recent B&M roughness

Wednesday, August 9, 2006 7:51 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe wheels are changed on an individual basis, as they wear out. It's not like the park operates the ride for three months and then says, "hey, the wheels are expired. We have to replace all of them. now" There probably is a recommended or mandatory lifespan for the wheels at which time they are required by law to be changed, but I think the parks who are more concerned about ride quality will replace a wheel if it goes bad before ths "expiration date," where as penny-pinchers will run them to their legal limit.

From my experience, the new B&M's still have the butter smooth transitions in terms of not banging your head, BUY the wheels seems to bounce like hitting potholes. There is no lateral shaking; it's all up and down, and you feel it in your back. And it's not limited to just floorlesses. On opening day, Patriot was hitting little potholes along the way. At Solace this year, Silver Bullet was doing the same. At Spring Fling and later in June, SFOG's Goliath had a nasty case of this at the bottom of the first two drops. The rest of the ride seems to be fine though. Conversely, Batman at SFGAm and SFGAdv don't have this problem. They may not maneuver the transitions quite as well as they did when they were brand new (might tap my head a bit between the harness), but I don't feel bumps in the track that send a jolt up my back like I do on Goliath, Silver Bullet and Patriot. *** Edited 8/10/2006 12:04:34 AM UTC by Acoustic Viscosity***

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Wednesday, August 9, 2006 11:48 PM
Talon wasnt rough at all, Hydra was a little, and Dominator was a little at the end.

But I still dont consider them rough.

Thursday, August 10, 2006 12:04 AM
What's all this blasphemy about Talon?! :)

The bumpiness is present a bit on Hyrdra, a lot more on Batman:The Dark Knight, and I felt a little in the bottom of the pretzel on SUF at Gadv. Medusa and Batman at the same park ran great when I went in June. Medusa at SFMW (or SFDK now I guess) also ran very smoothly.

Thursday, August 10, 2006 12:07 AM

Acoustic Viscosity said:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe wheels are changed on an individual basis, as they wear out. It's not like the park operates the ride for three months and then says, "hey, the wheels are expired. We have to replace all of them. now"

From what I know, there is actually both. If a wheel goes bad, even a "penny-pincher park" isn't going to leave it on the ride. An overly rough ride can bring about lawsuits, and once again if maintenance notices a problem with a wheel, they can't say "Well, it was necessary to replace it..."

IF the wheels all keep running properly, they are still often overhauled at the same time when their lifespan is up. And the reason that some B&M coasters get especially jittery for a few days? They get new wheels which haven't yet worn a groove into them.

Rides with trains that are stored on the tracks do tend to get more jittery with age because the wheels become pitted from sitting in the same place for a long period, however B&M transfer tracks store the trains on a different set of wheels which does not rely on their regular running wheels at all. You can clearly see the resting spot on their inverts (there are two small wheels there for that).

The roughness of the newer B&Ms probably has almost nothing to do with a maintenance schedule or the parks they are in. B&M has always sought for very small imperfections in their rail length -- perhaps their standards were snuck by on these particular rides just a bit.

Thursday, August 10, 2006 12:09 AM
I think were spoiled...

On my ROUGHEST rides on Dominator at GL, I would hear people saying how butter smooth it is...

I like it most of the time... Gives an "aggresive" feel. However, Dominator was awesome today. Very little rattle and just smooth as butta.

You guys need to grow some... Errr... Suck it up! :) Then go ride SOB...

Thursday, August 10, 2006 12:24 AM
I agree Steve. I don't get what people are talking about here. Other than some of the standups (Iron Wolf, Vortex, Mantis) I've NEVER been uncomfortable on a B&M. There is some serious vibration on Tatsu's pretzel loop, and I actually think it adds character to the ride.

How old are some of you? You sound like my grand parents...;)

Thursday, August 10, 2006 12:27 AM
rollergator's avatar ^ Get off my lawn, you! :)
Thursday, August 10, 2006 12:39 AM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar It's just an annoying mystery. The new B&M's don't roll as smoothly as the old ones do. Why? No one seems to be able to figure it out. I think that's more significant than the comfort issue.

