2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Best Inverted Coaster?

January 24, 2012, 8:52 AM · We're back to the roller coasters today in the 2012 Theme Park Insider Tournament. Today, we're voting for the best Bolliger & Mabillard Inverted Coaster. Here are the top five nominees, based on Theme Park Insider reader ratings.

Afterburn - at Carowinds


Dragon Challenge - at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Dragon Challenge

Montu - at Busch Gardens Tampa


Nemesis - at Alton Towers


Raptor - at Cedar Point


Tomorrow: What's the best theme park movie attraction?

Replies (46)

January 24, 2012 at 8:58 AM · Alpengeist at Busch Gardens Europe is far better than Dragon Challenge and arguably Montu.
January 24, 2012 at 9:02 AM · Sigh
January 24, 2012 at 9:12 AM · Even though Dragon Challenge is at a better park, Montu is definitely the best coaster on this list.
January 24, 2012 at 9:12 AM · Whatever, I cannot believe that the Big Bad Wolf is on here! Even thought it's gone it is still the best!!! (Please note sarcasm) I appreciate your unbiased way of doing things Robert. Also, I was incredibly surprised by Montu the first time I rode it a few years ago. I like dragon challenge, but I harbor a little resentment that they no longer duel and the only changes to it for WWHP was the queue.
January 24, 2012 at 9:19 AM · Montu is better than Dragon Challenge I feel. Have never ridden the rest. Montu wins for me.
January 24, 2012 at 9:23 AM · I love inverteds! For me, this is easy. Montu is just, flat out, the most fun ride I have ever had. I could make a trip right now just to ride Montu again and again. Raptor and Dragon Challenge are very nice, as is Alpengeist (which is not on the list, I know), but nothing beats the perfection that is Montu.
January 24, 2012 at 9:30 AM · its a shame more people haven't visited nemesis at alton towers because i believe it is far superior to the rest of the rides in this competition.
January 24, 2012 at 9:30 AM · I was hoping I'd get to vote for Alpengeist today but I suppose instead I'll go for the other Busch inverted coaster in its place. Maybe I'll try rallying the BGW fans with a Colbert-esque campaign: "A vote for Montu is a vote for Alpengeist."
January 24, 2012 at 9:31 AM · They are all Great! This is like picking your favorite child….
January 24, 2012 at 9:32 AM · Montu and Afterburn are definitely the best on the list. Dragon Challenge is a brilliant concept (well, it was back when it dueled) but that doesn't change the fact that taken individually both coasters are weak. I never got the love for Raptor or Alpengeist - the elements don't flow smoothly together. And, like 95 percent of the people voting, I've never ridden Nemesis but good for Alton Towers getting into the mix.

As far as coasters that should be on the list but aren't, I think Six Flags' Batman clones are exceptional coasters. They've hurt the brand by cloning them so much, but there's a very good reason these things keep getting cloned: they deliver the goods in a fast, tight package. The success of those coasters undoubtedly helped pave the way for Montu and Afterburn.

