Older Wooden Coasters...

Jephry's avatar

Man, I haven't started a topic on here for years, but I wanted to ask you guys a question...

I recently went to Kings Island for the first time ever this year. I was actually surprised at how well most of the roller coasters have aged their. But I rode the Beast and despite being listed as one of the top woodies out there, I found it more painful than Mean Streak. Now, because Cedar Point is my home park, I wouldn't say my wooden roller coaster experience is extensive because the only thing I have to draw from is Mean Streak and Blue Streak. I have ridden other woodies, but none stick out like these guys do. Am I just spoiled on smoother steel coasters and just need to acquire a taste for the pain? And honestly, I'm wondering the experience of Son of Beast when it actually worked...

ApolloAndy's avatar

As I've gotten older, my tolerance for the inherent shakiness of wooden coasters has decreased dramatically. I can really only ride all but the best rides in front these days.

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."

delan's avatar

I'm with Andy on this. I rode Gwazi a few weeks ago and I left the ride limping for the remainder of the day. There are only a few wooden coasters I have ridden that I care to ride again....ie, El Toro, Lightning Racer.....I think that's about it.

Mean Streak is brutal, but I didn't get off of it in pain. However, SOB left me limping the rest of the day when I rode it. Being tall didn't help that. lol

My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

Lowkae's avatar

In contrast, I'm the sort of person who enjoys the roughness on wooden coasters to a certain degree. Most of them are ok, but some of the bigger ones....

OhioStater's avatar

I've never had a painful experience on Mean Streak; just really, really boring and slow.

I haven't ridden Beast in a few seasons, so I can't say a lot about that lately, but I always enjoyed my experience on that ride through the years. Son of Beast was just brutal. I gave it three chances (through the various incarnations), and each time I was actually jerked around violently enough that I was just holding on praying for it to end out of fear of a serious injury.

Blue Streak is just a fun perfectly paced ride.

I hope the Beast isn't suffering as of late.

DaveStroem's avatar

Beast can be brutal or a pleasure depending on where your sitting on the train. I like 1-2 or 6-2, but moving back just one row can make the ride very painful.

Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

I've never had a problem with Mean Streak. It's true Beast is rougher now than it's ever been, but I still think it's quite tolerable and so do all the people I travel with. My main problem with Beast is those recent black vinyl shoulder pads, which hit me painfully under the arms. But if you're taller or shorter than I am, that might not be an issue. For the last 20 years Carowinds has been famous for having the roughest woodies out there, but KI's Racer has now surpassed them. At the bottom of each drop it's so painful it's dangerous. I still have lower back soreness from our trip August 28th, and the only other coaster I ever had this problem with was Son of Beast. Voyage has gotten rougher this season, but of course Holiday World is addressing that during the coming off season. It's just not true woodies are inherently rough or that they inevitably roughen as they age. Kennywood is a great example. Jackrabbit is approaching a century old, for Heaven's Sake, and it's smooth as silk. Racers and Thunderbolt are also still smooth. At HW, Legend and Raven are in good shape. That's because of meticulous KW and HW maintenance. At Indiana Beach, when Hoosier Hurricane and Cornball Express are running, they're still pretty smooth. And down at Dollywood, Thunderhead has held up well, as has Kentucky Rumbler at Beech Bend. At Kentucky Kingdom, which was notorious for lax management, Thunder Run still held up well, which was amazing considering that violent left turn coming off the first drop and the lateral Gs through the bunny hills.

A lot of people have mentioned to me that there is an art and a skill to riding wooden coasters. You not only have to keep your eyes open and pay attention, but you have to lean and shift and "become one with the ride" as one of my associates likes to say. They may be right. Riding a lot of steel coasters may spoil you, letting you become a more passive rider.


CoasterDemon's avatar

I find the more 'restricted' in my seat I am, the more I absorb the bumps and crunches.

Many older woodies - Kennywood Thunderbolt, Lakemont Skyliner, Knoebel's Phoenix, Coney Island Cyclone - have a certain roughness about them, but it's rarely a roughness that is absorbed by the rider.

When you start holding a rider down and confined, it's natural that all that roughness is translated directly to that rider.

Another big thing in the past 20 years has been those PTC lap bars, headrests, etc. and their associated weight. Adding all that extra load increases all the forces on a wooden track (that was built for a lesser load) and thus tears up the track. The ride gets rougher, and you feel it.

Same can be said (to a much less degree) with some steel coasters. Ride an Anton - those have room to move around in.


I second everything Coaster Demon said.


As Coaster Demon said those PTC trains can't be good. I think I'm right about this but take Kennywood's 3 coasters. 1 of them got significantly less mileage out of a set of trains. The Racer trains that needed replaced a few years ago were PTCs right? Also seem to remember more than 1 Rideman lecture on how wooden coaster train technology isn't what it should be.

CoasterDemon's avatar

Another think I thought of is that most of the 1988 and on woodies have been built as 'full throttle' coasters. Even Texas Cyclone was built with plenty of pauses (pacing). Changing directions (and thus high forces) is harder on trains and track, especially when each car is carrying an extra 500lbs of built-in hardware.


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