If I'd known that even an entry-level racing wheel stand would fix my biggest complaints with sim racing at home, I'd have bought one a lot sooner. The Dark Matter GT Foldable Racing Wheel Stand from Monoprice has done just that, however, and all for the reasonable price of $153.
What is my biggest problem with sim racing at home? My pedals slipping or shifting away from my feet under braking. It's a constant concern of mine as someone with the choice of either fluffy carpet or slippery faux-stone flooring, neither of which any pedals seem to be able to adhere to. It's been the scourge of my sim racing career. Or what there is of one.
Some pedals have performed better than others in this regard. The newer Logitech Pro Racing Pedals are pretty hefty and have a steady base, and if you set up the Fanatec CSL Pedals LC correctly, with a wide-enough stance, they're not so bad either. But, generally, I find all moves with time, and it gets in my head while racing.
I've tried all sorts of DIY fixes to rectify the issue, including at one point grabbing a log of wood and stuffing it between my pedal set and the wall. Just the right sized log would snugly fit for a decent setup, however, wasn't immune to the odd slippage now and then. Also that only really worked in the setup I had at the time, and now I'm nowhere near a wall to prop the pedals up against.
Dimensions: 622 x 837 x 820 mm
Weight capacity: 20kg
Includes: Cable routing clips, shifter mount
Pedal tilt: 7°/12°/18°
Warranty: One year
For all the high-end sim racing cockpits out there, including the Playseat Trophy Logitech G Edition I'm also testing, it turns out a foldable racing wheel stand such as this one from Monoprice was all I actually needed. It's in no way as snazzy or comfortable over long periods as the Playseat, which I'm sitting in as I type this, and it won't place you into a proper racing position, either. But it's pretty affordable, fits my wheel comfortably, and conveniently folds down to a storable size.
The most important thing is that the Dark Matter GT stays in place when I slam on the brake pedal. I've screwed the T3PM pedal set from the Thrustmaster T248 to the base and now it's firmly locked in no matter how much I stab at it.
Honestly, it's brought back a lot of joy in sim racing for me, and I didn't entirely grasp how much pedals that move about all over the place under braking affected my desire to get my racing wheel out until now.
As for the Dark Matter GT, it's a fairly stripped back concept. There's no chair component, like you would see on many cockpits, so you'll have to provide your own (may I recommend one without wheels). It's simply a foldable frame for the wheel base, pedals, and a shifter, if you have one.
Setup was quick and painless. The core frame comes mostly assembled, and it's only the hinge covers and a few smaller pieces you need to add on yourself. No part of the job is particularly fiddly, and I had the whole thing put together in 15 minutes.
The wheel base mount has screw holes for a few different base layouts, but notably fewer than the Playseat, which has loads more compatibility. Still, for a cheaper base with a desk mount like the one I was using, the Thrustmaster T128, it's the perfect fit. That's because it appears to have been specially designed to support the desk clamp included with the cheaper Thrustmaster wheels, and the under-desk clamps fit snugly and level.
The included pedals with the T128 didn't actually fit the Dark Matter GT, but I'm chalking that up to this pedal set being a bit rubbish rather than a reflection of the stand. The T248's T3PM pedals fit just fine. If you really had to, you definitely could drill a couple screw holes into the mount easily and make just about anything work.
There's height adjustment on the Dark Matter GT to make it a better fit for your height, and as a 6'2" guy I found the longest setting the best fit.
You can also adjust the angle of the pedals using the three provided notches. I've stuck with the middle option for now, but I'm thinking of going for a less aggressive angle by putting it down a notch. It's just a little too steep for my liking.
Those adjustments are all easy to do, and that's because there's not much to mess up with the Dark Matter GT. It's a lot simpler to build and adjust than the Logitech G Playseat, that's for sure, but noticeably less robust. The Dark Matter GT feels solid while you're racing, but I wouldn't be too heavy handed with it when setting it up and putting it away.
For my purposes, the Dark Matter GT has been a great fit. Admittedly it feels a little overpriced just because of the quality of some of the parts, even though it's not that expensive in the grand scheme of racing setups. Still, it serves its purpose well.