SFOG/Mind Bender, Sunday June 12, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011 3:18 PM

My main reason for going out of my way to the park was to ride Mind Bender, one of my favorites. I've visited this park in 1990, 1993, 2007 and then yesterday. I needed my Mind Bender fix!

The ride is great as ever. Everytime I get on one of my favorites, the first ride I always feel kinda 'yeah, that's a good ride'; but then, the more I ride it, it's like falling in love all over again.

The Dare Devil Dive was great. Rode 2x, once in front once in back. My favorite thing about the ride is that it has lap bars. I hope this is used as a successful display model to show people how great (another) inversion can be with lap bars.

The crews were better than the last time I was at the park, but still relatively (to Dollywood, Holiday World...) slow. Mind Bender stacked it's 2nd train every ride nearly, except for the last couple trains of the day - those came right in ;)

Scream Machine looks GREAT with a new paint job, but runs pretty rough. I also noticed the train outfitted with thicker side padding, thus wedging you down in the seat tighter. It's also the only PTC buzz bars with locks on both sides of each seat (that I have seen). If that's what they had to do (dual locks) to keep the buzz bars, what a great idea.

Passed on Cyclone as my buddy (who lives near the park) said it's still on the very rough side.

Finally got to ride Acraphobia - very nice and creepy! So smooth, I never noticed the seats tilting out.

The people we were with wanted to check out Batman, Goliath and GA Scorcher, so I did each of those once. Scorcher was much nicer in the front than the back, but still a rough ride.

Still didn't get the SFOG Superman 'credit'. I kinda view it as a 'credit' and not very important. Wanted to spend more time on the Mind Bender!

Had somewhere between 15-20 rides on the Anton classic. Each ride got better and better. I forgot how intense the ride is, yet perfectly balanced with a nice slow lift, and pauses to catch your breath. It's one of the only steel loopers I can think of with lateral forces, no seat dividers, and despite the individual lap bars - you still slide over with your partner. I always think of this ride as a very smooth woodie, but with loops!

Also ran into a maintenance guy and told him how it's my favorite looper in the chain. He said he much prefers B&M's. Also that the Revolution at Magic Mountain is bigger and longer than Mind Bender, and that the Batman and Superman at SFOG are unique designs. I asked him how was Mind Bender maintenance-wise, he responded "HIGH maintenance!" I asked him in what way was it hard to maintain, he told me he doesn't have the liberty to discuss that with me (in a very matter of fact southern way). "Have a six flags day" I though. I just asked :)

I'll probably head back to the park tomorrow for a few more rides on MB and would like to hit the mine train as well. We also did Ninja once, the blue train from Great Adventure. Ouch.

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Monday, June 13, 2011 3:45 PM

Hope you get the kiddie coaster back by the mine ride - it's actually pretty forceful. Also, the S:UF ride is much more terrain-oriented than either the NJ or IL rides...so it's worth a lap for that alone.

Cyclone was SLOW and rough - a bad combo. GASM-I wasn't too awfully bad for me - but it's surely not KI Racer at this point, and needs some love.

As for 'Bender - you know my feelings on that! :)

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Monday, June 13, 2011 5:05 PM

^And I was thinking how cool it would have been if you were there gator! I don't think I've ever ridden MB with another Anton fan. I mean, not an Anton fan, like us Anton fans.

One of the guys in the local coaster club asked me what was so special about it, why I liked it so much. It's a rare ride, pacing, comfy, airtime, laterals, perfect loops, etc...

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Monday, June 13, 2011 5:21 PM

Nice TR, Billy! I tend to want to ride every coaster when I am at a park. Riding the same one over and over seems like a waste of time to me, that is until I d them all at least once.. :)

What is different about SFoG's Superman and Batman from the ones at the other SF parks that makes them unique designs? I thought that they were all clones.

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Monday, June 13, 2011 5:32 PM

^They are (except SFOG has a dual station, that I guess they don't use too much). I wasn't clear in my report - the maintenance guy was trying to say how their Superman and Batman were unique rides, and how Mind Bender wasn't special b/c there is a bigger one in California....

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Monday, June 13, 2011 6:49 PM

OOoohhhh. It's funny how sometimes the very people who physically work on roler coasters don't have a general knowledge about coasters. lol

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Monday, June 13, 2011 7:21 PM

I think the biggest maintenance issue with the old Schwarzkopf coasters is the fact the company doesn't exist any more and thus getting/creating parts is a real challenge.

