Is the VNM Handbrake V1 the Best USB PC Handbrake for Your Sim Racing Rig?

Pros and Cons


  • Solid, high quality Sim Racing Handbrake
  • Precise feel for accurate modulation of handbrake application
  • Sleek design with small footprint
  • Progressive feel throughout the range of throw
  • One software package to manage all VNM products


  • Software is a little over complicated
  • Removing spring stack is quite tricky
  • No mounting options on the bottom of the unit

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Fanatec Clusport Handbrake VS VNM Load Cell Handbrake

Should you buy the Fanatec or VNM?

This is by no means a cheap handbrake, but does represent very good value considering the quality you are getting.

In comparison to the Fanatec Clubsport Handbrake V1.5 you are getting a big jump in quality for the added cost.  From the refined edges, smooth pivot points and silent operation, through to the progressive feel. For anyone who will utilise being able to modulate a handbrake accurately, this is well worth the extra money.

Build quality

Like the VNM Shifter Sequential and H Pattern Shifter the Handbrake V1 boasts an impressive build quality. The thick aluminium construction has been very well finished with smooth CNC machining throughout.  This is a big positive for the VNM over the similarly priced BJ Sim Racing Handbrake 2.0 which has very sharp edges.

A 200kg Mavin Load Cell will provide an accurate reading to your sim without risk of being overloaded.

Mounting options

VNM have provided mounting holes on the back and sides of the Handbrake V1.  Unfortunately the USB connection will prevent you from mounting on the bottom of the unit.

A side mount bracket is available for an additional US$23 / AU$25 which works very well with the VNM shifter and will also provide plenty of mounting options to bolt directly on to an aluminium profile cockpit.

VNM Handbrake Mount
BJ Sim Racing Load Cell Handbrake


Sim Racing Handbrakes generally do not require or have much adjustment, but the VNM has covered everything you might need.  The spring stack has pre-load adjustment which can quickly and easily be dialled in to your liking.  More pre-load will increase the force required to start the movement of the handbrake at the cost of some overall progression.

The optional “Pro Kit” gives you an additional 4 metal springs of varying stiffness as well as a stiffer elastomer spring.  These are quite big steps in overall stiffness and in our opinion the original spring set felt best.  It is hard to imagine many people will need to spend the additional US$39 / AU $69 for the added adjustability however the Pro Kit also includes the 90° handle conversion kit.

In addition to the option of the 90° handle, you can fine tune the angle of the handle with by rotating the cylindrical bump stop on the back of the handbrake. This gives you around 25° of adjustment.

All other adjustments are software based.  The VNM software gives you the ability to change your dead zone and max input as well as adjusting the sensitivity curve.

VNM Handbrake Sim Racing

Driving Experience

The VNM Handbrake V1 provides a very authentic, smooth, and progressive feel comparable to much more expensive hydraulic handbrakes.  It will definitely give you all the feeling you need to modulate your handbrake inputs to perfection.

The smooth and quiet operation means the VNM Handbrake will serve its purpose without distraction.  The high quality finish feels smooth in your hand and the smart design should make it easy to position close to your wheel.

VNM Handbrake Driving Test

Which Handbrake Should You Buy

The final decision of which Sim Racing Handbrake you should buy for your rig comes down to a few things:

  • Do you really need it?

    • No doubt the VNM handbrake gives an excellent driving experience.  But will the kind of driving you do make the most of that?
    • While the Fanatec Clubsport Handbrake is inferior in quality and performance, it may do the job if your driving does not require a high level of handbrake modulation.
  • Will it work well with your cockpit?

    • This is a very attractive bit of sim racing gear with a sleek design that will work very well aesthetically and ergonomically on most rigs.  Particularly if you are running an aluminium profile cockpit, or looking to match it with the VNM Sequential and H Pattern Shifter.
    • You may need to get creative if you are on a desk-mounted sim rig, and in our opinion, this handbrake is probably overkill if you are racing at a desk.  Your creativity may also be required on some lightweight or modular cockpits.  It is important to make sure you think through how you’re going to mount this before committing.

Where to buy your VNM or Fanatec Handbrake

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