Heusinkveld Handbrake


  • Heavy-duty metal construction lends very realistic solid feel
  • Quick-change design facilitates lever position changes fast
  • Fully adjustable for range of resistance levels
  • Excellent sensitivity allows precise modulation


  • Price is very high for casual users
  • Shape and angle don’t perfectly mimic real-world brakes
  • Overkill performance for entry-level rigs

Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake Review

The Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake is the latest offering from the renowned Dutch sim racing hardware brand. Heusinkveld has made a name for itself with its elite-level pedals and gear, setting the benchmark for quality and performance. Now they’ve turned their attention towards crafting the ultimate handbrake for serious sim rally and drift enthusiasts. I’ve had the chance to extensively test this new accessory, assessing how it stacks up for both casual users and highly dedicated drivers. After putting it through its paces on a range of titles and configurations, here is my comprehensive review.


For those new to sim racing hardware, a quality handbrake is essential for accurately simulating rally cars or executing advanced drift techniques. By having a dedicated controller to lock up and modulate the virtual rear wheels, you can better mimic realistic weight shift and rotation. This allows more nuanced vehicle control that is simply not possible using keyboards or gamepads alone.

The Heusinkveld entry aims to provide unmatched build quality and customization options. But its premium €300 price tag puts it squarely in the realm of hardcore hobbyists. Let’s dive deeper to see where it excels and if it justify costs for average users.

First Impressions

Unboxing the unit, everything oozes quality and thoughtful design from the outset. The color scheme and branding are instantly recognizable for those familiar with Heusinkveld’s pedigree. Everything is neatly packed with recyclable cardboard and minimal single-use plastics.

Despite its compact size, the construction feels reassuringly weighty and sturdy. This handbrake clearly means business for intensive gameplay. The overall style is understated and serious rather than flashy.

In the box along with the standard USB connectivity are a wealth of adapters and mounting hardware. These should cater to nearly any rig configuration or placement preference imaginable.

My initial positive impressions are only marred by the grip shape. Compared to previous models and real-world rally vehicles, the molded finger indentations seem unnecessary. Their edges could irritate palms during extended rallies or drift sessions.


There’s no getting around the lofty pricing here. At time of writing, the Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake retails for €289 excluding taxes or delivery fees. That makes is decidedly not an impulse purchase or a starter option for casual users. This is strictly high-end gear for serious enthusiasts who demand performance above all else.

Justifying the sheer cost comes down to Heusinkveld’s reputation for quality and durability. All components utilize metal alloys and industry-leading sensors. It’s built to last years or even decades rather than become disposable consumer plastic. Consider it a long-term investment towards ever-greater immersion.

For brand devotees used to paying premium prices, that may suffice. More value-conscious buyers should strongly consider lower-priced but capable options from Fanatec and others. The Sim Handbrake surely outperforms them in sensitivity, longevity and customizability but remains excessively niche.


Mounting the Sim Handbrake is relatively straightforward, albeit not quite as seamless as plugging in a gamepad. Handbrakes inherently demand more considerations around positioning and movement arcs. Thankfully Heusinkveld provides abundant hardware options and an adapter plate to handle various rig arrangements.


Installation flexibility is excellent here. The baseplate enables direct bolt-on profiling while other accessories cater to shifter plates or angled mounting. The quick-release lever design allows switching between standard horizontal and realistic vertical orientations in just minutes. Players can easily alternate between seated styles for drifting versus standing rally modes.

Getting the clamping pressure right does require some initial trial and error. Pulling the brake lever hard towards the extreme end of its travel revealed a slight bit of flex. I’d recommend solidly anchoring it directly to rig structural elements if possible. But that’s merely a minor note for wrangling full immersion rather than any failing of the hardware itself.


Out of the box without any software customization, the Sim Handbrake works straight away. Inputs are automatically registered on PC allowing basic but fully functional usage. However, bypassing the proprietary SmartControl software means missing out on a wealth of powerful adjustments.

The software unlocks extensive options for tuning resistance, sensitivity curves, and dead zones. Creating custom profiles to match vehicle types takes just minutes thanks to the intuitive UI. These settings can also be shared online with others to mimic real-world race machines.

I especially appreciate how the animated gauges eliminate guessing how hard is enough. The force visualizer provides real-time readouts when pulling the lever so you can perfectly dial-in maximum values. This helps skip endless fiddling to discover ideal parameters.


Getting fitted and configured properly entails some learning investment up-front. But the efforts pay off handsomely once immersed in white-knuckle virtual driving. Tweaking force levels and lever angles enables remarkably lifelike behavior.


The Sim Handbrake ships with a single spring and medium-resistance elastomer installed, plus several spares. Swapping between 3 distinct rubber inserts lets you toggle between easy motion for drifting up past 20kg of resistance for aggressive rallying. Further fine-tuning comes from adjustable preload rings and optional plastic spacers.

I preferred running dual elastomers with modest preload tension. This provided both instant initial bite along with progressive ramp up in braking power. However, preferences vary hugely person-to-person as well as by vehicle. Heusinkveld wisely recognizes this diversity by offering such flexible options.

The simple yet effective adjustment bolt makes installing and removing elastomers tool-free. Reconfiguring takes just seconds so you can freely experiment with what clicks best. This flexibility will prove invaluable for tweaking between play sessions or sharing setups with friends and fellow competitors.


Beyond physical properties, the SmartControl software allows even greater refinement through input curves and response mapping. The output signal shaping can simulate extremely analog progressive activation rarely seen on consumer peripherals. You can come far closer to emulating the nuanced mechanical feedback of professional driving hardware.

Presets include easier access for newcomers along with expert-level customization giving advanced users unlimited room for growth. Whether you seek forgiving drift dynamics or pixel-perfect hairpin rotation modulation, the possibilities are vast.