Additionally, these ride are getting older - inspecting for metal fatigue becomes a much bigger factor (we have all watched SFOT slowly replace a lot of the steel track and supports in Shockwave over the last few years to keep the ride operational, and much of Whizzer has had new track installed in the last decade.

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Monday, June 13, 2011 8:59 PM

^Really? Actual pieces of track have been replaced? I'd like to know more about that.

On the Mind Benders' 3rd drop (after the diving/twisting/horizontal loop drop) there was a new piece of metal - a cross tie. It looked new to me. Was silver, unpainted, and had weld marks.

I've been following the Shockwave's refurb every year (the pictures, anyway) and I wasn't aware that any of that was actual new track. Figured it was being X-rayed and spot welded, then primed/painted if anything.

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Monday, June 13, 2011 9:20 PM

I recall one of the turns (the "home" turn?) on Shockwave being replaced about two seasons ago. Might have been three now. All I know is there were rumors of the ride's demise, and I was *reasonably* concerned. More than I should have been about a roller coaster, LOL - but Antons (and Millers and Schmecks) are rides that really resonate with me. Sometimes there just aren't adequate substitutes.

It is a little weird to think of steel coaster track being replaced, in that wooden coasters are perpetually re-built whereas a steel coaster track may go twenty years without much more than tighten and replace some nuts and bolts (and inspect frequently, or at least per manufacturer's recommendations).

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Thursday, June 16, 2011 9:38 PM

Great report.

I too think that MB is the best coaster in the park. While it might not be the most thrilling, it is just about as close to perfection as I have ridden. All but the hard breaking when heading into the station. If your not ready for it, you could end up with whiplash.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011 10:02 PM

^Yeah, it's a shame they can't remedy that after all these years. It's a no-brainer in my eyes - extend the braking area and stop further down the drag brakes. Anton had 4 trains in mind (look at the blocks and length of drag brakes); the ride originally had 3 but as far as I know, only ever ran with 2.

The system would have to be updated of course, but there is plenty of room for slow down before the stop. One day, the crew was dynamite and got nearly every train out fast - so the trains came right in with no stop. That was sweet and earned them special compliments with a manager and Guest Relations. The really cool thing is there was not much of a line, and the crew were still on the ball.

I rode MB again today a bunch of times! It just keeps getting better and better. That's 4 days I have gone into the park on this trip. I thought I'd be somewhere in TX or PA by now! I finally did get the Superman credit as well, one morning when the park opened. Also had my first encounter with a true, nearly 1 inch long, fire ant. That was one bad looking boy! Good thing I didn't get bit (sorry you did Travis!)

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Thursday, June 16, 2011 10:24 PM

HAHA... It's like in a rap song when the vocalist gives a shout out.

I really need to get to SFoG some day. It's an eight hour drive for me, which I consider a really long drive. Gosh, Billy. I can't imagine driving all the way from Chicago?

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Thursday, June 16, 2011 10:38 PM

Mind Bender Mmmmm... You either get it or you don't. So much awesomeness!

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Thursday, June 16, 2011 10:49 PM

^Yup! I got it the first time. Then I really got in the 2nd time, then it just got better and better.

^^I can, Travis! Mind Bender is worth it. All the B&Ms and newer Intamins are kinda like cardboard, and MB is like a big seasoned greasy potato chip!!!

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Friday, June 17, 2011 9:14 AM

I'm borderline gator-like in my affinity for Anton creations, and Mind Bender is the pinnacle of Antonness for me. It's my #4 steel. Definitely the best coaster in the park, and also the most re-ridable. And I can't really conjure a specific reason I like it so much--it's not exceptionally thrilling or forceful, and doesn't have much airtime. It's just fun...one of those rare rides I exit feeling elated.

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Friday, June 17, 2011 11:48 PM

^I was trying to figure that out too. MB (and most Anton rides) is a simple coaster. 2 seats, simple lap bar, very comfortable (even with my knees dug in the knee pads). It has a little air in back, lots in front. Great loops. It's a simple roller coaster with loops; not a one trick pony or special novelty; I've never been able to warm up too much with 4-across seating.

Another thing about MB (and Shockwave, and most Anton's for that matter) is it really give you that precarious feel if you look over the edge. The cars wrap around the track, so you don't look out and see a bunch of stuff, u see ground!

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