I never been there but I think I have heard that the 2nd lift was basicly the end of the ride. I might be wrong though. And yes in my Roller Coaster (ISBN 0-7858-0885-X) book does show the ride with Shoulder Harnesses even though the ride didn't have loops, but according to the pictures at RCDB the ride now has lap bars instead.
Well hell, who cares about the loops. I mean, there are a bunch of coasters in Japan and Italy that do not invert, that have shoulder bars. And one in Angola, Indiana. I dunno, must be a sadist or something.
There are few coasters that you really need shoulder bars on.
Actually, did a little research.. thanks to youtube... the Ultimate actually has 2 lifts and a little one at the end... and darn they are slow!
Wow, that looked bad... Looks like an in-house project where the park didn't really know how to build a coaster. Imagine the costs of having 2 big lift hills, 2 chains on the slow ramp at the top of the 2nd lift and the small one at the end. Plus, with only 2 trains, that thing must have no capacity.
It IS an inhouse built coaster! This is one of the coasters i had no interest in riding after i saw a video of it in 1994. (It was one of the three big coasters in the UK in 94. The others: Shockwave and Big One).
Everything about the ride seems wrong and i have only heard bad things about it. The first part is said to be boring and the second part hurts like hell.
Recently there have been rumours that the park might get rid of it. It´s not like they have a lot to offer in the first place...
Tricktrack, the other big coaster for '94 was Nemesis - the Ultimate opened in '91 with OTSRs. I last rode in '92 and the OTSRs were replaced by a double lap bar type restraint, one part restraining you at the waist, the other at the lap.
Both lifts are notoriously slow and the train is so long that the front half is well down the first drop before gravity takes over. It's a yawn-a-minute low to the ground ride to the second lift. The drop off of that is the best part of the ride but the swooping curves that follow aren't the most comfortable and most of the thrill comes from the feeling that you're going to die before the brake run. Despite the roughness I did kinda like the second half of the ride for the most part but it runs out of steam long before the end of the ride - probably so riders have time to stop moaning in pain ;)
I remember from articles in ACE News that the initial response to the Ultimate was that the first half of the ride, up to the second lift, was not much to write home about, but from the sound of it, after the second lift, all hell broke loose.
What I am reading now suggests that either the original correspondent had pretty low standards, or the (now removed) shoulder bars were beating him senseless in the second half of the ride.
For what it's worth, the Ultimate is the first ride I ever heard of from which shoulder bars were *removed*.
Force Dynamics did the work on the ride, train were done in house, and later modifed. I did get to ride it in 96 and it had the t bars and the old trains were sitting next to the first lift. The ride was ok, first half was boring second half was fun, it did lose steam toward the end but the switch back were fun.
I rode it 2002 and like others here have mentioned, I thought the first half was pretty dull. But the the run back from the second lift hill was pretty wild. As it nears the station it does run out of steam and a third lift chain is needed to bring it back into the station. There was no brake run to stop the train, it just engages the final lift. The only brakes are in the station. When I rode it had the oddly shaped t-bar restraints shown in the link below. It wasn't all that smooth, but I didn't find it painful. I thought it was kind of funky and fun.
If you read the stats on RCDB, all the companies involved sound like ones you'd hear mentioned in a cartoon, as if Wile E. Coyote or maybe even peter Griffin were involved. I dunno, looks like a really long mine train to me.