What is technically wrong with Mean Streak and Pre

Friday, September 12, 2003 11:45 AM
I suppose that this question can be extended to a lot of Dinn/Summers coasters, but Cedar Point's Mean Streak and SFDL's Predator are the two that come instantly to mind. On paper, and in pictures, they are beautiful coasters that look as though they should have it all. Mean Streak has an enormous first drop, non-stop turns and big hills, and lots of "within the structure" trackage that should equate to a great sense of speed and a sense of impeding decapitation. Predator, meanwhile, has gorgeous camelbacks and speed hills and a swooping turn in the middle of the ride that looks breathtaking.

Does anyone out there know what is TECHNICALLY wrong with these coasters? Why have they become what they have become?

Were these coasters so poorly designed that they simply cannot be fixed, regardless of the amount of money that a park throws at them? If The Point employs six full-time carpenters to maintain Mean Streak, what are they doing every day... is there that much wood to replace each and every day? Does it have to do with the person that Dinn hired to do the track work? Was Summers always off with his calculations.

I know that, over time, these Dinn/Summer coasters have been butchered and reprofiled and trimmed to death. Mid-course brakes have been tightened so that they act as trims. Hills have been lowered and hills have been raised. Sections of the rides have been rebuilt almost from scratch. Why have no CCI coasters had any of these types of changes made to them, yet every Dinn/Summers coaster seems to have seen these types of alterations in the few years after they were opened?

I know that it is easy to say "Cedar Fair hates wooden coasters" or "Six Flags doesn't have the money to make the proper repairs", but seriously, that seems like just a passing of the blame. What did Dinn and Summers do (or not do) to make these should-be impressive coasters turn out so lousy?

Also, take a look at this Mean Streak pic. The lower level track seems to have MANY more vertical sections supporting the track at the bottom of the dip. I have seen this on other coasters before, but it is very well illustrated on Mean Streak. I can understand that the forces at the bottom of the drip are the reason for this, but is the additional wood an original part of the design, or is this a "fix" that parks make after a wooden coaster is built?

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-Rob
A.C.E. member since 1990
Posting @ Coasterbuzz since 2000
E.C.C. member since 2002

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Friday, September 12, 2003 12:04 PM
Good question, Rob...I look forward to someone providing an answer [and not a speculative one]. FYI, the only CCI I can think of that has seens portion completely redone is Ghostrider. Due to excessive wear the banking on the helix was increased about 5 degrees.

mOOSH

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Friday, September 12, 2003 12:08 PM
Speculative answer, but...

I think you answered you're own question. They made impressive *looking* coasters rather then ones that rode well or were easily maintained. S&D woodies are among the most photgenic, beautiful, almost artlike in design.

I think that was top consideration with not enough concern going to the end that mattered.

Not a technical answer or an accurate one so to speak. Just something I've always thought myself.

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www.coasterimage.com
Dorney Park Visits in 2003: 16



*** This post was edited by Lord Gonchar 9/12/2003 4:09:44 PM ***

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Friday, September 12, 2003 12:13 PM
S&D woodies are among the most photgenic, beautiful, almost artlike in design.

So are S&D Greetings' cards and calendars!

mOOSH - couldn't resist another shameless plug ;)

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Friday, September 12, 2003 12:14 PM
All Summers / Dinn coasters do not use absolute banking, which basically causes the coaster to rip itself to shreads. To fix this, the coaster needs trims to lower the speeds and modifications to the layout to account for the tearing of the structure. I have been thinking why no one with a S/D coaster has called apon Gravity Group to retrack the ride. They are doing wonders with Raging Wolf Bobs right now, I would love for them to retrack Mean Streak and see how smooth and fun it would be then...

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Shaun Rajewski
CoasterLine
http://www.coasterline.com

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Friday, September 12, 2003 12:32 PM
*pandora's box has now been opened

Well, you started it. I, cannot give you definate answers because this is the same question that I have wondered for years. I was told that Hercules closed for reasons far more serious reasons than disclosed(believe me, this Herc fan has been doing his homework the past week). The "unpopular ride" excuse was given as a safe and easy answer to the public. The abrupt and sudden announcement makes believe this much more. From what I understand their rides suffer from many problems. These problems range from structural issues/lattice work to the way they laid their track. I think other people have said it best when they said that their focus was on breaking records and creating monumental coasters w/o really paying much attention to the proper way to implement their ideas effectively from an engineering standpoint. I'd imagine tearing the rides down and building from scratch (impractical suggestion) would be more cost effective than attempting to overhaul/save these problem plagued rides. If their is one thing that I like about Summers Dinn coasters it is their interestinly odd and unique layouts. They were certainly brave to tackle the projects that they did at the time that they did. Also, rctycoon2k, Summers/Dinn used too much banking. Unless I'm not understanding what you mean by "absolute banking." Raging Wolf Bobs is nowhere in scale compared to their megawoodies so one cannot assume that just because the gravity group was able to "save" Raging wolf bobs that they could also "save" their megawoodies.