January 24, 2012 at 9:34 AM · Its all about Montu. Very pleased to see Nemesis on the list though.
January 24, 2012 at 9:36 AM · I've ridden both Montu and Nemesis and I have to say that whilst Montu is several times bigger - longer, higher, etc. - there's just no comparison between the two rides. Nemesis was built with incredible constraints on height forcing Alton Towers to dig deep into the ground to construct the ride. The result is a coaster that plays with your mind as well as subjecting you to some of the most powerful forces I've ever felt on any coaster. The intensity of Nemesis can't be over-stated. The setting, the design and the sheer thrill of it leaves Montu standing, (and I say that as someone who loved Montu). Dragon Challenge was a great idea - (duelling inverts) - but it's brilliance was all around the close encounters. The actual theming, the design, the trackwork was all secondary to the moment of meeting. It doesn't compare either, and neither track is as viscerally thrilling to ride as Nemesis.
I know this site has a built-in bias towards the USA, (not surprising since most of its followers are based there), so most of you probably won't have ridden Nemesis, but trust me - it's the best coaster on the planet, despite its age.
January 24, 2012 at 9:39 AM · If Dragon Challenge were still dueling, it would of gotten my vote, but I voted Montu.
January 24, 2012 at 9:59 AM · I havent been on it for a while but Nemesis! It was a close call with Montu (agree with the comment that it would be Dragon Challenge if it was still duelling) but the geography just edged it. Great for us UK readers to have a look-in at the votes.
Nemesis is probably the best ride in a theme park in the UK.
(Not that we have much to choose from!)
January 24, 2012 at 10:13 AM · Montu and Dragon Challenge ... FLORIDA REPRESENTS!
January 24, 2012 at 10:19 AM · I'm a fan of Alpengeist as well, great theming and bigger than most other inverts you encounter, but Montu is probably best overall. Do you have something against Alpie? This must be a hard segment of the tourney for you Robert, I know you are not a fan of inverted coasters.
January 24, 2012 at 10:35 AM · I can't believe Nemesis is 4th! I really was disappointed in Montu, definitely preferred Alpengiest.
January 24, 2012 at 10:37 AM · When you look at how Alpengiest and probably another inverted coaster or 2 were left out of the tournament despite having a rating of 9, it makes you realize just how good B&M is at consistently making great coasters.
January 24, 2012 at 10:43 AM · So happy to see my favorite invert, Afterburn, as part of the vote. I didn't think it would be there. None of the others on this list comes close, Nemesis being the only one I HAVEN'T been on. I'd rank SFGAdv's Batman and Dorney's Talon ahead of any of the other choices here, although I did enjoy Montu and Raptor. I thought Dueling Dragons was a bit blah, and even more so now that they don't race.
January 24, 2012 at 10:53 AM · Robert, didn't you say you will not ride an inverter coaster? You're right that you can't see ahead when you're in the back seats. So maybe this is just a ride in the dark and this poll doesn't matter.
January 24, 2012 at 10:54 AM · I voted for dragon challenge even though it bums me out that they do not duel anymore thanks to some knuckleheads.

Robert, what kind of coaster would Manta at Sea World Orlando be considered? I love that ride!

January 24, 2012 at 11:02 AM · I've only been on Afterburn and Raptor, and Afterburn is definitely the better of the two. Unfortunately, it's also the one at the least major park so it probably doesn't stand a chance.
January 24, 2012 at 11:10 AM · Patriot and Alpengeist were the next two on the list, and it was close.

Furthermore, Dragon Challenge's been dropping since the dueling element went away, so who knows if it would have made the cut if the tournament had started in March?

That said, I'm glad that so many readers are stepping up here to campaign for their favorites since I'm no help in this category.

January 24, 2012 at 12:07 PM · I vored for After Burn (Top Gun) so I am again in the minority..... Carowinds is probably considered my home park and maybe I am being biased.... but it is probably one of the better attractions there.... it is unique and when they built it it really impacted the look of that area of the park. I think it's cool that is is a fun ride to see for the people not on the ride..... there are a lot of places to see the ride as it pretty much surrounds the people walking up through the back gate area. I will say Montu also looks pretty awesome.
January 24, 2012 at 12:12 PM · Also I will give a shout out to Black Mamba at Phantasialand that looks like it would be awesome based on what the swooping around the different buildings and fixtures. Looks like it would be a neat customer to see in a park. I guess since it is overseas and most of us have not had much chance to go there that it does not get as much recognition (I rarely hear that park talked about on here).... but I'd like to see some report or something (or even just some info or an article) for someone on this site who has info on that park or who has been there.
January 24, 2012 at 12:31 PM · There was enough commentary about Nemesis that I had to do some research. It does indeed look like a uniquely fun ride, however you gotta give it some major demerits for the dilapidated condition of both the track and the grounds. Yuck! Is the rest of the park that much of a pit?

(On a side note, Patriot at Worlds of Fun, as far as I can tell, is exactly the same layout as Talon at Dorney. A good ride, but not long enough to be considered great).

Anyway, of the remaining coasters I gotta go with Montu but mainly as a "no" vote to Non-Dueling Dragons. I would have probably picked Alpengeist as my favorite inverted given the opportunity (sorry, Robert).

