Sim racing is exciting motorsport. However, many gamers experience chronic back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome due to sitting in an uncomfortable chair for extended periods. Whether your favorite game just released or it’s a holiday, you don’t want anything, least of all horrible back pain, to interfere with your sim racing sport.
Enhance your sim racing experience with a comfortable sim racing seat. These seats are designed in a way to provide support to the racer. While some shy away from the added cost, a sim racing seat would make an excellent addition to your sim racing equipment and even safeguard your health.
What is a Sim Racing Seat?
A sim racing seat is no ordinary chair. They boast an ergonomic design, which is why they can relieve pain in the back, neck, shoulders, and arms. Their purpose is to support the user, which is why they are easily adjustable. Sim racers can maintain their health without compromising the time they spend sim racing. Moreover, comfortable chairs ensure you give your best, significantly improving your performance in the game.
What is the Seat Made From?
Sim racing seats are arguably the best part of the sim racing rig. The sim racing frame uses fiberglass, steel, or carbon fiber. As these chairs are meant to deliver comfort, the upholstery is made using high-quality materials like PU leather and Alcantara fabric. As a racer, you have a choice between the two materials.
While leather gives the seat a more luxurious appearance, Alcantara fabric is more breathable. If you want maximum comfort, you can opt for fabric, but remember that leather seats are more durable and will last a long time. It’s harder to repair Alcantara, while PU leather is more stain-resistant if you drop a can of soda on the seat while playing. While both are good quality materials, Alcantara seats might be more expensive than leather sim racing seats.
Pros of PU Leather Seats:
- Easy maintenance
Cons of PU Leather Seats:
- Attract a greater amount of heat
- Limited seats
- Can tear
Pros of Fabric Seats:
- Do not overheat
- More extensive range of seats
Cons of Fabric Seats:
- Prone to stains
- Can lose elasticity over time
Sim Racing Seat Cost
The average cost of an entry-level sim racing seat is between $200 and $300. If you choose a mid-range seat, it would be slightly pricier, between $300 and $500. Premium sim racing seats start at $500 and go beyond $1000.
Given that a regular ergonomic chair would sell at $500, it is safe to say sim racing seats are reasonably priced. They provide excellent value for money. Sim racing seats improve your posture, maintain spine health, and alleviate back pain while gaming. They have a pleasant aesthetic and last you a long time. When you invest in a sim racing seat, you wouldn’t need to buy another one for a while. Lastly, sim racing chairs help you play better, providing maximum comfort and ease.
Best Sim Race Seat Brands
You will find a wide variety of sim race seats online. But choosing the right one for your needs will dictate the experience you’ll get. While there are several factors to consider when buying a sim racing seat, we strongly advise you stick to trusted brands. The most popular sim racing seat brands include Sparco, OMP, and Recaro.
Here are our top picks from each of the brands:
This sim racing seat has a steel frame and is made to withstand the toughest lateral force. The ergonomic design and comfort make the driver feel at ease. It has redesigned bolsters that provide enhanced support to the driver. It also features a double adjuster that can help you recline the seat to suit your needs. It is constructed using long-lasting OEM fabric. You’ll find this seat in a single or double tone. The duo-tone style features a stunning contrast for added aesthetics. The Sparco R100 is available in black, black/grey, black/red, and black/blue colors.
- It has additional features for added comfort
- A range of colors to match any interior
- Has inadequate side support
OMP brings you a lightweight sim racing seat with a tubular steel frame. It has side bolsters of a medium height for greater lateral support. It features side bolsters for enhanced side support, one aspect lacking in the Sparco R100. The seat has velour fabric upholstery for added comfort. It also has a removable leg cushion. This FIA-approved sim racing seat is ideal for entry-level competition. You can buy this seat, which offers great value for money, in a black, red or blue color.
- Enhanced side support
- Durable fabric
- Small seat
Recaro Speed Cross Seat
The Recaro seat combines a sporty design with comfort. You can enjoy the benefits of both worlds at an introductory level price. It boasts additional shoulder support so you can enjoy racing with maximum protection. The seat has back bolsters and a well-defined shape for excellent lateral support, even during the sharpest turns. Enjoy stress-free seating with individual lumbar support. Adjust your seat from both sides to suit your requirements. Buy this seat in your choice of color (black or red) and fabric (nardo cloth, vinyl, and suede.)
- Included headrest for head support
- Great lateral hold
- A little expensive
How is The Sim Racing Seat Mounted?
Some sim race seats stick to the sim rig with the help of brackets. Others have mounting points at the bottom of the seat to help you mount the seat without the need for brackets. While this is uncommon, such seats are available! Most sim race seats have side mounting, giving the user greater adjustability. Remember that the bottom mounting points do not allow this kind of adjustability.
How Much Does the Sim Racing Seat Weigh?
Manufacturers produce sim racing seats in different sizes. Others have fixed sizes. It would be best to consider weight and height when choosing a sim race seat for yourself. Unless the seat fits you, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy it.
