How does Vekoma stay in business?

Thursday, October 17, 2002 6:02 AM

Don't get me wrong, I do know that some of their coasters are good, I'm a big fan of their boomerang coasters and Deja Vu. However, it seems to me that they cause more problems than their worth. For instance, Fantasy Island turned to Vekoma with what...$45,000,000.00 to build the an awesome and intense custom inverted coaster. Now $45,000,000 is a hellofalotta money, with that you could get a Millenium Force, a sizeable B&M, an L&T systems wild mouse, and a fairly big GCI. So you would expect a truly awesome rollercoaster right? Well that's what it was supposed to be, however it turns out to be a big hunk of metal that broke one record and it wasn't height and speed. On top of that, the ride has one train with 20 passengers which is obviously VERY low capacity and a very plain and boring station with next to no theming at all. ON TOP OF THAT, the ride cannot operate in winds over what is it...25 mph? That's in the windy hills of England! Ok, ok so you'd think Fantasy Island would realize they made a big mistake, but what's coming next year? A vekoma that happens to have been delayed a year due to mechanical problems.

So their reputation is obviously flawed majorly. And it wasn't that good to begin with. Yet you see poor parks like Chessington that want to improve a ride and turn to Vekoma to do it. At first I thought it sounded like a good ride until the review was posted here and I realize how big of a mistake Chessington made. It's truly sad to see a small park like that be held in the grip of a big corporation like Vekoma who may have very well ruined their investment.

And yet you still see European parks with all or majority of Vekoma coasters and attractions. And even the biggest of European parks have and add Vekoma coasters. Now let's face it, the rides are NOT cheap, reliable, and the company has a horrible reputation.

Now my question is, why do parks continue to sucker into buying Vekoma rides. I do think they found their niche in wood but I could be wrong there too seeing as I haven't ridden one. But how do they continue to sell their rides to all these parks with a reputation like that? Are the European parks really happy with their investment in Vekoma or does Vekoma just have outstanding sales people?

Now if you have made it to the end of my novel, please post your opinion, I seriously want to know.

Edit: Yay, my 600 post!

*** This post was edited by SFGAMDie HARD on 10/17/2002. ***

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 7:38 AM
I have no idea how they sell but I know SF and Paramount use them for there smaller coasters and family coasters which seem to be a good investment since they never break that much.
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Thursday, October 17, 2002 7:40 AM

the FI SLC was so expensive due to footers and foundations. the footers are as deep as the supports are high due to flood control.

and i personally think that vekoma are only just still in business after all the lawsuits over the deja vus. they are now concentrating on off the shelf ride models which really dont cost much to make at all.

also, i think another reason vekoma are still in business is the rash promises they make. if you looked at a GIB on paper then its a great ride, its just design faults that cant be picked up through the design process that make them as bad as they are. the same with the flying dutchman coasters. on paper they looked excellent but the serious flaws are only seen after they have been constructed.

IMO, vekoma will be around for a while yet, but not too long unless they pull their finger out. they have a lot of potiential

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 7:58 AM

Some of the parks are buying Vekoma's products simply because they are affordable and with the economy being what it is not evry park can afford an intamin or B&M.

Every ride manufacturer has their own share of design flaws which do need to be sorted out before a new prototype can & should be marketed,as we've seen with AIR & even with S:UF even the supposedly allmighty B&M are not without flaws in their designs either so please don't go blaming Vekoma all together for this one.

If you don't like the ride because of the designer's reputation then don't ride it,it's as simple as that.

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 8:10 AM
Exactly what flaws did Air and S:UF have? It seems these rides operated fairly normally for new rides.

You can see that Vekoma is selling far fewer rides this year than in the past. Additionally, many of the rides built in 2002 were purchased before all the problems with the GIBs was realized.

-Nate

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 8:14 AM

Air had some sort of problem with a bar breaking on the ride and they had to close it for a short time.

For all I know SUF has run a-ok.

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Top 5 Steel: #1 Millenium Force #2 Phantom's Revenge #3 Ice Dragon #4 Incredible Hulk #5 Wild Thing
Top 5 Wood #1 Viper #2 Thunderbolt #3 Timberwolf #4 Outlaw #5 Screaming Eagle

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 8:16 AM
I'm sure that Vekoma takes contracts for work besides constructing coasters.
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Thursday, October 17, 2002 8:26 AM

.