One note about Montu, the layout incorporates a "batwing" element (Afterburn has one as well, I think...), which was pioneered on the Orient Express coaster (called a Kamikaze Curve, back then) at my very own local park, Worlds of Fun. Much of my hatred of Cedar Fair stems from the fact that they came in and tore the Orient down without so much as moment to reflect and say goodbye.

Curse you Cedar Fair and all your stationary carnivals.

January 24, 2012 at 12:43 PM · I am speaking out of complete ignorance, as I have never visited Alton Towers, but in response to James Rao's comment about a demerit for Nemesis due to the condition of the track, etc.: Isn't this a part of the theming? I don't think there is any reason that a modern B&M invert would get rusty like that naturally. The theme is some kind of swampy creature, right? and there is bloody water, etc. Plus, in the photo, look at the theming on the cars themselves. They look green/grey and dilapidated, and match perfectly the rusty track. Slapping a shiny coat of paint on a coaster is the easiest thing in the world to do, and the landscaping in Nemesis looks more than a little expensive. My guess is that the rust is fake and a part of the theming. Can anyone confirm?
January 24, 2012 at 12:53 PM · I'm from scotland and i rate montu and dragon challenge above nemesis it is good but i prefer dragon challenge even though the two coasters are now staggered that gets my vote
January 24, 2012 at 1:50 PM · voted for Montu although I still prefer Batman since its more accesable to me and I can get on far more tmes
January 24, 2012 at 3:27 PM · Interesting Duel between Montu and Dragon Challenge. Montu has the best track design. Dragon Challenge used to have the astonishing "Duel" Feature. Voted upon last year, with the DUEL, for Dragon Challenge.
January 24, 2012 at 3:35 PM · I've ridden all of the coasters except Nemesis. It has been a few years since I road Afterburn at Carowinds (it was still called Top Gun, but it is by far the smoothest, best flowing coaster I've ever ridden. No banging your head on the seats or restraints, and no jarring moves. Just a very clean ride. It was very easy to ride over and again. Montu is a good coaster, and the roar of the cars on the tracks is different than any other coaster, but I found it would bang me up after two consecutive rides. I don't want to get off a coaster with a headache that prevents me from ridding more rides.

Robert, for future votes it would be interesting in collecting the number of voters that have actually ridden each ride. Sometimes people vote for a ride because it is the only one in the list that they have ridden. It would be interesting to see the percentage of voters that have ridden each ride.

January 24, 2012 at 3:37 PM · I've been on all the best inverted coasters in the united states. Montu is by far the best. It does everything a coaster lover wants out of an inverted. Its also very well themed. Love the ride a lot and love Busch Gardens. Both of the busch garden parks, and even the sea world coasters have amazing world class coasters. I will say that busch gardens surpasses animal kingdom by a long shot. It perfected the whole animal park without it being a zoo. Also, let me just say this, I havnt been to any international parks at all, so I did ride Nemisis on youtube and let me just say.... WOW!!!! That looks pretty gosh darn good. I love that affect of going faster without the ride actually looking that tall.
January 24, 2012 at 4:07 PM · Anonymous poster, I did try to confirm that the dilapidated look for Nemisis was indeed its theme (a tactic used quite often at Six Flags Saint Louis...heh heh), but could not find any corroborating evidence. However, if dilapidated is the theme, then the park is doing a GREAT job and I stand corrected.

Regarding the landscaping, other than the one big prop I did not see anything about the landscaping that looked expensive (the coaster was built for $15 mil which is about average for a B&M inverted - Patriot cost $14 mil - and would not allow for much in the way of special theming). Again, please feel free to correct me if I am wrong. Heck, TH Creatve does it all the time (even when I am NOT wrong).

January 24, 2012 at 4:07 PM · I liked Montu and DC equally. DC should be two separate categories.... Fire and Ice ..... errr..... I mean Chinese Fireball and the Hungarian Horntail...
January 24, 2012 at 4:41 PM · Dueling Dragons would have gotten my vote, but today it goes to Montu.
January 24, 2012 at 5:14 PM · Would have voted for Dragon Challenge but it lost its appeal once the dueling stopped. Not sure who made it but Superman at Six Flags over GA. is amazing.
January 24, 2012 at 5:53 PM · I've ridden all but nemesis, and my favorite is Montu. That's the coaster that got me started on my coaster kick in 2000 and I'm still going to a theme park 5 or 6 times a year to get my fix. I love the theming of the queue and the various segments of the track that go below ground all match that level of theming.

