Vekoma...why so bad???

kingdakacor's avatar

Ok. I have been on my share of vekoma boomerang;s and suspended coasters. They always get a bad rap. I am wondering how come vekoma makes us shudder from time to time. Is it because their design's are just too out there? Ear and head banging seem to be a common trait among their coasters. But what really makes them so bad (well at least some of them). Is it their design, their finances.....I am curious to know..

sirloindude's avatar

You know, for some reason, I really enjoyed my lap on the Boomerang at Worlds of Fun this past weekend. Maybe it's because I haven't been on one in a while, but yeah, I really liked it. That says nothing of the fact that Rock 'n Roller Coaster is far and away one of the absolute greatest roller coasters ever built.

I do think, however, that the buck pretty much stops there. The SLC's, while possessing a pretty cool layout, severely lack the quality of the B&M inverts, and offer a kind of "cheap" ambience. And that's one example. The whole production model thing and "generic" style of many of their rides is what really harmed their reputation among enthusiasts.

That being said, I really don't mind Vekoma. I enjoy the Boomerangs and some of their more original work out there. It's mostly the flyers and SLC's I don't care for.

Sirloindude, who would rather take a lap on SUF and B-TR. Or Maverick.

13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

Jeff's avatar

Mostly it's because the stock Vekoma models found everywhere don't track particularly well. Watch the wheels on your average SLC and you'll see guide and upstop wheels lose contact with the track now and then. There's a lot of play in there. The other, less critical issue is that I don't think the trains are right sized for some of the elements. Because of the way a long train moves through those, you might feel yourself being yanked back or launched forward in the restraint. I noticed that less, but it's definitely there.

The funny thing is that they did a nice job with Rockin' Roller Coaster at WDW, and I'm sure Disney owning it helps too. The various roller skaters (and the inverted version) are nice rides as well.

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Jason Hammond's avatar

Everest is one of their best coasters ever IMO. Also the new restraints that are on Carolina Cobra are very nice. It makes a boomerang fun to ride.

884 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries My YouTube

The Great Nor'easter is great IMO, it also has the new cars or restraints or something.

Rick_UK's avatar

Most of the larger ride manufacturers are pretty hit and miss, Vekoma is no different. The problem with Vekoma is that when they make a poor ride or a ride that does bash you around a little, they produce 20 of them! That said, parks keep buying them because Vekoma's business model allows them to sell their rides relatively cheaper - because the design and development costs are spread across the customers.

A lot of the 'Vekoma thing' creeps back to the point that Gonch keeps making where enthusiasts read way too much into things and get onto their soap boxes. You can't help but wonder how, if there was one single Boomerang or SLC in the world how it would be received by the coaster community. Probably very differently. Also, with some parks looking after their ride hardware better than others, you end up with that one Boomerang with a clapped out Arrow train and square wheels being somebody's suckometer for Boomerang installations everywhere.

As some of you know I'm in Australia at the moment and this country has one adult inverted coaster - Lethal Weapon at Movie World. Most Aussies won't have ridden a silky smooth B&M Inverted so the inferior Vekoma to you and I is the former signature ride of one of Australia's biggest parks to your average Sheila.

Vekoma have built some fantastic rides. The Motorbike coaster is one of the best 'new' rides I've ridden in a long time and as stated earlier in the thread, Rock n' Rollercoaster is superb, easily in my top 10.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

LuvRaptor's avatar

Jeff said:
The funny thing is that they did a nice job with Rockin' Roller Coaster at WDW, and I'm sure Disney owning it helps too.

The same can be said about Intamin and California Screamin. I LOVE that coaster and was absolutely floored when I found out it was an Intamin!

I never knew RnRC was a Vekoma it is a fun ride!!

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kingdakacor's avatar

I agree with Rock N Roller at WDW. As Jeff said I am sure Disney was all over that too. Everest is great also. But mindbender in SFA and Great Nor East really bashed me up. I don't mind the boomerangs really. But the SLC is def iff. I think I read someplace that Six Flags stopped buying from them because certain vekoma models were unreliable? I forget which one's in particular made that happen. I do like their skaters too. Have to throw a little shout out at them.

Rick_UK's avatar

SF took issue with the De Ja Vu clones. However, Stunt Fall at Movie World Madrid opened two weeks late, but has had a pretty good track record since.

Last edited by Rick_UK,

Nothing to see here. Move along.