Vekoma makes more than coasters like Funhouses, Madhouses ect. From what I hear they are quite good at it too.

Personally I don't think their coasters are that bad, I just wish they would do more original designs.

Chuck, who loved Houdini at SFGAM

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Charles Nungester.
Is it about coasters or friends? I say both!

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 8:27 AM
The Air "bar problem" was greatly exaggerated. There was a minor problem (break) in one of the stations, so they used the other for the day. Both stations were back up the next day.

Edit: Chuck, Houdini is at SFGAdv (and SFNE), not SFGAm. And yes, it's a great ride!

-Nate

*** This post was edited by coasterdude318 on 10/17/2002. ***

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 8:35 AM

Never done Houdini, but I absolutely LOVE the Rollerskaters (see s/n)....the Dutch WonderHoose, however, is the most nauseating thing since the teacups!

Personally, I'll take the Vekoma flyers over the Beemers for layout, and think Vekoma has a lot to offer....Invertigo's rock, and the GIB's are good rides when they work....;). Other than the sit-down Boomerangs, and some SLC's, I really enjoy most Vekoma products....love to try their wood someday!

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 8:35 AM

SUF has some train problems. One of them is hella sketchy at this point. I was there Sunday and they shelved it and pulled one out of the bullpen while hundreds watched on.

Also, I've been 7 times this year, and they haven't used the second station since the 3rd time I went back in the middle of the summer.

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Getting a B&M will always beat out having to take a BM.

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 8:41 AM

Bill, I think part of your problem with Beemers is pure and simple oversaturation. Below is a conversation I heard recently. Listen in horror as the transcript plays out...

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Intamin : Attention Southeastern United States, would anyone be interested in any of our products?? Anyone??

South : Yeah! Please!! ME! ME!! Woohoo!!

Ron Zook : No.

Park Owners : Yeah, he's right. No Intamin for you guys! Sorry! Maybe next year!

Other park owner : Eh, maybe that's a little premature thinking.

Park Owners : You're right! Have a junior Vekoma invert! Thanks for saving us from such a huge mistake Mr. Zook!

****************

Ahem Bill, the truth is out. Sorry to have to break it to you so harshly.

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Getting a B&M will always beat out having to take a BM.

*** This post was edited by Homey G. on 10/17/2002. ***

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 8:44 AM
Vekoma mostly does oversea business, in Europe and Asia and such. Lots of SLCs, Boomerangs, and junior coasters are opening up in Europe. Also...Vekoma's are inexpensive and compact. So smaller parks can buy them and fit them into almost any space.

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Take a Virtual Ride:
http://badnitrus.coasterbuzz.com
Mike "Viper" Semtak

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 9:19 AM

Homey G. said:

Bill, I think part of your problem with Beemers is pure and simple oversaturation.

(snip)Intamin : Attention Southeastern United States, would anyone be interested in any of our products?? Anyone??

South : Yeah! Please!! ME! ME!! Woohoo!!

Ron Zook : No.

Park Owners : Yeah, he's right. No Intamin for you guys! Sorry! Maybe next year!

Other park owner : Eh, maybe that's a little premature thinking.

Park Owners : You're right! Have a junior Vekoma invert! Thanks for saving us from such a huge mistake Mr. Zook!



First, you are absolutely right as to my personal feelings about B&M. I can go on and on about how great their rides are (and they ARE), but familiarity DOES breed contempt, and I am WAY too "familiar" with their rides!

As for the second part, Ed Zaunbrecher is our "Offensive Coordinator", and his play-calling has been *offending* me since the second game of the season. Zook was once our special teams coordinator a while back, and let me tell you, they have looked *special* (in the Church-lady sense of the word).

Now the person yelling ME!ME! in response to the question about *Intaminterest*, I can only GUESS is yours truly....I was "hoping" for Kong to become a launched Intamin, but that seems to be increasingly unlikely....

Finally, with ALL those park owners conversing, you'd think ONE of them would offer me a job, no?

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 9:44 AM
Intaminterest - noun 1. The desire of a certain southeastern coaster nut for a coaster other than a B&M. 2. The increasing value over time of memories obtained from riding some very sassy roller coasters.