Before buying any particular sim racing seat, you should carefully measure yourself and check the seat’s measurement guide. Remember that sim racing brands do not have a universal size, so check the measurements carefully. W denotes the side fixing, while Y denotes the bottom fixing.
How Comfortable is the Seat?
Sim racing seats are ergonomically designed to be comfortable. That is why they exist! But some sim racing seats are more comfortable than others. This would also depend on the individual’s preference. For example, some sim racers might prefer leather upholstery for its durability, while others might prefer fabric for its breathability. Some might want tighter support, while others prefer a less figure-hugging seat. Many different seats are available for you to choose from, ultimately dictating your comfort.
How Do Sim Racing Seats Differ From Each Other?
There are different types of sim racing seats. We’ll discuss the three main types of sim racing seats that you can consider to make your gaming experience easier.
The fixed-back seat is ideal for use on the track. It is more commonly known as the ‘bucket’ seat. It cannot be reclined unless you use additional brackets. Otherwise, you would use side brackets to fix the seat in one position. It has benefits like ensuring you retain a proper posture and a snug fit around your upper body.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed sim racing experience, this seat may not be your first choice as it does not recline. However, we don’t believe this is that big a sacrifice on comfort and usability. It is built in a way to provides head and figure support. The only complaint you could have is that it is slightly more rigid than other styles.
A reclining seat, as the name suggests, can recline. As a result, it is more adjustable than the fixed-back seat option. You can recline the seat and enjoy a leisurely gaming experience. Many people believe that reclining seats are completely wide open. However, that is far from the truth! They amalgamate comfort and support, as the reclining seats provide the driver both body and side support.
The only problem you might face is that the seat does not hold in place during pressure. It does not provide the same grip that the fixed-back seats provide. The reclining seat is perfect for your needs if you’re a sim racer that does not require such a tight fit.
These seats are ideal for people who are interested in F1 racing. It’s shaped like a cradle, which is why it somewhat replicates the bucket-style seat. However, while the fixed-back seat option does not have padding everywhere, the formula seat is heavily padded around the back, sides, and head. This provides enhanced protection to the driver.
However, this extra cushioning layer makes it suitable only for short periods. The seat’s overly arched back owing to all the extra padding will give your back and headache if you play for hours on end. The formula seat’s curvature does not allow a straight, upright posture.
How Do Sim Racing Seats Affect Racing Performance?
Sim racing seats have several benefits. They are not only good for your comfort, but they also affect and improve racing performance. Of course, the extent to which they improve performance depends on your chosen chair. The better the seat fits you, your sim racing experience will be better. But how exactly does a sim racing seat affect performance? Let’s find out.
More Body Support
A sim racing chair gives you more comfort than a regular chair, thanks to its side and full body support. This way, you won’t suffer any pains and aches. When you’re more comfortable, you can focus better. Your performance will be significantly better with a proper sim racing seat than with any normal chair. Most sim racers spend most of their time shifting in the chair, trying to sit in the most comfortable spot.
When you choose a seat that properly fits you, it would be according to your size. You can pick a bucket sim racing seat if you prefer more body support. You can choose a reclining seat if you like a more relaxed position. If you’re into formula games, you can pick formula seats. Matching the seat to your preference will thus allow you to perform better.
Sim Racing Seat Features
Sim racing seats have a range of features, like lumbar support, headrests, adjustable side bolsters, and more, as discussed below.
Lack of lumbar support can cause problems for regular sim racers. These ergonomic chairs relieve lower back pain and improve blood flow. This helps the racer perform better and relieves unnecessary pains and aches. Lumbar support ensures spinal health, which is crucial. Different sim racing seats offer varying degrees of lumbar support, so you can choose one that fits your needs best.
The headrest offers added comfort to the user. Some, but not all, sim racing chairs have this feature, which alleviates head restraint during an intense sim racing session.
Adjustable Side Bolsters
Side bolsters allow you to adjust your sim racing seat to suit you. These bolsters offer enhanced side support to users. Adjustability is a vital feature you should consider when purchasing any sim racing seat for yourself.
Range of Colors
While most sim racing seats were once plain black, now you have a range of colors available, like red, grey, and blue. You can pick any color that would gel well with the interior.
How Do Sim Racing Seats Compare to Regular Racing Seats?
Sim racing evolved from gaming, so many players used regular racing seats for sim racing. However, with more advancement, automotive companies have manufactured sim racing seats. Due to several factors, these seats are more conducive to sim racing than regular racing seats.
The sim racing seat offers greater adjustability. You can adjust the incline, position, and height. This way, you can enjoy a better gaming experience. Sim racing seats offer more lumbar support than regular racing seats due to the nature of the game. However, every player must choose a seat based on the amount of lumbar support they need.
It is undeniable that sim racing seats are now crucial to the sim racing rig. They maintain the spinal health of the sim racer, giving them a chance to perform at their optimum. Given the number of options in the market, you need to prioritize what you want. Consider factors like budget, adjustability, upholstery, compatibility, comfort, design, type, color, and aesthetics when making this decision. After all, it would impact your performance!