Second would be Afterburn, which is at my 'home' park of carowinds. It's just a great smooth fast inverted coaster.

Next would be dragon challenge. it was more fun when they dueled, but overall the individual coasters just don't measure up to the best inverted coasters.

Raptor is a good coaster, but it's a little too twisty/windy and rough for me.

Alpengeist (not on the list) is a great ride as well. not quite as good as afterburn, but close. Big Bad Wolf was a fun coaster that used the terrain well. (Does that count as an inverted coaster? If so, then Iron Dragon at Cedar point was just plain fun, even though it was nothing special other than it zipped through the trees and never had a line, so you could ride it over and over again.)

January 24, 2012 at 6:26 PM · I just find inverted coasters dizzying so I don't really enjoy them. Therefore, I went with Montu simply because the Egyptian theming around the ride looks interesting.

Also, if we're going to downgrade Everest and Indy Jones at Disneyland for "broken" elements, I think the same should be done for Dragon Challenge. Granted, the tracks no longer duel for safety reasons but a major draw of this ride was the near collisions.

January 24, 2012 at 8:09 PM · I think out of all of these Raptor is probably the weakest.

Tough Catagory!

January 24, 2012 at 8:27 PM · Tracy, Big Bad Wolf is usually considered a "suspended" coaster rather than inverted. Oh how terribly I miss that ride...
January 24, 2012 at 8:28 PM · For folks asking about Manta and Superman, those are flying coasters and they'll be featured in the January 30 competition. As far as Big Bad Wolf and Iron Dragon, those are suspended coasters and there unfortunately isn't a category in this tournament for that particular style.
January 24, 2012 at 9:55 PM · I have ridden all of these coasters, with the exception of Nemesis. I have also ridden Alpengeist a number of times. Being an inverted coaster fan (as well as a skier), I expected to Alpengeist to easily be my favorite. But it simply proved the old adage, "bigger is not always better". With all that having been said, Montu always ends up at the top of my list.

I think anonymous poster said it best..

"I've been on all the best inverted coasters in the united states. Montu is by far the best. It does everything a coaster lover wants out of an inverted. Its also very well themed. Love the ride a lot and love Busch Gardens. Both of the busch garden parks, and even the sea world parks have amazing world class coasters".

Took the words right out of my mouth. Even though Busch Gardens Tampa does not have a large number of coasters, the ones that they do have are outstanding (with Gwazi being the exception, due to aging).

By the way, props to Afterburn for making the list. A great coaster for a smaller market park like Carowinds. We have made a few trips there from Atlanta during the past 10 years. Can't wait to experience the new 200+ ft. Intimidator.

January 25, 2012 at 4:29 AM · Surprising how Raptor is ahead of Nemesis...
They are at 2 different leagues...(in my opinion)
January 25, 2012 at 7:31 AM · Gwazi is actually MUCH better than it used to be now that it has Millennium Flyer trains. It's not going to compete for "best wood" anytime soon, but it inflicts considerably less pain than it used to. If you get the opportunity, do give Gwazi another chance. It deserves it.
January 25, 2012 at 9:28 AM · At least the worthy coaster Montu one this one instead of the underwhelming Dragon Challenge. Points for an interesting queue and theme, but when it comes down to the actual ride, it's at least the third best on the list, especially now that the dueling part is gone. Raptor is almost 20 years old and is still more fun than Dragons ever was.

There aren't a whole lot of differences between Raptor and Montu. Both are longer, drawn out coasters in the open air, as opposed to the compact nature of Nemesis and Dragons. Montu was built a couple of years after Raptor though, and has a little more size, speed, and kick to it...which is why it got my vote.

January 26, 2012 at 5:02 AM · I'm a huge fan of Battlestar Galactica: Cylon at Universal Studios Singapore.

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