Sim Racing Ergonomics

I love sim racing but it’s been aggravating some sore points on my body and causing me to miss out on what I love doing. So, I put together my thoughts so far about sim racing comfort to help me, hopefully others, keep on enjoying the sim racing we love.

Sim Racing Ergonomics

I love sim racing but it’s been aggravating some sore points on my body and causing me to miss out on what I love doing. So, I put together my thoughts so far about sim racing comfort to help me, hopefully others, keep on enjoying the sim racing we love.

Achille’s Tendonitis

As I noted in previous post reviewing the GTEYE Progressive Brake Spring for the Logitech G27, I suffer from Achille’s tendonitis from barefoot running. This has actually kept me from sim racing for months at a time.

At one point, I realized I had to stop sim racing to let my heel recuperate. After having stopped running and treadmill walking for a month, and being away from sim racing for a week, I’d come back to sim racing and realized I had to give up my stiffer GTEYE progressive brake spring. Even without running or walking the brake pedal aggravated my Achille’s heel. Don’t get my wrong. That brake spring is excellent but not for those who are recovering from strained tendons in their feet.

Some time after I wrote theergo3 above, I switched to left-foot braking. In the long run, it reduced the strain being put only on the right foot and helped me get back to sim racing.

Yes, it did take a lot of seat time to get up to speed with left-foot braking but less time than you may think. I might have been crashing quite a bit my first day, but within a day or two I was safe on the track, if a little slow, and a week or two later my times were very nearly what they were before. Months later and it’s not even an issue, I’m faster than ever.

For proper rehab of Achilles tendonitis, google for it and you’ll find a number of things to do. Key points are to ice while there’s pain, rest until there’s no more pain, avoid strenuous use of the heel, begin stretching begin working out the heel. It appears eccentric exercises on the heel work well for Achilles Tendonitis. If the condition persists, visit your doctor.

Shoes

One of the most important things I’ve learned recently is that shoes are going to be critical if you’re logging many hours of seat time per week or if you have a heel problem like I do.

ftssimshoesAfter spending over a year sim racing in sock feet, and then feeling the discomfort and pain of Achille’s tendonitis as I tried to work the pedals, I tried our some basic around-the-house shoes. They have a good, sturdy sole but are meant to slip on rather than tie up.

Amazingly, it immediately felt better and I was able to put in 30minutes of lapping without feeling any discomfort. I’d feel usually feel sore after 20-30minutes and stop, without shoes.

I’m not exactly sure what the improvement is but I have a few guesses. First would be the position of your heel, lifting it off the ground due to the built-up sole of the shoe. Next is the position of the contact part of your feet with the pedal. With socks it’s probably the ball of your foot. With a shoe it’s distributed by the sole so the forces get spread out more. It’s also possible that the shoes are keeping my feet in place more whereas without shoes I’d be constantly adjusting my foot and that would translate into micro-movements in the heel causing more wear and tear than needed.

At any rate, I don’t think I’d go back to sock feet now even if my heels were 100%. Check out sim racing shoes, they’re a thing and they look really comfortable. One day I’ll have to get some.

Seating

ergo4The other bit of ergonomics I’ve been through is seating support and seating position. After a desk job all day and an hour or two of sim racing in the evening your back can really start hurt. After six months of iRacing my back is sore to sleep on.

I use a standard, hard-back, wheeled office chair and one thing I started a few months ago was to put a pillow behind me. This felt really comfortable…for the first little while! But, that’s when I started feeling very sore trying to sleep on my back.

It occurred to me that the pillow was pushing me away from the back of the chair and causing me to slouch. That’s not good for racing and, of course, it’s not good for your back because nothing is really supporting your back – it’s all muscle tensed up for the whole racing session. So I’ve removed that pillow and now I’m sitting fully back in the chair against the hard back. I can feel it supporting my lower lumbar area and helping more than the pillow.

Racing Seat

ubuttoAfter a year of sim racing, when I knew I wanted to stick with it, I purchased an Obutto R3volution which comes with a faux racing bucket seat.

The Obutto seat further supported my back with lumbar support, provides more comfortable padding and material to sit against, provides better support for your shoulders, can be tilt-adjusted to suit your most comfortable position, and, perhaps most importantly, sits you at a height and position that creates a better angle for your legs and feet to meet the pedals.