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This space will forever be dedicated to Hercules-R.I.P. 1989-2003
*** This post was edited by DorneyDante 9/12/2003 4:36:07 PM ***

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Friday, September 12, 2003 12:37 PM
The structures on Summer and Dinn coasters look about the same as any other ones. The ones I've rode, Hercules, Mean Streak, and Raging Wolf Bobs all seem to have square wheels when you ride them. That makes me think it has somthing to do with the track.

Most coasters have rough spots at the bottoms of hills and in turns where forces are greater. S&D's are rough even on straight sections with very little force.

Could the spacing of the cross ties be too far apart for propper support, a sloppy job on the layers of wood that the steel track gets nailed to, low grade wood for the layers of wood?

I could if wood coasters were a new thing having many flaws. S&D screwed it up after wood coasters were around for about 80 years and numerous companys built them. I could understand their first coaster being messed up but it seems like they never learned from their mistakes.

I hear that Lightning Racer has yet to be retracked in any area and thats been going for 3 years now. It just goes to show how a properly designed ride can hold up.

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Signature will be closed today. Sorry for the inconveinance.

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Friday, September 12, 2003 1:05 PM
Sorry to be the smart aleck who comes along with another quote from Werner Stengel (another smart aleck).

When Stengel did a tv inteview at Cedar Point for german tv (around the opening of MF) he was as well shown in front of Mean Streak. He shook his head while pointing at the structure of MS. He was basically saying that a ride like that would never pass the DIN regulations, and would never be allowed to operate in Germany. I found this quite arrogant of him to diss a ride which was for once not designed by him, and who would give a d*mn wether it would be allowed in über safety crazy Germany or not.

But that was not the point. He referred to the chaotic and (shown in the above link) patchwork frames that seemed to be hammered in no particular order into the structure. And obviously he knew what he was talking about. The problem with these coasters seems to be the insufficient support structure. Maybe they were just ahead of their time and they didn´t have the appropriate CAD aid to design proper wooden coasters of this size and speed.

If you compare the wonderful looking structure of MS to the fragile looking Colossos, or the weird looking Balder you see a quantum leap in wooden structure design.

Oh, and concerning CCI, i have heard that Tonnerre de Zeus has not a single piece of wood from opening day in its helix, It all had to be replaced.

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chemically made - by the people you hate

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Friday, September 12, 2003 1:15 PM
Tricktrack, your post about the lattice work was exactly what I was saying in my post, I def agree with you. All wooden coaster structures look the same at a glance but when you really sit down and look at where they are nailed together, you'll see a huge difference. Proper engineering is needed for this, especially when designing wooden coasters of such great magnitude that S+D designed in the late eighties early nineties.

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This space will forever be dedicated to Hercules-R.I.P. 1989-2003

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Friday, September 12, 2003 1:18 PM
Geez, I set you right up for that one didn't I Moosh? :)


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www.coasterimage.com
Dorney Park Visits in 2003: 16

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Friday, September 12, 2003 1:22 PM
Well I can tell you that Predator at SFDL has been fixed. This year it is running extremely well and not very rough at all. Its the first year where I have come off with a smile everytime and no bruises. I think the re-tracking has done well finally.

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http://coasterplace.web1000.com

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Friday, September 12, 2003 1:32 PM
LG - you did, and what's ironic is that the similarity in the initials never crossed my mind until your post. Trust me, the similarity stops there ;)

mOOSH

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Friday, September 12, 2003 1:38 PM
I think Lightning Racer is a special case. I've often wondered how the maintenance requirements of Lightning Racer compare with the maintenance requirements of the adjacent Wildcat...also a GCI coaster, but running a different set of trains. Unfortunately I don't think Hersheypark is talking.

Anyway, I've often wondered about Mean Streak. Is its problem that it tears itself up? Or that it tears its riders up? The ride is a twister design, running trains that cannot go around corners smoothly. Does that tear up the structure? I don't think we can blame the trackwork, because except for Raging Wolf Bobs (which is now being re-tracked) the Summers/Dinn coasters have all been retracked, and it never seems to help. Unless V&M are simply duplicating shoddy Dinn track (which I doubt), trackwork doesn't adequately explain the problem.

Inadequate structure, perhaps? But Mean Streak has been braced like crazy, sections have been stiffened, and bits that used to sway like crazy now barely move. I think Top Thrill Dragster's main tower sways more than Mean Streak does now. I think inadequate support may have been a problem with the Summers/Dinn coasters in the past, but again, the rides have been largely rebuilt, sometimes more than once (when Cedar Fair bought Dorney Park, one of the first things they did was to rebuild a large chunk of Hercules!). And yet problems remain.

