Earlier this week a patent was uncovered that showed a new restraint system for B&M stand up style roller coasters by Coaster101.com, good find guys (link). This patent shows an updated version of the stand up restraints from top to bottom. We have long heard rumors that B&M was designing a new type of Stand Up roller coaster that would change the ride dynamics and offer more comfort. Some people were speculating that the surf coaster could be a wing stand up, or that the standing position could be turned to more mimic the stance of a surfer. It doesn’t reveal if either of these rumors could be true since the illustration in the patent application is of a single restraint system and it is not depicted on a chassis, however I think that both are highly unlikely as this looks to be a redesign for the existing chassis.
The newly designed restraint system has some similarities with the stand up models we know, but they do have a few distinct differences that could make them more viable. The most visible is the vest style restraints for the rider’s upper body. This replaces the hard over the shoulder restraints that would often knock you around and provided an unforgiving surface to bounce your head off of. The last time I rode Green Lantern at Great Adventure I felt like the ride was trying to knock some sense into me for giving it another ride, lesson learned. Another change is in the column itself. On a standard stand up restraint it felt like the height adjustment was controlled by a pinion gear that could lock in the height. If you were not ready for the restraints to unlock it could drop you unforgivingly on your most sensitive bits. This is a real danger at the end of a ride, but also during the loading process as guests would often not follow instructions and need to be adjusted before dispatch. The new design is an articulating linkage, somewhat similar to a scissor lift that can distort a rhombus shaped connection to raise or lower the height. The least visible change is the addition of a hydraulic accumulator. This is basically a shock absorber on the linkage, and may be the biggest quality of life improvement for your more sensitive parts. If I am reading the drawing correctly, and I’d like to believe I am, the locking function should allow for the hydraulic fluid in the accumulator to still provide some give even in the locked position during the ride cycle.
So how is this patent going to be applied? That is the biggest question remaining. Ideally these new restraints could be an upgrade product just like the floorless trains to per-existing stand up rides. This would provide a second potentially less expensive option for parks to upgrade their stand up coasters. I know that B&M is nostalgic on these ride types, as they were the first designs they sold as their own company. My issue with this new style restraint is that it still has the saddle in between the riders legs. Guests are still going to need to follow directions to correctly load and dispatch the trains and those were two big issues, one for comfort and the other for general operation. My other concern is that I don’t feel the standing aspect enhances the ride. While it may have been an interesting idea I don’t feel like it provides a great experience like their other coasters do. My biggest fear is that this is the restraint system for the yet to be revealed Surf Coaster. I was looking forward to seeing B&M make their version of a launch or multi launch coaster, but making it a stand up it removes my excitement and replaces it with fear. However not that good sort of fear that roller coasters often provide in a satisfying way. B&M’s strength has always been the innovation with seating position and chassis design, and how the interplay of these dynamics enhance the ride experience. So if this new patent is for a new roller coaster type, or an attempt to revive sales of the stand up coasters I just have one question. B&M, why you wanna break my balls?
I know it is Monday, but here you go. Space Mountain with a swirling wormhole wallpaper formatted for your mobile device.
Happy Independence Day from you friends at COASTER-net! We hope everyone has a happy and safe fourth of July.
What began as the Rocket in San Antonio, rose and lived again as the Phoenix at Knoebels Amusement Resort. This truly classic ride has been recognized as the best wooden roller coaster in the world, not bad for a ride that was designed in 1948. For the past 35 years Knoebels has been lovingly caring for this ride and preserving its classic thrills and excitement, not an easy task when competing with newer modern creations. If you have never been this is a must ride, and has the best finale of unrelenting airtime anywhere. If you miss airtime, and are waiting for your park to open, drop this wallpaper onto your desktop, as a reminder just like the Phoenix we will ride again.
In about a month it looks like we could have a new B&M Hyper and Giga. In anticipation I thought we would take a dive on Leviathan from Canada's Wonderland. Leviathan was the kick off that let everyone know, yes B&M will go bigger. They followed it up with crowd favorites Mako at SWO & Fury 325 at Carowinds. This year they will do it again with Orion at Kings Island and Candymonium at Hersheypark. While we patently or impatiently wait enjoy this Leviathan Wallpaper, it is summer so wipe the condensation off to get a better view.
Here is a look back to a couple of seasons ago when I went down to kick off the season at Kings Dominion. What do you think your first ride of the season will be? Will you ride this season? Either way enjoy this phone lockscreen of Twisted Timbers at Kings Dominion.
Demon Drop is one of my favorite roller coasters at Dorney Park, yes you read that right roller coaster. It has been a perfect pick up as one of the many relocated attractions for Dorney. It also has a special nostalgia for me as I have many childhood memories on Freefall at Great Adventure, and I expect guests visiting from points west would have that same connection since it was relocated from Cedar Point. Do not skip this demonic contraption from the past, and enjoy this lock screen for your phone.
Wicked Cyclone was my first taste of what RMC could do with their Iron Horse technology. I personally loved the Riverside Cyclone, and I rode it many times as a child visiting New England, and at the time Riverside Park. The Iron Horse technology that transformed this long loved woody into a hybrid was more than welcome. It saved my childhood memories, and brought them into a new century, oh man am I old. If you like the image please consider going to our webstore and ordering yourself a high quality print.
