Europe Claims Four of the Top Five Steel Roller Coasters in 2006! - Mitch's Steel Coaster Poll

Wednesday, January 24, 2007 12:42 PM
rollergator's avatar My THEORY is that Americans travel overseas, have a GREAT time on their trips, and therefore coasters overseas get a *bump* in their rankings due to factors OUTSIDE of the coaster itself....
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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 1:07 PM
Taking Brian's comment of "recency of ride" off on another tangent, I've wondered about the bias of our own memories when we complete these polls.

I know in my own case, I'm comparing rides I rode in September with rides I last rode back in the 80s and 90s. Maybe we tend to remember the most recent rush of adrenalin more than those from a few years back. Could I really fairly compare Talon, which I rode last year, to Raptor, which I last rode in 1994?

A reverse example. I definitely preferred the Disneyland versions of BTRR and SM to the WDW versions, even though I was at DL in '89 and WDW in '04. Are the coasters that different between the parks? Or is it because I was 15 years older, a few lbs. heavier and have a few rusty joints that made me think the WDW versions were rougher and slower?

Or maybe it's just a question of novelty vs. familiarity.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 3:24 PM
SFoGswim's avatar

rollergator said:
The *favorite* one in the poll gets a boost by taking the "credit" given to every individual's favorite...does that make sense?
No. No matter where you rank Vekoma Corkscrews, the highest one you rank has to be even with "Fav Vekoma Corkscrew." And because certain people like some coasters more than others, the individual rides will take a hit in the ratings, but "Fav Vekoma Corkscrew" should, in theory, be ranked higher than every single individual one, now lower.
Welcome back, red train, how was your ride?!
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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 4:28 PM
hmm... I've always found Nemesis to be a bit overrated. I agree with superman that there may be a slight 'holiday bias', although I guess that applies to us europeans when we visit the US.
I mean, Nemesis is great, but I think its success is so dependant on the theming... I rank MF much higher, but then again, I'm a speed freak. I really should get myself over to Holiday Park...
1. MF, 2. Xcelerator, 3. Volcano TBC, 4. Goliath SFMM, 5. Beast.
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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 6:02 PM

Intamin Fan said:
I think the big upset out of the list is Roller Soaker at no. 212.

But I'm so glad that the High Speed Thrill Coaster beat Trailblazer!

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 6:23 PM

matt. said:
Can someone who's actually ridden Nemesis give a serious, detailed account of what exactly makes it rank so high? Can you compare the elements to those on other B&M inverts, or at least the feel/intensity of the ride?

I ranked Nemesis #1 on my poll (Goliath Walibi #6, Expedition #7, Katun #10 as far as other Euro coasters I've been on). It's the same old story with different tastes for different people...but I thought Nemesis was the whole package and really my TYPE of coaster. My interest in the ride really started when I started back in the day when you'd see it all the time on those Discovery shows (back before Alton was really popular I assume). The whole ride was really mysterious and alluring out in the middle of the English countryside with crazy theming and unrecognizable layout. To me, that makes a ride even more exciting, when you don't know every nook and cranny. As was the case with Nemesis, I knew pretty much nothing.

So of course the ride totally blew me away. The way it gets going from like what, a 40 ft drop? How is this possible? The layout, sequence of inversions, theming, setting etc.-all totally unique. The intensity...never lets up!

And of course (DUH) it's not for everyone, especially those that prefer airtime or huge drops to loops.

This was the first time I did the steel poll, mostly because in previous years I thought it would be impossible to rank a bunch of steel coasters...but yeah, I did it anyway. ;)


"Would you like to buy a photo of you boys enjoying the Line Ride?"

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 6:50 PM
One of the many things I like about Georgia's "Goliath" is the lack of MCBR however I think "Nitro" is far better in intensity even WITH those horrible MCBR.
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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 8:56 PM
(Knocking off a bunch of replies at once here...)


matt. said:
Can someone who's actually ridden Nemesis give a serious, detailed account of what exactly makes it rank so high? Can you compare the elements to those on other B&M inverts, or at least the feel/intensity of the ride?

Nemesis is, far and away, my favorite inverted. It's fairly intense, and the interaction with the scenery adds a lot. Black Mamba does favorably in my book for the same reason.


Intamin Fan said:
The glaring spread though was Top Thrill Dragster to the much lower placed Kingda Ka. I could see that being chalked-up to any one of the five things I'll mention: 1) enthusiasts not liking the restraints 2) It's Great Adventure 3) breakdowns 4) the complaints of excessive vibration from some riders and 5) capacity was really bad in the fall due to two-train operation

I ranked Kingda Krap FAR lower than Dragster, due to reason number 4. I rode it twice, and both times encountered a HORRIBLE, headache-inducing vibration that's just not evident on Dragster. Part of that may be due to the restraints (your reason 1) holding you back against the seat more than Dragster's do.