The more I see, the more I think there are two basic problems and they both relate to the trains. First of all, Summers has PTC trains doing things that PTC trains really are not configured to do well. Second, these also happen to be the coasters that have rock-hard seats with high seat-backs...essentially a design that might be OK on a steel coaster, but on a wood coaster transmits far too much force into the rider's body. The result is a ride that tears riders up, even if it is no rougher running than another ride in another park...just because of the lack of cushioning.

Those are my pet theories. Nothing definitive, but then, I haven't heard any convincing, definitive answers from the parks about these rides, either.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Friday, September 12, 2003 1:57 PM
"Hey! This greeting card looks fantastic, but it doesn't open!"

"My calendar has awesome photos and is wonderfully made, but it has no dates inside!"

- Summers & Dinn Greetings customers ;)

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www.coasterimage.com
Dorney Park Visits in 2003: 16

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Friday, September 12, 2003 1:59 PM
If it's the trains, then why do other twisters (some even 'twistier' than the noted S&D contraptions) run PTCs with seemingly little problem? Is it the particular PTC model that Hercules, Mean Streak, and the like run that is the problem?

Tremors, Viper @ SFGAm, Georgia Cyclone (the one S&D that I've ridden that didn't completely suck), Legend, Cornball Express, Raven, etc., all seem to avoid the problems of Mean Streak and Co., but all run PTCs.

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Friday, September 12, 2003 2:39 PM

chris said:
If it's the trains, then why do other twisters (some even 'twistier' than the noted S&D contraptions) run PTCs with seemingly little problem? Is it the particular PTC model that Hercules, Mean Streak, and the like run that is the problem?

Tremors, Viper @ SFGAm, Georgia Cyclone (the one S&D that I've ridden that didn't completely suck), Legend, Cornball Express, Raven, etc., all seem to avoid the problems of Mean Streak and Co., but all run PTCs.


Alright, I'll set myself up here and go a step further and say it's the trains design.

I believe that a more articulated train, such as a Millenium Flyer type of train would do WONDERS for these rides in question. Want some simple, not technical proof, then take a look at Wildcat and Lightning Racer. Same track manufacturer and designer, different train manufacturers.

Just my two cents, but, it's only my opinion.

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Fever

I really enjoy the Simpsons. It's just a shame that I am starting to LOOK like Homer.

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Friday, September 12, 2003 2:46 PM

Code823 said:
Well I can tell you that Predator at SFDL has been fixed. This year it is running extremely well and not very rough at all. Its the first year where I have come off with a smile everytime and no bruises. I think the re-tracking has done well finally.

i was there about a month ago and predator was in awfull shape, the trains seemed to bounce on top of the hills rather than roll.

i really dont have an answer though, every s&d coaster ive ever been on has been awfull after a year or two.

does anyone have a wood coaster train reference? i dont know who makes the different train styles.

/ --------------------------------------
http://www.eightdotthree.net

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Friday, September 12, 2003 2:48 PM
Knoebel's Twister hs the same hard seat backs, and some of the twistiest turns out there yet tracks splendidly with no shuffling whatsoever. It's not the trains.

I think the real problem is mega woodie disorder. We really don't know how Collusus will perform in a few years and some of the largers CCI's (Boss, Megaphobia, Tonneaurs de Zeus) seem to be experiencing the same problems, and look at Sonny which was designed by Her Stengal himself.

The more I think abotu it the more I realize it's structural. Son of Beat aside from it's horrible trains is full of potholes that you can even see. It's rough as heck except for one part. The loop. You hit the loop which is extremely structurally stiff and the ride becomes as smooth as glass. Once you get off that. The roughness returns.

The answer seems to be pretty simple, a wood structure does not lend itself well to the high speeds and strong forces exhibited by these massive woodies.

But then again Summer's and Dinn coasters seems to have a whole different set o problems as even the small ones (Wolverine Wildcat, Wolf Bobs) exhibit serious problems.

The Only S&D coaster out there that seems to be flawless, and I do mean flawless as it's amazing is Thunder Run. Even it had it's problems when built thanks to the awful Trailered trains on it, which SFDL'a Predator happens to also run and Raging Wolf Bob's ran until this year.

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If I was part of a coaster, I would be an upstop pad on an Arrow Mine Train.
MAGNUM HAD MY BABY!

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Friday, September 12, 2003 4:27 PM
I didn't really look at Mean Streak much when in line but maybe it has something to do with this. Maybe the track and structure do not absorb the forces the train puts on it. Does that make sense? Here's an example. Wicked Twister is absorbing the force when the spikes sway. Perhaps Mean Streak does not wobble and bend enough. This might explain why it is tearing itself up. I hope this makes sense. It was hard to put into words!

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Superman: Krypton Coaster----Just Ride It

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Friday, September 12, 2003 4:47 PM
Actually it moves plenty. The parts don't break, they just get out of place, hence potholes in the track and such.

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If I was part of a coaster, I would be an upstop pad on an Arrow Mine Train.
MAGNUM HAD MY BABY!

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