I personally have been on 3 of them. Rolling Thunder at SFGAm (now removed), the one at SFOT, and the one at CP (now demolished).
I think they are fun rides and would love to see more of them at parks. Sure, they will never be a signature coaster at a park, but they provide a fun ride and also add a different kind of coaster to a lineup. The only thing I don't like is when you go into a MCBR and the train jolts left to right to get back to being controlled. It racks my knees. Other than that, I love the free fall feeling. Depending on weight in the train, it can roll more on the side of the sled.
I wish more were installed. It's cool that Flying Turns has now opened. A wooden bobsled that brings us back to the old days when these were very common at parks. I would love this or the more modern ones at more parks.
My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.
I've been on a few.... Disaster Transport, Screamin' Delta Demon, Avalanche (KD), SFGA's, the name of which escapes me at the moment. I liked them all, but I didn't love them.
Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
I have been on three. Disaster Transport, Avalanche, and Flying Turns.
Out of the three of them, the flying turns has the best ride considering it was done the old fashioned way.
Secondly, the trains are much different for all three in a way. Disaster Transport had a 10 seater, which was nice as it was the one train. Avalanche and the Flying turns had the connected trains where you had to fit two people in on the back person's lap. Advantage disaster transport for a more comfortable ride.
What it comes down to it I guess for the overall fun is that Avalanche and Flying Turns have that out of control experience in the trough. Disaster Transport lacked that because of the darkness. My problem with the rides in general is that they lack a certain degree of pacing, either by MCBR or lift hills in the case of Flying Turns. It would be fun to start at a decent height and work your way down like a bobsled tends to do without the fun being taken out of the whole experience, but simply put we don't have drivers and brakemen like you would a real bobsled. I think they are great starter coasters, but nothing great as a truly mind blowing experience.
Resident Arrow Dynamics Whore
I've not ridden Flying Turns yet, but I've ridden all of the remaining steel bobsleds, and I think that Mack was the only company to truly master the genre - which for the US means Avalanche.
As the original poster notes, the Intamin ones didn't always handle the MCBB as well as they might have done.
The ride at Parc Asterix is fantastic...
BPPB's Avalanche and KD's Avalanche were my favorites, with Vibora not far behind. Of course, all of those came before...
Now, it really is ALL about the Turns...
Memory is faded on this, but didn't Disaster Transport/Avalanche Run at Cedar Point suffer from a slightly less thrilling ride experience due to the bobsleds being larger than most (the aforementioed 10-seater)?
Sadly, Cedar Point's is the only one I have ever been on, so I have nothing to compare it to. I always thought it was a fun-but-way-too-short ride, and enjoyed it significantly more as Avalanche Run before it was a one-way ticket to Alaska.
They are a great ride and a unique experience. The MACK bobsled coasters are the best version, when capacity is also factored into the equation along with ride. They are more mild, on the order of a mine train, which makes them great family coasters for a park to have. Most of them are too short though.
I've ridden three, the Mack versions at Heide Park and Pleasure Beach and the Intamin variant at Efteling. I'd take the Efteling one in a heartbeat, the Mack ones are pretty dull whereby the Intamin one feels much more of control and "swoopy". I thought it was great.
The one at Europa has already had a crazy queue so I've always skipped it. I don't have an enormous desire to ride it either, to be honest.
Edit: Completely forgot about the Mack ride at Asterix. It's fun, but it's just more of a concept that I really don't think much of. Evidently.
Nothing to see here. Move along.
I forgot to mention that the flying turns does capture that swooping in and out of the trough well. The second half after said second lift has those moments.
My general take as far as ranking them, at least the ones I have rode would go...
Elsewhere in a video I have watched with the construction of Gatekeeper, John Hildebrandt mentions the switch from a six seat train to a ten seat train for capacity sake on DT. He believes it killed some of the excitement of the ride. Anyone that has been on both care to take a stab at that?
Resident Arrow Dynamics Whore
My take is that two-across seating does detract quite a bit from the ride experience. Inline seating gives a totally different feel. Probably why I didn't think highly of the SFGE ride...
Oh, absolutely. I've said it before somewhere, but Avalanche Run / Disaster Transport was a great example of where Cedar Point did themselves no favor by asking for the biggest version of a particular type of coaster. The larger sleds, while no doubt more comfortable, in turn made the track itself wider with larger, slower curves. It also had only three sections, while the other smaller (standard) versions of the ride have four. All that together served to kind of kill any thrill we had hoped for. I know for sure I enjoyed it better when it was outdoors.
When I got to thinking about this topic I realized I've been on more of these than I thought, and just about every incarnation is represented. I really enjoy La Vibora for its original layout and in-line seating. I also tried Rolling Thunder at Six Flags Great America which had the same layout but two-across, 8 passenger cars. (that ride continues to live on at Great Escape) I've also been on the Mack version at Kings Dominion, and the original Flying Turns at Euclid Beach. I've yet to ride the new version of the classic at Knoebels, hopefully this fall sometime.
But in the mean time I'll rank them as such: Euclid Beach, KD, SFOT, SFGrAm, then CP. The Intamin rides are ok, but I believe the Mack versions carry the spirit of the original Flying Turns a little better. Someday when I get to Europe I'll be able to try a few more.
Thought this was an interesting topic since I love the uniqueness of the bobsled coaster and how rare they are to find. I have ridden 5 of these and 1 of them easily tops them all. The first one of these I got on was La Vibora/SFOT. This was a great ride and I think I really enjoyed it because it was the first time I had been on one of these. I also tried Disaster Transport, Avalanche, and the Alpine Bobsled at Great Escape. I think La Vibora is still my favorite out of these but nothing compares to the one I sped down last summer.
I had the opportunity last summer while visiting my parents in Salt Lake to head up to the Winter Sports Park in Park City. During the summer they run bobsleds down the cement bobsled track on wheels. It is a little expensive but if you are in the area, I highly recommend it.
My dad and I took a ride down it and it was absolutely insane! They have a driver that takes you down and you are along for one crazy ride. The g-forces are intense and sustained. It starts out pretty mild, but by the time you get into the course it is shaking you like a rag doll. What a rush! This should be on any coaster enthusiasts must do list and while you are in town you can always head up the road and hit Lagoon for a bunch of coaster credits.
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