Everyone loves to discuss roller coaster records. They are bookmarks of breaking barriers as the industry evolves. We, as enthusiasts, want to ride the tallest, fastest, longest, and subject ourselves to long strings of inversions. However some of these records have stood for a long time, and are just begging to be broken. The current record holders in the clearest superlative categories for roller coasters almost seem unbeatable, but when they first broke down their respective barriers you could have said the same thing. Right now the tallest roller coaster in the world is Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure, a title it has held since 2005. The fastest roller coaster in the world is Formula Rossa at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi since 2010. The longest roller coaster in the world is Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima Spa Land, a title it claimed in 2000. Finally the roller coaster with the most inversions is Smiler at Alton Towers with a dizzying fourteen times being flipped upside down since 2013.
There are other records parks have claimed, but are sometimes regional, or very specific to an element or coaster model. I always say these records beat every coaster in the world except for those that it doesn’t. These dubious records are not meant to impress coaster enthusiasts they are meant to market towards the general public and get them excited. Why aren’t parks aiming for those big four superlatives that have stood for years unanswered? There are a variety of reasons from amount of space available, to limited budget, and of course if the park expects to see a return on such a massive investment. However to truly break a record, barriers do need to be broken down. To do something that has never been done before requires innovation. There is no map or example to look to, that have been in this uncharted territory.
We do not know how parks will plan for the future, but we do know about external factors that may affect plans. Right now as parks are closed due to Covid-19 we are hearing about how parks are changing their plans and budgets for the future including cutting back on capital expenditures. 2020 was supposed to be a huge year with a big handful of very interesting roller coasters set to open, and eventually they will. 2021 was also shaping up to be another year where we were expecting another interesting roster of rides based on early rumors. Let’s just say we should temper our expectations as planned rides might get spread over a longer timeframe than originally intended. I do not believe that any plans would be throw out, but delays are reasonable to expect. Since these rumor are not announced there is no way to know if they are real, or postponed until we hear it from the parks themselves.
Another external factor is that the cost of steel has gone up drastically over the last few years. The external factor has already impacted parks planning for the types of coasters they are building, and contributed to trends we can already observe. A major cost of constructing steel coasters is the size of the lift hill, as it will directly impact the total track length. A very tall lift hill will need tons of steel to support it and adds to the length of the track, but it also impacts how much track comes after the drop because coasters have to use up the energy added by that tall drop. You couldn’t have a ride like a hyper or giga with a short overall track length because it would enter the break run too fast. To create layouts that more effectively use steel we have seen many launched roller coasters. They trade a higher operating expense for a lower material cost. That is why you see parks breaking those very specific records like; fastest acceleration, numbers of launches, fastest launch on a multi launch, and even first dueling quadruple launch. There has been no shortage of launch coasters in North America over the past few years, and most likely we will be welcoming another three this year.
RMC has been a rising force and they have ways of making very impactful and dynamic attractions that use steel very efficiently. The most recent innovation is the raptor single rail coasters. They have a very compact rail system that minimizes the amount of steel needed to support the train and track. RMC is starting to be used for the unique ride systems they make. Just like B&M enjoyed creating records and first for each of their models RMC is able to one up their own creations to enjoy those dubious records. This year they will open record breaking single rail and hybrid coasters. Nothing saves you money on steel like not using it for the support structure. RMC’s hybrid track system has been built onto existing structures, however they have been getting more and more ambitious. When RMC built two rides for Cedar Fair they built up sections of Twisted Timbers, and they added onto Steel Vengeance in an unprecedented way. They followed that up by building their first ground up hybrid in Poland when they built Zadra. This year they combined parts of the two layouts of Gwazi together to create Iron Gwazi complete with a brand new lift. While the lift has steel support the remainder of the structure is wood. I am very excited by the possibility of more ground up hybrids being built, I really like the flexibility and possibilities this trend creates.
Finally there is another segment of the roller coaster story that can be expanded by this trend, and that is traditional wooden coasters. While I have minimized specialized records, I do think that wood coasters deserve their own records and consideration. While inversions are new they seem to be a growing trend as Gravity Group, RMC, and now GCI all have the ability to to produce inversions on wooden coasters. While the Beast at Kings Island has held the title for longest wooden coaster for over forty years. Unlike steel the record for tallest and fastest woody has changed hands many times in recent years. Wooden coasters have flirted with pushing boundaries for speed and height with varying degrees of success. Intamin and RMC have both made very successful wooden coasters that gathered records, both with their prefab track systems. Many people, from Ohio mostly, will also point out Son of Beast, but I think this is the example of biting off more than you can chew. It had an inversion, that needed to be removed, it destroyed height and speed records that have still not been topped, but the ride literally destroyed itself. Times have changed, and I think the wood coaster might be ready to go for a 200 plus foot lift hill, and that would most likely allow the coaster to exceed speeds of 80 MPH. That is exciting!
However the more exciting topic would be who is crazy enough to build it?