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The Best Sim Racing Handbrakes – Buyer’s Guide: 2024 Edition

XB-1 sim racing handbrake close up

Featured image: Sim-Lab XB1 sim racing handbrake

One of the most fun accessories I’ve added to my sim is a proper handbrake. Handbrakes are awesome for inducing big drifts or getting my rally car around tight hairpin corners. Ideal for Rally Cross, Rallying and Drifting. I’m lucky enough to have tested a lot of sim racing handbrakes; currently, I have the excellent Moza HBP fitted. Let’s take a look at some of my favourites:

While I don’t feel you need a handbrake to play sim racing titles, having one installed provides a much more “immersive” feeling. If you plan on only playing F1 games, then a handbrake isn’t necessary. However, let’s say that rally or drifting is your favourite racing discipline. Then it’s vital to consider adding a handbrake to your rig. I’ve got one next to a sequential shifter, which I love using for Rallying.

With a decent handbrake attached to the simulator, your gameplay feels more authentic, and you’ll have more control of the vehicle, giving you better lap/rally stage times. With all this combined, a sim racing handbrake becomes a very fun and practical addition.

My Top Sim Racing Handbrake Picks:

  • Moza HBP
  • Sim-Lab XB1
  • SIMAGIC TB-RS Hydraulic Handbrake
  • Fanatec ClubSport V1.5
  • Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake V2
  • Universal USB handbrake
  • Meca EVO Handbrake
  • Simagic TB-1 Handbrake
  • Thrustmaster TSS Sparco Mod+
  • VNM Handbrake V1

Moza HBP Sim Racing Handbrake

New for 2024, I’ve got the Moza HBP fitted to my sim. It works as a nice complement to the SGP sequential shifter (which I’ve also reviewed recently). The HBP has a solid, industrial aluminium body – it feels heavy set and very sturdy as soon as you open the box.

Moza HBP sim racing handbrake
Moza HBP sim racing handbrake – read my review here

At the budget level Moza has set, I don’t see how many of the other manufacturers are going to compete unless they add hydraulics and load cells (see the XB1 from Sim-Lab below for precisely these features).

The HBP uses a hall sensor and has a spring/elastomer stack combination to deal with resistance and rebound. I found it very smooth to use and, despite the budget price, I found no play in the mechanism.

The end stops use rubber sections to make using the HBP a completely silent experience. It’s a no-frills accessory, but it’s built to such an astonishingly high standard, that I found it hard to find any fault with it. As I mentioned in my review, it would be nice to be able to “days chain” the handbrake to the sequential shifter via the RJ11 cable. That feature doesn’t exist but it’s hardly a showstopper.

Side view: compliments my other Moza accessories nicely

For just slightly over £100 (or whatever your local currency might be) I can’t recommend the Moza HBP highly enough.

XB1 Handbrake by Sim-Lab

The Sim-Lab XB1 Loadcell Handbrake is one of the newest additions to the sim racing marketplace. This one is fitted to my rig:

Sim-Lab XB-1 Sim Racing Handbrake
Sim-Lab XB-1 Sim Racing Handbrake

This device’s core feature (and strength!) lies in its proprietary and patented 150kg load cell. Instead of measuring travel, the XB1’s loadcell measures the exact amount of force applied, providing an authentic racing experience by leveraging your muscle memory.

The advantage of this approach is that it’s reliable and easy to master. It’s quite sensitive, which is no bad thing for finer control especially for drifting and Rallycross.

Sim-Lab XB-1 sim racing handbrake - all packaging
Sim-Lab XB-1 sim racing handbrake – all packaging

In terms of construction, the XB1 Loadcell Handbrake is robust. Its full-metal construction ensures durability and longevity even under intense use. It also includes an Elastomer set, each one labelled to indicate resistance, making the device fully adjustable to suit your specific needs and preferences.

For real rally and drift car racing, the XB1’s unique Dual Stage Damper provides a “two-stage feel” to the handbrake, the initial travel of the brake lever simulates pressurizing the brake system as in real race cars. For a more direct application, you can choose to remove this feature and equip the brake stack with a single elastomer or even a plastic spacer. I like the predictability of the resistance provided by the elastomers, and I think you will too.

