Specific Type: Motorbike launch
Vekoma, a Dutch amusement rides manufacturing company, has been responsible for many innovations in the industry. One of which is the “motorbike” roller coaster. Premiered at the IAAPA 2003 expo,it attempts to emulate the feeling of riding a motorbike. The prototype motorbike roller coaster is located close to Vekoma headquarters in Toverland, a family park in the Netherlands.
The Vekoma Booster Bike builds upon the riding position of the Steeplechase coasters built over 100 years ago and the more recent Cycle Chase at Knott’s Berry Farm. Riders lean forwards and are held in by back and leg restraints. The arms are unrestricted but handlebars are provided to hold onto. This seating puts riders out in the open and, coupled with the 47mph hydraulic launch, creates a fantastic ride experience. It’s just as well as Booster BIke has no theming. The station and surrounding area are empty, leaving much to be desired.
The train leaves the station and turns to the left, then to the right, bringing riders to the launch section. The train is brought to a halt then before slowly edging a few inches forward. A short pause builds suspense and the train is catapulted forwards. Riders travel up and over a small airtime hill before entering a large banked right-hand turn. A figure-eight helix follows, consisting of a left-hand fan curve and a right-hand fan-curve. The train takes a right-hand turn close to the ground before turning to the left. The finale is a pair of airtime hills, parallel to the launch track. The track then rises up, into the brake run.
The motorbike roller coaster hasn’t experienced the huge success that other Vekoma products like the Boomerang and SLC have seen. A slightly-altered version was installed at Flamingo Land in the UK and the remaining three installations are all in China. Both Intamin and Zamperla have built similar products with Zamperla finding the most success. Vekoma’s product is still very much active however and the company have indicated that more extreme motorbike roller coasters are possible. The idea of an extreme, inverting motorbike roller coaster excites me very much. It just needs an amusement park willing to make it happen.
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