I don't do a lot of hardware reviews. In fact, I'm not really a hardware expert, I just know what I like. As example, I love using the Windows version of the Xbox controller in MAME games (not as fun as normal arcade controls, but great for some specific games).
Anywho, I have tried for a while to get a steering wheel set-up I liked. I have tried a few and returned them. There was no great way to mount them, and/or I didn't like the responsiveness and/or I didn't like the separate pedals and/or I didn't like the ease of integration into the machine I play on. I was very excited to try the Xbox wireless Speed Wheel when it came out last year (even though it lacked a lot of buttons/options) BUT, it requires Windows 7 and the set-up I play on is XP.
Enter the SRW-S1. Can't even tell you how I first saw it, but I think it was a suggestion on Amazon. Of course the great thing about buying this kind of crap on Amazon is no-hassle, no reason returns - so there's nothing to lose by giving it a try.
Just look at the thing!
First, the quasi-tech stuff. It's completely plug-n-play. I plugged into an XP machine and a Win7 machine and in both cases it was immediately recognized and worked flawlessly. That's it!
The front of the wheel has 15 buttons, an 8-way hat switch (aka a D-pad), a sensitivity-setting dial, and two other dial controls for game specific stuff. On the back, it has 4 paddles. Two are analog (default for acceleration and brake) and two are switches (gear up and down).
The wheel was designed specifically for the online racing game simraceway.com. But I haven't even played that. It works perfectly with just about any PC racing game (check their list out). I played Outrun 2006 with it and had a blast.
Most importantly, as you would imagine, all the analogs and buttons are programmable in MAME, so you can go crazy customizing the wheel for any racing (or other game). I tried many (F1 games, Ground Effects, too many to name) and most were awesome. I even tried it as a dial/spinner on some games and played Tac/Scan with it and it worked great there, too.
Keep in mind I am NOT a driving game expert and have never had an elaborate setup. I can't compare it to more expensive stuff and I can't speak from expertise of long hours of racing. All I can say is that as an amateur, kick-the-tires kind of player I had a crapload of fun with the wheel. It was about $100.
There are some videos here... You can watch folks steering the wheel and the effect on the games they are playing.
Nice to have this in my control arsenal.