ApolloAndy said:
I too, never got the highly themed invert thing. Montu and Alpie didn't do as much for me as Talon. Are Black Mamba and Nemisis (and Pyrenees) that much better than Talon?

See my reply to matt. I can't speak to Pyrenees, but Nemesis and Black Mamba are both FAR more powerful rides than Talon. You also mentioned Fire Dragon, which I personally ranked higher than Black Mamba, but just barely. I still rank Nemesis higher than both.


rollergator said:
My THEORY is that Americans travel overseas, have a GREAT time on their trips, and therefore coasters overseas get a *bump* in their rankings due to factors OUTSIDE of the coaster itself....

That's definitely part of it. My three major international trips (England, Japan and Germany) were all fabulous trips to begin with, and once you're in a good mood you get more out of the rides. Putting that aside, though, Expedition GeForce's first drop, in the back row, is *THE* defining moment in coasterdom. You could drop that ride at Six Flags Tragic Mountain and I'd still rank it highly. ;)


--Greg
"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."

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Monday, January 29, 2007 11:18 AM

matt. said:
Can someone who's actually ridden Nemesis give a serious, detailed account of what exactly makes it rank so high?

Well, I personally don't rank it very high, so I really can't offer an explanation. I'm puzzled.


Can you compare the elements to those on other B&M inverts, or at least the feel/intensity of the ride?

The interaction with the scenery certainly adds a lot to the ride. What also makes it unique and interesting is the sequence of elements. The vertical loop is the third inversion which is really quite unusual. The ride is really short, and while it is intense, I didn't think it was as intense as the original Batman.

Hope that helps.

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Monday, January 29, 2007 9:17 PM
Cedar Point is my home park, I grew up there and know every coaster inside and out. So, I'm used to height, speed, and all the other "records" out there for a coaster. Don't get me wrong, nothing can replace Cedar Point in my mind for a thrill park. But, I was quite impressed with Alton Towers when I went this fall. Like others have said, I think a lot of the ranking of coasters goes to personal experiences. For instance, I wasn't expecting all THAT much from Alton, and it really surprised me. I also thought nothing would top Raptor for my favorite B&M invert. But, Nemesis proved that wrong. Raptor is a GREAT ride. But, Nemesis does so much more with so much less. Alton has crazy limitations on height, noise, etc... so when they can build a coaster as intense as Nemesis, it should be acknowledged. Its a TIGHT ride, you're wicked close to the cliffs, water, etc... and its VERY intense. I loved it. Had I voted in the poll, nemesis would've been way up on my list. I honestly think its one of those rides you have to experience to understand. I'm sure the same could be said about Millennium Force. People who haven't ridden it probably say, "its a big drop and a couple turns...big deal." But, if they were to ride it, they'd understand why its such an amazing coaster.
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Tuesday, January 30, 2007 1:10 PM
OhioStater's avatar Could someone briefly explain how they do this poll? Only 415 ballots? In countless trips to CP the past 2 seasons, I do not recollect any poll, ballot, or survey. Do they stand outside the ride exit?

Just curious.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007 5:14 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar It's an internet poll with ballots submitted by e-mail. Open to everyone. (BestRollerCoasterPoll.Com) It runs in the early winter every year and votes are tabulated by late January.

The thing that makes this poll completely different (and IMHO much less biased) than every other poll out there is that each voter gets to rank every coaster he/she has been on and then through an algorithm (see below) the coasters get their final ranking without bias towards popular coasters.

So for instance in AT's Golden Tickets, rides like Hulk which everybody and their mother has ridden usually get rated higher than rides like Black Mamba which almost nobody has ridden, even though almost everyone who has ridden both says Black Mamba is better.

The algorithm - the way Mitch accomplishes this is as follows:

Imagine a sports league in which each coaster is a team. In this league every coaster plays against every other coaster once during the season. The game is determined by the votes of the people who have ridden both coasters. So for instance, the first game of the season might be MF vs. Nemesis.

MF scores a point for each ballot on which it is higher than Nemesis. Nemesis scores a point for each ballot on which it is higher than MF. Ballots that don't have both MF and Nemesis don't get counted in this game. (Notice that this means that a coaster like Black Mamba will win against Hulk because most people who have ridden both liked Black Mamba better). Whichever coaster has the most points wins the game. The other coaster loses the game.

