There are some incredible rigs out there that dedicated sim-racing fans have constructed or bought to further their enjoyment. But for people myself that might not be an option due to space, budget or because we just aren’t as serious about racing. That’s where wheel stands come in, a happy middle ground between clamping your wheel to a table and a massive rig that consumes an entire room. I’ve reviewed a wheel stand before, but now I’ve upgraded, and I want to share my thoughts on that upgrade. Behold, the GT Omega Apex wheel stand. Keep beholding it. That’s long enough. You can stop beholding now, and get on with reading.
Building the Apex is pretty easy because the main part of the bulky frame is ready to go out of the box. All you have to do is attach the included gear shifter mount and then stick your wheel and pedals onto the whole thing. Admittedly the instruction sheet is a bit useless, but a little touch of common sense will let you build the whole thing without accidentally snapping it shut on any sensitive parts of the human anatomy. I’d say you can put the whole thing together in 10-20 minutes, depending on how often you misplace the bits and pieces.
Aside from the spanners and Allen keys that come in the bag there’s also a reassuring amount of extra screws, washers and nuts in case you lose some. Plus, there’s some handy Velcro straps to help tidy up the cables.
GT Omega describe the Apex as having a X-style frame, but I think it much more resembles an inverted-y. But regardless of which letter of the alphabet this thing is trying to disguise itself as, one thing is for certain: it’s chunky beast. That also means it’s nice and solid. Even as I desperately see-sawed my wheel back and forth in DiRT 2 whilst screaming at the top of my lungs (DiRT 2.0 in VR is scary, ya’ll) the Apex barely budged. I can’t comment on how well it will hold up to a direct-drive wheel since they can exert some impressive levels of force, but for myself it was fantastic and a considerable step up from the basic Next Level Lite stand I had been using.
The best feature of the GT Omega Apex for me is how much adjustment there is for the pedals. You can have it anywhere from flat to vertical. Personally, I use a Logitech G920 which has a very stiff brake pedal. When laying flat or even at a slight angle it’s difficult to exert enough pressure on the brake, but with the Apex I could angle it much higher and that wound up improving my braking massively. There’s also plenty of room to slide the pedals forward or backward, so between that an angling the whole platform you have heaps of room to get the pedals situated just right.
There’s only the slightest amount of flex in the pedal plate, even when applying heaps of pressure. That’s a fine testament to the overall build quality of the Omega Apex.
The wheel itself gets mounted on a solid metal plate that comes pre-drilled for all the major brands, although obviously you should always double check that your chosen wheel is supported. On the plate itself you get a nice amount of tilt adjustment so that you can angle your wheel however you like. As for the height, you can raise the bar from 67cm to 86cm, which is reasonable, if not brilliant. Keep in mind that if you attach the included shifter mount, there’s slightly less adjustment available.
The shifter mount can be attached on either the left or right, and it sits quite low. I actually didn’t take that into consideration when using my normal chair, and wound up finding out I couldn’t change gear due to the armrests.
Along the top bar you’ll also see extra holes that have been drilled in, which GT Omega say are for people to mount anything they might want. There’s a couple of official accessories too, like a keyboard mount.
Folding the Apex up for storage is…challenging. Ideally it’s a two-person job, but you can manage on your own. You have to first loosen the two knobs holding the pedal plate in position that you can raise the plate before tightening it back up. Then it’s a case of lifting the weight a bit and using your foot to fold the two stands together. Personally I opted to leave the nuts that act as a hinge for the stands loose, because otherwise you need to grab the Allen key and wrench to loosen and tighten them every time you move the Apex around. Leaving them loose does mean you have to be careful when moving the apex around, but it’s a bit more convenient than the alternative. Some sort of quick-release system for the hinge would have been much easier to use. However, I’m not an engineer and perhaps GT Omega couldn’t come up with something easier that was also strong enough.
At 16KG without a wheel and pedals attached the Apex is not exactly a lightweight piece of kit, nor is it small. This certainly hampers the ease of storage a little, but the good news is that GT Omega also sell locking castors that fit onto the bottom of the Apex stand, making it much easier to move around. Honestly, I would like to have had these included in the box given the £150 price tag.
In short, packing away the Omega Apex isn’t as easy as it is with other, smaller stands, but the trade-off is a more stable platform for your driving antics. Just make sure you’ve got space for it. Fully set up the Apex is 80cm high, 55cm wide and 69cm (nice) long. But even though it isn’t the easiest thing to do, being up to fold up your stand with the wheel and pedals still attached is great for anyone who doesn’t have the luxury of leaving everything setup.
My only other issue is that noise from the shifter seems to get amplified by the whole unit. To be fair, the whole thing is made of metal so every sound from your wheel, pedals and shifter is going to transfer through it. The included rubber feet help alleviate some noise being sent straight into the floor, but if might be worth getting a rubber mat or something to help muffle it.
Overall the GT Omega Apex wheel stand is a fantastic product, albeit one that comes with a price tag almost as substantial as its build-quality. To put it simply, I probably wouldn’t recommend the Apex to everyone, not because it isn’t well-made or a great wheel stand but because it’s an expensive purchase if you aren’t planning on using it a lot. If you only bust out your wheel once a month it’s probably best to save some cash and go for a more basic option. But if you have found yourself getting into racing with a wheel and want something more solid then the Apex is worth every penny.