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The Cube Controls F-Core had been on my wish list for some time. A few weeks ago, I finally managed to get my hands on this great-looking steering wheel. By chance, I came across this steering wheel (as good as new with the new 4+ paddles and in combination with a Simucube Quick Release) on a marketplace for less than € 500. You can understand that I couldn't pass it up for that! And that was perhaps my best choice ever, because the Cube Controls F-Core has surprised me enormously on several levels. I now have a number of controls in my collection and I can tell you in advance; the F-Core is high up my list of personal favourites. In this this comprehensive Cube Controls F-Core Review I'll explain why this 'entry-level' steering wheel is one of my favourites and answer the question whether the F-Core is the ultimate entry-level steering wheel!

Cube Controls: A Brief Introduction

Cube Controls really needs no introduction. This Italian manufacturer of high-end sim racing wheels is known for its unrivalled quality, Italian craftsmanship with an eye for detail and their now wide and hugely popular range of sim racing wheels. Including, therefore, the F-Pro and the CSX-3.

Not long ago, Cube Controls added the F-Core to this line-up. Positioned as the 'entry-level' model of the Cube Controls eco-system, the F-Core is a simple but tough-looking formula handlebar. And that is immediately what stands out and what I too fell for: the simplistic but tough-looking design. Now that I have used the F-Core intensively for several weeks, it is time to take stock and share my experiences with you.

Cube Controls F-Core Unboxing

As mentioned, I did not buy my F-Core new, although that does not matter for the unboxing otherwise. Upon seeing and opening the box, it is actually immediately noticeable that Cube Controls pays attention to design and has an eye for detail. The packaging is sleek and professional, which immediately leaves a good impression. For instance, the box is beautifully designed and on opening the box you will find all kinds of nice sim racing got as: make it real and a few more. A nice detail. But no more than that.

When you purchase the Cube Controls F-Core, you will receive the following.

  • Cube Controls F-Core steering wheel
  • Sticker set
  • Cube Controls Hub (optional)

Cube Controls F-Core

Looking robust and stylish, the Cube Controls F-Core has a 4mm front plate made of pure carbon fibre with an aluminium body. The handles are made of silicone and rubber and immediately feel immensely comfortable and offer an excellent grip. This is partly because the grips are a bit thicker, giving them a perfect fit and ergonomically snug in your palm. Let's take a closer look and explain the main features of this steering wheel.

Price & options

The Cube Controls F-Core is the entry-level model in the Cube Controls ecosystem. Despite that, you will still pay around €609 for the F-Core excluding shipping. For this amount, you will receive the steering wheel without a hub and with two shifters. That is considerably more expensive than what the F-Core previously cost: €469. If you want the more advanced F-Core with four paddles including hub, you will pay €719 euros. By the way, you can choose the 2, 4 or 2+ and 4+ shifters, with the plus variant referring to the new upgraded shifters. What exactly this means I'll explain later. In summary, the price of the Cube Controls F-Core is made up of the following options:

  • Cube Controls F-Core including Hub (2 paddles for €679 and the 4 for €778)
  • Cube Controls F-Core including Hub (2+ paddles for €790 and the 4+ for €889)
  • Cube Controls F-Core excluding Hub (2 paddles for €609 and the 4 for €719)
  • Cube Controls F-Core excluding Hub (2+ paddles for €720 and the 4+ for €829)

Installation and Setup

Installing the F-Core is surprisingly easy. The manual is clear and guides you through the process step by step. Within minutes, I was ready to race, without encountering any technical problems. Thanks to the innovative Q-CONN magnetic connection and USB/Bluetooth dual mode, connecting the wheel to the PC is quick and hassle-free.

The ability to switch between USB and Bluetooth, together with the long battery life (from 40 to 50 hours) of the 2000mAh LiPo battery makes this handlebar particularly attractive to a wider audience. With a specific combination of the on/off button and a button on the handlebar, you switch easily and quickly between the USB or Bluetooth connection.

Placing the stickers went well and quickly. I like that plastic tweezers are included so you can easily place the stickers on the handlebars. There is more than enough choice to place the stickers according to personal preference where you want. I have all functions and stickers virtually the same on every steering wheel, so on my F-Core too I had all stickers placed in no time.