Sim Racing Ergonomics

As I mentioned, I love sim racing and I hope I can keep doing it for a long time to come. Doing anything for long stretches of time, and repeatedly, can cause problems for your body. Always take care of your body and you’ll be able to enjoy your sim racing for a long time to come!

GTEye Progressive Brake Spring for Logitech G27

Update 2015-07-03: I just put in the new trio of springs tonight and I am very pleased indeed! I had previously put in and removed the brake due to an Achille’s Tendon issue but I’ve now put them all back in and they absolutely transform the pedals into a much higher quality pedal set. The feel is just so much nicer and more informative. I still say a must-have upgrade for G25/G27 pedal owners and well, well worth the price.

Update 2015-06-05: GTEYE has released throttle and clutch springs! I haven’t tried them but if they do for throttle and clutch what they do for brakes they’re a must have for G25/G27 pedal owners!

Update 2014-09-01: Following up on my concerns about my wheeled office chair moving too much because of the new spring stiffness – it’s fine now and my chair stays in one place. I didn’t need to do anything to the chair to get it to stick so I’m happy about that.

Update 2014-08-20: The pedal now feels very pliable now, very movable, not the stiff thing I thought it was in the beginning. This is great! I can still feel the progressiveness of it and I can still finesse the top range of motion into corners where fine motor control is needed. It’s amazing how much my perception of the feel of this pedal has changed, for the better, since I started using it just over a week ago. Well worth $30 as the first upgrade for Logitech G27 owners!

Update 2014-08-15: I have to say I’m back to normal and at home now with this new brake spring. I feel I’m more consistent, as well. I’ve put in a lot of laps of practice in iRacing before stepping into a few races and I have to say, while I had my doubts about how I would perform with the new brake spring, I performed quite well in the race and the brake pedal was really not a problem for me. This is a great upgrade and I highly recommend it for G27 owners!

Update 2014-08-12: I emailed the GTEYE guys about a less stiff but still progressive spring and he replied that it wasn’t really something they were going to do but he did give this interesting tidbit: “If you study the spring rate graph, you will notice that the initial spring rate is the same as the original spring, and by the end of its travel, its about 80% stiffer than the original. To my best ability this was the most appeasing to the larger audience, trying to find a one-spring fits all design, that does not detract in any way to the racing experience.

Update 2014-08-11 – 2: Just a few hours after I received the brake pedal, and I was getting 1:54s/1:56s on a course I can do routinely at 1:52, I’m already back at 1:52.5s high 1:51s! I’m also starting to feel how this brake is going to help me be more consistent. The resistance you feel from the pedal really helps you stick to a certain level of pressure much more easily than with the stock pedal which, I take it, is so easy to move around that your legs just don’t have that level of fine motor control. I’m very pleased to see how this is turning out so far!

Update 2014-08-11: Check your brake calibration! In iRacing I noticed a little bit of red was showing on the brake pedal meter while driving without touching the pedal. That meant the game thought I was pressing the pedal a little bit. No problem, though, just go to your options, click on the Pedals button and it’ll allow you to recalibrate. That fixed it for me!

GTEye Progressive Brake Spring for Logitech G27

I’ve just received my new GTEYE progressive brake spring (eBay page) for the Logitech G27. I’m writing this post as I assemble the pedals and then step into a game and actually try it for the first time going around a corner(!). My thoughts so far…

GTEYE-Hero-1000

Continue reading “GTEye Progressive Brake Spring for Logitech G27”

Word to the Wise: Buy an up-scaling dvd player

Many friends and family I know have purchased an HD TV or are looking at them. None of them have ever considered watching traditional 480p DVDS on an up-scaling dvd player. So, word to the wise: Do yourself a favour and buy a dvd player that can play your old movies in 1080p.

Many friends and family I know have purchased an HD TV or are looking at them. None of them have ever considered watching traditional 480p DVDS on an up-scaling dvd player.

So, word to the wise: Do yourself a favour and buy a dvd player that can play your old movies in 1080p.

I was so pleasantly surprised watching Serenity and Band of Brothers at 1080p. If you concentrate you can definitely tell it’s not true 1080p but I challenge anybody to tell me it’s not thoroughly enjoyable. It looks almost as good as 1080p and, for enjoyment sake, it’s equivalent.

If you don’t want to get a blu-ray player or just don’t want to move to new format get an up-scaling dvd player and enjoy yourself! I bought mine used for like 40 bucks. Great value!