Every coaster plays every coaster over the course of the season and the coasters are then ranked according to win-loss percentage (there's a little bit of fudging in there for a few obscure reasons, but it's not particularly relevant to this discussion). *** Edited 1/31/2007 12:26:42 AM UTC by ApolloAndy***


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Thursday, February 1, 2007 1:10 PM
AppoloAndy summarized Mitch's poll perfectly Ohiostater - on paper, it is the best way to rank coasters in an unbiased fashion - the one ommission - the poll is open to everyone but it is VERY challenging to fill out. I see it every year, attempt it, and give up after 15 - 20 minutes. IMO, that is why there are only 415 entries.

Tom


Tom

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Thursday, February 1, 2007 1:43 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar I know there's lots of questioning the sample size ('only' 415 ballots, etc), but I'm curious as to how many people participate in something like the Golden Tickets by comparison. I suspect the numbers aren't that far off.
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Thursday, February 1, 2007 1:57 PM
I saw something on TV not too long ago where they polled 500-600 "likely voters" and asked who they would vote for if the presidential election were held that day. If that sample is considered large enough to be considered reflective of a much larger population, and valid enough to get coverage in the major media outlets, then a sample of 400 should be considered reflective of coaster riders as a whole.
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Thursday, February 1, 2007 2:07 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar I agree entirely, RGB.

I think most would be surprised at just how small of a sample it takes to be statitsically accurate within a few points.

(and I'd till be willing to bet the GT's have a similar number of participants...on top of the 'popularity contest' scoring)


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Thursday, February 1, 2007 3:04 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar More importantly (or not depending on who you ask :-P), in Mitch's poll each ballot has (n^2)/2 data points because every pairing of coasters counts. For a ballot with 25 coasters, this is more than 300 data points. In AT's poll, each ballot only contains 55 data points (You submit your top 10, right?).

Of course, Mitch's data points are spread out over sorting through way more coasters (Mitch ranks all the coasters whereas AT only does top 50, I think) but there's still way more data per coaster on average.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Thursday, February 1, 2007 3:30 PM
rollergator's avatar ^ LOL, if you ask me, that's *exceptionally important*....more data points yields more statistically valid conclusions...

...and Mitch's poll, like it or not, remains THE benchmark for ranking coasters...

...even if the *considered opinion* of the AVERAGE enthusiast differs from my own... ;)

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Thursday, February 1, 2007 3:45 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar Part of the problem with the large distribution of the data across all the coasters is that it creates more situations where statistical anomalies affect the outcome. For instance, this year, S:RoS NE lost only to EGF (9-17).

EGF had two losses, one to Black Mamba (28-36) and one to Superman in Australia (1-2).

So the eternal S:RoS vs EGF battle was this year decided by the 3 people who have ridden both EGF and Superman.

I know Mitch, throws out games that only have 2 or less points, but still, 2-1 and 1-2 are not really decisive results.

That said,

I guess I always looked at AT's poll and wondered how some of the coasters ended up where they did (For instance, Magnum's long reign at or near the top. Not saying it wasn't good, just saying it wasn't that good.)

When I first started following Mitch's poll, I never saw a coaster and thought "That really shouldn't be there." I disagreed with some of the rankings personally, but I could see how the community as a whole would agree with them.

Now I look at Mitch's poll and I tend to base my travel plans on it. I've never gone out of my way to hit a top 10 or 15 coaster on Mitch's and been disappointed.

I was really looking forward to Magnum, thinking it was the be all and end all of steel coasters (based on AT's poll). It was probably in the middle of the pack. Same with KW's Thunderbolt. *** Edited 2/1/2007 9:02:21 PM UTC by ApolloAndy***


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Thursday, February 1, 2007 6:44 PM
Its not the sample size of 400 or so that is in question. To me its a bias sample in that only people that are savy and have the time to fill it out, end up voting in it. It would be like having a really complicated online voting system for an election and than considering the results of that online voting to be accurate. It would be bias, since a certain sector of the population would not be represented (people either too busy or not smart enough to figure it out how to vote). Really its not a representative sample for that reason.

It has its advantage and disadvantages compared to other coaster polls, but never really considered by me to clearly the best one. Not sure there really is a best way to do it, since the other polls favor coasters that are ridden the most, while this poll is too time consuming/difficult for some to fill out. A few surprise are the togo standups being rated so poorly. I actually enjoyed skyrider/king cobra. Also a bit confusing how anyone can perfer Montu with its heavy hard braking over the perfectly paced Fire Dragon. I could see maybe when Montu first open, but not now. Some I might not agree with (Phantoms Revenge is rated to good), but I can see why. It is really good, if you like powerful ejector airtime, but its too short and not smooth enough for me.

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