Published: May 12, 2014 at 4:27 PMThis makes me want to take a world tour to ride all the inverted coasters out there. My favorite at the moment is Montu. I love how it takes advantage of the ground, and it packs a thrill. I'll be riding Banshee this October. I can't wait to see what B&M can do now with the inverted design after years of not building one here in the states.... Time to go spend some time on YouTube. This was really well written... Thank you. I would love to see one on the hyper coasters with B&M.
Published: May 12, 2014 at 8:53 PMThanks Russell. Really appreciate the topic of this well written article. I have been a fan of inverts since the early days and love the B&M incarnations of them. I've ridden a few of the Vekoma "hang and bang" designs and feel the nickname is well deserved.
I have experienced most of B&Ms mentioned in your article and have to say my favorite is Montu. Being avid skiers, my kids and I enjoyed the theming of Alpengeist but felt that bigger did not always mean better. I hope to make it up to Kings Island soon to try out both Banshee and Diamondback.
Published: May 13, 2014 at 8:09 AMGreat article, Russell! I appreciate the research and the thoughtful analysis.
If a park has a B&M inverted coaster, that's usually my first and most frequent coaster ride of the day. They're a great way to start and end the day at a theme park. As far as the Vekoma inverts go, what a disappointment. I'll ride them, but Vekoma inverts look paltry when compared to B&M inverts.
The double LIM launch element to Volcano: The Ride is awesome, and then they do so little with the subsequent elements. It's a shame they waste all of that kinetic energy on weak elements around the volcano when the ride would be more visually appealing if the track were routed away from the mountain, and a few more loops and rolls were added in before the track returns to the volcano.
Published: May 13, 2014 at 11:02 AMThe Vekomas are really complete crap, so much so that I was unable to find any photos amongst the thousands of theme park pictures I have in my digital collection (I think I have a slide somewhere from Geauga Lake, but I'm still in the process of digitally converting my slides).
The second half of Volcano makes sense thematically since the train slowly makes it's way around the volcano like lava oozing down the side of a summit. It's not the most interesting or exciting, particularly after the amazing launch, but it works in context. The fact that the designers built the coaster around an existing structure (former Haunter River shoot the chutes attraction), meant they were probably limited with what they could do with the layout. They also had to work around another roller coaster, Avalanche, directly adjacent. Volcano has a very interesting history...Intamin was a little ahead of their time (similar to what happened with Top Thrill Dragster) and the first year of Volcano's operation occurred with trains with half the number of seats as originally designed. The launch (there was initially just one) was not powerful enough to reliably push a fully loaded train over the top, so to reduce weight, the even numbered rows were removed, meaning the capacity was 8 people per train. When they finally added the second booster launch, right before the track twists upwards, the master controls had difficulty timing the second launch to actually accelerate the trains, and frequently it would slow the train because of the poor timing. It took nearly 3 years to get it right, but it's been running pretty consistently since. Lesson---Don't expect to run an Intamin coaster at full capacity in the first year plus of operation.
Published: May 13, 2014 at 11:19 AMExcellent article, Russell. And I'm glad that you mentioned several coasters of particular interest to me. It took about two years from the time I took up riding coasters to the time that I had any interest in riding inverts and I used to stand on the loading platform of Nitro and watch Batman, feeling very glad that I wasn't on Batman. Now I feel completely differently about Batman, which gets high marks for intensity. I didn't think that anything about Volcano was pedestrian; the 155-foot rollout was, after all, the longest inversion on any coaster until it was broken by Gatekeeper last year. It was on the trip on which I rode Gatekeeper that I first rode Raptor. I'd always bypassed Raptor because there were coasters I found more interesting but the queue was short and blimey, that turned out to be one good ride. As to Talon, this is one of my favourite coasters of all time - which is a good thing, as I'll be participating in Coasting For Kids at Dorney on June 8 and Talon is one of the three that will be part of the marathon.
Published: May 13, 2014 at 1:54 PMTalon is seriously underrated. The finishing helix is one of the best on any roller coaster, invert or not (right up there with Goliath/Titan and Drachen Fire (lament). I love it because it's so quiet. When it test runs in the morning with no passengers, you can be standing right next to the sign and not know it's running until you see the train fly past. When there are people on it, the only thing you hear is the people screaming, which is a big departure from most B&M's which have a distinctively loud roar, which gets louder over the years (Kumba is practically deafening these days).
Published: May 14, 2014 at 5:34 AMGood point Russell, about the track on Avalanche affecting what Kings Dominion could do with the layout of Volcano. They're closer than I realized, and with Flight of Fear limiting any track going to the south, I quess they did about the most they could with the existing space and structure.
I also didn't realize that they added the second set of LIMs on the approach to the volcano at a later date. It seems odd that Intamin didn't over-engineer the original design, but I suspect that limited funding coupled with the fact that the ride goes into a hard turn right after the first set of LIMs set a ceiling on what they could originally do.
You and Bobbi are spot on about Talon. A great coaster in a nice park that doesn't seem to get the appreciation that they deserve. There seems to be an unwritten rule in eastern Pennsylvania that families go to Hersheypark and teenagers go to Dorney. I don't get it, because Dorney has a nice atmosphere with a good mix of rides.
Rollercoaster enthusiasts in the Washington D.C. area are so lucky. Six Flags America nearby (okay, maybe not so lucky), and Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Hersheypark, Dorney Park, Knoebels, and Kennywood all within a few hours drive.