Aiologs Shifter 2020 Model | Sim Racing Shifter Review
Back in the deep recesses of history, November to be precise, I made a video comparing 5 sim racing shifters. In that video I had some nice things to say about the Aiologs sequential shifter, and promised I would make a full review in due-course. And, since it’s the second of January and I’m still sticking to my new-years resolutions, today I’m keeping that promise!
Before we get into the details, it’s important to clarify that Aiologs did send me this shifter for review, but as always, that has no impact on what I have to say about the product.
So, let’s begin at the beginning. If you don’t know, Aiologs are a small Russian company that, at the time of writing this makes just two products, a sim racing shifter and a handbrake that I’ll be featuring in a video a little bit later on in the year. I’m going to front load this review by giving you 4 reasons that this shifter is worth serious consideration for sim racing setup.
First up, it’s incredibly well made. It has a better shifting feel than almost any other sequential shifter on the market. It comes with a great selection of mounting options. And, it’s also really, really competitively priced.
Aiologs Shifter Build Quality
If I had to sum up the build quality of the Aiologs shifter in one word, that word would be ‘tank’. Much of the unit is constructed from Steel, be it the thick, stainless steel plate used in the body and mounting options, or regular high carbon steel in some of the machined parts. And it’s all chonkey sections of steel too, no kit-kat wrappers masquerading as real materials, unlike most modern cars!
The top window is made of what looks like Polycarbonate, which is plenty rugged and allows you to look into the nicely machined workings of the unit which Aiologs have handily lit with RGB lighting. All in all everything feels very solid.
The fitment of parts is pretty much as good as I’ve seen, which means there’s no play in anything when it’s all assembled. In fact everything is so rugged, solid and well built that it’s helped highlight that my rig’s shifter arm really does need an extra point of attachment, since the aluminium extrusion flexes a little when shifting. This isn’t really a problem in use, but it looks pretty bad when on camera!
For me, this shifter really looks and feels the part. Sure, it’s a bit industrial looking, which may be off-putting for some. Maybe you prefer the look of injection moulded plastic?
Mounting The Aiologs Shifter
Aiologs thoughtfully provide mounting options for those that sim race at desk, or with dedicated rigs. The Desk mount clamp is constructed from the same plate stainless steel as the rest of the unit and is as rugged as you would expect. You will need to use something to help protect your desk though, as in a fight with your Ikea Linnmon table top, this is going to win with a first round knock out. Hell, this would probably take the belt at the weigh in. Suffice to say, once you clamp it down, the shifter is staying put!
For those with a dedicated rig, the mounting plate is drilled with aluminium extrusion rigs in mind, though I suspect this could easily be re-purposed for most commercial or home-brew chassis one way or another. The plate itself has been redesigned for 2020, with more mounting holes, and ultimately more options. Great!
Out of the box this is a PC only USB device. But if you’re interested in using more bespoke sim racing equipment on your Xbox One or PS4, then there is a third party product called drive hub which allows traditionally PC only sim-racing equipment to function properly on the Microsoft and Sony platforms which you should probably check out.
There’s not a lot to a sequential shifter in terms of function, it shifts up, it shifts down, and all of the models on the market achieve that much! But, for me the shifting feel of the Aiologs sequential shifter is really very good. The resistance of the shifter is significantly higher than most of its competitors. As you move the shifter the strong spring resistance increases until you reach the ‘click’ point and you feel a very tactile, mechanical jolt as the lever engages the mechanism and activates a shift. While the shifting is of course an electronic signal, this is one of the few units that comes close to having a convincing feeling of a mechanical system.
This accomplishes two things. First up, you feel significantly more hardcore as you’re banging through the gears and secondly, any chance of accidental double shifts are all but eliminated. There’s not a lot more to add here, it feels great, and it works well
As a final note, the new for 2020 model includes an improved shifter handle, with a longer throw and grub screw attachment to prevent the knob coming loose if you’ve got a gorilla grip. The knob itself has been redesigned as well, with a longer profile that’s more common in sequential shifters. Both of these are very positive improvements in my opinion.
That’s all well and good, but I’ve yet to mention the most impressive part of the Aiologs shifter, the price. In terms of function, materials and construction, this is up there with the best sim racing products, but the price point is very much designed to compete with mass market products from the likes of Thrustmaster and Fanatec. However, there’s nothing on the Aiologs shifter that’s been designed down to a price. And, at $165 at present, I think that’s remarkable. Dmitry informs me that this may rise by $5 at some point in the future, but even so, this represents impressive value for money.
Before I wrap things up, if you want a more in depth look at the shifter, you should watch Barry (Sim Racing Garage)’s video of the 2018 model, which as always he strips down to the bare components and gets way more technical than I do! If you do so, note how much the finishing has improved, and the various small iterative design improvements that have happened over the last two years. I’ve put a link to that video in the description for anyone that’s interested.
So to sum up, this is just a really well thought through product, that’s built like a tank, feels great to use and is more than fairly priced. There’s not much more to say than that! I’ll be taking a look at the handbrake a little bit later on in the year, so the content feed doesn’t get too repetitive, but for now I’ll add that it’s every bit as good as the shifter.