Scramblers, Sizzlers, and Merry Mixers

Three very similar flat rides are the Eli Bridge Scrambler, the Wisdom Sizzler, and the Garbrick Merry Mixer. All feature groups of seats on arms which revolve around a point that in turn revolves around the center of the ride. This produces an epicyclic movement that creates strong lateral g forces. Among those of you that have ridden each of these rides, how do they compare to each other? *** Edited 6/24/2008 12:15:40 AM UTC by Arthur Bahl***

Arthur Bahl

janfrederick's avatar
Hmmm...good question and great use of the word epicyclic. ;)

Sizzler - 55' deep x 55' wide x 18' tall
Scrambler - 60' Circle

I couldn't find dimensions for the Merry Mixer. But perhaps size matters?

I suppose you could also throw in Calypso into the "mix" and possibly even Troika...although Troika is VERY different. In any case Calypsos are INSANE! I never really appreciated Scramblers after my first ride on a Calypso.

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
Another ride that features epicyclic movement is the Tempest. This has a central beam and two secondary beams that revolve around the central beam. The four cars at the end of the beams spin to some extent creating a greater variety of sensations than is possible in a Scrambler or similar ride.

Tempests were especially popular in traveling carnivals because they were trailer mounted and very easy to set up.

Arthur Bahl

I think the Eli Scramblers are quite good. They don't hurt, but they don't go as fast as the Sizzler. This carnival that I went to used to have a Super Sizzler. Than after some years, they got rid of it, and got a Sizzler. They probably got rid of it because it's too much work to put up, and the Sizzler is a cheaper version with the same amount of seats, and takes up less room.

Sizzler's are a little painful after a minute. The reason is because I feel like neck feels like it's going to get snapped off. I still ride it, but if it didn't look so good, I would probably avoid it altogether.

For the Super Sizzler, this ride is very unlike the regular Sizzler. It doesn't hurt, it goes fast, and sometimes they go backwards. However, one carnival by me had one, and it didn't go backwards which is a shame because I think it's a great ride when it goes backwards and forwards.

Super Sizzler Picture -

I have never been on the Merry Mixer.

However again, when the Super Sizzler goes backwards and forwards, it beats the other 2 rides.

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One difference is the Merry Mixer at Knoebels has 16 cars on 4 arms instead of the 12 on 3 the Scramblers have. I guess by that virtue, it requires a larger diameter to accommodate the extra cars.
john peck's avatar
Don't forget the Eli Bridge Cycloid!

Sorry Dave, I beat ya to it! lol!

I like scramblers the best of the four with the cycloid coming in second.

Never liked the Sizzlers much.. they seem to run faster and Im not a fan on constant lateral force

One more variation that appeared at Great Adventure for a short time was the Sidewinder. This was a scrambler type ride that had the pivot arms above the set of seats. The cars were more of a circular tub with a bench seat (similar to those shower tub combinations for older folks). It was not as forceful as a Scrambler but it was still an enjoyable ride.

I rode the Merry Mixer at Knoebels (last one left?) and MANY many Scramblers. I have yet to ride a Sizzler but as age creeps up on me I don't know if I can handle it.

rollergator's avatar
The Sizzler at...MFI (I think?) was fun without being overly forceful. Of course, Sizzlers have "history" in them, alot of it not so good (high accident rates).

The Cycloid looks crazy FUN...but I imagine I-X no longer has one, huh?

And how many accidents involve kids slipping out of them because they don't want to be on the ride, so they just get out of the ride? Thus, it's not always the ride itself, but rather just kids.

And what's worse at carnivals is that parents don't like to ride with their kids because that's extra money, so they go alone, or they go with another kid that wants to get out of the ride vehicle while it's moving.

Wisdom also has a family Sizzler I've never been on. *** Edited 6/23/2008 7:18:58 PM UTC by Spinout***

Get Ready. Get Set. Spinout! Six Flags America: The Park that is Full of Disappointments
The best Sizzler, IMO, is the one at Beech Bend. A nice looking ride (not all Sizzlers are) and very fast. I loved it. Nice long ride cycle, too. (urp)

The only Merry Mixer I know of is the one RatherGoodBear mentions at Knoebels. I thought it was rather snappy, and the four plus four arrangement made it seem to "cut through" a little bit quicker than a Scambler, if that makes any sense. The lateral forces seemed more pronounced. The cars are cute, and a little more comfortable, too.

Another ride that is similar is the Twist, or Twister. They are common in the UK and Australia, but I've seen one show up with Bates Bros. traveling show. (IX Indoor Amusement Park) I don't know the manufacturer and Flat Joint doesn't list it. Here's a Wikipedia link.

