The growth of sim racing over the past three years has been nothing less than astounding. COVID turned into a pretty big motivation for people who were bored at home and wanted some kind of distraction from the day-to-day routine. NASCAR had postponed most of the season, but ended up working with Fox to create a substitute virtual series with a variety of drivers. One of the first winners was a guy who raced on a laptop with a Logitech G29/920 wheel. Shortly after those first few races, we saw some heavyweights start to kit out some impressive gear to give them a greater edge while taking laps in iRacing.
While not every racing fan is a NASCAR fan, controllers were soon selling out at a very rapid pace and we saw a rise in interest in other titles like DiRT Rally 2.0, rFactor 2, the F1 series, Asseto Corsa, and AC Competizione. Racing rigs also started selling at a higher level as well, as some users discovered they had extra space in their homes where they could set up a permanently mounted wheel and pedals, along with a larger monitor or TV. Desk clamps are fine to race with, but when dialing up the accuracy and using things like load cell brakes make the standard setup unreasonable and unworkable. Add in we are seeing Direct Drive units that are pushing 26 nm of force, something larger and sturdier is required.
Next Level Racing is an Australian company founded in 2009 to address sim racer needs with custom cockpits and accessories. They have grown over these years to be able to provide their products around the world. They have a wide array of products from a simple racing stand all the way to fully customizable extruded aluminum beam units and motion platforms that approach $7000 US. They have also entered the gaming chair market, which is also a lot of fun these days.
The product I am reviewing today is certainly on the low end of those prices, but it is certainly a necessary component for a wide variety of sim users. The NLR Lite Free Standing Monitor Stand (not exactly a mouthful, and not really redundant) is a $119 monitor stand that is aimed at the sim market. If you go on Amazon or Newegg and look for large monitor or TV stands, they are typically units meant for workplaces with a single post and 4 or 5 horizontal legs ending in castor wheels. The prices range from $75 to $150, but the design of these units are not conducive to effective placement of the monitor or TV when using a dedicated sim rig. Something is needed with a wider, more solid stance so that the bottom portion of the rig can fit comfortably under it.
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