However, some of this "roughness" really bothers me, most notably on Goliath. Wood coasters have so much more give in their structure and track, and their trains tend to be much more padded which absorbs much of the shock. Steel coasters have minimum shock absorbtion and deliver all jolts right to your body. I can tolerate the roughest of wood coasters. I could ride SOB 10 times in a row (except for right now obviously)--no problem. A good jolt from a steel coaster hurts much more IMO.

Regardless, what makes the new B&Ms ride differently? It can't be intentional on B&M's part. They'e control freaks who demand perfection. Surey It's something a bit out of their control, such as maintenance or fabication.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Thursday, August 10, 2006 1:34 AM
I think it moreso deals with the fabrication of the track more then the trains. It seems consistant in every B&M with this "roughness" to happen in the same exact spot, regardless of the seat.

If it were the springs/wheels, the roughness would be consistant throughout, not just at the bottom of a drop or a corkscrew.

The old B&M's do seem to have less of this 'rattle' and believe there must of been a change in the way fabrication was done compared to now. That or they (the fabrication plant) is lacking some type of quality control these days. Remember, B&M may design perfection, but once they send that design to the mill, they can only hope they hold up with the quality. It is out of B&M's hands really once the fabrication begins.

My guess? Strictly fabrication.

Wasn't there a rumor going around B&M's fabrication plant change ownership or something around 2000? Which seemed to be the beginning of the "vibrations"? Maybe im just crazy but I swear I heard that.


Thursday, August 10, 2006 10:49 AM
It sounds like it could be fabrication issues. But if so, why doesn't it affect all the newer rides?

We know that Dominator has the weird vibration issue (which, to me, is more tolerable than Hydra's "pot holes", which actually cause me some pain). Why then are SFMW's Medusa & SWO's Kraken, which opened the same year, glass smooth?

I'm with you some, AV Matt, on the pain thing. When B&M are at the top of their game, their rides are SOOO smooth, but when there are track/wheel imperfections, you can definitely feel them sometimes.

Ya know, I didn't even think of the whole train storing issue. I know that Nitro trains don't store sitting on their running wheels, and that makes sense--so that the wheels don't become pitted.

Still, I wonder why Hydra is so bad. Honestly guys, I'm not making this up. It's the worst B&M bumpiness I've ever felt throughout a ride.

coastin' since 1985

Thursday, August 10, 2006 11:24 AM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar I had no idea about the storage issues...that's really interesting.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Thursday, August 10, 2006 12:43 PM
You know,that whole thing about the wheel grooves may also play a part in why most of the Arrows & Vekoma's out there are so rough.

Take a good look at the road wheels next time you queue up for an SLC & you'll notice that they're flat rather than grooved...probably due to using a harder formula during the fabrication process,although even with the grooved wheels I've noticed quite a bit of roughness on superman these days...especially when they're running it using the metalic wheel surfaces as opposed to the orange ones.

Thursday, August 10, 2006 6:17 PM
Hydra was VERY smooth when I rode it.

Though, when the train was almost empty, it bumped around alot. With weight, my head didn't move...

Thursday, August 10, 2006 8:00 PM
^ But that's just it, Steve. I'm not talking about headbanging--I'm talking about the ridiculous amount of bumpiness that Hydra has--it's the worst I've ever experienced on a B&M.

coastin' since 1985

Thursday, August 10, 2006 9:34 PM
A ride op on Dominator said once that the vibration occurs a lot more when the train is empty. Like others have said, this is an up and down vibration, not side to side roughness. I am an adult and can ride even the MB Hurricane without any trouble with pain, and this annoying vibration left me with a terrible headache after one ride.

Since neither Sheikra or Kraken have this problem, I'm skeptical of the manufacturing idea but it is a possibility. It does seem to be at the same spots on the track every time though. *** Edited 8/11/2006 1:35:08 AM UTC by lettuce***

Friday, August 11, 2006 1:28 AM
I rode Kraken five times today, I usually visit the park at least once a week and I noticed that it has been un-usually rough lately. I don't what it could be... The park is busier right now and ride is operating longer. In the off season it was definately smoother, but I'm sure that can't be the only reason.
Friday, August 11, 2006 10:08 PM

thecoasterguy said:

Actually, generally when wheels are changed the ride gets rougher until they wear a groove into them and stop sliding back and forth as often.

