Kennywood Racer: A Gem or a Bust?

Saturday, August 20, 2005 1:26 AM
Kennywood is probably my favorite all around amusement park. One of the best features of Kennywood, I believe, is the Racer. Its unique single-track, or mobius, design puts it in a category shared by only two other racers in the world. The ride itself is not very big or very fast; however, in my opinion, it gives a strong enough ride to the point that it is fun, and the competition is usually close, which makes it even more fun. On the contrary, many people who write trip reports on Kennywood will bash the racer or simply say that its not exciting, its not very good, or that they just didnt feel any rush from it. To those people I say the following: When the Racer was built in 1927, it was not meant to be overwhemily big, or fast...even by that era's standards. It was designed to be enjoyable for both young children and adult coaster fans and amusement park patrons. Its purpose simply isnt to have fast speeds, big drops, and fast turns. The people who bash the Racer and/or give it 6/10, 7/10 or even 8/10 ratings simply miss the point. It is what it is. It serves its design purpose perfectly: strong ride, some good air, but not overly frightening, intense, or fast. The ride is unique, fun, good, and most of all, a classic! Based on these features, and how well it serves its design purpose, I believe the ride deserves no less than a 9/10 rating. I give it 10/10 everytime. It's definitely a gem.

That's what I have to say...lets hear from all of you! Please comment. Take care!


Saturday, August 20, 2005 1:36 AM
Fun? Yeeeah, I guess. Airtime? Where? Oh, right, I did get some with LoriU in the back seat. The newly re-done trains look beautiful.

A bust? Nope. Not at all. It serves a purpose, and seems fairly popular. Plus it has a really pretty station front. I don't dis-like the ride, but I don't think it is a Gem either. I also don't miss the point, but it just isn't my cup o' joe.

Why do I not think it deserves a 9/10 or a 10/10? Because I would rather go across the midway and ride Phantom. I regard that as a 10/10. It has floater and ejector air. It has speed. It has height (in a sense). it has terrain. My favorite coaster. The only thing that could make it better is if it ran to capacity all the time. I rate different types of coasters differently, but to get high, they have to be unique.

I rate Racer about a 5 (I believe, don't have my rankings at work). It is Average on a 0-10 scale. Average means that ever coaster should be AT LEAST this good in my opinion. Anything above average is something that has a little extra. If I rate something a 5, I like it, but I just don't want to power ride it all day long, and I probably wouldn't wait more than 20 minutes for it.

Oh, who am I kidding? I won't wait more than 20 min. for a perfect 10...I'm spoiled like that.

Saturday, August 20, 2005 1:45 AM
I haven't ridden the Racer in a few years, but I always loved it. How did they redo the trains, does anyone have any pictures?

Maybe I always rode it on good days, but I do remember some air time in front and back, as well as some laterals. That ride is beautiful!

Saturday, August 20, 2005 1:45 AM
You cant have the Racer and Phantom on the same scale. Sure Phantom gets a 10 and the racer would get a 5 if your compared their intensity, pacing, and speeds, but you cant compare those two rides that way. I think you have to rate the ride based on its purpose, its era, and its uniquness. The Racer serves its purpose to the fullest extent. So does the Phantom. The Phantom is meant to kick your ass. The Racer is not. But they both do their jobs extremely well. So they are both 10s. Just my opinion. Maybe I have too much respect for "classic" rides. But I just cant rate the racer the same way I do the phantom. Theyre different. The racer is a 10/10 classic. The Phantom is a 10/10 ass kicking machine. Too different to rate by the same criteria. Just my opinion.

I appriciate your input Tekno.

-Jeff *** Edited 8/20/2005 5:46:55 AM UTC by Jeff Reim***

Saturday, August 20, 2005 1:47 AM

TeknoScorpion said:
I rate Racer about a 5 (I believe, don't have my rankings at work). It is Average on a 0-10 scale.

Yes, but you're one of those rare individuals who understand how to use the whole 0-10 scale.

For some reason these days, 6/10 is considered bad by some people. Go figure.

