Speed! Intensity! Airtime!
That’s what coaster fans around the world routinely seek as they tour around trying to find the next great thrill ride that can deliver those attributes. Roller coaster fans are about to be treated to the next record-breaking scream machine as Carowinds has debuted Fury 325, a Bolliger and Mabillard creation that is billed as the tallest and fastest Giga coaster in the world. The 325-foot-tall steel monument to the coaster gods reaches speeds of 95 MPH with a first drop at 81 degrees. Trains negotiate a course loaded with camel back hills, overbanked turns, and a unique tunnel feature that dives under a newly configured park entrance.
Those who have been north of the border to Canada’s Wonderland will see a lot of similarities between Fury 325 and Leviathan, another B&M Giga. In fact, just like Canada’s Wonderland, Carowinds also has a B&M Hyper coaster, Intimidator. Just like at Canada’s Wonderland, Intimidator and Fury 325 load on opposite sides of the park to keep crowds spread out. However, while Leviathan and Fury 325 have a lot of similarities, there are also many differences. The first difference is that Fury 325 has been equipped with seat belts to accompany the standard clamshell lap restraint. I didn’t find the belt terribly intrusive, but I know some out there would prefer to enjoy the airtime unencumbered by a redundant restraint system. However, the seat belts are likely to increase load times as it’s an additional item staff must check before clearing trains to the lift. On a coaster equipped with three trains when running at maximum capacity, there’s liable to be stacking as the 3-minute, 25-second ride time will be a tough mark to reach to unload, load, secure, and check a 32-person train.
Once trains have been checked and cleared, riders are off on a very fast chain lift ride to the top. The 325-foot summit is reached in under a minute, and before riders have a chance to question their sanity, they are already plummeting down the steep and perilous first drop. The train gains speed at an incredible rate, and like many 300+ foot tall drop towers, riders will get that feeling that they’re approaching top speed only to feel continued acceleration as the train speeds towards the bottom. It is quite a sensation, and as the 95 MPH top speed is reached at the bottom of the hill, the wind in your face will remind you that you’re traveling far faster than you’ll ever legally drive on any highway in North America.
Before you know it, the train is slung skyward and into an overbanked right turn and a slight left turn down the second hill with a good pop of air.
As the train gets close to the ground again, riders again will get a feel for how fast they’re going as trees and track supports fly by at a more rapid pace. Then it’s time for the coaster’s signature move.
After a quick low-to-the-ground serpentine, the track banks to the left and rises over the park’s new entryway.
Then the riders are treated to an upward 180-degree turnaround that then plunges the train under the same entry through an underground tunnel.
This maneuver provides one of the best floating airtime opportunities on the coaster. After coming out of the tunnel, the track quickly goes through another upward left-banked turn and through a magnetic trim brake, which slows the train just enough to provide tons of ejector airtime on the subsequent camelback. The course finishes with a wide left turn and two quick airtime hills before returning to the station.
As with many of Cedar Fair’s big coasters, Fury 325’s theming is minimal but effective. The ride is supposed to evoke the flight of a hornet, and considering nearby Charlotte, North Carolina just got back the Hornets name for its NBA team, the hornet theme and accompanying tag line, “Feel the Sting” is quite appropriate for the ride. The teal and lime green track color scheme (two different track colors are pretty rare) is really interesting to look at from a wide view, as the top and bottom of the track appear to dance back and forth as you view the course, and are pretty close to the NBA Hornets' colors. The signage and design elements for the station feature numerous hexagonal/"honeycomb" patterns that further supports the theme, and the gift shop beneath the station is called The Hive. The theming is pretty solid for a Cedar Fair park, but most Carowinds guests are likely to be more interested in the thrills than any backstory.
As part of the park’s $50 million multi-year revitalization, Fury 325 represents an incredible addition to an already solid regional park. Unfortunately for the well-traveled coaster fan, the comparisons to Leviathan are inevitable, and Fury doesn’t quite measure up to B&M’s first Giga coaster. While Fury 325’s elements are all solid, and the dive and tunnel beneath the new entryway are excellent, they don’t quite measure up to Leviathan’s relentless speed and ejector air. Also, the longer circuit runs out of steam as the train goes over the last two hills at a much slower speed than other parts of the ride, ending with a bit of a thud compared to Leviathan's abrupt ending that begs thrill seekers to hop on for another spin.
