Roughness of Classic Wooden Coasters

Monday, February 19, 2007 5:35 PM
Over the past season, I've come to realize that many wooden coasters that I rode were incredibly rough so much as I had to brace myself to reduce pain. The main ones I was thinking about are (KI's) Racer, Georgia Cyclone, and Mean Streak. Now, I am still young and can usually take pain well, so I don't think it is just me. My question to you is, were these coasters ALWAYS this way? If not, how good of a ride did they provide?

Please express your thoughts.

Monday, February 19, 2007 6:20 PM
Yes, you must be young, I wouldn't consider Georgia Cyclone or Mean Streak to be classics. :) To answer your question: KI's Racer was very smooth for many, many years. Georgia Cyclone was always kind of aggressive but not necessarily rough. Mean Streak has had problems ever since it was built. Mean Streak has received a lot of work over the years, but Georgia Cyclone, being in the Six Flags chain, has not received the maintenance it should. I think both really suffer from the fact that the trains have hard seat backs which transfer every single vibration directly to your spine. Paramount was not always good to its woodies and I'm hopefull that CF will take better care of Racer. They have done a nice job taking care of Blue Streak. As far as Mean Streak goes, I don't think it will get any better until they fix the trains. Don't get your hopes for any Cyclone fixes anytime soon.
Monday, February 19, 2007 6:48 PM
I'm also a believer in soft padding. I've been on rides that were in much worse condition than Racer or Mean Streak, yet the ride was much more supple thanks to a seat that wasn't made out of cinder blocks!
Monday, February 19, 2007 6:50 PM
I think it just depends on how well the ride was designed.

Some of the best woodies I have been on are classics like blue streak and big dipper as opossed to the worst I have been on like son of beast and psyclone. *** Edited 2/20/2007 12:11:08 AM UTC by crazy horse***

Monday, February 19, 2007 7:10 PM
If well built and, more importantly, well maintained a wooden coaster should be smooth regardless if it is 7 yrs old or 70 yrs old.
Monday, February 19, 2007 7:23 PM
Last time I rode Racer at PKI which was this past season, the valleys were extremely rough to the point where my chest was actually hurting.

A simple re-tracking would probably do the trick because a few years prior, it wasn't nearly as rough.

Mean Streak went from jarring throughout most of the course 4 years ago, to now it's just a boring layout when I rode it this past season. They obviously did some maintenance on it.

I wouldn't even consider Racer and Mean Streak as classics. They are still babies compared to the real classic woodies.

Monday, February 19, 2007 7:32 PM
Wild One at SFA and Comet at Hershey Park are still smooth despite there age.
Monday, February 19, 2007 9:04 PM
It depends on the maintenance staff of the parks, how well they are knowlegable about maintaining wooden rollercoasters. and also their maintenance budget.

Among the smoothest of woodies are American Eagle at SFGAM Wooden rollercoasters at Kennywood. (which I would consider classics)

Most other woodies I would consider average

Among the Roughest Son of Beast , Mean Steak, Racer, Timber Wolf at WOF

Monday, February 19, 2007 9:48 PM
The Racer didn't seem to be all that rough this past season but I don't know how it has been in the past since I hadn't ridden it until two seasons ago. I did discover that the forward side provides a more comfortable ride though. Probably because you can anticipate things that way. Padded seats would be good.
Monday, February 19, 2007 9:58 PM
Racers a prime example of taking a damn good ride and doing everything they can to destroy it.

Not only the fact they shallowed the drop and first two bunnies but the fact that they put high backs, Over sized dividers. Individual ratcheting bars and adjusted the locking possition of said bars about 45* off specs


Same for THE BEAST. (Minus dividers statement)

While having no proof. I suspect both Beast and Racer have some structural weakening in spots (Not necessarily dangerous, but causing extra flex in the track) and thus wearing out track faster.

Chuck, who hasn't been in two years but my brother said the backward side was really smooth early last season but the frontward side has been wash boarding for years.

Monday, February 19, 2007 10:24 PM
I haven't been in a while but I think the backwards side has run better than forwards for a long time. Not 100% of the time but it seems at least since the mid 90's to me backwards has run smoother.

Which sucks because I think forwards is a lot, lot, lot more fun. *** Edited 2/20/2007 3:25:51 AM UTC by matt.***

Monday, February 19, 2007 10:40 PM
I think typically the backwards side of racers in general *and* PKI's in specific, is usually the better-maintained side. Further, I suspect it has to do with the potential for injury being greater when the coaster runs backwards...

Well-maintained wooden coasters only get better with age. Poorly-maintained ones do just the opposite. The sad fact is that so many wooden coasters fall into the latter category, and that so few fall into the former.

Most places that have "classic" woodies (to me, that means old enough to collect pensions) do a pretty good job on those. :)

Monday, February 19, 2007 11:04 PM
That's why I love HW, they maintain their woodies so well.................(Okay, so I *might* be hyping up my home park) ;)
Monday, February 19, 2007 11:20 PM
Thats true, but the design of the ride has a lot to do with it as well.

For example.

Look at sob and all the problems it has had due to its design. And same thing with mean streak. There is a break on the first drop for a reason.

I think the same thing is true for texas giant as well.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 12:04 AM

TSC 2007 said:
Wild One at SFA and Comet at Hershey Park are still smooth despite there age.

Totally agree there on Comet...still my favorite woodie (or at least tied with El Toro).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 12:22 AM
The Comet gets my "biggest tease" coaster award: I want to love it, it should be an airtime machine, during the first half of the ride the thing just keeps building and building and you cant wait to experience the second half, but NO! Hershey had to put stinking trims on it ruining the home strech. Im allmost to the point of weeping as Im rounding those prefectly designed airtime machines way too slow to experience the pop they should deliever.

Give me the Yankee Cannonball anyday.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 5:20 AM
Well maintained coasters that get better with age -- KWs woodies certainly fit this category. Those vintage coasters still give a good ride after all those years.

Jack Rabbit is 86 years old and still has a ride that belies its age. KW very likely has put more wood into that coaster over the years than was used to originally build the coaster.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 5:41 AM
Since mean streak was brought up, I'll have to comment that last summer when I rode it, I got off wanting someone to lend me a match so I could burn it down. I don't know if it was the row I was in or what, but I was scared for my back. I usually love wood too.

-Long time reader

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 8:42 AM

Touchdown said:
The Comet gets my "biggest tease" coaster award: I want to love it, it should be an airtime machine, during the first half of the ride the thing just keeps building and building and you cant wait to experience the second half, but NO! Hershey had to put stinking trims on it ruining the home strech.

Only rode Comet once last year (only got to the park once last year for some reason), but the timing was perfect. For the first time in years I had a ride where the second turn trim was on very lightly and the ride kept up a good deal of its speed during the second half through the bunny hops. It's still my sentimental favorite.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 8:45 AM
With the trim, Comet looses a lot of speed. I don't even like to think about it anymore as I head for Wildcat or Racer.

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