Software

Cube Controls f-core review

Design and build quality

The handlebar of the F-Core has a 4 mm carbon fibre front. The back of the handlebar is made of cast aluminium, which makes it qualitatively sturdy and durable. The handlebar has a diameter of 290 mm and weighs less than 1 kg. The design of the F-Core is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. The latter is also one of the reasons why I was so keen to add this steering wheel to my collection. Not only does the F-Core look ferociously attractive, but in addition, the steering wheel also has a simplistic and realistic look.

On this steering wheel, you won't find unnecessary and excessive LED lights. No, nothing like that. Just a functional, sleek but tough design with a slightly aggressive look. Through the Italian design, you can see that attention has been paid to detail and finish. You can see this, for example, in the use of the signature Cube Controls toggle switches, which I personally think is a nice and cool detail on this handlebar.

Cube Controls f-core review

The handlebar is 290 mm wide and weighs just 895 grams. This makes the steering wheel feel compact, light yet sturdy. The steering wheel looks realistic in design, making it look like it comes one-to-one from a real GT4 or GT3 car. The improved and relatively thick handles offer long-lasting comfort, both with and without sim racing gloves. Even during intense racing sessions, the grips offer surprisingly good grip. Expectedly much grip even. I would even dare to conclude that in terms of ergonomics and grip, the Cube Controls F-Core grips are one of the better grips I have ever had on a steering wheel.

Functionality and Performance

With no fewer than 12 pushbuttons, 2 on/off switches with LED lighting, 2 rotary encoders, 2 thumb rotary encoders and two funky switches, this wheel offers a range of control options and functionality. All buttons and encoders are strategically well placed, making them easily accessible. So you literally have all controls at your fingertips. All buttons are surrounded with improved plastic button guards, providing better ergonomics and feel. In terms of aesthetics, this finish also gives the F-Core a tough and robust look.

Cube Controls f-core review

The shifters, made of nylon-carbon fibre feel solid and responsive with a clear click sound with every shift. As far as I am concerned, this is also where the F-Core's biggest disadvantage lies; the click noise is really unbearable! I experience this sound as hugely annoying and anything but satisfactory. I am aware that I do not hear the sound when gaming with my headset on.

Nevertheless, it sounds cheap and is one of the worst clicking sounds I have ever heard on a switch paddle. Disappointing in my opinion. Especially when you compare this sound to other premium steering wheels such as the GSI Hyper P1, the recently tested Simucube Valo GT 23 or the GRID MPX V2 this sound is very poor. Absolutely unfortunate and a missed opportunity.

User experience

I personally think the Cube Controls F-Core is one of the nicest sim racing steering wheels out there. The F-Core has therefore been on my wish list for a long time. I had resolved that I would not buy this wheel new, but rather wait and strike as soon as I could get it for a good price on a second-hand marketplace. After a weeks- or maybe even months-long search, I came across this steering wheel as good as new. Sold!

Tough and Authentic Design

From the very first moment I unwrapped the steering wheel and held it in my hands, I was hugely positive. The F-Core positively surprised me in several ways and is one of my favourite steering wheels. The wheel has a great look. An authentic and tough design without an integrated display and without too many and unnecessary LED lights. Again, less-is-more applies here. The simplistic design is ergonomic, positioning all buttons and controls to perfection.

The Sound of Shifters

Actually, once I installed the handlebars and rode my first metres, I immediately noticed the sound of the shifters. Every time I shifted gears, there was a sharp, hollow, metallic clicking sound. At first I thought, oh well, it's part of the game and you'll get used to it. But after a few hours of racing, it really started to get on my nerves. And it still does, actually. The shifters produce a really annoying noise. Although the shifters feel solid, reliable and nice, it would make the experience a lot more pleasant if the shifters produced a better and nicer sound. Note; sound is of course always subjective and therefore different for everyone. When making your choice, be sure to take this into account.

The Magnetic Q-CONN Connection

The Q-CONN magnetic connection is enormously convenient. No more hassle with pin cables whose metal ring you have to tighten. It is super easy to connect the steering wheel with the USB cable or even just with Bluetooth. Unfortunately, I haven't managed the latter yet because I need an additional Bluetooth receiver for that. On face value, I have no problem with a USB cable. This also gives an authentic feel and look to my setup. Unfortunately, I still experience some frustration with this magnetic system.