XB-1 sim racing handbrake close up
XB1 Handbrake Close Up

When you order the XB1 handbrake, you’ll receive the handbrake itself, an Elastomer set of 3, mounting hardware, and a USB cable. Additionally, the software (called Race Director) is available for free download. The only minor snag I found with the XB1 is that the lever can only be adjusted to a certain height – I found the length of the handle perfectly acceptable – ergonomically I had no complaints, but try to judge this for yourself based on the photography.

As an aside, I’ll recommend the Sim-Lab Push/Pull Rally Shifter if you’re keen to use a paddle shift *and* this handbrake – I use my right hand for the push/pull shifting and my left for the handbrake. It’s a perfect combination.

SIMAGIC TB-RS Hydraulic Handbrake

The TB-RS from SIMAGIC is aimed at the pro racer market. The hydraulic system was designed and tested by Motorsport engineers, so there’s a high level of immersive authenticity with this particular unit. It comes with nine elastomers and has four stiffness variations possible in the setup, so you can customise the handbrake to your liking.


There’s an optional haptic feedback module (much like the haptic pedal reactors SIMAGIC produce) that gives you feedback on lock-ups and slides, lending itself to sim racers interested in drifting:

SIMAGIC TB-RS with haptic reactor installed
SIMAGIC TB-RS with Haptic Reactor installed

Stock-wise, the TB-RS is a little difficult to find, although, at the time of writing, RaceAnywhere and SimHound carry it in stock and have international shipping available. At around $450 it’s one of the pricier handbrakes, but I find the haptic feedback element of this extremely interesting – I think this handbrake is ideal for Rally and Drift enthusiasts.

Fanatec ClubSport V1.5

The Fanatec ClubSport V1.5 is a sturdy, all-metal construction with a foam-style grip. It has been available on Fanatec’s website for a long time which I suspect is a sign of the quality of the thing. If it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it! This is a very popular handbrake and, treated with respect, can prove to be very durable.

Fanatec ClubSport V1.5 handbrake
Fanatec ClubSport V1.5 handbrake

The handbrake can be set up vertically or horizontally, which is a level of customization that really appeals at this price point. This can help a lot when you want the handbrake to be in an upward position like the set-up of a rally car. One downside is the lack of mounting choices, which are not much better than that of the universal handbrakes and will require a similar custom solution to connect it securely to your rig.

In terms of connectivity, everything is fine if you plan on using this handbrake in unison with a Fanatec wheelbase. The ClubSport is compatible with PC, Xbox, and PS4/PS5 (assuming you’re using a Fanatec wheelbase). However, if you want to use another brand of wheelbase and use the Clubsport handbrake as a stand-alone device on a PC, you’ll need to purchase an additional USB cable from Fanatec. Priced at a very appealing $160, the Fanatec ClubSport V1.5 handbrake is a great step up from the entry-level models but still doesn’t give as much feedback or provide as much connectivity as some of the higher-priced items further down the list.

Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake V2

Anyone familiar with the name Heusinkveld will know that the company is heralded for its top-shelf offerings, and the Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake V2 is no different and in our opinion, is probably the best pick of the bunch. It’s only slightly more expensive than the Thrustmaster TSS, but don’t forget that this is a dedicated handbrake only. Still, if you can afford it, then it’s worth investing.

Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake V2
Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake V2

This Smartcontrol compatible offering from Heusinkveld uses an upgraded load cell to measure the forces between the real world and the simulated environment, which at the time of development was quite a technically impressive thing to do.

Compatibility-wise, this is a PC-only device, although at least the USB cable is included with the unit. Mounting choices are still not amazing, even at the top end of the scale. It seems to be an area where manufacturers across the board have room for improvement regarding sim handbrakes. Still, all those little niggly issues aside, if you want to truly immerse yourself into a game like Dirt Rally, Automobilista, or Richard Burns Rally, then this is the handbrake to get.

Universal USB Handbrake

For a highly budget-friendly suggestion, I recommend checking out a universal handbrake which can easily be found on online marketplaces like Amazon. There’s a good selection of styles, colours, and sizes to choose from, all for less than $100. If you’re trying to save up money to purchase other peripherals, but are also looking for a sim handbrake, then a generic handbrake could be the right choice for you.

This generic USB handbrake
This generic USB handbrake is a pretty simple design and sturdy and works with all PC gear and gaming software

How you mount the handbrake to your rig will, of course, depend on which model you choose, but most likely you will need to devise your own custom mounting solution for handbrakes in this category which is fair enough when you consider the price point. One very important thing to note is that these types of handbrakes generally only work on PCs. Having said that, considering the economic price, this lack of compatibility can be forgiven. In general, the overall quality of these devices is not bad, but they cannot compare to other choices on this list.

