I’ve been using the Thrustmaster TFRP pedals for a couple of years after my CH Pro Pedals became a bit glitchy after around ten years of use and many house moves. I got them with an £80 Amazon voucher that I was sent for signing up for a mobile phone contract, so in effect they were free. They owed me nothing. They still work, they’re still good and realistically I was still happy with them. However…I’d had my eye on some new pedals for some time. The only reason I hadn’t gone for any was the concern about my Obutto Ozone not accommodating them. I wasn’t actively looking for a new set, but I had always liked the look, and the sound of the reviews, of the Thrustmaster TPR pedals. So, when I was informed there was a set on eBay, barely used as they had been bought as a test for someone with a disability, I had to have a look. The price was too good to be true so I pulled the trigger.
I now have a set of Thrustmaster TPR pedals and this is my review of them after using them for about a month. I have to say from the outset that my fears about the pedals not fitting in the Ozone weren’t entirely unfounded either.
I can’t say too much about the packaging, it was obviously already open. However, they were sent in their original box and it seemed sturdy and it hadn’t received any damage despite having been through the postal system twice! The unit is well supported in polystyrene and the components each have their own separate compartments so they’re not to going to suffer major damage unless they’re involved in something serious.
I have to say that after the reviews I’d watched I expected them to be heavier when I took them out of the box. They are of all metal construction and very solid. You need to attach the pedals yourself, but this is no bad thing as it introduces you to the flexibility of the system. The pedals themselves are adjustable in three areas:
- Brake axis can be adjusted vertically – pedals can be more or less upright.
- The height of the pedals can also be adjusted
- The spring resistance can be adjusted at the back
Unfortunately, I have not been able to try out all of the different settings due to the restrictions from my chair…I did measure before I bought them, but I also bought them in the knowledge that I have plans for a simpit that would see the front half of the frame removed or adapted, meaning that they will fit in time and it would’ve been a mistake to pass them up at the price I found them.
The reviews that I’d read and watched all said that there was no issue with the unit sliding on the floor because of their weight. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case for me, which is why there is an old camera box behind the unit, this has since been replaced with a hard back book that I had two copies of as this doesn’t interfere with the movement! The pedals are on an oak floor and they move, as much as the Ozone will allow them to. I’ve not tested them on carpet, but I have stuck some anti-slip feet on the bottom but this also doesn’t seem to have made much difference. One key thing to note is that the pedals do come with holes for bolting or screwing them down – I just won’t do that to this floor!
As you can see from the above images my space is very restricted and I’m finding it very frustrating when taxiing that I cannot use rudder and brake at the same time. When I am flying some of the WW2 aircraft, such as the Spitfire, I have the wheel brakes on the right pedal. It’s something that I have done for years and it’s getting very frustrating while on the ground. I have been in touch with some local metal workers to see if I can make adjustments to the Ozone to allow it to accommodate the pedals but I’m still waiting for a quote.
However, my particular circumstances don’t really impact on most people that will be interested in the pedals. The feel of them is superb, they’re light and there is no discernible centre notch or position when they’re in use. I haven’t adjusted the springs on the back, though this is another area of user preference, as I am very happy with the feel. What I do find different, though, is they seem to require a lot of travel before they make much of an impact on your ground handling. Whereas with my old pedals I had no issue getting a Mirage 2000 to turn 180 on the ground now I seem to need a lot more space. I’ve also struggled in IL2 as well, with the Typhoon, Tempest and Spitfire all needing a lot of rudder to do anything, pretty much to full deflection; and this in turn causes me the issues as I definitely can’t use the brake axis! Ironically, I don’t have much issue taxiing the Bf109 as they have a decent braking system using both pedals, as a result I can turn using the brakes or rudder, unlike the RAF aircraft.
Once up in the air the TPRs are superb, they’re incredibly precise and responsive. They make helicopter flights much easier and it’s really comfortable to hold with some rudder in the whole time if you need to. The movement of the pedals feels far more natural and the brake pedals give far better control than my previous pedals, both CH and TFRP. I need to keep tweaking the settings to try and improve the sensitivity on the ground, but playing with the Axis curves and settings doesn’t seem to be making a great deal of difference.
Overall, the only issues I’ve faced with this are down to the restrictions caused by my personal set up and not the pedals. If I could move the pedals fully I wouldn’t have an issue with ground handling. I have plans to resolve this, even if I can’t get someone to adjust the metalwork, but they’re going to take some time for me to create and put in place. When I do though I plan to have the pedals bolted down so that they can not move. The motion is superb, they are comfortable to rest your feet on in a long flight and they are very precise and have a high degree of accuracy when you need to make small adjustments, making them perfect for helicopter flights. I’m really pleased that I bought them and got them at such a good price. I know pretty much all controllers have been hard to come by for some time now but I think that these are so solid that finding a reliable second hand pair shouldn’t be a major cause for concern; the only issue will be the price that you may have to pay.
I’d really recommend these pedals, they should outlast most controllers and they feel great. It is quite an investment and even at the price I got them it’s more than I would like to pay for a controller, but they amount that I use them and depend on them makes it worthwhile in the long-run. I plan on using these for at least ten years and very much doubt I’ll be buying any other sets of pedals unless the unthinkable happens and they break somehow. The only comparison to another premium set of pedals I can make is a quick go with some MFG Crosswind pedals at a flight sim show at RAF Cosford a couple of years ago, I have to say that they felt superb and I definitely wanted a set after that! However, overall I think I prefer the Thrustmaster TPRs because of the completely different setup with the pendulum system. I know the MFGs are very customisable and I only had, at most, ten minutes using them on someone else’s PC. I wouldn’t turn them down if they were offered to me and I would be very happy with them but overall, I think the TPRs win out for me.