I guess I'm old-skool - I see 6/10 and think, "Ooh, better than average"

More on subject, I'm kind of like Tekno. The ride falls in the 'average' range. It's a coaster. I ride it every time I'm at KW, but I don't go out of my way to get to it, nor would I endure more than a brisk wait for it.

I'd probably award it a solid 5/10 or 55/100 - on the upside of average.

Saturday, August 20, 2005 1:53 AM
Hmm, maybe I'll tell my parents that next time I get a 55% on a test. It's the upside of average mom! ;)
Saturday, August 20, 2005 1:56 AM
The racer to me is unique in alot of different ways. Its not like the other woodies in the park. Well maybe not the best to me, it was fun as hell. I admit the racing aspect could be a bit better, but what racer, even the revered lightning racer is giving that anymore. The thing with the racer is the charm and the old school feel of it. I know maybe its not the most intense ride in the world, but it delivers fun. The idea here is fun to me that is what makes a ride. If the experience is memorable to me, it has to be fun. I have to say this one was fun and it had a nice layout, but like i said before, can someone explains where it actually shifts from one side to the other. The racer is a great ride, smooth and all of that, plus not to scary for a first ride, the thing is what people miss is the value of what the ride has become. I think that is what makes is a gem. A bust no way! You dont get that everywhere, which makes me think that if you had more old style rides you can appreciate what they also do aty that park. Im sure it can be hell to maintain something like that.

So with that being said although not the greatest or best, the racer to me is still a gem for those previous reasons stated. It doesnt have to be a 10/10 to provide what you need, it just serves a purpose to show that greatness isnt measured in intensity but, by the quality you are getting.

Saturday, August 20, 2005 2:00 AM
When I rode The Racer a few years back I think i was expecting a little more than what the ride actually was. In the enthusiast community there is a fair amount of talk about this coaster along with all of the coasters at Kennywood, so I think perhaps a lot of people end up discovering The Racer as something they weren't expecting.

It's not super thrilling, although it is very fun. It's not loaded with airtime or speed, but it has nostalgia and it is quite unique. Personally, I don't rate rides. I either enjoy it or I don't. I did enjoy The Racer on my visit but I can also see why some people might come away being disappointed by the ride. I guess it just turns out to be something different than they were expecting.

I would consider The Racer a gem. It's a prime example of the coasters of yesteryear, and it's something we will probably never see again. I mean, it's really hard to imagine a park building another coaster like that, and for that reason it's quite unique. I think this is probably the reason it is so highly regarded among enthusiasts, be it thrilling or not.

Saturday, August 20, 2005 2:00 AM
Well-said, MagnunBarrel. *** Edited 8/20/2005 6:02:12 AM UTC by Jeff Reim***
Saturday, August 20, 2005 2:13 AM

MarimbaGuy87 said:
Hmm, maybe I'll tell my parents that next time I get a 55% on a test. It's the upside of average mom!

Don't get me started on test scores and how they aren't a test of your true intelligence...:)

Yes, Gonch, I do get the 0-10 rating thing. I suck at math, but I payed attention the day they talked about averages. Heck, Hot or Not rates me above average. I'm not gonna say what it rates me, but it is far enough above a '5', which is average, that I'm happy with my rating (take that stupid girl at the beach that didn't like my shirt and said I was ugly!).

I don't seperate coasters. I prefer wood and hyper and inverts. But I rate each coaster with a number that usually corresponds to a reaction/response. Phantom? I rate it 10. Swamp Fox? 10. In fact, I rate my entire top 10 a 10, because I feel that they all are perfect in their own way. The reason Swamp Fox is 2 and Phantom is 1 and so on in the top ten is because I feel that that is the best of that type of coaster I've ridden. Sure, I have more than 2 woodies and more than one hyper in my top 5. Why? Because one is out and back, one is terrain, one is figure 8, one is twister, etc. But I prefer a specific type of coaster over another, and that is how I go about sorting out the top ten.

Confused yet? Good. So am I ;).

But I think Racer is a good, solid ride. Every other ride out there should use it (and all my other average 5 ranked coasters) as the standard by which they ride. If something is a 4 then I may still like it, but it was slightly rough, or slightly boring. If it is a 1? It wasn't very enjoyable in any way, and I'll skip it on another visit, unless I'm with a friend that hasn't ridden it and won't ride it alone. A 0? I won't be riding it again.