This level of configurability does mean a learning curve absent from mass-market gear. Novices shouldn’t fear endless complex menus but neither will you achieve greatness without some effort. Simply dive into the manual preset list then tweak around the edges to start developing driving instincts.


Applying all those configuration potentials towards actual gameplay reveals where the Sim Handbrake truly shines. It provides unmatched immersion when translating virtual maneuvers into physical sensations. Both gross and fine control inputs come through with exceptional accuracy at a wide spectrum of intensities.


Right away the precision available became obvious when executing rapid drift taps or rally dabs around tight bends. The custom elastomers deliver immediate and reliable engagement without any slop or delay. Lever throw ranges from barely 2cm up to nearly full arm extension depending on settings. This finesse showcases talents that budget options simply can’t match.

No matter how quickly I worked the brake with rapid-fire staccato grabs or long sustained slides, it smoothly translated every flick into the simulator. The excellent consistency echoes Heusinkveld’s pedigree engineering greatness into their accessories too.


Such exemplary construction translates into remarkable control delicacy. With practice, I learned to induce slight rear slip angles for threading narrow gaps. Conversely, hammering the lever aggressively could break traction entirely on command. That spectrum of subtlety to extreme allows masters to fully exploit vehicle dynamics.

This precision enhances safety too -modulating drifts to hold ideal lines and angles as scenarios rapidly shift. Lesser handbrakes often use cheap pots and gearing more prone to erratic spikes that upset car balance unexpectedly. The Heusinkveld proves eminently reliable lap after lap.


Superb materials and sturdy fabrication should keep this handbrake running like newfor countless events. While testing I never felt any flex, slop or looseness even attacking the lever without mercy. Shifting grips and using arm or wrist strength showed no hints of mechanical complains or fatigue. It truly lives up to Heusinkveld’s stamp of approval.

By selecting quality alloys over cost cutting plastic, they’ve created a long-term investment rather than disposable peripheral. This handbrake should still be serving fans years down the road even after heavy use. Such reliability earns back the premium pricing over enough time.

Software Features

The SmartControl software enables fine tuning the hardware far beyond basics like calibrating ranges. Custom dead zones, force curves, invert toggle and special mode presets allow extensive customization. Handbrake behavior can better match personal preferences or recreate bespoke vehicles through sharing community profiles.

I especially appreciated how the real-time input visualizer streamlines setups. Dynamically seeing brake force inputs eliminates tedious trial-and-error tweaking. This software insight coupled with easily exchangeable physical parts makes an incredibly powerful platform.

Comparison to Competitors

How does Heusinkveld’s newcomer compare against existing handbrake options from mainstream brands? Surprisingly it holds up very well thanks to focus on quality over cost cutting.


Fanatec makes some excellent mid-tier gear but their Clubsport handbrake lags behind the Sim Handbrake in precision and longevity. The plastics and rubber components may degrade sooner while metallic internals should outlast. However the Clubsport does sufficiently perform for most dedicated sim users at half the investment.


Thrustmaster targets more casual audiences so unsurprisingly their handbrake pales versus Heusinkveld’s offering. Its tiny size severely limits grip and leverage strength. All-plastic construction predicts considerably shorter usable lifespan with clunky mechanics. However that ultra-low pricing fills an entirely different niche than the premium Dutch equipment.

Compared to such mass market names, the Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake clearly demonstrates a obsession for excellence. It handily surpasses them both in configurability plus overall quality. That does come at an undeniably lofty cost though, which exceeds many buyers’ budgets.


In closing, Heusinkveld’s newest controller offers incredible capability to take virtual driving immersion to the next level. It demonstrates their tradition of high-end fabrication paired with extensive adjustability. Rally and drift fans seeking the ultimate experience will find it tremendously capable.

However, that pinnacle performance still carries a matching price tag. Users unwilling to make such a hefty hardware investment will be better served by cheaper alternatives that make minor compromises. More casual players simply won’t leverage the full potential anyway so it becomes overkill.

In the end, I must recommend trying before buying if at all possible. The complexity of configuring ideal handbrake feel means personal preferences vary widely. Ensure it fits your specific grip style and rig set up nicely. While the hardware itself is undoubtedly world-class, only you can decide if the costs justify the minor yet meaningful improvements towards realism immersion.

For devoted enthusiasts chasing the rush of record lap times though, the Heusinkveld accessory belongs on your upgrade short list. No other handbrake I’ve tested so expertly balances adjustability, precision, durability and raw performance capability necessary for competitive domination. This is the new high watermark that others must now chase.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about the Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake:

What games or software is it compatible with?

The Sim Handbrake is plug-and-play with all PC racing titles. Console compatibility is limited since it connects via USB rather than proprietary entitlements.

Does installation require permanent modifications?

No – the mounting plate and abundance of adapters allow completely non-destructive attachment. You can safely install or remove it from any rig without tools or damage.

Can sensitivity be adjusted for different vehicles?

Absolutely! The integrated software lets you create unique custom profiles tuned precisely for individual cars that you can re-use instantly.

How difficult is it to swap between horizontal and vertical modes?

Thanks to the clever quick-release system, re-orienting the lever position takes just minutes and no tools. Easily alternate on the fly between seated and standing arrangements.

What is the expected longevity or warranty coverage?

Given exceptional materials like metal alloys, this should reasonably operate flawlessly for a decade or more. Heusinkveld products typically carry 1 year warranties officially but their customer service reputation is excellent.

Hopefully those tips help anyone curious if this niche handbrake deserves a place in their sim racing adventures! Feel free to reach out with any other questions. Happy driving!

Heusinkveld Handbrake