Cube Controls SP01 pedals

Cube Controls SP01 Sim Racing Pedals: Review Leave a comment

Today marks an exciting occasion as we evaluate the all-new SP01 sim racing pedals, generously provided for this review by our esteemed partners at Cube Controls. The anticipation has been building since their initial announcement, and we are thrilled to finally have them in our hands! After spending several weeks rigorously testing these pedals on our test rig, paired with our current favourite and sim software combo, we’re eager to share our comprehensive review with the G-Performance audience.

Unboxing

Upon unboxing, the SP01 sim racing pedals immediately captivate with their eye-catching anodized blue machined aluminium bodies, complemented by an assortment of springs, elastomers, and tools. It’s evident that Cube Controls has paid meticulous attention to both form and function in the packaging, supplementary accessories and of course, the pedal design. At first glance they’re striking; these pedals are nothing short of exceptional.

Cube Controls SP01 unboxing3

A First Look

The superb craftsmanship is apparent throughout, featuring ball bearings at each pivot point for smooth and reliable operation. The pedal bodies are CNC machined from high-quality 6061 and 7075 aluminium, ensuring a sturdy and long-lasting foundation, particularly for the brake pedal. With the ability to withstand an impressive 200kg load, it surpasses the capacity of any other pedal we’ve encountered.

The brake pedal body truly stands out for its remarkable strength while maintaining a lightweight construction, which is quite impressive. In fact, when applying the maximum force I could muster, I discovered that a small amount of flex was occurring in the 40×40 profile to which the pedals were mounted, (rather than the pedal itself, obviously!). This experience was a surprise, and I would highly recommend upgrading to a more robust pedal mounting profile or a solidly mounted pedal base to fully harness the potential of these exceptional pedals.

Design Methodology: FEM

Initially unfamiliar with the term “Finite Element Method (FEM)”, I conducted some research to better understand this design technique employed by Cube Controls. FEM has been instrumental in creating the remarkably robust structure of these pedals, setting them apart (in my opinion) from others in the market.

FEM, as a design methodology, enjoys widespread use across a diverse range of industries such as automotive, aerospace, civil engineering, and even biomechanics. Its primary purpose is to analyse and optimize structures, materials, and components, ensuring optimal performance and durability in a variety of applications.

FEM stands as a highly specialized and advanced design methodology within the realm of product design. It enables engineers to develop virtual models of structures and components, simulating their behaviour under an array of load conditions. By carefully examining these simulations, engineers can pinpoint potential vulnerabilities, stress concentrations, or regions of significant deformation. This insight allows them to refine the design, enhancing its performance, durability, and weight efficiency.

It’s evident that adopting FEM for designing components like a 200kg brake pedal offers numerous advantages for engineers. It seems that Cube Controls has made a substantial investment in this methodology, leveraging its potential to create outstanding and reliable products for their customers.

SP01 Brake Pedal

Delving into the technical specifics of the brake pedal, one of the first elements that catches the eye is the die-cast faceplate. It boasts a subtly textured grip with a sleek black finish and the SP01 logo tastefully displayed. The texture is so refined that it feels remarkably smooth, providing excellent control whether wearing socks or boots. While the throttle sports a carbon plate, it’s likely that the brake faceplate has undergone the FEM process as well. A closer examination reveals the reinforced design, as well as threaded mounting holes for those who wish to fine-tune the alignment of the plate.

The brake pedal offers the ability to fine-tune the spring preload, which is a straightforward and swift method for adjusting the overall resistance of the pedal. However, the customization options don’t end there; the brake pedal also features a custom-designed, fully hydraulic damper with twelve preload settings, allowing for tailored damping characteristics that cater to a wide range of driving styles. Personally, I found this aspect quite appealing and discovered that setting the hydraulic damper to 4 provided a satisfying sensation during both compression and return of the pedal, perfectly suiting my preferences.

