Moza R12 Direct Drive Wheelbase review: a significant step forward

As you have gathered from the title of this article, Chinese sim racing peripherals manufacturer Moza is launching an R12 addition to its current wheelbase range, as a stopgap in the middle of its R5, R9, R16 and and R21 series.

However, this gap is very important.

If you remember my review of the Moza R21 when we tested all the top equipment. I loved everything about this wheelbase apart from the fact that you have to pay almost £1200 for the privilege of all 21Nm of torque, most of which you’ll never use – generally I used around 50-60% power most of the time Time.

Well… 50-60% of 21Nm is between 11.5-12.5Nm

Fittingly, the Moza R12 Direct Drive Wheelbase has jumped into the chat boasting, yes, you guessed it, 12Nm of torque – awesome.

You’ll have noticed that out of the box it looks very similar to the R5 and R9 we tested previously – I’ll skip the sections on the associated pit house software, installation, design, ecosystem and the fact that they all Compatible with PC only.

Oh, something we haven’t mentioned yet is the Moza phone app that lets you change your wheelbase setting on the fly, which is pretty cool!

The only real difference from the R12 is the new illuminated Moza PSU, a nice little detail and there are a few more of those that I’ll get to later.

Yes, let’s get straight to that base itself and why I’m so excited about it that I’m considering buying one myself.

Moza R12 details

Before we get to the meat and potatoes, Moza sent us these products for free, but they didn’t look at this review before it was published. Please see the link at the bottom of this article for our full review guidelines.

At first glance, it looks almost the same as the R9 in terms of size and shape, and the chassis components are identical. But if you take a closer look, you will notice some differences.

For example, the rear paneling on the R9 is a little lower, which means that the R12 body takes up a little more space at the back.

The shaft is slightly narrower on the R12. The quick release features an updated design with a visual aid at top dead center, making it a bit easier to line up the wheel for locking.

Moza Racing R12 direct drive wheelbaseFrom left to right: R12, R9 and R5.

Nice gestures

If you already have an R9 base like we do, Moza has also added a nice little engraving highlighted in white on both sides so you can easily tell them apart. This is a nice little addition and shows great attention to detail as it could have just been painted on.

It’s pretty impressive that Moza managed to squeeze over 30% more power out of this pup in the same form factor as the R9 – and without the added noise too. It runs just as quietly as its two younger siblings.

The R12 is passively cooled and coped well with prolonged use at near maximum torque during the recent UK heatwave – it just got warm to the touch.

This is Moza’s latest wheelbase and that comes with a number of benefits, but it also means that it’s not compatible with the early versions of some Moza wheels (namely the RS V1, GS V1 and CS V1 wheels).

I’m sure that’s all nice to know, but most of you don’t really care, you just want to know how it feels and what it’s like to drive. It’s worth the wait, you’ll be spoiled!

Moza Racing R12 direct drive wheelbase

Test, test, 1, 2, 3

Let’s start with the obvious: the force rating is 12Nm and you can feel it. It’s more powerful than the R9 but certainly can’t match the R21 in terms of overall performance, but we knew that.

However, that headroom over the R9 is like finding the missing piece of the puzzle that draws the bigger picture. An extra 3Nm doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the 3 that matter the most.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the R9. Its strength is sufficient for most applications; The details are as good as any other wheel in this strength class and for the price it’s definitely worth considering.

However, I always wanted something more. I felt like the bike’s power feedback started to clip just before I reached my desired strength.

Moza R12 Direct Drive Wheelbase review: a significant step forwardIlluminated power indicator

The R12 gets it to the point. I set it to 100% in the Pit House software and then adjusted it in game so it doesn’t break and it’s near perfect every time. For longer runs, I’d probably just reduce the in-game power a bit to spare my wrists.

All I’ve said so far I expected, what I didn’t expect was the extra detail I experienced compared to the R9.

Having used Moza’s flagship R21 extensively, I was used to the fine detail it delivers and missed that crisp feel when I returned to the R9. The R12, on the other hand, has detailed feedback comparable to the R21

If you blindfolded me, I don’t think I could tell the difference right away.

Moza Racing R12 direct drive wheelbase

Hassle free operator

The only thing that I think would give away is that the R21 is perfectly smooth when I spin the wheel, it feels like it’s sliding. The R12 has a very slight graininess, not like a lattice or swing, more like I can feel the bearings turning – similar to the R9 and R5, which is what you’d expect from a very similar hardware design

I wasn’t sure if the R12’s improved ride was due to Moza’s advances in software or if that extra 3Nm augmented the forces already there. So I asked Moza directly and my guess was right!

The R12 is the first product that Moza released and I quote “new generation force feedback filter algorithm”.

Whatever it is, it works, I feel very connected to the car and have great confidence in what it does. It all feels so natural.

Moza Racing R12 direct drive wheelbase

decisions decisions…

I consider the Thrustmaster T818 that John tested a few months ago to be the best wheelbase bang for your buck right now. Its force feedback was as good if not better than most high-end wheelbases and costs £600 here in the UK.

I’ve been planning to buy one since I tried it, I like it so much. However, that wheelbase got me thinking. The Moza R12 is said to retail at £589, which is conveniently just under the T818. But my dilemma doesn’t end here

If, like me, you’re looking to upgrade from a servo/belt driven wheelbase to the best value direct drive offering, but also want at least 10Nm to get the most of the direct drive experience, then you’re left with two options:

  1. The T818 with mounting kit and the SF1000 wheel for a total of £985
  1. The R12 with KS wheel is £870 + tax totaling £1040

It’s a difficult decision.

Moza Racing R12 direct drive wheelbaseThe R12 (left) compared to the R9 (right)

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, there are many subjective reasons why you should choose one model. All I can say is that Moza has upped the ante with the R12 and cemented its claim as a true competitor in the mid-range wheelbase market, where price and performance are finely balanced.

The R12 not only fills the gap and completes its range of direct drive wheelbases from 5Nm to 21Nm, but also marks a step forward for Moza as its attention to detail and finishing puts it among Moza’s best to date.

The force feedback feel has also taken a step forward and is now among the best out there, certainly in this price range.

Moza Racing R12 direct drive wheelbase

I am always impressed with Moza, their constant improvements and advances are noticeable and the result is excellent products that are becoming the gold standard of sim racing in terms of quality and price.

I only have one final comment on the R12 Wheelbase from Moza – Bravo.

The Moza R12 Wheelbase is available now on Moza’s website priced at $589 / €649 / £589 / AUD999 / JPY89900.

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