How often do you all think that parks are supposed to replace their wheels? I think that it is interesting that there are people claiming poor maintenance records for rides because of "wheel change issues." Don't you think that wheel changes would be something suggested by the manufacturer for safety's sake? And don't you think that even poor companies would switch them out whenever that time was so that they were not sued for negligence if the ride suffered a catosrophic failure? Believe it or not, there are maintenance records kept on these things, and if a wheel has outlived it's functional lifespan, I don't think *any* park will still be running with it on.

So, how long does everyone think an average wheel life span is? A day? A week? A month? I think the answer would surprise a lot of you.

First, it depends on the wheels. Some coasters actually have "pre-grooved" wheels.

Second, a "wheel change" is variable, just like the tires on your car: some may last significantly longer than others. Just because a coaster "needs a wheel change" doesn't mean that it's unsafe... just noticeable.

"Life's What You Make It, So Let's Make It Rock!"
Saturday, August 12, 2006 1:41 AM

dannerman said:
First, it depends on the wheels. Some coasters actually have "pre-grooved" wheels.

What B&M coasters have "pre-grooved" wheels? In fact, there aren't any manufacturers out there that I can think of who use such a thing. I'm curious about which rides use these wheels.

In my opinion, it doesn't make sense to have pre-grooved wheels as every ride track is slightly different, and depending on the position in the train that the wheels are at, that will change how the ride runs. If you have two grooves that do not perfectly align with the rails, the coaster will constantly be slipping in and out of each of the pre-grooved grooves throughout the ride course, which would only lead to more and more roughness.

I'd be very interested to be told about which rides have these wheels if you know of any in particular (there very well may be some that I am not aware of). The appearance of pre-grooved wheels that some of the rides have (like B&Ms, here is a link to a good picture of what grooves look like: ) comes from them wearing into the wheels. When the wheels are first put on the ride, they do not have that curve to them... yet.

Second, a "wheel change" is variable, just like the tires on your car: some may last significantly longer than others. Just because a coaster "needs a wheel change" doesn't mean that it's unsafe... just noticeable.

But if I have a tire that is rated for 60,000 miles and at 60,000 miles I figure it looks okay, so I'll keep riding it, if it blows up the person who will be at fault is me -- the car owner.

If a coaster wheel is rated for 100,000 runs through a ride course and the park decides that the wheels look nice so they can probably run for another 20,000 runs, who would get blamed in the case of a wheel problem that results in an injury or worse? And since parks track when they replace components and how many times the ride has gone through the ride course, if such a thing happened who would be to blame?


By the way, I wholeheartedly agree with everyone who has noted that B&M coasters ride much rougher with less people in them. I've ended up riding a few of their coasters with only a handful of people in the train right after a relatively full train, and then the difference is obvious. I have observed this on at least half a dozen different B&M rides, including the Dominator which gave me a first ride with a relatively full train which made me wonder why people complained about it's relative roughness, and then a ride later in the day with about 8 people on the train where it was rather obvious.

Oddly enough, this does not seem to be nearly as big of a deal on steel coasters by other manufacturers. *** Edited 8/12/2006 5:43:30 AM UTC by thecoasterguy***

Saturday, August 12, 2006 4:40 AM
This does seem to be ann interesting problem, could it be the way the track is fabricated more so than the wheels? I know some tracks have something inside of them or nothing inside of them (i can't remember which) to help degenerate noise caused by the coaster. I am not an expert on this kind of thing so I can't really be sure it was just a thought. The only B & M coasters I have noticed a bit of roughness on were Mantis and Top Gun and Carowinds, but the last time I rode Top Gun at Carowinds it was HEAVEN! I love that coaster, it felt like we were riding on velvet. I know I could have just contradicted what I said earlier though because it wouldn't make sense for a coaster to be rougher one day than the next epspecially on a steel coaster.
Saturday, August 12, 2006 11:27 AM
Steel expance and contracts with the temperature. I'm just throwing this out there, but with global warming increasing over that years, that could explain for some of the older B&M's being rougher because the designers didn't take into effect that the track would expand or contract so much.
Dustin Kern

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