The SP01 brake pedal is accompanied by an assortment of color-coded springs and elastomers, each corresponding to a different level of stiffness. This color-coding system simplifies the customization process significantly, eliminating the need to scrutinize similar-looking black elastomers for hard or soft markings. Within the SP01 brake system, yellow represents soft, red indicates medium, and blue signifies hard stiffness options, making it easy to find the perfect fit for your driving style.

Based on my understanding, the review package I received included the SP01 Performance Kit, which comes with an expanded selection of springs and elastomers for further customization. The kit also provides two “Tuned Expansion Cups” (one soft black and one hard red). When installed, these cups constrain the elastomer expansion, adding a touch of extra stiffness to the pedal’s feel for a more tailored sim racing experience.

The Tuned Expansion Cups were purposefully engineered to limit the compression of the elastomers, modifying the brake feel for additional customization options. It’s important to highlight that regardless of whether the expansion cups are used, the elastomers are crafted from a unique composite rubber material. This special composition ensures minimal deformation, maintaining the pedal’s performance and consistency even after extended periods of use.

The SP01 pedals offer an impressive range of customization possibilities through the combination of preload, elastomer, and spring adjustments, as well as the satisfying adjustable hydraulic damper mechanism. While the SimTrecs Pro Pedal GT also incorporates this feature, Cube Controls has perfected it by designing a hydraulic interference level adjustment dial with 12 preset positions. This approach provides a tangible, measurable means of fine-tuning the pedal to suit individual preferences and driving styles.

Beneath the surface, the pedals are equipped with a high-precision 200kg load cell complemented by a 16-bit load cell amplifier. This ensures that even under considerable force, the sensitivity remains exceptional. During my testing, I encountered no issues related to electromagnetic interference, and the pedals did not require any form of grounding, showcasing their reliable performance and robust design.

SP01 Throttle Pedal

The SP01 throttle pedal set features an elegant and robust carbon faceplate, complete with the embossed SP01 logo. Users can conveniently adjust the pedal throw (the distance the pedal travels) using a durable aluminium knob situated on the main shaft. Additionally, the spring preload adjustment is easily accessible via a blue anodized knob, allowing for swift and hassle-free fine-tuning of the pedal’s resistance to suit individual preferences.

The main shaft of the SP01 throttle pedal is designed with “high wear resistance plating,” which contributes to its durability and likely minimizes friction during compression. The result is an exceptionally smooth throttle feel. Additionally, the pedal integrates a tolerance machined self-lubricating nylon sleeve and a 16-bit resolution hall sensor, ensuring accurate input capture for a seamless and immersive sim racing experience.

Located at the rear of the throttle pedal is a USB-C port, designed for connecting the included USB-C to USB-A cable. The brake pedal, on the other hand, connects via a small 4-pin connector that extends from the throttle body, ensuring a streamlined setup for your sim racing rig.

Cube Controls SP01 sim racing pedals - throttle - sockets

While throttle pedals are inherently less complex than brake pedals, the SP01 throttle pedal still offers a number of appealing features. The generously sized pedal plate and the remarkably smooth compression are standout qualities. One particularly useful adjustment is the ability to set the spring preload (and, crucially, the return speed) with the provided HEX4mm L key, by adjusting the screw located at the front of the pedal. In my case, making a minor adjustment to the return speed of the throttle resulted in a setup that perfectly catered to my preferences.

Installing the SP01 Pedals

The dimensions of the SP01 pedals are quite similar to those of the Heusinkveld Sprints. As someone transitioning from a set of SimTrecs ProPedal GTs, this required me to reconfigure the pedal mounting on my rig since I directly attach the pedals to the profile, as can be seen in the accompanying photos.

I opted to use my own bolts and t-nuts when mounting the pedals and felt it necessary to include washers during the installation process. This decision was made to safeguard the paintwork of the brackets (since they aren’t mine, it’s important to treat them with care), and because it seemed that the diameter of the holes drilled in the mounting brackets was slightly too large for an M6 bolt head, potentially compromising stability.

