(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is originally from a review from September 22, 2018. I am providing a written version of the review for people who may want to read what I had originally written.)
This is my review of the Heusinkveld Engineering Sim Shifter Sequential. This is my first dedicated sequential shifter review, as in the past I’ve used “Hybrid Shifters”, such as the Fanatec Clubsport Shifter or the Thrustmaster TH8RS. While those shifters can alternate between H-Pattern and Sequential shifting, it’s more of a “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” situation. Generally, it was the “Sequential Mode” that struggled more for both shifters, in my opinion.
So, what benefit do you get for going to a dedicated Sequential Shifter? Well, the key word to focus on is “Dedicated”. A shifter dedicated to one style is able to be better focused, or specialized for that specific style. While shifters like the Fanatec or Thrustmaster shifters have to have internals for both H-Pattern and sequential shifting inside, specialized shifter only needs to have the internals for one style, in this case, sequential.
So, let’s take a look at the Heusinkveld Engineering Sim Shifter Sequential. The Sim Shifter Sequential is available for 172 Euro, or $200 USD. That is about par for the course for what I’ve seen dedicated shifters retail for. For example, I will shortly be reviewing the AIOLOGS shifter, which retails for $160, but once you factor in $45 shipping, that brings you to $205. Also, the Thrustmaster TSS Shifter, a dedicated shifter from Thrustmaster, can be found for $200.
The first thing you’ll notice is that this shifter is TINY. The base unit of the shifter is less than 50mm tall. In the smallest configuration, this shifter is smaller than a soda can. Keep in mind, the shifter is likely a little less tasty, so I don’t recommend putting it in your mouth.
The shifter’s components have a great feel to them, and they feel like a professional unit. The shifter’s knobs are made out of a strong plastic, that feels very durable and reliable. The unit is very dense, and everything feels designed with a purpose.
The small size of the shifter allows you to mount the shifter in tight, compact spaces. There are a few different mounting options for the shifter, but it could be somewhat inconvenient for mounting on “conventional cockpits”. I know if I mounted this shifter onto my GT Omega’s shifter mount, it would be less than ideal for shifting. This shifter is meant more for highly adjustable cockpits, where you can largely tailor your shifter placement to your liking.
I do want to mention that you will want to be careful while mounting the shifter. If you use the side mounting plate or mount it onto a Heusinkveld cockpit, be careful when removing the bolts on the side. Those bolts are necessary to the structure of the unit, so if you aren’t careful, the shifter could LITERALLY fall apart in your hands. Fortunately, the shifter is relatively easy to put back together, but it’s a little irritating if the shifter does fall apart.
The shifter can plug directly into your computer via a micro-usb cable, and then there’s another nifty feature as well. The shifter also has a 2.54mm Female Molex connector, which allows you to connect the shifter to an external controller. Namely, you have the ability to connect the shifter to the Sim Pedals controller. So, if you’re a person that has both a Shifter and Pedal set from Heusinkveld Engineering, that means you could connect the two devices together, and save on one USB device.
Now, let’s get onto the important part, how the shifter performs. And the easiest way to say it is, “very well!” This shifter feels just about bulletproof, and will stand up to extremely spirited shifting. The shifter feels very authentic, requiring a heavy initial force, and then it “releases”, similar to how real life sequential shifters operate. The only “complaint” I may have with the shifter’s performance is that it lacks that satisfying “Click” that other sequential shifters can provide. Looking on the bright side though, people looking for a bit of a quieter quieter shifter are in luck! Note that I’m saying the word “Quieter”. This isn’t a totally silent shifter. Aggressive shifts will really bring in a deep “Thunk”. However, some people will find that a little more acceptable than, say, a loud “Click”.
Part of the reason for the shifter being a little on the quieter side is the engineering behind the unit. As mentioned, this is a very compact shifter, so the engineering to fit a shifter into such a small footprint is both quite simple, and quite in depth at the same time. For example, the switches for the shifter’s two buttons are directly on the main circuit board. The shifter’s ball spring system will either rock the shifter forward or backwards, and will trip the switch on the board.
One nice element of the shifter is that you have different options for how to use your shifter. The Sim Shifter Sequential comes with three shift knobs and three “levers” to find the balance you like. Since the shifter has a fixed internal resistance, your will determine the resistance based on your shift lever/knob combination. The taller your shifter, the less resistance required for your shift. Personally, I liked the “Bent Lever” paired with the longer “GT Style” shift knob. Also, if you want a taller shifter, you can add on a M10 extension or shift knob to make the shifter taller. Personally, I would have liked to see a 100mm length shift lever, which I think would have allowed for more versatility for mounting.
The Heusinkveld Engineering Sim Sequential shifter is a great shifter, but sometimes I’m wondering if it is too over-engineered for its own good. It checks off all of the boxes for a great functional shifter, and I love driving with it. However, there are a few of the small quirks that just eat away at me. It seems like, for the most part, the shifter was designed with just their products in mind, and it’s not as accessible for the mainstream market. I think that if they made a few minor changes and made the unit a little more convenient, I’d recommend this shifter, no brainer. As is, it’s still a great unit, but I’d be a tiny bit hesitant to recommend it.
Now, let’s get onto my Pros and Cons, and as always, let’s start with the Pros:
- Very compact design, well engineered
- Reasonably priced for what you get
- Reliable, able to stand up to heavy use
- Different shift lever and knob options
- Authentic shifter feel
- Ability to connect to Pedal Circuit Board to save on USB ports
- Can use aftermarket M10 shift knobs or extensions
- May not be the best design for all cockpits
- Can fall apart relatively easily if you’re not careful
- Personally, I would have liked a more tactile “click” in the shifting
So, the question is, do I recommend the Heusinkveld Engineering Sim Shifter Sequential? Well, I think it’s a little bit of a tricky situation. I freaking LOVE this shifter, and it’s a great feeling unit. However, it may not be the best option for everyone, so that’s something you will likely want to take into consideration before pulling the trigger.
However, if you’re looking for a compact shifter, that functions well and has a great feeling, I highly recommend this shifter.
Check out the Sim Shifter Sequential HERE