I was hoping that the banked turn over the new entryway would provide a similar feeling to Leviathan’s low-slung airtime hill, but it just didn’t deliver. However, it’s hard to complain about a roller coaster that’s 325 feet tall and approaches the 100 MPH threshold. Fury 325 is still an amazing rush, and any coaster fan will be more than thrilled with Carowinds’ newest addition.Tweet
They say CF is planning on making Carowinds a top tier.
Outstanding review. One reason of many I visit TPI daily.
It does look like it slows down at the end quite a bit but still pretty sweet.
Good report. This justifies my having booked a flight to Charlotte during Frontier's two-day sale that ended yesterday. As to the restraints, if the lap bars on Fury 325 are as snug as those on Leviathan, the seat belts are indeed unnecessary, although I appreciate the perceived need to exercise an overabundance of caution. From the moment I took a seat on Leviathan I felt 100% secure and while the lap bars on Behemoth did not inspire as much confidence I thought that they were probably adequate to the task so that the seat belts were not mandatory.
Great review of the ride. I've been on most of the B&M Hypers in North America (only missing SFOG's Goliath and Fury 325) and they're my favorite type of coaster B&M produces. Leviathan, the closest comparison to Fury 325, is my second favorite of the bunch, and although you prefer Leviathan (the minority opinion, from what I've heard), I'm sure Fury 325 is still a top tier ride. It won't happen this year, but I'm hoping I'll be able to get back to Carowinds in the near future to experience this coaster for myself.
Also, in regards to the seatbelts, Cedar Fair added them to all of their B&M Hypers in 2014, so Leviathan, Intimidator, Diamondback, and Behemoth all have them now. I do think they are redundant, as no ride was built with them and no other B&M Hyper uses a secondary restraint (their lapbars are pretty much escape-proof), but if it will make the general public feel more secure then I guess it is a good choice. Based on my visit to Kings Island, they do slow dispatches a little but not significantly (think 90 seconds vs. 70-75 seconds).
AJ - Leviathan did not have seat belts in July 2014 when I rode last summer. They might have added them since, but Behemoth was the first one to get the belts in the chain so it seems odd if it was a chain-wide decision that one coaster would be exempt, perhaps they just hadn't gotten to it yet. It does seem the online concensus is that Fury is better, but I was talking to a few enthusiasts that had also ridden Leviathan within the past year and they agreed that they felt B&M's first giga was better. Online reviews are always going to make the newest thing seem better, especially when you were just wined and dined by a park, but I can certainly respect others feeling that Fury has something that they felt was missing from Leviathan, namely the longer layout with some extra airtime hills. BTW, I'll be checking the last B&M hyper off my list this summer when I finally get on Raging Bull - I know most don't really like it, but I'm still intrigued by the twister-style layout on a hyper as opposed to a down and back.
Bobbie - I think the biggest difference between the B&M Hypers and Gigas is not the actual lap bar, but the seat itself. There is more side wrapping/padding on the Gigas which create a more snug fit.
Russell - Interesting observation about the seats. I hadn't thought of that. On Nitro I never feel adequately restrained although after close to 100 rides on it I'm willing to trust that I'm not going to be catapulted into nothingness. Will be interested in reading your impressions of Raging Bull. It failed to live up to my expectations. I too liked the layout, as it was a refreshing change from other B&M hypers I've ridden, but the trim brakes on the second hill greatly detracted from the ride experience. In addition, I rode it the day after a storm that caused a major power outage in the area and the park was experiencing electrical problems all day, so what with the trim brakes and electrical issues it felt as if the ride had come to a virtual standstill.
Russell, I did a little research and discovered that Leviathan did not have seatbelts installed last year but will have them this year. The other three B&M Hypers in the chain all got seatbelts installed last year. I figured some of the Twitter impressions coming directly from the media event were probably a little biased toward Carowinds, and after rewatching both POVs I could definitely see reasons why either could be preferred over the other. I also saw a couple other reviews from well-traveled enthusiasts pop up today that stated a preference toward Leviathan. As for Raging Bull, I rode it last summer and found it somewhere in the middle of the B&M Hypers (that said, most people I talked to liked it less than I did). The first two drops are great and the layout is interesting, but the ride just has too many trim brakes that reduce airtime to mild floater. It's still easily the best steel coaster at SFGAm, but it's sad to see so much wasted potential with the ride.
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I wanna go to Carowinds now just to see this ride!