During intensive racing sessions where I had to steer quickly or take unexpected turns, the magnetic cable sometimes comes loose. But also during violent steering movements or hard crashes. This caused the wheel to immediately lose its connection and thus its function, which is quite frustrating. Especially in online races, it takes a lot of time and thus positions to find the cable, reattach it and wait for the connection to become active again. I find it extremely innovative and intuitive, but I notice from everything that I have a love-hate relationship with this system. Which, incidentally, I also experienced with the Simagic GT Neo. If I have to choose, I would still opt for stability and thus a USB cable that I have to tighten.

Quality of Buttons and Rotary Encoders

Another thing I noticed was the quality of the knobs and rotary encoders. They just feel a bit cheap and just isn't it. Compared to more expensive models like the Hyper P1 or the MPX V2, you really notice the difference. Those premium steers have buttons that give a satisfying click and just feel more solid. I know that the F-Core is an entry-level model and falls into a different price category, but there have been clear savings in this area. And that is kind of a shame. For a wheel with a new price of over €830 (for the 4+ paddles), I can and would expect better quality buttons and encoders.

Toggle switches with LED illumination

But not everything is negative! The two toggle switches with LED lights are really great. They give the F-Core an authentic and unique look-and-feel that I personally think is really cool. It's typical of Cube Controls handlebars. The switches feel solid and the LED lights give instant visual feedback, which is super useful while racing. This little detail really makes the wheel special and adds a lot to the user experience.

Sublime Handles and Grip

Perhaps the biggest selling point of the F-Core is its relatively thick handles. The grips are comfortable and offer an excellent grip. They are ergonomically designed and lie fantastically in your palm, offering tremendous grip even without gloves. Incidentally, you will also find this design philosophy at GSI, among others, including the Hyper P1.

The pros & cons

Now that I have been using the Cube Controls F-Core intensively for some time, it is time to take stock and list the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Ergonomic (thicker) handles
  • Solid build quality
  • Dual-Mode Connection (Bluetooth)
  • Lightweight
  • Sufficient functionalities

Cons

  • The Clicking Sound Of The Shifters
  • Quality Push buttons
  • Magnetic Q-Conn Cable

Conclusion

The Cube Controls F-Core is an impressive entry-level steering wheel that offers a lot for its price. It combines robust build quality, Italian design with excellent performance and versatile customisation options. Whether you are a novice sim racer or an experienced driver looking for a reliable and versatile wheel, the F-Core certainly does not disappoint. I rate this wheel with a 3,9 In our Cube Controls F-Core Review! Unfortunately, the wheel also has some shortcomings, but overall, I am very happy with this wheel and this steering wheel is without a doubt one of my all-time favourites.

Compared to other handlebars in the same price range, the F-Core stands out for its high-quality materials and versatility. Although it is an 'entry-level' handlebar, it offers many features you would normally only expect to find on more expensive models. I do think, due to the recently increased price increase, that the F-Core is priced on the high side for an entry-level model.

Cube Controls F-Core Review

Our verdict

Whether I would consider it worth my money to buy new? Probably not. Despite being an entry-level wheel, I find it simply too expensive for that and would rather save up for better quality wheels. By comparison; for around €300 euros more you can also get the much better quality GRID MPX, which surpasses the F-Core in all areas. If, like me, you can buy the F-Core on a marketplace for a good price? Then don't hesitate! Because the Cube Controls F-Core is a very good steering wheel that I enjoy immensely.

Fantastic!
CUBE CONTROLS F-CORE

Specifications

  • Carbon fibre front plate
  • Cast aluminium housing
  • Improved handles
  • Ergonomic design
  • Durable quality
Wilco Verhaegh

Author Wilco Verhaegh

Over 18 years ago, my passion for sim racing began with Grand Prix 4. My passion for racing, motorsport photography and gaming knows no bounds. With Motorsport-Pictures.com, I capture racing cars on film. Moreover, I am proud of my book 'Mastering The Art Of Sim Racing', in which I share my knowledge and insights with aspiring sim racers worldwide!

More posts by Wilco Verhaegh
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