The Viper at Six Flags Darien Lake isn't really rough at all. I never experienced a head-banging experience. The only minor rough portion of the coaster is during the transition when the coaster goes into the pretzal.
But for a 5-looping coaster, the Viper @ SFDL is an overall smooth experience... a little bit smoother than Corkscrew @ Cedar Point (I think that's mainly due to the evil camel hump after the first drop!).
Overall, they are all basically the same... it all depends on the elements they have (evil camel humps, unexpected turns, too much speed into the inversions...etc), which will in the end determine what Arrow coasters are going to wind up being rough (oh, the trains have some effect... but but not as much. Horse collar comfortability has something to do with it! Newer Arrow loopers have more comfortable horse collars now-a-days since the early 80's!).
My biggest problem with Arrow rides are not that the big ones tend to be rough. My problem is that the trains seem to not be designed for anyone over 5'6 or so! I'm not terribly big - 6'2 185 lbs., but I really feel VERY uncomfortable in those trains. I have to slouch to fit in and them, whether the coaster is rough or not, my shoulders and knees often hurt. If I sit up straight and pull the restraint till it hits my shoulder, the horsecollar is at a 45 degree angle to my body, leaving a huge space! I know B&M trains have recieved criticism for being designed for European bodies, but those leave a good inch between my shoulders and the restrains when I'm sitting straight up.
I know I have gotten a litle off the subject, but big or small, old or new, it's those darn trains 100% that keep me from enjoying Arrow loopers of any size. With Paramount getting smarter and (HOPEFULLY) putting trains with lapbars on their Premeir coasters, I can only dream about Arrow coasters with just lapbars!
Hey, I am 6'6" and I think it's funny when the shoulder bar only makes a 45 degree angle. Everyone else says I'd better not fall out! Seriously, though, you should try crossing your ankles, it gives your knees a lot more space. I sit that way on every ride, and it's wonderful. Anyway, I have never found any arrow to be rough.
I am right there with ya, coasterpunk! Vortex is my absolute reason for existing, although I would have rather seen some theming. Boy does it need painted!! I am also about to experience Tennessee Tornado for the first time in April. I expect to be blown away from what I have heard.
The smaller Arrows only seem rough to me in the front, but that is only if they have very quick changes in direction. I don't know how many dents I have put into the nose on Corkscrew at CP from that bunny hop!!!!! Double Loop is a great starter coaster, but I have always wanted more seat and back padding. It amazes me how the Arrow padding arrangements differ from one coaster to another. The only ones I can ride without padding are the shuttles (Afterburner, Thunderbolt Express, Sidewinder, etc.)!! ------------- An unnerving stillness in the woods of southern Indiana beckons for your soul on May 11th.....
I agree with Saviormachine and Peabody. Those rides are designed for midgets. I was shocked that Steel Phantoms OTSR went down just as much as the CP corkscrews OTSR, which is about 45 degrees. It looks near vertical compared to where they should be.
I never tried crossing my legs at the ankles though. It works on their mine trains so maybe it works on their "loopers." Thanks for the tip :)
Personally, I find the Demon at SFGAm to be one of the most painful rides at the park. I believe that the pain lies in the OTSRs. They are the beige kind with the huge handgrips. They are rock hard, and hurt like the dickens when you bang into them (on the corkscrews. The only way to solve this problem for me is to stick my head out of the restraint on the corkscrew, which can prove detrimental to my health. I've heard Shockwave is incredibly painful, also. Once last season a girl had to be rushed to the hospital (I believe) after riding shockwave from head and neck pain. I believe the pain has nothing to do with the size of the coaster, but rather the OTSRs.
I think Demon is a little bit smoother than Shockwave, and I find Demon way more fun than Shockwave.(IMO) I agree that it isn't that height that makes the ride rougher, it's the restraints and the deadly corkscrews. I like to call Shockwave,"The trip to hell and back"and the turn into the mid-course brakes is "The turn from hell".
------------- 2 for 1 in 2001:SFGAm all the way!! 2002:CPs year 2 rule!
Before Blink3020 said, SFGAm is the perfect place to test out a junior looper, and a mega looper. I find that Shockwave is not rough at all. I'm about 5'6, and I do not bang my head once. But on Demon, during the corkscrews, I'm flying to the side and I can't do anything about it. I thought that Shockwave is way better then Demon. In less roughness and fun. ------------- "4 Seats are better than 2"
I agree with MF#1RB#2BVL. Shockwave is one of the smoothest Arrows around. Everyone says its rough, but last September it was no worse then Demon. Maybe they replaced the wheels? Any ways its my favorite one there.
When your about 5'3" like me, you get a head banging on every ride...not just Arrow. But I see it just as part of the ride. You might go to a park for fun, I go to a park to have fun and get beatup at the same time. Ouch.
-------------------- You can't run and you can't hide...the Beasts at PKI
For the tall folks, the best thing is to ride in the "front" of any given car. Each Arrow train car has a front and a back seat (2 rows of 2 per car) just go for the front every time and you should be fine. (I am 6'4")
Since I learned "how to ride" Arrow loopers, I love them. I keep hands on the grab bar, push back slightly, keeping pressure on the back of my head against the dead center of the headrest, and brace for impact. That works for Flashback, and any other "notorious headbanging" coaster. Viper has become a real favorite of mine since learning this trick, I never get headbanged any more on it.
As for small vs. big, I think they are all about the same. It depends on speed at which the elements are taken. The "smoothest" Arrow I have encountered was The Demon at PGA, I suppose that is considered a "mid-sized."
I don't care about the headbanging as long as its a good coaster to ride. Arrow has made some great coasters, and I am sure that they will deliver many more. I really want to ride a 4th Dimension coaster. Can't wait for that. Soggy has a good point. As long as you sit up straight and keep your head on the back rest you shouldn't get banged around as much. Front seems pretty smooth to me on most of their coasters.