For a non-enthusiast, Viper can be a real challenge. At 188-feet and 70mph, it's one of the tallest and fastest traditional looping coasters in the world. From experience, Viper is not that painful, but that's if it isn't being compared to the smooth transitioning B&M's. Take the very front row of the first car - it's an excellent seat choice. And it is VERY intense.
Also, Viper is head and shoulders above it's cousins. Shockwave and Gasm were/are pretty deadly, Viper I found to be great fun. Excellent, excellent coaster, maybe the best of the Arrow multi-loopers. Well, that and PKI's Vortex, hard to pick for myself.
I rode front back and middle during my stay at SFMM and I must say Viper was my favorite coaster in the park. It's no B&M, but for an Arrow built 15 years ago, it's held up extremely well, a heck of a lot better than it's New Jersey cousin! I found Viper to be much smoother than X, and it had a lot of thrills; good amout of speed, lots of elements and a long ride to top it all off.
Intense, definitely, painful, somewhat, but there are much worse (like Son of Beast!)
I loved it. My favorite Arrow so far. Not only is the coaster tall, but it is built on the mountain, so it seems much taller. Going through the loops at the height was pretty scary for me. It travels through the loops rather slow I think, which heightens the fear factor. I love it.
I love Viper in almost 15 years ago it started my coaster obession and it still holds up today. I find Viper to be very smooth, but not B&M glass smooth. It is a very fun, fast and instense ride. I think it best in the front row of the last car or in the front row, front car. Wow, hard to believe it has been 15 years since it opened on 04.07.90. Time flys when your having fun. ^_^
BTW what part of ShockWave and GASM is known as the "Satan Curve"? Viper's first drop is steeper and tigher than on either of them. So I am guess it that cool drop off the Mid-Course Brakes on those two coasters. I wish Viper featured that drop over the s-curve drop.
Being taller than 6"3 is a true pain in Viper - so unfortunately I'm left out of the Viper Fan Club for that reason (actually, all of the Arrow and Vekoma OTSRs are painful for me because I can't keep my back straight in them). Apart from that, Viper is a clear must at SFMM - I guess it's their best "classic" altogether, it's a little bangy and a littly crawly at the end, but it's still THE iconic "classic" arrow looper.
(My favourite at SFMM is also RR though - not having been on X).
For the mentioned reason, I can't handle more than 1 ride on Viper - you'll rather find me in line for a re-ride of RR (if it runs 2 trains, that is). *** Edited 4/14/2005 3:21:36 PM UTC by superman***
After the third loop there is a harsh, unbanked turn into the MCB - it is on the right side of the linked picture. Shockwave had the exact same turn, but in the later loopscrew "semi-clones", they must have realized their error and eliminated, hence the smoother version out west at SFMM with the same elements in the same order.
*cringes* thanks for making my neck hurt redman, just a picture of that part of GASM hurts to look at. That is the part of the coaster I swear popped a lens out of my glasses inside a soft case last year. This year it's hard clamshell case for the glasses when I go on coasters.