I love driving my Miata.
I can not state that enough. From the moment I first took it for a test drive, I immediately fell in love with the little roadster that could. I envisioned many miles of enjoyable, enthusiastic, driving in my future. But all of that idyllic dreaming was dashed the first full day I drove it. While I continued to love the Yata, unfortunately the driver’s compartment didn’t love me and my 5’10” frame and 32″ inseam. Surely the bromance had not faded so quickly between me and the Yata? Changes needed to be made to this relationship or it wasn’t going to last. First was a foamectomy to the driver’s seat to achieve a much needed lower seat height. Now my head was no longer in danger of smacking into the hardtop if I hit a bump, but my poor legs were still touching the steering wheel, resulting in my having to drive the car spread eagle like. Not exactly the recipe for driving bliss. More change was needed.
The stock steering wheel in a Miata is around 14″ in diameter. As a relic of the 90’s it looms large in the tiny car’s interior. The wheel wouldn’t be that much of an issue if the Miata came with a tilt steering wheel option, which the NA’s did not have. Only option available was to replace the wheel with something smaller. And since I was going to replace it, I decided to get something with some flair. The wheel I decided on is from a company called NRG Innovations. Not only does NRG make steering wheels but hubs and accessories as well, which I will talk about a bit later in this review. The wheel I decided on is the RST-009S-RS which is apart of the 330mm line. This wheel is D shaped and is 12.6″ in diameter, and covered in sweet Suede leather with red stitching. The D shape allows me further room under the wheel for my legs, and the suede/red stitching screams racecar, because why not? The wheel feels good in my hands, and is molded with thumb rests on the face of the wheel so you can get a good grip. I had my wheel choice sorted, but the next question was how was I going to mount it?
The stock steering wheel is mounted to the shaft with a locknut and the wheel itself is splined to mesh with the steering shaft. An aftermarket wheel has none of that. So the next step was to order a steering wheel hub. The hub is splined for the steering shaft, has connections to allow the horn to work, and for the hub to be bolted to the shaft. The hub that works for the Miata is model number SRK-100H. This hub is used for multiple vehicles, but for use on the Miata it requires a slight modification (check the installation video in the install section of this site), after that everything slides into place. The horn wire from the stock loom needs to be attached to the hub and then the other wire gets connected to the horn button. Then the wheel bolts to the hub and you are done. I could have stopped there, but I wanted to add one more thing that would make entry and egress easier.
Let me preface this by saying, I didn’t need a quick release. I wanted a quick release. I wanted it because racecar. Allow me to explain how one of these works.
The wheel is attached the larger hub, electrical connections for the horn and ground are made. The second smaller hub is bolted to steering hub from earlier that is bolted to the steering shaft. Put the two together and with an audible click the two hubs attach strongly together. To get out of the car, there is a button that is pushed in, at the same time there is a metal collar on the hub that is squeezed towards the driver, that releases the wheel from the hub. Now with the steering wheel out of the way, getting out of the car is made easier, especially if fixed back race seats are involved (in the business, that is known as foreshadowing).
I can safely say that after installation of all this, I have more room for legs, they no longer touch the steering wheel and I even have room to try heel/toe downshifting!
You will need a few extra bits if you are considering this for your own Miata, a resistor for the now removed airbag, that you can order from either GarageStar or Project G. Other than that, I am once again enjoying driving my Miata and the feeling is now mutual!