Direct drive is a simulator steering wheel that has a direct drive mechanism between the drive and output, meaning it has no gearing (as opposed to simulator steering wheels that have reduction gearing via gears or belts).
It is used similarly to other simulator steering wheels for torque feedback (often called “force” Feedback”), which gives the driver a way to sense what is happening to the car in the simulator through the movement of the steering wheel. It is a demonstration of haptic technology and human-machine interaction in driving simulators, racing simulators, and racing video games.
Are direct drive wheels good?
The most expensive and realistic virtual racing wheels are direct-drive wheels. Direct drive wheels offer a significantly more involved driving experience with stronger and smoother force input and less mechanical interference thanks to their internal construction.
Peak and nominal (holding) torque values for direct drive wheels can be higher. For instance, the Fanatec DD2 has a holding torque of 20 Nm and a peak torque of 25 Nm. Nearly 5 times higher than the belt-driven Fanatec CSL Elite, that peak figure is significant.