This type of handbrake is a safe bet when looking for a starter-level item for your set-up. However, if you know you’re planning on creating a top-of-the-range system, perhaps it’s best to keep reading.

Meca Evo Handbrake

Meca is a small manufacturer based in the Czech Republic. They’re better known for their Meca Cup1 hydraulic sim racing pedals (in my opinion!). As their pedals get great feedback, so should their 200kg load cell-based sim racing handbrake, the Meca Evo Handbrake.

meca evo 1 sim racing handbrake
Meca EVO Handbrake

Sounds good to me!

Meca Evo Handbrake Load Cell
Meca Evo Handbrake Load Cell

The load cell (pictured) is a strain gauge-based single point Load Cell with a max load rating of 200kg (item: NA151), which is mated to custom electronics that Meca has designed in-house. You can set your output curves and dead zones using their MECA CONTROL PANEL software, much like you can with the new Heusinkveld handbrake on the Smartcontrol platform.

The platform offers adjustable stiffness by swapping out the polyurethane rollers – there are 3 in total supplied with the handbrake.

It’s customisable, too. The Handbrake’s “lever head” is mounted on an M10 thread and so, if you’re reasonably handy with a lathe (or have a friend with one) you can have some fun by producing your self-made head.

Finally, the elastomers are replaceable polyurethane-based items. You can adjust the shift length of the brake and its stiffness to your liking. There’s in-built elastomer protection, too – so there should be no concerns about longevity!

Simagic TB-1 Handbrake

The TB-1 Handbrake from Simagic is the perfect addition to the cockpit of any sim racer who loves racing rally and touring cars or drivers who are into drifting. Thanks to Simagic’s patented two-stage mechanism found inside the TB-1, it accurately replicates the feeling of a real handbrake and delivers tremendous resistance and longevity with its CNC-machined aluminium body.

Simagic TB-1 handbrake
Simagic TB-1 handbrake

You can adjust the resistance of the TB-1 by simply swapping the different grades of high-durability elastomers provided, which offer varying levels of stiffness that allow you to fine-tune the device to your preference.

Plus, with a 100 kg load cell, this sim racing handbrake can replicate forces applied when braking with incredible precision. Overall, the handbrake weighs 1.3 kg, stands 350 mm tall, 180 mm wide, and has a depth of 66 mm.

The TB-1 is also 100 % plug-and-play ready from the box and is supplied with all the necessary equipment to mount and connect the unit to your rig.

Thrustmaster TSS Sparco Mod+

The Thrustmaster TSS Sparco Mod+, like the TH8A, is a multi-purpose device. However, this model offers an alternative setup, capable of being a sequential shifter or an analogue handbrake. The build quality and overall feeling of this piece of equipment are in a much higher class. Working with Sparco, Thrustmaster released the TSS; a close replica of actual Sparco gear you might find in a real race car.

Thrustmaster TSS Sparco Mod+ handbrake
Thrustmaster TSS Sparco Mod+

Just like its little brother, this handbrake works with most sim racing titles on PC, Xbox One, and PS4. On a PC it can be used as a standalone product with the correct cable which is included in the box. A switch on the side of the case activates the shifter.

VNM Rally Handbrake V1

One of the newer entrants to the sim racing handbrake space is this very tidy offering from VNM:

VNM V1 Handbrake
VNM Rally Handbrake (image source)

In terms of a high-end build, the V1 from VNM is up there with the best.

With a generous aluminium CNC machined chassis, this handbrake features an adjustable, pre-load sprung elastomer cell and a MAVIN 100kg load cell. These units are designed to feel “like the real thing” and with an STM32 16-bit ADC board to interpret the load cell inputs, you can finesse your handbrake inputs on the rally stage. I like them a lot!

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The Best Sim Racing Handbrakes – Buyer’s Guide: 2024 Edition

2 thoughts on “The Best Sim Racing Handbrakes – Buyer’s Guide: 2024 Edition

  1. Hi ryan. Im about to upgrade from controller to wheel on xbox one x with a budget of £450 but have no clue about monitors so if u can help that would be appreciated. Only going for a single monitor. Hope u can help as im hoping to get it no later than late january depending on the lockdown. Thanks mike

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