I don't think I have any 0s at this point, Though Vortex PCar is close (just ask Andy ;) ).

But if every coaster under a 5 on my list was given what it needed to be a 5, then I'd be very happy. I would ride it everytime I'm at the park it is in, barring any longer than 20 min. waits.

Saturday, August 20, 2005 2:15 AM
Listen, I appreciate the historical aspect of the Racer. I understand that it wasn't designed for today's demanding world. But, I wouldn't get frustrated by people who don't give out as high of a score as you think it deserves. People who use a 10/10 system are like Ice-Skating judges during the Olympics. You watch the performance, and it's amazing, but there are several judges (mostly of other countries than the ones performing) who score much lower than the others. Who knows why?

And it's all subjective too. What do the numbers 1 and 10 really mean? Should a person who's a seasoned enthusiast be the only ones to give out 10s? If you give out a 10, but have only been to a park or two based on limited experience, then does that accurately reflect how good the Racer is vs. other woodies?

In other words, not everyone experiences the same sensations, and they may be comparing it to other rides. To tell people that based on engineering standards back then that people should give it a fair shake doesn't hold a lot of water. If people aren't having an exciting ride, then they're allowed to vote the way they do.

By the way, I don't think the Racer is bad. The drop after the turnaround back towards the station is pretty good.

Saturday, August 20, 2005 2:27 AM
I like to think I'm not anal enough to rate rides either, but the truth is I sometimes do.

More realistically, for coasters fall into 5 general categories:

A - Cream of the crop coasters. These are my absolute favorites. They deliver for me in every aspect. I try to ride these as much as possible and would travel for another shot. Maybe 10 or 12 coasters in my track record (of 249) fall into this area.

B - Very good coasters. These rides do it for me more than most. I make it a priority to ride this coaster when at the park in which it resides. I'd prefer to ride more than once, but if I don't, I'll live. If a trip took us relatively close to these coasters, I'd go a little off the beaten path to sample it again. Maybe another 30 or 35 of my track record fall into this zone.

C - Average coasters. These deliver standard rides. The ride is enjoyable and I'm glad to be on it. I wouldn't go out of my way to ride these and I'm not even necessarily disappointed if I miss them while at the park. If I do get a chance to ride, it is a positive experience. The vast majority of coasters I've ridden fall into this category (including Racer).

D - Coaster that leave me with a 'meh', 'blah' or otherwise indifferent feeling. I'll ride if the line is short or the group I'm with wants to. I wouldn't wait very long for a ride on these coasters. These rides aren't bad, the just don't do it for me. Maybe 50 of the coasters I've ridden fall here.

E - The coasters that suck. These are the rides that hurt, the rides that do nothing, the rides that I want to forget. I would make no effort to ride these coasters again and only if several members of the group wanted to ride and it was running walk-on would I consider riding. I'd guess there's not more than a handful of my track record that lands here. At the very most 6 or 7.

To me an average coaster is a very positive experience. The vast majority of coasters you'll come across in life are 'average' - the standouts are few and far between.

Saturday, August 20, 2005 2:30 AM

MarimbaGuy87 said:
Hmm, maybe I'll tell my parents that next time I get a 55% on a test. It's the upside of average mom!

That'd be fine if schools graded on a 0-10 scale. I know of none that do. From my understanding most schools grade on roughly a 6 or 7 to 10 scale.

In general (with variation depending on the school):

9-10 = A
8-9 = B
7-8 = C
6-7 = D
<6 = F

That's a 6-10 scale. Anything 6 or below is the same. On that scale 7 to 8 is average.

On a 0-10 scale, 5 is average.

Saturday, August 20, 2005 2:37 AM
Interesting stuff, up there gonch, all i can say is that your ratings system actually makes me feel like i have bought the hype of something and left a bit out there. Those are your C coasters. That almost seems like a good way of going at it. Cause i have heard alot of people talk up certain rides, and i have been left with an alright experience. Ratings require alot of things to them.

1. Is the influence of others, what they make seem great might not do it for you, dont fall into the idea that its great because others say it was. I know some people take the words of others.

