this too can be a little confusing for some people, myself included. Niels kindly explained the process to me personally, and hopefully by explaining it here, you will have a minimum of fuss when calibrating your own pedals should you be planning to purchase them. Incidentally this method applies to both the Pro and Ultimate pedal sets.
Firstly select edit in the menu bar, in the drop down menu, ensure only your pedals are checked, DIview sees some or all of your other gaming peripherals, which can be confusing, so uncheck any other peripherals that may be visible.
Right clicking on each pedal’s window will bring up a menu in which you choose ‘’ View Raw Data’’ these values show up as red text and you see the raw resolution of your pedals in their rest positions. In the video, Niels explains the throttle first but the same method applies to all three pedals.
Basically you have a starting value (your value may differ from this example), here above you can see that the throttle’s rest value is 833 in red, Niels rounds this up to 850, now pressing the throttle to it’s maximum but not into the soft stopper at the end of it’s travel (this guarantees that you have 100% throttle without having to press into the soft stopper), there is a reading of 1550. You then add these two values together which equals 2400, to determine the centre value, the total value of 2400 is divided by 2 which equals 1200. Once you have the values, right click on the throttle window and select ‘’Calibration’’. Enter the now determined values and click ‘’OK’’, your throttle is now calibrated. Repeat the process for the remaining pedals.
If it is still confusing, the equations should look like this:
min. value 833 (rounded up to) 850 + max. value 1550 = 2400
total value 2400 ÷ 2 = 1200
centre value = 1200
NB: Should you decide to change out the rubber stoppers in your brake pedal, it may need re-calibrating. This was the case for me, as I wanted a firmer pedal and in doing so, I also chose the maximum resolution for the brake, allowing me to use the pedals’ full resolution in-game.
Tweaking the pedals takes a little time, although it is definitely worth the investment. Once they are set up, you will hardly have to worry about changing anything again. Once again, Niels has a comprehensive but short video for adjusting all three pedals on the support page. Because the sub-assembly is bolted to the Sensation Pro, and in order for me to tweak things I had to remove the sub-assembly from the rig to access the bolts on the underside of the mounting plate. Not a big deal, unplug the USB cable from the ECU, undo four bolts and it is off the rig quick smart and in a hurry.
I made sure all the pedals were then placed exactly where they felt the most comfortable for my driving position. The pedal risers were inclined forward so that they were leaning slightly towards me and just past perpendicular. My heels now have plenty of clearance when driving. I have size 44 euro or 11 US shoes, and having the pedal faces at their lowest positions means that the the balls of my feet fall squarely on to the middle of each pedal face with my heel resting on the mounting plate.
Earlier I mentioned that I mounted the brake pedal closer to the throttle for heel and toe driving. Well, my feet were a little broader than I thought, so I ended up having to move the brake back towards the middle of the mounting plate to stop my right racing shoe catching on the edge of it’s pedal face. Whilst doing all this tweaking I couldn’t help thinking, what a pleasure to be able to adjust these pedals so quickly and efficiently and to an almost infinite degree as well. They are quite possibly the most adjustable sim racing pedals available today!
Final pedal operating adjustments for me were as follows:
- Throttle spring set at just below it’s stiffest setting.
- Clutch spring set at just below it’s stiffest setting.
- The brake pedal with three white soft rubber bushes and the remaining space made up of the hard plastic washers.
The Circuit awaits!
I have been looking forward to using these pedals for many months now and finally the day has arrived to race with them for as long as I like whoohoo! Down to the nitty gritty then, with everything buttoned up and adjusted, it was time to put these pedals through their paces.
Throttle: With high horsepower cars, I like the throttle to be firmer than normal with a relatively short travel. I find I have more throttle control especially if I have a tail happy wheel spinning brute of a car under me. Using a couple of allen keys, the amount of pre-load and spring firmness I wanted was so easily dialled in, it took me literally seconds to achieve.
The first sensation I experience with the throttle pedal is the utter smoothness and near silence of it’s operation. The twelve bit electronics driving the throttle’s load cell provide a huge amount of accuracy and latency which translates well when trying to modulate the power out of a tight corner or controlling power slides. This firmer throttle set-up allows me to be controlled, precise and generally more accurate with almost any race / car in any title! Throttle blipping on downshifts in sequential cars is also great, I now have auto-blip unchecked in Assetto Corsa for instance!
This particular throttle setting is not the only setting available to me and it is really quite a personal thing as well. Some people may like a much softer set-up with less pre-load and that is the beauty of this design, just to know that there are around nine different settings available for this pedal alone is a testament to how adjustable the throttle actually is.
Clutch: These days, most all modern race cars and a lot of road cars for that matter, utilise steering wheel mounted flippers or sequential shifters to change gears, so there is almost no need for a clutch pedal. Some race categories still employ a clutch for moving off the line and down shifting, V8 Supercars being one of them. Heel and toe drivers with manual or “H’’ shifters will definitely want a responsive and accurate clutch to drive the way they like best.
The clutch pedal has a regressive spring mechanism which mimics a real world clutches’ return spring. The built-in adjustment possibilities give me the ability to have the clutch pedal as heavy or as light as I would like. I adjusted the clutch to its maximum setting of fourteen kilograms or thirty one pounds with a reasonably short bite point for quick shifting whilst heel and toeing. In total there are fifteen individual settings available to me, the setting I have now gives me a heavy, and to my mind accurate race clutch feel.