Cube Controls provides M8 hex bolts and nuts with the expectation that these pedals will be mounted directly onto a plate. They are compatible with virtually any rig that includes a pedal plate – for instance, mounting them on a popular Sim-Lab GT1 Evo would be quite straightforward. However, if you plan to mount the pedals to aluminium profile, you’ll need to devise your own solution, as t-nuts and shorter bolts specifically designed for profile mounting are not included in the package.

It’s important to note that the side brackets are not pre-attached to the pedal bodies in the package. These brackets offer some degree of pedal angle adjustment, with each bracket providing a 5-degree tilt. Personally, I prefer mine at nearly 90 degrees, which corresponds to the first hole.

Cube Controls SP01 sim racing pedals - brake pedal - installed2

How to Calibrate Your SP01 Pedals

After making any adjustments to the pedals, calibration is essential. Cube Controls has made this process incredibly user-friendly with their calibration software, which can be downloaded at this location (here). This ensures that your pedal setup is accurately configured and ready for optimal performance in your sim racing environment.

Cube Controls SP01 pedals calibration1

To calibrate, simply click “Calibrate,” fully compress and decompress the pedal, and hit save. That’s all there is to it!

Of course, the software offers more than just basic calibration. One particularly useful feature is the ability to adjust pedal press linearity. This can be especially helpful when driving cars without ABS, as it allows you to create a curve that prevents brake lockup while maintaining control at the threshold. Alternatively, you can set a curve that gently introduces braking before transitioning into a linear curve. This adjustment can be highly beneficial in specific racing scenarios, such as Porsche racing.

Additionally, the software allows you to save and load custom profiles, catering to your specific preferences for different racing scenarios. Moreover, you can easily upload new firmware for the pedals directly from this portable application, ensuring that your pedal set stays up-to-date with the latest improvements and features.

How do the SP01’s Feel?

Personally, I find the compression and decompression on the SP01 brake pedal to be incredibly satisfying. Additionally, it offers a significant degree of adjustability, allowing you to fine-tune the pedal to your specific preferences. After some experimentation, I discovered that the medium (red) elastomer, in combination with a hydraulic adjuster set to 4, provided the optimal feel and resistance for my needs. The rebound, or lifting off the brakes, felt smooth and controlled, adding to the overall experience.

During my extensive testing of the SP01 pedals, I primarily used a Radical SR3 RSX in rFactor2. Thanks to the downforce generated by the car’s aero, the brakes require a sudden, high-force press, followed by a slow and controlled release (trail brake) to maintain stability. I was pleased to find that I was able to brake in the same way as I would in my own Radical SR3 rsx, thanks to the exceptional adjustability of the SP01 pedals.

Conclusion

In my experience, the SP01 brake pedal is well-suited for aggressive inputs, thanks to the inherent stiffness in the pedal’s design. I was initially surprised by the amount of pressure needed for a full brake, but this can be easily adjusted to your preferences. If you’re interested in sports prototype racing, or if you’re actively competing in this class of car, you may find that the SP01 pedals provide an incredibly accurate representation of what a proper racing brake should feel like. The pedal allows for fine inputs, providing precise control over your corner entry, while also excelling at handling “big stops” with ease.

Cube Controls SP01 sim racing pedals - installed on a cockpit

In my opinion, Cube Controls has knocked it out of the park with the SP01 pedals. The strength and durability of the pedal body are truly exceptional, as evidenced by the fact that my own rig required additional reinforcement to handle the forces exerted by the pedals. However, it’s not just the performance of the pedals that impresses – their appearance is also stunning. It’s clear that Cube Controls put a great deal of thought and effort into perfecting these pedals, and the result is truly one of the best sim racing pedals I’ve ever tested.

Cube Controls SP01 Vertical FB IG square big


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