Interesting distinction between a Sizzler type (platform) and grasscutter type (Scrambler, no platform)

^ Better link:

Get Ready. Get Set. Spinout! Six Flags America: The Park that is Full of Disappointments
^Thanks. That's what I was trying to get.
'Gator, the only Cycloid I know of (S/N 01-97) belongs to Bates Amusements of Wintersville, OH. Last time I rode it was a couple of years ago at the Fairfield County (OH) Fair. Photos of it are available HERE.

I have seen two other Merry Mixers other than the one at Knoebels. One was at a carnival outside of Harrisburg, PA, which had all manner of Garbrick equipment (in fact, I think every piece I saw on that lot was Garbrick!), but I didn't get to see that one operate. The other was also on a carnival, and the neat thing about it was that the ride sits on a flatbed trailer that is designed to drop flat on the ground, much like the Cycloid trailer. I have a few photos but I don't seem to have those photos available electronically at the moment...

If you are looking to talk about all kinds of rides that incorporate the Scrambler motion, then you certainly want to include the Calypso (Cedar Point has a nice one, although most of the decoration is gone) and the larger Calypso variation that Schwarzkopf built. There is a significant difference from the Scrambler, though, because on the Calypso, the car arms travel in the same direction as the main platform, while the Scrambler runs them in opposite directions. The result is a different acceleration pattern. In fact, that's why the Cycloid is called the Cycloid: when the center is reversed, it produces the cyclodic action of the Calypso.

It might also be appropriate to include the big Polyp ride of the style found at Kiddieland, which adds a vertical variation to the ride and at first seems to have more in common with the Eyerly Monster, except that the cars don't rotate.

There is an additional variation, with the addition of rotating cars, and that would include the Huss Break Dance, Huss Magic, and Eyerly Monster if you don't mind also including vertical components to the motion.

Backing up a little, there are also small Scrambler variants available from Eli Bridge: there is a little kiddie Scrambler, and there is a suspended version using little swings called SpiderMania, which I think could translate nicely into a cool adult ride.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Ain't the Huss Condor something like a Scrambler using swinging cars attached to a tower? I always had that impression..
Dave that show you encountered outside Harrisburg may have been the one that one of the Garbrick family members owns. The Gabrick plant is in Centre Hall, PA, near State College.
rollergator's avatar
Dave (or anyone with a guess) - two pics of a weird ride at a place on the way home from St. Augustine:

I spoke with the gal from Eli Bridge at last year's IAAPA and mentioned the roll out of the Fire Storm, an obvious update/retheme of the Cycloid. She mentioned that Bates was the only one to ever purchase a Cycloid, expressing disappointment that it didn't do better.

Here's my take on it. Since the Cycloid has only one speed, 8 rpm, it feels too slow when the sweeps revolve like the Scrambler, in opposite directions, or anti-cycloidal. When the same speed is applied in "reverse", or both center and sweeps going the same direction,(cycloidal) it feels too fast. I've been on it several times here in Ohio, (Bates plays a lot of fairs here these days) and each time I thought the cycloidal portion of the cycle was quite uncomfortable. The forces were much too strong, amplified by the fact that the high backed seats had absolutely no padding (and still dont) which killed the back of my head. Not good.

Which leads me to think of a ride that some of you might remember from the 70's and 80's, the Cobra by Venture/Wisdom.

It was a fast ride and operated both center and sweeps in the same direction- the G forces were fierce. At IAAPA I saw they were introducing a new version of it that was called Viper. It's on a Tornado base, so it loads all tubs at once, then raises in the air. The video of it showed the ride running Scrambler-like, in opposite directions. When I asked the rep about it, he said they hadn't figured out a way to vary the speed of the sweeps- fast for one direction and slower for the other. So for now it runs just one direction only, avoiding the painful forces that the Cycloid delivers.

It makes me wonder why ride manufacturers think they need to run a ride two directions, anyway. Why not find a sane but thrilling speed and run it the way it was intended, just one direction?

Dutchman: When I saw that everything on the show was Garbrick, I kind of made that assumption. Also, I was actually on my way to State College when I saw that show. I looked over the rides (there was nobody around; it was early in the day) and after I saw the nameplates on the rides, I made it a point to drive through Centre Hall. :)

Gator: That looks like a strange Paratrooper knock-off that I saw at the Saint Somebodyorother Festival down the road last week. Again, I didn't go to the festival, just saw the ride during setup the day before, so I don't have any info on it. Not yet, anyway.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

I've been on a lot of nearly all these rides, but I was once on a carnival Scrambler that went so fast I thought I was going to die. It was a Scrambler of Death. It was more sickening than the Zipper. LOL

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

What the heck? Now, any ride that has arms, or seperate segments that spin is a Scrambler. The way some people are going, I could count the teacups as a Scrambler.

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