What we're all overlooking is that almost without exception, the Vekoma rides that give them a bad reputation, especially in the smoothness department are all incredibly old designs (in particular, pre-heartlining). Just because a new Boomerang or a new SLC gets built doesn't mean that anything about the design that would actually make it smoother from a track geometry perspective has changed.

Look at their newer rides: all the Motorbikes, the new generation of SLC's (the "Shenlin" models like Kumali and the trio of Chinese rides with the zero-G rolls), Battlestar Galactica (seat-breaking issues aside), even back as far as Colorado Adventure in Phantasialand (1996). All of those rides are incredibly smooth compared to old school/stock Vekoma loopers/boomerangs/SLCs.

Basically, anything that Vekoma has had to custom design (and that's an important distinction) since the mid/late 90's is a good, smooth ride. The problem is that people kept buying SLC's and Boomerangs (and their old, poor trackwork). Why? Simply: they're cheap, "proven", and they're cheap. What incentive was there for Vekoma to go back and update the Boomerang or the SLC with updated design methods? That would cost them money, and customers were telling them with their purchases that they didn't need to spend that money. It's not that Vekoma is or was unable to produce quality rides with quality, smooth track geometry, it's that they really had no reason to until recently because their business model was working for them.

Basically, don't count them out. Their track record in the last 10ish years of *custom designed* rides is actually a pretty top-tier portfolio of attractions.


Jason Hammond's avatar

Rick_UK said:
SF took issue with the De Ja Vu clones. However, Stunt Fall at Movie World Madrid opened two weeks late, but has had a pretty good track record since.

Other than the fact that they won't let you sit in the first or last row because if the ride valleys they can't unload those rows. I was quite dissapointed not to be able to ride in the front.

884 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries My YouTube

I think the whole "Vekoma SLC's and boomerangs suck" is just something that's been through the echo chamber in the coaster community. Hell, I like both of Morey's Vekoma's better than their CCI.

Rick_UK's avatar

^ The issue with comparing wood to steel is that wood rides deteriorate much quicker with a lack of maintenance than steel rides do.

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KnoebelsGrandCarousel's avatar

I despise the SLC's but I really enjoy the Vekoma flyers. I like them much better than the B&M flyers. (This is coming from a B&M fan too). I also enjoy the junior SLC's that I have ridden.

Although the new restraints on Great Nor'Easter have stopped the head-banging, it still rattles you around pretty good. I would still get on this before any of the Mind Erasers though.

When I think of Vekoma, the first thing that comes to mind is SLC. Now I was blessed with a decent Serial Thriller/Thunderhawk at GL, but Mind Eraser the other dirsection at DL is one of the worst headbangers I've ridden. However, SLC's are just a black sheep of the family. As for the boomerangs, they aren't miserable by any means. Actually I really enjoy boomerangs by just keeping my head back with little effort. The same goes for standard loopers of vekoma and arrow. Most are very rideable and enjoyable. If my home park were to get a boomerang, old or new train, I'd be sitting pretty because they are forceful, disorienting, and backward inverting rides. Not a marquee coaster, but a lot of fun. The flyers are smooth and intense as well. Vekoma hasn't topped my list yet, but I feel they are a solid company especially of recent.

When Vekoma started building coasters, I believe that the licensed some of the Arrow patents, which would account for some of the similarities in how they behave

ApolloAndy's avatar

I don't think the "cloning=hate" argument holds up. B:TR has been cloned a billion times and still generates a lot of love.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

I pretty much have enjoyed the Vekoma coasters I have been on. They definitely are great in the junior coaster category like the Rollerskaters and the junior inverts.

Depending on who you ask, the GIB's (DejaVu) in my opinion is a decent ride.

The only SLC I liked was the one that was at Geauga Lake(now at Michigan's Adventure). That was the only Vekoma invert that I wanted to re-ride. The rest of them I have been on jackhammer (forward/backward thrusting).

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Rick_UK's avatar

Despite the issues with Battlestar - I'm really excited to try the new trains/track system.

And also Stingray looks odd, but fun;

Nothing to see here. Move along.

crazy horse's avatar

Boomerangs and SLC coasters are hit or miss for me.

Darion lake, carowinds, and maybe one more boomerang coasters out there are actualy enjoyable to me. As far as SLC coasters go, most of them have horrid headbanging for me. The best running SLC I have been on was at Michigans adventure, while the worst one I have been on was at SFA.

Another problem I have with vekoma, is they are all cookie cutter rides. There is no "unique" versions of there rides. They are all the same.

what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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