Are enthusiasts too concerned with coaster roughness?

In the years I've been on this and similar coaster forums, I've always found the frequency of coaster roughness complaints bizarre. Of course pain is almost never a good thing so there's clearly room to complain at a certain threshold where roughess causes a lot of pain but I feel like the discussions go much further.

I've always considered roller coasters a common person's taste of the extreme. And sometimes being spun, drop, rattled, shifted, flipped, pummeled, or launched in a way that doesn't resemble riding in a Lexus is part of the thrill.

Then when coaster fans complain about roughness (not pain), I liken it to football players or wrestlers complaining about their being too much contact. Isn't that part of the fun? Thoughts?

I usually only complain about roughness when there is pain involved. Not that I wouldn't mention that a coaster is rough, but it's not complaining. That's only describing the ride accurately.

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Mamoosh's avatar

Many mistake intensity for roughness, or at the very least incorrectly use the terms interchangeably. One is intended by design. One is not. I enjoy - no, I crave - intense rides. That's why I enjoy Voyage so much. I do not like rides that cause pain. That's why I loathe SOB so much.

I'm no wimp. At last year's Holiwood Nights I rode Voyage non-stop (except for quick water and pee breaks) all of Saturday ERT and most of Friday ERT. At the last CAC event I rode Tremors -- a coaster that is notoriously intense -- nonstop for 2 hours.

But to answer your question: is roughness part of the fun? Not in my book.

I like it rough...


Great Lakes Brewery Patron...


Carrie M.'s avatar

Moosh actually provided the exact example (Voyage vs SOB) I was thinking of to draw the distinction between roller coaster thrill and uncomfortable roughness.

In the end, it's just about preference. For me when the coaster experience stops being comfortable, it stops being fun. But that's just me.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

Mamoosh's avatar

Us girls think alike, eh Carrie? ;)

DantheCoasterman's avatar

A lot of the time when I see enthusiasts mention roughness, they are just describing the ride. Most of the time, when I see complaining about roughness, it's because the ride actually does cause pain.

But I do agree with you to an extent that roughness can be part of the fun of riding a coaster...for example, when my friend and I rode Son of Beast about a month ago, we laughed throughout the entire course because of how bad the jackhammering was. Sure, it hurt a bit, but the continuous 'ouches', 'ughs', and other reactions from the train-full of riders was priceless. ;)


Carrie M.'s avatar

You're too funny, Moosh. :)

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

Re Dan,

Exactly. The last time I rode Magnum, me and my friends were getting blasted in the return run bunny hills but after the first few, it just became hilarious how much we were getting tossed around.

rollergator's avatar

Some of us (myself included) have a higher tolerance for some significant jostling - when some say that Ghostrider for instance has "gotten rough", I still find it WELL within my acceptable range. Then there are those that are simply too rough, and there is more discomfort than pleasure - Sonny being the perfect example...and since Jeremy's not here, I'll add Herc-and-Jerk. Those are the few wooden coasters that I don't re-ride (until the next visit). Did I mention I have a higher-than-average threshold?

That all being said, where I think the discussion is "relevant" as far as parks are concerned is when ridership numbers drop. I found it near-incredible during the KI event that Beast had a shorter line on average than Sonny did. So while "we" may express disdain for the uber-abusive giganto, the good people of Southern Ohio don't find it rough to the point where they won't ride. And Papa was running really clearly roughness is a personal decision.

Last edited by rollergator,
matt.'s avatar

Generalizing about "enthusiasts" which is a really diverse and vaguely defined group of folks concerned with riding experiences which are extremely variable and ultimately subjective is always going to be a losing game.

I personally am in the rollergator school of being able to take and enjoy relatively rough rides but I wouldn't claim because of that other enthusiasts are "too" anything.

I guess that I'm extra tough with a side of awesome because I didn't find SOB to be rough at all. It was really boring though.

Timber Wolf at the home park gets blasted on a regular basis for being rough and I just don't see it. Sure it shuffles and shakes but when people get off limping and holding their back I think that it's time for them to hop on a Rascal and start hanging out at the mall.

I think The Beast would be an average ride if not for it's roughness. That rose bowl is just wild.

The Beast does not have the Rose Bowl, SOB does. The Beast's helix has no name. And the Beast is a fantastic ride for how close you are to the ground the whole time, tunnels, out in the woods local and that fantastic helix.

There is a roughness index, to a point I like it (on a wood coaster) but after that (when it becomes painful) I hate it. The Beast is probably the "roughest" coaster I really enjoy, rides rougher then the Beast I do not like nearly as much.

Olsor's avatar

I'll second what Moosh and others have said regarding intensity vs. roughness. I consider intensity to be thrilling. I consider roughness to be uncomfortable.

I think there are also some generational/psychological elements to the whole "roughness" issue. Someone who started riding coasters in the Intamin/B&M era might have a completely different perspective on "smoothness" compared to someone who started riding coasters in the Arrow and pre-Arrow days.

Some folks think B&M hypers are too smooth and that coasters should vibrate and rumble. And others think that rides are meant to be glass-smooth. And then you've got the people who just like getting roughed up. I call these "Fight Club members." And I don't talk about them because of rule #1 and rule #2.

LostKause's avatar

"the uber-abusive giganto" - lol Gator.

I'm the same as Gator here. I can ride any "rough" coaster, but I don't enjoy the pain that I experience on SoB. SoB is the only ride i find "too" "rough". I even find a little happiness on Mean Streak sometimes.

Raven-Phile's avatar

Most rides that people consider "rough" - meaning bumpy and jerky, not gut-bustingly painful (IE SOB) make me giggle.

I'm with Moosh in that I'm all about intensity, but rides like Iron Wolf, and Flashback (RIP), DL's Matterhorn and to some extent the original WDW Space Mountain (RIP) that bump and bang you around a little bit, will have me laughing all day long.

In fact, I don't rank rides, but Matterhorn is definitely one of my favorites.

Gee, I like Mean Strak BECAUSE it beats you up a bit.

Conversly, I took a freiend from the UK on MS and his EXACT words were: "Bloddy Hell! You trying to kill me?"

Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

LuvRaptor's avatar

Where as I dont like roughness that could bruise your spleen (MS and SOB) I do like the Beast but I am sure to ride in the 1st seat and never on an axel. Do the same for MS, less painful, but still boring I am afraid.

I prefer steel over wood but do love Raven and Voyage! :)


'00 '02 '03 '09 Raptor Crew
2018 - present Mako Crew

Everyone's body is different, even amongst enthusiasts. Some tolerate roughness and intensity better than others - age and health factors are variables, too. As much as I love Voyage and consider it one of my all time favs, there's a point where I have to quit. For me, there's 2 spots on that fabulous ride where intensity turns to roughness, my spine starts to compress, and a headache starts to rise from my brain stem. So while Mamoosh is enjoying non-stop ERT from heaven, after a few rounds I'm on the bench enjoying a free Mt Dew and some dish with Paula.

Same ride, same evening, two different guys. Now there are certain things one can do to "control" the roughness factor- on Mean Streak, for example, I always ride the very front seat and the problem is solved.

So, to answer the question, I don't think enthusiasts are too concerned with roughness, we just tune in a little differently. The GP seldom get a chance to marathon a ride like we do- they usually wait in line, ride, then move on to the next one. Because we love it so, our tolerance factor is a little higher, coupled with the fact that we've analyzed the death out of it and "know what to do".

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