We've all had a racing wheel and struggled to find somewhere to mount it. That old flimsy desk, the coffee table or even just balancing it on your lap. We tried, but we failed. Then there's the pedals, which move every time you press them, so you squeeze a pile of books behind them to try and keep them in place. If you've paid good money for a racing wheel and pedals, you simply MUST get something proper to mount them on - speaking from experience, the difference is huge!

10/10 for effort, but still doesn't do the job well enough...

The first step is to get something to mount the wheel and pedals on (and any accessories like shifters/handbrakes). For that there are many wheelstands out there - bespoke, sturdy metal stands that you can securely mounts your wheel and pedals to, so they don't move around. Especially if you have a wheel with force feedback, they are a must. BUT, they do have one important element missing - the seating position. If you are truly after that fully immersive experience, then you need the authentic driving position. This is where the Playseat Challenge comes in - you could think of it as a wheelstand attached to a foldable/pull out chair. 

Price-wise, the Playseat Challenge is the entry-level gaming chair and is undeniably cheaper than a sim rigs, priced at approximately £199 / $249.00 / €229.00. Playseat also claim this is the perfect gaming chair for anyone who doesn't have a lot of storage space available, due to how the Playseat Challenge folds up into a compact size.

The Playseat Challenge folds up and becomes compact, and so it is easy to store, taking up minimal space. Then, when you want to use it again, just unfold it again, and so on. The Playseat Challenge is aimed at gamers that occasionally play racing games, who don't want to spend lots of money on a dedicated Sim Racing Cockpit / Sim Rig and are short of storage space: and for these gamers, it is ideal. It is quite comfortable (not easy to get in and out of once the wheel is attached though), reasonably sturdy compared to how it looks.

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The Playseat Challenge arrives in its packaging, separated into a few pieces, so requires perhaps 15 minutes to assemble it. Assembly is quite easy, though the instructions are purely pictorial, so sometimes it does take a while to understand quite what they are telling you to do. Assembly basically involves fitting the frame together, fastening a few straps and extending the parts of the chair out; it really is very simple, so it should not phase even the least competent individuals. The first thing you notice after assembly is the material that the seat is made out of - it is a very nicely padded, comfortable and grippy material. It does have a sporty look and feel (which you would expect for the price), so it does mean than using the chair isn't uncomfortable. There is good adjustability too - the wheel stand has distance & angle adjustment. The pedal holder does an adequate job of keeping the pedals in place, and again there is adjustability to move them forwards/backwards dependent on preferece/height. However, the strap that you are supplied with which you're supposed to wrap around your pedals to stop any vertical jumping up/down is actually too small to fit around most 3-pedal sets - not ideal.

Height-wise, at 5"11, I found the Playseat Challenge to be adequately sized. The Playseat Challenge states that users must weigh no more than 120kg, but over say 90kg it just doesn't feel that strong and stable. Also, the Playseat Challenge isn't very easy to get in and out of, especially when your wheel is attached to the wheel deck. As with all racing chairs, your seating position means you are hunkered low down with your legs above your waist and snugly fitted in the seat, so movement is already quite restricted. In the Playseat Challenge, your legs are underneath the wheel mount, which, when combine that with not-totally-sturdy frame, which you really don't want to lean on with all of your weight, it does make getting out a bit of a challenge (pardon the pun!). 

Storage is easy, and the footprint of the Playseat Challenge when folded is minimal, no, of course, you need to unbolt your wheel and pedals to do so, so it's not a 10 second job by any means. When expanded, it is quite large (think of a deck chair + small extension for the pedals), so you will need a reasonable amount of space, but actually the 'deck chair heritage' means that the amount of contact area on the floor required by the legs & supports are minimal. 

As mentioned previously, the strap provided to secure the pedals is not wide enough for even Thrustmaster's T3PA pedals- this is not ideal! Because the pedals aren't strapped down, the pedals frequently move around under heavy braking, so for anything other than casual gaming, the Playseat Challenge wasn't appropriate. The fact that the strap only fit around cheaper 2-pedal sets is testament to the fact that the Playseat Challenge is not a real Sim Racing Cockpit, but instead is only a glorified deck chair intended for use by beginners only.

Another disadvantage of the Playseat Challenge is that there is no form of cable management whatsoever. Most Sim Racing Cockpits have cable management integrated in, as once you begin plugging in all your USB cables, power supplies and various other cables for your racing wheel, pedals and all your accessories, you find that actually you have a lot of wires dangling all over the place. The last thing you want is these wires getting in the way of your pedals, or worse still getting wrapped around the pedals, or your leg, and then getting ripped when you press the pedals. This lack of cable management further emphasises the amateur aspect of the Playseat Challenge - it is clearly not designed for sim racers who have many accessories or powerful racing wheels. Instead, it is designed for the beginner who has a small racing wheel and pedals only, and so few wires. 

Another disadvantage is that there are no accessories for the Playseat Challenge. Again, most Sim Racing Cockpits have (either included, or optional) accessories like Gear Shifter mounts, Handbrake Mounts, Button Box mounts and Monitor stands etc. This allows the sim racer to customise their setup to their own preference. The Playseat Challenge is not a proper sim rig, and is not intended for use by sim racers who want to us powerful racing wheels / pedals, who may want to upgrade their setup, so it doesn't have any mounts or accessories. As we said before, for the barebones beginner gamer then this is no problem, but for most gamers who want to add accessories, you will need to buy a proper Sim Rig

In contrast, our sim rig, the R-PRO Black Edition, is a bespoke cockpit that is infinitely stronger and more adjustable than the Playseat Challenge. You can use high power Direct Drive wheels on the R-PRO without the worry of flex, and the design is much more driver-focused. The cost is higher, but we do believe the additional cost is more than justified.

Learn more about the R-PRO Black Edition.
The Playseat Challenge is adequately comfortable to sit in, as the material used in the 'seat' is comfortable and has a pleasant feel to it. The wheel deck is quite adjustable, with pre-drilled holes for hard mounting wheels. The wheel deck is quite strong, able to withstand wheels like the Thrustmaster TMX Pro and Logitech G29 sufficiently, but if you have a more powerful wheel, we do advise something else and the wheel deck does flex.


My opinion is that the Playseat Challenge is more like an expensive deck chair as opposed to a bargain sim rig, and so I would only recommend it to complete beginners. For the majority of gamers and sim racers, there are much better products out there. Yes they do cost more, but they are much better value-for-money: you get a proper seat which offers support to your body and is more padded so more comfortable; a stronger and more stable chassis, as well as larger and stronger wheel & pedal decks, which don't flex anywhere near as much and will be able to withstand powerful racing wheels. Furthermore, you get a proper, strong chassis with mounts for convenient & ergonomic placement of accessories like shifters and handbrakes; better build quality and aesthetics; forms of cable management, so you are able to neatly channel all your wires instead of having them dangling all over the place, and a more immersive and authentic racing experience. Nonetheless, it is undeniable that it is an innovative product and, if you want a gaming chair but don't have much money or space, then the Playseat Challenge will probably suit your needs.


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Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this text belong solely to the author, and do not represent the views of Upshift Store Ltd or any of its employees or contractors of other groups/individuals.