Playseat Trophy is a reasonable lightweight sim racing cockpit

Image: Logitech

As much fun as sim racing can be, it’s also a hobby that forces you to make some pretty tiresome sacrifices, especially when you’re starting out. Those sacrifices are, of course, for your wallet – fancy new direct-drive wheels and load cell pedals don’t come cheap – but so are sacrifices for your living space. Mounting your hardware on a desk or folding table works if you’re looking for the absolute cheapest setup, but it’s far from ideal, especially for today’s high-torque devices. On the other hand, a decent rig requires space, not to mention an even bigger financial investment.

However, if you’re ready to take that leap, consider the Playseat Trophy. Playseat has been in this space since 1995, manufacturing dedicated racing simulation seats that are attached to tubular steel chassis that are designed to take a beating. The company has teamed up with Logitech for a branded version of its Trophy cockpit, designed to support Logitech’s new G Pro direct-drive racing wheel and load cell racing pedals. It’s available for $599 from Logitech’s website and will be released today, February 21st.

Logitech and Playseat conveniently provide enough M6 hex head screws for you to mount the road bike and pedals to their respective plates, and even highlight the holes used for Logitech hardware. Image: Adam Ismail/Jalopnik

Logitech sent me a trophy kit a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been using it ever since along with Logitech’s latest wheel and pedals to play Gran Turismo 7. Right off the bat, I’ll clear up some confusion here by saying that nothing about the Logitech flavor of the Trophy differs significantly from the standard Playseat model, except that the Logitech One is appropriately branded and comes in a unique grey-and-cyan colorway. It really is. Otherwise, the $599 price tag is no different than what Playseat charges for the Trophy, which you ship direct, and the design and function are exactly the same.

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Having said that I had never used a Playseat Trophy before as I had done all my previous sim racing laps on a Wheel Stand Pro and before that on a dreaded tray table as we all do when we enter this niche. The trophy might seem like a lot when you’re coming from similarly humble beginnings, but it’s actually pretty easy to build. Assembly only requires the included Allen keys – and maybe a bit of elbow grease to stretch the fabric of the seat over the metal frame.

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Image: Adam Ismail/Jalopnik

That’s the most interesting thing about the Trophy: What looks like a full-fledged racing seat is actually just Playseat’s very strong and breathable ActiFit fabric, which is slipped over metal and attached to the frame with lots and lots of Velcro. Yes – I was skeptical too. I wasn’t sure a mere velcro strap could hold my 160 pounds, let alone stiff enough to allow me to focus fully on my virtual riding and ignore all distractions.

This thing is basically a sim racing hammock, but it works beautifully. Again, it’s a bit of a chore getting all the flaps together and getting the seat fabric taut and sitting where it should, but an extra pair of hands helps. The advantage of the shellless design is that it keeps the Trophy light – only 37 pounds, not counting the hardware attached to it. This makes it very easy to move around if you have to.

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It doesn’t look like much, but the ActiFit seat is actually very comfortable, especially since it’s not really padded. Image: Adam Ismail/Jalopnik

The assembly isn’t too terrible. It will likely take more time to adjust the seat exactly how you want it and your body’s ideal driving position. To that end, pretty much everything about the Trophy is adjustable. The seatback can move forward or recline; The pedal base can be moved closer or farther from you, left flat, or tilted up. The base for the steering wheel can just as easily be angled or flipped to change the distance to the chair.

I didn’t initially think the seat was height adjustable until I realized that was the purpose of lengthening the center section of the frame. I wish there was a way to raise the seat relative to the wheel without adding a few inches to the entire chassis, but that’s a minor gripe for someone particularly space-conscious.

Adjustments, much like assembly, are most often made by tightening and loosening screws with an Allen key. Trying it out is monotonous and annoying, but you should only deal with it once. And once you find what works for you, the Trophy is a dream to ride.

Because the cleat has long grooves that both sets of pins pass through on either side, you only need to unscrew them all slightly to change height, spacing, and incline. It’s a really clever design. Image: Adam Ismail/Jalopnik

It wobbles, creaks or doesn’t give way. To get the most out of a set of load cell pedals or a high-torque wheel, you really need a solid, rigidly mounted base to attach everything to, and that’s exactly what you get with the Playseat Trophy. Just like the non-Logitech version, this rig features universal plates that can support Fanatec and Thrustmaster hardware, allowing it to evolve with your setup.

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It’s hard to make a blanket recommendation for something like the Trophy that costs so much and has the space it needs. Being very familiar with more portable, collapsible options like Trak Racer’s Wheel Stand Pro and FS3 Stand, I’ve personally always found them a bit unsatisfying and have never been able to disappear into a closet as completely as I’d hoped. If you think about a more “permanent” solution and can adapt to that, I think you will be very happy with the Trophy. Fair warning: once you settle in, a tray table will never do again.