2. The experience can very from day to day or ride to ride. (The Villain rings a good one for me!)

3. Everything actually shouldnt be compared, how about that, i mean if there is anything i learned my mom is best at this. She compares everything to cedar point. I happen to think there is a different experience to rides and even the parks themselves that make them such a great thing to experience. KW is something that rates a whole lot different than many other places, because of the whole feel. Comfortability is one thing, but being outta place is where things can get fun.

Saturday, August 20, 2005 2:44 AM
I personally don't rate coasters for other people, and I don't harp on my track record. Heck, one of the Gonchlings packs quite a bit more in that department than I.

I started keeping track for myself. When someone asks my opinion, I give it and the reason behind it.

This coming from a guy that, yet again, skipped 2 kiddy coaster credits this week, and in fact, didn't even ride any coasters, in an area with 3 parks, one of which has my #2 coaster. I didn't ride it. And I stayed in a room less than 100 yards from it. I could hear it at nite in the room.

Oh, and I like Arrow and Togo. Most people can't believe I rate a Togo Standup above all the B&M standups I've ridden. At this point, I've ridden all but 2 B&M standups, and only 2 Togos. I like Togos better. I'm a sick and twisted kinda guy. But hey, this is just a hobby.

Saturday, August 20, 2005 3:05 AM
I keep a loosely organized list. I really started that the first year I did Mitch's coaster polls. If you just go in blank it can be quite overwhelming to sort it out.

After I got that initial list together, I tightened it up a little and add to it every trip we take. Nothing official, but it makes sorting out the list each fall for the poll a bit easier. Plus, without that list I would've never noticed the general trend of the 5 categories I listed above.

As far as track record, it's overrated. If I truly credit whored and rode every coaster I stumbled by, I'd be somewhere around 320. That's about 70 coasters I've passed on in the past 5 years. Sure, some were kiddies or clones or whatnot, but many are not. This past June I only picked up 6 of the coasters at SFGAm (and that's counting AE as 2) - I was just having a good time with the family. The numbers aren't important, the fun is.

Which kind of comes full circle. Who cares what other people think? Do you enjoy Racer? That's all that really matters. Ride it and have a blast! :)

Saturday, August 20, 2005 3:44 AM
Yeah, I started my list mostly for Mitch's poll as well.

And as for Racer, I say ride it, enjoy it, and wave to me in passing whilst I head over to Phantom.

Saturday, August 20, 2005 6:33 AM
I LOVE the Racer, even though it's not "intense". I think it's very unique, and can be appreciated the most when you ride it with friends (or during an ERT when you have two trains full of nutty

It's obviously doing something always has the longest lines, even on "slow" days.


Saturday, August 20, 2005 8:42 AM
I don't consider Racer 10/10. I don't rate rides. I either will ride them again, or I won't ride them EVER again. There are very few that I won't ride again.

I think the Racer is a lot more fun with a train full of enthusiasts. Hand-slapping galore! We did that back in May, and it was a TON of fun.

I however think, if KW wants to expand, they aren't gonna tear down Racer. I mean it will be 80 years old, and it's one of three moebius coasters in the world. I wouldn't want them tearing anything out of KW. It takes away from the charm.

If they tore out any ride to put in a say B&M hyper, I would think KW would lose it's charm. IMO. I could care less if KW ever adds another coaster. (OMG I said it.) KW has a ton of stuff to do, enough modern rides to satisfy thrill seekers, and enough old(er) rides for kids and grandparents to enjoy as well.

But, like someone said, Racer, usually has the longest lines all day. Between 30-40 minutes. For an old coaster, it sure does pretty well. Wouldn't you say? Not that I am bashing anyone's opinion of the coaster. I am not.

By the way if you want AIR on Racer, ride in the back seat. You will get ejector air on the last hill.


Saturday, August 20, 2005 8:46 AM
Meh, you PA peeps are about as jaded and spoiled as the Ohio and Cali peeps. ;-)


<--being a smartass too early in the morning.

I don't see the Racer going anywhere. :-)

*** Edited 8/20/2005 12:50:13 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***


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