The feeling of the pedal is initially soft, then firming up quite a lot towards the bite point and I can clearly feel my foot push through this point just before the end of the pedal’s maximum travel. Very realistic and positive in it’s use, the clutch pedal did, after some time develop a small amount of mechanical noise during it’s operation. I consulted the support page and this was remedied by rotating the main spring and applying a small drop of olive oil (not having ‘’white grease’’ to hand, and yes, olive oil is suggested by Niels) to the pivot points. As with the throttle, a heavy pedal may not be for everyone, a much lighter setting can be achieved to approach that of a road car should there be a need for it. All in all the clutch pedal has a very realistic race / car feeling to it and due to it’s precision, I hardly miss a shift.
Brake: Ok, the most important pedal of the three, and perhaps the most tweakable one as well. With a maximum of fifty five kilograms or one hundred and twenty pounds of pedal pressure to play with. The dual stage system consisting of a coil spring for pad to disc distance and progressive rubber bushes allows me to experiment with differing combinations to achieve the balance I am looking for. My intention was to find a balance between a very hard pedal with virtually no pedal travel and a pedal with more initial travel becoming progressively harder towards it’s end.
After some experimentation I arrived at the combination you see here below, three soft white rubbers behind the initial coil spring and the final section filled with the supplied hard plastic spacers. I found that this combination gave me a good balance with about twenty millimetres or three quarters of an inch of Initial softer pedal travel to a very stiff pedal there after. For me this was the perfect set-up for heel and toe driving as well as left foot braking in sequential cars.
The feedback coming back through the brake pedal is fantastic! Modulating the brakes to the point of lock up in-game is supremely predictable and effortlessly controllable. Trail braking into a corner, so easy now, especially with the Oculus Rift on, I can almost feel the car being physically slowed in-game. I find that my braking points in-game have all been positively affected by how good the pedal feedback is.
Subconsciously I can now judge the distances I need to brake with consistent ease. The brake pedal is hard enough for me to be able to brake extremely heavily and not lock the wheels immediately after absolutely jumping on them. The feeling the brake pedal imparts is very natural and car like. An example of this is when driving a Formula car where you can see the front wheels, braking heavily for a corner I can actually modulate the brake to the point of lock up, see the rotation of the wheels slowing down and locking briefly, releasing the brake sufficiently, trail braking where necessary in order to carry as much speed as possible through the corner.
The brake pedals’ operation again, is very smooth with little to no sound emanating from it’s mechanism. Actually all the pedals are fitted with soft travel stoppers as well as return stoppers which makes for quiet operation. Very handy should you have noise sensitive neighbours like me.
Bonus video: Heel & Toe Driving At Nords Using Heusinkveld’s Pro Pedals
I enjoyed using these pedals in the following titles:
Assetto Corsa, iRacing, rFactor2, Project Cars and GSCE, in all these titles the pedal feeling was consistent through out. Set-up presented no issues as the the calibration carried out using DIview was sufficient for all titles. The one exception being iRacing with it’s own in-game calibration requirements.
- Beautifully engineered components
- Well thought out design
- High quality materials used throughout
- Extremely adjustable
- Load cells fitted to all pedals
- 2 or 3 pedal sets available
- 12 bit controller ECU
- High degree of accuracy and latency
- Optional mounting plate with straight or angled brackets
- Extra rubber bushes and spacers supplied
- Allen keys and wrenches supplied
- Suitable for professional grade simulators
- Smooth and near silent operation
- Controller features extra connectors for 12 buttons and 4 regular analogue axes allowing for connection to additional hardware such as button boxes, shifters and rotaries
- Comprehensive website based support
- Excellent customer service
- Price point
- Availability (due to high demand) at the time of writing April. 2016 shown as ‘’Out of Stock’’
- Pedals can develop some mechanical noise after a period of use
One free USB 2.0 port (not on a hub!)
At the pointy end of this review, what do these widely coveted pedals cost? I will list the price of the reviewed Sim Pedals Pro 3 pedal set here below as well as the optional mounting plate and brackets. The brackets are available in straight or angled variations.
The stated prices were correct at the time of publication, April 2016. All prices were taken from the official Heusinkveld Engineering’s website for sales tax, duties and worldwide shipping costs, please check the Heusinkveld Engineering website.
If you would like more information on Heusinkveld Engineering and their products, please visit Heusinkveld Engineering.net
Review model Sim Pedals Pro 3 pedal set:
€719,00 / US$785.85 / £545,67
Optional mounting plate including one set of straight or angled brackets:
€79,00 / US$86.35 / £59,96
Having previously driven with Heusinkveld’s Ultimate pedals I wasn’t sure how these Pros would differ from their more expensive counterparts. Design wise they are very similar in appearance and the Pros do share some of the Ultimate’s DNA. The Ultimates have higher ratings as well as tolerances with more expensive components in comparison to the Pros. This however does not detract in any way from the design or quality of the materials used in their construction.
Their ease of installation, set-up and use in any title inspires confidence in yourself as a sim racer. You know you are using top notch equipment because it feels so natural, they help to improve your consistency exponentially the more you use them. Throttle control, braking and shifting it all more or less becomes second nature to you. They certainly are a mega jump from a modded set of G27 pedals I can tell you! Although my memory may be a little foggy now, the Pros feel for all intents and purposes as good as the Ultimates I used nearly a year ago.
Filling in the Pros and Cons, I was hard pressed to find anything I did not like about these pedals. The quality speaks for itself, they are without doubt some of the most thoughtfully designed sim racing pedals available, The Heusinkveld Engineering Sim Pedals Pro 3 pedal set were a real pleasure to use on a daily basis.
What I do keep coming back to though is ‘’adjustability’’ these pedals surely are some of the most adjustable and flexible sim racing pedals in the sim racing world today. They are so well conceptualised, constructed and presented, with little effort they can be adapted to almost any sim racing rig out there. Any serious sim racer out there would covet them and gladly bolt them to his or her sim rig.
Stay tuned for more reviews coming soon folks!