Shifters & Manual Gearboxes

Almost every consumer wheel has paddle shifters, but when it comes to tricking your brain into thinking you’re actually in a car, standalone USB shifters are the only way to go. If you are training for track days with a three pedal car, you need an H pattern shifter with a realistic gear engagement. If you have a sequential race car, you need a great sequential shifter to train with.

Assuming price is not a constraint, the most realistic H Pattern shifter currently on the market is Quaife Engineering Pro-Sim H Shifter and nothing comes close:

H-pattern-quaffe

Other sim shifters lack significant mass to truly feel like gears are being shifted. The Pro-Sim H shifter uniquely accomplishes this by incorporating a massive shifting linkage that gives this shifter it’s heft.

When you pull the handle you aren’t simply moving a stick from one spot to another, you are moving an entire shifter linkage just like there would be in an actual gearbox.

The only other truly high quality H pattern on the market is the 2019 Frex H-SHIFT+

frex h shift editors choice

People have commented the Frex H+ shifter feels more like the bolt action in a protoype car or a vintage race car.

I used to drive a Ralt F3 fitted with a similar shift connected to a Hewland Dog Box. The Frex reminds me VERY much of my old race car.

Ralt f3

Shifters won’t make you faster, in fact they will probably make you slower. However, physically taking your hand off the wheel and rowing the gears can provide a far more tactile driving experience. The “touch points” of a car are extremely important to car designers and you should pay attention to them as well as you construct your simulator. Most sim drivers looking to recreate the experience of driving a car will appreciate the feel of high quality equipment. Below are the H Pattern shifters (what some call “sim porn”) that check many of the boxes for the quality immersion bar that’s continually being raised. None of the prices shown below include shipping.

Sim Racing H Pattern Shifters:

Frex HShift+ Shifter
Frex H ~$503

6-Speed TSW H-Shifter
TSW H ~$410

Pro-Sim H Pattern Shifter
Pro-Sim ~$1470

4DOF Motion-Simulator Custom H Pattern
Motion-Sim – ?

Thrustmaster TH8A H Pattern
TH8A ~$110

Fanatec SQ Shifter 1.5
Fanatec ~$200

For me, it’s a far more immersive experience to use a sequential shifter than wheel paddles, especially when driving street and rally cars.

Sim Racing Sequential Shifters:

Heusinkveld Engineering Sim Shifter Sequential
HE Shifter ~$210

Derek Spears Sequential Shifter
DSD Shifter ~$368

Frex Shift+ Sequential Shifter
FREX ~$121

DSD Short Throw Pro Sequential
DSD Short Throw Pro – $199

Manu Factory MF SSH14 Sequential Shifter
MF SSH14 ~ $355-$700

Arc Carbon Sequential Shifter
Arc Carbon SQ ~$210

TSW Sequential Shifter
TSW Shifter – $210

MotionSys Sequential Shifter
MotionSys ~$368

PSL Sequential Shifter
Pro-Sim L ~$408

If you are truly sick, you may want to build your own Shifter. Quality DIY shifters are like rare birds; difficult to glimpse and nearly impossible to procure. If you pursue the path of immersion, you might find yourself speaking foreign languages and conducting commerce in unfamiliar corners of the Silk Sim Road

gallery three fold diy