'gator, I LOVE this one! :-)

Later,
EV
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"I swear -- by my life and my love of it -- that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine"
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 9:52 AM

going back to the problems air had. for the first month or so and every now and then, the ride would only dispatch every 5 minutes or so. it used to take forever to get the system to recgonise all the restraints as closed and often used to pop open all the restraints in the station open when only one wasnt recgonised as locked, talk about annoying!

the sensors also had a huge problem with the slightest drop of rain, not very good for an english park! they have since added rain shields to the sensors.

the station bar breaking happened because the system tried to put the trains back down into the loading position when they were already there, so something snapped. as said above, a one station operation was used for the rest of the day and the other station was open the next day.

B&M are the most reliable coasters about there, period. Air and S:UF were raw prototypes so if they ran totally flawless from opening day i would have been willing to climb the air lift totally naked using track cross ties as money bars! all new rides have problems, not just vekomas.

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 10:14 AM

"On top of that, the ride has one train with 20 passengers which is obviously VERY low capacity and a very plain and boring station with next to no theming at all. ON TOP OF THAT, the ride cannot operate in winds over what is it...25 mph?"

Was it the park's decision to have one train, or Vekoma's? Maybe the crowds at the park don't require a second train. Have you ever been there? How long do the lines get? Anyone know? Also...what does the plain station have to do with anything? There are hundreds of coasters that have no theming in their stations, and that doesn't have anything to do with Vekoma. As for the thing about operating in the wind, what's your source? I'm not doubting you on this one, but I would like to know where that info came from.

"Yet you see poor parks like Chessington that want to improve a ride and turn to Vekoma to do it. At first I thought it sounded like a good ride until the review was posted here and I realize how big of a mistake Chessington made."

You know, that was one negative review, and there have been plenty of positive ones to go along with it. I don't see the sense in reading one person's opinion about a ride modification and then claim that "poor Chessington" was "held in the grips" of a "big corporation" like Vekoma. Maybe ridership on Vampire has exploded, and maybe its been a great investment for the park. Maybe its been hugely popular, but unless you work there and have seen the numbers, you really don't know.

"Now let's face it, the rides are NOT cheap, reliable, and the company has a horrible reputation."

But the thing is, the boomerangs and SLC's are reliable (or at least I think most people here would agree on that.) As far as "cheapness," well, that's pretty subjective. But how many up and coming parks have been able to afford a boomerang, had a major attendance jump because of it, and then gone on to much greater and better things? A hell of a lot.

I don't want to turn this into a Six Flags bashing thread, but the biggest Vekoma problems have come from the Giant Invertigo's, and the Flyers, most of which have been bought by Six Flags. Obviously, Vekoma is doing something right with those exceptions, or else parks wouldn't be eating their rides up. Boomerang's and SLC's must be top notch products, or else they wouldn't be the back bones of so many parks of today.

Just because they don't cater to the ever fickle whims of "enthusiasts" doesn't mean that they aren't a viable company. If you got a major coaster for cheap, and it brought it tons of people, wouldn't it make you happy, too? In the end its all about the bottom dollar. Trust me, if I were opening up a new park and needed some rides, I'd be the first person to get a Vekoma Mouse, a boomerang, a rollerskater, and maybe a mad house. Fun for the whole family, and I'd imagine a pretty sweet package deal.

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If the shoe fits, find another one.

*** This post was edited by ravenguy98 on 10/17/2002. ***

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 10:17 AM
the average Q time for jubilee odyssey is about 10 minutes or so on peak days, so it would be pointless having 2 trains
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Thursday, October 17, 2002 10:26 AM

BATWING FAN SFA said:

as we've seen with AIR & even with S:UF even the supposedly allmighty B&M are not without flaws in their designs either so please don't go blaming Vekoma all together for this one.



Is anyone else as confused by that statement as I am? I think most people are aware that B&M was behind AIR and S:UF, so why would they blame Vekoma for problems with those rides?

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"Look, we all go way back, and uh, I owe you from the thing with the guy in the place and I'll never forget it." "That was our pleasure." "I'd never been to Belize."

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Thursday, October 17, 2002 10:29 AM

Bah, the "B&M has problems, too!" argument is predictable. B&M's are reliable as hell, but it should be common sense that all mechanical rides are going to have mechanical problems. Anybody remember when Chang's chain broke, like, the first week it was open? It happens to everyone.

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If the shoe fits, find another one.

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